Question: "What is the Word of life in 1 John 1:1?"

Answer: In 1 John 1:1, John begins his letter by proclaiming the Word of life: “‭‭That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” The “Word of life” refers to Jesus, and can also refer to the gospel, the message of salvation and reconciliation made possible by the Son of God (Philippians 2:16).

‬‬ The Greek term for “word” is logos, recognized by Greeks as the medium through which God created the world and communicated with His creation. The Jews understood “the word” in the Old Testament as the means through which God created the cosmos (Psalm 33:6). Given these understandings, John aptly introduces Jesus as the Logos in both his Gospel and his first letter, emphasizing Jesus as the One through whom the world was made and life blossomed (John 1:3–4).

Eternal life also comes through Jesus, confirming His role as the Word of life. As John 3:16 indicates, “‭‭For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (NLT). Jesus, in John 14:6, identifies Himself as “the way, the truth and the life.”

‬‬ Thus, only the Word of Life imparts true life; seeking eternal life apart from Him proves futile. Jesus is not just the Giver of life; He is life. Believing in the person and redemptive work of the Word of life grants eternal life.

Today, Christians are often considered intolerant for proclaiming Jesus as the only way to God. In light of many options, why should we hold on to the exclusivity of Christ? Even professed Christians struggle with this. However, it is not intolerant for God to possess the key to His presence. He controls access to His home in heaven, just as we possess access to ours on earth.

The crucial question is whether Jesus is who Scripture presents Him to be. If yes, denying His exclusivity would be unloving, especially when we profess Him as Savior. The only loving response to those who are spiritually hungry is to point them to where the Bread is.

Following Jesus’ miracle of the feeding of five thousand, the Lord gave a discourse on His being the Bread of life that came down from heaven (John 6:35). Many turned away from Jesus at that time (verse 66). “Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, ‘Are you also going to leave?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life’” (verses 67–68, NLT). The Bread of life is the Word of life, and the disciples recognized this truth.

Jesus is the Word of life, the Logos that gave life at creation and gives life in the new creation.