The early church dealt with challenges to the true nature of Jesus Christ, such as Gnosticism [Gnosticism] and Arianism [Arianism] which attacked or undermined both the Incarnation of God and the deity of Jesus. 1

The Epsitle of 1 John was written in response to a division which occurred apparently over the issue of Gnosticism. The Epistle opens with the writer making a statement on fellowship:

that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us... (1:3 ESV)

Taken literally, the writer is one of several original disciples still alive who seek fellowship with the reader. 2 The writer states their fellowship is with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ:

...and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1:3 ESV)

The Epistle continues:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1:5-6 ESV)

If "fellowship with him" is referring to God, then the writer's fellowship which was described as fellowship with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, is also fellowship with God.

  1. Is the writer describing two types of fellowship? Or is their fellowship with The Father and His Son Jesus Christ the same as their fellowship with God?
  2. Is the writer trying to use Christian fellowship to also make the point that the Father and His Son Jesus Christ is God?

1. The First Council of Nicea resulted in the Nicean Creed which affirmed the deity of Jesus; He is of the same substance of the same being as the Father.
2. This also has the effect of identifying the wrong of those who left: they broke fellowship with the reader.

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    (-1) Are you asking whether speaking of fellowship with the father and his son indicates that Jesus is God? How in the world would you get that impression? And why not just ask that if that is your question? I don't think I've ever down voted a question before but I think I must dv this one. Please restate the question.
    – user10231
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 22:55
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    I'd probably answer the question if I understood what is being asked. As stated above, sometimes the more you say, the less clear it is. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 23:02
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    @SimplyaChristian Got that one already! Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 5:51
  • At first I was upset that I saw the initial downvote since it seemed like a good question, but after reading the entire question I must confess it confuses itself at the end. The title asks a question that seems to ask a very clear question but the full question seems not to ask it at all but to make a statement and then ask if The Father and Jesus are the same as God. I agree this needs a complete rewording to make a clear single question. Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 6:14

1 Answer 1


First, I think that "fellowship" is an extremely weak translation of the underlying Greek word - κοινωνία. A much better English word to use would be the one which retains the Greek as its root - communion. Consider the translation of these verses from the Holy Apostles Convent Orthodox New Testament:

That which we have seen and heard we relate to you, in order that you may have communion with us; and our communion also is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

When one understands that John is speaking of union with and not mere "fellowship" with God, a different meaning emerges from the text. When we are united with others who are united with God, the relationship is distinct from communion with God in that we are united with distinct persons, but indistinct in that we are commonly united with God.

Orthodox Christian theologian and monk Justin Popovic explained v.3:

Living in communion with the Lord Christ, having communion (κοινωνίαν) with Him is, in fact, to be located in eternal life. That life, in actuality, is communion with the Trinitarian Godhead. To commune with the Trinity, through the God-man, and to come to know the Trinity is nothing other than living eternal life. Then man feels and sees eternal life in himself. Also, he is located in a community of eternal human beings.

Commentary on the Epistles of St. John the Theologian (tr. Sebastian Press, 2009), p.14

Regarding your second question, "Is the writer trying to use Christian fellowship [κοινωνία] to also make the point that the Father and His Son Jesus Christ is God?", I think the answer is no, not in that particular verse. He seems to make a much stronger case in the opening of the Epistle. These verses speak of the Word of the Life, although the King James and other versions drop the definite article before "Life". Athanasius discussed these verses in his Discources Against the Arians:

But that the Son has no beginning of being, but before He was made man was ever with the Father, John makes clear in his first Epistle, writing thus: ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of Life; and the Life was manifested, and we have seen it; and we bear witness and declare unto you that Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.’ While he says here that ‘the Life,’ not ‘became,’ but ‘was with the Father,’ in the end of his Epistle he says the Son is the Life, writing, ‘And we are in Him that is True, even in His Son, Jesus Christ; this is the True God and Eternal Life.’ [5:20] But if the Son is the Life, and the Life was with the Father, and if the Son was with the Father, and the same Evangelist says, ‘And the Word was with God,’ [John 1:1] the Son must be the Word, which is ever with the Father. And as the ‘Son’ is ‘Word,’ so ‘God’ must be ‘the Father.’ Moreover, the Son, according to John, is not merely ‘God’ but ‘True God;’ for according to the same Evangelist, ‘And the Word was God;’ and the Son said, ‘I am the Life.’ [John 14:6] Therefore the Son is the Word and Life which is with the Father. And again, what is said in the same John, ‘The Only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father,’ [John 1:18] shews that the Son was ever. For whom John calls Son, Him David mentions in the Psalm as God’s Hand, saying, ‘Why stretchest Thou not forth Thy Right Hand out of Thy bosom?’ [Psalm 73:11 LXX] Therefore if the Hand is in the bosom, and the Son in the bosom, the Son will be the Hand, and the Hand will be the Son, through whom the Father made all things; for it is written, ‘Thy Hand made all these things,’ [Isaiah 66:2] and ‘He led out His people with His Hand;’ [Deuteronomy 7:8] therefore through the Son. And if ‘this is the changing of the Right Hand of the Most Highest,’ [Psalm 76:10 LXX] and again, ‘Unto the end, concerning the things that shall be changed, a song for My Well-beloved;’ [Psalm 44 LXX] the Well-beloved then is the Hand that was changed; concerning whom the Divine Voice also says, ‘This is My Beloved Son.’ This ‘My Hand’ then is equivalent to ‘This My Son.’

Discourses Against the Arians, Fourth Discourse, Chapter 26

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