Reflections of the Upper Room Discourse in 1 John -- By: John R. Yarid, Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 160:637 (Jan 2003)
Article: Reflections of the Upper Room Discourse in 1 John
Author: John R. Yarid, Jr.

Reflections of the Upper Room Discourse in 1 John

John R. Yarid Jr.a

Commentators have often mentioned in passing the connection between the Upper Room Discourse in John 13–17 and 1 John, but few writers have developed this apparent relationship.1 This article seeks to develop some of the prominent themes shared between these two writings of the apostle John.2 Examining these shared topics demonstrates that the underlying issue of concern to the author of 1 John was his readers’ fellowship with the Lord (rather than their supposed lack of eternal life).3 Furthermore the intricate way the author wove several of the Savior’s themes in the Upper Room Discourse into 1 John strengthens the argument that the same author, the apostle John, wrote both the Gospel of John and 1 John.

This article discusses eight concepts in John 13–17 that are also mentioned in John’s first epistle. Other topics and terms in

1 John that stem from the Upper Room Discourse but that are not discussed in this article include “anointing,” “ask,” “complete,” “the evil one,” “give,” “hate,” “heart,” “the Holy Spirit,” “keep,” “knowledge,” “proclaim,” and “truth.”

The Theme of Full Joy

The apostle John recorded his first statement of purpose in these words: “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete [πεπληρωμένη]” (1 John 1:4).4 Though this is the only use of “joy” [χαρά] in this epistle, the word occurs nine times in the Fourth Gospel, with seven of those occurrences being in the Upper Room Discourse (John 3:29 [twice]; 15:11 [twice], 16:20–22, 24; 17:13).

John’s concept of joy was no doubt influenced by Jesus’ words on that subject. The idea of joy being complete clearly reflects the Lord’s words in the upper room. John’s words in 1 John 1:4 are strikingly similar to Jesus’ words in

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