the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— (ESV)
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (KJV)
Greek: καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη, καὶ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον ἥτις ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν —
Transliterated Greek: kai hē zōē ephanerōthē, kai heōrakamen kai martyroumen kai apangellomen hymin tēn zōēn tēn aiōnion hētis ēn pros ton patera kai ephanerōthē hēmin —
Literal Word for Word Translation: and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and announce to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was revealed to us —
Commentary: Verse 2 is a parenthetical elaborating on the “life” mentioned in verse 1. This life was revealed. It wasn’t just that Jesus appeared before men, but that the eternal life that came from the Father in heaven was revealed to the apostles in the life, miracles, and teachings of Jesus. So, not only was Jesus a truly physical man who could be seen, heard, and touched, but He was the divine presence that was also very real and fully God. Through Jesus, men could now see God. (Jn 14:9-11; 10:33)
Indeed, this “life” is the one who John and the apostles are proclaiming and the rest of 1 John will be about. He ends 1 John with, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 Jn 5:20)
Since it is baffling to many, and could already be causing some questions and/or heartburn right here at the beginning of 1 John, a discussion of how Jesus can be God and man, and how the second person of the Trinity can become a man distinct from the Father and the Spirit where all three are still considered to be one God, will be provided in the next posting. It is not the easiest thing to understand, but understanding it correctly helps when one is confronted by Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, or even Muslims who deny the Trinity and divinity of Jesus. Remember, John is making the point right up front in 1 John that Jesus is indeed God and man. And again, this is critical to our salvation. If Jesus was neither man nor God, then He could not have taken our place on the cross and provided a means for the forgiveness of our sins. More about how we are forgiven through Jesus later in our journey through 1 John.