Christian Churches of God
Commentary on 1John
(Edition 1.0 20200921-20200921)
The text of 1John is a theological treatise rather than a Letter but reflects obvious concern for the recipients.
Commentary on 1John
This text is a theological treatise rather than a
Letter but reflects obvious concern for the recipients. It has always been attributed to the apostle John; however he does not identify himself. In the other letters he identifies himself as the elder (writing to the elect lady and her children etc). The styles are similar to one another and so also to the Gospel of John. The treatise appears to be written to several of the Churches of God. Most scholars believe that it was written towards the end of the First Century CE along with the thrust of 2John. There is obviously a division in theology involved and the doctrine of Antichrist appears to be at work in the church at the time of writing. This text is concerned with the keeping of the Laws of God and the identification of Christ as coming in the flesh rather than the doctrines of the Baal system and that of Antichrist that sought to separate the divinity from the humanity of Christ.
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-- 2the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—3that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And we are writing this that our joy may be complete. 5This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; 7but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (RSV)
So all men sin and those who say they are without sin are liars and they make God a liar. Sin is transgression of the law as lawlessness. (1Jn. 3:4).
The text is thus concerned with the antinomianism that spread into the church from the Baal systems and the worship of the god Attis and the mother goddess consort of Ashtoreth or Easter or Cybele as consort of Attis. The god Attis was the Ditheist deity structure of father and son and the goddess which gave rise to Easter ca. 154 CE, Ditheism post 175 CE and Trinitarianism from 381 CE at Constantinople and 451 at Chalcedon. From then we saw the later adoption of Christmas from ca. 475 from Syria at the beginning of the Dark Ice Age. (cf. Origins of Christmas and Easter (No. 235)).
In line with this view, the apostle proceeds then to deal with the Second Great Commandment to love your neighbour as yourself which, in being attacked, had seen division in the church. That is the old commandment that is being given anew to the Churches of God, with the injunction to not sin and that Christ is the expiation for such sin that we might commit. Those who disobey the Commandments of God given to us by Christ at Sinai (Acts 7:30-43; 1Cor. 10:4) and reiterated in his ministry are not one of the elect and children of God.
1My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4He who says "I know him" but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 7Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8Yet I am writing you a new commandment, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still. 10He who loves his brother abides in the light, and in it there is no cause for stumbling. 11But he who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 12I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his sake. 13I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 15Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. 17And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever. 18Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. 20But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. 21I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. 22Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is what he has promised us, eternal life. 26I write this to you about those who would deceive you; 27but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him. 28And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.29If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right is born of him. (RSV)
So by this we know that there were divisions created in the body so that some went out of us (v. 19). The apostle states that if they go out of us they are not of us and not of the elect and the ex anastasin (Phil. 3:11) or First Resurrection (No. 143A).
So also we know that we are Children of God.
1See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 4Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. 7Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. 8He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9No one born of God commits sin; for God's nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. 10By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother. 11For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. 13Do not wonder, brethren, that the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth. 19By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us. (RSV)
Thus it is by the keeping of the Commandments of God that we abide in God and He in us. In this way the antinomianism condemned by the apostles (cf. James, Peter and Paul (Acts 15)) and especially as we saw in the epistles of Jude and of 1 and 2Peter is reinforced as it is also in Revelation 12:17 and 14:12. Thus also anyone who says the Commandments of God or the Law of God is done away shows thereby they are not of the elect and the faith but are antinomian heretics.
So also we are then told to test the spirits to see whether they are of God. Indeed the world has been riddled with false prophets over the entire life span of the church as we can see.
In chapter 4 we then see that the doctrine of Antichrist is identified. “The doctrine of Antichrist” is stated in 1John 4:1-2. The correct ancient text for 1John 4:1-2 is reconstructed from Irenæus, Chapter 16:8 (ANF, Vol. 1, fn. p. 443).
Hereby know ye the spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ came in the flesh is of God; and every spirit which separates Jesus Christ is not of God but is of Antichrist.
Socrates the historian says (VII, 32, p. 381) that the passage had been corrupted by those who wished to “separate the humanity of Jesus Christ from his divinity” (cf. A1; 1.5.2)
These false prophets are usually possessed by demons, by which they prophesy.
1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already. 4Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 7Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. 8He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. 19We love, because he first loved us. 20If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also. (RSV)
Thus the apostle reinforces the Second Great Commandment on which the second group of the Laws of God are based on which the Law and the Testimony are based. If they do not speak according to these aspects there is no light in them (Isa. 8:20).
1Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. 7And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. 8There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree. 9If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has borne witness to his Son. 10He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne to his Son. 11And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life. 13I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him. 16If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. 17All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal. 18We know that any one born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one. 20And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, to know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 21Little children, keep yourselves from idols. (RSV)
It is important to note that 1John 5:7 has a forgery in the Receptus that has been carried on into the KJV in support of the Trinitarian heresy. It does not exist in any Greek text. Bullinger says that the words added do not exist in any Greek text before the Sixteenth Century and crept in from some notes in the margin to the Latin (cf. Companion Bible fn. to v. 7)
We see that God has given the son eternal life which he did not possess intrinsically and we are also given that life in our confession of the faith and adherence to God through Christ as coheirs.
We also see that there are sins that are to be forgiven on prayer and at the Lord’s Supper. The others are what the apostle terms “mortal sins” and these are of the type such as the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit (Mk. 3:29) and others such as require removal from the elect (cf. 1Cor. 5:5).
In this text verse 20 is often claimed by some unethical Trinitarians to refer to Christ as the True God and eternal life. Such a view is heresy. John’s true meaning is clearly stated in John 17:3 where eternal life is to “know the One True God and Jesus Christ whom He sent.”
So also the text enjoins the elect to keep themselves from idols which is anything made to resemble anything that is used to bow down to or to which one prays. The meaning is simple and clear.
Bullinger’s Notes on 1John (for KJV)
from the beginning. Greek. ap" (App-104.) arches. See John 8:44. Occurs nine times in this epistle.
Word. App-121. Figure of speech Anabasis. App-6.
bear witness. See John 1:7, and p. 1511.
shew = report. Greek. apangello. See Acts 4:23.
eternal. App-151. "Eternal life" Occurs in this epistle six times.
declare. Same as "shew", 1 John 1:2.
that = in order that. Greek. hina.
fellowship. See 1 Corinthians 1:9.
message. Greek. angelia. Only here and 1 John 3:11.
declare. Greek. anangello. See Acts 20:27.
no . . . at all. Greek. ou oudeis. A double negative. This is the Figure of speech Pleonasm (App-6), as in 1 John 1:8.
as He. This refers to the Father. Compare 1 John 2:6.
one with another = with one another. Not with fellow-believers, but with the Father and the Son.
Jesus Christ. The texts read "Jesus".
sin. App-128. Here is the Figure of speech Metalepsis. App-6.
to. Greek. hina, as in 1 John 1:3. Literally in order that He might forgive.
that ye . . . sin. Note carefully the telic force of the Greek hina here; "to the end that ye may not (commit) sin (habitually). "
sin not = may not sin.
if . . . sin = should any man sin, i.e. commit an act of sin
ours. Greek. hemeteros. Emphatic.
also. This should follow "world".
hereby = in (App-104.) this.
know. App-132. The second "know" is in perf. tense, as in 1 John 2:4 also.
abideth. See p. 1511.
no = not, as 1 John 2:2.
new. Greek. kainos. See Matthew 9:17.
from the beginning. Greek. ap" (App-104.) arches. See 1 John 1:1.
from, &c. The texts omit.
is past = passes away. Greek. parago, as 1 John 2:17.
now = already. Greek. ede.
even until. Greek. heos.
now. Greek. arti.
occasion, &c. Greek. skandalon. See Romans 9:33.
goeth. Compare John 12:35.
blinded. Greek. tuphloo. See 2 Corinthians 4:4.
for, &c. = on account of (App-104. 1 John 2:2)
overcome. See John 16:33.
write. The texts read "wrote".
little children. Here and in 1 John 2:18 the word paidion (App-108.) is used.
pride. Greek. alazoneia. Only here and James 4:16 (boastings).
last time = last hour. Compare Acts 2:17.
continued. Same as "abide", 1 John 2:6.
with. Greek. meta. App-104.
made manifest. App-106.
But = And.
but = except. Greek. ei me.
is = is not (App-105). A negative sometimes follows such verbs as arneomai. Compare the French usage.
the same = he.
not. Greek. oude.
he that, &c. This clause is added by all the texts.
acknowledgeth = confesseth, as Matthew 10:32, &c.
remain. Same as "abide", 1 John 2:6.
promise. Greek. epangelia, the only occurance in John"s writings.
seduce = lead astray, or cause to err.
anointing. Same as "unction", 1 John 2:20.
ye shall. Omit.
Him. Greek. it.
when. The texts read "if" (App-118).
appear. Same as "made manifest", 1 John 2:19.
confidence. Greek. parrhesia. See Acts 28:31.
ashamed. Greek. aischuno. See 2 Corinthians 10:8.
before = from. App-104.
coming. See Matthew 24:3.
born = begotten. A Latin MS., the Fleury Palimpsest, instead of "ashamed, &c.", reads "confounded by Him. If in His presence ye have known Him that is faithful, know that every one that doeth the truth hath been born of Him. "
bestowed upon = given to.
that = in order that. Greek. hina.
God. App-98. All the texts add, "and we are (so)".
therefore = on account of (App-104. 1 John 3:2) this.
not yet. Greek. oupo.
but. The texts omit.
as = even as. Compare 1 John 2:6.
purifieth. Greek. hagnizo. See Acts 21:24.
pure. Greek. hagnos. See 2 Corinthians 7:11.
committeth = doeth, i.e. practiseth. See 1 John 2:29.
transgresseth, &c. = doeth lawlessness (Greek. anomia. App-128.) also.
the transgression, &c. Greek. anomia, as above.
was manifested. Same as "appear", 1 John 3:2.
to = in order that (Greek. hina) He might.
our. The texts omit.
is no = there is not (App-105).
destroy. Greek. luo. Compare John 2:19.
born = begotten.
remaineth. The same as "abideth", 1 John 3:6.
message. Greek. angelia. Only here and 1 John 1:5.
wherefore = for the sake (Greek. charin) of what. The accusative case of charis (App-184.) is used as a preposition.
passed. Greek. metabaino. Compare John 6:24 (same word).
his brother. The texts omit.
murderer. Greek. anthropoktonos, manslayer. Only here and John 8:44.
no = not (1 John 3:1) any.
perceive we = we know, as in 1 John 3:1.
life. App-110. See John 10:15.
condemn. Greek. kataginosko. See Galatians 2:11 (blamed).
all things. Compare Peter"s answer, John 21:17.
of. App-104., but the texts read apo (App-104.)
keep. See Matthew 19:17.
pleasing. Greek. arestos. See Acts 6:2 (reason).
Spirit = spirit, i.e. the new nature, not the Giver Himself. App-101.
hath given = gave.
whether = if. App-118.
false prophets. Greek. pseudoproptetes. First occurance: Matthew 7:15.
is come = to have come.
that Jesus . . . flesh. The texts read "Jesus".
antichrists = the Antichrist. See 1 John 2:18.
of truth. Genitive of character, or relation. App-17.
truth. See 1 John 1:6.
spirit. App-101. of error. Genitive of character, as above.
toward = in. App-104. The sphere in which the manifestation takes place.
only begotten. See John 1:14.
that = in order that. Greek. hina.
Spirit. i.e. the gifts. App-101.
testify = bear witness. Greek. martureo. See p. 1511.
torment = punishment. Greek. kolasia. See Matthew 25:46.
Him. The texts omit.
born = begotten.
begat, begotten. Same word as "born", above.
keep. The texts read "do".
keep. See Matthew 19:17.
grievous = burdensome. Greek. barus. See Acts 20:29.
water. Referring to His baptism, when witness was given to Him by the voice from heaven and the descent of the Spirit.
blood. The texts read "in (Greek. en) the blood".
bear record = bear witness, as in 1 John 5:6.
in heaven, &c. The texts read, "the Spirit, and the water", &c, omitting all the words from "in heaven" to "in earth" (1 John 5:8) inclusive. The words are not found in any Greek. MS. before the sixteenth century. They were first seen in the margin of some Latin copies. Thence they have crept into the text.
believeth = believeth on, as above.
record. Same as "witness", 1 John 5:9.
gave. Literally hath witnessed.
hath given = gave. See Romans 6:23.
desired = have desired. Same as "ask", 1 John 5:14.
it = that. The sin unto death was one that might result in the brother being cut off. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:30, where many had sinned unto death "many sleep". See also James 5:14, James 5:16, where there is the same recognition of sickness being due to some special sins, as in 1 Corinthians 11:30, and of intercessory prayer as here. It is not a single act, but a continued habit.
himself. Most texts read "him".
toucheth. Greek. haptomai. In John"s writings only here and in John 20:17. Thirty-one times in the three other Gospels, generally in connection with the Lord"s miracles. Elsewhere, 1 Corinthians 7:1. 2 Corinthians 6:17. Colossians 2:21.
is come. Not the word used in 1 John 4:2, 1 John 4:3; 1 John 5:6 (erchomai), but heko, to be present. Compare John 8:42. Hebrews 10:7, Hebrews 10:9, Hebrews 10:37. In the last reference the two verbs are seen: "shall come" (erchomai); "will come" (heko).
true. App-175. This refers to the Father. Compare 1 John 2:5, 1 John 2:24; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:12-16. This, &c. Also referring to the Father, the source of life (John 5:26), which life was manifested in His Son (1 John 1:2), and is given to us through, and in, Him (verses: 1 John 5:11-12 above, and Romans 6:23).
Amen. The texts omit.