1 John 2

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  • 1 John 2:1.
  • My little children, these things I am writing you that you may not sin. And if someone should sin, we have a paraclete with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous one.

    The diminutive form of the Greek word for “children” (teknía) is a term of affection and may be rendered “little children” or “dear children.” After having pointed out that the blood of God’s Son makes purifying from all unrighteousness possible, John emphasized that what he had written served as encouragement for his readers not to sin. If they did sin, however, they had a paraclete, a helper, an intercessor, or an advocate “with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous one.” As the unique Son of God, he enjoys an intimate relationship with his Father, and his righteousness is absolute. Because he is righteous, his intercession for repentant sinners always receives his Father’s favorable attention. (Compare James 5:16.)

    Note:. As in 1:2, the Greek preposition prós (with) evidently points to an interrelationship.


  • 1 John 2:2.
  • And he is expiation for our sins, not for ours alone but also for the whole world’s.

    The Greek word hilasmós is often rendered “propitiation,” a significance that may originally have been influenced by the Vulgate. The English word is, in fact, derived from Latin. The term suggests that God has to be placated or appeased, and many commentators have expressed the thought that Christ experienced the force of his Father’s wrath directed against sin when he died sacrificially. In the passage itself, however, there is no mention of divine anger. So it seems more appropriate to view the Greek word as denoting the means by which forgiveness of sins is made possible, with the focus being on God’s love for sinful humans. (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8) Lending further support to this is the fact that the Septuagint uses the term to denote “atonement,” “expiation” (Leviticus 25:9), “forgiveness” (Psalm 130:4 [129:4, LXX]), and “sin offering” (Ezekiel 44:27).

    Jesus Christ is the expiation or the means of atoning for our sins. Possessing only imputed righteousness, believers continue to need the atoning benefits of Christ’s sacrifice to be applied to them. He is, however, not just the “expiation” for believers. The entire world of mankind is sinful and in urgent need of forgiveness. Accordingly, the “expiation” is available to the whole world, but only persons accepting it, in faith, receive the benefits.


  • 1 John 2:3.
  • And by this we know that we do know him, if we heed his commands.

    The expression en toúto (in this, by this) introduces the words that follow—“if we heed his commands.” Obedience to his commandments provides the basis for confirming that we know “him.”

    The pronoun “him” could refer to Jesus Christ or to the Father. In this letter, there are specific references to God’s commands (5:2, 3), providing a basis for concluding that “him” could apply to the Father. A number of translations even make this explicit. “When we obey God, we are sure that we know him.” (CEV) “We know that we have come to know God if we obey his commands.” (NIRV) “If we obey God’s commands, then we are sure that we know him.” (GNT, Second Edition)

    On the other hand, the concluding part of verse 6 contains a specific reference to Jesus Christ’s walk, and the pronoun “he” in verse 2 unmistakably means the Son of God. Accordingly, from a strict grammatical standpoint, the pronoun “him” would apply to Jesus Christ.

    Being at one with the Son also signifies being at one with the Father. Therefore, whether the pronoun “him” is understood to refer to the Father or to the Son does not really affect the comprehension of the message. The measure of vagueness that prevents precise identification is immaterial. To know the Father means to know him as his obedient child, and his knowing or recognizing one as such. (Galatians 4:8, 9; Hebrews 8:11, 12) To know the Son means to know him as one’s Lord, and the Son’s knowing or recognizing the individual as his disciple, manifest by loyal submission to his commands. (Matthew 7:21-23; John 14:23, 24)


  • 1 John 2:4.
  • The one saying that I know him, and is not heeding his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in this one.

    Anyone claiming to know “him” (God or his Son) as one enjoying an approved relationship but failing to live in harmony with his commands is a liar. This is because an acceptable standing is impossible without a proper regard for his commands. False claimants would be guilty of a flagrant misrepresentation. In their case, the “truth” (with particular focus on Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life) would not be in them. This truth has transforming power, resulting in exemplary conduct. When, however, evidence of an upright life is nonexistent, the individual could not possibly be in possession of the “truth” as an internal deposit.

    Note: Fourth-century Codex Sinaiticus and a few other manuscripts read “truth of God,” whereas the majority of manuscripts only have the word “truth.”


  • 1 John 2:5.
  • But the one who heeds his word, truly in this one the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him.

    The situation is very different in the case of the person who heeds “his [the Father’s or the Son’s] word” or message as reflected in upright conduct and compassionate concern for others. In this person, “the love of God” has been brought to a state of completion or full development. The expression “love of God” may convey three basic meanings: (1) God’s love for the individual, (2) the person’s love for God, and (3) the kind of love God manifests (godly love). John’s main focus appears to be on the conduct of the person who knows “him” (God or Christ). This provides a basis for concluding that “love of God” primarily relates to the individual’s love for God or the individual’s display of godly love. The meaning of the Greek verb teleióo (make perfect, make complete) has contributed to adopting the view that the reference is to God’s love for the individual, for absolute perfection is an impossibility for sinful humans. In the case of humans, however, “perfection” or “completeness” must always be regarded as relative and as having the potential for additional growth and development. (Compare Matthew 5:43-48.) According to the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, Second Edition, there is a possibility that, instead of “to make complete” or “to make perfect,” the Greek verb teleióo may here mean “to cause to be truly and completely genuine — ‘to make genuine, to make true, to make completely real.’”

    The possessors of the “love of God” know or have the assurance that they are “in him” or at one with him, enjoying an intimacy with him (either with the Father as beloved children or with God’s Son as his brothers, disciples, and friends). A number of translations, though, represent the words “in this we know” as introducing what follows. For example, the New International Version reads, “This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” While this meaning is possible, it requires an abrupt shift of subjects from “we” to “the one saying” or “claiming.” So it appears preferable to regard the words “in this we know” as concluding the thought expressed in this verse. Obedience to God’s word and possession of the “love of God” constitute the basis for knowing or being sure that we are enjoying a divinely approved standing.


  • 1 John 2:6.
  • The one saying he abides in him is obligated, as that one walked, also thus to walk.

    The person saying he “abides in him” (God or Christ), or continues to be in a state of oneness with him, is under obligation to “walk” or live in the same manner that Jesus Christ “walked” or lived. Such an individual’s attitude, words and deeds should give evidence that he is imitating God’s Son.


  • 1 John 2:7.
  • Beloved ones, I am not writing you a new command but an old command that you have had from the beginning. The old command is the word that you heard.

    As members of the same spiritual family, believers regard one another as “beloved ones” (agapetoí.) They are also “beloved ones” of God and Christ.

    John was not in the process of writing a “new command” to his readers. From the standpoint of the beginning of their life as disciples of God’s Son, the command was not new. It was one they had been taught right from the start and, therefore, was an “old command.” This “old command” was the “word” or message they had heard, having been imparted to them through oral instruction. The substance of the message was that believers should love one another as Christ loved them. This is the command that Jesus Christ gave to his apostles just hours before his death. (John 13:34, 35)

    Notes:

    The oldest extant manuscripts read agapetoí (beloved ones), whereas numerous more recent manuscripts say adelphoí (brothers).

    After “you have heard” (ekoúsate), numerous later manuscripts add ap’ archés (from the beginning).


  • 1 John 2:8.
  • Again, I am writing you a new command, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.

    Viewed in the light of the many generations that had preceded Jesus Christ’s being on earth, the command could be designated as “new.” The Mosaic law included the command to “love one’s neighbor as oneself,” but Christ’s command was new in that it required a superior love. This self-sacrificing love went beyond what a love for self required. Its possessor would be willing, if necessary, to lay down his life for a fellow believer, putting his brother’s welfare ahead of his own. (1 John 3:16)

    Regarding this “new command,” the letter continues, “which is true in him and in you.” The pronoun “him” refers to Jesus Christ, and the pronoun “you” to those to whom the letter was addressed, disciples of God’s Son. In the life of Jesus Christ, his words and deeds, perfect self-sacrificing love was in evidence. His entire life course, terminating in his sacrificial death, was an expression of love that surpassed all human experience; it was incomparable. He lived the “new command” that he gave to his disciples. So this command was true in him, that is, it was revealed as being true or real in his life. Likewise, in the case of Jesus’ disciples, they loved one another according to the requirement of the new command. So, in their case also, the obligations imposed by the new command were being fulfilled. It was true in them or clearly in evidence as being true in their attitude, words, and actions. Their whole life testified that it was an actuality in their case.

    The next words are introduced with “because” (hóti, pointing to the discernible evidence that the command is true in the case of Jesus Christ and that of his disciples. This evidence is summed up in the statement, “the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.” In the lives of the disciples of Jesus Christ, the darkness (representative of ignorance, hatred, and evil) was revealed to be in a passing state, for these disciples had been liberated from a walk in darkness. So the darkness was in the process of passing away. It had not disappeared, however, as the world in general remained in this condition. Nevertheless, the true light (representative of purity, enlightenment, and love) was already shining, triumphing over the darkness.

    Notes:

    Fourth-century Codex Sinaiticus and a few other manuscripts read alethés kaí en autó (true also in him).

    Instead of en hymín (in you), a number of later manuscripts read en hemín (in us).


  • 1 John 2:9.
  • The one saying he is in the light and is hating his brother is in the darkness until now.

    The person claiming to be “in the light” (freed from the ignorance, evil, and hatred associated with the darkness and, therefore, spiritually enlightened) but “hating his brother” continues to be in a state of darkness. This indicates that the one who hates his brother has never been in the light.

    Note: After the point about hating his brother, fourth-century Codex Sinaiticus and a few later manuscripts add “is a liar and.”


  • 1 John 2:10.
  • The one loving his brother remains in the light, and in him [there] is no stumbling.

    Only the person who loves his brother remains or abides in the light. Such a lover of a fellow child of God is one who is and continues to be in the condition of true enlightenment. The hatred, evil, and ignorance typical of the darkness have been banished from his life. “In him [there] is no stumbling.” His conduct does not trip others, causing them to sin, nor does he, in his walk or conduct, blindly bump into things that cause him to transgress divine precepts. He sees where he is going and characteristically does not deviate from a course of upright conduct. (Compare John 11:9, 10.)


  • 1 John 2:11.
  • But the one hating his brother is in the darkness and is walking in the darkness, and he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

    The person who hates his brother is in the dark and walks in darkness. With his vision totally impaired by darkness and without any light whatsoever for guidance, he has no idea where he is going and continually stumbles. His eyes are completely lacking in spiritual sight; he is blind. His walk or life is a life of sin.

    Note: Instead of en té skotía estín (in the darkness is), a few of later manuscripts read en té skotía ménei (in the darkness remains).


  • 1 John 2:12.
  • I write to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you through his name.

    The word grápho (first person present tense of “write”), appearing once in verse 12 and two times in verse 13, may be understood to mean that John was in the process of writing.

    Earlier (2:1), John had affectionately addressed all of his readers as “my little children” or “my dear children.” So it would appear that also here the expression has the same sense (rather than designating new believers).

    In verses 12 through 14, the Greek term hóti may mean either “because” or “that.” Many translators prefer the rendering “because.” A case can, however, be made for “that.” John is emphasizing vital aspects of Christian life and experience. So it may be concluded that he wrote to those who had these experiences in their life as disciples of God’s Son rather than “because” this was the case.

    The same structure with hóti (because, that), however, appears in verse 21 of this chapter, where the meaning is “because.” This could suggest that consistency would require rendering hóti as “because.” Still, there is no conclusive evidence for preferring one rendering over the other, as the statements make sense when the Greek word is translated either as “because” or “that.”

    Those addressed as “children” had been forgiven of their sins. The Greek preposition diá, basically meaning “through,” commonly denotes “on account of” or “for the sake of” when, as here, used with the accusative. Therefore, the meaning could be that believers enjoyed forgiveness of sins on account of Christ’s name. Being representative of the person, the name stands for Jesus Christ himself as the One to whom all power and authority had been granted. (Matthew 28:18; Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:9-11) It would include his role as Redeemer. So, “on account of his name” would signify because of who the Son of God is.

    At times, diá (even when used with the accusative) can mean “through.” This could be the case here and would mean that “through” their faith in his name or in Jesus Christ himself, believers had been forgiven of their sins. Jesus Christ is the One through whom forgiveness is possible and his sacrificial death made forgiveness possible.


  • 1 John 2:13.
  • I write to you, fathers, because you have known the one from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have conquered the evil one.

    Probably the older men among the believers were addressed as “fathers.” (Compare Acts 7:2; 22:1.) The “one from the beginning” evidently is Jesus Christ, as he is so designated earlier when called the “word of life” (1:1). All older men among the believers knew Jesus Christ. They, in faith, had acknowledged him as both Lord and Redeemer. They were disciples of Jesus Christ and so were also known or recognized by him as his.

    The distinguishing characteristic of young men is their strength, and this is the attribute highlighted specifically in the next verse. They had “conquered the evil one” or the devil. By not yielding to the persuasions of his agents or those who denied that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh, they overcame the evil one. (Compare 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.) They remained firm in their adherence to the truth about the Son of God and so the wicked one failed to make a conquest among them. The young men came off victorious. (Compare John 16:33.)

    Note: Regarding grápho and hóti, see 2:12.


  • 1 John 2:14.
  • I have written you, young children, because you have known the Father. I have written you, fathers, because you have known the one from the beginning. I have written you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have conquered the evil one.

    The verb form of “write” (égrapsa) is in the aorist tense, indicating that the writing occurred in the past. Perhaps John meant that, from the standpoint of the recipients of the letter, he had written to them.

    John affectionately addressed his readers as paidía (young children). They knew the Father, for they were his children and this was evident from their living upright lives. The Father, in turn, knew them or recognized them as his children.

    Regarding the “fathers,” John repeats (2:13, which see) the point about their knowing the one who is “from the beginning,” evidently the “word of life.”

    John expanded on what he had written about the young men or the ones with some experience in Christian living. He focused on their being “strong” and attributed this strength to their having God’s word within them. That word or message (the depository of truth that centered on Jesus Christ) remained or continued to be in these young men, having become a part of their deep inner selves. Because “the word of God” had become an integral part of them, guiding their thoughts, words, and actions, they were able to identify the false teachers and the nature of their doctrines. Therefore, these young men did not fall prey to their plausible argumentation. Satan’s agents failed in their purpose. By not giving in to the proponents of error, the young men conquered the wicked one whose servants the false teachers were.

    Notes:

    The initial verb in numerous later manuscripts is grápho, the present tense (I write), as in verses 12 and 13.

    The Greek word for “young children” (paidía) is not the same as the diminutive form of the word for “dear children” or “little children” (teknía) in 2:12, but the meaning is basically the same. A number of later manuscripts do have paidía both here and in verse 12.


  • 1 John 2:15.
  • Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

    In this case, the Greek verb for “love” (agapáo) would include the sense of highly esteeming the object of the love, finding delight and satisfaction in it. This kind of loving is characterized by an intense, consuming ardor that is exclusively focused on the mundane. It manifests itself in a strong attachment to the world and “the things in the world.”

    Believers are not to love the “world” (kósmos), the practices and principles by which the world of mankind alienated and at enmity with God lives. This “world” acts in a manner that is contrary to God’s will. Its goals and desires are unspiritual, bound up with what has no permanence and, in the end, proves to be empty and meaningless.

    The “things in the world” are the unspiritual, selfish desires that lead to an incessant striving for pleasures, material possessions, and positions of influence or power.

    The expression “love of the Father” probably signifies “love for the Father.” This would contrast with the love that has the “world” as its object. In the case of those who love the world, love for the Father is not a governing or controlling force in their lives. It could also be said that they do not have a love like that of the Father and that their life ignores his love. Accordingly, the person who is a lover of the world would not have “the love of the Father in him.” In his deep inner self, love for the Father, godly love, and any awareness of the Father’s love for him would be nonexistent.

    Note: Instead of “Father,” fifth century Codex Alexandrinus reads “God,” as do a number of other later manuscripts.


  • 1 John 2:16.
  • Because everything in the world, the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world.

    The reason a lover of the world does not have “the love of the Father in him” is that all the things in the world stem from the world of mankind alienated from God.

    The “desire of the flesh” is the craving or appetite that has its source in the flesh, the physical nature in its sinful state. Sensual desire can become so strong, incessant, and unrelenting as to develop into an addiction. The desire of the flesh or the physical organism includes what is needed for the enjoyment of life—food and drink, clothing, shelter, companionship, and various pleasurable activities. Without a spiritual focus acting as a governing force, though, the desire pushes the individual to pursue or to satisfy it in a manner that is contrary to God’s will. The prime focus becomes the satisfying of self, with little or no thought about the impact on others or the final outcome to the individual. (See Luke 12:16-21; Romans 1:24-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, 18; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5, 10-12; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6; James 4:13-15; 1 Peter 4:1-4.)

    The “desire of the eyes” is the desire resulting from what the individual sees and on which his eyes focus. In being linked to the world at enmity with God, the fulfillment of that desire involves actions contrary to his will. (See Genesis 39:7; 2 Samuel 11:2-5; 13:1-14; Psalm 119:37; Matthew 5:28; 6:22, 23; Luke 12:15; 2 Peter 2:14.)

    The “pride of life” is the “pride” that has its origin in life. In this case, the Greek term for “life” (bíos) signifies having the wherewithal to support one’s life. In view of the linkage with pride, the means for supporting life is seemingly in a style that is deemed highly desirable. The Greek term alazoneía means “pride” or “arrogance,” whereas the related Greek word alazón designates an “arrogant boaster” or an “empty pretender.” So the pride in having the material means for maintaining a particular style of life is really an empty display. It is a haughty reliance on personal resources that ignores God.

    The “desire of the flesh,” the “desire of the eyes,” and the “pride of life” are not “from the Father.” Being contrary to his will, they do not have their source in him. Their origin is the world of mankind at enmity with God.


  • 1 John 2:17.
  • And the world is passing away, [along with] its desire, but the one doing God’s will remains forever.

    The world and its desire are passing away. This means that they are transitory, in a continual process of passing away. There is no permanence. The world is like a stage, with constantly shifting scenes. (Compare 1 Corinthians 7:31.) Objects of intense desire eventually cease to be such and, at best, become things of mere passing interest. Nothing remains the same. There is no stability in anything of this world.

    It is entirely different in the case of the person doing the will of God or one who lives in harmony with the divine will. The Most High is eternal, and so all who are at one with him have an eternal future in prospect. From God’s standpoint, men and women of faith who have died are all living to him, for there is an absolute certainty about their being raised from the dead. (Compare Matthew 22:31, 32.)

    According to a literal rendering of the Greek, “the one doing the will of God remains into the age.” The Greek word for “age” (aión) is here commonly rendered “forever.” Understood in the sense of “age,” the expression could point to the “age to come,” the time when this “world” will be no more and the Son of God will be governing affairs. The one who does God’s will would abide, sharing to the full in the age to come.

    Note: In connection with “desire,” fifth-century Codex Alexandrinus and a number of later manuscripts do not include “its” (autoú).


  • 1 John 2:18.
  • Young children, it is a last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, also now many antichrists have come to be, wherefore we know that it is a last hour.

    John again affectionately addressed those to whom he was writing as “young children” (paidía) and then referred to the time in which they were living as a “last hour” or “final hour.” From a prophetic perspective, the end was at hand, for, to the Father, a thousand years are but as one day. (2 Peter 3:8) The expression “last hour,” however, need not be understood as applying to the short period before Christ’s return in glory nor to the short time prior to the destruction of Jerusalem (which would require an early date for the writing of this letter). The reference to a “last hour” could simply apply to the brief period remaining before the congregation of believers would experience a radical change.

    The existence of many antichrists pointed to a dreadful climax — the coming of the antichrist. Believers had heard that antichrist was coming. The many antichrists existing at the time this letter was written were false teachers who misrepresented Christ and thus proved themselves to be against him. For the congregation of believers that John had known, the presence of many antichrists was a sure indication that a “last hour” had arrived.

    The final antichrist manifestation probably fits the description in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10 and parallels the actions of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the second century BCE. (Compare Daniel 11:31-37; 1 Maccabees 1:10-63.) This horrific antichrist development apparently still lies ahead, and efforts to explain what form it may take are merely conjectures.

    Note: In Greek, the expression “last hour” is not preceded by the definite article.


  • 1 John 2:19.
  • They went out from us, but they were not from us; for if they had been from us, they would have remained with us, but that it might be revealed that all [of them] are not from us [they departed].

    The words “they went out from us” apply to the “many antichrists,” persons who had once associated with believers. These proponents of error, however, were never a part of the body of genuine believers (“but they were not from us”). If they had been such, they would have remained with the loyal disciples of God’s Son. Their departure revealed that all of them were not a part of the body of genuine believers.

    Note: The position of “all” varies in manuscripts, with “all” either preceding or following the verb “are.” When “all” precedes “are,” the words could be understood to mean that, of those associated with the body of believers, not all were really a part of it.


  • 1 John 2:20.
  • And you have an anointing from the holy one, and all of you know.

    Those addressed had an anointing “from the holy one.” They were anointed with the spirit of God that served to guide their lives. If the anointing is regarded as originating with the Father, he would be the “holy one.” (Compare 2 Corinthians 1:21.) On the other hand, the Son is called the “holy one” (John 6:69; Acts 3:14; Revelation 3:7), and he identified himself as the one who would send the spirit as a paraclete or advocate. (John 16:7; compare Acts 2:33.)

    Manuscripts vary with reference to the reading “all.” Fourth-century Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus and a number of later manuscripts read pántes. This is a masculine plural adjective that designates persons. Accordingly, the concluding phrase would mean “all of you know.” Having been anointed with God’s spirit, believers were fully aware of their status as his children and what this meant. (Compare Romans 8:14.) They knew the truth. (See 2:21.)

    Many other manuscripts contain the neuter plural adjective pánta (all things). This would suggest that those in possession of the anointing from the holy one knew all things needful for their walk as God’s children.


  • 1 John 2:21.
  • I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is from the truth.

    John had not written to believers because of their not knowing the “truth” (the full revelation that focuses on Christ, the one who is the “truth”). Rather, he wrote because they did know this truth, being fully acquainted with the complete revelation in the person of the Son of God. As the full truth, it could never be the source of a lie or falsehood.


  • 1 John 2:22.
  • Who is the liar if not the one denying that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one denying the Father and the Son.

    Knowledge of the truth denotes recognizing who Jesus is. Therefore, one who denies that Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One of God and the unique Son of God, is a liar or a proponent of falsehood. Such a person is an “antichrist,” setting himself in opposition to Jesus by misrepresenting his identity. Because the Father is the one who sent the Son and acknowledged him as his beloved one, denial of the Son’s true identity is also a denial of the Father. So, one who is an antichrist denies the Father and the Son.

    1 John 2:23.

    Everyone denying the Son does not have the Father. The one confessing the Son also has the Father.

    “Everyone denying the Son,” refusing to acknowledge his true identity as the Christ, the Son of God, does not “have the Father.” This means that the denier has no relationship with the Father and is not one of his approved children.

    The one who confesses the Son, acknowledging him as the Christ who came in the flesh and as God’s unique Son, does have the Father. This acknowledgment is no empty profession but is backed by a life that harmonizes with the example and teaching of God’s beloved Son. Therefore, the one making the confession is part of the family of the Father’s children.


  • 1 John 2:24.
  • Let what you have heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you have heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.

    The expression “from the beginning” refers to the time when individuals became believers. At that time, they heard the truth about the Son of God and responded in faith. (Compare Galatians 1:6-9.) The recipients of the letter were to continue to have the message they had heard “in” them. This message was to be a part of their inmost being. For them to have what they heard abide or remain “in” them would also mean that they would remain “in the Son and in the Father.” Theirs would be a relationship of oneness with God and his Son as members of one united spiritual family, with all the blessings resulting therefrom.


  • 1 John 2:25.
  • And this is the promise that he has promised us, the eternal life.

    Believers look forward to the fulfillment of a marvelous promise. Either the Father or the Son may be understood as making the promise. Jesus Christ did say that he would give his “sheep” or his followers “eternal life.” (John 10:27, 28) On the other hand, because of having determined to fulfill all his promises through his Son, the Father, as the Originator of the promise, may be regarded as the One who did the promising. (Compare 2 Corinthians 1:20; Titus 1:2.) Accordingly, a definitive link with the Father or the Son is not necessary for understanding the message being conveyed.

    For believers, “eternal life” is both a present possession and a completely sinless life in prospect. (Compare 1 Timothy 4:8; 1 John 5:11-13.) Although associated with eternity, this life is not to be equated with mere endless existence. Rather, it is a life bound up with the Father and his Son. The distinguishing feature of this life is the enjoyment of an approved relationship in the family of God’s children. For believers, this is a present possession by reason of their faith in the atoning benefits of Christ’s sacrifice. Not until the completely sinless state comes into their possession, however, will the oneness with the Father and his Son be realized in all its fullness. The then-existing relationship will be one of truly knowing God and Christ, and this is the very nature of eternal life. (Compare John 17:3.)

    Note: Fourth-century Codex Vaticanus and a number of later manuscripts read hymín (you), not hemín (us).


  • 1 John 2:26.
  • These things I have written to you about the ones [attempting] to deceive you.

    John’s calling attention to basic aspects regarding the relationship of believers with the Father and the Son was designed to safeguard them from falling prey to deceivers. The deceivers evidently tried to get others to think that they were lacking in knowledge, making them doubt whether they really knew God. Once weak believers could be plunged into a state of doubt about whether they really were God’s children, they could more readily be victimized by proponents of error.


  • 1 John 2:27.
  • And [as for] you, the anointing you received from him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing is teaching you concerning everything (and it is true and it is no lie) and as it is teaching you, abide in him.

    The one from whom believers received an anointing could either be the Son or the Father. (See 2:20.) This anointing with the spirit remained in them, confirming their continuing to be God’s children and guiding their thoughts, words, and deeds. Therefore, they did not need anyone to teach them as if they were without the anointing. This anointing, by reason of its having been effected by the spirit that continued to operate upon them, taught them all that was essential for conducting their lives as obedient children of God and provided the assurance that they did not need anything besides the truth revealed through God’s Son. The changes the spirit had brought about in their lives and their continuing to benefit from the guidance provided demonstrated that the anointing was true or a reliable guide regarding their standing with God and was no lie or undependable falsehood. Therefore, they had every reason to resist all who wanted to teach them things that did not harmonize with their having received this anointing. Just as the anointing taught them, they were to remain “in him” or continue to be at one with him (the Father or the Son).


  • 1 John 2:28.
  • And now, little children, abide in him, that whenever he is revealed we may have confidence and not be shamed from him at his presence.

    John again affectionately referred to those being addressed as “little children” or “dear children.” (See 2:1.) Evidently Christ’s glorious return is in view, as suggested by the words about his being revealed and his presence. Accordingly, remaining or abiding “in him” would signify continuing to be at one with the Son of God. At his presence, he would then acknowledge them as his brothers, and they would have confidence before him, not experiencing shame because of having failed to live lives that demonstrated their recognition of him as their Lord. (Compare Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46-49; 13:23-30.)


  • 1 John 2:29.
  • If you know that he is righteous, you know that also everyone who practices righteousness is generated from him.

    The Father is righteous and so is the Son. Therefore, the one whom believers knew or recognized to be righteous could either be the Father or the Son. Believers, however, are not spoken of as being generated from or born of Christ. Therefore, the Father may be understood as the one known to believers as being righteous or the source of what is right, just and good. Whether the initial “him” is understood as applying to the Son (as in the previous verse) or the Father, the message is still the same. Everyone who is born of God would be a doer of what is righteous or upright. The righteous God could not possibly be the source of a life that is characteristically corrupt. Neither the righteous God nor his righteous Son would have a relationship with those living a life of sin.