1 John

(1 John 1:1) 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 [logos] of life;

(1 John 1:2) (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew [show] unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

(1 John 1:3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

(1 John 1:4) And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

(1 John 1:5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

(1 John 1:6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

(1 John 1:7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

(1 John 1:8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

It is wrong to say we don't require cleansing from our sins. It's like being born in a swamp with murky water all over us. We need to take a shower at some point to get the dirty water off of us. But it is the soul which is contaminated by sin and the shower requires repentance and turning to Christ.

(1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

(1 John 1:10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

(1 John 2:1) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

(1 John 2:2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

(1 John 2:3) And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

(1 John 2:4) He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

(1 John 2:5) But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

(1 John 2:6) He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

(1 John 2:7) Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

(1 John 2:8) Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

(1 John 2:9) He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

(1 John 2:10) He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

(1 John 2:11) But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither [where] he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

(1 John 2:12) I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

(1 John 2:13) I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

(1 John 2:14) I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

(1 John 2:15) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

(1 John 2:16) For 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.

(1 John 2:17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

(1 John 2:18) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

John mentions that Christians have heard that a person referred to as Antichristwill someday very soon, at the last time, appear on the human scene. In this verse he seems to be correcting their views about this. Rather than think that the last time is some very soon future time, he states that the last time is now because there are already many antichrists on the scene.

Based on this verse I find it odd so many teach so strongly that there will someday be a person called Antichrist.Note also that John refers to his time as the "last time."

(1 John 2:19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Those who were mere pretenders in the faith abandoned the apostles. True Christianity is apostolic, that is to say, true Church leaders will be holy and orthodox. We should reject those claiming to be Church leaders who are not qualified.

Notice that there were people who were trained by the apostles who went out in the apostles name, but they did not teach what the apostles taught. This raises the question of whether someone teaching anything not taught by the apostles can claim to be true teachers of the faith. For example, the apostles clearly taught that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ.Is someone who teaches it to be merely symbolic a trustworthy teacher of the faith?

(1 John 2:20) But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

(1 John 2:21) I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

(1 John 2:22) Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

The key characteristic of a person called antichristis that they will deny 3 things...

  1. Jesus is the Messiah, the savior, the Christ.
  2. Jesus is deity, the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God.
  3. Jesus did not really come in the flesh.

An antichrist is a liar, as is anyone who teaches false doctrine. Should we allow that liars are teachers and defenders of the faith?What about when one of these liars is a bishop? or pastor or teacher or theologian? or pope?

(1 John 2:23) Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

(1 John 2:24) Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

(1 John 2:25) And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

(1 John 2:26) These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

(1 John 2:27) But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

(1 John 2:28) And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

(1 John 2:29) If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

(1 John 3:1) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

(1 John 3:2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

(1 John 3:3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

(1 John 3:4) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

(1 John 3:5) And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

(1 John 3:6) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

(1 John 3:7) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

(1 John 3:8) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Satan's sphere of influence encompasses the entire universe.Because Adam, when given the chance, did not rebel against Satan, his tentacles of sin permeate all aspects of the created order. Only is repenting from sin do we free ourselves from its influences.

(1 John 3:9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

There are two aspects to this:

  1. Those who are saved no longer sin (because the indwelling Spirit prevents them from sinning)
  2. Those who sin are not saved (because God judges us based on our works)

(1 John 3:10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

(1 John 3:11) For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

(1 John 3:12) Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

(1 John 3:13) Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

(1 John 3:14) We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

(1 John 3:15) Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

(1 John 3:16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

(1 John 3:17) But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

(1 John 3:18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

(1 John 3:19) And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

We should seek assurance that we are pleasing God (because if we are not pleasing God, we are not redeemed). Note how we can do this: by being charitable to our fellow Christians in need.

Notice that Paul equates being a Christian with being of the truth. Christianity is a religion concerned foremost with truth. Thus, in assessing teachings and doctrines from various sources, we should judge them using truth as the criteria. Any that are provably false should be rejected(as should the source of the false teaching, the false teachers, even if they are bishops or popes).

(1 John 3:20) For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

(1 John 3:21) Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

(1 John 3:22) And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

(1 John 3:23) And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

(1 John 3:24) And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

(1 John 4:1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

This is probably not the best place to start a new chapter because the thought continues from the previous verse. This verse contrasts the Spirit of God which dwells within true believers and enlivens them by enabling them to keep God's commandments.

John raises the topic of false teaching, false teachers, and false prophets. In his day there were New Testament prophets. Later, the Church stopped having these, for no good reason as far as I can tell. I think this reflected the growing trend for bishops to become political rulers who controlled the people.Perhaps they got rid of prophets to solve the problem of false prophetsbut this didn't work because they ended up having heretical bishops and political bishops instead.

John assumes that there is a spirit behind every teaching, behind every utterance of a prophet. A true prophet will deliver the message of the Holy Spirit while a false prophet will deliver the message of a false spirit. Thus, Church teachers are merely discerning spirits and delivering the message they believe to be of God. If they choose wrongly, we are to reject the message and to reject them as teachers.

(1 John 4:2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

In John's day, the key to properly discerning infallible teachingwas to see what it said about who Jesus is. If the teaching confirmed that Jesus took on a human body, the teaching is trustworthy. Today this test is not enough since there are now plenty of teaching systems which accept the doctrine of the Trinity but which, nevertheless, contain errors.We should reject false teachings even if they are otherwise in harmony with the Nicene creed.

(1 John 4:3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

The word "spirit" refers to the spirit being who is the messenger of the message behind the utterances of a prophet.

As soon as Jesus appeared in the world, the spirits of darkness opposed him by corrupting his message. Many false teachers and false prophets were all too happy to deliver these false messages and thus, the era of false teachers, the era of antichrists began.

(1 John 4:4) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

(1 John 4:5) They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

(1 John 4:6) We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

(1 John 4:7) Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

(1 John 4:8) He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

(1 John 4:9) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

(1 John 4:10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

(1 John 4:11) Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

(1 John 4:12) No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

(1 John 4:13) Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

(1 John 4:14) And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

(1 John 4:15) Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

(1 John 4:16) And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

(1 John 4:17) Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Since they are waiting for Christ's coming, this implies that he comes at their death; that everyone encounters Christ at death and they are received into the kingdom of heaven at that time.It doesn't make sense for them to be exhorted to wait for Christ's coming if it occurs thousands (millions?) of years after they have died.

(1 John 4:18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

(1 John 4:19) We love him, because he first loved us.

(1 John 4:20) If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

(1 John 4:21) And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

(1 John 5:1) Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

(1 John 5:2) By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

(1 John 5:3) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

(1 John 5:4) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

(1 John 5:5) Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

(1 John 5:6) This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

(1 John 5:7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [logos], and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

This verse demonstrates that John uses the term "logos" to refer to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

We may wonder why he chose to use an existing term having various meanings, a term used in both Hellenistic [Greek] philosophy and in the Old Testament, and to give it a new meaning. Perhaps his purpose was to inform them that their various ideas of logos were flawed or incomplete; that the truth of the matter is that God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. Perhaps John was hinting that they should therefore revise their views to line up with Christian teaching.

Later, certain of the early church fathers delved into all kinds of philosophical discussions, but John doesn't do this — he merely uses the term "logos" as a name for Jesus Christ.

(1 John 5:8) And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

(1 John 5:9) If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

(1 John 5:10) He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

(1 John 5:11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

(1 John 5:12) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

(1 John 5:13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

(1 John 5:14) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

We can ask God for anything according to his will and he will hear these prayers.

(1 John 5:15) And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

God always grants prayers such as these, prayers according to God's will.

(1 John 5:16) If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

Even praying for salvation for someone who is in sin, but not in mortal sin,even this will be granted because it is God's will to redeem everyone not in mortal sin. You can't pray for someone living in mortal sin and expect God to answer; they must first repent of their sin. This is the problem with the teaching of saved by faith only:it ignores the role of works in salvation.

Certainly you can pray that God will draw those in mortal sin or those unredeemed to himself via the Holy Spirit. And certainly God will attempt to influence them in this way. But he will not violate their free will choice to reject him.

(1 John 5:17) All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

John is strongly emphasizing the two kinds of sin: (1) sin unto death (mortal sin),and (2) sin not unto death (venial sin).

(1 John 5:18) We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

This verse clearly states that those who are redeemed don't sin. This implies that those who do sin are not among the redeemed. The fundamentalist evangelical Protestant teaching on this topic is completely wrong; works do have a role in salvation.

(1 John 5:19) And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in [lies in the power of] wickedness.

(1 John 5:20) And we know that the Son of God is [has] come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

God the Father and the Son of God are two persons of the same Godhead. If we are in God the Father, we are also in Jesus Christ the Son of God.

(1 John 5:21) Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

King James Version