Please note that all Biblical quotes, in this and all other lessons posted to Greek Thoughts, are from The Literal English Translation of the Bible produced by BTE Ministries - The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America.
We are continuing our study of μὲνω (pronounced "meno" Strong's #3306- to remain, to abide, to stay) as it applies to the concept of love presented in the Apostle John's letters. So far, our study has helped us understand that the word denotes a permanency of something/someone remaining or abiding in something/someone else. For the past two lessons, we have studied μὲνω as it is used by John to reveal those who genuinely belong to Christ; and, conversely those who are only pretenders in the Church. He makes it very clear that genuine believers have love abiding in them; and, (as expressly stated in 1 John 3:14) those who are not genuine believers are not loving the brothers; which means that such ones are abiding or remaining in death.
John continues on this topic when, in 1 John 3:15, he teaches that the person who is continually hating his brother does not have eternal life abiding in him. He writes, in 1 John 3:17-18, that when the love of God is abiding in a person, that love will be evidenced by more than just talk; action and truth will be evidenced as well.
This week, we continue with the same topic, μὲνω, looking at John's continued application of μὲνω to the concept of Christian love. Our text is taken from 1 John 4:12-16. In this section of text, John uses a formula of condition-produces-conclusion for the purpose of giving true believers a way of discerning those among them who are genuine and those who are not.
- No one has seen God at any time. If we should be loving one another, God is abiding (μὲνω) in us, and His love is perfected in us.
John then presents evidence that God is abiding in us and that His love has reached its final purpose. He first presents the condition, "If we should be loving one another..." This is a conditional clause that, if true, proves God is abiding in true believers, and that His love is perfected in them. John's writing presents a situation where only the presence of God and His love can cause a person to love. So, if a person is loving a brother in the Lord, one may conclude that God is abiding (μὲνω) in him along with God's love. Since "no one has seen God at any time," His presence is revealed through His love, which is evidenced in every genuine believer's life.
- In this we know that we are abiding (μὲνω) in Him, and He in us, because He has given to us from His Spirit.
In the second proof of his presentation, John states the condition that God has given to us His Spirit. The conclusion to this is that because the Spirit of God is indwelling us, we are abiding (μὲνω) in God and God is abiding (μὲνω) in us.
- And we have seen and are giving testimony that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
- Whoever should confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God is abiding (μὲνω) in him, and he in God.
In verse 15, John states the third proof that God is abiding (μὲνω) in genuine believers and He in them: the proof is a person's confession that Jesus is the Son of God. John testifies that "the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world." With his apostolic authority, John gives these scriptures to repudiate the teachings of the Gnostics who did not believe in the Incarnation or that Jesus was the Son of God.
- And we have known and have believed the love which God has among us. God is love, and the one abiding (μὲνω) in love is abiding (μὲνω) in God, and God in him.
John completes this section of Scripture by testifying to the fact that all genuine believers have experienced and have believed the love which God gave among them. The reason for this is stated again from verse 8: "God is love." Love is not a human act or human expression, but rather is the character and nature of God. Therefore, the one abiding (μὲνω) in love is also abiding (μὲνω) in God, because God is love. These teachings of John are confirmed through the writings of Paul who states, in Galatians 5:22, that AGAPE love is a fruit of God's Spirit
John is teaching that the presence of the abiding or indwelling of God's Spirit is evidence that we abide in Him and He abides in us. The love that we have toward the brotherhood of Christ is given as further proof that God's Spirit abides in us. And the proper confession of the Doctrine of Jesus Christ is also given as evidence that the Spirit of God abides within genuine believers. John concludes by stating that because God is love, the one abiding in love is also abiding in God and God in him.
Next week, we will conclude our study of μὲνω. Our focus will again be on how this "abiding" is the evidence that one is dwelling in truth. Our text will be taken from II John.
*MENO is the English font spelling of the Greek word μὲνω.
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