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Bible Commentaries
1 John 5

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

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Verses 1-21

The Love, Obedience, and Assurance of Believers

1. The reason for brotherly love.

2. This is the converse of 1 John 4:19-21. Love to God and love to the brethren being inseparable, each is the test of the other.

4. Whatsoever] not ’whosoever.’ ’It is not the man, but his birth from God, which conquers’ (Plummer).

6. This is he that came by water and blood] According to the most generally accepted interpretation of this difficult passage, the reference is primarily to our: Lord’s baptism in Jordan and His death upon the Cross—the baptism of water and the baptism of blood, which together sum up His redemptive work and represent its cleansing and atoning power. There is, perhaps, some allusion also to the ’blood and water’ to which St. John bore witness at the Cross (John 19:34), besides a symbolical reference to the two sacraments.

7, 8. All the words between that bear record in 1 John 5:7 and the spirit in 1 John 5:8 are omitted in RV. It is quite certain that these words did not belong to the original text. They are found in no Gk. MS earlier than the 14th cent., and axe quoted by none of the Fathers before the middle of the 5th cent. The Fathers understood the passage in its original form to symbolise the Trinity, an interpretation which may have been inserted at first as a marginal note and afterwards found its way into the text.

14, 15. The prayer of faith prevails when it is in accordance with God’s will. Thus offered it is surely heard, and, though it may not have any visible effect, receives its answer. He who trusts God’s love knows that the answer he receives is the best.

16, 17. There is a sin unto death] RM ’There is sin unto death,’ not any special sin which can be recognised as ’unto death.’ Sin cannot be divided into ’mortal’ and ’venial’ on the authority of this passage. Sin may be of such a character as to lead to total separation from Christ, which is spiritual death. ’Sin unto death’ is not any act of sin, however heinous, but a state or habit of sin wilfully chosen and persisted in: it is constant and consummate opposition to God’ (Plummer).

18. He that is begotten of God keepeth himself] RV ’he that was begotten of God (i.e. Christ) keepeth him.’

21. Taken comprehensively, this warning is directed against all that takes the place of God in man’s affections.

If, as seems likely, the Epistle is St. John’s latest work, these are, in point of time, the last words of Holy Scripture.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 John 5". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/1-john-5.html. 1909.
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