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Bible Commentaries
1 John 2

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

My little children ; believers; an endearing appellation from an aged apostle.

These things ; what he has just said of God’s readiness to forgive the sins of those who confess them. 1 John 1:7 ; 1 John 1:9 .

That ye sin not ; the offer of forgiveness is made to us that we may be encouraged to forsake sin and return to God. Psalms 130:4 .

An advocate ; in the original the word is the same that is rendered "Comforter," John 14:16-26 ; John 15:26 ; John 16:7 , where it is applied to the Holy Spirit. Under the general idea of Helper, or Counsellor, it includes both these special meanings of Advocate and Comforter. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the true antidote both to presumption and despair.

Verse 2

Propitiation for our sins-also for sins of the whole world ; by making propitiation for the sins of the whole world, he has opened a way in which all who believe in him shall be saved. One great object of all true ministers of the gospel is to keep Christians from the commission of sin; and the most efficacious way of doing this is to preach Christ to them as the propitiation for sin.

Verse 3

That we know him ; to know God, in the scriptural sense of the words, is to have experimental acquaintance and communion with him as our Father and Friend. Such knowledge and fellowship are always connected with sincere obedience. Where this is wanting the profession of knowing God is vain and false. Chap 1 John 1:6 ; 1 John 3:6-24 ; Matthew 7:23 ; John 14:15-21 ; John 14:23 .

Verse 5

Love-perfected ; by bringing forth its proper fruits, and thus showing that it is genuine and saving.

Hereby ; by keeping his commandments.

Verse 6

He that saith he abideth in him ; he who professes to be in union with Christ, must show the reality of his profession by walking as Christ walked. Union with Christ is the good tree, and this is known by its fruits. Obedience to God is sure evidence of a saving knowledge of him.

Verse 7

No new commandment ; no commandment now revealed to you by me for the first time.

From the beginning ; from the time when the gospel was first preached to you. The apostle has special reference to the commandment of love, which is "the fulfilling of the law." This they had from the beginning, chap 1 John 3:11 ; John 13:34-35 ; John 15:12 ; John 15:17 , and in this sense it was an old commandment. Compare 2 John 1:5 . Love to men was inculcated in the Old Testament. Christ not only taught it more clearly, but perfectly exemplified it, and thus presented to men new motives, and laid them under new obligations habitually to exercise it.

Verse 8

Again , a new commandment ; as much as to say, I have called it an old commandment; but there is a sense in which it is new.

Which thing is true ; it is true that it is a new commandment.

In him and in you ; in the case of Christ who has given it, and in the case of you who have received it.

Because the darkness is past ; more literally, is passing away; he means the darkness that existed before the light of Christ’s gospel was revealed.

The true light ; which Christ has brought into the world. John 8:12 ; John 9:5 ; John 12:35-36 . This light is all summed up in the great commandment of love, which Christ has given and his disciples have received as a new commandment, because it is exemplified by himself in a new way and enforced upon them by new motives. Compare, besides the texts quoted above from John, 1Jn 3:16 ; 1 John 4:9-11 ; Ephesians 4:32 ; Ephesians 5:2 ; Ephesians 5:25 ; Philippians 2:5-8 .

Verse 9

Is in darkness ; having neither understood nor received this new commandment.

Verse 10

None occasion of stumbling in him ; his soul is illuminated with the light of love: he sees the right way, and walks safely in it without danger of stumbling.

Verse 11

Is in darkness ; being blinded by hatred, he walks on in darkness, and stumbles into perdition.

Verses 12-14

For the right understanding of these verses it is important to observe, first, that in them the apostle represents himself as appealing to Christians on the ground of the experience and knowledge which they already possess; compare verse 1 John 2:21 ; secondly, that the repetitions of the words, "I write," "I have written," are for the sake of emphasis, both forms referring to the present epistle; thirdly, that the term "little children" is referred by some to all Christians, who are then distributed into "fathers" and "young men"; while others suppose that Christians of three different ages are addressed.

Your sins are forgiven ; very appropriate to children upon either of the above interpretations, as forgiveness of sin lies at the foundation of the Christian life.

His name’s sake ; on account of what Christ has done.

Verse 13

Him that is from the beginning ; Christ, who is from the beginning. A mature knowledge of Christ in his divine character is appropriate to fathers.

Young men ; to whom strength is especially becoming, verse 1 John 2:14 .

Little children-known the Father ; known God the Father as your father, and thus come into the relation of sons to him. This also is appropriate to children, according to either of the above-named interpretations.

Verse 14

Are strong-abideth in you ; the apostle mentions not simply their strength, but the means also by which it is maintained-by God’s word abiding in them.

The wicked one ; the devil. The gospel is suited to persons at every period and in all relations of life. None who can understand are too young to embrace it, and experience its saving power; none are too vigorous and active, or too full of business, to be governed by its spirit and perform its duties; and none too old to inculcate its principles and exemplify its precepts.

Verse 15

Love not the world ; to love the world, and the things that are in the world, is to make them our treasure, and put our trust in them, instead of in God. Compare Matthew 6:19-24 .

Verse 16

Is not of the Father ; does not come from him, and is not on his side, but stands in opposition to him. He created the world, and gave it to men to be used in his service, not to be abused as the minister of fleshly lust.

Is of the world ; comes from the world as the nourisher of earthly lust, and is opposed to God, and his service.

Verse 17

Passeth away ; and should not therefore be made the object of our love.

That doeth the will of God ; in opposition to loving the world and its lusts.

Abideth for ever ; is blessed union with God, who is an imperishable portion. That love of worldly enjoyment which leads men supremely to seek it, is inconsistent with the love of God; and however much of it any may obtain, it will be unsatisfying and temporary; while that love of God which leads them to find their chief enjoyment in learning and doing his will, will be satisfying and eternal.

Verse 18

The last time ; the same last time as that spoken of in 1 Timothy 4:1 ; 2 Timothy 3:1 ; 2 Peter 3:3 . It agrees with the time foretold by our Lord when iniquity should abound, and false Christs and false prophets should arise. Matthew 24:10-12 ; Mark 13:22 ; Luke 21:8 . It had a fulfilment in the last days of the apostolic age, but a higher fulfilment is reserved for the last days connected with Christ’s second coming.

Anti - christ ; the opposer of Christ and his cause.

Whereby we know ; because it had been predicted that in the last times such persons will arise. See the reference above given.

Verse 19

They went out ; apostatized.

From us ; from the church or company of Christians.

Not of us ; not real Christians.

That they were not all of us ; or, that all are not of us; that some who belong to our body are not really of us, but Christians only in name. When professors of religion apostatize, embrace error, and live in sin, they show to all that they are not the children of God. Job 17:9 ; John 4:14 .

Verse 20

Ye ; real Christians.

An unction ; anointing, or the enlightening and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit.

All things ; all things essential to your preservation from fatal error, and your perseverance in the faith and practice of the gospel.

Verse 21

No lie ; error or false doctrine.

Verse 22

A liar ; an asserter of false doctrines.

Denieth the Father and the Son ; that is, denies the Father in denying the Son, as he goes on to state in the next verse.

Verse 23

Hath not the Father ; not right views of him, no supreme regard to him, and no interest in his favor. Such is the union between the Father and the Son, that men who reject and oppose the Son, reject and oppose the Father; while all who love and obey the Son, love and obey the Father also.

Verse 24

If that-remain ; if you continue to believe and obey the truths you first embraced.

In the Son , and in the Father ; in holy union and fellowship with them, the foundation of which is the true knowledge of them joined with love.

Verse 27

The anointing ; see notes to verse 1 John 2:20 . This anointing teaches us not without, but through the revealed word of God; and whoever lays claim to it must be tried by this word.

Shall abide in him ; being kept from the seductions of the wicked. The reason why real Christians persevere in holiness to the end is, that the Holy Ghost continues to teach them the good and the right way, and to incline them to walk in it. When they deviate from it, he leads them to think on their ways, and turn their feet unto God’s testimonies. Thus he works in them to will and to do, while they work out their salvation with fear and trembling, and so keeps them by his mighty power, through faith and obedience, unto eternal life.

Verse 28

When he shall appear ; when Christ shall appear in glory to judge the world.

Verse 29

Every one that doeth righteousness is born of him ; as much as to say, He that doeth righteousness, and no other; since they who are born of God must be like God in character.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 John 2". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/1-john-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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