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Bible Commentaries
1 John 2

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

1 John 2:1

My little children -- Tells us something of the relationship of the recipients to the writer. cf. John 13:33, used by Jesus.

That ye may not sin . . Because sin breaks fellowship with the Father. 1) To have fellowship with God is to walk in the light; 2) ; 2) To know God is to keep His commandments.

The negative side of these two points and positive assertion of the blessing 1 John 1:7, 1 John 2:5.

Advocate . . [See the extended study below].

Advocate . . literally "one called along side."

Advocate . . Note the inconsistency of translating this Greek word. Both Christ and the Holy Spirit are referred to by this term. 1) Christ is our "paraclete" or "advocate" with the Father, and 2) the Holy Spirit is the Fathers "paraclete" or "advocate" to us.

Christ arose and ascended back to the Father to be our "advocate" and plead our case with God. What does our Advocate plead? That we are sinless? No. But that He is the "answer" or "satisfaction" for sin, and that His work is the grounds for our acquittal.

The Holy Spirit is God’s advocate with men, who pleads God’s case to us through the inspired apostles and prophets and to us today through the inspired written Word of God.

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ESV Helper, NIV Counselor,

John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7; 1 John 2:1

An advocate (paraklēton). See note on John 14:16, and John 14:26; and note on John 15:26; and John 16:7 for this word, nowhere else in the N.T. The Holy Spirit is God’s Advocate on earth with men, while Christ is man’s Advocate with the Father (the idea, but not the word, in Romans 8:31-39; Hebrews 7:25). As dikaios (righteous) Jesus is qualified to plead our case and to enter the Father’s presence (Hebrews 2:18). 1 John 2:1;

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Robertson’s Word Pictures

Joh_Another Comforter (allon paraklēton). Another of like kind (allon, not heteron), besides Jesus who becomes our Paraclete, Helper, Advocate, with the Father (1 John 2:1, Cf. Romans 8:26.). This old word (Demosthenes), from parakaleō, was used for legal assistant, pleader, advocate, one who pleads another’s cause (Josephus, Philo, in illiterate papyrus), in N.T. only in John’s writings, though the idea of it is in Romans 8:26-34. Cf. Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 336. So the Christian has Christ as his Paraclete with the Father, the Holy Spirit as the Father’s Paraclete with us (John 14:16, John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7; 1 John 2:1).

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G3875 αράκλητος paraklētos

Thayer Definition:

1) summoned, called to one’s side, especially called to one’s aid

1a) one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate

1b) one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor

1b1) of Christ in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins

1c) in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant

1c1) of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom

Part of Speech: noun masculine

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: a root word

Citing in TDNT: 5:800, 782

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G3875 παράκλητος paráklētos; gen. paraklḗtou, masc. noun from parakaléō (G3870), to comfort, encourage or exhort. It is properly a verbal adj. referring to an aid of any kind. In the Greek writers, used of a legal advisor, pleader, proxy, or advocate, one who comes forward in behalf of and as the representative of another. Thus, in 1 John 2:1, Christ is termed our substitutionary, intercessory advocate. Christ designates the Holy Spirit as Paraclete (John 14:16), and calls Him állos (G243), another, which means another of equal quality and not héteros (G2087), another of a different quality. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is designated by Jesus Christ as equal with Himself, i.e., God (1 John 2:1). This new Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, was to witness concerning Jesus Christ (John 14:26; John 16:7, John 16:14) and to glorify Him. The Holy Spirit is called a Paraclete because He undertakes Christ’s office in the world while Christ is not in the world as the God-Man in bodily form. In addition, the Holy Spirit is also called the Paraclete because He acts as Christ’s substitute on earth. When Christ in John 14:16 designates Himself as a Paraclete, the same as the Holy Spirit, the word must not be understood as applying to Christ in the same sense as in 1 John 2:1 where it refers to our substitutionary Advocate who pleads our cause with the Father. It should rather be taken as He who pleads God’s cause with us (see John 14:7-9). The words parakaléō (G3870) and paráklēsis (G3874), the act or process of comforting or advocating, do not occur at all in the writings of John.

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1 John 2:1 "Advocate" John 14:16; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7; 1 John 2:1;

We have an advocate. Who pleads with the Father not to withdraw his love because we may have been betrayed into sin. - PNT

See 1 John 2:1 for wordstudy on Advocate, Comforter, Paraclete

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Verse 2

1 John 2:2

Propitiation -- appeasement, satisfaction.

Not our only -- His "propitiation" is not limited to a small group. cf. Titus 2:11.

Verse 3

1 John 2:3

Know -- We get to know Christ by practicing His precepts.

Verse 4

1 John 2:4

Vs. 4 "His Commandment" = "His Word" in 1 John 2:5.

Vs. 3 To "know Him" = "the love of God" v. 5.

cf. Vs. 5 Keeping His Word = Loving God = Abiding in Him

Verse 5

1 John 2:5

Love of God -- An accomplished fact, a relation of love has been established.

Love of God -- 1) God’s love for us, OR 2) our love for God?

The redeeming love of God has attained its end in the man who observes His Word. EGT p. 175.

What did Jesus Himself say? John 14:21, John 14:23;

Verse 7

1 John 2:7

Vs. 7-28 The Negative Side of what walking in the light excludes.

New -- = "fresh", novel.

Had from the beginning -- 1) from before the Gospel; 2) or your career as a Christian.

Vs. 7 & 8. Is there one commandment which is both "new" and "old"? Or are there two under consideration here?

1) To cultivate brotherly love

2) To walk as Christ walked

New and old cf. John 13:34; John 15:12, 2 John 1:5; cf. Leviticus 19:18, Leviticus 19:34.

A New Standard -- "even as I have loved you." (to lay down one’s life for another.)

A New Motive -- 1 John 4:11.

Verse 8

1 John 2:8

Again -- i.e. from another point of view. In another sense.

True in him -- Revealed in Jesus Christ; We see fully what is meant by "brotherly love."

Verse 9

1 John 2:9

Vs. 9 - An impossible inconsistency.

Is vs. 9 in conflict with Luke 14:26? cf. John 12:25

Verse 10

1 John 2:10

Fourth century pagan historial Ammjanus wrote "the enmity of the Christians toward each other surpassed the fury of savage beasts against man." EGT vol. V, p. 176.

In him -- His own salvation and stumbling is under consideration here, not his influence over someone else. PC.

He won’t stumble, for he is walking in the light.

In him -- may be "in it", i.e. the light.

Verse 11

1 John 2:11

v. 11, Alternative to v. 10. "Brotherly love" put positive and negatively.

In darkness -- In darkness one stumbles against his brother.

Verse 12

1 John 2:12

I write -- This epistle is meant.

I write -- v. 12 & v.13 vs "I wrote" in v.14. PpC p.23 1) John’s epistle; and 2) John’s Gospel.

Note the Triplet: cf. PpC p. 23 chart.

First "little children" his readers as a whole

Second "old among you"

Third "young among you"

Question: Does the difference refer to age as men, or as Christians?

Name’s sake -- His character as Savior.

Sins are forgiven -- Gives the reason for writing, not the substance of what he has to say.

"I am not addressing you as unbelievers or casting doubt upon the sincerity of your faith. But because I am assured of you I write this epistle and I wrote the gospel." EGT

Verse 13

1 John 2:13

Ye know -- The Perfect tense is used throughout indicating permament results of both Present and Past actions.

From the beginning -- the Word, and not the Father, cf. v.12.

Young men -- Evidence of their real interest in Christ.

Young soldiers’ lot is to fight. Because of their victory they share in the gospel’s message.

Vs. 13b belongs to the Second Triplet in v. 14. Some would believe this to refer to actual "children," but probably it refers to the whole of Christian relationship. If the case is a reference to literal children we would expect a different order.

Verse 14

1 John 2:14

Young men -- The word to young men is enlarged.

See Ephesians 3:17 note on "Indwelling"

Verse 15

1 John 2:15

World -- Not the difference in meaning in the Scriptures.

Things in the world -- Things that rival and exclude the love for God. Transient things of the world. [Good illustration in EGT. Bride loves her ring more than she does the groom.]

First walking in the Light excluded hating the brethren.

Second, v.15ff, walking in the Light excluded all love of the world.

Verse 16

1 John 2:16

Lust of the flesh -- Lust as seated in the flesh. Lust which the flesh feels.

Antithesis: Love of the world / Love of God

Antithesis: Lust of flesh, eye, pride / Walking in the Light

Verse 17

1 John 2:17

Note Antithesis.

Verse 18

1 John 2:18

Vs. 18-24 A Warning Against Heretical Teaching EGT

Little children -- to all addressed in the epistle.

Last hour -- Of what? Of the situation they faced. A connection of John’s epistle to his Revelation. (Revelation 1:1, Revelation 1:3 where his subject is concerning things that were "at hand" and to "shortly" come to pass. That is, the end of the Mosaical dispensation as seen in the temple worship and the existence of the Jewish nation. Thus, this was the "last hour" for these Jewish false teachers as they ridiculed and mocked the gospel.

Ye have heard -- Had heard in the gospel of anti-Christs coming. Matthew 24:5, Matthew 24:11, Matthew 24:23-26, Mark 13:22-23, Acts 20:29, 2 Timothy 3:1, 2 Peter 2:1

We know -- i.e. what the coming of antiChrists.

Verse 20

1 John 2:20

Unction from the Holy One -- Anointing of the Holy Spirit, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. The Gnostics were probably claiming a special anointing.

Holy One -- a reference in Acts 3:14 to Christ.

Unction from the Hoy One -- Christ, who has given us the Holy Spirit. cf. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Does the “anointing” from the Holy Spirit have to do with the spiritual gifts Christians were given in the first century by the laying on the apostles’ hands? (Acts 8:14-16; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

Ye know all things -- i.e., about the coming of antiChrists.

Ye know all things -- Refuting the Gnostics who claimed to have an "in" with regard to knowledge. John says "you Christians do know all you need, all God reveals." cf. 2 Peter 1:3. vs. 21 1 John 2:21.

Verse 21

1 John 2:21

Ye know -- They had the correct teaching and understanding of Christ.

Verse 22

1 John 2:22

The "antichrist" or false teachers, were denying Jesus as the Christ, or God in the Flesh as the Son of God, and/or may have been teaching that the Fathter and the Son were indistinct. cf. 1 John 4:3

Verse 23

1 John 2:23

Verse 24

1 John 2:24

vs. 24 // to vs. 27 1 John 2:27

Verse 25

1 John 2:25

Promise -- eternal life.

Verse 26

1 John 2:26

Verse 27

1 John 2:27

vs. 24 1 John 2:24 // to vs. 27

The anointing -- abideth in you -- False teachers were saying, "you don’t have the anointing, thus, let me teach you something specially known by me." John says, "you do have the anointing and this teaches you the truth about this matter."

Verse 28

1 John 2:28

When -- Not a doubting "if" but in assurance.

Appear -- Is this reference to the Second Coming, or more likely the Lord’s coming in judgment upon Israel and Jerusalem, cf. Matt 24, Mark 13, Luke 21. Matthew 22:7. This is an indication this epistle was written for AD 70.

Verse 29

1 John 2:29

Born of him -- Reference to the believer’s rebirth. Being like our Father is part of our proof we are born of Him. Jesus said of his enemies, "Ye are of your father the Devil."

Born of him -- suggest the idea for the next paragraph in ch. 3. ( cf John 3:3-5)

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 1 John 2". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/1-john-2.html. 2021.
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