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Bible Commentaries
1 John 5

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

1 John 5:1

Faith and Love - v. 1-3 John’s points:

1. Genuine faith in Christ is a sign of the new life. cf. James 2:14-26

2. The love of God involves the love of God’s sons.

3. The proof of our love for God’s children is our obedience to God’s commandments.

4. The proof of our love to God is our obeidnece to God’s commandments.

Verse 2

1 John 5:2

Verse 3

1 John 5:3

Verse 4

1 John 5:4

The Victory - v. 4-8 Here we see:

1. The conquering nature.

2. The conquering weapon.

3. The object of this conquering faith.

Verse 5

1 John 5:5

Verse 6

1 John 5:6

Water -- "Standing for the direct tesimony of the Father at Jesus’ baptism. Matthew 3:13-17. This was givn at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry." - Cox

Blood -- "Stading for the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice of the cross, delcared by the resurredtion of Christ from the dead. -- at the close of Jesus’ ministry.. threfore represent his entire ministry." - Cox

The Spirit -- Acts 2:4; Acts 4:31; Acts 5:32;


Member of Godhead- Matthew 28:19, 1 John 5:7-8,

"He"- John 16:13; John 1:1-17, Acts 8:29,

Gave us God’s word- 2 Peter 1:21,

"Sword of Spirit" is "Word"- Ephesians 6:17,

Holy Spirit baptism- Occurred twice

1. On Pentecost-- To give power to the apostles-- Acts 1:8 & Acts 2:1-4

2. At Cornelius’ house to show that gentiles accepted- Acts 11:15-18 & Acts 15:7-8.

3. Paul later wrote that there is now only "One Baptism"- Ephesians 4:4

4. Baptism in the name of Christ is water baptism- Acts 10:47-48 and Acts 2:38. It is commanded of everyone- Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16

Verse 7

1 John 5:7

See the note from the NET Bible regarding MSS evidences.

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Metzger states the conclusion which one finds expressed in similar words time and again, "That these words are spurious and have no right to stand in the New Testament is certain in light of the following evidences . . ."17

Wescott 18 who shows the lack of support as well as the historical process by which the verse was erroneously inserted by Erasmus in an edition of the Greek Testament and thence improperly came into some English translations.

Brother Guy N. Woods introduced his presentation of the evidence against the inclusion of the verse in these words, ". . . the most conservative scholars have, on weighing the evidence which obtains regarding it, unhesitatingly rejected it."19 Then, after starting the evidence, brother Woods wrote (and this writer agrees),

In view, therefore, of the overwhelming manuscript evidence against the insertion of the verse, it is properly omitted from the American Standard Version, and all New Testament Greek texts today. It would never have found its way into the "Re­ceived Text," (basis for the older translations), had not Eras­mus promised to insert it if it could be found in any Greek manuscript; and discovering that it was in the late Codex Bri­tannicus, in keeping with his commitment, put it in the Com­plutensian edition of 1514.* The most conservative scholars have referred to this act of Erasmus as "stupidity," and the effort itself, "mere caprice." There is, therefore, not the slightest ground for assuming that these words were a part of the original composition of the apostle John, or entitled to a place in the sacred text; nor is there any loss whatsoever in yielding them up as spurious, since nothing is taught in them not abundantly taught elsewhere in the New Testament . 20

- William Woodson, pg 44,45, Difficult Texts of the New Testament Explained, edited by Wendell Winkler, (The Fourth Annual "Fort Worth" Lectures, the Brown Trail Church of Christ, Bedfort, TX) 1981.

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Verse 8

1 John 5:8

Verse 9

1 John 5:9

The Witness of God - v. 9-12 We see: [Cox]

1. The strenght of it.

2. The value of it.

3. The possessor of it.

4. The conents of it.

Verse 10

1 John 5:10

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John is giving great emphasis to the testimony of God. He mentions testimony at least eight times. And, now, he states that if one believes in God, he has this testimony in his heart. Some commentators would infer that God has given a special message into the heart of those who believe him. It is my understanding that this is not the force of his argument. I would be surprised if John would use that type of argument to the gnostic heretics since this is their argument: that God has given them a special knowledge. What John seems to be saying here is that it is in one’s heart because believing has come from hearing, receiving, and obeying God’s message. One who does not believe God is making God out to be a liar, because that person has not received nor believed in the testimony that God has provided. College Press NT.

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Verse 11

1 John 5:11

Verse 12

1 John 5:12

We must be in fellowship with the Son, but we do not need anything more, like science, or other philosophy, or some "unknown" and "mysterious" secrets, in order to have eternal life. It rests with the Son and our faith in Him. We don’t need other books, like the Koran, or Book of Mormon, or someother supposed revelation. God has given us his tesimony already!

See Ephesians 3:17 note on "Indwelling"

Verse 13

1 John 5:13

Rights of God’s Sons - 5:13-17 [Cox]

v.13 points out a reason why the little book was written.

1. The right to eternal life. -v.13

2. The right to the throne of grace. v.14 ff

3. The right to intercede for our brethren. v.15-16.

Verse 14

1 John 5:14

John in this context is thinking more of the Christian’s right to approach God in prayer, than of the contents of the prayer (which he does so in the next verse) which must be according to the Father’s will. WG

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In this context, then, it is natural to suppose that John was thinking especially, though not exclusively, of a Christian’s right to ask God for help in keeping His commands. BKC.

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Verse 15

1 John 5:15

The context of the next verse would indicate that what one is praying for is forgiveness.

Verse 16

1 John 5:16

Verse 17

1 John 5:17

In the BBC on this verse see the EXCURSUS ON THE SIN LEADING TO DEATH for possible interpretations. The writer there accepts apostasy as the sin. Many would take it to be the habitual sin unconfessed and unrepented of.

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There is definitely sin that leads to death and sin that does not lead to death. What that specific sin is, John does not say. However, undoubtedly those who were reading John’s original letter surely would have known. This is the reason this writer associates the “sin unto death” as the rejection of the humanity of Jesus; hence, he seems to be directing his teaching to the gnostic Docetics about whom this entire letter is concerned. CPNT

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Verse 18

1 John 5:18

Certainties - v.18-21 [Cox]

The expression "we know" appears 4x in this paragraph. It indicates something unquestionable, something concerning which there is no doubt, something confirmed by evidence, observation, experience. It is applied to the following particulars:

1. The fact that God’s chilren do not sin.

2. The fact that we are God’s chilren.

3. The fact that those who are not God’s children are under the influence of the devil.

4. The wonderful fact of the incaration.

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Verse 19

1 John 5:19

Verse 20

1 John 5:20

Verse 21

"There is no need to seek far-fetched, figurative explanations of "the idols" when the literal meaning lies close at hand, is suggested by the contrast and is in harmony with the known circumstances of the time." - Plummer

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 1 John 5". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/1-john-5.html. 2021.
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