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Bible Commentaries
1 John 2

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-10

1 John 2:1 “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” Comments - The phrase “with the Father” can be translated “in the presence of the Father.” Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father ready to make intercession for us when we sin.

“an advocate” Comments BDAG says the Greek word παρα ́ κλητος (G3875) means, “one who is called to one’s aid, one who appears in another’s behalf.”

1 John 2:1 Comments - John 2:1 reflects the purpose for John writing this epistle, which is to help believes live a life without sin by walking in fellowship with the Father and with one another.

1 John 2:2 “for the sins of the whole world” - Comments - Jesus paid for the sins of sinners and of saints (2 Peter 2:2).

2 Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them , and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

1 John 2:8 Comments - We are coming to the perfect knowledge of Jesus (1 Corinthians 13:12).

1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

Note a reference to spiritual darkness and light in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

1 John 2:10 Comments - If we love our brothers, we will not have a temptation to sin through bitterness, jealously, etc.

Verses 12-14

1 John 2:12-14 Comments - Three Phases of Spiritual Maturity 1 John 2:12-14 provides a poetic statement that seems to describe three phrase of spiritual maturity. Believers are likened to children, young men, and fathers. These terms most likely refer figuratively to ages of spiritual growth that reflect (1) new believers who have been justification, (2) young men who have been indoctrination in the Word of God, and (3) elders and fathers who have accepted divine service and are now persevering in the faith. The overall plan of redemption for mankind includes seven phrases: predestination, calling, justification, indoctrination, divine service, perseverance, and glorification. The epistle of 1 John focuses upon three of those phrases that require “fellowship” with Jesus and other believers: namely, justification, indoctrination, and divine service. Prior to salvation, man is not in fellowship with God just because he has been predestined and called. The final phase of glorification completes our spiritual journey by entering Heaven, so is not a part of our necessary time on earth to overcome.

The repetition of this three-fold description of spiritual growth in Christ reflects poetic, Hebrew parallelism, which is common to the writings of John. Hebrew parallelism provides emphasis by restating these three stages of development. In order to continue in “fellowship…with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ,” which is the underlying theme of this epistle, we must have our sins cleansed, then overcome our past bondages of a sinful lifestyle, and come to intimate fellowship with the Father through Jesus Christ.

1. Children - Paul refers to new believers as “babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1). Peter refers to new believers as “newborn babes desiring the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). In 1 John 2:12-14, the term “children” is used for those sins have recently been forgiven so that they are brought into a relationship with the Father, which is the message of the Gospel of John. However, not every new believe has overcome the bondages of a sinful past.

1 Corinthians 3:1, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.”

1 Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

2. Young Men - The author of Hebrews, which I believe was Paul, contrasts babes in need of milk with those who are of full age and able to take the meat of God’s Word (Hebrews 5:11-14). In 1 John 2:12-14, the term “young men” describes those whose who have become strong through maturity in the Word of God, which now abides in them. These have overcome the wicked one because they can discern between good and evil, and have begun to accomplish great exploits for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Hebrews 5:11-14, “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

3. Fathers In 1 John 2:12-14, the term “fathers” refers to those church elders and leaders, whose longevity and perseverance in the faith have earned them a position of honor and respect in the Church. These have “known” Jesus Christ and His power in their lives through years of walking in fellowship with Him. They have seen the Lord’s mighty hand time and again and know His presence in their daily lives. They have learned to walk in “fellowship…with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3), which is the underlying theme of this epistle.

1 Corinthians 4:14-16, “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”

Philippians 2:22, “But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.”

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” Comments - Creflo Dollar interprets the world within the context of 1 John to refer to the system of this world, which operates with greed and corruption. He explains that the following verse describes the system of this world as operating based upon “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (1 John 2:16) [28] This is why Paul can tell Timothy, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” (1 Timothy 6:17) In other words, God does not mind us being stewards of His good things that He gives to us; He simply does not want us to be controlled by these things.

[28] Creflo Dollar, Changing Your World (College Park, Georgia: Creflo Dollar Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 29 July 2009.

Verses 15-18

1 John 2:15 “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” - Comments - A person’s heart, or spirit, cannot be divided into parts, because it is single. Yet, it dependents upon the human will as to what it will embrace. Jesus said that we cannot love God and mammon (Matthew 6:24). You cannot love God’s work and the world at the same time. Love abides in the heart, which is “in man.” This is why Paul calls the spirit of man the “inner man” (Ephesians 3:16). Peter calls it the “hidden man” (1 Peter 3:4).

The phrase “the love of the Father” should be viewed with the objective genitive in the Greek text, so that it is translated, “a person’s love for the Father is not present in him.” It is not possible to translate this phrase as the subjective genitive in describing the Father’s love not being towards the world, for this would be unsound doctrinally; for God loves the world, and this love is unceasing. The idea this verse means that a person who is pursuing the things of this world is not offering his love and devotion to God the Father.

Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

Ephesians 3:16, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”

1 Peter 3:4, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

1 John 2:16 Comments - Creflo Dollar defines the word lust to be “an intense appetite to fulfill selfish gratification.” Therefore, he says that lust is based in selfishness. He also says lust is the result of what we give our attention towards. [29]

[29] Creflo Dollar, Changing Your World (College Park, Georgia: Creflo Dollar Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 29 July 2009.

The Scriptures give us three aspects of temptation in 1 John 2:16: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. The Scriptures also tell us that we are a three-fold makeup of spirit, soul and body.

1 Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Therefore, the lust of the flesh refers to temptations of the flesh, the lust of the eyes refers to the temptations of the mind, or soul, and the pride of life refers to the heart of man. Note that both Adam and Jesus faced all three aspects of temptation from Satan:

1. The Lust of the Flesh:

Adam - The tree was good for food

Jesus - Command this stone to become bread

2. The Lust of the Eyes:

Adam - The tree was pleasant to the eyes

Jesus - The devil...showed Him all the kingdoms

3. The Pride of Life:

Adam - A tree to be desired to make one wise

Jesus - Throw yourself down from here

“the lust of the flesh” Man’s physical body continually craves sin simply because it has not yet been redeemed from its fallen nature. Paul discusses the sinful, fallen nature of the flesh in Romans 7:18; Romans 7:23 and in Galatians 5:16-21.

“the lust of the eyes” The mind receives information through its five physical sense gates (eyes, ears, touch, taste, smell). Since the eyes are man’s primary sense gate, it is used in this phrase to represent all five of man’s physical senses. These sense gates “lust” in the sense that man’s physical senses crave to be stimulated. We instinctively look, listen, touch, smell, and taste the things of the world around us. The carnal man uses his senses to satisfy his physical desires.

“the pride of life” The phrase “pride of life” describes the depraved condition of man’s heart, or spirit. It is a condition in which the heart has embraced the things of this world and is, therefore, in a state of rebellion against God. The word “life” in this context refers to a person’s means of existence. Note that the same Greek word is also used in Mark 12:44 and 1 John 3:17.

Mark 12:44, “For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living .”

1 John 3:17, “But whoso hath this world's good , and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

1 John 2:17 “and the lust thereof” Scripture Reference - Note:

Psalms 119:36, “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.”

1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

1 John 2:18 Comments - The spirit of antichrist both denies the deity of Jesus Christ as well as persecuting the Church. The clearest example of this demonic spirit today is seen in the religion of Islam. This demonic religion has persecuting the Church and the Jews since its beginning. Although it accepts the physical birth of Jesus Christ, it denies His deity.

The “many antichrists” that John refers to will later be clarified as those who have the “spirit of antichrist” (1 John 4:3). Although the word “spirit” is not in the original text, it is implied by the context.

1 John 4:3, “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

Verses 19-29

1 John 2:20 Comments - The context of this passage in 1 John is that we have the inward witness, called the anointing in this verse, whereby we can know the will of God. Thus, when 1 John 2:20 says that “ye know all things,” the author is not telling us that we will have a spiritual revelation, or word of knowledge, about every situation in our lives. Rather, he is saying that our spirit, which is our inward witness, serves as a guide that can be used in every decision or situation we may face. If we will check our spirit for in inner peace, then it is God’s will. If we have a “check,” or hesitancy, in our hearts, then it is probably something that is not God’s will for us. This inward witness is always there to guide us so that we can know God’s will in all things.

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

1 John 2:27 “ye need not that any man teach you” Comments - Yet, we have teachers in the body of Christ as part of the five-fold ministry. Actually, when someone teaches under the anointing, it is the Holy Spirit teaching us. Thus, “the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth”.

1 John 2:27 Comments - The context of this passage in 1 John is about how our spirit, our inner anointing, will guide us into continual fellowship with God. The anointing in this verse is referring to the inward witness of our spirit, which has been made alive and brought into fellowship with God by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Therefore, this verse in not telling us to turn way from the office of the teacher in the body of Christ. Rather, it is telling that our spirit, our inner witness, is capable of teaching us God’s will in every situation in life.

1 John 2:27 Comments - Divine revelation is the disclosure of who God is and what He is doing. This impartation of wisdom and revelation comes from the Father and is given to the Holy Spirit, who are one, and is imparted unto us by the Holy Spirit who dwells within in us. This is what Paul was saying when he said that God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:10, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

What does the word “them” refer to in 1 Corinthians 2:10? It refers to “the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Thus, divine wisdom and revelation is not for the world. They cannot receive it nor understand it.

1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Paul prays in Ephesians 1:17 that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:” Jesus said that He would send the Comforter, who will teach us all things. This teaching is done by divine impartation.

John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

John the apostle writes that the anointing within us will teach us the truth. This is done by divine impartation.

1 John 2:27, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 John 2". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/1-john-2.html. 2013.
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