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Bible Commentaries
1 John 3

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Verses 1-99

The gift of Divine kinship carries with it the obligation to self-purification.1. This verse is closely connected with the preceding. It is a meditation on the last words of that verse, ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγέννηται. The writer is trying to restore the waning enthusiasm of his readers, and to recall them to their first love. He therefore reminds them of their high privilege and position. God has given them proof of His love. He has bestowed on them the rank and title of His children, sharers in His nature. And it is no mere title. It corresponds to real facts, if they will but realize them, and respond to them. And these facts are the cause of the hostile attitude of the world. Those who do not know God have no sympathy with those who share His nature.

An interesting parallel to this passage is found in Pirqe Aboth, iii. 22 (ed. Taylor, 1897), “Beloved are Israel that they are called children of God; greater love (was it that it) was made known to them that they are called children of God, as it is said, Ye are the children of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 14:1). We may also compare and contrast (cf. Windisch, ad loc.) Philo, de confusione ling. 146 f. (Cohn, ii. p. 257) καὶ γὰρ εἰ μήπω ἱκανοὶ θεοῦ παῖδες νομίζεσθαι γεγόναμεν,�

ἴδετε ποταπήν] Cf. Galatians 6:11, ἴδετε πηλίκοις ὑμῖν γράμμασιν ἔγραψα: and for the combination with ποταπός, Mark 13:1, ἴδε ποταποὶ λίθοι. In the N.T. ποταπός generally suggests surprise, and very often something of an admirable character (qualem, Latt. verss.). Cf. Matthew 8:27; Luke 1:29, Luke 7:39. Luke 7:2 P. 3:11 (ποταποὺς δεῖ ὑπάρχειν ὑμᾶς ἐν ἁγίαις�


ἀγάπην] Love, not token of love. “The Divine love is, as it were, infused into them, so that it is their own, and becomes in them the source of a divine life.”

δέδωκεν] is better supported than the aorist, and is intrinsically superior. The results of what they have received are permanent and abiding. Nowhere else in N.T. does�

ὁ πατήρ] suggested by the following τέκνα θεοῦ. Cf. Revelation 21:7.

ἵνα τέκνα θεοῦ κληθῶμεν] Another instance of the definitive ἵνα. It is difficult to find any “full telic” force here. God did not give His love to men in order that they might be called sons. The greatness of His love to them was manifested in this, that He allowed Himself to be called their Father. Cf. ver. 11, αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ�John 1:15, κέκραγεν λέγων—οὗτος ἦν ὁ εἰπών— Ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος, and also Revelation 1:6; 2 John 1:2. And it also adds force to the sentence. “It is no mere empty title. It is a realized fact, though some are in danger of forgetting it.” Justin seems to have known this verse; Dial. c. Try. 123 (353 B), οὕτως καὶ ἡμεῖς�


διὰ τοῦτο] Because they knew not God. As usual, the reference of τοῦτο is to what follows. They do not recognize us, because they did not know God. Those who failed to know God (οὐκ ἔγνω) in creation, in history, in the revelation made by Jesus Christ, naturally fail to know those who are of like nature.

αγαπην] post πατηρ H δ6 (Ψ).

δεδωκεν א B C K L P al. longe plu. Thphyl. Oec.] εδωκενA L 13, 27 cscr dscr.

ημιν] υμιν B K * 22, 31*, 80, 100: post πατηρ H 257 (33).

τεκνα θεου κληθωμεν] κληθητε τεκνα θῡ Ia δ382 (?).

και εσμεν] και εστιν H 162 (61) Ia 397f, 205, 106, 261 (96): om. K L al. plu. armzoh.

ημας] υμας א* K L P al. 40 arm-codd. Thphyl. Oec.

εγνω] εγνωκατεP 192: εγνωτε100 al. pauc.

αυτον] + ο κοσμος Ic 174 (252).

2. The thought of τέκνα θεοῦ is expanded in connection with the thought of the Parousia. Here and now they have attained to the position of “children of God.” Their present dignity is as nothing compared with the glory which shall be revealed. The exact conditions of their future state have not yet been made clear. What has already become matter of common knowledge is that, the more fully Christ is revealed, the closer will be their likeness to Him. What they have seen of Christ incarnate has raised them to the position of God’s children. If He is fully made manifest, those who see Him as He is “will be consummated in the divine likeness to which it was the divine purpose that they should attain” (Westcott). Cf. Genesis 1:26. All is not yet made manifest, but they have so learned the Christ that they know that it is “God’s task to make the heavenly period Perfect the earthen.”


ἀγαπητοί] Cf. 3:21, 4:11, and contrast 2:7, 4:1, 7. The word is used here, not to introduce a new section, but to call attention to a further meditation on what has preceded. The writer uses the term which reminds his readers of their and his common share in the gift which God has given.

νῦν τέκνα θεοῦ ἐσμέν] Cf. καὶ ἐσμέν of the preceding verse. What they have at present justifies their full confidence for the future, which will bring the complete unfolding of that which is even now present, though its manifestation is hindered by the circumstances in which they are placed.οὔπω ἐφανερώθη] For οὔπω with the aorist, where the writer is not looking back on a time separated by an interval from that of writing or speaking, cf. Mark 11:2 (οὐδεὶς οὔπω ἐκάθισεν); 1 Corinthians 8:2 (εἴ τις δοκεῖ… οὔπω ἔγνω); Hebrews 12:4 (οὔπω μέχρις αἵματος�Revelation 17:10 (ὁ ἄλλος οὔπω ἦλθεν), 12 (βασίλειαν οὔπω ἔλαβον). The statement denies that there has ever yet been a moment at which it could be said ἐφανερώθη, where the aorist would be either timeless, or expressive of what has just happened. There is no necessary reference to any occasion “on which the revelation might have been expected,” such as the manifestation of the Risen Lord (Westcott).

οἴδαμεν] We know enough to justify confidence even if no complete revelation has as yet been made. Great as are our privileges now, how far greater then! Nothing short of being like God in Christ. Contrast γινώσκομεν (2:3, 18, 3:24, etc.): here no progress in knowledge is suggested: we are aware of the future likeness.ἐὰν φανερωθῇ] May mean either (1) if it shall be revealed, i.e. our future condition (τί ἐσόμεθα), or (2) “if He shall be revealed,” i.e. Christ. The first is the more natural interpretation so far as grammar is concerned. It connects the words naturally with the preceding οὔπω ἐφανερώθη. And it gives an adequate meaning to the words. “If our future glory is revealed, it will be found to be not less than likeness to God, the open vision of whose glory shall transform us.” In favour of (2) is the use of φανερωθῇ of Christ in ver. 28 of the preceding chapter, and the general sense of the passage. Throughout the passage the writer’s thoughts are turned to the revelation of Christ in His glory at His Parousia. If He be manifested in His true glory, the vision will change us to His likeness. Cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18, τὴν δόξαν Κυρίου κατοπτριζόμενοι τὴν αὐτὴν εἰκόνα μεταμορφούμεθα�Colossians 3:4, ὁτὰν ὁ Χριστὸς φανερωθῇ… τότε καὶ ὑμεῖς σὺν αὐτῷ φανερωθήσεσθε ἐν δόξῃ. And if the use of φανεροῦσθαι in 2:28 partly suggests this interpretation, in spite of the intervening οὔπω ἐφανερώθη, where the τί ἐσόμεθα determines the meaning of the verb, it must also be remembered that the language of soliloquy and meditation has to some extent its own rules. To one pondering over the future glory of the Son of God, in the light of the present revelation of the Risen Lord, which suggests so much more than it actually reveals, the words ἐὰν φανερωθῇ could probably have but one meaning. To us it would have been clearer if the subject had been definitely expressed. It does not follow that the same is true of the writer, or of those for whose sakes he is giving written form to his meditations. Very possibly they had often heard him meditate on the theme ἐὰν φανερωθῇ. He uses the word φανεροῦσθαι eighteen times, and in twelve Christ is the subject, though most of them refer to His manifestation in the flesh.

ὅμοιοι] Contrast Philippians 2:6, τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ. And for the thought, cf. Plato, Theaetetus, 176 B, φυγὴ δὲ ὁμοίωσις τῷ θεῷ κατὰ τὸ δυνατόν: Greg. Thaum. Paneg. in Origenem, c. 12, τό γε πάντων τέλος οὐχ ἕτερόν τι οἶμαι ἢ καθαρῷ τῷ νῷ ἐξομοιωθέντα προσελθεῖν τῷ θεῷ καὶ μένειν ἐν αὐτῷ. Revelation 22:4, καὶ ὄψονται τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ. Similes, quia beati, says Bede.

ὅτι] “Because we shall see Him as He is.” What men saw of Jesus of Nazareth, when He manifested His glory under the limitations of human life, raised them to the position of τέκνα θεοῦ, in the case of all who received Him (John 1:13). How much greater transforming power shall there be in the vision of Him as He is, no longer veiled by the conditions of earthly life!


It is possible to take ὅτι κ.τ.λ. as giving the proof of the knowledge (οἴδαμεν). We know that we shall be like Him, for we know that we shall see Him; and only the pure in heart shall see God. He is visible only to those who share His nature. Like is perceived by like alone. But if the writer had meant this he surely would have expressed himself differently. He often leaves not a little for his readers to supply. But he demands from them the use of spiritual insight rather than of mental acuteness. Weiss’ explanation is too ingenious for its context.

τεκνα] post θεουP 31.

τι] οτι Ia 270 (54) K 559 (415).

οιδαμεν] + δεK L al. pler. cat. syrsch cap. sahd aeth. Or. Dam. Thphyl.

οτι (? 2:0)] pr. και Ia 397f, 205, 106, 201 (96): και Ia 158 (395).

οψομεθα] οψωμεθα 31 Rev_2 scr: uidemus, boh-ed.

3. The possession of such a hope is the strongest incentive to absolute purity. The hope is not really grasped except by those whose striving towards this goal is eager and constant. The hope is not stated to be the necessary condition of the purity, but the purity is the necessary result of the hope. It is not denied that other causes may produce a similar result. But where such a hope really exists the striving after purity must follow. The Christian hope is incompatible with moral indifference. No one, not even the “Gnostic,” is raised by it above the moral obligations. And the purity aimed at is absolute. The standard is nothing less than the perfected human life of the glorified Christ.πᾶς] The use of πᾶς in this Epistle and in the Gospel is instructive. It generally sets aside the claims of some party or other who claimed special privileges or exemptions for themselves. ὁ ἔχων … ἐπʼ αὐτῷ] The form of expression emphasizes the thought of hope possessed and enjoyed as a sure possession (ἔχειν ἐλπίδα being stronger than the simple verb), and which rests on the Christ, and is therefore surely and securely grounded. Contrast Acts 24:15, ἐλπίδα ἔχων εἰς τὸν θεόν, reaching as far as (Westcott). Cf. 1 Timothy 4:10, 1 Timothy 5:5. See Introduction, p. iv; also 1 Timothy 6:17; 1Ti_1 P. 1:13, 21. ἐπʼ αὐτῷ must, of course, refer to Christ.

ἁγνίζει] Cf. Exodus 19:10 f.; Numbers 8:21; Joshua 3:5; Jos_1 Esther 7:10, and also John 11:55. Those who appeared before God at the Jewish feasts were required first to purify themselves from all Levitical and ceremonial uncleanness. The hope of appearing before the presence of God, and of seeing Christ as He is, necessarily inspires its possessors with the desire of putting away every defilement which clouds the vision of God, even as the human nature of the Christ, made perfect through the discipline and suffering of earthly life, has even now been exalted to the unveiled presence of the Father.


καθώς] He has attained, and those who hope to attain likewise will naturally spare no effort to follow the same path. But καθώς suggests a pattern, rather than introduces a motive.

ἐκεῖνος] For the change of pronoun, cf. John 5:39, and perhaps 19:35. Throughout the Epistle ἐκεῖνος used absolutely refers to Christ. Cf. 2:6 (note).


ἁγνός] For the difference between ἁγνός and καθαρός, see Westcott’s note. Καθαρός seems to state the objective fact, ἁγνός emphasizes the subjective feeling. The Vulg. commonly has castus for ἁγνός, but here has sanctus.

την ελπιδα] fidem, sahd

ταυτην] om. Ia 70, 367 (505).

επ αυτω] επ αυτον 2. 25. 30.

post εαυτον boh-sah. (in eo): εν αυτω 31.

εαυτον] αυτον 31* oscr.

4. πᾶς] Cf. ver. 3 (note). In contrast with those who seek to cleanse themselves from all defilement, are set those who continue to do the sin which defiles and separates from God. There is no special class of illuminati, superior to the obligation to keep the moral law. The test of progress is obedience. Those who fail to do the will of God, to work out the best of which their nature is capable, are breaking the law of God, which is the law of their being. All sin is law-breaking; all falling short of the highest possible is disobedience to God’s law for men, the law of self-realization after the pattern of the Christ. He that fails to do righteousness breaks the law.τὴν�

ἐφανερώθη] The word is used more frequently, as here, by the writer with reference to Christ’s first coming, or manifestation, in the flesh. Cf. 1 Timothy 3:16; 1Ti_1 P. 1:20.

ἄρῃ] Take away, i.e. destroy. The Hebrew נשׂא is used in both senses of taking away and bearing. But it is differently translated into Greek in the two cases. Αἴρειν expresses the former, φέρειν the latter. Cf. Isaiah 53:11, τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶναὐτὸς�

ἁμαρτία ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν] cf. John 7:18,�


οιδατε A B C K L al. pler. vg. boh-codd. syr. aeth. Tert. Aug.] οιδαμεν א 40, 98 tol. sah. arm. boh-ed. Fulg.

τας αμαρτιας A B P 5. 13. 27. 66**, 81 am. fu. demid. harl. tol. cop. syr. aeth. Tert. Aug. Fulg.] + ημων א C K L al. pler. cat. vg. sah. syr. Ath. Thphyl. Oec.

εν αυτω] post εστιν א sah. cop. aeth.

6. In so far as union with the Sinless is realized, sin ceases to be. The doing of sin shows that the Christ has never been fully seen or known. The statements are made absolutely, after the writer’s wont. They must, of course, be interpreted in the light of 1:8 ff., where the writer makes it clear that he does not mean that those who have realized their union with Christ have actually attained as yet to a state of complete sinlessness. Where sin is, the vision of the Christ has not yet been made perfect. There is nothing to show that the writer is describing the general character of the Christian, which remains unchanged by separate sinful acts, inasmuch as they are foreign to it and do not affect it as a whole. The statement is made absolutely without reference to the modifications necessary when it is applied to the individual case.

ἐν αὐτῷ μένειν] As contrasted with εἶναι, μένειν perhaps suggests in this context the necessity of human effort.

οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει] Augustine has supplied the necessary modification, “In quantum in ipso manet, in tantum non peccat,” a sentence which Bede has incorporated in his Commentary (cf. Westcott’s note).ἑώρακεν … ἔγνωκεν] The vision and the knowledge have their abiding results. ὁρᾶν is used by the writer of spiritual vision. It cannot be restricted here (as by Weiss) to those who had actually seen the Lord in the flesh, ἔγνωκεν being added to meet the case of later disciples. Cf. Bede, “Visionem dicit et cognitionem fidei, qua iusti etiam in hac uita deum uidere delectantur, donec ad ipsam speciem apertae visionis eius in futuro preueniant, de qua supra dicitur, Quoniam uidebimus eum sicuti est,” a passage which is also based on Augustine’s comment, “est illuminatio per fidem, est illuminatio per speciem.” If the two words are to be distinguished here, ὁρᾶν lays stress on the object, which appears and is grasped by the mental vision, γινώσκειν on the subsequent subjective apprehension of what is grasped in the vision, or it is unfolded gradually in experience.



πας 2o] pr. και 38. 67 (mg.). 95. 96**. 97 (mg.) hscr vg. syr. aeth. arm. Or. Thphyl. Aug. (senel): pr. διοIc 258 (56).

εγνωκεν] εγνω Ib 365. 472 (214) Ic 208, 116 (307) K δ359 (479).

2. 3:7-18. Elucidation of the thesis (ethical), and earnest warning against those who would lead them astray

(a) 7-10. Further meditation on the Divine Birth. The opposite statement. He that sinneth is of the Devil.

(b) 10-17. Clearer definition of sin as failure to love the brethren, and of its opposite, love.

7. The views of the false teachers were plausible, and there was imminent danger of some of the faithful being seduced. But the facts were clear. He, and he only, who shows the fruits of righteousness in what he does, is righteous. Righteousness is always known by its fruits. There are no heights of knowledge, or superior kinds of nature, for which action is a matter of indifference.

τεκνία] If this is the true reading, the appeal is again made to their common (spiritual) nature. There is some authority for the reading παιδία, which would be equally suitable. The danger would have been less imminent, if they had used their own powers, and shown themselves less dependent on the moral guidance of others.

μηδεὶς πλανάτω] Cf. 2:26. They must yield to the seductions of no one, however prominent his position or plausible his arguments. It is, of course, possible that the writer is thinking of some particular opponent.

ὁ ποιῶν] Cf. 1:6, 3:4, etc. If the character is true, the whole life will be an expression of it, even as the whole of Christ’s life was a continuous expression of the character and person in whom God could be well pleased.

ἐκεῖνος] Cf. vv. 3, 4 (notes). Righteousness was fully realized in Him who set the Christian standard. No lower ideal would prove a sufficient incentive to holiness, i.e. the highest self-realization of which the nature of man is capable, who was created in order to grow into the likeness of God.

τεκνια א B K L al. pler. cat. Thphyl. Oec. m vg. syr. Tert. Aug.] παιδια A C P 5. 13. 27. 29 arm. (uid.) cop. syrp mg Lcif.: + μου 15. 26. 36. 68 cat. sah. syrsch aeth.

μηδεις] μη τις A.

ποιων δικαιοσυνην (? ? cf. v. Soden, p. 1856)] δικαιος ων H δ86 (Ψ).

δικαιος (? 2o)] om. H δ48 (33.)

την 2o om. א*.

8. ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν] The contrast to 7b. He whose whole course of action is the expression of “sin,” belongs to the Devil, from whom the life which animates him is derived, as the higher life which issues in righteousness proclaims its possessor a τέκνον θεοῦ.

ἐκ τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστίν] Cf. Bede, “Non carnis originem ducendo ex diabolo sicut Manichaeus impurissime de cunctis credit hominibus: sed imitationem uel suggestionem peccandi sumendo ab illo, quomodo et nos filii Abrahae sumus facti, imitando fidem Abrahae,” a suggestive note, though it ignores the nearer illustrations of the context.

ἀπʼ�John 8:44, John 8:1:1; Genesis 1:1, etc. The attempt to assign a definite date, so to speak, is a mistake. “The earliest times spoken of Genesis” would perhaps be the nearest popular paraphrase. “From the first” would give its meaning with fair accuracy. It denotes the earliest events which have any bearing on the point at issue. From the very first, long before the first actual sin of any man, “the devil sinneth,” and the course begun from the first has been continued ever since. All human sin, therefore, has its origin in what is external to the man who sins. It comes from an external source. It is not self-originated or part of man’s nature. As Westcott has said elsewhere, “There is no view of human nature so inexpressibly sad as that which leaves out the Fall.” As also F. D. Maurice has said, “There has been no period of the existence of human beings in which they have not been liable to the assaults of this Tempter.”

There is nothing in the passage to suggest that the writer held a “dualistic” view of the origin of evil, considering the Devil “an originally evil being”; but it is manifest that he believed in a personal Tempter. Cf. John 8:44.εἰς τοῦτο ἐφανερώθη κ.τ.λ.] All such action is in direct opposition to the purpose of the Incarnation of the Son of God, who was manifested in the flesh in order to destroy the works of the Devil, i.e. the sins which he has introduced into the lives of men.

λύσῃ] “destroy.” The word generally includes the suggestion of destroying, undoing or dissolving, that which forms the bond of cohesion. Cf. John 2:19, John 5:18, John 7:23 (the Lord “dissolved” the Jewish sabbatical tradition by applying to the question the higher principle of the duty of restoring man to his true self). Windisch aptly quotes the λογίον of the Egyptian Gospel, ἦλθον καταλῦσαι τὰ ἔργα τῆς θηλείας.


ο 1o] + δε A 25, 68 kscr tol. boh-ed. arm. aeth. Lcif.

λυση] λυσεί B 100: λυθη P.

9. He who is begotten of God must be in character like God who begat him. Sin, which is of the Devil, finds no place in him.

ὁ γεγεννημένος] Compare and contrast John 1:13, ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν. Here the writer emphasizes not only the initial act, or the single act, but its permanent results.


ἁμαρτίαν οὐ ποιεῖ] Anarthrous and therefore qualitative. He does not do that which is sinful in character. But the absence of the article should not be pressed.

ὅτι σπέρμα] The seed which produces the new life in him (cf. John 1:13), as a permanent and abiding factor.1 The interpretation which equates σπέρμα with the Word of God (“semen dei, id est uerbum dei,” Bede, from Augustine, who adds, “unde dicit Apostolus, Per Euangelium ego uos genui, 1 Corinthians 4:15) receives some support from 1 P. 1:23; James 1:18, but is hardly in accordance with the Johannine teaching, in which the Spirit is the author of the new birth (cf. Joh_3.). Wohlenberg in an interesting paper has pleaded for the interpretation which identifies σπέρμα θεοῦ with God’s children scollectively (cf. John 8:33, σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ). It has the advantage of referring αὐτοῦ and ἐν αὐτῷ to the same person (God’s children abide in Him), but it makes the following clause, οὐ δύναται … γεγέννηται, very difficult both in grammar and sense. As Law has pointed out, the last clause must then have run (“and they cannot sin, because they abide in Him”). Still less can be said for Karl’s interpretation of the words as referring to Christ. Cf., however, Justin, Apol. i. 32, where we perhaps have an echo of this.2οὐ δύναται κ.τ.λ.] The fact that he has been begotten of God excludes the possibility of his committing sin as an expression of his true character, though actual sins may, and do, occur, in so far as he fails from weakness to realize his true character. Cf. John 8:33, John 8:39. Every τέκνον must reproduce the works of his father. In so far as any man is a τέκνον θεοῦ he “cannot” do the works of the Devil. The writer speaks, however, here as elsewhere, in the absolute language of the prophet rather than with the circumspection of the casuist. On the N.T. doctrine of Birth from God, see Windisch, p. 118.




πας] pr. διο αγαπητοι Ic 258 (56).

γεγεννημενος] γεγενημενος K 99. 100. 177 * jscr oscr al. pauc.

του (? 1o)] om. H δ48 (33) Ia 106 (179).

αμαρτιαν ου ποιει] non peccat sah. boh.

σπερμα] pr. το Ic 551 (216) O46 (154).

αυτου] dei sahd: om. Ia 382 (231).

αμαρτανειν] αμαρτιαν ποιησαι Ia 158 (395).

οτι] οστις Ia 264 (233).

10. ἐν τούτῳ] This may possibly refer to what has preceded, the not-doing or the doing of sin, which are the distinguishing characteristics of the classes into which the writer divides mankind. But it is more probable, and more in accordance with the writer’s usual custom, that the reference is to what follows, the achievement of, or the failure to achieve, righteousness and love (cf. 2:3). For the construction, cf. the note on 1:4.

φανερά] The writer is striving to give his readers a distinguishing test which can be easily applied. It is, of course, to the judgment of men, not the judgment of God, that the two clues become manifest.

τέκνα τοῦ διαβόλου] cf. Acts 13:10, υἱὲ διαβόλου, and Joh_8. The teaching of this section of the Epistle can hardly be understood without reference to the 8th chapter of the Gospel, with which it is intimately connected.


πᾶς] There are no exceptions on the ground of superior knowledge or “pneumatic” nature; cf. notes on vv. 3, 4.

καὶ ὁ μὴ�Romans 13:9, εἴ τις ἑτέρα ἐντολή, ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τούτῳ�




εν τουτω] εκ τουτου Ia 200f (83).

πας] pr. και C* uid aeth.

ποιων δικαιοσυνην א A B C K L P al. omnuid cat. harl. tol. arm. cop. syr. aeth. Did. Thphyl. Oec.] ων δικαιος m vg. (am. fu. demid.) sah. syr. Or. Cyp. Lcif. Aug.: δικαιος ων H δ6 (Ψ). An interesting “Western” variant, which can hardly claim to be original. The context requires the practical test of “doing.”

δικαιοσυνην א B L al. plu. Dam.] pr. την A C K P h. al. fere.20 Dam.

0 2o] om. Ia 382 (231).

αυτου] + ουκ αγαπα τον θν Ia 70 (505).

11. The original message of the Gospel, nay, the whole history of God’s revelation of Himself to men from the earliest times, is summed up in the command to exercise mutual love. He therefore who does not love his brother shows thereby that he cannot be ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ.

αὕτη … ἵνα] The αὕτη, which refers to what follows, excludes the possibility of any “telic” force being retained by ἵνα here; cf. John 17:3, and the close parallels in John 13:34, John 13:15:12; 1 John 3:23, 1 John 4:21, 1 John 5:16. See also 1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:5, 2 John 1:6; cf. note on 1:9. The declarative, or definitive, use of ἵνα to introduce the contents of a command, or the like, is fully established for S. John.

ἀγγελία] The message of the Gospel, of which the law of love is the basis. The reading ἐπαγγελία does not suit the context, and it is obviously due to the careless substitution of a commoner word. Except in this passage,�1 John 1:5). On the other hand, ἐπαγγελία occurs 51 times, but only once in the Johannine writings (1 John 2:25).


ἣν ἠκούσατε�

οὐ καθώς] Cf. 2 Corinthians 8:5, καὶ οὐ καθὼς ἠλπίσαμεν�John 14:27, οὐ καθὼς ὁ κόσμος δίδωσιν, and especially John 6:58, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἄρτος ὁ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ καταβάς, οὐ καθὼς ἔφαγον οἱ πατέρες καὶ�


ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ ἦν] Every man must draw his life and power from one source or the other. His deeds show to whom he belongs and has attached himself. The writer never denies the individual freedom of choice. He only traces things back to what he believes to be their ultimate spiritual sources.

ἔσφαξεν] The verb always includes the idea of violence. In the N.T. σφάζειν is found only here and in the Apocalypse. Cf. Revelation 6:4, ἵνα�Genesis 22:10, of Isaac; Exodus 29:11; Leviticus 1:5; Numbers 11:22, etc.); but see also Judges 12:6 (A), σφάζουσιν αὐτοὺς ἐπὶ τὰς διαβάσεις τοῦ Ἰορδάνου: 1 K. 15:33, ἔσφαξε Σαμουὴλ τὸν Ἀγὰγ ἐνώπιον Κυρίου: 1 Malachi 1:2, καὶ ἔσφαξε βασιλεῖς, etc.χάριν τίνος] The violent deed was only the last expression of that antipathy which righteousness always calls out in those who make evil the guiding principle of their life. This view, that the cause of the murder of Abel is to be found in the character of Cain as manifested in his actions, is hardly in accord with the narrative of Genesis (4:8 ff.), but it is quite in keeping with the suggestions read into that narrative by the adherents of the allegorical method of exegesis. We may compare Philo’s treatment of the subject, who finds indications of Cain’s φιλαυτία in the fact that he only offered his sacrifice “after several days,” and not at once, with the readiness which should distinguish the service of God; and that he offered of the fruits, not of the first fruits. Cf. also Hebrews 11:4, where the stress is laid on the character of the sacrifices offered (πλείονα θυσίαν), rather than on the general character of all the actions of the two men.




του (? 1o) om. Ia 397ffff (96) | τον] pr. Abal, sahd.

om. και … αυτον aeth.

τινος χαριν Isa_55 (236).


ου] pr. et sahd.

αδελφου αυτου] αβελ Ia 264 (233).

δικαια] bona arm.

13-16. The ground of the world’s hatred of those who love, and the glory of love, which gives life, in Christ.

13-15. Those who can interpret aright the true meaning of the story of Cain and Abel will feel no surprise at the attitude of the world towards Christians. It only expresses the hostility which that which is good must always call out in that which is evil. Our love for the brethren assures us that we have already passed out of the state of hatred and death, and now abide in that of life. For life is love. He who does not love is still in the state of death. Every one who does not love his brother is a murderer, in the eyes of all to whom the true issues of things are manifest, even though he has so far stayed his hand from violence. And your common consciousness as men tells you that no murderer can have the higher life in him as a permanent and abiding principle of action.

13. μὴ θαυμάζετε] cf. John 3:7 (μὴ θαυμάσῃς), where the aorist emphasizes the immediate feeling aroused by a particular thought, or action, rather than the more permanent feeling called out by what is continuous. Cf. also John 5:28, where the form of sentence refers to the continuous feeling, not to the momentary surprise, which the fact that the hour was coming, when all the dead should hear the voice of the Son of God, might occasion. The construction with the present imperative is the usual construction in the Johannine writings, the aorist subjunctive being only used in the passage quoted above. Here it is significant. The hatred of the world was an abiding attitude, always liable to provoke unchristian retaliation, and always a temptation to the more “intelligent” to neglect their duty to their weaker brethren.


μη A B Ccorr K L al. pler. vg. sah. cop. syr. Lcif. Did. Thphyl. Oec.] pr. και א C* P 15. 18. 29. 36. 66**. 98. 191 cat.* syr. am. aeth.

αδελφοι א A B C D al. mu. cat. vg. arm. Lcif. Did.] + μου K L al. longe. plu. syr. sah. cop. aeth. (ημων) Thphyl. Oec.

υμας] ημας sah. Ia 1402 (219) O46 (154).

14. ἡμεῖς οἴδαμεν] The appeal is to the Christian consciousness, shared by writers and readers alike. Their experience as Christians has taught them that conscious life is dormant till it is called out in active love and fellowship. Cf. Augustine (Tract. v. 10), “Nemo interroget hominem; redeat unusquisque ad cordem suum: si ibi inuenerit charitatem fraternam, securus sit quia transiit a morte ad uitam.”

ὁ μὴ�Rev_10 sahw cop. syr. aeth.): τους αδελφους 15.


ο] + δε Ia 256 (24).

15. πᾶς ὁ μισῶν κ.τ.λ.] Cf. Aug. (Tract. 5:10). “Non movet manus ad occidendum hominem, homicida iam tenetur a Domino; uiuit ille, et iste iam interfector iudicatur.” Hatred is the moving cause, whether or not the occasion for its final display has presented itself and been used. Cf. Matthew 5:23, Matthew 5:24.

ἀνθρωποκτόνος] Cf. John 8:44, the only other instance of its use in the N.T. It is, of course, used here in its literal sense of actual murderer, not of the murderer of the soul.


οἴδατε] It is axiomatic. Their natural consciousness as men will tell them that the higher life cannot be communicated as a permanent possession to such an one. The writer does not avoid the use of irony when it suits his purpose.

μένουσαν] Cf. John 1:32, John 1:33, John 1:5:38, John 1:6:27; 1 John 2:14, 1 John 2:24; 2 John 1:2. The word suggests that eternal life is both “a continuous power and a communicated life.” Wohlenberg’s attempt to connect the word μένουσαν with the following verse (Μένουσαν ἐν τούτῳ ἐγνώκαμεν τὴν�1 John 2:19, 1 John 2:21, etc.; and see Moulton’s note, Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. i. p. 245 f. Such phrases as χωρὶς πάσης ὑπερθέσεως show that “vernacular usage” only needed to be extended “under the encouragement of a similar idiom in Hebrew.” But so far as the evidence goes it would seem that there has been “extension” in the Semitic direction. The construction is not found in the Gospel.




αυτου] εαυτου B

οιδατε] οιδαμεν Ic 114 (335) sahwb boh.: pr. ουκ Ia δ505 (69).

πας 2o] + ο Ib δ370 (1149).

εν αυτω B K al. plu. Thphyl. Oec.] εν εαυτω א A L C P al. 30.

αιωνιον] om. Ic 116. 114 ( - ).

μενουσαν] om. sahd.

16-18. Description of true love, and exhortation to its practice. The essence of love was manifested once for all, finally and completely, when the Christ gave His life for men. We know what true love really is in the light of that example. And we cannot but recognize our obligation to follow it, if need be even to the last sacrifice, for our brethren. There is, however, a simple test by which we can know at once whether we are at least on the road which leads to the possession of true love. He who is unwilling to give of his external possessions, where need is obvious and well known to him, has not even begun to cherish true love for God in his soul. True love proves itself in action. It cannot stop short at expressions of which the tongue is the instrument. It must show by actual deeds that the words in which it is professed correspond to real feelings of the heart.

16. ἐν τούτῳ] The reference is to what follows, according to the writer’s usual custom, especially when a clause with ὅτι follows.

τὴν�

ἐκεῖνος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν] He for us: the Christ, the Son of God, for such as we are. The contrast is heightened by the order of the words. There are no depths of sacrifice to which true love will not stoop.τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἔθηκεν] Neither of the O.T. phrases, which are usually quoted, שׂים נפשׁ בכפו and השׂים נפשׁ אשׁם (Isaiah 53:10), afford a sufficiently close parallel to suggest an interpretation. The additions, of בכפו in the one case, and אשׁם in the other, determine the exact sense of שׂים.The Rabbinic phrases quoted by Schlatter (on John 10:11) all have נתן. The usage of the Fourth Gospel is a safer guide. Cf. John 10:11, John 10:15, John 10:17, John 10:18, John 10:13:John 10:37-38, John 10:15:13, and also 13:4, τίθησι τὰ ἱμάτια. The latter passage suggests the idea of laying aside, as a garment is put off, which agrees well with the use of the phrase in John 10:18. The usage of τιθέναι in John 2:10, τὸν καλὸν οἶνον τίθησιν, can hardly help us to determine its meaning here. The phrase does not occur again in the Johannine Books. The Latin translation “dat” in John 10:11 is, of course, derived from the Western variant δίδωσιν (א D). Elsewhere the Vulgate uses ponere. Spitta’s suggestions (ZNTW x. [1909] p. 78), that the phrase is used rightly in vv. 11, 15, in the sense of risking or staking his life for the sheep, and taken up in a different sense (of giving, or laying down) in the later interpolation of vv. 17, 18, is worthy of consideration, but it has perhaps been influenced by the Hebrew phrase, where the meaning, as has been pointed out, is determined by the added בכפו. If the distinction is to be maintained, the present verse agrees with the “later” passage.


καὶ ἡμεῖς κ.τ.λ.] It is not clear whether this clause is added to the first clause, ἐκεῖνος… ἔθηκεν, and governed by ὅτι, or is to be regarded as a consequence of the example set by the Christ. The obligation, which all good men recognize, to sacrifice their lives, if need be, for others, may be part of the means whereby we learn what true love is. Such a κοινὴ ἐννοία of good men throws the clearest light on the nature of love. But the obligation, as felt by “us,” may also be regarded as the consequence of what Christ has done. When once the perfect example has been set, the duty of all disciples to follow it is clear. Grammatically the first is preferable. But the use of καί in this Epistle is wide. The writer always thinks as a Hebrew, and this is reflected in his forms of expression. The second interpretation is therefore grammatically admissible. And it has the advantage of far greater simplicity and directness. The emphatic ἡμεῖς, moreover, is in favour of it.

εγνωκαμεν] εγνωμενIc 551 (216): γινωσκομενIc 114 (335).

την αγαπην] + του θεου 52 vg. (am. demid. harl.) arm-codd. boh- codd.: + ipsius m tol. Vig.: + eius, Ambrst.

την ψυχην αυτου εθηκεν υπερ ημων Ia 200f (83).

ημων] υμωνIa 175, 502 (319) Ib 398, 78, δ507, δ368 (69).

υπερ των αδελφων] post ψυχας Ia δ457 (209) Ib δ507 (241) Ic 551 (216) K δ200 (922).

εθηκεν] τεθεικεν 4. 31. 40: τεθηκεν Ia 264. δ505 (233): ponit ante την φυχ. αυτου31*.

υπερ] περι P.

των αδελφων] αλληλων boh. Ic 114 (335): + ημωνIa 101. 7 (40).

θειναι א A B C P 5. 15. 26. 27. 29. 68] τιθεναι K. L al. pler. Thphyl. Oec.

17. The practical test. Wider obligations may be acknowledged with all readiness in theory, where a more homely test reveals the extent of a man’s failure. The writer is always enforcing the truth that philanthropy begins at home. Cf. Philo, De Post. Cain, 86 (Cohn, ii. 18), τί γὰρ ὄφελος λέγειν μὲν τὰ βέλ τιστα, διανοεῖσθαι δὲ καὶ πράττειν τὰ αἴσχιστα; σοφιστῶν οὗτος ὸτρόπος.

τὸν βίον τοῦ κόσμου] Well paraphrased in Augustine’s version, facultates mundi. Βίος always denotes life in its external aspects. Cf. 2:16, ἡ�Mark 12:44 ( = Luke 21:4); 1 Timothy 2:2; 2 Timothy 2:4; and for the verb, 1 P. 4:2, τὸν ἐπίλοιπον ἐν σαρκὶ βιῶσαι χρόνον. Cf. also Acts 26:4, τὴν… βίωσίν μου ἐκ νεότητος. Consequently, βίος is rare in the N.T., while ζωή occurs more than a hundred times.

θεωρῇ] Behold: not merely cast a passing glance, but see, long enough to appreciate and understand the circumstances of the case. Cf. John 20:6; Acts 4:13; Revelation 11:11 f.

χρείαν ἔχοντα] Cf. 2:27; and for the use of the phrase absolutely, Mark 2:25; Acts 2:45, Acts 2:4:35; Ephesians 4:28.


κλείσῃ] Cf. Psa_76. (77.) 10, ἢ συνέξει τοὺς οἰκτειρμοὺς αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ὀργῇ αὐτοῦ; cf. also Deuteronomy 15:7, ἐὰν γένηται ἐν σοὶ ἐνδεής … οὐκ�

τὰ σπλάγχνα] Cf. Proverbs 12:10, τὰ δὲ σπλάγχνα τῶν�Psa_24. (25.) 6, and in Isaiah (47:6) by ἔλεος. See Lightfoot’s note on Philippians 1:8. The classical distinction between σπλάγχνα and ἔντερα (not in N.T.) is not to be found in Hebrew forms of expression.


τοῦ θεοῦ] The context determines that the genitive must be objective. Cf. 5:3.

εχη] εχει τιςIc 258 (56).

θεωρη] θεωρει K L 29. 40 alplus 20.

αυτου (? 1o)] om. Isa_7.


κλειση] κλεισει L 13 al.

απ αυτου] om. Ib δ180 (1319).

εν] επIa 70 (505) Ib 253f (2) K 453 δ401 (62).

18. τεκνία] The appeal is made, as usual, on the ground of the common spiritual nature which they all share.

ἐν ἔργῳ καὶ�Rev_15 cat. m am. syr. arm. Clem. Dam. Aug.] + μου K L al. longe. plur. vg. (fu. demid. etc.) syr. sah. cop. aeth. Thphyl. Oec.


αγαπωμεν] αγαπατεH δ6 (Ψ).

λογω] pr. ενH δ6 (Ψ)Ia 101. 264. 65 (40): pr. τωIa 175, 502 (319).

μηδε]και א syr. aeth.τη γλωσση A B C K L al. plu. Dam. Thphyl.] om. τη א P al. sat. mu. cat. arm. Clem. Oec

εν] om. K al. permu. cat. Dam. Oec.

αληθεια] + quia sumus ex ueritate sahd.

19 f. The consciousness that their love for God is true and active, assures men of their fellowship with God, that they are “of the truth.” The choice of phrase is determined by the language of ver. 18. Practically it is equivalent to εἶναι ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ. And the consciousness of this fellowship brings assurance, in spite of what the conscience has to tell of thoughts and deeds which mar its realization. Even before God, in whose presence no falsehood can stand, the Christian can “still” his heart: for the all-knowing God is greater than the accusing conscience. Knowing all, He knows that the love is true, and is the determining element of the character, notwithstanding the many failures which interrupt its complete realization. His knowledge is absolute. He can see the whole, and He has accepted the love which is real and active as sufficient ground for admitting the man to His fellowship. Cf. John 21:17, πάντα σὺ οἶδας, σὺ γινώσκεις ὅτι φιλῶ σε. The accusations of conscience are stilled in the presence of omniscient holiness, which is perfect love.


At first sight the omniscience of God may seem a strange ground for the confidence of men, who are conscious of sins that interrupt their fellowship with God. “If as natural men we shrink from allowing our neighbours to see into our heart, much more are we terrified at the thought that the holy God penetrates to the depth of our hearts” (Rothe). But in the case of Christians, who are conscious of the relationship to God in which they stand, it is otherwise. Their security lies in the fact that this relationship has been establislhed by one who knows all the circumstances of the case. There is no fear of alteration in the light of fuller knowledge.

But how can such confidence be said to be derived from the practice of love, in the sphere in which it is first possible, i.e. in love of the brethren? The answer is that in such activities they have learned to know of a love, other than that based on physical kinship, which is not merely the “cloak of self-seeking”; and the more clearly its true character is recognized, the more clearly it is seen that such love is of the very Being of God. So the all-knowing “were the all-loving too.” The surest ground of our confidence is the knowledge that “our help standeth in the name of the Lord,” who is love.Thus the general meaning of these verses is fairly plain. They have always been recognized as touching the very heart of the Christian faith. The exact interpretation, however, of each clause is a matter of considerable difficulty. The meaning of πείσομεν is disputed, as also of the first and second ὅτι. The difficulties caused by the sequence of two clauses introduced by ὅτι have led to the removal of the second ὅτι from some texts.

(1) If πείσομεν is taken in its usual sense of “persuade,” (α) the fact of which we “persuade our heart” may be left unstated, to be gathered from the context. If so, we must supply “that we are of the truth” from the preceding verse. This is grammatically unobjectionable, and gives an adequate sense. Even though our heart (conscience) convicts us of sins which separate us from God, we can nevertheless persuade ourselves that we are really of the truth, because God is greater than our hearts, in knowledge and in love, and has recognized our position, in spite of, or perhaps we should say in consequence of, the fact that He knows all, and so is qualified to judge. (β) The fact may be found in the second clause, “that God is greater than our heart.” Against this the objection is hardly valid that the fact is too obvious to be disputed. The question is not of the objective truth of the fact, but of our subjective apprehension of it, under circumstances which make its realization peculiarly difficult (ἐὰν καταγινώσκῃ κ.τ.λ.). On the other hand, Dr. Westcott’s objection would seem to hold good, that “the consciousness of a sincere love of the brethren does not furnish the basis of the conviction of the sovereign greatness of God.” (γ) If the first suggestion (α) is felt to be unsatisfactory, there is some authority for the absolute use of πείθειν in the sense of “still, ” assure, appease, tranquillize. Cf. Matthew 28:14, καὶ ἐὰν�John 2:5, John 14:13, John 15:16. If we take into consideration the author’s habit of throwing forward for the sake of emphasis a word or words which stand outside the general construction of his sentence, we may feel justified in assuming that he has here made use of an accusatival clause (of respect) in rather loose connection with the rest of the verse. For the use of ὅ τι ἄν (ἐάν), cf. Mark 6:23; Luke 10:35.


In what has been said, it has, of course, been assumed that the omniscience of God is alleged as a ground for confidence not for fear (if our own heart condemn us, the judgment of omniscient justice must be far more severe). The opposite view has been stoutly maintained by Wohlenberg in the series of articles referred to above (Neue Kirkliche Zeitschrift, 1902, p. 636 ff.), and also by Findlay (Expositor, November, 1905). Cf. also the comment of the Catena (Cramer, viii. 128), ἐάν,φησίν, ἁμάρτωμεν οὐ λανθάνομεν, οὐδὲ διαφευξόμεθα· εἰ γὰρ ἁμαρτάνοντες τὴν καρδίαν ἑαυτῶν λαθεῖν (? ins. οὐ) δυνάμεθα,�Rev_5 vg. cop. syr. Clem.] pr. et sah. boh-cod.: om. א C K L P al. longe. plu. cat. syr. aeth. Dam. Thphyl. Oec. Aug.: αλλ εκ τουτου69 ascr.


γνωσομεθα א A B C P 6. 7. 15. 18. 22. 27. 29. 33. 36. 40. 66**. 68. 69. 137 ascr jscr cat. sah. cop. arm. Clem. Dam.] γινωσκομεν K L al. pler. vg. syr. Thphyl. Oec. Aug.

εσμεν] εστιIa 158 (395).

πεισομεν] πεισωμεν 5. 27. 29. 69 ascr al. fere.10 Thphyl.

την καρδιαν] A* B 66** sah. boh. syr. aeth. Aug.] τας καρδιας א A2 C K L P al. fere. omn. cat. vg. arm. syr. Thphyl. Oec.

εαν] αν A al. pauc.

καταγινωσκη ημων] post καρδια Ib 469 (215).

καταγινωσκη] καταγινωσκει L 13 100. 106. 107*. Rev_5.


οτι2o א B C K L al. plu. cat. syr.] om. A 13 33. 34. 63 dscr (vg. sahbw cop. arm. aeth. Oec. Aug. non exprimunt).

μειζων] μειζον K.

εστιν] om. Ia 252-δ 459 55 (391) Ib 209f (386).

θεος] κυριος C.

ημων 2o] om. arm-ed.

παντα] pr. τα Ia 261. 106. 216 (142).

21 ff. If our conscience acquits us, the result is a feeling of joyful confidence in the sight of God, and the consciousness that our prayers are answered, because of our obedience and willing service.

ἀγαπητοί] Cf. 2:7, 3:2, one of the writer’s favourite forms of address, and frequent in this second part of the Epistle, in which the main topic is love (4:1, 7, 11).

ἐὰν κ.τ.λ.] The clause is most naturally interpreted in its widest sense, regarded neither as an antithesis to ver. 20 nor as a continuation of it. It includes all cases in which the verdict of the conscience is favourable, both those in which there has been no condemnation, and those in which assurance has been gained in spite of the condemnation of the heart, from the thought of the greatness and omniscience of God.ἡ καρδία μὴ καταγινώσκῃ] Contrast the order of ver. 20. The stress is here laid on the faculty which passes judgment. The writer follows his usual custom of stating a principle absolutely, without considering the modifications which become necessary when it is applied to the individual case. In so far as the conscience passes a verdict of acquittal, the results stated necessarily follow. And the statement is made in the most absolute form, “if the heart do not condemn,” though ἡμῶν has naturally been supplied in many texts, after καρδία and again after καταγινώσκῃ. The reading of B (ἔχει for ἔχομεν), which makes the heart the subject of the apodosis as well as of the protasis, is interesting. The form of ver. 20, however, makes it improbable that this is the original text.

παρρησίαν] Cf. ver. 14 and note. Boldness and confidence are the ideas which the word generally suggests, while here that of freedom of intercourse in “speaking with God” in prayer is prominent. The phrase denotes, of course, the boldness and freedom from restraint with which the children can approach their Father always, rather than the clear conscience and confidence with which they can await the verdict of the Judge on the Last Day.

αγαπητοι] αδελφοι א.

εαν] αν A.

η καρδια A B 13 27. 30. 66**. 113 fu. Or. Dam. Aug.]+ ημων א C K L al. pler. cat. vg. (am. demid. harl. tol.) arm. syr. sah. cop. aeth. Or. Dam. Thphyl. Oec. cat. Cyp. Did.

μη] om. Ia 397 (96) Ib δ206* (242).

καταγινωσκη B C 68. Or.] καταγινωσκει Α L 13. 100. 106 Rev_3 scr al. aliq. Dam.: + ημων א A K L al. pler. cat. vg. sah. cop. syr. arm. aeth. Or. Dam. Did.


εχομεν] εχωνεν13 al. pauc. Dam.: εχει B 29.

22. The second result of the favourable verdict. All requests are granted which can be put forward in the freedom of intercourse which has been described. For the conditions which make it possible are obedience to the Divine commands, and willing and active serving in doing whatever is known to be according to His will. Every true prayer is the expression of the desire to obey and to do the will in those matters with which the request is concerned. We may compare the noble Jewish saying, “Do His Will as if it were thine, that He may do thy will as if it were His.”

The two clauses express the two duties of obedience and willing service. True obedience to the Will of God must become spontaneous before it is made perfect.τὰ�John 8:29, οὐκ�Acts 12:3, Acts 6:2). Cf. the Pauline εὐάρεστος, Ephesians 5:10, δοκιμάζοντες τί ἐστιν εὐάρεστον τῷ κυρίῳ: Colossians 3:20, τοῦτο γὰρ εὐάρεστόν ἐστιν ἐν κυρίῳ. Cf. Hebrews 13:21, ποιῶν ἐν ἡμῖν τὸ εὐάρεστον ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

For the general teaching of this verse on the subject of prayer, cf. Mark 11:24, διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν, πάντα ὅσα προσεύχεσθε καὶ αἰτεῖσθε, πιστεύετε ὅτι ἐλάβετε, καὶ ἔσται ὑμῖν: John 14:12, John 14:13, John 14:16:23, John 14:9:31. The most interesting parallel is to be found in Job 22:23-27, of which the present verse may contain reminiscences, as Holtzmann suggests; cf. especially ver. 26 f. εἶτα παρρησιασθήσῃ ἐναντίον Κυρίου,�


ο εαν] οτι ανK 500 (45).

εαν] αν B 31. 42. 105 ascr Dam.

αιτωμεν A B C K L al. omnuid] αιτωμεθα א Or.: αιτησομενIa 173, δ454 (156).

λαμβανομεν] accipiemus vg. boh. arm-codd. sah. syr. Cyp. Lcif.

απ] א A B C 5. 13 27. 29. 33. 34. 68. 69. 137 ascr 8pe Dam.] παρ K L al. pler. cat. Or. Dam. Thphyl. Oec.

τηρουμεν B C L al. plu. Dam.] τηρωμεν א A K 40. 98 Rev_4.


23, 24. Transition to the other command (of right belief), the fulfilment of which is also a sign that our religious standing is right. These two verses are clearly transitional, and serve to emphasize what is essential in the matter of obedience to His commands, and so to lead the way to the second statement of the Christological thesis, the necessity of a true confession and right belief. The commandments are summed up in the One Command, of belief and love. The following of the Christ, shown most clearly and characteristically in active love of men, is the essential condition of fellowship. And this fellowship is mutual. We abide in Him. He abides in us. The human side and the Divine are both essential parts of the Christian standing. Real fellowship issues in obedience. He who abides in Him keeps His commandments, not as a series of literal precepts, but as a life-giving principle (τηρεῖν, as contrasted with φυλάσσειν). And we are assured of the reality of the fellowship by the presence of the Spirit which He has given us. In these transitional verses three new points are introduced: (1) The mention of πιστεύειν, here for the first time used in the Epistle. (2) The emphasis on the Divine side of the fellowship, αὐτὸς ἐν ἡμῖν. (3) The mention of the Spirit.(1) The introduction of the idea of “believing” is as abrupt here as it is in the partly parallel passage in the Gospel, 6:29, τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ ἔργον τοῦ θεοῦ ἵνα πιστεύητε εἰς ὃν�

ἵνα πιστεύσωμεν] The ἵνα is definitive, as elsewhere in the Epistles and Gospel where it is preceded by αὕτη. The aorist is probably the true text. As contrasted with the present πιστεύωμεν, which was not unnaturally substituted for it, it lays stress, not on the initial act of faith (this is only one of the uses of the aorist, and not the most frequent), but on the whole process conceived as an unity. The conviction is regarded as one fact, not as a continuous process continuously exercising its influence on men. The aorist emphasizes the single fact, without in any way suggesting the length of time occupied in its manifestation. It can quite naturally sum up the action, or actions, of a period or of a lifetime, which it regards as “one act at once.”τῷ ὀνόματι] The construction (c. dat.) expresses conviction of the truth of a statement rather than devotion to a person (εἰς c. acc.). The expression, therefore, denotes conviction that Christ really is that which His name implies Him to be. It would, of course, be a serious misstatement of the facts to state that this is all, or the chief part, of what the writer means by πιστεύειν. Cf. Scott, The Fourth Gospel, p. 267, “It is evident, even to a superficial reader, that the ‘believing’ so constantly insisted on by John is something much narrower and poorer than the Pauline ‘faith.’ It implies not so much an inward disposition of trust and obedience, as the acceptance of a given dogma. To ‘believe’ is to grant the hypothesis that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Son of God,”—a very misleading statement, somewhat modified, however, by the succeeding paragraphs. But by using this particular construction (c. dat.) the writer does in certain cases emphasize this particular meaning. When he defines the “work of God” in John 6:29, he is careful to use a different expression (ἵνα πιστεύητε εἰς ὃν�

τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ] “A compressed creed,” the complete revelation of the Father, the man who lived on earth a true human life, the promised Messiah who fulfilled the expectations of Jews and of all men. Cf. John 20:31. It is only in living out the commands of such an one that men can realize the fulness of their nature.


καὶ�

καθὼς ἔδωκεν] The new command was to love according to a new standard, καθὼς ἠγάπησα ὑμᾶς, John 13:34. The references to the discourses of the Upper Chamber are very obvious throughout these verses.


πιστευσωμεν B K L al. pler. cat. Oec.] πιστευωμεν א A C al. 25 fere. (-σομεν 99. 100) Thphyl.

τω … Χριστου א B C K L al. pler. vg. etc.] τω ον. αυτου ιῡ χω̄ A 43 (uid.): τω υιω αυτου ιῡ χω̄ 3. 13. 15. 18. 26. 37. 67. 81 dscr al. pauc. aeth.

τω ονοματι] εις το ονομα 5. 58lect.

ιησου] pr. του κῡ Isa_65 (317).


εδωκεν] post εντοληνIa 70f (505) Ib 472 (312).

εντολην] post ημιν Ia 170, 254 (303) Ib δ 206(242) Ic 174 (252).

ημιν א A B C al. mu. cat. vg. etc. Thphyl. Oec-cod. Lcif.] om. K L h. al. fere. 60 Oec. ed.

24. καὶ ὁ τηρῶν κ.τ.λ.] Cf. John 14:10, etc., and the latter part of 17. The chief point in dispute in this verse is the reference of the pronouns. At first sight the reference to Christ’s command in ver. 23 would suggest that in this verse αὐτοῦ, etc., must be referred to Christ. But in ver. 22 the ἐντολαί are spoken of as God’s commands, and the αὐτοῦ of ver. 23 must refer to God (τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ). It is therefore more natural to interpret them in the same way in this verse. Cf. 4:13, where the reference must be to God. It is true that in the Last Discourses μένειν is generally connected with Christ, but cf. 17:21, ἵνα αὐτοὶ ἐν ἡμῖν ὦσιν. It is in Christ that fellowship with God is realized.


τηρεῖν] Cf. the note on 2:4.

αὐτὸς ἐν αὐτῷ] See the note above (2). The divine side of the relation is brought out in ch. 4.

ἐν τούτῳ] Either (1) ἐν τῷ τηρεῖν τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ, in the fact of our obedience to His commands we realize His fellowship with us, or (2) ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος, the gift of the Spirit, of which we are conscious, assures us of the fact of fellowship. The repetition of the verse, in a slightly altered form, in 4:13 makes it almost necessary to interpret the phrase thus.

οὗ] An ordinary instance of attraction. The genitive is not partitive. With the partitive genitive S. John commonly has ἐκ: 2 John 1:4; John 1:24, John 7:40, etc.


ἔδωκεν] emphasizes the fact. In 4:13 the permanent effects of the gift are brought into prominence.

και 3:0 אc A B C K L al. pler. vg. syr. cop. rell.] om. א* 18. 38. 80. 95**. 137 cscr Rev_2 scr sah. Aug.


εν τουτω] εκ τουτουIc 114 (335).

εν ημιν μενει Ia δ 180(1319) Ic 551 (216).

ημιν 2:0 A B C L al. pler. cat. fu. Bas.] post εδωκεν א K 22. 25. 31. 34. 38. 42. 57. 68. 69. 80. 137 ascr alplus 10 vg. (am. demid. harl. tol.) sah. cap. syr. arm. Ath. Cyr. Thphyl. Oec. Aug.













Ψ̠δ6. Athos. Lawra 172 (β52) (viii.-ix.).

אԠא. δ2. Codex Sinaiticus. Petersburg (iv.).

B δ1. Codex Vaticanus. Rome. Vat. Gr. 1209 (iv.).

C δ3. Codex Ephraimi. Paris. Bibl. Nat. 9 (v.); 1 John 1:1 τους—(2) εωρα[κομεν]. 4:2 εστιν—(3 John 1:2) ψυχη.


L α5. Rome. Angel. 39 (ol. A. 2. 15) (ix.).

P P. α3. Petersburg. Bibl. Roy. 225 (ix.). Palimpsest. 1 John 3:2 του.


A δ4. Codex Alexandrinus. London. Brit. Mus. Royal Libr. I. D. v.-viii. (v.).

13 13 ( = 33gosp.). δ48. Paris. Bibl. Nat. Gr. 14 (ix.-x.).

m m. Liber de divinis Scripturis sive Speculum, ed. Weihrich. Vienna Corpus xii., 1887. The following verses are quoted: 1 John 1:2, 1 John 1:3, 1 John 1:8, 1 John 1:9, 1 John 1:2:9, 1 John 1:10, 21, 23, 1 John 1:3:1 John 1:7-10, 16-18, 1 John 1:4:1, 1 John 1:9, 15, 18, 1 John 1:5:1, 1 John 1:6-8, 1 John 1:10, 20, 21; 2 John 1:7, 2 John 1:10, 2 John 1:11.


1 Cf. Philo, De Ebriet. 30 (Cohn, ii. p. 176), τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ σπέρματα.

2 οἱ πιστεύοντες αὐτῷ ἄνθρωποι ἐν οἷς οἰκεῖ τὸ παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ σπέρμα, ὁ λόγος.

h. h. Fleury Palimpsest, ed. S. Berger, paris, 1889, and Buchanan, Old Latin Biblical Texts, Oxford (v.). 1Jn 1:8-20.

25 25. α103. London. Brit. Mus. Harley 5537 (a.d. 1087). 2 John 1:5 missing.

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on 1 John 3". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/1-john-3.html. 1896-1924.
 
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