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Thursday, June 20th, 2024
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Bible Commentaries
1 John 2

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


I write you this. “I write to you that God will keep his promise and do what is right by forgiving your sins. But you must not take this as permission to sin, because you must not sin! Instead, you must try to be holy!” It is a paradox that the Christian lives in confident desperation! John speaks of two kinds of sin (1 John 5:16-17). Even though a Christian is set free from sin and put right with God through the imputed righteousness of Christ (Romans 8:1-4), still he must continually be at war with his (her) human nature (2 Peter 1:10; 2 Peter 3:17). See the Introduction to this Letter. My Children. John writes with the love of a father to his children. But if anyone does sin. In the first chapter John shows that no Christian is completely without sin. Our sin is rebellion against God! But if we do sin, betrayed by our weak human nature, there is a way for Christians to be forgiven! Who pleads for us. Christ is our Helper, the Holy Spirit is another Helper! Both plead with God for us (Romans 8:26), but only Jesus brings God and men together as a mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).

Verse 2


Is the means. This is a form of the same Greek word used to describe the place where sins are forgiven (see note on Hebrews 9:5). “Our Helper does not plead that we are innocent, but pleads the MERIT of his crucified body as the means of our forgiveness! Knowing this teaches us that sin and forgiveness are not make believe!!! The sins of all men. “So great is the merit of Christ-on-the-cross, that whoever is thirsty may accept the water of life as a gift (Revelation 22:17).

Verse 3


If we obey. Some said as soon as you knew there was a True God, you had eternal life, regardless of how you lived. John is saying that the only way to identify one who does know God, is by THEIR OBEYING God’s commands. Compare James 2:19 and note.

Verse 4


If someone says. Talk is cheap! Actions really show what a person does in fact believe! The one who claims to know God, but does not obey God’s commands, proves both that he is a liar and that he does not know the truth of God.

Verse 5


But whoever obeys. “To obey is to develop this love by which we come to know Him and be like Him.” Obedience is both the result and the proof of love. This is how. “Obedience is how we can know we live in fellowship with God!”

Verse 6


Should live just as Jesus Christ did. This is what obedience means. Compare John 15:4 and note, also note on the third use of law at the end of Romans 3:31.

Verse 7


This command. “When I tell you that by obeying the word of Christ, the love for God is made perfect in you, I am writing you an old command. Moses spoke it (Deuteronomy 18:15), and God spoke it at Christ’s baptism (Matthew 3:17) and transfiguration (Matthew 17:5). We have told you about this from the beginning.” [Johnson connects this with John 13:34-35.]

Verse 8


However. “This command I write to you to live just as Jesus Christ did, is new. Its truth is seen in Christ as he laid down his life for men (mankind), and its truth is also seen in you as you live just as he did.” For the darkness of paganism and Judaism is passing away, and the real light of Christ’s teaching and example is already shining and teaches you to lay down your lives for your brothers [includes sisters] as He did.

Verse 9


Yet hates his brother. “He says this and thinks he is in the light, but he has never seen the light! it has never shone on him, and he still stands in darkness!” [This does not contradict Luke 14:25. Compare John 12:25.]

Verse 10


Whoever loves his brother. “This one not only sees the light, but stays in it!!!” And so there is nothing in him. MacKnight says; “Schismatics and heretics, on pretense of having attained to a greater knowledge of the truth, and a greater purity of conduct than others, think themselves authorized to hate and persecute those who differ from them in opinion and practice.” John is saying that one who loves his brother will not act that way! [Johnson takes this as the NIV has translated it. The meaning does not change.]

Verse 11


But whoever. “The one who hates his brother is blind, and does not know he is blind. The darkness of sin and error prevents him from being able to see what is right, and it kills the good impulses which he might have. There is no neutral ground between love and hate. Love is actively doing good to others. Anything less than this is hate, just as indifference to the Good News is effective rejection of it (Matthew 22:5-7).

Verse 12


Because your sins are forgiven. “You are not unbelievers and I do not mean to doubt the sincerity of your faith. It is because I know your sins are forgiven by the merit of Christ’s name (see note on Acts 2:38), that I write to you.”

Verse 13


Fathers. “I write to you mature Christians (both men and women) because you do know the Eternal Jesus the Christ.” Young men. “I write to you less-mature Christians (both men and women), because you have already defeated the Evil One and resisted apostasy from the faith.”

Verse 14


Children. [The chapter and verse divisions date from the 16th century.] “I write to you new Christians (both men and women), because you know the Father and can say, ‘Father, my Father’ (Romans 8:15).” I write to you. In the Hebrew idiom, John repeats what he has just said to emphasize it!

Verse 15


Do not love the world. Compare James 4:4 and note. John does not mean our material universe, because this world is God’s creation and is good (Genesis 1:31 : 1 Timothy 4:4). Neither is it wicked people themselves, since God loves the world (John 3:16) of people whom he has created. John speaks of the world or cosmos of darkness!!! Human society is organized against God, and therefore against the Christian. Christians must be careful about their loyalties, and not allow themselves to oppose God! Compare Revelation 13:14-18; Revelation 18:4 and notes. Everything belongs to the Christian and is his to use (1 Corinthians 3:21-23), but the whole world becomes an idol for the one who does not ACTIVELY LOVE God!

Verse 16


Everything. John describes the world of 1 John 2:15 to show what he means. What the sinful self desires. A passionate desire for forbidden things. Augustine thought it meant immoral desires. John does not mean our physical bodies or our natural desires. He means we sin when Satan tempts us to use these natural desires in evil ways. Compare James 1:14-15; Galatians 5:16-18 and notes. What people see and want. Greed for luxury, houses, clothes, etc. The list is long! That people are so proud of. Boasting about titles, rank, power, wealth, etc. See how Christ described it in Luke 18:9-12; Matthew 23:5-7. These three factors can also be seen in the temptation of Jesus. See Matthew 4:1-11 and notes.

Verse 17


Is passing away. This is the cycle of Babylon that we see in Rev. ch 18. See notes there. Those who make the things of this world their “god” are doomed to failure! Wealth, power, fame, honor, and such things, are all passing away continuously. People hoard money, and inflation steals its value. See Luke 16:1-9 and notes. But he who does. “You find eternal life by making yourself a living sacrifice to God!” See Romans 12:1-2 and notes.

Verse 18


The end is near! We find this sort of statement made again and again in the New Testament. We live in the last days (Acts 2:17 and note), but these have been continuing for almost two thousand years now. What John and the others are saying, is that we live in a “last-hour situation.” where it is possible that Jesus might come at any moment! The Enemy of Christ. The NIV uses the word antichrist, but this word has been distorted by popular usage. Note that John says many have already appeared at the time he writes this!!! Compare what Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12 and notes. The end is near. John was inspired, and it is unlikely he would expect the Lord to come in his lifetime. What John must have in mind is the cycle of Armageddon (Revelation 11:4-14 and notes).

Verse 19


These people. Note that each of these is an enemy of Christ (antichrist). It may be that these people were never really genuine Christians, or it may be that they once actually held the faith they now renounce (compare Hebrews 6:4-6; 1 John 5:16-17). It is plain that they did not LOVE Jesus, and that they left Christ of their own free will. Compare 1 Timothy 1:19-20; 1 Timothy 4:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Jude; Revelation 2:6; Revelation 2:14-15; Revelation 2:20. So that it might be clear. See Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 11:19.

Verse 20


But you have had. All genuine Christians are Spirit-filled (but not all have miraculous powers). See 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Acts 5:32; Romans 8:26 and notes. Some of those to whom John writes would have the miraculous gift of being able to identify what was true from what was false (1 Corinthians 12:10). We have God’s Word in written form to measure and identify truth. See also note on Hebrews 10:29.

Verse 21


I write to you, then. “I am writing this to you, not because you are ignorant of the life of the Logos in human form, but because you do know it! You also know that none of the lies being taught by the false teachers about Christ, form any part of the TRUTH of the Good News.”

Verse 22


Who, then, is the liar? “You can very easily tell who it is that is lying about Jesus Christ the Messiah!!! It is the one who says that Jesus was only human, and not the Christ!” (See Introduction to this Letter.) This one. “Whoever refuses to believe what the Father said about the Son (1 John 5:6 and note), that the man Jesus is the Son, is the Enemy of Christ!!!” If we believe John, there is not one Antichrist, but many Antichrists!!! Everyone who denies the reality of the Logos coming as a human being is an Antichrist! He rejects both. “The one who says Jesus was only human and not divine, is rejecting the Father as well!!!”

Verse 23


For whoever. “Some reject the Son and claim to have the Father. This cannot be true! If you reject the Son, you have also rejected the Father who sent Him!!!” Whoever accepts. “If you accept the Son, you have also accepted the Father who sent Him!!!”

Verse 24


To keep in your hearts. “Be sure to hold firm the truth we taught you about the Logos becoming a human being (John 1:14). In doing this you will keep your fellowship with the Father and the Son (1 John 1:7).”

Verse 25


And this is what. “You will find great happiness and jubilation in that fellowship, because Christ Jesus himself promised to give us eternal life!!!”

Verse 26


I write you this. “I want to warn you about the Enemies of Christ. Be on your guard against them!!! They want to steal your promise!!!”

Verse 27


But as for you. This verse does not teach a continuous revelation (see Hebrews 1:1-2 and notes), nor that we are to be led by an inner light. It teaches that God makes available a means for us to know what is in fact the truth! Some had a gift from the Spirit (see notes on 1 John 2:20), and we have the Scriptures. They are the Spirit’s message to us!!! We obey the Spirit by obeying the New Testament which He produced.


Remain in him. “Do not make the mistake of abandoning Christ!!! Remain in Him and in the Good News, so that we, your teachers, may be full of courage about your salvation when He appears on the Day He comes to judge the world!!!”

Verse 29


You know. “You already know that Christ is righteous. Doing what is right, then, is proof that we are God’s child!!!” See note on 1 John 2:3. The abrupt movement from Christ is righteous to God’s child shows John’s sense of the oneness of the Father and the Son. See John 10:30 and note. See also note on Romans 16:27. The apostles were “Monotheistic-Trinitarians.”

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 John 2". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/1-john-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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