What manner of love (ποταπην αγαπην potapēn agapēn). Qualitative interrogative as in 2 Peter 3:11; Matthew 8:27. Only here in John‘s writings. Originally of what country or race.Hath bestowed (δεδωκεν dedōken). Perfect active indicative of διδωμι didōmi state of completion, “the endowment of the receiver” (Vincent). That we should be called (ινα κλητωμεν hina klēthōmen). Sub-final use of ινα hina with the first aorist passive subjunctive of καλεω kaleō to call or name, as in Matthew 2:23. Children (τεκνα tekna). As in John 1:12 and with an allusion to γεγεννηται gegennētai in 1 John 2:29 in an effort “to restore the waning enthusiasm of his readers, and to recall them to their first love” (Brooke). And such we are (και εσμεν kai esmen). “And we are.” A parenthetical reflection characteristic of John (και νυν εστιν kai nun estin in John 5:25 and και ουκ εισιν kai ouk eisin in Revelation 2:2; Revelation 3:9) omitted by Textus Receptus, though, in the old MSS. Because it knew him not (οτι ουκ εγνω αυτον hoti ouk egnō auton). Second aorist active indicative of γινωσκω ginōskō precisely the argument in John 15:18.
Now (νυν nun). Without waiting for the παρουσια parousia or second coming. We have a present dignity and duty, though there is greater glory to come.It is not yet made manifest (ουπω επανερωτη oupō ephanerōthē). First aorist passive indicative of πανεροω phaneroō For the aorist indicative with ουπω oupō with a future outlook Brooke notes Mark 11:2; 1 Corinthians 8:2; Hebrews 12:4; Revelation 17:10, Revelation 17:12. What we shall be (τι εσομετα ti esometha). Not τινες tines (who), but τι ti (what) neuter singular predicate nominative. “This what suggests something unspeakable, contained in the likeness of God” (Bengel). If he shall be manifested (εαν πανερωτηι ean phanerōthēi). As in 1 John 2:28, which see. The subject may be Christ as in 1 John 3:9, or the future manifestation just mentioned. Either makes sense, probably “it” here better than “he.” Like him (ομοιοι αυτωι homoioi autōi). Αυτωι Autōi is associative instrumental case after ομοιοι homoioi This is our destiny and glory (Romans 8:29), to be like Jesus who is like God (2 Corinthians 4:6). We shall see him even as he is (οπσομετα αυτον κατως εστιν opsometha auton kathōs estin). Future middle indicative of οραω horaō The transforming power of this vision of Christ (1 Corinthians 13:12) is the consummation of the glorious process begun at the new birth (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Set on him (επ αυτωι ep' autōi). Resting upon (επι epi) with locative rather than εις eis looking to, Acts 24:15. That is upon Christ (Brooke), upon God (D. Smith), upon God in Christ (Westcott).Purifieth himself (αγνιζει εαυτον hagnizei heauton). Present active indicative of αγνιζω hagnizō old verb, from αγνος hagnos (pure from contamination), used of ceremonial purifications (John 11:55; Acts 21:24, Acts 21:26 as in Exodus 19:10) and then of personal internal cleansing of heart (James 4:8), soul (1 Peter 1:22), self (here). Cf. Philippians 2:12. the work of both God and man. As he is pure (κατως εκεινος αγνος εστιν kathōs ekeinos hagnos estin). As in 1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:9 εκεινος ekeinos (emphatic demonstrative) refers to Christ. Christ can be termed αγνος hagnos “in virtue of the perfection of his humanity” (Westcott). Our destiny is to be conformed to the image of God in Christ (Romans 8:29).
Sin is lawlessness (η αμαρτια εστιν η ανομια hē hamartia estin hē anomia). The article with both subject and predicate makes them coextensive and so interchangeable. Doing sin is the converse of doing righteousness (1 John 2:29). The present active participle (ποιων poiōn) means the habit of doing sin.
He (εκεινος ekeinos). As in 1 John 3:3; John 1:18.Was manifested (επανερωτη ephanerōthē). Same form as in 1 John 3:2, but here of the Incarnation as in John 21:1, not of the second coming (1 John 2:28). To take away sins (ινα τας αμαρτιας αρηι hina tas hamartias arēi). Purpose clause with ινα hina and first aorist active subjunctive of αιρω airō as in John 1:29. In Isaiah 53:11 we have αναπερω anapherō for bearing sins, but αιρω airō properly means to lift up and carry away (John 2:16). So in Hebrews 10:4 we find απαιρεω aphaireō and Hebrews 10:11 περιαιρεω periaireō to take away sins completely (the complete expiation wrought by Christ on Calvary). The plural αμαρτιας hamartias here, as in Colossians 1:14, not singular (collective sense) αμαρτιαν hamartian as in John 1:29. And in him is no sin (και αμαρτια εν αυτωι ουκ εστιν kai hamartia en autōi ouk estin). “And sin (the sinful principle) in him is not.” As Jesus had claimed about himself (John 7:18; John 8:46) and as is repeatedly stated in the N.T. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26; Hebrews 9:13).
Sinneth not (ουχ αμαρτανει ouch hamartanei). Linear present (linear μενων menōn keeps on abiding) active indicative of αμαρτανω hamartanō “does not keep on sinning.” For μενω menō (abide) see 1 John 2:6; John 15:4-10.Whosoever sinneth (ο αμαρτανων ho hamartanōn). Present (linear) active articular participle like μενων menōn above, “the one who keeps on sinning” (lives a life of sin, not mere occasional acts of sin as αμαρτησας hamartēsas aorist active participle, would mean). Hath not seen him (ουχ εωρακεν αυτον ouch heōraken auton). Perfect active indicative of οραω horaō The habit of sin is proof that one has not the vision or the knowledge (εγνωκεν egnōken perfect active also) of Christ. He means, of course, spiritual vision and spiritual knowledge, not the literal sense of οραω horaō in John 1:18; John 20:29.
Let no man lead you astray (μηδεις πλανατω υμας mēdeis planātō humas). Present active imperative of πλαναω planaō “let no one keep on leading you astray.” See 1 John 1:8; 1 John 2:26. Break the spell of any Gnostic charmer.He that doeth righteousness (ο ποιων την δικαιοσυνην ho poiōn tēn dikaiosunēn). “He that keeps on doing (present active participle of ποιεω poieō) righteousness.” For this idiom with ποιεω poieō see 1 John 1:6; 1 John 3:4. He (εκεινος ekeinos). Christ as in 1 John 3:5.
He that doeth sin (ο ποιων την αμαρτιαν ho poiōn tēn hamartian). “He that keeps on doing sin” (the habit of sin).Of the devil (εκ του διαβολου ek tou diabolou). In spiritual parentage as Jesus said of the Pharisees in John 8:44. When one acts like the devil he shows that he is not a true child of God. Sinneth from the beginning (απ αρχης αμαρτανει ap' archēs hamartanei). Linear progressive present active indicative, “he has been sinning from the beginning” of his career as the devil. This is his normal life and those who imitate him become his spiritual children. That he might destroy (ινα λυσηι hina lusēi). Purpose clause with ινα hina and the first aorist active subjunctive of λυω luō This purpose (εις τουτο eis touto) Jesus had and has. There is eternal conflict, with final victory over Satan certain.
Doeth no sin (αμαρτιαν ου ποιει hamartian ou poiei). Linear present active indicative as in 1 John 3:4 like αμαρτανει hamartanei in 1 John 3:8. The child of God does not have the habit of sin.His seed (σπερμα αυτου sperma autou). God‘s seed, “the divine principle of life” (Vincent). Cf. John 1. And he cannot sin (και ου δυναται αμαρτανειν kai ou dunatai hamartanein). This is a wrong translation, for this English naturally means “and he cannot commit sin” as if it were και ου δυναται αμαρτειν kai ou dunatai hamartein or αμαρτησαι hamartēsai (second aorist or first aorist active infinitive). The present active infinitive αμαρτανειν hamartanein can only mean “and he cannot go on sinning,” as is true of αμαρτανει hamartanei in 1 John 3:8 and αμαρτανων hamartanōn in 1 John 3:6. For the aorist subjunctive to commit a sin see αμαρτητε hamartēte and αμαρτηι hamartēi in 1 John 2:1. A great deal of false theology has grown out of a misunderstanding of the tense of αμαρτανειν hamartanein here. Paul has precisely John‘s idea in Romans 6:1 επιμενωμεν τηι αμαρτιαι epimenōmen tēi hamartiāi (shall we continue in sin, present active linear subjunctive) in contrast with αμαρτησωμεν hamartēsōmen in Romans 6:15 (shall we commit a sin, first aorist active subjunctive).
In this (εν τουτωι en toutōi). As already shown. A life of sin is proof that one is a child of the devil and not of God. This is the line of cleavage that is obvious to all. See John 8:33-39 for the claim of the Pharisees to be the children of Abraham, whereas their conduct showed them to be children of the devil. This is not a popular note with an age that wishes to remove all distinctions between Christians and the world.Doeth not righteousness (ο μη ποιων δικαιοσυνην ho mē poiōn dikaiosunēn). Habit (linear present participle) again of not doing righteousness, as in 1 John 3:7 of doing it. Cf. ποιει poiei and μη ποιων mē poiōn (doing and not doing) in Matthew 7:24, Matthew 7:26. Neither (και kai). Literally, “and,” but with the ellipsis of ουκ εστιν εκ του τεου ouk estin ek tou theou (is not of God). The addition here of this one item about not loving (μη αγαπων mē agapōn) one‘s brother is like Paul‘s summary in Romans 13:9, a striking illustration of the general principle just laid down and in accord with 1 John 2:9-11.
Message (αγγελια aggelia). In N.T. only here and 1 John 1:5, but επαγγελια epaggelia (promise) fifty-one times.From the beginning (απ αρχης ap' archēs). See 1 John 1:1 for this phrase and 1 John 2:7 for the idea. They had the message of love for the brotherhood from the beginning of the gospel and it goes back to the time of Cain and Abel (1 John 3:12). That we should love one another (ινα αγαπωμεν αλληλους hina agapōmen allēlous). Sub-final clause (content of the αγγελια aggelia) with ινα hina and present active subjunctive. John repeats the message of 1 John 2:7.
Of the evil one (εκ του πονηρου ek tou ponērou). Ablative case and the same for neuter and masculine singular, but 1 John 3:10 makes it clear that the reference is to the devil.Slew (εσπαχεν esphaxen). First aorist active indicative of σπαζω sphazō old verb, to slay, to butcher, to cut the throat (Latin jugulare) like an ox in the shambles, in N.T. only here and Rev (Revelation 5:6, Revelation 5:9, Revelation 5:12, etc.). Wherefore? (χαριν τινοσ charin tinos̱). “For the sake of what?” Post-positive preposition (Ephesians 3:1, Ephesians 3:14) except here. The interpretation of the act of Cain (Genesis 4:8.) is an addition to the narrative, but in accord with Hebrews 11:4. Jealousy led to murder.
If (ει ei). Common construction after ταυμαζω thaumazō (wonder) rather than οτι hoti (that, because). Present imperative here with μη mē means “cease wondering.” Note μη ταυμασηις mē thaumasēis (do not begin to wonder) in John 3:6 (an individual case). See this same condition and language in John 15:18.
We know (ημεις οιδαμεν hēmeis oidamen). Emphatic expression of ημεις hēmeis (we) in contrast to the unregenerate world, the Christian consciousness shared by writer and readers.We have passed (μεταβεβηκαμεν metabebēkamen). Perfect active indicative of μεταβαινω metabainō old compound to pass over from one place to another (John 7:3), to migrate, out of death into life. We have already done it while here on earth. Because (οτι hoti). Proof of this transition, not the ground of it. We love the brethren (αγαπωμεν τους αδελπους agapōmen tous adelphous). Just this phrase (plural) here alone, but see 1 John 2:9 for the singular. He that loveth not (ο μη αγαπων ho mē agapōn). “The not loving man,” general picture and picture of spiritual death.
A murderer (αντρωποκτονος anthrōpoktonos). Old compound (Euripides) from αντρωπος anthrōpos (man) and κτεινω kteinō (to kill), a man-killer, in N.T. only here and John 8:44 (of Satan).No (πασου pās- ουδεις ou). According to current Hebraistic idiom = μενουσαν oudeis as in 1 John 2:19, 1 John 2:21. Abiding (μενω menousan). Present active feminine accusative predicate participle of menō “a continuous power and a communicated gift” (Westcott).
Know we (εγνωκαμεν egnōkamen). Perfect active indicative, “we have come to know and still know.” See 1 John 2:3 for “hereby” (εν τουτωι en toutōi).Love (την αγαπην tēn agapēn). “The thing called love” (D. Smith). He for us (εκεινος υπερ ημων ekeinos huper hēmōn). Εκεινος Ekeinos as in 1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:3, 1 John 3:5, υπερ huper here alone in this Epistle, though common in John‘s Gospel (John 10:11, John 10:15; John 11:50, etc.) and in 3 John 1:7. Laid down his life (την πσυχην αυτου ετηκεν tēn psuchēn autou ethēken). First aorist active indicative of τιτημι tithēmi the very idiom used by Jesus of himself in John 10:11, John 10:17. We ought (ημεις οπειλομεν hēmeis opheilomen). Emphatic ημεις hēmeis again. For οπειλω opheilō see 1 John 2:6. Of course our laying down our lives for the brethren has no atoning value in our cases as in that of Christ, but is a supreme proof of one‘s love (John 13:37.; John 15:13), as often happens.
Whoso hath (ος αν εχηι hos an echēi). Indefinite relative clause with modal αν an with ος hos and the present active subjunctive of εχω echō world‘s goods (τον βιον του κοσμου ton bion tou kosmou). “The living or livelihood (not ζωη zōē the principle of life, and see 1 John 2:16 for βιος bios) of the world” (not in the sense of evil or wicked, but simply this mundane sphere).Beholdeth (τεωρει theōrei). Present active subjunctive of τεωρεω theōreō like εχει echei just before. In need (χρειαν εχοντα chreian echonta). “Having need” (present active predicate participle of εχω echō agreeing with αδελπον adelphon). See the vivid picture of a like case in James 2:15. Shutteth up (κλεισηι kleisēi). First aorist (effective) active subjunctive of κλειω kleiō to close like the door, changed on purpose from present tense to aorist (graphic slamming the door of his compassion, σπλαγχνα splagchna common in lxx and N.T. for the nobler viscera, the seat of the emotions, as in Philippians 2:11; Colossians 3:12). Only here in John. How (πως pōs). Rhetorical question like that in James 2:16 (what is the use?). It is practical, not speculative, that counts in the hour of need.
In word, neither with the tongue (λογωι μηδε τηι γλωσσηι logōi mēde tēi glōssēi). Either instrumental or locative makes sense. What John means is “not merely by word or by the tongue.” He does not condemn kind words which are comforting and cheering, but warm words should be accompanied by warm deeds to make real “in deed and in truth” (εν εργωι και αλητειαι en ergōi kai alētheiāi). Here is a case where actions do speak louder than mere words.
Shall we know (γνωσομετα gnōsometha). Future middle indicative of γινωσκω ginōskō at any future emergency, we shall come to know by this (εν τουτωι en toutōi) “that we are of the truth” (οτι εκ της αλητειας εσμεν hoti ek tēs alētheias esmen).Before him (εμπροστεν αυτου emprosthen autou). In the very presence of God we shall have confident assurance (πεισομεν την καρδιαν ημων peisomen tēn kardian hēmōn either we shall persuade our heart or shall assure our heart) because God understands us.
Whereinsoever our heart condemn us (οτι εαν καταγινωσκηι ημων η καρδια hoti ean kataginōskēi hēmōn hē kardia). A construction like οτι αν hoti an whatever, in John 2:5; John 14:13. Καταγινωσκω Kataginōskō occurs only three times in the N.T., here, 1 John 3:21; Galatians 2:11. It means to know something against one, to condemn.Because God is greater than our heart (οτι μειζων εστιν της καρδιας ημων hoti meizōn estin tēs kardias hēmōn). Ablative καρδιας kardias after the comparative μειζων meizōn knoweth all things (και γινωσκει παντα kai ginōskei panta). Just so Peter replied to Jesus in spite of his denials (John 21:17). God‘s omniscience is linked with his love and sympathy. God knows every secret in our hearts. This difficult passage strikes the very centre of Christian truth (Brooke).
If our heart condemn us not (εαν η καρδια μη καταγινωσκηι ean hē kardia mē kataginōskēi). Condition of third class with εαν μη ean mē and present active subjunctive. The converse of the preceding, but not a claim to sinlessness, but the consciousness of fellowship in God‘s presence.Boldness toward God (παρρησιαν προς τον τεον parrēsian pros ton theon). Even in prayer (Hebrews 4:16). See also 1 John 2:28.
Whatsoever we ask (ο εαν αιτωμεν ho ean aitōmen). Indefinite relative clause with modal αν an and the present active subjunctive, like οτι εαν καταγινωσκηι hoti ean kataginōskēi in 1 John 3:20. In form no limitations are placed here save that of complete fellowship with God, which means complete surrender of our will to that of God our Father. See the clear teaching of Jesus on this subject in Mark 11:24; Luke 11:9; John 14:12.; John 16:23 and his example (Mark 14:36; Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42). The answer may not always be in the form that we expect, but it will be better.We receive of him (λαμβανομεν απ αυτου lambanomen ap' autou). See 1 John 1:5 for απ αυτου ap' autou (from him). Because (οτι hoti). Twofold reason why we receive regularly (λαμβανομεν lambanomen) the answer to our prayers (1) “we keep” (τηρουμεν tēroumen for which see 1 John 2:3) his commandments and (2) “we do” (ποιουμεν poioumen we practise regularly) “the things that are pleasing” (τα αρεστα ta aresta old verbal adjective from αρεσκω areskō to please, with dative in John 8:29 with same phrase; Acts 12:3 and infinitive in Acts 6:2, only other N.T. examples) “in his sight” (ενωπιον αυτου enōpion autou common late vernacular preposition in papyri, lxx, and in N.T., except Matthew and Mark, chiefly by Luke and in the Apocalypse), in God‘s eye, as in Hebrews 13:21.
His commandment (η εντολη αυτου hē entolē autou).That (ινα hina). Subfinal use of ινα hina in apposition with εντολη entolē (commandment) and explanatory of it, as in John 15:12 (εντολη ινα entolē hina). See Christ‘s summary of the commandments (Mark 12:28-31; Matthew 22:34-40). So these two points here (1) We should believe (πιστευσωμεν pisteusōmen first aorist active subjunctive according to B K L, though Aleph A C read the present subjunctive πιστευωμεν pisteuōmen) either in a crisis (aorist) or the continuous tenor (present) of our lives. The “name” of Jesus Christ here stands for all that he is, “a compressed creed” (Westcott) as in 1 John 1:3. Note dative ονοματι onomati here with πιστευω pisteuō as in 1 John 5:10, though εις ονομα eis onoma (on the name) in 1 John 5:13; John 1:12; John 2:23; John 3:18. But (2) we should love one another” (αγαπωμεν αλληλους agapōmen allēlous), as he has already urged (1 John 2:7.; 1 John 3:11) and as he will repeat (1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:11.; 2 John 1:5) as Jesus (even as he gave us commandment, that is Christ) had previously done (John 13:34; John 15:12, John 15:17). There are frequent points of contact between this Epistle and the words of Jesus in John 13-17.
And he in him (και αυτος εν αυτωι kai autos en autōi). That is “God abides in him” as in 1 John 4:15. We abide in God and God abides in us through the Holy Spirit (John 14:10, John 14:17, John 14:23; John 17:21). “Therefore let God be a home to thee, and be thou the home of God: abide in God, and let God abide in thee” (Bede).By the Spirit (εκ του πνευματος ek tou pneumatos). It is thus (by the Holy Spirit, first mention in this Epistle and “Holy” not used with “Spirit” in this Epistle or the Apocalypse) that we know that God abides in us. Which (ου hou). Ablative case by attraction from accusative ο ho (object of εδωκεν edōken) to agree with πνευματος pneumatos as often, though not always. It is a pity that the grammatical gender (which) is retained here in the English instead of “whom,” as it should be.
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 John 3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Easter