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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament
1 John 5

 

 

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Verse 1

Whoever believes. For the meaning of faith, see note on James 2:19. Faith reaches out to seize the sacrifice of Christ (Acts 2:38 and note). Whoever loves father. This is another way of saying: love for God = love for brothers (fellow Christians).


Verse 2

This is how. John has just pointed out that if we love a father, we will love his child also. Love for the child grows out of love for the father. Therefore love for our brothers (fellow Christians) really grows out of our love for The Father, and this demonstrates its reality by obeying His commands, one of which is to love one another!


Verse 3

Means that we obey. See John 14:23 and note. We cannot divorce faith from action (James 2:22). Are not too hard. MacKnight says: "To a good man in ordinary circumstances, the keeping of God's commandments is easy, being the delight of his soul." But we should carry this farther, since God's promise is that whatever comes our way will be within our limitations (1 Corinthians 10:13), and we do have a promise of help when we ask for it (Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 3:16-17).


Verse 4

Because. Old and young, Jew and Gentile, men and women, slave and free, - all who are NEW in Christ are able to defeat the world and resist its temptations to break God's law!!! See John 3:3; John 3:6 and notes. This is how. The power of faith to make people able to overcome the world is clearly shown in Hebrews 11. MacDonald writes: "Every common day, he who would be a live child of the living has to fight the God-denying look of things, to believe that, in spite of their look, they are God's and God is in them, and working his saving will in them." This is one of the themes of Revelation (see Introduction to Revelation).


Verse 5

Only he. John's teaching is: that faith in the Logos coming as a human being to be the means to set men free from sin, guilt, and punishment - makes easy the commands of God! Only he (or she) who firmly believes this will be able to conquer the world!!! If you deny the full truth of the Incarnation (Logos becoming human), you rob yourself of the power which the Good News brings with it, which will make you able to defeat the world!!!


Verse 6

Jesus Christ. John expands what he said in 1 John 5:5. Some taught that Jesus was completely human, and that The Christ came down on him at his baptism and left him before his death (see Introduction to this Letter). In saying Jesus Christ, John is saying they were not two discrete personalities, but one FUSION of the Logos as a human being! The one who came. John points back to the Christ of History!!! The First Coming is now a historical event (Galatians 4:4-5). Water of his baptism. The TEV brings out the true meaning here. John wants to prove the Jesus of the Gospels is The Christ, The Son of God. It was no make-believe!!! The Logos as a human being passed through these physical experiences!!! At his baptism, Jesus Christ was publicly identified for his work of "buying men for God." See John 1:29-34. The blood of his death. If Jesus were only human, his death would mean nothing! But as Jesus the Christ, His death was and is the FULFILLMENT of His INFINITE SACRIFICE!!! See Hebrews 2:14; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:26. Not only with the water. John repeats this to make it stronger!!! And the Spirit. The people to whom John wrote knew that the Holy Spirit had testified to the truth of what he is saying in many ways (by miracles, gifts, etc.). The Spirit cannot lie. [We are baptized into Christ's death (Romans 6:3-5); and the Lord's Supper (Holy Meal) points to the blood of His death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).]


Verse 7

There are three witnesses. Two witnesses would establish the truth. John says there are three!!! [A footnote in the NIV says; "Late MSS of the Vulgate add in heaven; the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth." It has been proved that these words are spurious (not genuine), and could not have been a part of the original text. The Expositor's Greek Testament, et. al, discuss this thoroughly.]


Verse 8

And all three agree. The notes on 1 John 5:6 show how they give their witness. The false teachers who claim that Jesus is not The Christ are to be examined in view of the witness which the Spirit, the water, and the blood all agree upon!!! All three agree that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Eternal Logos who became a human being!!!


Verse 9

We believe. "If we are willing to believe the witness men give to establish the truth, how much more should we believe the witness that God gives about his Son!!!" That God has given. God's witness is a matter of record (John 8:18 and note).


Verse 10

So whoever believes. "If you believe God's witness to his Song of Solomon, you believe in the Son of God (Jesus the Christ). You have this witness in your heart because you have reached out through faith to seize Christ and make yourself part of him!!!" But whoever does not believe. "If you do not believe, you are calling God a liar, because you have rejected the truth he declared about his Son!!!"


Verse 11

Is the witness. "This is the truth which God has declared: He has given (made available in Christ-on-the-cross) us eternal life, and this life is in His Son!!!" [Christ-on-the-cross includes the entire historical Jesus.]


Verse 12

Whoever has the Son. "Since life is in the Son (Acts 4:12 and note), you must have the Son to have life!!! To have the Son you must reach out through faith to seize Him and make yourself part of His sacrifice!!!" See Acts 2:40 and note. Whoever does not have. "Since life is in the Song of Solomon, whoever does not have Him, does not have life!!!"


Verse 13

So that you may know. "I write this so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (Logos as a human being) as I mentioned in John 20:31; but even more than this, I write so that you may KNOW that you do have eternal life!" Confidence is necessary to fight against defeatism and certain false doctrines. Note how John's proof progresses: 1 John 1:2; 1 John 2:25; 1 John 3:13-14; 1 John 4:12-13; 1 John 5:11-12. In the name. See Matthew 28:19; Acts 4:12 and notes. The name includes everything that Jesus Isaiah, was, and has done.


Verse 14

We have courage. Compare Hebrews 4:16 and note. God is our Father if we are his child!!! According to his will. (1) We should always pray; "Your will be done!" See the example in Matthew 26:39 and note. (2) The promise is not: "He will do it," but "He will hear us!" God will answer in His own way. Compare Acts 28:16 and note.


Verse 15

Since we know this is true. This expands the second qualification in 1 John 5:14, Jesus said the same thing in Mark 11:24. We are limited in what we pray for by our lack of knowledge (Romans 8:26). Our confidence is that God will not give what we ask, but what we really need! But we know God does hear us!!! Compare Revelation 8:1-5 and notes.


Verse 16

Commit a sin. John is writing to preserve the fellowship of the messianic community (church). Not only should Christians be aware of the material needs of their brothers (includes sisters), they should also be aware of spiritual needs. As it is right to pray for the sick to get well (James 5:15 and note), so it is also proper to pray for the forgiveness of one who sins. Christians ought to pray for each other. John divides sin into two types: (1) do not lead to death (Galatians 6:1); (2) do lead to death (Hebrews 6:4-6). Christians are to pray for others who fall into the first class of sin. And I do not say. "There are some who have gone so far into apostasy that it will no longer be possible to restore them to Christ. I do not say that you should pray to God for such as these, because they refuse to repent and go on sinning." See Matthew 12:31-32; Revelation 15:8 and notes. Doddridge says: "Let us not too soon pronounce the case of a sinner hopeless; but rather subject ourselves to the trouble of some fruitless attempts to reclaim him, than omit anything where there may be a possibility of succeeding."


Verse 17

All wrongdoing is sin. All sin is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly!!! But there Is sin. "The Christian with sin on his hands comes confidently to his Father and asks to have it forgiven!!! But the one who has in effect repudiated Christ, seeing sin on his hands, goes away in fear and hates God for his misery! Compare Revelation 16:8-11 for an example of those who will not repent."


Verse 18

We know. "The child of God may fall into sin, but he does not keep on sinning! Sin has no power over him! Why??? Because the Son of God keeps him safe from the Evil One!!!" See Psalm 105. But our security in Christ is contingent on our staying in fellowship with the Father and the Son (1 John 1:7). We do have the option of breaking that fellowship (1 John 5:16).


Verse 19

We know. See Colossians 1:13 and note. "Even though the Evil One holds the whole world in his grasp, we have escaped through Christ!!! We know that we belong to God because we are now safe in the kingdom of his dear Son!!! Evidence of this is the fact that we do not keep on sinning, as those of the world do!!!"


Verse 20

We know. Not came, but has come and has given us. The Eternal Logos has come as a human being!!! The world can never be the same, because this fact stands in history and nothing can take it away!!! God spoke to us through his Son (Hebrews 1:2 and note), and this understanding will never be removed from the human scene!!! The true God. Jesus revealed the true God!!! Contrast this with the false god of the false teachers (1 John 2:8). See Introduction to Acts. Our lives. Again the emphasis that we are in the true God by being in his Son Jesus Christ. See 1 John 2:23 and note. This is the true God. In Christ the true God is revealed to us and in Christ we have eternal life!!! [Some think this says that Jesus Christ is the true God. A monotheistic-trinitarian can say this is true (see note on Romans 16:27).}


Verse 21

21. Keep yourselves safe. The false gods were probably not idols such as were at Ephesus and Athens. John is certainly speaking about the false ideas of God which the false teachers substituted for the picture of God which Christ gives us in what he says. Compare Galatians 1:6-9. But it could be that the false teachers encouraged their followers to join in the worship of idols (compare Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:20 and notes). The Christian who follows false gods puts himself in the Devil's power!!!

 


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 John 5:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-john-5.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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