1 Yochanan, Jewish New Testament and comment David H. Stern
1. Everyone who believes that Yeshua is the Messiah has God as his father, and everyone who loves a father loves his offspring too.
2. Here is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God, we also do what he commands.
3. For loving God means obeying his commands. Moreover, his commands are not burdensome,
4. because everything which has God as its Father overcomes the world. And this is what victoriously overcomes the world: our trust.
Overcomes the world, in the sense of 2:16-17.
5. Who does overcome the world if not the person who believes that Yeshua is the Son of God?
6. He is the one who came by means of water and blood, Yeshua the Messiah — not with water only, but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth.
He is the one who came by means of water and blood, Yeshua the Messiah.
Contrary to Gnostic teachings, he did not "receive the heavenly Christ" upon emerging from the Jordan; rather, it was Yeshua, already the Messiah, who was immersed; and his immersion in water symbolized his death and resurrection (see Ro 6:3-6). Likewise, he did not imitate being human but died a real death on the execution-stake; otherwise he would not have atoned for our sin. The blood, which is shorthand for Yeshua's death (Ro 3:25bN), witnesses that he is the Son of God (vv. 5,9-13).
The Spirit bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth. Compare Yn 15:26, 2 Yn 1N.
7. There are three witnesses —
8. the Spirit, the water and the blood — and these three are in agreement.
There are three witnesses — the Spirit, the water and the blood—and these three are in agreement. One cannot claim to accept the witness of the Holy Spirit if one rejects the witness of the water and the blood to the true character of Yeshua, as set forth in v. 6.
For these verses KJV, following the Textus Receptus. has: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." Concerning this uniquely clear reference to the Trinity, Bruce Metzger writes: "That these words are spurious and have no right to stand in the New Testament is certain." His reasons:
(1) the passage is absent from all but four Greek manuscripts, none earlier than the fourteenth century C.E.,
(2) it was unknown to the Greek fathers, who would otherwise have seized on it in the fourth-century Trinitarian controversies,
(3) it is not found in versions or quotations of any kind prior to the fourth century,
(4) if the passage were original, no good reason can be found to account for its omission, and
(5) the passage makes an awkward break in the sense. (A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, New York: United Bible Societies, Corrected Edition 1975, pp. 715-717)
9. If we accept human witness, God’s witness is stronger, because it is the witness which God has given about his Son.
God's witness is given at Mt 3:16-17, 17:5.
10. Those who keep trusting in the Son of God have this witness in them. Those who do not keep trusting God have made him out to be a liar, because they have not trusted in the witness which God has given about his Son.
11. And this is the witness: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12. Those who have the Son have the life; those who do not have the Son of God do not have the life.
13. I have written you these things so that you may know that you have eternal life — you who keep trusting in the person and power of the Son of God.
You have eternal life. You have it already, here and now, you who keep trusting in the person and power (literally, "in the name"; see 3:23N) of the Son of God.
Compare Yn 11:25-26.
14. This is the confidence we have in his presence: if we ask anything that accords with his will, he hears us.
15. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — then we know that we have what we have asked from him.
Compare 3:22-23, Mk 11:24.
16. If anyone sees his brother committing a sin that does not lead to death, he will ask; and God will give him life for those whose sinning does not lead to death. There is sin that does lead to death; I am not saying he should pray about that.
Sin that does lead to death. Judaism distinguishes between unconscious sin. for which sacrifices atone, and deliberate, "high-handed" sin, for which only death atones. In the context of this letter, those who deliberately choose not to "keep trusting in the person and power of the Son of God" (v. 13), who do not obey God's commands (vv. 2-3) and who do not love their brothers (4:21), "do not have the life" (v. 12).
A believer's responsibility to a brother committing a sin is not only to ask God to give him life, but also to "go and show him his fault" (Ml 18:15-17), to "set him right, but in a spirit of humility" (Ga 6:1), to "turn" him "from his wandering path" (Ya 5:19-20).
17. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.
18. We know that everyone who has God as his Father does not go on sinning; on the contrary, the Son born of God protects him, and the Evil One does not touch him.
19. We know that we are from God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One.
20. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment, so that we may know who is genuine; moreover, we are united with the One who is genuine, united with his Son Yeshua the Messiah. He is the genuine God and eternal life.
Three things we know. Everyone who has God as his Father does not go on sinning (see 3:6,9N),... and the evil one does not touch him, but he can tempt him. The whole world lies in the power of the Evil One (see Lk 4:5-6).
He is the genuine God and eternal life. It is possible to understand this as stating that Yeshua the Messiah... is the genuine God. But the verse's purpose does not appear to be declaring the divinity of Yeshua, but setting forth that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment, so that we may know who among the various prophets teaching this, that and the other is genuine. Not only that, we are united with the One who is genuine, that is, we are united with God; and also we are united with his Son Yeshua the Messiah. He, not the Evil One (v. 18) but the Genuine One. the One whose Son is Yeshua, is the genuine God and eternal life.
21. Children, guard yourselves against false gods!
In the light of the summary of v. 20, the final warning is to guard yourselves from false gods, from anything which might distract you from true life, from Yeshua, from God.
- chapter 1
- chapter 2
- chapter 3
- chapter 4
- chapter 5