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1 John


Recall to fundamentals

  1.The Word of Life 60ce

1IT WAS THERE from the beginning, we have heard it; we have seen it with our own eyes; we looked upon it, and felt it with our own hands; and it is of this we tell. Our theme is the word of life. 2This life was made visible; we have seen it and bear our testimony; we here declare to you the eternal life which dwelt with the Father and was made visible to us. 3What we have seen and heard we declare to you, so that you and we together may share in a common life, that life which we share with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. 4And we write this in order that the joy of us all may be complete.

God is Light

5Here is the message we heard from him and pass on to you: that God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to be sharing in his life while we walk in the dark, our words and our lives are a lie; 7but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, then we share together a common life, and we are being cleansed from every sin by the blood of Jesus his Son.

8If we claim to be sinless, we are self-deceived and strangers to the truth. 9If we confess our sins, he is just, and may be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every kind of wrong; 10but if we say we have committed no sin, we make him out to be a liar, and then his word has no place in us.


  2.Christ Our Advocate

1My children, in writing thus to you my purpose is that you should not commit sin. But should anyone commit a sin, we have one to plead our cause [Literally: we have an advocate ...] with the Father, Jesus Christ, and he is just. 2He is himself the remedy for the defilement of our sins, not our sins only but the sins of all the world.

3Here is the test by which we can make sure that we know him: do we keep his commands? 4The man who says, 'I know him', while he disobeys his commands, is a liar and a stranger to the truth; 5but in the man who is obedient to his word, the divine love has indeed come to its perfection.

Here is the test by which we can make sure that we are in him: 6whoever claims to be dwelling in him, binds himself to live as Christ himself lived.

The New Commandment

7Dear friends, I give you no new command. It is the old command which you always had before you; the old command is the message which you heard at the beginning. 8And yet again it is a new command that I am giving you—new in the sense that the darkness is passing and the real light already shines. Christ has made this true, and it is true in your own experience.

9A man may say, 'I am in the light'; but if he hates his brother, he is still in the dark. 10Only the man who loves his brother dwells in light: there is nothing to make him stumble. 11But one who hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in the dark and has no idea where he is going, because the darkness has made him blind.

12I write to you, my children, because your sins have been forgiven for his sake. [Or: forgiven, since you bear his name.]

13I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is and has been from the beginning. [Or: him whom we have known from the beginning.]

I write to you, young men, because you have mastered the evil one.

To you, children, I have written because you know the Father.

14To you, fathers, I have written because you know him who is and has been from the beginning. [Or: that none of them truly belong to us.]

To you, young men, I have written because you are strong; God's word is in you, and you have mastered the evil one.

15Do not set your hearts on the godless world or anything in it. Anyone who loves the world is a stranger to the Father's love. 16Everything the world affords, all that panders to the appetites, or entices the eyes, all the glamour of its life, springs not from the Father but from the godless world. 17And that world is passing away with all its allurements, but he who does God's will stands for evermore.

The Antichrist

18MY CHILDREN, this is the last hour! You were is told that Antichrist was to come, and now many antichrists have appeared; which proves to us that this is indeed the last hour. 19They went out from our company, but never really belonged to us; if they had, they would have stayed with us. They went out, so that it might be clear that not all in our company truly belong to it. [Or: that none of them truly belong to us.]

20You, no less than they, are among the initiated; [Literally: have an anointing (Greek: chrism).] this is the gift of the Holy One, and by it you all have knowledge. [Some witnesses read: you have all knowledge.] 21It is not because you are ignorant of the truth that I have written to you, but because you know it, and because lies, one and all, are alien to the truth.

22Who is the liar? Who but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist, for he denies both the Father and the Son: 23to deny the Son is to be without the Father; to acknowledge the Son is to have the Father too. 24You therefore must keep in your hearts that which you heard at the beginning; if what you heard then still dwells in you, you will yourselves dwell in the Son and also in the Father. 25And this is the promise that he himself gave us, the promise of eternal life.

26So much for those who would mislead you. 27But as for you, the initiation [Literally: the anointing.] which you received from him stays with you; you need no other teacher, but learn all you need to know from his initiation, which is real and no illusion. As he taught you, then, dwell in him.

Children of God

28Even now, my children, dwell in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29If you know that he is righteous, you must recognize that every man who does right is his child.


  3.1How great is the love that the Father has shown to us! We were called God's children, and such we are; [Or: We are called children of God! Not only called, we really are his children.] and the reason why the godless world does not recognize us is that it has not known him. 2Here and now, dear friends, we are God's children; what we shall be has not yet been disclosed, but we know that when it is disclosed [Or: when he appears.] we shall be like him, [Or: we are God's children, though he has not yet appeared; what we shall be we know, for when he does appear we shall be like him.] because we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope before him purifies himself, as Christ is pure.

4To commit sin is to break God's law: sin, in fact, is lawlessness. 5Christ appeared, as you know, to do away with sins, and there is no sin in him. 6No man therefore who dwells in him is a sinner; the sinner has not seen him and does not know him.

7My children, do not be misled: it is the man who does right who is righteous, as God is righteous; 8the man who sins is a child of the devil, for the devil has been a sinner from the first; and the Son of God appeared for the very purpose of undoing the devil's work.

9A child of God does not commit sin, because the divine seed remains in him; he cannot be a sinner, because he is God's child. 10That is the distinction between the children of God and the children of the devil: no one who does not do right is God's child, nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

Love One Another

11For the message you have heard from the beginning is this: that we should love one another; 12unlike Cain, who was a child of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were wrong, and his brother's were right.

13My brothers, do not be surprised if the world hates you. 14We for our part have crossed over from death to life; this we know, because we love our brothers. The man who does not love is still in the realm of death, 15for everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and no murderer, as you know, has eternal life dwelling within him. 16It is by this that we know what love is: that Christ laid down his life for us. And we in our turn are bound to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17But if a man has enough to live on, and yet when he sees his brother in need shuts up his heart against him, how can it be said that the divine love [Or: that love for God ...] dwells in him?

18My children, love must not be a matter of words or talk; it must be genuine, and show itself in action.

Confidence before God

19This is how we may know that we belong to the realm of truth, 20and convince ourselves in his sight that even if our conscience condemns us. God is greater than our conscience [Or: and reassure ourselves in his sight in matters where our conscience condemns us, because God is greater than our conscience ... ; Or: and yet we shall do well to convince ourselves that if even our own conscience condemns us, still more will God who is greater than conscience ...] and knows all.

21Dear friends, if our conscience does not condemn us, then we can approach God with confidence, 22and obtain from him whatever we ask, because we are keeping his commands and doing what he approves. 23This is his command: to give our allegiance to his Son Jesus Christ and love one another as he commanded. 24When we keep his commands we dwell in him and he dwells in us. And this is how we can make sure that he dwells within us: we know it from the Spirit he has given us.


  4.The Spirit of God and the Spirit of Antichrist

1BUT DO NOT TRUST any and every spirit, my friends; test the spirits, to see whether they are from God, for among those who have gone out into the world there are many prophets falsely inspired. 2This is how we may recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit which does not thus acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is what is meant by 'Antichrist'; [Or: This is the spirit of Antichrist.] you have been told that he was to come, and here he is, in the world already!

4But you, my children, are of God's family, and you have the mastery over these false prophets, because he who inspires you is greater than he who inspires the godless world. 5They are of that world, and so therefore is their teaching; that is why the world listens to them. 6But we belong to God, and a man who knows God listens to us, while he who does not belong to God refuses us a hearing. That is how we distinguish the spirit of truth from the spirit of error.

God is Love

7Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God. Everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God, 8but the unloving know nothing of God. For God is love; 9and his love was disclosed to us in this, that he sent his only Son into the world to bring us life. 10The love I speak of is not our love for God, but the love he showed to us in sending his Son as the remedy for the defilement of our sins. 11If God thus loved us, dear friends, we in turn are bound to love one another. 12Though God has never been seen by any man. God himself dwells in us if we love one another; his love is brought to perfection within us.

13Here is the proof that we dwell in him and he dwells in us: he has imparted his Spirit to us. 14Moreover, we have seen for ourselves, and we attest, that the Father sent the Son to be the saviour of the world, 15and if a man acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him and he dwells in God. 16Thus we have come to know and believe the love which God has for us.

God is love; he who dwells in love is dwelling in God, and God in him. 17This is for us the perfection of love, to have confidence on the day of judgement, and this we can have, because even in this world we are as he is. 18There is no room for fear in love; perfect love banishes fear. For fear brings with it the pains of judgement, and anyone who is afraid has not attained to love in its perfection. 19We love because he loved us first. 20But if a man says, 'I love God', while hating his brother, he is a liar. If he does not love the brother whom he has seen, it cannot be that he loves God whom he has not seen. 21And indeed this command comes to us from Christ himself: that he who loves God must also love his brother.


  5.Faith is Victory over the World

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and to love the parent means to love his child; 2it follows that when we love God and obey his commands we love his children too. 3For to love God is to keep his commands; and they are not burdensome, 4because every child of God is victor over the godless world. The victory that defeats the world is our faith, 5for who is victor over the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

The Witness concerning the Son

6This is he who came with water and blood: Jesus Christ. He came, not by water alone, but by water and blood; and there is the Spirit to bear witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7For there are three witnesses, 8the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and these three are in agreement. 9We accept human testimony, but surely divine testimony is stronger, and this threefold testimony is indeed that of God himself, the witness he has borne to his Son. 10He who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his own heart, but he who disbelieves God, makes him out to be a liar, by refusing to accept God's own witness to his Son. 11The witness is this: that God has given us eternal life, and that this life is found in his Son. 12He who possesses the Son has life indeed; he who does not possess the Son of God has not that life.

The Knowledge of Eternal Life

13THIS LETTER is to assure you that you have eternal life. It is addressed to those who give their allegiance to the Son of God.

14We can approach God with confidence for this reason: if we make requests which accord with his will he listens to us; 15and if we know that our requests are heard, we know also that the things we ask for are ours.

16If a man sees his brother committing a sin which is not a deadly sin, he should pray to God for him, and he will grant him life—that is, when men are not guilty of deadly sin. There is such a thing as deadly sin, and I do not suggest that he should pray about that; 17but although all wrongdoing is sin, not all sin is deadly sin.

18We know that no child of God is a sinner; it is the Son of God who keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot touch him.

19We know that we are of God's family, while the whole godless world lies in the power of the evil one.

20We know that the Son of God has come and given us understanding to know him who is real; indeed we are in him who is real, since we are in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, this is eternal life. 21My children, be on the watch against false gods.


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