The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 John

1 2 3 4 5

1 John 2

1Jo 2:1

ONE WHO SPEAKS TO THE FATHER IN OUR DEFENSE: "Parakletos" = "Comforter": Joh 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7. Cp same idea in 2Ti 4:16-18 and Act 7:55,56.

1Jo 2:13

Vv 13,14: The drawing of lines, and the erecting of barriers between the generations, can only injure Christ's body in the long run. We are all "one family" and "one body" -- young, middle-aged, and old together. Each class has a strength peculiarly its own, but each has its special weakness. Young men are wise to seek the help of the old that they may guard against the errors of inexperience. Old men are wise to listen to the young that they may guard against a self-satisfied and crotchety prejudice. This distinction is nicely made by the Apostle John: "I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him (ie, Christ) from the beginning" (1Jo 2:13). (The words "that is" are italicized in the AV; the sense is best when they are omitted.) The old have a great wealth of experience. Their strength is that experience; but their weakness can be a desire to live in the past, and to resist all change.

"I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong" -- strong and energetic in body, the envy of many older ones. But that strength is a two-edged sword; what may be great strength to serve God may also be great strength misdirected to satisfy natural desires.

"... and the word of God abideth in you" -- Youth has keener wit and quicker intelligence; the memory is better; ideas may be grasped and elaborated more readily by the young. But there is, again, the corresponding danger, that the desire for some "new thing" or for notoriety may mean a greater potential for harm.

"... and ye have overcome the wicked one" (1Jo 2:14).

But what may look like an easy battle, at the beginning, against the lusts of the flesh, may only lull the "strong" young brother into a pride and a complacency that can prove fatal. "Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off" (1Ki 20:11).

1Jo 2:15

The Christian is not ruined by living in the world, but by the world living in him.

"One of the striking formal dissonances in the Johannine corpus is the clash between the Gospel's assertion of the love of God for the world (John 3:16) and the first epistle's prohibition of love for the world (1Jo 2:15–17). In brief, God loves the world, and Christians had better not. The impression is rather strong that if people love the world, they remain under God's wrath: the love of the Father is not in them. The dissonance, of course, is merely formal. There is a ready explanation. But this formal dissonance reminds us yet again that the ways the Bible speaks of something are diverse and contextually controlled. God's love for the world is commendable because it manifests itself in awesome self-sacrifice; our love for the world is repulsive when it lusts for evil participation.

"God's love for the world is praiseworthy because it brings the transforming gospel to it; our love for the world is ugly because we seek to be conformed to the world. God's love for the world issues in certain individuals being called out from the world and into the fellowship of Christ's followers; our love for the world is sickening where we wish to be absorbed into the world.

"So 'do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father [whether this love is understood in the subjective or the objective sense] is not in him' (1Jo 2:15). But clearly believers are to love the world in the sense that we are to go into every part of it and bring the glorious gospel to every creature. In this sense we imitate in small ways the wholly praiseworthy love of God for the world" (DA Carson, "God's love and God's wrath").

1Jo 2:16

Three basic sources of sin (cp Eve in garden, Christ in wilderness).

The lust of the flesh: sensualism. The lust of the eyes: materialism. The pride of life: egotism.

1Jo 2:19

THEY WENT OUT FROM US: Ref Judas leaving the upper room (John 13:30).

Note that the righteous are not held guilty whilst temporarily associating with those who hold false doctrine.

1Jo 2:22

ANTICHRIST: The word "antichrist" is a term referring to false teachers who denied the fact that Jesus came "in the flesh", and who eventually left the first-century church when their lies were exposed. Thus "antichrist" describes men who taught a false doctrine; the word does not specifically point to a particular powerful individual:

1Jo 2:28

HIS COMING: See Lesson, "Parousia".

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