1 John 5

Overcoming the World

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whomever has been born of him.

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments aren't burdensome.

4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith.

5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Testimony Concerning the Son of God

6 This is he who came by water and blood - Jesus Christ; not by the water only, but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

the Spirit is the truth: Jesus says he's "the truth" (John 14:6), and here the same term is applied to God the Holy Spirit. Truth isn't just a concept, it is a person, and that person is God himself. God is truth.

7 For there are three that testify:

8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.

Verses 1 John:7-8 is also known as the Johannine Comma. The KJV, which was translated from the Textus Receptus, is as follows:

7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

That's looks like a clear reference to the The Trinity. But some scholars think the Textus Receptus includes an addition by a dishonest Christian scribe. I can't verify that theory. Scholars are often wrong. But even if they are right and the briefer version is correct, it really doesn't undermine the doctrine of the Trinity which is taught in the rest of Scripture. Most modern translations for vv7-8 is shorter because they use a manuscript that they claim is earlier than the Textus Receptus.

9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has given concerning his Son.

10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever doesn't believe God has made him a liar, because he hasn't believed in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son.

11 And this is the testimony, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

This is God's personal testimony about his son. Anyone who disbelieves that eternal life can only be found in Jesus is calling God himself a liar. So, Muslims who say that they believe Jesus was just a prophet but not the Son of God are calling God a liar - according to John.

12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever doesn't have the Son of God doesn't have life.

This verse is stated in both the positive and the negative, so that no one can misinterpret it. To anyone who claims to believe this or that about Jesus but deny that he is the Son of God this verse is clear: they do not have eternal life because they do not have the Son.

That You May Know

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

14 And this is the confidence that we have towards him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

Note this says, "according to his will". We can't just ask God for anything. It must be according to his will.

15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life - to those who commit sins that don't lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I don't say that one should pray for that.

The sin that ultimately leads to death is unbelief. This verse maybe referring to that.

17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that doesn't lead to death.

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God doesn't keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one doesn't touch him.

19 We know that we are from God, and 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 understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

He is the true God and eternal life. This is ambiguous. Is John referring only to God the Father, or is he actually stating that Jesus himself is the true God and eternal life?

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

This is not a statement that John added as a casual afterthought. This entire letter could be said to be written in support of this final verse. That is, the very reason that John wrote this letter was because he was very concerned that his brethren should keep themselves from idols. If you didn't see this as you read this letter, go back and read it again with this final verse in mind.