Stay away from idols (1 John 5:21)

“Little children!

Keep yourselves

From idols.”

Τεκνία, φυλάξατε ἑαυτὰ ἀπὸ τῶν εἰδώλων.

This author said, “Little children (Τεκνία)!  Keep yourselves (φυλάξατε ἑαυτὰ) from idols (ἀπὸ τῶν εἰδώλων).”  This is the only time that this word is used in the canonical NT writings, here in 1 John, the word Τεκνία, that means little children.  This author ended this letter as he had six times earlier, calling his readers “little children,” beginning in chapter 2.  He had one last request.  Just like Moses and the prophets of Israel, he wanted them to stay away from the evil idol worship of the non-Jewish people.  There was only one true God and his incarnate Son, Jesus Christ.  Anything other than that was pure idol worship.  Do you worship idols?

We know the Son of God (1 John 5:20)

“We know

That the Son of God

Has come.

He has given us


So that we may know him

Who is true.

We are in him

Who is true,

In his Son,

Jesus Christ.

He is true God

And eternal life.”

οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ ἥκει, καὶ δέδωκεν ἡμῖν διάνοιαν ἵνα γινώσκομεν τὸν ἀληθινόν· καὶ ἐσμὲν ἐν τῷ ἀληθινῷ, ἐν τῷ Υἱῷ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ. οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθινὸς Θεὸς καὶ ζωὴ αἰώνιος.

This author said, “We know (οἴδαμεν) that the Son of God (δὲ ὅτι ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ) has come (ἥκει).  He has given us (καὶ δέδωκεν ἡμῖν) understanding (διάνοιαν), so that we may know (ἵνα γινώσκομεν) him who is true (ἵνα γινώσκομεν).  We are in him who is true (καὶ ἐσμὲν ἐν τῷ ἀληθινῷ), in his Son (ἐν τῷ Υἱῷ αὐτοῦ), Jesus Christ (Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ).  He is true God (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθινὸς Θεὸς) and eternal life (καὶ ζωὴ αἰώνιος).”  This author then gave a summary of his whole letter.  He once again explained that they already knew all these things.  He reiterated one more time.  The Son of God has come to live with us humans.  He has given us the understanding and knowledge to know about truth.  We are living in truth when we live with Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Both God the Father, and God the Son are true God and they bring us eternal life.  God the Father has shared his only begotten Son with us humans, when Jesus Christ lived among us.  He was full of truth leading to an eternal life with him.  Do we have knowledge and understanding about the truth concerning Jesus Christ?

We are from God (1 John 5:19)

“We know

That we are

From God.

The whole world

Lies under the power

Of the evil one.”

οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐσμεν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος ὅλος ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ κεῖται.

This author said, “We know (οἴδαμεν) that we are from God (ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐσμεν).  The whole world (καὶ ὁ κόσμος ὅλος) lies (κεῖται) under the power of the evil one (ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ).”  Once again, this author pointed out the differences between God and the evil one, the devil.  His readers were from God, reborn as followers of Jesus Christ.  However, the whole world was under the power of the evil one.  Thus, the choice was yours, eternal life with Jesus Christ or finite human life with this evil world.  Do you choose eternity?

Born of God does not sin (1 John 5:18)

“We know

That all those

Who are born of God

Do not sin.

God protects

The ones who were born of God.

The evil one

Does not touch them.”

Οἴδαμεν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει, ἀλλ’ ὁ γεννηθεὶς ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ τηρεῖ αὐτόν, καὶ ὁ πονηρὸς οὐχ ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ.

This author said, “We know (Οἴδαμεν) that all those who are born (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος) of God (ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ) do not sin (οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει).  God protects (τηρεῖ αὐτόν) the ones who were born (ἀλλ’ ὁ γεννηθεὶς) of God (ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ).  The evil one (καὶ ὁ πονηρὸς) does not touch them (οὐχ ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ).”  This author further elaborates that we know that anyone born of God does not sin.  This was the normal expectation of a new follower of Jesus Christ.  God then protected these newly born followers of the Son of God from the clutches of the evil one, the devil.  Only later in the fourth century with the infusion of many new Christians, did they allow for a second penance or reconciliation that was tied to the Lenten season with the catechumenates.  Are you born of God?

Mortal and not mortal sins (1 John 5:17)

“All wrongdoing

Is sin,

But there is sin

That is not mortal.”

πᾶσα ἀδικία ἁμαρτία ἐστίν, καὶ ἔστιν ἁμαρτία οὐ πρὸς θάνατον.

This author said, “All wrongdoing (πᾶσα ἀδικία) is sin (ἁμαρτία ἐστίν), but there is sin (καὶ ἔστιν ἁμαρτία) that is not mortal (οὐ πρὸς θάνατον).”  This author further elaborated on the difference between mortal deadly sins and non-mortal sins.  Everything unjust or wrong is a sin.  Let us not forget that.  However, just as there are sins that kill our life with God, mortally wounding us for eternal life, still others sins are not deadly or not mortal.  They are sometimes called venial or minor sins.  However, these non-deadly sins weaken our union with God but do not cut us off from God.  What kind of sins do you commit?

Mortal sin (1 John 5:16)

“If you see

Your brother

Committing a sin

That is not a mortal sin,

You will ask,

And God

Will give life

To such a one,

To those whose sin

Is not mortal.

There is sin

That is mortal.

I do not say

That you should pray

About that.”

Ἐάν τις ἴδῃ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ ἁμαρτάνοντα ἁμαρτίαν μὴ πρὸς θάνατον, αἰτήσει, καὶ δώσει αὐτῷ ζωήν, τοῖς ἁμαρτάνουσιν μὴ πρὸς θάνατον. ἔστιν ἁμαρτία πρὸς θάνατον· οὐ περὶ ἐκείνης λέγω ἵνα ἐρωτήσῃ.

This author said, “If you see (Ἐάν τις ἴδῃ) your brother (τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ) committing a sin (ἁμαρτάνοντα ἁμαρτίαν) that is not a mortal sin (μὴ πρὸς θάνατον), you will ask (αἰτήσει), and God will give (καὶ δώσει) life (ζωήν) to such a one (αὐτῷ), to those whose sin (τοῖς ἁμαρτάνουσιν) is not mortal (μὴ πρὸς θάνατον).  There is sin (ἔστιν ἁμαρτία) that is mortal (πρὸς θάνατον).  I do not say (οὐ περὶ ἐκείνης λέγω) that you should pray about that (ἵνα ἐρωτήσῃ).”  This author then turned to the question of sin and the kinds of sins.  If they saw their brother committing a non-deadly or non-mortal sin, they should ask God to give him his life.  God will do so if it is a non-deadly sin.  He explained that there was a difference between the kind of sins or injustices that they do in their lives.  Some of these sins are not killers, while others are.  He pointed out that there was such a thing as a mortal or deadly sin that deprived them of eternal life.  He did not want them praying for those people who had committed deadly, killer, or mortal sins.  They should pray for those who have done minor offenses and God would forgive them, what some Catholics call venial sins.  The deadly mortal sins were another question.  Do you believe that there is a kind of difference between the sins that you commit?

God hears us (1 John 5:15)

“If we know

That he hears us

In whatever we ask,

We know

That we have obtained

The requests

Made of him.”

καὶ ἐὰν οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀκούει ἡμῶν ὃ ἐὰν αἰτώμεθα, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἔχομεν τὰ αἰτήματα ἃ ᾐτήκαμεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ.

This author said, “If we know (καὶ ἐὰν οἴδαμεν) that he hears us (ὅτι ἀκούει ἡμῶν) in whatever we ask (ὃ ἐὰν αἰτώμεθα), we know (οἴδαμεν) that we have obtained (ὅτι ἔχομεν τὰ αἰτήματα) the requests (ἃ ᾐτήκαμεν) made of him (ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).”  This author stressed the importance of intercessory prayer.  He also kept using the phrase that this was something they already knew.  He was just repeating it.  God was listening and heard those who believed in Jesus Christ, his Son.  Thus, any prayers or requests would be granted to them by God the Father, because of their confidence and belief in his Son.  God was listening to them.  What do you ask God for?

Confidence (1 John 5:14)

“This is the confidence

That we have in him.

If we ask anything

According to his will,

He hears us.”

Καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ παρρησία ἣν ἔχομεν πρὸς αὐτόν, ὅτι ἐάν τι αἰτώμεθα κατὰ τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ ἀκούει ἡμῶν.

This author said, “This is the confidence (Καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ παρρησία) that we have in him (ἣν ἔχομεν πρὸς αὐτόν).  If we ask anything (ὅτι ἐάν τι αἰτώμεθα) according to his will (κατὰ τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ), he hears us (ἀκούει ἡμῶν).”  This author pointed out that now they should be bold and confident.  If they asked for anything that was according to the will of God, he would hear it.  All they had to do was ask for something.  God would listen to anything that he believed to be correct according to him.  God was all ears to these believers in his Son.  They did not have to fear anything because they should have full confidence in God the Father.  This is sometimes called an epilogue because it seems to be written in another handwriting than the preceding part but the same themes and ideas are present.  Are you afraid to ask God for anything?

Believers have eternal life (1 John 5:13)

“I write these things

To you

Who believe

In the name

Of the Son of God,

So that you may know

That you have eternal life.”

Ταῦτα ἔγραψα ὑμῖν ἵνα εἰδῆτε ὅτι ζωὴν ἔχετε αἰώνιον, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ.

This author said, “I write these things to you (Ταῦτα ἔγραψα ὑμῖν) who believe (τοῖς πιστεύουσιν) in the name (εἰς τὸ ὄνομα) of the Son of God (τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ), so that you may know (ἵνα εἰδῆτε) that you have eternal life (ὅτι ζωὴν ἔχετε αἰώνιον).”  This author pointed out that there was a reason that he was writing to them about these things.  They believed in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  He wanted them to know that they had eternal life because of their belief.  Once they had Jesus Christ, they had entrance into eternal life.  Do you want to join Jesus Christ in eternity?

Life with the Son of God (1 John 5:12)

“Whoever has

The Son

Has life.

Whoever does not have

The Son of God

Does not have life.”

ὁ ἔχων τὸν Υἱὸν ἔχει τὴν ζωήν· ὁ μὴ ἔχων τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὴν ζωὴν οὐκ ἔχει.

This author said, “Whoever has the Son (ὁ ἔχων τὸν Υἱὸν) has life (ἔχει τὴν ζωήν).  Whoever does not have (ὁ μὴ ἔχων) the Son of God (τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ) does not have life (τὴν ζωὴν οὐκ ἔχει).”  Once again, this author pointed out something pretty simple.  If you had the Son of God in your life, you had eternal life.  If you did not have the Son of God in your life, you did not have eternal life.  The equation was short.  Son of God equals eternal life.  Son of God means life and no Son of God equals death, no life.  Do you choose eternal life or death?