Jude: New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
Address and Greeting.1 [a]Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ: 2 may mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.
Occasion for Writing.3 Beloved, although I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation,[b] I now feel a need to write to encourage you to contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones. 4 For there have been some intruders, who long ago were designated for this condemnation, godless persons, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
The False Teachers.5 I wish to remind you, although you know all things, that [the] Lord who once saved a people from the land of Egypt later destroyed those who did not believe.[c]6 The angels too, who did not keep to their own domain but deserted their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains, in gloom, for the judgment of the great day.[d]7 Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity and practiced unnatural vice,[e] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
8 Similarly, these dreamers[f] nevertheless also defile the flesh, scorn lordship, and revile glorious beings. 9 Yet the archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses, did not venture to pronounce a reviling judgment[g] upon him but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these people revile what they do not understand and are destroyed by what they know by nature like irrational animals. 11 Woe to them! They followed the way of Cain, abandoned themselves to Balaam’s error for the sake of gain, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.[h]12 These are blemishes on your love feasts,[i] as they carouse fearlessly and look after themselves. They are waterless clouds blown about by winds, fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead and uprooted. 13 They are like wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameless deeds, wandering stars for whom the gloom of darkness has been reserved forever.
14 [j]Enoch, of the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied also about them when he said, “Behold, the Lord has come with his countless holy ones 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict everyone for all the godless deeds that they committed and for all the harsh words godless sinners have uttered against him.” 16 These people are complainers, disgruntled ones who live by their desires; their mouths utter bombast as they fawn over people to gain advantage.
Exhortations.17 But you, beloved, remember the words spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 for they told you,“In [the] last time there will be scoffers who will live according to their own godless desires.”[k]19 These are the ones who cause divisions; they live on the natural plane, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 On those who waver, have mercy;[l]23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; on others have mercy with fear,[m] abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh.
Doxology.[n]24 To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished and exultant, in the presence of his glory,25 to the only God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen.
1Jude…brother of James: for the identity of the author of this letter, see Introduction. To those who are called: the vocation to the Christian faith is God’s free gift to those whom he loves and whom he safely protects in Christ until the Lord’s second coming.
3–4Our common salvation: the teachings of the Christian faith derived from the apostolic preaching and to be kept by the Christian community.
5For this first example of divine punishment on those who had been saved but did not then keep faith, see Nm 14:28–29 and the note there. Some manuscripts have the word “once” (hapax as at Jude 3) after “you know”; some commentators have suggested that it means “knowing one thing” or “you know all things once for all.” Instead of “[the] Lord” manuscripts vary, having “Jesus,” “God,” or no subject stated.
6This second example draws on Gn 6:1–4 as elaborated in the apocryphal Book of Enoch (cf. Jude 14): heavenly beings came to earth and had sexual intercourse with women. God punished them by casting them out of heaven into darkness and bondage.
7Practiced unnatural vice: literally, “went after alien flesh.” This example derives from Gn 19:1–25, especially 4–11, when the townsmen of Sodom violated both hospitality and morality by demanding that Lot’s two visitors (really messengers of Yahweh) be handed over to them so that they could abuse them sexually. Unnatural vice: this refers to the desire for intimacies by human beings with angels (the reverse of the example in Jude 6). Sodom (whence “sodomy”) and Gomorrah became proverbial as object lessons for God’s punishment on sin (Is 1:9; Jer 50:40; Am 4:11; Mt 10:15; 2 Pt 2:6).
8Dreamers: the writer returns to the false teachers of Jude 4, applying charges from the three examples in Jude 5, 6, 7. This may apply to claims they make for revelations they have received by night (to the author, hallucinations). Defile the flesh: this may mean bodily pollutions from the erotic dreams of sexual license (Jude 7). Lordship…glorious beings: these may reflect the Lord (Jude 5; Jesus, Jude 4) whom they spurn and the angels (Jude 6; cf. note on 2 Pt 2:10, here, as there, literally, “glories”).
9The archangel Michael…judgment: a reference to an incident in the apocryphal Assumption of Moses. Dt 34:6 had said of Moses, literally in Greek, “they buried him” or “he (God?) buried him” (taken to mean “he was buried”). The later account tells how Michael, who was sent to bury him, was challenged by the devil’s interest in the body. Our author draws out the point that if an archangel refrained from reviling even the devil, how wrong it is for mere human beings to revile glorious beings (angels).
12Blemishes on your love feasts: or “hidden rocks” or “submerged reefs” (cf. Jude 13). The opponents engaged in scandalous conduct in connection with community gatherings called love feasts (agape meals), which were associated with eucharistic celebrations at certain stages of early Christian practice; cf. 1 Cor 11:18–34 and the note on 2 Pt 2:13.
18This is the substance of much early Christian preaching rather than a direct quotation of any of the various New Testament passages on this theme (see Mk 13:22; Acts 20:30; 1 Tm 4:1–3; 2 Pt 3:3).
22Have mercy: some manuscripts read “convince,” “confute,” or “reprove.” Others have “even though you waver” or “doubt” instead of who waver.
23With fear: some manuscripts connect the phrase “with fear” with the imperative “save” or with the participle “snatching.” Other manuscripts omit the phrase “on others have mercy,” so that only two groups are envisioned. Rescue of those led astray and caution in the endeavor are both enjoined. Outer garment stained by the flesh: the imagery may come from Zec 3:3–5, just as that of snatching…out of the fire comes from Zec 3:2; the very garments of the godless are to be abhorred because of their contagion.
24–25With this liturgical statement about the power of God to keep the faithful from stumbling, and praise to him through Jesus Christ, the letter reaches its conclusion by returning to the themes with which it began (Jude 1–2).
The Book of Jude is closely related to the book of 2 Peter. The date of authorship for Jude depends on whether Jude used content from 2Peter, or Peter used content from Jude when writing 2 Peter.
The Book of Jude was written somewhere between A.D. 60 and 80.
Purpose of Writing:
Jude’s purpose as written in verse 3 is to contecnd for the faith.
In other words, keep the faith, to fight hard to defend the faith.
This is the faith that God gave to Christians, once and for always.
Verses 3-16 Jude’s letter is a message to Christians about false teachers, who were teaching wrong things. Those teachers said that they themselves were Christians. But they were very dangerous, because they were stopping some people from obeying God. God is very angry with false teachers like that, and he will punish them.
The letter is most relevant to modern times, for it reminds one of “new age” philosophy. Jude takes issue with false teachers who claim that a Christian’s freedom means he is free from moral obligation. This letter urges believers to be faithful to the moral teachings of the Gospel!
This letter is mysterious and unique in several ways. The letter of St. Jude is the only one in the Bible that refers to Michael (verse 9) being an Archangel. There is similarity between Jude and the Second Letter of Peter 2:1-18 on false teachers. Two apocryphal Hebrew works are quoted, the Assumption of Moses (verse 9) and the Book of Enoch (verses 14-15). And Jude 13 relates a phenomenon that is often described by those patients with near-death experiences following anesthesia: “They are like wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameless deeds, wandering stars for whom the gloom of darkness has been reserved forever” (NAB). The letter concludes with a comforting word on the mercy of Our Lord: “keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”
3 John New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
1 [a]The Presbyter to the beloved Gaius whom I love in truth.
2 Beloved, I hope you are prospering in every respect and are in good health, just as your soul is prospering. 3 I rejoiced greatly when some of the brothers[b] came and testified to how truly you walk in the truth.4 Nothing gives me greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
5 Beloved, you are faithful in all you do[c] for the brothers, especially for strangers; 6 they have testified to your love before the church. Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey.[d]7 For they have set out for the sake of the Name[e] and are accepting nothing from the pagans. 8 Therefore, we ought to support such persons, so that we may be co-workers in the truth.
9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to dominate,[f] does not acknowledge us. 10 Therefore, if I come,[g] I will draw attention to what he is doing, spreading evil nonsense about us. And not content with that, he will not receive the brothers, hindering those who wish to do so and expelling them from the church.
11 Beloved, do not imitate evil[h] but imitate good. Whoever does what is good is of God; whoever does what is evil has never seen God.12 Demetrius[i] receives a good report from all, even from the truth itself. We give our testimonial as well, and you know our testimony is true.
13 I have much to write to you, but I do not wish to write with pen and ink. 14 Instead, I hope to see you soon, when we can talk face to face. 15 Peace be with you. The friends greet you; greet the friends[j] there each by name.
1Beloved Gaius: a frequent form of address for fellow Christians in New Testament epistolary literature.
3The brothers: in this letter, the term may refer to Christians who have been missionaries and received hospitality from Gaius (3 Jn 5–6). Walk in the truth: the common Johannine term to describe Christian living; this description presents Gaius as following the teachings of the Presbyter in contrast to Diotrephes.
5You are faithful in all you do: Gaius’s aid to the missionaries is a manifestation of his true Christian faith.
6Help them…to continue their journey: the Presbyter asks Gaius not only to continue to welcome the missionaries to his community but also to equip them for further travels.
7The Name: of Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 5:41; 1 Jn 2:12; 3:23; 5:13). Accepting nothing: not expecting support from the pagans to whom they preach the gospel, so that they will not be considered as beggars; they required support from other Christians; cf. Paul’s complaints to the Corinthians (1 Cor 9:3–12).
9Who loves to dominate: the Presbyter does not deny Diotrephes’ place as leader but indicates that his ambition may have caused him to disregard his letter and his influence.
10If I come: the Presbyter may visit the community to challenge the actions of Diotrephes toward himself and the missionaries. Will not receive the brothers: Diotrephes may have been critical of the teachings of the Presbyter and sought to maintain doctrinal purity; cf. 1 Jn 2:19 and 2 Jn 10–11.
11Do not imitate evil: Gaius should not be influenced by the behavior of Diotrephes.
12Demetrius: because of the fear of false teachers, Demetrius, perhaps the bearer of the letter, is provided with a recommendation from the Presbyter; cf. 2 Cor 3:1; Rom 16:1. Even from the truth itself: this refers probably to the manner of Demetrius’s life that testifies to his true belief; cf. Gaius above (3 Jn 3).
15Friends: although a Johannine term for Christians (Jn 15:15), the word here may refer to those in the community loyal to the Presbyter and to Gaius.
3John : Introduction (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 784)
3John or Third Letter of John; abbreviated as 3Jn
The 25th Book of the New Testament.
Third John is the shortest Book in the Bible (by word count).
THE AUTHOR AND DATE OF WRITING
This 3rd Letter of John is again also attributed to John the
Evangelist, the son of Zebedee, traditionally thought to be the
author of the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John.
3John would most likely have been written at about the same time as
John’s other letters, 1 and 2 John, between A.D. 85-100 from the
island of Patmos, where John was exiled at the time.
(see Patmos in wikipedia (Greek: Πάτμος, pronounced [ˈpatmos]) is a
small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, most famous for being the
location of both the vision of and the writing of the Christian
Bible’s Book of Revelation.)
Purpose of Writing:
To encourage service toward others, especially with regard to
hospitality toward those who minister the Gospel.
John wrote to his friend Gaius, a Church Leader. The name Gaius
appears elsewhere in Scripture (Acts 19:29; 20:4; Rom. 16:23; 1
While Gaius was dealing with certain troubles in his area, John
wanted to direct him, not only in how to respond to the trials but
also how to relate to those who proclaim the truth. John’s three
epistles are largely concerned with the issue of fellowship—with
God, with enemies of the gospel and, in the case of 3 John, with
those who proclaim the truth. John wanted to ensure a warm welcome
from the churches to those who traveled around preaching the
gospel, offering them hospitality and a send-off “in a manner
worthy of God” (3 John 1:6).
Third John and Second John similarity is they are written to
specific audiences. In this Third John, the author addresses his
Letter to Gaius.
If Second John is the second shortest book of the Bible(by word
count), Third John is the shortest Book in the Bible.
Key Truths in this Book:
1. Christians who are faithful in showing goodness to others are to
2. Showing hospitality to others, especially to ministers of the
gospel, is an important Christian privilege and responsibility.
3. Christian leaders should appreciate and support, rather than
fear and abuse, each other.
Quick outline of 3 John
Praise for walking in truth (1–4)
Praise for loving the brethren (5–8)
Caution regarding Diotrephes (9–12)
Anticipation of a visit (13–15)
2John Chapter 1 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
1 [a]The Presbyter to the chosen Lady and to her children whom I love in truth—and not only I but also all who know the truth— 2 because of the truth that dwells in us and will be with us forever. 3 Grace, mercy, and peace[b] will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son in truth and love.
4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children[c] walking in the truth just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 But now, Lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing a new commandment but the one we have had from the beginning: let us love one another. 6 For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments;[d] this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk.
7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.[e]8 Look to yourselves that you[f] do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense. 9 Anyone who is so “progressive”[g] as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. 10 [h]If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; 11 for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.
12 [i]Although I have much to write to you, I do not intend to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and to speak face to face so that our joy may be complete. 13 The children of your chosen sister[j] send you greetings.
1The chosen Lady: literally, “elected”; this could also be translated “Kyria (a woman’s name) chosen (by God)” or “the lady Electa” or “Electa Kyria.” The adjective “chosen” is applied to all Christians at the beginning of other New Testament letters (1 Pt 1:1; Ti 1:1). The description is of a specific community with “children” who are its members. The truth: the affirmation of Jesus in the flesh and in contrast to false teaching (2 Jn 7).
3Grace, mercy, and peace: like 1 Timothy; 2 Timothy this letter adds mercy to the terms used frequently in a salutation to describe Christian blessing; it appears only here in the Johannine writings. The author also puts the blessing in relation to truth and love, the watchwords of the Johannine teaching. The Father’s Son: the title that affirms the close relationship of Christ to God; similar variations of this title occur elsewhere (Jn 1:14; 3:35), but the precise wording is not found elsewhere in the New Testament.
4Some of your children: this refers to those whom the Presbyter has recently encountered, but it may also indicate the presence of false doctrine in the community: the Presbyter encourages those who have remained faithful. Walking in the truth: an expression used in the Johannine writings to describe a way of living in which the Christian faith is visibly expressed; cf. 1 Jn 1:6–7; 2:6, 11; 3 Jn 3.
6His commandments: cf. 1 Jn 3:23; 2:7–8; 4:21; obedience to the commandment of faith and love includes all others.
8You (plural): it is not certain whether this means the Christians addressed or includes the Presbyter, since some of the ancient Greek manuscripts and Greek Fathers have “we.”
9Anyone who is so “progressive”: literally, “Anyone who goes ahead.” Some gnostic groups held the doctrine of the Christ come in the flesh to be a first step in belief, which the more advanced and spiritual believer surpassed and abandoned in his knowledge of the spiritual Christ. The author affirms that fellowship with God may be gained only by holding to the complete doctrine of Jesus Christ (1 Jn 2:22–23; 4:2; 5:5–6).
10–11At this time false teachers were considered so dangerous and divisive as to be shunned completely. From this description they seem to be wandering preachers. We see here a natural suspicion of early Christians concerning such itinerants and can envisage the problems faced by missionaries such as those mentioned in 3 Jn 10.
12Our joy: a number of other Greek manuscripts read “your joy.”
13Chosen sister: the community of which the Presbyter is now a part greets you (singular), the community of the Lady addressed.
2 John : Introduction (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 782)
2 John or Second Letter of John; abbreviated as 2 Jn
The 24th Book of the New Testament.
THE AUTHOR AND DATE OF WRITING
This book is attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John.
The Book of 2 John would most likely have been written at about the same time as John’s other letters, 1 and 3 John, between A.D. 85-100.
Purpose of Writing:
John warned the church about the false teachers. He told the church members not to accept these men into their homes. The church should not allow them to teach. If the church members greeted the false teachers, the church members were helping the false teachers. The church must be careful to obey the true message of Jesus. They must love each other and live in the truth. The word truth means the true message that they had received. They believed in Jesus and what he has done. They must separate themselves from everyone who denied the truth about Jesus.
John writes this second letter to “the chosen lady and her children”—which may refer to a particular church leader, or perhaps metaphorically to a local church or group of churches. John refers to this lady’s “chosen sister” at the end of this letter (2 Jn 13), which may be code for a greeting from the children of another woman, or members of another church or group of churches.
Second John is the fifth of the General Epistles (or Catholic Letters), the writings of apostles to the church at large. While Paul wrote to specific congregations and individuals, Peter, James, John, and Jude wrote to broader audiences scattered across the Roman empire.
Second and Third John, however, are written to specific audiences.
Second John is the second shortest book of the Bible(by word count). It’s only one chapter long, and has only thirteen verses.
This letter repeats many themes from John’s first letter, and Third John reflects these themes as well. Overall, the three letters from John give us an idea of what the apostle thought was most important at the time: sound teaching, obedience to God, and brotherly love.
1 John 5 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
Faith Is Victory over the World.1 [a]Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the father loves [also] the one begotten by him. 2 In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4 for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.5 Who [indeed] is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
6 This is the one who came through water and blood,[b] Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth. 7 So there are three that testify, 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord. 9 If we accept human testimony, the testimony of God is surely greater. Now the testimony of God is this, that he has testified on behalf of his Son.10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.
Prayer for Sinners.13 I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God. 14 And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours. 16 If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.
18 We know that no one begotten by God sins; but the one begotten by God he protects, and the evil one cannot touch him. 19 We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the evil one. 20 We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true. And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.21 Children, be on your guard against idols.
5:1–5Children of God are identified not only by their love for others (1 Jn 4:7–9) and for God (1 Jn 5:1–2) but by their belief in the divine sonship of Jesus Christ. Faith, the acceptance of Jesus in his true character and the obedience in love to God’s commands (1 Jn 5:3), is the source of the Christian’s power in the world and conquers the world of evil (1 Jn 5:4–5), even as Christ overcame the world (Jn 16:33).
5:6–12Water and blood (1 Jn 5:6) refers to Christ’s baptism (Mt 3:16–17) and to the shedding of his blood on the cross (Jn 19:34). The Spirit was present at the baptism (Mt 3:16; Mk 1:10; Lk 3:22; Jn 1:32, 34). The testimony to Christ as the Son of God is confirmed by divine witness (1 Jn 5:7–9), greater by far than the two legally required human witnesses (Dt 17:6). To deny this is to deny God’s truth; cf. Jn 8:17–18. The gist of the divine witness or testimony is that eternal life (1 Jn 5:11–12) is given in Christ and nowhere else. To possess the Son is not acceptance of a doctrine but of a person who lives now and provides life.
5:13–21As children of God we have confidence in prayer because of our intimate relationship with him (1 Jn 5:14–15). In love, we pray (1 Jn 5:16–17) for those who are in sin, but not in deadly sin (literally, “sin unto death”), probably referring to apostasy or activities brought on under the antichrist; cf. Mk 3:29; Hb 6:4–6; 10:26–31. Even in the latter case, however, prayer, while not enjoined, is not forbidden. The letter concludes with a summary of the themes of the letter (1 Jn 5:18–20). There is a sharp antithesis between the children of God and those belonging to the world and to the evil one. The Son reveals the God of truth; Christians dwell in the true God, in his Son, and have eternal life. The final verse (1 Jn 5:21) voices a perennial warning about idols, any type of rival to God.
1 John 4 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
Testing the Spirits.[a]1 Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, 3 and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus[b]does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world. 4 You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.
God’s Love and Christian Life.7 [c]Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. 8 Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. 10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.
13 [d]This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit. 14 Moreover, we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world. 15 Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. 16 We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.
God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. 17 In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God[e] whom he has not seen.21 This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
4:1–6Deception is possible in spiritual phenomena and may be tested by its relation to Christian doctrine (cf. 1 Cor 12:3): those who fail to acknowledge Jesus Christ in the flesh are false prophets and belong to the antichrist. Even though these false prophets are well received in the world, the Christian who belongs to God has a greater power in the truth.
4:3Does not acknowledge Jesus: some ancient manuscripts add “Christ” and/or “to have come in the flesh” (cf. 1 Jn 4:2), and others read “every spirit that annuls (or severs) Jesus.”
4:7–12Love as we share in it testifies to the nature of God and to his presence in our lives. One who loves shows that one is a child of God and knows God, for God’s very being is love; one without love is without God. The revelation of the nature of God’s love is found in the free gift of his Son to us, so that we may share life with God and be delivered from our sins. The love we have for one another must be of the same sort: authentic, merciful; this unique Christian love is our proof that we know God and can “see” the invisible God.
4:13–21The testimony of the Spirit and that of faith join the testimony of love to confirm our knowledge of God. Our love is grounded in the confession of Jesus as the Son of God and the example of God’s love for us. Christian life is founded on the knowledge of God as love and on his continuing presence that relieves us from fear of judgment (1 Jn 4:16–18). What Christ is gives us confidence, even as we live and love in this world. Yet Christian love is not abstract but lived in the concrete manner of love for one another.
4:20Cannot love God: some ancient manuscripts read “how can he love…?”
1 John 3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
1 [a]See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed[b] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.
Avoiding Sin.4 Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness.[c]5 You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him. 7 Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.[d]10 In this way, the children of God and the children of the devil are made plain; no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother.
III. Love for One Another
11 [e]For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, 12 unlike Cain who belonged to the evil one and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous. 13 Do not be amazed, [then,] brothers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. Whoever does not love remains in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him. 16 The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? 18 Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.
Confidence Before God.[f]19 [Now] this is how we shall know that we[g]belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him 20 in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. 21 Beloved, if [our] hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God 22 and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. 24 Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit that he gave us.
3:1–3The greatest sign of God’s love is the gift of his Son (Jn 3:16) that has made Christians true children of God. This relationship is a present reality and also part of the life to come; true knowledge of God will ultimately be gained, and Christians prepare themselves now by virtuous lives in imitation of the Son.
3:2When it is revealed: or “when he is revealed” (the subject of the verb could be Christ).
3:4Lawlessness: a reference to the activity of the antichrist, so it is expressed as hostility toward God and a rejection of Christ. The author goes on to contrast the states of sin and righteousness. Christians do not escape sin but realize that when they sin they cease to have fellowship with God. Virtue and sin distinguish the children of God from the children of the devil.
3:9A habitual sinner is a child of the devil, while a child of God, who by definition is in fellowship with God, cannot sin. Seed: Christ or the Spirit who shares the nature of God with the Christian.
3:11–18Love, even to the point of self-sacrifice, is the point of the commandment. The story of Cain and Abel (1 Jn 3:12–15; Gn 4:1–16) presents the rivalry of two brothers, in a contrast of evil and righteousness, where envy led to murder. For Christians, proof of deliverance is love toward others, after the example of Christ. This includes concrete acts of charity, out of our material abundance.
3:19–24Living a life of faith in Jesus and of Christian love assures us of abiding in God no matter what our feelings may at times tell us. Our obedience gives us confidence in prayer and trust in God’s judgment. This obedience includes our belief in Christ and love for one another.
3:19b–20This difficult passage may also be translated “we shall be at peace before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for…” or “and before God we shall convince our hearts, if our hearts condemn us, that God is greater than our hearts.”
1 John 2 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
Christ and His Commandments.1 My children,[a] I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. 2 He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. 3 The way we may be sure[b] that we know him is to keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: 6 whoever claims to abide in him ought to live [just] as he lived.
The New Commandment.[c]7 Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.8 And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you,[d] for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. 11 Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Members of the Community.[e]12 I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.[f]
13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men, because you have conquered the evil one.
14 I write to you, children, because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one.
15 Do not love the world or the things of the world.[g] If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, sensual lust,[h] enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.
Antichrists.18 Children, it is the last hour;[i] and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;[j] if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. 20 But you have the anointing that comes from the holy one,[k] and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.22 [l]Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.
Life from God’s Anointing.24 Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.[m]25 And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life. 26 I write you these things about those who would deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; just as it taught you, remain in him.
Children of God.28 [n]And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming. 29 If you consider that he is righteous, you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness is begotten by him.
2:1Children: like the term “beloved,” this is an expression of pastoral love (cf. Jn 13:33; 21:5; 1 Cor 4:14). Advocate: for the use of the term, see Jn 14:16. Forgiveness of sin is assured through Christ’s intercession and expiation or “offering”; the death of Christ effected the removal of sin.
2:3–6The way we may be sure: to those who claim, “I have known Christ and therefore I know him,” our author insists on not mere intellectual knowledge but obedience to God’s commandments in a life conformed to the example of Christ; this confirms our knowledge of him and is the love of God…perfected. Disparity between moral life and the commandments proves improper belief.
2:7–11The author expresses the continuity and freshness of mutual charity in Christian experience. Through Christ the commandment of love has become the light defeating the darkness of evil in a new age. All hatred as darkness is incompatible with the light and Christian life. Note also the characteristic Johannine polemic in which a positive assertion is emphasized by the negative statement of its opposite.
2:8Which holds true in him and among you: literally, “a thing that holds true in him and in you.”
2:12–17The Christian community that has experienced the grace of God through forgiveness of sin and knowledge of Christ is armed against the evil one.
2:12For his name’s sake: because of Christ our sins are forgiven.
2:15The world: all that is hostile toward God and alienated from him. Love of the worldand love of God are thus mutually exclusive; cf. Jas 4:4.
2:16Sensual lust: literally, “the lust of the flesh,” inordinate desire for physical gratification. Enticement for the eyes: literally, “the lust of the eyes,” avarice or covetousness; the eyes are regarded as the windows of the soul. Pretentious life: literally, “pride of life,” arrogance or ostentation in one’s earthly style of life that reflects a willful independence from God and others.
2:18It is the last hour: literally, “a last hour,” the period between the death and resurrection of Christ and his second coming. The antichrist: opponent or adversary of Christ; the term appears only in 1 John–2 John, but “pseudochrists” (translated “false messiahs”) in Mt 24:24 and Mk 13:22, and Paul’s “lawless one” in 2 Thes 2:3, are similar figures. Many antichrists: Matthew, Mark, and Revelation seem to indicate a collectivity of persons, here related to the false teachers.
2:19Not really of our number: the apostate teachers only proved their lack of faith by leaving the community.
2:20The anointing that comes from the holy one: this anointing is in the Old Testament sense of receiving the Spirit of God. The holy one probably refers to Christ. True knowledge is the gift of the Spirit (cf. Is 11:2), and the function of the Spirit is to lead Christians to the truth (Jn 14:17, 26; 16:13).
2:22–23Certain gnostics denied that the earthly Jesus was the Christ; to deny knowledge of the Son is to deny the Father, since only through the Son has God been fully revealed (Jn 1:18; 14:8–9).
2:24Continuity with the apostolic witness as proclaimed in the prologue is the safeguard of right belief.
2:28–29Our confidence at his judgment is based on the daily assurance of salvation. Our actions reflect our true relation to him.