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1 Yohanes 2:7-17

Konteks

2:7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. 1  The old commandment is the word that you have already 2  heard. 2:8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you which is true in him 3  and in you, because 4  the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 5  2:9 The one who says he is in the light but still hates 6  his fellow Christian 7  is still in the darkness. 2:10 The one who loves his fellow Christian 8  resides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 9  2:11 But the one who hates his fellow Christian 10  is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 11 

Words of Reassurance

2:12 I am writing to you, 12  little children, that 13  your sins have been forgiven because of his 14  name. 2:13 I am writing to you, fathers, that 15  you have known him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young people, that 16  you have conquered the evil one. 17  2:14 I have written to you, children, that 18  you have known the Father. 19  I have written to you, fathers, that 20  you have known him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young people, that 21  you are strong, and the word of God resides in you, and you have conquered the evil one.

2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 2:16 because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) 22  is not from the Father, but is from the world. 2:17 And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains 23  forever.

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[2:7]  1 sn See John 13:34-35.

[2:7]  2 tn “Already” is not is the Greek text, but is supplied for clarity.

[2:8]  3 tn “In him” probably refers to Jesus Christ since the last third person pronoun in 2:6 referred to Jesus Christ and there is no indication in the context of a change in referent.

[2:8]  4 tn The clause beginning with ὅτι (Joti) is often taken as (1) epexegetical or (2) appositional to the commandment (ἐντολήν, entolhn) giving a further explanation or clarification of it. But the statement following the ὅτι is about light and darkness, and it is difficult to see how this has anything to do with the commandment, especially as the commandment is related to the “new commandment” of John 13:34 for believers to love one another. It is far more likely that (3) the ὅτι clause should be understood as causal, but this still does not answer the question of whether it offers the reason for writing the “new commandment” itself or the reason for the relative clause (“that is true in him and in you”). It probably gives the reason for the writing of the commandment, although R. E. Brown (Epistles of John [AB], 268) thinks it refers to both.

[2:8]  5 sn The reference to the darkness…passing away and the true light…already shining is an allusion to John 1:5, 1:9, and 8:12. Because the author sees the victory of light over darkness as something already begun, he is writing Jesus’ commandment to love one another to the readers as a reminder to (1) hold fast to what they have already heard (see 1 John 2:7) and (2) not be influenced by the teaching of the opponents.

[2:9]  6 tn Grk “the one saying he is in the light and hating his brother.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” because of the contrast present in the two clauses.

[2:9]  7 tn Grk “his brother.” Here the term “brother” means “fellow believer” or “fellow Christian” (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 2.a). In the repeated uses of this form of address throughout the letter, it is important to remember that sometimes it refers (1) to genuine Christians (those who have remained faithful to the apostolic eyewitness testimony about who Jesus is, as outlined in the Prologue to the letter, 1:1-4; an example of this usage is 2:10; 3:14, 16), but often it refers (2) to the secessionist opponents whose views the author rejects (examples are found here at 2:9, as well as 2:11; 3:10; 3:15; 3:17; 4:20). Of course, to be technically accurate, in the latter case the reference is really to a “fellow member of the community”; the use of the term “fellow Christian” in the translation no more implies that such an individual is genuinely saved than the literal term “brother” which the author uses for such people. But a translation like “fellow member of the community” or “fellow member of the congregation” is extremely awkward and simply cannot be employed consistently throughout.

[2:10]  8 tn See note on the term “fellow Christian” in 2:9.

[2:10]  9 tn The third person pronoun αὐτῷ (autw) could refer either (1) to the person who loves his brother or (2) to the light itself which has no cause for stumbling “in it.” The following verse (2:11) views darkness as operative within a person, and the analogy with Ps 119:165, which says that the person who loves God’s law does not stumble, expresses a similar concept in relation to an individual. This evidence suggests that the person is the referent here.

[2:11]  10 sn The one who hates his fellow Christian. The author’s paradigm for the opponents portrays them as those who show hatred for fellow Christians (Grk “brothers,” but not referring to one’s physical siblings). This charge will be much more fully developed in chap. 3, where the author will compare the opponents to Cain (who is the model for one who hates a brother, since he ultimately murdered his own brother). In 1 John 3:17 the specific charge against the opponents will be failing to give material aid to a brother in need.

[2:11]  11 sn 1 John 2:3-11. The section 2:3-11 contains three claims to intimate knowledge of God, each introduced by the phrase the one who says (participles in the Greek text) in 2:4, 6, and 9. As with the three claims beginning with “if” in the previous section (1:6, 8, 10), these indirectly reflect the claims of the opponents. Each claim is followed by the author’s evaluation and its implications.

[2:12]  12 sn I am writing to you. The author appears to have been concerned that some of his readers, at least, would accept the claims of the opponents as voiced in 1:6, 8, and 10. The counterclaims the author has made in 1:7, 9, and 2:1 seem intended to strengthen the readers and reassure them (among other things) that their sins are forgiven. Further assurances of their position here is in keeping with such a theme, and indeed, the topic of reassurance runs throughout the entire letter (see the purpose statement in 5:13). Finally, in such a context the warning which follows in 2:15-17 is not out of place because the author is dealing with a community that is discouraged by the controversy which has arisen within it and that is in need of exhortation.

[2:12]  13 tn The ὅτι (Joti) that follows all six occurrences of γράφω/ἔγραψα (grafw/egraya) in 2:12-14 can be understood as introducing either (1) a causal clause or (2) a content clause (if content, it could be said to introduce a direct object clause or an indirect discourse clause). Many interpreters have favored a causal translation, so that in each of the six cases what follows the ὅτι gives the reason why the author is writing to the recipients. Usage in similar constructions is not decisive because only one other instance of γράφω followed by ὅτι occurs in 1 John (2:21), and that context is just as ambiguous as this one. On other occasions γράφω does tend to be followed by a noun or pronoun functioning as direct object. This might argue for the content usage here, but it could also be argued that the direct object in the six instances in these verses is understood, namely, the content of the entire letter itself. Thus the following ὅτι clause could still be causal. Grammatical considerations aside, these uses of ὅτι are more likely introducing content clauses here rather than causal clauses because such a meaning better fits the context. If the uses of ὅτι are understood as causal, it is difficult to see why the author immediately gives a warning in the section that follows about loving the world. The confidence he has expressed in his readers (if the ὅτι clauses are understood as causal) would appear to be ill-founded if he is so concerned about their relationship to the world as 2:15-17 seems to indicate. On the other hand, understanding the ὅτι clauses as content clauses fits very well the context of reassurance which runs throughout the letter.

[2:12]  14 tn “His” probably refers to Jesus Christ. Note the last reference was to Jesus in 2:8 and before that in 2:6; also the mention of sins being forgiven suggests Jesus’ work on the cross.

[2:13]  15 tn See the note on “that” in v. 12.

[2:13]  16 tn See the note on “that” in v. 12.

[2:13]  17 sn The phrase the evil one is used in John 17:15 as a reference to Satan. Satan is also the referent here and in the four other occurrences in 1 John (2:14; 3:12; 5:18, 19).

[2:14]  18 tn See the note on “that” in v. 12.

[2:14]  19 sn The versification of vv. 13 and 14 (so also NAB, NRSV, NLT) follows that of the NA27 and UBS4 editions of the Greek text. Some English translations, however, break the verses between the sentence addressed to children and the sentence addressed to fathers (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV). The same material has been translated in each case; the only difference is the versification of that material.

[2:14]  20 tn See the note on “that” in v. 12.

[2:14]  21 tn See the note on “that” in v. 12.

[2:16]  22 tn The genitive βίου (biou) is difficult to translate: (1) Many understand it as objective, so that βίος (bios, “material life”) becomes the object of one’s ἀλαζονεία (alazoneia; “pride” or “boastfulness”). Various interpretations along these lines refer to boasting about one’s wealth, showing off one’s possessions, boasting of one’s social status or lifestyle. (2) It is also possible to understand the genitive as subjective, however, in which case the βίος itself produces the ἀλαζονεία. In this case, the material security of one’s life and possessions produces a boastful overconfidence. This understanding better fits the context here: The focus is on people who operate purely on a human level and have no spiritual dimension to their existence. This is the person who loves the world, whose affections are all centered on the world, who has no love for God or spiritual things (“the love of the Father is not in him,” 2:15).

[2:16]  sn The arrogance produced by material possessions. The person who thinks he has enough wealth and property to protect himself and insure his security has no need for God (or anything outside himself).

[2:17]  23 tn See note on the translation of the Greek verb μένω (menw) in 2:6. The translation “remain” is used for μένω (menw) here because the context contrasts the transience of the world and its desires with the permanence of the person who does God’s will.



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