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2:12-27 - Proposition - Continuing in Intimacy with God

to command/Asiatic believers/to continue being intimate with God by not loving the anti-God world system and by abiding in the true Gospel/Christology
  • Style Element: The proposition in Greek rhetorical style introduces the thesis of the speaker.19
1. Commendation (2:12-14): to commend/Asiatic believers/because their sins have been forgiven (2:12), they know God (13a,c, 14a), they have overcome false teachers (13b, 14b), and because they are strong and the Word of God resides in them (14b)
a. Writing (2:12-14): Notice that expressions similar to, "I am writing," occur thirteen times in 1 John (1:4; 2:1, 7-8, 12-13, 21, 26; 5:13). It appears six times in this subsection. Quite obviously, the purpose of this subsection is to provide some insights into the reasons why John wrote the subsection to the recipients.
b. Children (2:12-13): The arrangement in these verses is puzzling. "Children" is always used of the recipients (2:1, 12-13, 18, 28; 3:1-2, 7, 10, 18; 4:4; 5:2, 21). Every instance of "children," except 2:13 (verse 14 in some versions), 18, is a translation of teknon. It refers to the offspring of parents or forefathers without respect to age. First John 2:13, 18 use paidion, which refers to a baby or little child.20 Since in the vast majority of the cases teknon is used, the recipients should not be thought of as babies or infants. The English translation of teknon as "little children" is misleading.
c. Fathers/Young Men (2:13-14): A father would be a male with children. A young man would be a male from about 24 to 40 years of age.21 Marriage occurred very early among the Jews. At a later time the rabbis enforced a minimum age for marriage of 13 years for boys and 12 years for girls.22 While it may seem odd to citizens of the third millennium, a 13-year-old boy could have become a father before he became a young man. So there is a progression in age from father to young man.
d. Poetry (2:12-14): These verses seem to be a poem after the style of Hebrew poetry. All the lines of the poem are parallel. The specific type of parallelism is called synthetic. The second and following lines repeat one idea from the first line and develop it further. Because it is poetry, every detail cannot be pressed for meaning.23 Thus, we should treat children (both teknon and paidion) and fathers and young men as synonyms representative of the recipients. Likewise, the various descriptions are all commentaries on the original readers of the Epistle. So, the original readers are described very positively as being saved and in fellowship:

THE 1 JOHN 2:12-14 POEM





children -- teknon

"your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake" (John is not casting doubt on their salvation. They are not false professors.)


fathers -- pathr

"you know Him Who has been from the beginning" (See knowing God on the previous page.)


young man -- neaniskoj

"you have overcome the evil one" (The "evil one" is interpreted to be one of the false teachers who are about to be introduced in the next passage[(e.g., 2:18].)


children -- paidion

"you know the Father" (See knowing God on the previous page.)


fathers -- pathr

"you know Him Who has been from the beginning" (See knowing God on the previous page.)


young man -- neaniskoj

  • "you are strong and the Word of God abides in you"

  • "you have overcome the evil one" (The "evil one" is interpreted to be one of the false teachers who are about to be introduced in the next passage [e.g., 2:18].)

  • Verse 12 shows that the recipients are believers. Verses 13 and 14 show that they are in intimate fellowship with God.
2. The World (2:15-17): to command/Asiatic believers/to not love the anti-God world system with its lusts because it is passing away and such love is not appropriate for those who shall have eternal intimacy with God
  • World (2:15-17): Kosmos** has strong philosophical and religious overtones.24 "It is "the world, and everything that belongs to it, appears as that which is at enmity w. God, i.e. lost in sin, wholly at odds w. anything divine, ruined and depraved . . ."25
  • The Love of the Father (2:15): The English versions (e.g., NASV, NIV, KJV) need to be read carefully. They do not say that the Father's love is not in the recipients. They say the recipients do not love the Father if they love the world. This seems to be an accurate translation. The noun, Father, is in the genitive which could mean it is the "Father's love" (possessive genitive) or it could mean that it is "love of the Father" (objective genitive). There are also other options that are available.26 The Father's love always resides within believers (e.g., Romans 8:35-39; James 4:4). However, verse 12 indicates they are saved. So the "Father's love" option must be rejected.
  • Fellowship Sphere Descriptions: -- loves the Father/loves the world (2:15-17) -- See Diagram.
  • Passing Away (2:17): The earth and its anti-God system will be destroyed after the millennium and prior to the establishment of the Eternal State (1 Peter 3:10, 12; Revelation 21:1).
  • Will of God (2:17): The only other time John uses the phrase, "the will of God," in his Gospel: "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day (John 6:40)." So to do the will of God in 1 John is to believe in His Son. Then the believer will have eternal intimacy with God. For the meaning of "abides," see Abiding, above.
3. Abiding in the Gospel/True Christology (2:18-27): to command/Asiatic believers/to abide in the true Gospel/Christology that gave them eternal life, using the special ability given by the Holy Spirit to understand It, because the heretics, who left the apostolic influence and who teach that Jesus is not the Messiah, are present to deceive them, and because It will result in intimacy with God
  • Last Hour (2:18): Similar expressions are listed in the table below. The "last hour/time/times" apparently refers to the period including the First Advent through the Rapture. It is not limited to the time immediately preceding the Rapture and Second Coming of Christ.





Concepts Associated with the Period

1 Peter 1:5

last time

kairw| escatw|

deliverance of believers (deliverance from the Tribulation via the Rapture)

1 Peter 1:20

last times

escatou twvn cronwn

First Advent of Christ

1 John 2:18 (2)

last hour

escath wra

lifetime of recipients, coming of the Antichrist(s)

Jude 18

last time

escatou tou cronou

lifetime of the recipients, mockers

  • Antichrist(s) (2:18, 22; 4:3): There is one important person called the Antichrist who is the subject of prophecy. However, there were several persons of lesser importance that lived during the lifetime of the recipients. John also called them antichrists. Their presence shows it is the last hour. The following table summaries what we know of the Antichrist(s).




1 John 2:18

come during the last hour (above)

1 John 2:22-23

liar, denies that Jesus is ChristA, denies the Father and the Son, denies the Son

1 John 4:3

does not confess Jesus, His "spirit" was present during the lifetimes of the recipients

2 John 7

deceiver, does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh

AA trust in Jesus Who is the Christ is part of the content of belief that results in eternal life (John 11:25-27; 20:31; 1 John 5:1). The antichrists taught a false Gospel based on a false Christology. Being Christ also means He is Savior of the world (check out John 4:29, 42).

The false teachers of 1 John, who are called the antichrists, are described above.

The Antichrist, not the false teachers of the Epistles of John, is thought by Walvoord to be the prince who is to come of Daniel 9:26-27, the man of lawlessness of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12, and the beast of Revelation 13:1-8.27 Additional passages possibly mentioning the Antichrist include Daniel 7:8, 20-22, 24-26; 8:23-25; Daniel 11:36-45; Revelation 11:7; 17:3, 8-14.

  • Went Out from Us (2:19): This situation may have been like that of the legalists described in Acts 15:24: "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment . . . (KJV)."28

This expression is not saying that the false teachers had left the churches frequented by the recipients. If that were true, the antichrists would not have been a problem to the recipients. John is stating that the false teachers had been under an Apostolic influence (the first person plural pronouns, "us") but had left because their doctrine differed from that of the Apostles. Hodges believes the false teachers has been under the Apostolic influence in Jerusalem.29

  • Anointing (2:20-21, 27): See anointing, above. The fact that the Holy Spirit taught them the truth may be another indicator that the recipients have intimate fellowship with God.
  • Abiding in the Son and the Father (2:24): See the discussion of "abiding," above. As long as the recipients abide in the true Christology that they believed at the time of their salvation, they will have intimate fellowship with God.
  • Eternal Life (2:25): 1 John 5:1 is a shortened version of 1 John 2:22-25. 1 John 2:25 draws on the previous verses that indicate that Jesus is the Christ. First John 5:1 summarizes the concept in one verse that is more fully developed in 1 John 2:22-25. That is, the one who trusts that Jesus is the Christ has eternal life.
  • I Have Written (2:26): Another reason why John wrote to the recipients was to identify the false prophets who were seeking to deceive his readers. See "Purpose," below.

4. Fellowship Sphere Descriptions: -- abides in the Gospel-True Christology/doesn't abide in the Gospel-True Christology (2:18-27) -- See Diagram.