SUMMARY.--The Advocate with the Father.
The Old and the New Commandment.
The Love of the World and the Love of the Father Inconsistent.
The Unction of the Holy Spirit.
The Anointing Which Teacheth All Things.
1, 2. My little children. From so aged a teacher as John, now
probably more than four score, and at least fifty years in the service
of Christ, this fatherly style of address is very appropriate.
That ye sin not. He writes to exhort them to a pure and holy life,
the only life permissible to those born again.
And if any sin. The word "man" is not found in the Greek.
The meaning is, "If any brother, any of you, should be overtaken by
sin," there is a way of forgiveness. They must not sin, but if
unhappily one does sin, let him go to Christ, the Advocate.We have an advocate. Who pleads with the Father not to 
withdraw his love because we may have been betrayed into sin.
2. He is the propitiation. The mercy seat of the Tabernacle
where God met man was called the propitiation. Christ is our mercy
seat, where God meets us in mercy and forgiveness.
And not for ours only. Christ's offering is for all. "He tasted
death for every man."
3-6. And hereby we do know that we know him. The evidences that
we have a saving knowledge of Christ is loyal obedience to his
4. He that saith, etc. If one claims to have a saving knowledge
of Christ, yet lives in disobedience, his life puts the lie to his
5. But whoso keepeth his word, etc. It is by keeping his
commandments that the love of God is made perfect in us. Obedience is
the result and proof of love, and also gives love the opportunity to
flow over the whole life. Compare
Hereby. By our loyal obedience.
6. He that saith he abideth in him. Who so abideth in Christ,
and lives by the life Christ imparts, must show that life by a life
like that of Christ. See
7-11. I write no new commandment. He writes in substance what
was commanded from the beginning when he bids them walk as Christ
The beginning. Their first hearing of the gospel.
The old commandment is the word. The Gospel. Its substance is
condensed by Christ into the words: "Follow me."
8. Again, a new commandment. Yet this commandment, the substance
of which is brotherly love, is in one sense new (see
because it was first taught them by Christ.
Which thing is true. Its truth is shown in the life of Christ
and in your life.
Because the darkness is past. The truth of the new commandment
is shown because you have come out of the darkness and are walking in
the light that shineth. He that keeps the new commandment walks in the
9. He that saith he is the light. If one hates his brother he
demonstrates that he is in darkness.
10. He that loveth, etc. On the other hand, brotherly love shows
that one abides in the light.
None occasion of stumbling. Because he walks in the light and
can see where he walks.
11. But he that 
hateth, etc. He who hates is not following Christ, the Light,
and hence walks in the darkness, hence is
blinded. He cannot see the dangers that beset him on account of
12-14. I write unto you, little children. John calls all the
saints "little children." Then he divides them into three classes,
"fathers," "young men," and "little children"
but the Greek word
rendered "little children" in
is a different one from that of
verses 1 and 12.
13. I write unto you, fathers. These father
have known him. Not known Christ in the flesh but have walked
with him long and realized his presence.
Young men. The special excellence of these Christian young men
is that they have overcome the temptations of the evil one.
Little children. These have known the Father, and can say, "Our
Father who art in heaven."
14. I have written. This verse, imitating the Hebrew
verses 12 and 13
with slight variations.
15-17. Love not the world. An exhortation to all three classes
just named. The love of the world and of God are not reconcilable. See
By "the world" is meant the ways of the world, its passions, pleasures
16. For all that is in the world. This sinful world is
comprehended under three heads.
The lust of the flesh. The desires which spring from the appetites
The lust of the eyes. The desires that are aroused by appeals made
to our eyes.
The pride of life. The vain glory of the world; its foolish
display. Sensuality, avarice and pride, nearly, but not quite,
illustrate what is meant.
17. And the world passeth away. All things are transient, but he
who does the will of God builds on eternal foundations.
18-25. Little children, it is the last time. We are in the last
Ye have heard that antichrist shall come. False Christs and
those opposed to Christ. See
Whereby we know that it is the last time. Their appearance is a
part of the series of events which leads to the final consummation.
19. They went out from us. This implies that these antichrists
were apostates. The worst men are often those who were once outwardly
religious and have fallen away.
If they had been of us. Had they been true and genuine
Christians they could hardly have fallen into such a state of enmity.
Their going away and bitter opposition show that they were not real
20. But ye have an unction. Ye are anointed with the Holy
Spirit. Christian means an anointed one; Anti-Christ would mean against
the Anointed. Hence John reminds them that they have been anointed by
the Holy One.
Know all things. All things needful to guard against these
opposers and seducing teachers. It is the privilege of those who have
this anointing to know Christ experimentally
(John 14:22, 23).
21. I have not written, etc. John writes to them as those who
know the truth, and know how to discern between the truth and lies.
22. Who is a liar, etc.? Hence they will know how to reject
these antichrists who lyingly deny Jesus Christ.
23. Whosoever denieth the Son. All who deny the Father and the
Son are antichrist; so also those who reject the Son cannot have the
24. Let that therefore abide in you. The truth concerning the
Father and the Son which Anti-Christ denies.
Ye shall continue. He who remains steadfast in this faith will
in the Son, etc.25. And this is the promise. This promise is made to all who
abide in the Son and in the Father.
26-29. These things have I written, etc. All these words about
Anti-Christ; all from
verse 18 to the end of the chapter
is to put them on their guard against false teachers.
27. But the anointing which ye have received. See
This anointing is spoken of because it furnishes them a means of
guarding against the false teachers and seducers. The passage does not
teach a continuous revelation, or that we are to be led by the inner
light, but that God has given us means of knowing whether men speak the
Ye need not that any man should teach you. There is another
fountain of knowledge so that ye need not the aid of these opposing
As the same anointing teacheth you all things. The Holy Spirit
bestowed upon you. It was the promise of Christ that the Spirit should
guide you into all truth
The Holy Spirit was thus imparted to the apostles and through them
spiritual gifts were imparted everywhere in the early church. Among
these gifts were wisdom, 
knowledge, prophecy, and discerning of spirits. These extraordinary
gifts continued until the Holy Spirit had prepared the New Testament to
guide the church
(1 Cor. 13:8).
Now we have the Word of God, which the Holy Spirit has given us, and
the presence of the Spirit with us to fit us for understanding. The
word and the unction still "teach us all things."
28. Abide in him. By continuing in the truth taught of God.
29. If ye know that he is righteous. A life of righteousness
shows that we have the life of Christ, and hence is proof that we have
been born of him.