The First Epistle of John betrays throughout, in thought and style, the author of the fourth Gospel.
It is a postscript to it, or a practical application of the lessons of the life of Christ to the wants of the church at the close of the first century.
It is a circular letter of the venerable apostle to his beloved children in Asia Minor, exhorting them to a holy life of faith and love in Christ,
and earnestly warning them against the Gnostic "antichrists," already existing or to come,
who deny the mystery of the incarnation, sunder religion from morality, and run into Antinomian practices.
The Second and Third Epistles of John are, like the Epistle of Paul to Philemon, short private letters, one to a Christian woman by the name of Cyria,
the other to one Gaius, probably an officer of a congregation in Asia Minor. They belong to the seven Antilegomena,
and have been ascribed by some to the "Presbyter John," a contemporary of the apostle, though of disputed existence.
But the second Epistle resembles the first, almost to verbal repetition, and such repetition well agrees with the familiar tradition of Jerome
concerning the apostle of love, ever exhorting the congregation, in his advanced age, to love one another.
The difference of opinion in the ancient church respecting them may have risen partly from their private nature and their brevity,
and partly from the fact that the author styles himself, somewhat remarkably, the "elder," the "presbyter."
This term, however, is probably to be taken, not in the official sense, but in the original, signifying age and dignity;
for at that time John was in fact a venerable father in Christ, and must have been revered and loved as a patriarch among his "little children." (Schaff, History of the Christian Church)
G26 ἀγάπη agapē Thayer Definition: 1) brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence 2) love feasts Part of Speech: noun feminine A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G25
1 John 2:5 MSG But the one who keeps God's word is the person in whom we see God's mature love. (agapē) This is the only way to be sure we're in God.
The design of God’s love in sending Jesus Christ into the world to die for the sin of man, is accomplished, in that man who receives the doctrine,
and applies for the salvation provided for him. This seems to be the meaning of the apostle. (Clark’s Commentary on the Bible)
1 John 2:15 MSG Don’t love (agapaō) the world's ways. Don't love (agapaō) the world's goods. Love (agapē) of the world squeezes out love (agapaō) for the Father.
G25 ἀγαπάω agapaō Thayer Definition: 1) of persons 1a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly 2) of things 2a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing Part of Speech: verb
This means more than that he does not love God: rather that the love of God does not dwell in him as the ruling principle of his life.
Westcott cites a parallel from Philo: “It is impossible for love to the world to coexist with love to God, as it is impossible for light and darkness to coexist.” (Vincent’s Word Studies)
1 John 3:1 MSG What marvelous love (agapē) the Father has extended to us! Just look at it--we're called children of God!
That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he's up to.
The last verse of chapter 2 speaks of the saints as born of God. That thought suggests the wonderful love in allowing us to be born again and thus to become God's children. (Peoples New Testament )
1 John 3:10 MSG Here’s how you tell the difference between God's children and the Devil's children:
The one who won't practice righteous ways isn't from God, nor is the one who won't love (agapaō) brother or sister. A simple test.
The general sense is, that brotherly love is essential to the Christian character, and that he who does not possess it cannot be a Christian. (Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible)
1 John 3:11 MSG For this is the original message we heard: We should love (agapaō) each other. God's charge has always been that we should love each other. (PEOPLES NEW TESTAMENT)
1 John 3:14 MSG The way we know we've been transferred from death to life is that we love (agapaō) our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn't love (agapaō) is as good as dead.
If our hearts are filled with brotherly love this shows that we are God's children; and the opposite is also true. (PEOPLES NEW TESTAMENT)
1 John 3:16 MSG This is how we've come to understand and experience love: (agapē) Christ sacrificed his life for us.
If our hearts are filled with brotherly love this shows that we are God's children; and the opposite is also true. (PEOPLES NEW TESTAMENT)
1 John 3:17 MSG If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder
and do nothing, what happens to God's love? (agapē) It disappears. And you made it disappear.
Here is a test of this love; if we do not divide our bread with the hungry, we certainly would not lay down our life for him.
Whatever love we may pretend to mankind, if we are not charitable and benevolent, we give the lie to our profession.
If we have not bowels of compassion, we have not the love of God in us;
if we shut up our bowels against the poor, we shut Christ out of our hearts, and ourselves out of heaven. (Clark’s Commentary on the Bible)
1 John 3:18 MSG My dear children, let's not just talk about love; (agapaō) let's practice real love. (agapaō) What John means is “not merely by word or by the tongue.”
He does not condemn kind words which are comforting and cheering, but warm words should be accompanied by warm deeds to make real.
Here is a case where actions do speak louder than mere words. (Robertson’s Word Pictures)
1 John 3:23 MSG Again, this is God's command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love (agapaō) each other, in line with the original command.
And this is his commandment - All his commandments in one word. That we should believe and love - in the manner and degree which he hath taught.
This is the greatest and most important command that ever issued from the throne of glory.
If this be neglected, no other can be kept: if this be observed, all others are easy. (Wesley’s Explanatory Notes)
1 John 4:7 MSG My beloved friends, let us continue to love (agapaō) each other since love (agapē) comes from God.
Everyone who loves (agapaō) is born of God and experiences a relationship with God.
He returns to the commending of brotherly love and charity. The first reason: because it is a very divine thing,
and therefore very fitting for the sons of God: so that whoever is missing it cannot be said to know God correctly. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
1 John 4:8 MSG The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love (agapē) --so you can't know him if you don't love. (agapē)
God is love - This little sentence brought St. John more sweetness, even in the time he was writing it, than the whole world can bring.
God is often styled holy, righteous, wise; but not holiness, righteousness, or wisdom in the abstract, as he is said to be love;
intimating that this is his darling, his reigning attribute, the attribute that sheds an amiable glory on all his other perfections. (John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes)
1 John 4:9 MSG This is how God showed his love (agapē) for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him.
A confirmation: for it is the nature of God to love men, of which we have a most manifest proof above all other,
in that of his only free and infinite good will towards us his enemies, he delivered to death, not a common man,
but his own Son, indeed his only begotten Son, to the end that we being reconciled through his blood might be partakers in his everlasting glory. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
1 John 4:10 MSG This is the kind of love (agapē) we are talking about--not that we once upon a time loved (agapaō) God,
but that he loved (agapaō) us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God.
love in the abstract: love, in its highest ideal, is herein. The love was all on God’s side, none on ours.
not that we once upon a time loved God — though so altogether worthy of love. he loved us — though so altogether unworthy of love.
The Greek aorist expresses, Not that we did any act of love at any time to God, but that He did the act of love to us in sending Christ. (Jamieson Fausset Brown Commentary)
1 John 4:11 MSG My dear, dear friends, if God loved (agapaō) us like this, we certainly ought to love each other.
1 John 4:12 MSG No one has seen God, ever. But if we love (agapaō) one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love (agapē) becomes complete in us--perfect love! (agapē)
He is invisible to mortal eyes, yet we may have a sense of his presence in us. If we love each other he dwells in us.
his love becomes complete in us, It is made complete by our loving each other. It is incomplete unless his love for us is supplemented by brotherly love.
This love in us is the proof that God is in us. (PEOPLES NEW TESTAMENT)
1 John 4:16 MSG We know it so well, we've embraced it heart and soul, this love (agapē) that comes from God. God is love. (agapē)
When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, (agapē) we live in God and God lives in us.
He that dwelleth in love - he who is full of love to God and man is full of God, for God is love; and where such love is, there is God, for he is the fountain and maintainer of it. (Adam Clark’s Commentary on the Bible)
1 John 4:17 MSG This way, love (agapē) has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day--our standing in the world is identical with Christ's.
Again (as before) he commends love, seeing that by our agreement with God in this thing, we have a sure testimony of our adoption,
it comes to pass by this that without fear we look for that latter day of judgment, so that trembling and torment of conscience is cast out by this love.
This signifies a likeness, not an equality. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
1 John 4:18 MSG There is no room in love (agapē) for fear. Well-formed love (agapē) banishes fear.
Since fear is crippling, a fearful life--fear of death, fear of judgment--is one not yet fully formed in love. (agapē)
There may be reverential fear, but there is no terror. Fear of God gives way to love. fear is crippling Because it fills us with forebodings. (Peoples New Testament)
1 John 4:19 MSG We, though, are going to love (agapaō) —love (agapaō) and be loved. (agapaō) First we were loved, (agapaō) now we love. (agapaō) He loved (agapaō) us first.
The statement is general, relating to the entire operation of the principle of love. All human love is preceded and generated by the love of God.
1 John 4:20 MSG If anyone boasts, "I love (agapaō) God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar.
If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love (agapaō) the God he can't see?
The sense is, that no man, whatever may be his professions and pretensions, can have any true love to God, unless he loves his brethren.
1 John 4:21 MSG The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving (agapaō) God includes loving (agapaō) people. You've got to love (agapaō) both.
That is, the command to love a brother is as obligatory as that to love God. If one is obeyed, the other ought to be also;
if a man feels that one is binding on him, he should feel that the other is also;
and he can never have evidence that he is a true Christian, unless he manifests love to his brethren as well as love to God.
1 John 5:1 MSG Every person who believes that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah, is God-begotten.
If we love (agapaō) the One who conceives the child, we'll surely love (agapaō) the child who was conceived.
This belief, accepted in the heart, confessed with the mouth, and perfected by the obedience of faith makes one a child of God. (Peoples New Testament)
1 John 5:2 MSG The reality test on whether or not we love (agapaō) God's children is this: Do we love (agapaō) God? Do we keep his commands?
Our love of God’s followers is a proof that we love God. Our love to God is the cause why we love his children,
and our keeping the commandments of God is the proof that we love him. (Adam Clark’s Commentary on the Bible)
1 John 5:3 MSG The proof that we love (agapē) God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome.
For this is the love of God - The only sure proof of it. That we keep his commandments:
and his commandments are not grievous - To any that are born of God. (John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes)
2 John 1:1 MSG My dear congregation, I, your pastor, love (agapaō) you in very truth. And I'm not alone--everyone who knows the Truth
John, unlike Peter and Paul, nowhere in his writings speaks of himself as an apostle. Peter also speaks of himself as an elder.
John probably uses the term here, not officially, but in reference to his great age,
as the only survivor of the apostles, and perhaps then the only personal disciple of the Lord living. (Peoples New Testament)
Whom I love as the Christian religion requires us to love one another. (Adam Clark’s Commentary on the Bible)
2 John 1:3 MSG Let grace, mercy, and peace be with us in truth and love (agapē) from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, Son of the Father!
With true knowledge which always has love united with it, and following it. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
2 John 1:5 MSG But permit me a reminder, friends, and this is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love (agapaō) each other.
John presumed that the command to love one another was understood as far as the gospel was known; and he might well presume it,
for true Christianity never prevails anywhere without prompting to the observance of this law. (Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible)
2 John 1:6 MSG Love (agapē) means following his commandments,
and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love. (agapē) This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed.
That is, our love is shown and proved by our walking according to the commandments of God;
for love is the principle of obedience. (Adam Clark’s Commentary on the Bible)
3 John 1:1 MSG The Pastor, to my good friend Gaius: How truly I love (agapaō) you! An example of a Christian greeting. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
3 John 1:6 MSG They’ve made a full report back to the church here, a message about your love. (agapē)
It's good work you're doing, helping these travelers on their way, hospitality worthy of God himself!
These traveling brethren reported to the Church how Gaius had aided them. (Peoples New Testament)
He Did It Without Regret United States Senator Jake Garn of Utah did something most of us admire-and perhaps should consider doing ourselves.
He donated one of his organs to save a life. A recent survey says 73 percent of Americans approve organ donation.
But only about 20 percent actually sign donor cards and make arrangements for our corneas, kidneys, or other organs to be used when we die.
In Senator Garn's case, however, he did not wait until his death to donate his left kidney.
His 27-year-old daughter, Susan Garn Horne, suffered from progressive kidney failure due to diabetes.
Her condition deteriorated, and doctors determined that she needed a kidney transplant immediately.
Jake Garn and his two sons were all found to be compatible donors. The senator insisted that he should be the one to give the kidney.
"Her mother carried her for nine months," he said, "and I am honored to give her part of me."
So, on September 10, 1986, in a Washington, D.C. hospital, a six-hour surgical procedure was performed to remove one of his kidneys and to implant it into his daughter.
The radio news broadcast a story on Garns, and in it was a comment from the doctor who put the donated kidney into Susan's body.
At a press briefing at Georgetown University Hospital, the doctor said, "The senator is awake, has a bit of a grin on his face.
He seems very self-satisfied, and happy and peaceful.“ The senator had to be in pain at that moment.
The incision through which his kidney was removed goes from his back to his front ribs.
There were tubes in him, needles yet to come, and several weeks of recuperation lying ahead. But he was smiling!
That grin on Jake Garn's face could have meant only one thing: no regrets. Love makes it possible for a person to do the most difficult and dreaded of things without looking back.
Think for a moment about what Jesus did to save you. He left the worship of angels to be born in a stable.
He accepted the limitations of human form, suffered indignities of the greatest magnitude, and shed His lifeblood to purchase your redemption.
The most astounding thing about all He did is that there is not a word in the Bible which indicates that the Son of God regretted doing it.
the day of His ascension back to the Father, there may have been a bit of a grin on His face.
His only regret would come if you refused His gift of life.