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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Dec 28 2011 1:03 PM

Still with the great new pre pub price.


1 John 5:1-5, By This We Know That We Love God's Children



Once more the elder has composed a passage that seems to defy parsing into logical thought. Motifs entwine, spiral, then interlace with such circularity that a reader may experience verbal vertigo. On closer inspection, however, a structure for this dense segment does emerge: a circular chain of tightly linked comments that restate previous claims or reply to latent questions.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God. (v. 1a)

This claim echoes the elder's avowed interest in Jesus (4:2, 9-10, 15) and his recognition of believers as God's children. (3:1-2; 4:4)

How should one respond to God and to a child of God?

Everyone who loves the parent loves the offspring. (v. 1b)

This claim reaffirms the love of God and of brother and sister in 4:21.

But how do we know that we love God's children? (v. 2a)

Whenever we love God and carry out God's orders. (v. 2b; see 4:21)


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And how do we know that we do love God? (v. 3a)

By keeping the commandments. (v. 3b, restating v. 2b)

How difficult is that?

God's commandments are not burdensome. (v. 3c)

What is the result of keeping the commandments?

Whatever is begotten of God (cf. v. 1a) conquers the world. (v. 4a)

What form does this conquest of the world take? (v. 4b)

Our faith. (v. 4b; see also v. 1a)

Who conquers the world? (v. 5a)

None other than the one who believes that Jesus is God's Son. (v. 5b)

This conclusion approximates the claim in v. 1a, which introduced this entire pericope.

5:1. The opening verse requires extended consideration, because it announces so many of the interlacing topics throughout vv. 1-5: faith (see also vv. 4b, 5b), the identity of Jesus (see v. 5b), the believer as begotten of God (also v. 4a), and love as definitive of the believer's conduct (thus vv. 2-3a). The governing theme in v. 1, however, is the significance of faith or belief in Jesus as the Christ. The verb “to believe” (pisteu"w pisteuo), which has already appeared three times in 1 John (3:23; 4:1, 16), occurs in chapter 5 six times (vv. 1, 5, 10 [3x], 13).147 Throughout these verses the subject matter of faith is christologically concentrated: the entrustment of oneself to Jesus as the Christ (v. 1) or the Son of God (v. 5). As in 2:22-23, these two titles balance each other and appear to be practically synonymous. Similarly, in 3:23 the commandment is enunciated in terms of belief in the name of God's Son, Jesus Christ (see also vv. 10, 13). Likewise, the elder's comments in 4:15-16: It is in the light of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that we know and believe the love that God has for us. And the basis on which we may confirm that a spirit is “of God” is the same: the confession of Jesus Christ come in the flesh (4:1-2). In 1 John faith is thus stripped to its basics. The love of God, the commandment of God, and the Spirit of God all converge, like the spokes of a wheel, upon one hub: Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. In this regard the First Epistle of John chimes with the position of the Fourth Gospel, according to which belief in Jesus both defines and validates belief in God (John 1:12; 3:15-16, 36; 5:24, 37-38; 6:29, 40, 69; 12:44; 14:1; 20:31).

While 1 John's use of “Christ” (Cristo"v Christos) may presuppose its messianic connotations within Jewish apocalypticism (2:22; 5:1; see also John 7:41; Acts 2:36), “Christ” appears to have become for the elder another name for Jesus (1:3; 2:1; 3:23; 4:2; 5:5, 20; 2 John 3, 7, 9). Typically, the elder characterizes Jesus as the Son of God (3:8; 4:15; 5:5, 10-13, 20; 2 John 3, “the Son of the Father”), the Son (4:14; 5:12; also 2 John 9), or God's Son (1:3, 7; 3:23; 4:9-10; 5:9-11). First John's emphasis on Jesus as God's Son is probably no accident. It stands in alignment with the elder's inclination toward family metaphors in speaking of God (“the Father”: 1:2-3; 2:1, 14-16, 22-24; 3:1; 4:14; 2 John 3-4, 9) and of the church (“little children”: 2:1, 12, 28; 3:1-2, 7, 10, 18; 4:4; 5:2, 21; 2 John 1, 4, 13; 3 John 4). To be sure, the elder employs other images to describe Jesus' significance (e.g., “expiation” [2:2; 4:10] and “Paraclete” [2:1]). Nevertheless, precisely because it highlights the intimate association of Jesus with God, Jesus' identity as the Son of God is for 1 John the confession that is most vital and least susceptible of compromise. To deny Jesus as the Son is, in a real sense, to lose God as one's Father. Belief in Jesus provides access to God; to dwell in the one is to dwell in the other (2:23-24).

In 5:1 the primary metaphor for the benefit of faith in Jesus is the believer's being “begotten of God.” This image appears throughout 1 John (2:29; 3:9; 4:7), but, like the terms for “faith,” is concentrated in chap. 5 (vv. 1 [3x], 4, 18 [2x]). Unlike Paul, who describes Christians as adopted “children of God” (Rom 8:15, 23 NRSV), the elder restricts language of “sonship” to Jesus alone. Unlike the Nicene Creed, which speaks only of Jesus as “begotten,” in 1 John the metaphor of God's procreation is applied to believers as well. The translation “begotten” (gege"nnhtai gegennetai; see KJV, JBP, NAB) is better than “born” (RSV, NIV, NRSV) or the paraphrastic 


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“child of God” (NEB, GNB, REB); at vv. 1 and 4 the elder's primary interest is in the believer's point of origin, not in the process of birth or the progeny's identification.148 Life that is begotten of God originates in an extraordinary act of God. Radically different from the life of ordinary human generation (vv. 11, 13, 20; see also John 1:12-13), it is life whose hallmarks are righteousness, love, and faith (2:29; 4:7; 5:1). First John does not work out the cosmological or anthropological implications of this divine derivation. Instead, the elder uses this imagery to encourage believers (2:28; 3:21; 4:17; 5:14) and to remind them of the responsibilities that ensue from their origin.

5:2-3. Another idea is more explicitly developed in these verses: love for God and for the children of God. Love for fellow believers has already been identified as an indicator of our dwelling in God's love (3:10-18; 4:7-12; 5:1; see also 1 Pet 1:22-23). Correlatively, the elder has stressed God's prior love for us (3:16; 4:9-11, 16, 19). Adumbrated in 4:20-21 and 5:1, a variation on this theme is now elaborated in 5:2-3: the believer's love for God, manifested in obedience to God's commands and in love for God's other children. In the elder's view, love flows in a continuous circuit, originating from and returning to God as depicted in Fig. 1.



Love for God and for God's children is manifested in obedience to God's commandments (see also 2:3-4, 7-8; 3:22-24; 4:21; John 14:15, 23-24; 2 John 4-6). Obedience is the medium through which love is communicated. The elder's view of obedience is similar to Philo's: “God asks of you nothing burdensome or complicated or difficult, but only something quite simple and easy.”149

5:4-5. The outcome of Christians' interconnected acts of faith, love, and obedience is “victory over the world” (author's trans.). This claim by the elder draws together two lines of thought throughout 1 John: the world as a deluded realm in need of restoration (2:2, 15-17; 3:1, 13; 4:1, 3-5, 9, 14, 17, 19; also 2 John 7; Rev 11:15), and the Christian's present experience of triumph over evil forces that continue to assail (2:13-14; 4:4; John 16:33; Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; cf. Rom 8:37). In 1 John a life activated by faith and conducted in love already conquers a faithless, loveless world. This, in a sense, is the elder's commentary on his own aphorism in 2:8: “the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining” (NRSV).


1. Most sermons on 5:1-5 cannot linger in 1 John's mesmerizing rhetoric without losing the listeners. Still, we may applaud the elder's adoption of a mode of proclamation that fits his subject. The apparently seamless way in which his thoughts run together corresponds to 


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his vision of life among God and the children of God, inseparably united in love. This passage also coordinates several important issues—Christian identity, faith, love, obedience, hope—with impressive concision and coherence. The elder implicitly invites us to consider and to enact these dimensions of Christian experience as an interconnected whole, not as detached points in our sermons or as fragments of our lives.

2. The elder's concentration on faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, may seem overly restrictive to some. Are there not more things in heaven and on earth that Christians should ponder than just what we think about Jesus? Of course there are—as, to judge from the whole of 1 John, the elder would surely agree. It is not a question of oversimplification, but of focus: At what point do our views of God, of humanity, of the church and of the world, of love and of ministry, of a hundred other matters come together? First John affirms that if we are Christians, all these things converge in Christ. If we know God, it is because God has known and claimed us through the life and death of Jesus. If we participate in life that is eternal, it is because we live it through Christ. We love, and we know what love is, because we have known him who laid down his life for us. The elder's testimony assumes that Christians do not approach God as generally religious people, praying to whom it may concern.

There is a scandalous particularity in the faith on which Christians stake their lives. In such a confession our centrifugal, frenzied existence may be calmed; in Christ we find what T. S. Eliot sought, “the still point of the turning world.”150 With such a core comes a stabilizing clarity that orders and relativizes our other beliefs. Spirits must be tested and assessed for their trustworthiness (1 John 4:1), but not every issue that comes before the church is of the same gravity as its confession of Jesus Christ (1 John 4:2). Christians may converse and at times disagree among themselves with equanimity, emancipated from anxious obsessions to “bleed and die” for every cause that comes their way. If Christ occupies the center at which faith comes into focus, then other things, however important, do not.

3. Gently and potently, 1 John 5:1-5 challenges a variety of baleful tendencies on our contemporary scene. Against the demeaning, dehumanizing forces that would grind away the souls of women and men throughout the modern world, the elder maintains that Christians enjoy an ennobling dignity that, apart from Christ, we could never know: that of “children of God,” an unshakable and gifted status that is not ours to earn. Others in our day deny any respect for authority that could possibly be healthy, despite the fact that their lives are falling apart for lack of limits. By contrast, 1 John declares that love for and obedience to God are of one piece, that God's commandments are not oppressive, that in discipleship there is salutary discipline. In their careers and other pursuits, still others, sad to say, behave as though “for this life only we have hoped” (1 Cor 15:19 NRSV). Contrary to such tinsel aspirations, 1 John reminds us that this world does not have the last word, that our allegiance and our victory as Christians ultimately belong elsewhere.

4. God's love for us is, rightly, a recurrent theme of Christian preaching. Less often proclaimed is 1 John's reminder that as Christians we love God. In the elder's hands this subject remains refreshingly concrete. We love God by keeping the commandments (1 John 5:2-3a), which includes entrusting ourselves to Christ (1 John 3:23) and loving God's children (1 John 5:1). Abiding in God is not religious fire insurance, which we take out in nervous interest of our self-preservation. Just the opposite: Dwelling in God's love is the habitat for which human beings were originally created and, in Christ, are being re-created. With the Westminster Confession, the elder would have agreed that our chief end is to adore and enjoy 


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God forever. With the Methodist baptismal covenant, he would have concurred that surrounding God's children with steadfast love is a primary means of expressing that adoration.


Posts 570
Rev Chris | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 18 2012 2:44 PM

I keep checking the NIB and NIBD resources, hoping they will gain traction.  NIB is so close and is finally at a price that is worthwhile.  Come on people - let's get this into production! Smile

Pastor, seminary trustee, and app developer.  Check out my latest app for churches: The Church App

Posts 5321
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2012 9:08 AM

I know it;s frustrating that my most used commentary is so close to preproduction, yet seems to have stalled out. I like interpretation a lot but in general they are very similar sets and NIB is a far better series and much more in-depth in general. I have no doubt that Logos will sell many more copies after it is finally published. Indeed some people have even said once it is out they will think about getting it. Which i find a bit frustrating since it won't be out with out the orders and of course it is a risk free thing to order it since Logos accepts returns if you do not want a purchase.


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Milford Charles Murray | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 9 2012 6:00 PM

Dan Francis:

I know it;s frustrating that my most used commentary is so close to preproduction, yet seems to have stalled out. I like interpretation a lot but in general they are very similar sets and NIB is a far better series and much more in-depth in general. I have no doubt that Logos will sell many more copies after it is finally published. Indeed some people have even said once it is out they will think about getting it. Which i find a bit frustrating since it won't be out with out the orders and of course it is a risk free thing to order it since Logos accepts returns if you do not want a purchase.


Peace and Joy and all the Forever Blessings of our Risen Christ!             Indeed!                             *smile*

         Well, Dan ...            Fellow Canadian!               After reading so many of your posts    ...     (I Do Commend you for your stick-to-it-tive-ness!)    

                           I have finally have "pulled the trigger"!                     I've examined everything I can read about these volumes; and I definitely want them.

Thanks for hanging on in there, encouraging us!                                                                          *smile*

            Job 19:23-26

Philippians 4:  4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand..........

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David Carter | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 9 2012 6:21 PM

Milford Charles Murray:

I have finally have "pulled the trigger"!                     I've examined everything I can read about these volumes; and I definitely want them.

Great Yes

Unfortunately it looks like we still need quite a few more bids to take this across the finishing line Sad


Posts 5321
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 10 2012 12:04 PM

Yes well who knows, Logos will never regret it if they get it under contract because there seems to be numerous people who say they will order it once it is available. Personally while I would love to have it in Logos, I am told Accordance is working on getting it and know OliveTree is seriously looking at bringing it too… I will happily buy it from either developer and on that day will cancel my pre order from Logos. Logos has had a chance to be the first to bring it to a good study platform. I mean OliveTree is a strong mobile platform (with an ok desktop one). Accordance is  strong on both platforms Logos is very strong on the desktop side and ok on the iOS side. Logos' one great strength is it is both on Mac and Windows, OliveTree has the strongest mobile platform on both IOS and Android and very functional apps on mac and windows. Logos is the biggest player but if they truly want to expand their user base the NIB is their best hope. It has appeal to mainline and catholic people. And obviously has a very string appeal to the point there has even been released a leather bound edition of it.  


Posts 719
Gordon Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Aug 26 2012 6:38 AM

The NIB pre-pub has been 'almost there' for what feels like an eternity.  I'm sure that there would be a lot of interest from Logos customers once it is available but, human nature being what it is, I suspect that most customers will buy something available right now than want to wait for an indefinite length of time. The NIB is a great set and its availability might even attract new customers to Logos. A reminder ad from Logos would probably attract enough interest and a small reduction in the pre-pub price (say 5%) would definitely do it.  C'mon Logos, please help us NIB fans!  :-)

Posts 5321
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Aug 26 2012 2:38 PM

Try emailing Logos about it.. Bob Pritchett <> maybe if he gets enough emails he might reconsider getting it into production right away. I am sure he will never regret it.



Posts 5321
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 28 2012 10:51 AM

So much for the grand advice saying if we started a new thread clearly asking we would get a response. It would be one thing to say something like, "We are not going to be deviating from our standard prepub system, we will be placing it under contract when 94 more orders are placed." But we have got nothing. These are the things that frustrate us. YES MANY OF US WANT THE NIB NOW, but we understand there is a process, we just want to hear from Logos about the details. How close are we really. Is there anything practically we can do to help.


PS I now this is a duplicate just hoping to get some attention from someone at logos...

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