1 John

1 2 3 4 5

1 John 5 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on 1 John 5 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God."
If so, then the "unclean spirits" in Mark's gospel (1:23-24, 3:11, 5:7) were born of God.
Are those who believe Jesus is the Christ of God?

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

(5:7-8) "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost."
How many gods are there?
This is the clearest, and pretty much the only, expression of the Trinitarian concept in the Bible. It is not, however, found in the earliest Greek manuscripts and is omitted from most modern translations. Here, for example, are verses 7-8 in the New Revised Standard Version: "There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree."
Not all Christians agree about how these verses (often called the Johannine comma) should be treated. See here for a KJV-only defense.
Of course I quite disagree with the author of the SAB that this is pretty much the only Trinitarian verse in the Bible, there are many. Doctrines are not, and should not, be based upon a single verse. Otherwise the link to the excerpt of Dr. Holland's book goes over all the main arguments. See also this article.

8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."
You're not living unless you've got Jesus.
Obviously with life the new life is meant, as in being reborn. And the author of the SAB testifies he has the same ignorance in this subject as Nicodemus had (John 3:3-4).

13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

"There is a sin unto death."
(But no one knows what it is.)
Yes, the Bible tells us clearly what sin that is. Jesus told that to his disciples, so John heard it himself: Matthew 12:31.

17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

"Whosoever is born of God sinneth not."
Do Christians sin?

19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

"We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness."
Christians are "of God;" everyone else is wicked.
Everyone needs to be born again. Christians were once part of this world and once part of her wickedness. So the distinction is not that everyone else is wicked, Christians were wicked as well up to partaking with the world in her wickedness, see 1 Cor. 6:9-11. But the distinction is that fleeing from that wickedness. And Christ calls the world (Prov. 9:4) to leave that wickedness. We call them Christians who have done so, but the invitation is open to all.

20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.