The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 5


1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the father loves (also) the one begotten by him.


In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments.


For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,


for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.


Who (indeed) is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?


This is the one who came through water and blood, 2 Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth.


So there are three that testify,


the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord.


If we accept human testimony, the testimony of God is surely greater. Now the testimony of God is this, that he has testified on behalf of his Son.


Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.


And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.


Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.


3 I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God.


And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.


And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours.


If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray.


All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.


We know that no one begotten by God sins; but the one begotten by God he protects, and the evil one cannot touch him.


We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the evil one.


We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true. And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.


Children, be on your guard against idols.




1 [1-5] Children of God are identified not only by their love for others ( 1 John 4:7-9) and for God ( 1 John 5:1-2) but by their belief in the divine sonship of Jesus Christ. Faith, the acceptance of Jesus in his true character and the obedience in love to God's commands ( 1 John 5:3), is the source of the Christian's power in the world and conquers the world of evil ( 1 John 5:4-5), even as Christ overcame the world ( John 16:33).

2 [6-12] Water and blood ( 1 John 5:6) refers to Christ's baptism ( Matthew 3:16-17) and to the shedding of his blood on the cross ( John 19:34). The Spirit was present at the baptism ( Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32, 34). The testimony to Christ as the Son of God is confirmed by divine witness ( 1 John 5:7-9), greater by far than the two legally required human witnesses ( Deut 17:6). To deny this is to deny God's truth; cf John 8:17-18. The gist of the divine witness or testimony is that eternal life ( 1 John 5:11-12) is given in Christ and nowhere else. To possess the Son is not acceptance of a doctrine but of a person who lives now and provides life.

3 [13-21] As children of God we have confidence in prayer because of our intimate relationship with him ( 1 John 5:14-15). In love, we pray ( 1 John 5:16-17) for those who are in sin, but not in deadly sin (literally, "sin unto death"), probably referring to apostasy or activities brought on under the antichrist; cf Mark 3:29; Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31. Even in the latter case, however, prayer, while not enjoined, is not forbidden. The letter concludes with a summary of the themes of the letter ( 1 John 5:18-20). There is a sharp antithesis between the children of God and those belonging to the world and to the evil one. The Son reveals the God of truth; Christians dwell in the true God, in his Son, and have eternal life. The final verse ( 1 John 5:21) voices a perennial warning about idols, any type of rival to God.

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