1 John 1:5
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

New Living Translation
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.

English Standard Version
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Berean Study Bible
And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

Berean Literal Bible
And this is the message that we have heard from Him and we preach to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

New American Standard Bible
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

King James Bible
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.

International Standard Version
This is the message that we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness—none at all!

NET Bible
Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.

New Heart English Bible
This is the message which we have heard from him and announce to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And this is The Good News that we have heard from him and we evangelize to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness at all in him.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
This is the message we heard from Christ and are reporting to you: God is light, and there isn't any darkness in him.

New American Standard 1977
And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

Jubilee Bible 2000
This then is the promise which we have heard of him and declare unto you, That God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

King James 2000 Bible
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

American King James Version
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

American Standard Version
And this is the message which we have heard from him and announce unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And this is the declaration which we have heard from him, and declare unto you: That God is light, and in him there is no darkness.

Darby Bible Translation
And this is the message which we have heard from him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

English Revised Version
And this is the message which we have heard from him, and announce unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Webster's Bible Translation
This then is the message which we have heard from him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Weymouth New Testament
This is the Message which we have heard from the Lord Jesus and now deliver to you--God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness.

World English Bible
This is the message which we have heard from him and announce to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Young's Literal Translation
And this is the message that we have heard from Him, and announce to you, that God is light, and darkness in Him is not at all;
Study Bible
Walking in the Light
4We write these things so that our joy may be complete. 5And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say we have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.…
Cross References
Psalm 139:12
Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.

Isaiah 2:5
Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Daniel 2:22
"It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.

John 1:19
And this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, "Who are you?"

1 Timothy 6:16
He alone is immortal and dwells in unapproachable light. No one has ever seen Him, nor can anyone see Him. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, with whom there is no change or shifting shadow.

1 John 3:11
This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
Treasury of Scripture

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

the message.

1 John 3:11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we …

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you…

that God.

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD …

Psalm 36:9 For with you is the fountain of life: in your light shall we see light.

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and …

Isaiah 60:19 The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness …

John 1:4,9 In him was life; and the life was the light of men…

John 8:12 Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: …

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 12:35,36 Then Jesus said to them, Yet a little while is the light with you. …

1 Timothy 6:16 Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can …

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down …

Revelation 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine …

Revelation 22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither …

[2.First Half. God is Light (1John 1:5 to 1John 2:28).

(1)STATEMENT OF THE LEADING THOUGHT (1John 1:5).

(2)FIRST INFERENCE: The true fellowship (1John 1:6-7); the Christian must not sin.

(3)SECOND INFERENCE: Confession of sins (1John 1:8-10); the Christian must not conceal his sin.

(4)THIRD INFERENCE: Remedy for sins (1John 2:1-2).

(5)OBEDIENCE THE SIGN OF WALKING IN LIGHT (1John 2:3-8).

(6)ESPECIALLY BROTHERLY LOVE (1John 2:9-10).

(7)THE THINGS THEY MUST NOT LOVE IF THEY WALKED IN THE LIGHT (1John 2:12-17).

(8)THE MANIFESTATIONS OF DARKNESS (1John 2:18-28).

(a)Signs whereby they should know the forerunners of the last time (1John 2:18-23).

(b)Exhortation to continue in the light (1John 2:24-28).]

(1) (5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you.--What the Son had received from the Father, this the Apostles were to report to the world. The attention is aroused, as by the silence before the thunderstorm, to expect a central and fundamental notion of the utmost importance.

That God is light.--Here is the essence of Christian theology, the truth about the Deity as opposed to all the imperfect conceptions of Him which had embittered the minds of the wise. To the heathen, Deity had meant angry, malevolent beings, worshipped best by the secrecy of outrageous vice; to the Greeks and Romans, forces of nature transformed into superhuman men and women, powerful and impure; to the philosophers, an abstraction either moral or physical; to the Gnostics it was a remote idea, equal and contending forces of good and evil, recognisable only through less and less perfect deputies. All this John, summing up what the Old Testament and our Lord had said about the Almighty Father, sweeps away in one simple declaration of truth. Light was God's garment in Psalm 104:2; to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:2), the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord was brightness; to Habakkuk (1John 3:3), His brightness was as the light; Christ had called the sons of God children of the light (John 12:36), and announced Himself as the Light of the World (John 8:12); in the Hebrews (Hebrews 1:3), Christ was the refracted ray of the Father's glory, "the express image of His person;" to James, the Almighty was the Father of all lights (James 1:17); to Paul, He dwells "in the light that no man can approach unto" (1Timothy 6:16); to St. Peter, the Christian state is an admission "into His marvellous light" (1Peter 2:9). These ideas John comprehends: God is Light. Light physical, because (1) it was He who called everything first out of darkness, and (2) from whom proceeds all health and perfection; light intellectual, because (1) He is the source of all wisdom and knowledge, and (2) in His mind exist the ideals after which all things strive; light moral, because (1) His perfection shows that the difference between good and evil is not merely a question of degree, but fundamental and final, and (2) the life of Christ had exhibited that contrast sharply: once for all. Thus, on this declaration depends the whole doctrine of sin: sin is not merely imperfection; it is enmity to God. There can be no shades of progression, uniting good and evil: in Him is no darkness at all. Good and evil may be mixed in an individual: in themselves they are contrary.

(2) (6) If we say.--A favourite form with John, expressing sympathetic delicacy.

That we have fellowship with him. . . .--Some of the Gnostics (like the Anabaptists) said that on account of their spiritual knowledge they were free to act as they liked, without committing sin. For walking as a description of the spiritual state, compare 1John 2:6; 2John 1:6; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:4; Ephesians 4:17; Philippians 3:20.

Darkness would include any conscious habit which was opposed to God's example of perfection.

We lie.--We are a self-contradiction, and we know it.

And do not the truth.--The truth with St. John is as much a matter of action as of thought and word; that sphere of conduct which is in harmony with God, whose nature is Light.

(7) As he is in the light.--The effulgence of the atmosphere of the perfectly good, the sinlessly loving, the gloriously pure, which, created by God and proceeding from Him, is specially "His throne." At the same time, wherever such characteristics of Divine Light are found, there He is particularly present.

We have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.--The antithesis to "lying and doing not the truth," presented under the twofold aspect of (1) the brotherly result of walking with God, (2) its purifying influence. Each human being that comes near us becomes the object of our friendly sympathy; and the sacrifice of Christ has both put away the sin of the world and prevents sin from reigning in our mortal bodies; it obtains forgiveness for us, and by reminding us that it was sin that brought Jesus to the cross, has a continually purifying power over us, through the Spirit of Christ and of the Father. (See 1Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 1:19-20; Hebrews 9:14; 1Peter 1:19-23.)

(3) (8) If we say that we have no sin.--The preceding words had reminded St. John that even mature Christians, though certainly not "walking in darkness," yet have sinful tendencies in themselves: sensuous impulses, non-spiritual inclinations, lack of self-knowledge, a lowered standard, principles and views borrowed partly from the world, wavering of will, and hence even graver faults. Not to admit this would be to mislead ourselves, and in us the power and energy of light, searching the very corners of the heart, would not be working. (See Romans 7:18-23; Galatians 5:17.)

(9) If we confess our sins.--An advance in the thought from the general "having sin." Confession to God must recognise and measure each particular fault. (Psalm 32:5; Psalm 51:3; Proverbs 28:13; Luke 15:21.)

He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.--He, from the context, cannot possibly be any other than God. Here another grand progression of thought meets us: not merely "we are in the truth," but the actual and glorious result on God's side; faithful and just on account of Christ's sacrifice and our repentance. For the double notion of forgiving and cleansing, see Note on 1John 1:7. The Romish interpreters, in their arbitrary way, limit the cleansing here to purgatory.

(10) If we say that we have not sinned.--The argument of the passage equally excludes the interpretation "freedom from guilt since conversion" as "innocence during the whole life." St. John is here repeating, in a more emphatic form, the thought of 1John 1:8.

We make him a liar, and his word is not in us.--Stronger far than "we lie," or "the truth is not in us." Our foolish presumption is regarded in its worst aspect: an impiety against God, whose word, revelation, appeal to our conscience, and witness by the Spirit, are thus blasphemously contradicted. Parallel to "we do not the truth" and "the truth is not in us," the practical result here is that we cannot be regarded as having in any sense received God's revelation into our hearts.

Verse 5-1 John 2:28. - 2. FIRST MAIN DIVISION. God is Light. Verse 5-1 John 2:6. -

(1) Positive side. What walking in the light involves; the condition and conduct of the believer.

(2) 1 John 2:7-28. Negative side. What walking in the light excludes; the things and persons to be avoided. Verse 5. - This verse constitutes the text and basis of this division of the Epistle, especially on its positive side. And the message which we have heard... is this. Again we have a remarkable parallel between Gospel and Epistle; both begin with a καί (which connects the opening with the introduction in a simple and artless manner), and with the same kind of sentence: "And the witness of John is this." The reading ἐπαγγελία (1 John 2:25, and frequent in the New Testament) must be rejected here and in 1 John 3:11 in favour of ἀγγελία (which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament), on overwhelming evidence. Ἐπαγγελία in the New Testament means "promise," which would be almost meaningless here. The change from ἐπαγγέλλομεν (verses 2, 3) to ἀναγγέλλομεν is noteworthy: the one is "declare," the other "announce." The message received from Christ, the apostle announces or reports (renunciat) to his readers. He does not name Christ ἀπ αὐτοῦ; he is so full of the thought of Christ that he omits to name him (cf. John 20:7, 9, 15). Ἀναγγέλλω is used of authoritative announcements; of priests and Levites in the LXX; of the Messiah (John 4:25); of the Spirit (John 16:13, 14, 15); of the apostles (Acts 20:20, 27; 1 Peter 1:12). St. John speaks with authority. God is light; not the Light, nor a light, but light; that is his nature. This sums up the Divine essence on its intellectual side, as "God is love" on its moral side. In neither case has the predicate the article: ὁ Θεὸς φῶς ἐστίν ὁ Θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν. Light and love are not attributes of God, but himself. The connexion between this message and the introduction is not at first obvious. But St. John writes with his Gospel before him, and the prologue to that supplies the link. There, as here, three ideas follow in order: λόγος ζωή φῶς. There, as here, φῶς immediately suggests its opposite, σκοτία. It is on the revelation of the Λόγος as φῶς, and the consequent struggle between φῶς and σκοτία, that the Gospel is based. And this revelation is the highest: men alone are competent to receive or reject it. Other organisms exhibit the creative power as life: none but men can recognize it as light. And to know the Λόγος as light is to know the Father as light; for the Λόγος is the Revelation of the Father's nature. That God is, in his very nature, light, is an announcement peculiar to St. John. Others tell us that he is the Father of lights (James 1:17), the Possessor of light (1 Peter 2:9), dwelling in light (1 Timothy 6:16); but not that he is light. To the heathen God is a God of darkness, an unknown Being; a Power to be blindly propitiated, not a Person to be known and loved. To the philosopher he is an abstraction, an idea, not directly cognizable by man. To the Jews he is a God who hideth himself; not light, but a consuming fire. To the Christian alone he is revealed as light, absolutely free from everything impure, material, obscure, and gloomy. Light was the first product of the Divine creative energy, the earnest and condition of order, beauty, life, growth, and joy. Of all phenomena it best represents the elements of all perfection. "This word 'light' is at once the simplest and the fullest and the deepest which can be used in human discourse. It is addressed to every man who has eyes and who has ever looked on the sun." It tells not only "of a Goodness and Truth without flaw; it tells of a Goodness and Truth that are always seeking to spread themselves, to send forth rays that shall penetrate everywhere, and scatter the darkness which opposes them" (Maurice). In like manner, darkness sums up the elements of evil - foulness, secrecy, repulsiveness, and gloom. In all but the lowest forms of existence it inevitably produces decay and death. Everything of the kind is excluded from the nature of God. And hence St. John, in his characteristic manner, immediately emphasizes the great announcement with an equivalent negative statement: Darkness in him there is not any at all (comp. verse 8; 1 John 2:4, 23, 27; 1 John 3:6; 1 John 4:2, 3, 6-8; 1 John 5:12). He does not say, "in his presence," but "in him." Darkness exists, physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual; there is abundance of obscurity, error, depravity, sin, and its consequence, death. But not a shade of these is "in him." The Divine Light is subject to no spots, no eclipse, no twilight, no night; as a Source of light it cannot in any degree fail. This then is the message,.... Of God by his Son the Word, or from Christ by his apostles. The Syriac version renders it, "this is the Gospel"; which is good news from a far country, a message sent from the King of kings to sinful men: or this is the annunciation, or declaration; that is, the thing declared, or showed. Some render it, "this is the promise", that whereas God is light, such who walk in the light shall have communion with him, and others shall not:

which we have heard of him; of Christ, who has declared him, that he is light without any mixture of darkness; that is a pure Spirit, and must be worshipped in a spiritual way; and that only spiritual worshippers are such as he seeks, and admits to communion with him. Moreover, they might hear and learn this of Christ, by his telling them that he himself was light, who is the image of the invisible God, insomuch, that he that has seen the Son, has seen the Father also. Wherefore, if the one is light, the other must be likewise; nor is there any coming to the Father, and enjoying communion with him, but through Christ; all which our Lord told his disciples. The Ethiopic version reads, "which ye have heard", very wrongly; for the words regard the apostles, who made a faithful declaration of the message they heard, and had from Christ, which is as follows:

and declare unto you that God is light; that is, God the Father, as distinguished from "him", Christ, of whom they had heard this message, and from Jesus Christ his Son, 1 John 1:7, what is declared of him, agreeably to the report of Christ, is, that he is "light"; that is, as light is opposed to the darkness of sin; he is pure and holy in his nature and works, and of such pure eyes as not to behold iniquity; and so perfectly holy, that angels cover their times before him, when they speak of his holiness: and as light is opposed to the darkness of ignorance, he is wise and knowing; he knows himself, his own nature, being, and perfections, his Son and Spirit, and their distinct modes of subsisting; he sees clearly all things in himself, all things he could do, or has determined shall be done; he has perfect knowledge of all creatures and things, and the darkness and the light are alike unto him, nor can the former hide from him: he is knowable, and to be discerned; he is clothed with light, and dwells in it; he may be known by the works of creation and providence; even the invisible things of him, his eternal power and Godhead, may be clearly seen and understood by them, and especially in his word, and most clearly in his Son; it is owing to the darkness of men, and not to any in and about God, who is light, that he is so little known as he is: and, like the light, he illuminates others; he is the Father of lights, the author and giver of all light; of the light of reason to men in general; and of grace here, and glory hereafter, to his own people, which are both signified by light; in whose light they see light; and he refreshes and delights their souls with the light of his countenance now, and with his glorious presence in the other world:

and in him is no darkness at all; no darkness of sin; nothing is more contrary to him, or more distant from him: nor any darkness of error and ignorance; what is unknown to men, as the times and seasons; what angels were ignorant of, and even Christ, as man, as the day and hour of Jerusalem's destruction, were known to the Father; in him is no ignorance of anything whatever; nor is there any variableness or shadow of turning in him, as there is in the luminous body of the sun; but God is always the same pure and holy, wise and knowing Being. It is usual with the Cabalistic Jews (e), to call the supreme Being light the most simple light, hidden light, and infinite light, with respect to his nature, glory, and majesty, and with regard also to his grace and mercy, justice and judgment; though, as R. Sangart says (f), this is to be understood of him figuratively.

(e) Lex. Cabalist, p. 63, 64. (f) Sepher Cosri, par. 2. sect. 2. fol. 61. 2.5. First division of the body of the Epistle (compare [2637]Introduction).

declare—Greek, "announce"; report in turn; a different Greek word from 1Jo 1:3. As the Son announced the message heard from the Father as His apostle, so the Son's apostles announce what they have heard from the Son. John nowhere uses the term "Gospel"; but the witness or testimony, the word, the truth, and here the message.

God is light—What light is in the natural world, that God, the source of even material light, is in the spiritual, the fountain of wisdom, purity, beauty, joy, and glory. As all material life and growth depends on light, so all spiritual life and growth depends on God. As God here, so Christ, in 1Jo 2:8, is called "the true light."

no darkness at all—strong negation; Greek, "No, not even one speck of darkness"; no ignorance, error, untruthfulness, sin, or death. John heard this from Christ, not only in express words, but in His acted words, namely, His is whole manifestation in the flesh as "the brightness of the Father's glory." Christ Himself was the embodiment of "the message," representing fully in all His sayings, doings, and sufferings, Him who is LIGHT.1:5-10 A message from the Lord Jesus, the Word of life, the eternal Word, we should all gladly receive. The great God should be represented to this dark world, as pure and perfect light. As this is the nature of God, his doctrines and precepts must be such. And as his perfect happiness cannot be separated from his perfect holiness, so our happiness will be in proportion to our being made holy. To walk in darkness, is to live and act against religion. God holds no heavenly fellowship or intercourse with unholy souls. There is no truth in their profession; their practice shows its folly and falsehood. The eternal Life, the eternal Son, put on flesh and blood, and died to wash us from our sins in his own blood, and procures for us the sacred influences by which sin is to be subdued more and more, till it is quite done away. While the necessity of a holy walk is insisted upon, as the effect and evidence of the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus, the opposite error of self-righteous pride is guarded against with equal care. All who walk near to God, in holiness and righteousness, are sensible that their best days and duties are mixed with sin. God has given testimony to the sinfulness of the world, by providing a sufficient, effectual Sacrifice for sin, needed in all ages; and the sinfulness of believers themselves is shown, by requiring them continually to confess their sins, and to apply by faith to the blood of that Sacrifice. Let us plead guilty before God, be humble, and willing to know the worst of our case. Let us honestly confess all our sins in their full extent, relying wholly on his mercy and truth through the righteousness of Christ, for a free and full forgiveness, and our deliverance from the power and practice of sin.
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