|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:3-11 What knowledge of Christ can that be, which sees not that he is most worthy of our entire obedience? And a disobedient life shows there is neither religion nor honesty in the professor. The love of God is perfected in him that keeps his commandments. God's grace in him attains its true mark, and produces its sovereign effect as far as may be in this world, and this is man's regeneration; though never absolutely perfect here. Yet this observing Christ's commands, has holiness and excellency which, if universal, would make the earth resemble heaven itself. The command to love one another had been in force from the beginning of the world; but it might be called a new command as given to Christians. It was new in them, as their situation was new in respect of its motives, rules, and obligations. And those who walk in hatred and enmity to believers, remain in a dark state. Christian love teaches us to value our brother's soul, and to dread every thing hurtful to his purity and peace. Where spiritual darkness dwells, in mind, the judgment, and the conscience will be darkened, and will mistake the way to heavenly life. These things demand serious self-examination; and earnest prayer, that God would show us what we are, and whither we are going.
Verse 11. - Note the alternation: verse 10 is the antithesis of verse 9, and verse 11 of verse 10, repeating and enlarging verse 9. Note also the climax effected by the gradual increase of predicates: in verse 9 one, in verse 10 two, in verse 11 three. The brother-hater has darkness as his habitual condition and as the atmosphere in which he lives and works; and long ago (aorist) the continual darkness deprived him of the very power of sight, so that he is in ignorance as to the course he is taking. Cf. "They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness" (Psalm 82:5); "The fool walketh in darkness" (Ecclesiastes 2:14). "St. John scouts all the pretences of men to illumination which do not involve the practical acknowledgment of brotherhood. A man may say he is in the light as much as he pleases; but to be in the light implies that he is able to see his brethren, and not to stumble against them" (Maurice).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But he that hateth his brother is in darkness,.... As is before expressed in 1 John 2:9, to which is added,
and walketh in darkness; he goes on in it, and takes delight in it, as dangerous and uncomfortable as it is:
and knoweth not whither he goeth; he cannot discern between good and evil; he puts darkness for light, and light for darkness; he sees not what is before him, nor what stumblingblocks lie in the way; he is not aware of the snares, pits, and traps he is in danger of falling into; nor does he know and consider what these paths of darkness, of sin, and ignorance, and infidelity, lead unto, even unto utter darkness, where is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth: and the reason is,
because that darkness hath blinded his eyes; either Satan, the god of this world, who blinds the minds of them that believe not, and who is darkness itself, and the cause of darkness in himself and in others, and one of whose names this was with the Jews (e); See Gill on Luke 22:53; or that natural darkness which sin has brought upon the understanding, and has blinded the eyes of it, called the blindness of the heart, Ephesians 4:18, so that a man under the power of it is ignorant of himself, and knows not that he is blind and miserable; is a stranger to the way of peace, and life by Christ, and knows not what he is about, and where he is, or whither he is going, and what his end will be.
(e) Yalkut Simconi, par. 2. fol. 44. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. is in darkness … walketh—"is" marks his continuing STATE: he has never come out of "the darkness" (so Greek); "walketh" marks his OUTWARD WALK and acts.
whither—Greek, "where"; including not only the destination to which, but the way whereby.
hath blinded—rather, as Greek aorist, "blinded" of old. Darkness not only surrounds, but blinds him, and that a blindness of long standing.
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