1 John 2:12
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.

New Living Translation
I am writing to you who are God's children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.

English Standard Version
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.

Berean Study Bible
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven through His name.

Berean Literal Bible
I am writing to you, little children, because the sins have been forgiven you for the sake of His name.

New American Standard Bible
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake.

King James Bible
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven because of Jesus' name.

International Standard Version
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.

NET Bible
I am writing to you, little children, that your sins have been forgiven because of his name.

New Heart English Bible
I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
I write to you, children, that your sins have been forgiven you because of his Name.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I'm writing to you, dear children, because your sins are forgiven through Christ.

New American Standard 1977
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I write unto you, little children, that your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

King James 2000 Bible
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

American King James Version
I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

American Standard Version
I write unto you, my little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

Darby Bible Translation
I write to you, children, because [your] sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

English Revised Version
I write unto you, my little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

Webster's Bible Translation
I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

Weymouth New Testament
I am writing to you, dear children, because for His sake your sins are forgiven you.

World English Bible
I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

Young's Literal Translation
I write to you, little children, because the sins have been forgiven you through his name;
Study Bible
A New Commandment
11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness. He does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 12I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven through His name. 13I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.…
Cross References
Acts 13:38
Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.

1 Corinthians 6:11
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 John 2:1
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
Treasury of Scripture

I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

write.

1 John 2:7,13,14,21 Brothers, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment …

1 John 1:4 And these things write we to you, that your joy may be full.

little. See on ver.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. …

your.

1 John 1:7,9 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship …

Psalm 32:1,2 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered…

Luke 5:20 And when he saw their faith, he said to him, Man, your sins are forgiven you.

Luke 7:47-50 Why I say to you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she …

Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his …

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other …

Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whoever …

Acts 13:38 Be it known to you therefore, men and brothers, that through this …

Romans 4:6,7 Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom …

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of …

Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

for.

Psalm 25:11 For your name's sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity; for it is great.

Psalm 106:8 Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make …

Jeremiah 14:7 O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do you it for your …

Ephesians 4:32 And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, …

(7) THE THINGS THEY MUST NOT LOVE IF THEY WALKED IN THE LIGHT (1John 2:12-17).--The solemnity of the thoughts of 1John 2:9; 1John 2:11 is too much for the warm heart of the Apostle. He cannot bear even to seem to suggest that his "dear little children" are shrouded in the gloomy horrors of moral darkness, haunted by the faithful memories of their sins, and enticed hither and thither by the malevolent spirits of evil. He will warn them with the most tender and pitiful affection against the wicked one, the world, the flesh, the follies and vanities of the human heart; but first he will show them frankly what he thinks of them, what he hopes of them, the trust he places in them, the grounds which he takes for granted in writing to them.

(12) I write unto you, little children.--The arrangement of these triplets should be prefaced by saying that the last "I write," in 1John 2:13, is, according to the best reading, "I wrote," or "I have written;" and that the "little children" of 1John 2:12 is the same word as that which he used in 1John 2:1 for the whole class of his readers, and is therefore quite general, but that the "little children" of 1John 2:13 is a different, word, meaning children in age. So we get:--

I write.

I wrote.

1.All readers.

1.Children in age. [Suggested, according to the perfect simplicity of St. John's style, by the term used in the first set for his readers generally.]

2.Fathers.

2.Fathers.

3.Youths.

3.Youths.

Reasons.

1.Forgiveness.

1.Knowledge of the Father.

2.Knowledge of Christ.

2.Knowledge of Christ.

3.Victory.

3.Strength, perseverance, victory.

Some have thought the second triplet an explanatory note that has crept into the text; others that "I write refers to what he is doing at the moment, "I wrote" the view they would take when they read what he had written. It seems better, however, if we allow the Gospel to have been written first, to refer "I am writing" to the Epistle; "I did write" to the Gospel.

Because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.--Rather, have been forgiven. When Christ expired on the cross, the sins of all were forgiven who should in after-time believe and carry on their repentance towards perfection. The process is realised in the soul when it wakes up to a sense of love of the Saviour through faith.

(13) Fathers.--The heads of families.

Him that is from the beginning.--There can be little doubt that this means the same Person as the subject of "His name's sake." (Comp. John 1:1; John 8:58; John 17:5; Knowledge of Christ is assigned in both cases as the reason for addressing the elder members of his audience, because fully to understand the work, the doctrine, the example of Christ, is a work fitted for mature thought. (Comp. 1Corinthians 3:1-2.)

Young men.--They might be regarded more as still engaged in the work of settling their character, forming their habits, disciplining their inclinations, confirming the choice which all must make for themselves between good and evil. (Comp. 2Timothy 2:22.) St. John is not here addressing those who have failed in the struggle and not repented, but those who have got the better of such temptations, or are in process of getting it.

The wicked one.--Comp. 1John 3:12; 1John 5:18; Matthew 13:19; Ephesians 6:16.)

(14) Because ye have known.--To those who have once begun to understand Christ, the topic must always be delightful and interesting.

Because ye are strong.--For the reasons mentioned before, young men have more special need of strength. (Comp. Psalm 119:9.) This power can only come through the presence of the message and teaching of God in their hearts, which will be brought by faith in Christ, acceptance of His redemption, and reverential study of His example. When Christ has thus dwelt in their minds, then the victory is won, and the spirits of evil can no longer entice them.

(15) Love not the world.--Having thus affectionately expressed his hopes about each class of them, the last of the Apostles is freer to express that warning which was suggested to his mind by the mournful picture of 1John 2:11. If they would not walk in darkness--if they would be where the true Light shineth--then they must not love the world. What does "the world" mean? In Acts 17:24 it meant the universe; in John 1:9, perhaps more distinctly, the earth; in 1John 2:2 the sum total of mankind; in John 8:23 that moral order, to be found in this spot of creation, which is antagonistic to God. Thus it became a phrase for all such inventions, plans, customs, thoughts, and estimates of mankind as are not in harmony with the will and purpose of God. It is ridiculous to suppose that St. John intended to condemn the love either of natural philosophy; or of the scenery of that creation which God saw to be very good, and which sin has been unable to injure; or of all mankind, who are His children. No created thing is evil in itself; the evil lies in the use which man makes of it. We must remember that our Lord said, "I am the Light of the World" (John 8:12), so that none of the phases of the meaning of the word can be essentially evil, except where it implies man's own ungodly creations. The world which is not to be loved is the sphere of rebellion, caprice, ambition, vanity, pride, avarice, forgetfulness of God, self-pleasing, sensuous desires and interests, connivance with standards of thought and action antagonistic to the will of God. To take one example: Christ declared all Christians brothers; any respect for rank and wealth beyond a conscientious "bowing in the house of Rimmon" is a sign of the forbidden affection.

The love of the Father is the true posture of the soul towards God. If the soul is evenly balanced between love of God and of the world it is negative and colourless. If the balance incline towards the things that distract from the pure and simple walk with God, then the emotion for Him has died away; if the balance be for Him, "the expulsive power of the new affection" makes the contrary attractions insignificant and increasingly powerless.

(16) All that is in the world.--The essence, the kernel of this sphere showing itself in countless ways.

The lust of the flesh--i.e., that proceeds from the earthly nature; all desire taking possession of the soul as a motive for thought and action which does not arise from principles in harmony with the will of God.

The lust of the eyes--i.e., of which the eyes are the seat; all delight in objects living or inanimate apart from their moral and religious importance; personal beauty, for instance, considered otherwise than as an index of a Christ-like soul. (Comp. John 7:24; John 8:15; 2Corinthians 5:16; James 2:1.) Our Lord's, introspection was of moral qualities in Mark 10:21.

The pride of life.--The Greek word is only used besides in the New Testament in James 4:16. The phrase means a boastful, ostentatious attitude in regard to the good things of this life allotted by God to be spent in His service. All living up to a supposed social position instead of as the responsible steward of undeserved bounties, is hereby condemned. Of this any social organism existing for pleasure instead of for moral or religious ends might be considered illustrative.

(17) The world passeth away.--No reasonable man can set his affections on what is in its very essence perishable; for the perishable must be ever disappointing, and can in no sense satisfy. It is only passion, and the madness of folly, and the contagion of accumulated examples, that influence the soul towards what can only create the agonising ache of a growing void.

And the lust thereof.--Of all the long succession of impulses excited by the world, nothing remains but the injury which they have inflicted.

But he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.--There is no permanence but that of defeat and failure in what is in rebellion to the Supreme Author and Ruler of all things. But that which has continuously derived all its sustenance from Him, must have absorbed from Him the "bright shoots" of that "everlastingness" which is His. Everything that is good is a part of Him, and can no more fade than He can. It is by being in harmony with this undeviating tendency of righteousness to victory that real happiness discovers its own secret. (Comp. John 10:28-29; 1Corinthians 7:31; James 1:10; 1Peter 1:24.)

Verses 12-14. - Before passing on to the second thing which walking in the light excludes, viz. love of the world (verses 15-17), the apostle twice makes a threefold address, first stating why he writes γράφω, and secondly why he wrote ἔγραψα, to the three classes named. This suggests several questions.

(1) What is the difference between "I write" (or, "am writing") and "I wrote" (or, "have written;" for this is a case where the English perfect may represent the Greek aorist)? Five answers are given.

(a) The change is made for emphasis: "I write; I wrote; there is nothing more to be said." But in this case the past tense should come first: "I wrote; I write it again." Moreover, we should expect the perfect rather than the aorist, as in ο{ γέγραφα γέγραφα.

(b) "I write" refers to what follows; "I wrote," to what precedes. And some have even tried to find out the three different portions in each part of the Epistle; e.g., "I write to you, little children" (1 John 2:15-17); "to you, fathers" (1 John 2:18-27); "to you, young men" (1 John 2:28-3:22): "I wrote to you, children" (1 John 1:5-7); "to you, fathers" (chapter 1:8-2:2); "to you, young men" (1 John 2:3-11). But this is fanciful and very arbitrary; and in this case also the past tense should come first: "I have written thus far to you; again I proceed to write to you."

(c) "I write" refers to the whole Epistle; "I wrote," to what precedes. This answer has the sanction of the 'Speaker's Commentary;' but it seems to be quite frivolous. What could induce St. John first of all to tell each class that he writes the whole Epistle to them, and then to tell them that he wrote the first part of it to them? There would be little enough sense in first saying that he wrote the beginning to them, and then that he writes the whole to them; but there is no sense in the former statement if it comes after the latter.

(d) "I am writing" is from St. John's point of view, as he pens the growing letter. "I wrote" is from the readers' point of view, as they peruse the completed letter. But what is gained by this change of standpoint? Is it probable that St. John would make three distinct addresses in the position of the writer of the Epistle, and then solemnly repeat them in the position of the recipients of it?

(e) The Epistle is written as a companion to the Gospel: therefore "I write" refers to the Epistle, which he is in the act of composing; "I wrote," to the Gospel, which lies completed before him, and on which the Epistle serves as a commentary. This seems to be the most satisfactory explanation (see on chapter 1 John 1:4).

(2) Who are indicated by the three classes? In the first triplet, τεκνία, as elsewhere in the Epistle (verses 1, 28; 1 John 3:18; 1 John 4:4, 5, 21), refers to his readers as a whole, of whom πάτρες and νεανίσκοι are two component divisions. This is probably the case in the second triplet also, although the change from τεκνία to παιδία renders this a little doubtful (see on verse 13).

(3) Does the difference between "fathers" and "young men" refer to age as men or age as Christians? Probably the former. In both Gospel and Epistle St. John writes to mature and well-instructed Christians. The following table will illustrate the view taken: -

I write this Epistle: ? Reasons for writing it:

1. To all of you. ? You have been forgiven.


2. To the old among you ? You have knowledge of the Word.


3. To the young among you. ? You have conquered the evil one.

I wrote my Gospel: ? Reasons for writing it:

1. To all of you (?). ? You have knowledge of the Father.


2. To the old among you ? You have knowledge of the Word.


3. To the young among you. ? You have strength, have God's revelation in your hearts, and have conquered the evil one. Verse 12. - I am writing to you, little children (see on verse 1), because, etc. Beyond reasonable doubt, ὅτι, is "because," not "that," in verses 12-14; it gives the reason for his writing, not the substance of what he has to say (cf. verse 21). For his Name's sake must refer to Christ, not only because of the context, but also of the instrumental διά (cf. 1 John 3:23; 1 John 5:13; John 1:12); and Christ's Name means his character, especially as Saviour. Because they have already partaken of the ἱλασμός (verse 2), and have had their sins washed away in the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7), therefore he writes to them this Epistle. Note the perfects throughout, indicating the permanent result of past action: ἀφέωνται ἐγνώκατε νενικήκατε. I write unto you, little children,.... By whom the apostle means in common all the saints he writes to, whom he afterwards distributes into fathers, young men, and little children; for the same word is used here as in 1 John 2:1; and a different one from that which is rendered little children in 1 John 2:13; and besides, the following blessing of pardon of sin is common to all the children of God of different ages: now what the apostle says he writes unto them, intends not the epistle in general, but the new commandment of love in particular; and which he urges and enforces on them all, for this reason,

because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake; these little children had been sinners by nature and practice, and were not now without sin, but they shared in the blessing of the forgiveness of it; which arises from the abundant mercy and rich grace of God, and proceeds on the blood and sacrifice of Christ; and therefore is said to be "for his name's sake"; not for the sake of any merits in men, any services or works of theirs, but for the sake of Christ, his blood, sacrifice and satisfaction; and it reaches to all sins, original and actual, secret and open, past, present, and to come; and here intends the application of it by the Spirit of God, and the reception of it by faith: and which, as it is a reason and argument encouraging love to God, who freely and fully forgives, and to Christ, whose blood was shed for the remission of sin, so to their brethren and fellow Christians; who are equally sharers in the same blessing, and when they should love, because they are loved of God and Christ; and whom they should forgive, because God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven them. It may be, they may be called here "little children", with a view to their interest in this blessing of grace. So the Jews say (f), that Saul was called

""the son of one year in his reign"; 1 Samuel 13:1; because all his iniquities were forgiven him, "as a sucking child" of a year old.''

(f) T. Hieros. Biccurim, fol. 65. 4. 12. little children—Greek, "little sons," or "dear sons and daughters"; not the same Greek as in 1Jo 2:13, "little children," "infants" (in age and standing). He calls ALL to whom he writes, "little sons" (1Jo 2:1, Greek; 1Jo 2:28; 3:18; 4:4; 5:21); but only in 1Jo 2:13, 18 he uses the term "little children," or "infants." Our Lord, whose Spirit John so deeply drank into, used to His disciples (Joh 13:33) the term "little sons," or dear sons and daughters; but in Joh 21:5, "little children." It is an undesigned coincidence with the Epistle here, that in John's Gospel somewhat similarly the classification, "lambs, sheep, sheep," occurs.

are forgiven—"have been, and are forgiven you": ALL God's sons and daughters alike enjoy this privilege.2:12-14 As Christians have their peculiar states, so they have peculiar duties; but there are precepts and obedience common to all, particularly mutual love, and contempt of the world. The youngest sincere disciple is pardoned: the communion of saints is attended with the forgiveness of sins. Those of the longest standing in Christ's school need further advice and instruction. Even fathers must be written unto, and preached unto; none are too old to learn. But especially young men in Christ Jesus, though they are arrived at strength of spirit and sound sense, and have successfully resisted first trials and temptations, breaking off bad habits and connexions, and entered in at the strait gate of true conversion. The different descriptions of Christians are again addressed. Children in Christ know that God is their Father; it is wisdom. Those advanced believers, who know Him that was from the beginning, before this world was made, may well be led thereby to give up this world. It will be the glory of young persons to be strong in Christ, and his grace. By the word of God they overcome the wicked one.
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