|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:18-23 Every man is an antichrist, who denies the Person, or any of the offices of Christ; and in denying the Son, he denies the Father also, and has no part in his favour while he rejects his great salvation. Let this prophecy that seducers would rise in the Christian world, keep us from being seduced. The church knows not well who are its true members, and who are not, but thus true Christians were proved, and rendered more watchful and humble. True Christians are anointed ones; their names expresses this: they are anointed with grace, with gifts and spiritual privileges, by the Holy Spirit of grace. The great and most hurtful lies that the father of lies spreads in the world, usually are falsehoods and errors relating to the person of Christ. The unction from the Holy One, alone can keep us from delusions. While we judge favourably of all who trust in Christ as the Divine Saviour, and obey his word, and seek to live in union with them, let us pity and pray for those who deny the Godhead of Christ, or his atonement, and the new-creating work of the Holy Ghost. Let us protest against such antichristian doctrine, and keep from them as much as we may.
Verse 21. - The first οὐκ belongs to ὅτι, not to ἔγραψα: I wrote to you, not because ye know not, etc. It does not mean "I omitted to write to you because ye know not." Whatever meaning we give to the aorists in verses 13, 14 need not be retained here. There is here no abrupt change from present to aorist. Moreover, verse 26 limits this ἔγραψα to the present section. What in verse 20 is spoken of as "all things" (assuming πάντα to be right) is here spoken of as "the truth." St. John writes to well-instructed Christians, to adults in the faith. It is precisely because they "know the truth" that he addresses them, especially to warn them against antichrists. We are in doubt whether καὶ ὅτι, depends upon ἔγραψα ("and because")or upon οἴδατε ("and that"). The former is better; it introduces a second reason for his writing. Some take ὅτι, in all three places as "that" after ἔγραψα: "I did not write to you and say that ye know not the truth, but that ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth." Every lie is fundamentally and ab origine ἐκ separate from the truth; and hence his readers will easily recognize lies and liars, for they know the truth.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I have not written unto you,.... Either this epistle, or rather what particularly here regards those apostates from the truth, in order to shun them and not be deceived by them: the apostle here obviates an objection that he saw might be made upon what he last said, that they knew all things; and, if so, why then did he write the things he did, since they knew them before? to which he answers, that he did not write to them as to ignorant, but as to knowing persons:
because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it: the Father, who is the God of truth; Christ, who is truth itself; and the Spirit, who is the Spirit of truth; and the Gospel, which is the word of truth; and the Scriptures, which are the Scriptures of truth, and from whence truth is to be fetched, and by them to be confirmed and defended; and which, if they had not known, it would have been to no purpose for him to have written to them about the antichrists that were come into the world; and though they did know the truth, it was very proper to put them in remembrance of it, and to establish them in it, against these deceivers, which supposes former knowledge of it:
and that no lie is of the truth; either springs from it, or is according to it, but just the reverse. The apostle has respect to the errors and heresies of the above apostates, which were flagrant contradictions to the Gospel, and as distant from it as a lie is to truth; and of such lies, and of those liars, he speaks in the next verses. The Arabic version reads, "and that every liar is not of the truth".
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. but because ye know it, and that, &c.—Ye not only know what is the truth (concerning the Son and the Father, 1Jo 2:13), but also are able to detect a lie as a thing opposed to the truth. For right (a straight line) is the index of itself and of what is crooked [Estius]. The Greek is susceptible of Alford's translation, "Because ye know it, and because no lie is of the truth" (literally, "every lie is excluded from being of the truth"). I therefore wrote (in this Epistle) to point out what the lie is, and who the liars are.
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