1 John 5:21
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

New Living Translation
Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts.

English Standard Version
Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

New American Standard Bible
Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

King James Bible
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

International Standard Version
Little children, keep yourselves away from idols. Greetings from John

NET Bible
Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
My children, keep yourselves from the worship of idols.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Dear children, guard yourselves from false gods.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

King James 2000 Bible
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

American King James Version
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

American Standard Version
My little children, guard yourselves from idols.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Darby Bible Translation
Children, keep yourselves from idols.

English Revised Version
My little children, guard yourselves from idols.

Webster's Bible Translation
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Weymouth New Testament
Dear children, guard yourselves from idols.

World English Bible
Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Young's Literal Translation
Little children, guard yourselves from the idols! Amen.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

5:18-21 All mankind are divided into two parties or dominions; that which belongs to God, and that which belongs to the wicked one. True believers belong to God: they are of God, and from him, and to him, and for him; while the rest, by far the greater number, are in the power of the wicked one; they do his works, and support his cause. This general declaration includes all unbelievers, whatever their profession, station, or situation, or by whatever name they may be called. The Son leads believers to the Father, and they are in the love and favour of both; in union with both, by the indwelling and working of the Holy Spirit. Happy are those to whom it is given to know that the Son of God is come, and to have a heart to trust in and rely on him that is true! May this be our privilege; we shall thus be kept from all idols and false doctrines, and from the idolatrous love of worldly objects, and be kept by the power of God, through faith, unto eternal salvation. To this living and true God, be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 21. - Keep yourselves from idols; or, guard yourselves from the idols. In verse 18 we had τηρεῖ; here the verb is φυλάξατε. The aorist, rather than the present imperative, is used to make the command more forcible, although the guarding is not momentary, but will have to continue (Compare μείνατε ἐν ἐμοί, John 15:4; τὰς ἐντολὰς τὰς ἐμὰς τηρήσατε John 14:15). What is the meaning of "the idols" τῶν εἰδώλων here? In answering this question it will be well to hold fast to the common canon of exegesis, that where the literal interpretation makes good sense, the literal interpretation is probably right. Here the literal interpretation makes excellent sense. Ephesus was famous for its idols. To be "temple-keeper of the great Artemis" (Acts 19:35) was its pride. The moral evils which had resulted from the abuse of the right of sanctuary had caused the Roman senate to cite the Ephesians and other states to submit their charters to the government for inspection. Ephesus had been the first to answer to the summons, and had strenuously defended its claims. It was famous, moreover, for its charms and incantations; and folly of this kind had found its way into the Christian Church (Acts 19:13-20). As so often happens with converts from a religion full of gross superstition, a good many of the superstitious observances survived the adoption of Christianity. With facts such as these before us, we can hardly be wrong in interpreting "the idols" quite literally. The apostle's "little children" could not live in Ephesus without coming constantly in contact with these polluting but attractive influences. They must have absolutely nothing to do with them: "Guard yourselves and abjure ἀπό them." Of course, this literal interpretation places no limit on the application of the text. To a Christian anything is an idol which usurps the place of God in the heart, whether this be a person, or a system, or a project, or wealth, or what not. All such usurpations come within the sweep of the apostle's injunction, "Guard yourselves from your idols."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Little children, keep yourselves from idols, Amen. From Heathen idols and idolatry, into which the saints in those times might be liable to be drawn, by reason of their dwelling among Heathen idolaters, and being related to them, and by the too great freedom used in eating things sacrificed to idols in their temples; and from all other idols that might be introduced by some who went by the name of Christians, as the Gnostics, who worshipped the images of Simon and Helena; and the passage may be an antidote against the worshipping of images, afterwards introduced by the Papists. Moreover, errors and false doctrines, which are the figments of men's minds, and what they are fond of, may be called idols, and should be guarded against, and abstained from; as also the lusts of men's hearts, and all the evil things that are in the world, which are adored by the men of it; and even every creature that is loved too much is an idol; hence covetousness is called idolatry; nor should any creature or thing be loved more than God or Christ: the one only living and true God, Father, Son, and Spirit, he is only to be worshipped, feared, and loved.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

21. Affectionate parting caution.

from idols—Christians were then everywhere surrounded by idolaters, with whom it was impossible to avoid intercourse. Hence the need of being on their guard against any even indirect compromise or act of communion with idolatry. Some at Pergamos, in the region whence John wrote, fell into the snare of eating things sacrificed to idols. The moment we cease to abide "in Him that is true (by abiding) in Jesus Christ," we become part of "the world that lieth in the wicked one," given up to spiritual, if not in all places literal, idolatry (Eph 5:5; Col 3:5).

1 John 5:21 Additional Commentaries
Purpose and Concluding Remarks
20And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 21Little children, guard yourselves from idols.
Cross References
1 Corinthians 10:7
Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry."

1 Corinthians 10:14
Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

1 Thessalonians 1:9
for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

1 John 2:1
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
Treasury of Scripture

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Little. See on ch.

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


Exodus 20:3,4 You shall have no other gods before me…

1 Corinthians 10:7,14 Neither be you idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, …

2 Corinthians 6:16,17 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are …

Revelation 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet …

Revelation 13:14,15 And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles …

Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and …

Amen. See on

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For your …

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