1 John 2:13
I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
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1 John 2:13. Here he distributes the whole body of Christians into three classes, according to their different standings in the faith, and their proficiency in Christian knowledge and holiness; namely, fathers, young men, and young children. The fathers were the most ancient believers, who had made the greatest progress in the knowledge, experience, and practice of true religion. Young men were those in the greatest vigour of the spiritual life, and who were considered by the apostle as soldiers fighting under Christ against the powers of darkness. Little or young children were the newly converted, who, being under instruction, were called in the first age catechumens. Fathers, ye have known him that is from the beginning — You have attained to a more perfect and intimate acquaintance with the Ancient of Days, (Daniel 7:9,) the eternal God, than others, though true believers, and with Christ, who is from the beginning, 1 John 1:1; and therefore you should more diligently keep his commandments, (1 John 2:3-4,) and this particularly of loving one another. Instead of, Ye have known him, who is from the beginning, Macknight reads, Ye have known him from the beginning, and paraphrases the clause thus: “Old Christians, I write to you what follows, (1 John 2:15,) because you have known Christ, his doctrine, and precepts, and manner of life, from the beginning, and must know that what I am going to write is his precept.” I write unto you, young men — Who are in the flower of your spiritual age, and are strong in grace, vigorous Christians, 1 John 2:14; because ye have already overcome the wicked one — Have resisted his strongest temptations to apostacy; or, more at large, you have manifested your spiritual strength in your conflicts with, and conquests over the devil, and his associates, the world and the flesh; and therefore take heed you be not hereafter foiled by them. I write the same precept unto you, young children — Or new converts; of short standing in grace, and of little knowledge, strength and experience in divine things; because ye have known the Father — As your Father, (though ye have not yet overcome,) by the Spirit witnessing with your spirits that you are the children of God. In other words, As children in the first place learn to know their parents, so you have attained to some saving knowledge of God your heavenly Father, and of his willingness and power to support and strengthen you, and therefore you must take care to conduct yourselves at all times as his loving and obedient children.

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.I write unto you, fathers - As there were special reasons for writing to children, so there were also for writing to those who were more mature in life. The class here addressed would embrace all those who were in advance of the νεανίσκοί neaniskoi, or young men, and would properly include those who were at the head of families.

Because ye have known him that is from the beginning - That is, the Lord Jesus Christ. Notes, 1 John 1:1. The argument is, that they had been long acquainted with the principles of his religion, and understood well its doctrines and duties. It cannot be certainly inferred from this that they had had a personal acquaintance with the Lord Jesus: yet that this might have been is not impossible, for John had himself personally known him, and there may have been some among those to whom he wrote who had also seen and known him. If this were so, it would give additional impressiveness to the reason assigned here for writing to them, and for reminding them of the principles of that religion which they had learned from his own lips and example. But perhaps all that is necessarily implied in this passage is, that they had had long opportunity of becoming acquainted with the religion of the Son of God, and that having understood that thoroughly, it was proper to address them as aged and established Christians, and to call on them to maintain the true doctrines of the gospel, against the specious but dangerous errors which then prevailed.

I write unto you, young men - νεανίσκοι neaniskoi. This word would properly embrace those who were in the vigor of life, midway between children and old men. It is uniformly rendered "young men" in the New Testament: Matthew 19:20, Matthew 19:22; Mark 14:51; Mark 16:5; Luke 7:14; Acts 2:17; Acts 5:10; and in the passages before us. It does not elsewhere occur. It is commonly understood as embracing those in the prime and vigor of manhood up to the period of about forty years. - Robinson.

Because ye have overcome the wicked one - That is, because you have vigor, (see the next verse), and that vigor you have shown by overcoming the assaults of the wicked one - the devil. You have triumphed over the passions which prevail in early life; you have combated the allurements of vice, ambition, covetousness, and sensuality; and you have shown that there is a strength of character and of piety on which reliance can be placed in promoting religion. It is proper, therefore, to exhort you not to disgrace the victory which you have already gained, but to employ your vigor of character in maintaining the cause of the Saviour. The thing to which John appeals here is the energy of those at this period of life, and it is proper at all times to make this the ground of appeal in addressing a church. It is right to call on those who are in the prime of life, and who are endowed with energy of character, to employ their talents in the service of the Lord Jesus, and to stand up as the open advocates of truth. Thus, the apostle calls on the three great classes into which a community or a church may be considered as divided: youth, because their sins were already forgiven, and, though young, they had actually entered on a career of virtue and religion, a career which by all means they ought to be exhorted to pursue; "fathers," or aged men, because they had had long experience in religion, and had a thorough acquaintance with the doctrines and duties of the gospel, and they might be expected to stand steadfastly as examples to others; and "young men," those who were in the vigor and prime of life, because they had shown that they had power to resist evil, and were endowed with strength, and it was proper to call on them to exert their vigor in the sacred cause of religion.

I write unto you, little children - Many manuscripts read here, "I have written" - ἔγραψα egrapsa - instead of "I write" - γράφω graphō. This reading is found in both the ancient Syriac versions, and in the Coptic; it was followed by Origen, Cyril, Photius, and OEeumenius; and it is adopted by Grotius, Mill, and Hahn, and is probably the true reading. The connection seems to demand this. In 1 John 2:12-13, the apostle uses the word γράφω graphō - I write - in relation to children, fathers, and young men; in the passage before us, and in the next verse, he again addresses children, fathers, and young men, and in relation to the two latter, he says ἔγραψα egrapsa - "I have written." The connection, therefore, seems to demand that the same word should be employed here also. Some persons have supposed that the whole passage is spurious, but of that there is no evidence; and, as we have elsewhere seen, it is not uncommon for John to repeat a sentiment, and to place it in a variety of lights, in order that he might make it certain that he was not misapprehended.

Some have supposed, also, that the expression "I have written," refers to some former epistle which is now lost, or to the Gospel by the same author, which had been sent to them (Hug.), and that he means here to remind them that he had written to them on some former occasion, inculcating the same sentiments which he now expressed. But there is no evidence of this, and this supposition is not necessary in order to a correct understanding of the passage. In the former expression, "I write," the state of mind would be that of one who fixed his attention on what he was "then" doing, and the particular reason "why" he did it - and the apostle states these reasons in 1 John 2:12-13. Yet it would not be unnatural for him immediately to throw his mind into the past, and to state the reasons why he had resolved to write to them at all, and then to look at what he had purposed to say as already done, and to state the reasons why that was done.

Thus one who sat down to write a letter to a friend might appropriately state in any part of the letter the reasons which had induced him to write at all to him on the subject. If he fixed his attention on the fact that he was actually writing, and on the reasons why he wrote, he would express himself in the present tense - I write; if on the previous purpose, or the reasons which induced him to write at all, he would use the past tense - "I have written" for such and such reasons. So John seems here, in order to make what he says emphatic, to refer to two states of his own mind: the one when he resolved to write, and the reasons which occurred to him then; and the other when he was actually writing, and the reasons which occurred to him then. The reasons are indeed substantially the same, but they are contemplated from different points of view, and that fact shows that what he did was done with deliberation, and from a deep sense of duty.

Because ye have known the Father - In 1 John 2:12, the reason assigned for writing to this class is, that their sins were forgiven. The reason assigned here is, that in early life they had become acquainted with God as a Father. He desires that they would show themselves dutiful and faithful children in this relation which they sustained to him. Even children may learn to regard God as their Father, and may have toward him all the affectionate interest which grows out of this relation.

13, 14. All three classes are first addressed in the present. "I write"; then in the past (aorist) tense, "I wrote" (not "I have written"; moreover, in the oldest manuscripts and versions, in the end of 1Jo 2:13, it is past, "I wrote," not as English Version, "I write"). Two classes, "fathers" and "young men," are addressed with the same words each time (except that the address to the young men has an addition expressing the source and means of their victory); but the "little sons" and "little children" are differently addressed.

have known—and do know: so the Greek perfect means. The "I wrote" refers not to a former Epistle, but to this Epistle. It was an idiom to put the past tense, regarding the time from the reader's point of view; when he should receive the Epistle the writing would be past. When he uses "I write," he speaks from his own point of view.

him that is from the beginning—Christ: "that which was from the beginning."

overcome—The fathers, appropriately to their age, are characterized by knowledge. The young men, appropriately to theirs, by activity in conflict. The fathers, too, have conquered; but now their active service is past, and they and the children alike are characterized by knowing (the fathers know Christ, "Him that was from the beginning"; the children know the Father). The first thing that the little children realize is that God is their Father; answering in the parallel clause to "little sons … your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake," the universal first privilege of all those really-dear sons of God. Thus this latter clause includes all, whereas the former clause refers to those more especially who are in the first stage of spiritual life, "little children." Of course, these can only know the Father as theirs through the Son (Mt 11:27). It is beautiful to see how the fathers are characterized as reverting back to the first great truths of spiritual childhood, and the sum and ripest fruit of advanced experience, the knowledge of Him that was from the beginning (twice repeated, 1Jo 2:13, 14). Many of them had probably known Jesus in person, as well as by faith.

Unto fathers, because to such belong much experience, and the knowledge of ancient things, he ascribeth the knowledge of

him who is the Ancient of days, from the beginning, and than whom none is more ancient, and whom they should be supposed so well to know by their long continued course in religion, as fully to understand his good and acceptable will, what would be pleasing and what displeasing to him.

I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one: to such as were in the flower of their strength and age in Christianity, he attributeth victory; to whom therefore it would be inglorious to slur the honour of that noble conquest they had gained over

the wicked one, the god of this world, as he is elsewhere called, 2 Corinthians 4:4, by suffering themselves again to be entangled in its snares and bands. His method is, we see, to place this order of Christians last, as a middle state, which he would have us conceive afterwards to be interposed between the other two; which method we find he observes in going over them again the second time.

I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father: he again first begins with his little children, whom he now bespeaks by another compellation in the Greek, (before teknia, now paidia), importing no material difference, except this latter signify more capacity of instruction; and he now also gives them another character, which implies so much, that he not only considers them as the passive subjects of a privilege, remission of sins, which they were capable of in the first moment of their being born into the Christian state, (as the word teknia, above, seems to intimate), but as being able to use their understanding, and consider whose children they were,

because ye have known the Father; before said also of the eldest sort of Christians; but he is there mentioned by a description more suitable to their more aged state; and therefore the knowledge ascribed to the one, and to the other, though the same in kind, must, in respect of degrees, be accommodately understood.

I write unto you, fathers,.... Not merely in age, though they might be men in years who are here intended, or only with respect to their long standing in the church, which might be the case; though persons may be in years, and of a long standing in the church, and yet be children in knowledge and experience: but here it designs such, who, in comparison of others, were perfect, and were spiritual, and judged all things; had a well informed and established judgment in divine things, and were, in understanding, men, fathers, and not babes in Christ; so the Jews used to call their men of wisdom, and knowledge, and understanding, "Abot", "fathers". Hence there is a whole treatise in the Misna called Pirke Abot, which contains the apophthegms, wise sayings, and sentences of their fathers, or wise men. Now the apostle writes the new commandment of love, and urges it on these, for this reason,

because ye have known him that is from the beginning; either God the Father, who is from everlasting to everlasting, the Ancient of days, the eternal I AM, whom to know is life eternal; whose everlasting love to them, whose covenant of grace with his Son for them, before the world was, and the ancient transactions, and settlements of his grace on their account, they were acquainted with: or Jesus Christ, the Logos or Word, which was from the beginning, who existed from all eternity, as a divine person, as the Son of God, co-eternal with the Father; as the eternal choice made in him, and the everlasting covenant with him show; and who in his office capacity, as Mediator, was set up from everlasting; and who, with respect to the virtue of his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, was from the beginning of the world, and was the same yesterday, today, and for ever; it being by his blood that all the patriarchs, from the beginning of time, were pardoned, and by his righteousness they were justified, and by his grace they were saved; all which, respecting the antiquity of Christ's person, office, and grace, was known to these fathers: they knew him, so as to approve of him, trust in him, and appropriate him to themselves, and which obliged them to the new commandment of love, not only to God and Christ, but to one another; and the reason here given, engaging to it, is exceeding suitable to their character, it being what fathers and aged men delight in, even ancient things, to call them to remembrance, to talk of them as things well known unto them; but nothing is more ancient than what is here instanced in, and nothing so honourable and profitable to know as this, or to be gloried in; and therefore the argument from hence to love those that belong to him, who is the everlasting Father, is very strong and forcible.

I write unto you, young men; who are warm and zealous for God, for his cause and interest, for the glory of a Redeemer, for his truths and ordinances; and are lively in the exercise of grace, and fervent in the discharge of duty; and are active, diligent, and industrious, always abounding in the work of the Lord; and are strong and robust, able to go alone, to walk by faith, being strong in it, and in the grace that is in Christ, and do not need the staff that old age does, nor the hand to lead and teach to go, as children do: to these the apostle writes the new commandment of love, for this reason,

because ye have overcome the wicked one; Satan, who is eminently so, being the first that was, and the worst that is so; for he is wickedness itself, he is wholly, entirely, immutably, and unalterably wicked; and his whole work and employment is in wickedness. Now these young men had overcome him, not only in Christ their head, who has spoiled him, destroyed him, and led him captive in triumph, in whom they were more than conquerors; but in themselves, through the power of divine grace, holding up, and making use of the shield of faith against him, whereby they quenched his fiery darts, and got the victory over him: and this is also said in perfect agreement with the character of young men, who are apt to glory in their strength, and are fond of getting the advantage, or a victory over others; and which is used to teach such as are so in a spiritual sense, not to glory in their strength, but in the Lord; and to love him whom they know, and whose lovingkindness is exercised towards them, and in Christ; and to love him through whom they get the victory, and to bear the infirmities of weaker saints, to whom they should be strongly affected.

I write unto you, little children; or babes in Christ, such as were newborn babes, just born again, not able to go alone, or walk by faith, but were dandled on the knee, and lay at the breasts of divine consolation: could speak but stammeringly, and not plain, it being as much as they could do to say "Abba", Father. To these the apostle writes, and urges the new commandment of love, for this reason,

because ye have known the Father: the Father of Christ, and him, as their Father in Christ, under the witnessings of the spirit of adoption; so as, in some good measure, to hope and believe he was their Father, and to love, honour, and obey him as such, to apply to him for whatever they stood in need of, and always to put themselves under his care and protection: and a consideration of this their relation to him, and interest in him, is a strong and prevailing argument why they should not only love him, their Father, and Christ, who is begotten of him, but also all the saints, who are the children of this their Father, and their brethren; and very aptly does the apostle mention their knowledge of the Father as suitable to their age and character, it being one of the first and most necessary things for a child to know.

{10} I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. {11} I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. {12} I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

(10) He shows that this doctrine agrees to all ages, and first of all speaking to old men, he shows that Christ and his doctrine are ancient, and therefore if they enjoy with old things, nothing ought to be more acceptable to them.

(11) He advertises to young men, if they desire to show their strength, that they have a most glorious combat set here before them, that is, Satan the worst enemy, who must be overcome: willing them to be as sure of the victory, as if they had already gotten it.

(12) Finally, he shows to children, that the true Father from whom they have to look for all good things, is set before them in the gospel.

1 John 2:13. He now subdivides τεκνία into ποτέρες, i.e., mature believers with a long and ever-deepening (ἐγνώκατε) experience behind them, and νεανίσκοι, who, though ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῆς σαρκός is strong within them, have conquered the Evil One by the aids of grace—an evidence of the reality of their interest in Christ. ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς. as in 1 John 1:1. The ancient interpreters took τεκνία, πατέρες, νεανίσκοι as a threefold classification, according to age (Aug., Athan.) or according to Christian experience, κατὰ τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον (Euth. Zig.); but the order would then be either τεκνία, νεανίσκοι, πατέρες or πατέρες, νεανίσκοι, τεκνία. According to the variant γράφω ὑμῖν, παιδία, τεκνία is a general appellation subdivided into πατέρες, νεανίσκοι, παιδία. 1 John 2:14 should begin with ἔγραψα ὑμῖν, παιδία. The aor. ἔγραψα is most simply and reasonably explained as a reference to the Apostle’s Gospel (see Introd. p. 154). Having assured them of his present conviction of the sincerity of their faith, he now goes on to assure them that he had entertained a like opinion when he wrote the Gospel for their instruction. His tone is much like that of 2 Peter 1:12. Other explanations: (1) The reference is to a former epistle (cf. 3 John 1:9)—a gratuitous and unnecessary hypothesis. (2) The Apostle resumes after a pause whether in composition or in thought, and reiterates what he “has written”. (3) An emphatic form of expression, like “we decree and have decreed”. (4) Calvin, reading γράφω ὑμῖν, παιδία, regards πατέρεςπονηρόν as an interpolation. This is to cut the knot instead of untying it. παιδία, a general appellation for all the Apostle’s readers, practically identical with τεκνία. Strictly τεκνία carries the idea of relationship by birth-regeneration; cf. Aug.: “Quia remittuntur vobis peccata per nomen ejus, et regeneramini in novam vitam, ideo filii”. παιδία, on the other hand, are merely “children,” pueri (Aug.), infantes (Vulg.), and the distinction is ὅτι ἐγνώκατε τὸν Πατέρα. All men are children of God, believers are children who “have got to know the Father’

13. fathers] The older men among his readers: comp. Jdg 17:10; Jdg 18:19; 2 Kings 2:12; 2 Kings 6:21; 2 Kings 13:14. The address stands alone in N. T. The nearest approaches to it are Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21, where the actual fathers of children are addressed. S. Augustine thinks that all the readers are included throughout. Christians from one point of view are children, from another young men, and from another old men. This is possible, but it ignores the order in which the three groups are ranged. Comp. Titus 2:1-8, where S. Paul in like manner gives directions as to the exhortations suitable for Christians of different ages.

ye have known] Rather, ye know: ‘ye have come to know and therefore know’, as in 1 John 2:3. The word expresses the result of progressive experience, and is therefore very suitable to the knowledge possessed by the old.

Him which is from the beginning] Christ, not the Father, as is plain from the opening words of the Epistle. Moreover, S. John never speaks of the First Person of the Godhead under any designation but ‘God’ or ‘the Father’. By the knowledge which these older Christians had come to possess of Christ is certainly not meant having seen Him in the flesh. Very few of S. John’s readers could have done that; and if they had, S. John would not have attached any moral or spiritual value to the fact. Besides which to express this we should expect ‘ye have seen Jesus Christ’, rather than ‘ye have come to know Him that was from the beginning’.

young men] The younger among his readers, men in the prime of life.

ye have overcome] Comp. John 16:33. Throughout both Gospel and Epistle S. John regards eternal life as a prize already won by the believer (John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:47; John 6:54; John 17:3): the contest is not to gain, but to retain. We have perfects in each case (‘have been forgiven’, ‘have come to know’, ‘have overcome’), expressing, as so frequently in S. John, the abiding result of past action. He bases his appeals to the young on the victory which their strength has gained, just as he bases his appeals to the old on the knowledge which their experience has gained.

the wicked one] It is important to have a uniform rendering for the word here used (πονηρός), respecting which there has been so much controversy with regard to the last petition in the Lord’s Prayer. The A. V., following earlier Versions, wavers between ‘wicked’ and ‘evil’, even in the same verse (1 John 3:12). ‘Evil’ is to be preferred throughout. Almost all are agreed that the evil one here means the devil, although the Genevan Version has ‘the evil man’, as in Matthew 12:35. Wiclif, Tyndale, and Cranmer supply neither ‘man’ nor ‘one’, but write ‘the wicked’ or ‘that wicked.’ ‘The wicked’ in English would inevitably be understood as plural. For this name for Satan comp. 1 John 2:18; Matthew 13:19 and also 1 John 3:12; 1 John 5:19; John 17:15; Ephesians 6:16. In these last four passages the gender, though probably masculine, may, as in Matthew 6:13, possibly be neuter.

I write unto you, little children] The true reading, as determined by both internal and external evidence, certainly gives I have written or I wrote. The second triplet begins here, ‘little ones’ (παιδία, which occurs as a form of address nowhere else in N. T. except 1 John 2:18 and John 21:5), meaning, as before, all his readers.

ye have known the Father] Or, as in 1 John 2:3; 1 John 2:13, ye know. In 1 John 2:12 the Apostle attributes to them the possession of spiritual peace through the remission of sins: here he attributes to them the possession of spiritual truth through knowledge of the Father.

1 John 2:13. Ὅτι, because) Thus three times: comp. 1 John 2:12; 1 Peter 5:12, where the sense of because is explained by an accusative with an infinitive, which is more clear. He proposes three subjects, and will shortly treat of them; and he here represents [gives at once] the summaries of those subjects, of which he is about to treat.—ἐγνώκατε, ye have known) a heavenly Father, in preference to fathers of flesh.—τὸν Πατέρα, the Father) and so all things, 1 John 2:20.

Verse 13. - Because ye know (literally, have come to know, as in verses 3, 4) him that is from the beginning τὸν ἀπ ἀρχῆς. The context respecting Christ's Name and ο{ η΅ν ἀπ ἀρχῆς (1 John 1:1) show that the Word and not the Father is meant. A more perfect knowledge of Jesus as the Eternal Word, and no mere aeon or emanation from the Deity, is the special prerogative of the aged Christian; and such are fit recipients of the ἀγγελία of the apostle. No less fit, but for a different reason, are the younger among his readers. To fight is the lot of the young soldier; and a victorious warfare against Satan is the distinction of youthful Christians. They have got the better of that evil one in whose power the whole world lies (1 John 3:12; 1 John 5:18, 19; John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11). Not that the warfare is over, but that it is henceforth warfare with a defeated enemy. Hence they also have a right to share in the apostolic message. I wrote (or, have written) to you, children, because ye know (or, have come to know) the Father. The reading ἔγραψα must be preferred to γράφω, on overwhelming evidence, both external and internal. The second triplet begins here, and this sentence should have been given to verse 14. It is difficult to determine what is meant by the change from τεκνία to παισία. Τεκνία occurs once with μου (verse 1), and six times without μου in the Epistle, and once in the Gospel (John 13:33), the probable source of this form of address. Παιδία occurs in verse 18 (see note) and John 21:5, and nowhere else in the New Testament as a form of address. Probably both words are applied to the whole of St. John's readers. Some would limit παιδία to actual children; but in that case we should expect a different order - children, young men, fathers; or fathers, young men, children. These "children" know the Father to whom they have been reconciled by forgiveness of sins; they have become his adopted sons through the Name of his own Son (verse 12). 1 John 2:13Fathers

Indicating age and authority.

Have known (ἐγνώκατε)

Rev., correctly, ye know. Knowledge is the characteristic of fathers; knowledge as the fruit of experience. Ye have perceived, therefore ye know.

Have overcome (νενικήκατε)

Compare John 16:33. The image is characteristic of Revelation and First Epistle. See Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:26; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 21:7; 1 John 2:14; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:4, 1 John 5:5.

The evil one (τὸν πονηρόν)

See on wickedness, Mark 7:22; see on evils, Luke 3:19; see on evil spirits, Luke 7:21. The prince of darkness is styled by John ὁ διάβολος the false accuser (John 8:44; John 13:2; 1 John 3:8, 1 John 3:10. See on Matthew 4:1): ὁ Σατανᾶς Satan, the adversary (John 13:27; compare ὁ κατήγωρ the accuser, properly, in court, Revelation 12:10): ὁ πονηρός the evil one (John 17:15; 1 John 2:13, 1 John 2:14; 1 John 3:12; 1 John 5:18, 1 John 5:19): ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου the ruler of this world (John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11). Note the abrupt introduction of the word here, as indicating something familiar.

I have written (ἔγραψα)

Or, strictly, I wrote. Compare I write (1 John 2:12, 1 John 2:13), and note the change of tense. The past tense, I wrote, does not refer to some previous writing, as the Gospel, but, like the present, to this Epistle. The present, I write, refers to the immediate act of writing: the aorist is the epistolary aorist, by which the writer places himself at the reader's stand-point, regarding the writing as past. See on 1 Peter 5:12. I write, therefore, refers to the Apostle's immediate act of writing; I have written, or I wrote, to the reader's act of reading the completed writing.

Little children (παιδία)

Compare τεκνία little children (1 John 2:1), which emphasizes the idea of kinship, while this word emphasizes the idea of subordination and consequent discipline. Hence it is the more appropriate word when spoken from the stand-point of authority rather than of affection.

Ye have known (ἐγνώκατε)

Rev., correctly, ye known.


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