1 John 3:11
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
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1 John 3:11-14. For, &c. — As if he had said, I have just declared that the want of brotherly love is a proof that a man is not of God, and a little consideration may convince you of the truth of the assertion: for this is the message that ye heard of us — The apostles and ministers of Christ; from the beginning — Of our ministry among you; that we should love one another — A doctrine frequently inculcated by our Lord Jesus in person: not as Cain, (see the margin,) who was of the wicked one — Who showed he was a child of the devil, by killing his brother. And wherefore slew he him? — For any fault? No: but just the reverse; for his goodness. Because his own works were evil — In a very high degree; and his brother’s righteous — And he could not bear that his brother’s sacrifice was accepted of God while his own was rejected; a circumstance that, instead of humbling him and bringing him to repentance, as it ought to have done, only excited his envy and hatred, which at length settled into the most rancorous malice, and produced that horrible effect. Marvel not, &c. — As if he had said, Since there is a great deal of the same malignant temper remaining in the carnal part of mankind, and there are many who are, in that sense, though not by natural descent, of the seed of Cain, marvel not if the world hate you — Remembering they lie in the wicked one, and are under his influence. We know, &c. — That is, we ourselves could not love our brethren, unless we were passed from spiritual death to spiritual life — That is, unless we were born of God. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death — Namely, in spiritual death, and is obnoxious to eternal death. In other words, he is not born of God: and he that is not born of God cannot love his brother. See on chap. 1 John 4:7. Reader, observe this: all mankind, being born in sin, are in a state of spiritual death, and in the way to eternal death, till they are born again; and none are born again who do not truly love both God and his people.3:11-15 We should love the Lord Jesus, value his love, and therefore love all our brethren in Christ. This love is the special fruit of our faith, and a certain sign of our being born again. But none who rightly know the heart of man, can wonder at the contempt and enmity of ungodly people against the children of God. We know that we are passed from death to life: we may know it by the evidences of our faith in Christ, of which love to our brethren is one. It is not zeal for a party in the common religion, or affection for those who are of the same name and sentiments with ourselves. The life of grace in the heart of a regenerate person, is the beginning and first principle of a life of glory, whereof they must be destitute who hate their brother in their hearts.For this is the message - Margin, "commandment." In the received text, this is ἀγγελία angelia - "a message brought;" in several manuscripts, and in later editions, it is ἐπαγγελία epangelia - "annunciation, announcement;" an order given, or a commandment, Acts 23:21. It is not very material which reading is followed. The word "command" or "rule" would express the sense with sufficient clearness. The reference is to the law given by the Saviour as a permanent direction to his disciples.

That ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another - See the John 13:34-35 notes; 1 John 2:7 note.

11. the message—"announcement," as of something good; not a mere command, as the law. The Gospel message of Him who loved us, announced by His servants, is, that we love the brethren; not here all mankind, but those who are our brethren in Christ, children of the same family of God, of whom we have been born anew. From the beginning: see 1Jo 2:7,8: q.d. They cannot be of God, therefore, that cross so fundamental a precept, so expressive of his nature and will. For this is the message,.... Sent from God by Christ, or what he in his ministry declared, and is the commandment which was so frequently urged by him, John 13:34;

that ye have heard from the beginning; of the preaching of the Gospel to them, and of their conversion; see 1 John 2:7;

that we should love one another; to which the command of Christ, the reason with which it is enforced, and the early notice of it, should engage.

{11} For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

(11) The first reason taken from the authority of God who gives the commandment.

1 John 3:11. ὅτι confirms the thought expressed in the foregoing, that he who does not love his brother is not of God.

αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ ἀγγελία] αὕτη refers to the following ἵνα, with a retrospective allusion to ἀγαπῶν τ. ἀδ. αὑτοῦ. The word ἀγγελία = “message,” is here to be taken in the meaning of “commission,” “commandment.” With the reading ἐπαγγελία, comp. 1 John 1:5. By the words ἥνἀπ ̓ ἀρχῆς, which do not refer to the Old Testament period (Grotius: etiam sub lege), or to “the beginning of history” (Ebrard), the commandment of brotherly love is characterized as the ἀγγελία which is necessarily connected with the preaching of the gospel; comp. chap. 1 John 2:7.

ἵνα κ.τ.λ.] states, not the purpose for which the ἀγγελία is given, but the import of it, as frequently with words of wishing, commanding, etc.; comp. Buttm. p. 203 ff.[219] The ἈΓΑΠῶΜΕΝ ἈΛΛΉΛΟΥς shows that the apostle is in this section treating of the love of Christians towards one another; it is self-evident that the Christian has to fulfil the general commandment of love even to those who are not Christians. Yet John does not here enter on that, as it would be inappropriate, for he has here to do with the ethical antithesis between Christians as children of God and those who are opposed to them as children of the devil; it is only on the ground of this antithesis that it can be said: ΜῊ ἈΓΑΠᾶΤΕ ΤῸΝ ΚΌΣΜΟΝ, 1 John 2:15.

[219] Braune would have the idea of purpose retained; but in his interpretation: “it is not merely the substance of a commandment that is treated of, but a commandment which is contained as a task in the gift of the message,” he quite overlooks the fact that if ἵνα = in order that (and only thus is the original idea of purpose retained), it cannot refer to αὕτη.1 John 3:11. ἵνα ecbatic, expressing not the aim but simply the substance of the message. Cf. John 17:3. See Moulton’s Gram. of N.T. Gk., p. 206; Moulton’s Winer, p. 425.11. For this is the message that ye heard, &c.] Or, Because the message which ye heard from the beginning is this: ‘this’ is probably the predicate (see on 1 John 1:5). ‘From the beginning’ as in 1 John 2:7 : it was one of the very first things conveyed to them in their instruction in Christianity and had been ceaselessly repeated, notably by the Apostle himself. Jerome tells us that during S. John’s last years ‘Little children, love one another’ was the one exhortation which, after he had become too old to preach, he never ceased to give. “It is the Lord’s command,” he said; “and if this is done, it is enough.” ‘Love one another’ addressed to Christians must primarily mean the love of Christians to fellow-Christians; and this shews what ‘loving his brother’ must mean. But the love of Christians to non-Christians must certainly not be excluded: the arguments for enforcing brotherly love cover the case of love to all mankind.1 John 3:11. Ἀγγελία, the announcement) An appellation most characteristic of Gospel liberty [as contrasted with, the bondage which the law gendereth]. He never applies this appellation to the law.Verse 11. - Because the message (ἀγγελία: see on 1 John 1:5) which ye heard from the beginning is this. Not merely in the beginning, but from the beginning; it was among the first announcements, and it had never ceased to be in force. Jerome, in his 'Commentary on Galatians' (Galatians 6:10), tells us that when St. John became too infirm to preach, he used often to say no more than this, "Little children, love one another." His hearers at last wearied of it, and said, "Master, why dost thou always say this?" "It is the Lord's command," he replied; "and if this alone is done, it is enough." From the beginning

See on 1 John 1:1.

That (ἵνα)

The purport and aim of the message. See on John 15:13.

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