Marvel not, my brothers, if the world hate you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
If the world hate you - The emphasis here is to be placed on the word "you." The apostle had just adverted to the fact that Cain hated Abel, his brother, without cause, and he says that they were not to deem it strange if the world hated them in like manner. The Saviour John 15:17-18 introduced these subjects in the same connection. In enjoining the duty of brotherly love on his disciples, he adverts to the fact that they must expect to be hated by the world, and tells them to remember that the world hated him before it hated them. The object of all this was to show more clearly the necessity of strong and tender mutual affection among Christians, since they could hope for none from the world. See the notes at John 15:18-19.
the world—of whom Cain is the representative (1Jo 3:12).
hate you—as Cain hated even his own brother, and that to the extent of murdering him. The world feels its bad works tacitly reproved by your good works.the god of it, 2 Corinthians 4:4, it is not to be thought strange, that good men should be the marks and designed objects of the world’s hatred. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 John 3:13. If Cain is the type of the world, it is not to be wondered at that the children of God are hated by it; accordingly the apostle says: μὴ θαυμάζετε κ.τ.λ.; comp. 1 John 3:1; not exactly to comfort his readers about it, but rather to bring out the antithesis clearly; Neander: “it must not surprise Christians if they are hated by the world; this is to them the stamp of the divine life, in the possession of which they form the contrast to the world.”
The particle εἰ expresses here neither a doubt nor even merely possibility; for that the world hates the children of God is not merely possible, but in the nature of the case necessary; it is only the form of the sentence, and not the thought of it, that is hypothetical; comp. John 15:18, also Mark 15:44.
 Ebrard explains εἰ incorrectly: “whenever the case occurs,” for the hatred which is here spoken of is not a frequently occurring case, but a necessary relationship. Braune unintelligibly says: “by εἰ John signifies that his readers as a whole or as individuals have after all at present no hatred to endure.”1 John 3:13-24. The Secret of Assurance. “Wonder not, brethren, if the world hateth you. We know that we have migrated out of the domain of death into the domain of life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in the domain of death. Everyone that hateth his brother is a murderer, and ye know that every murderer hath not life eternal abiding in him. Herein have we got to know love, because He laid down His life for us; and we are bound to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whosoever hath the world’s goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and locketh up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word nor with the tongue, but in deed and truth. Herein shall we get to know that we are of the Truth, and in His presence shall assure our heart, whereinsoever our heart may condemn us, because greater is God than our heart, and He readeth everything. Beloved, if the heart condemn not, we have boldness toward God, and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we observe His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment, that we believe the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, even as He gave a commandment to us. And he that observeth His commandments in Him abideth and He in him; and herein we get to know that He abideth in us—from the Spirit which He gave us.”
Marvel not, my brethren] Comp. John 5:28; John 3:7. The antagonism between the light and the darkness, between God and the evil one, between righteousness and unrighteousness, has never ceased from the time of the first sin (1 John 3:8) and of the first murder (1 John 3:12). The moral descendants of Cain and of Abel are still in the world, and the wicked still hate the righteous. Therefore Christians need not be perplexed, if the world (as it does) hates them.
Both in Jewish (Philo, De sacr. Abelis et Caini) and in early Christian (Clem. Hom. III. xxv., xxvi) literature Abel is taken as the prototype of the good and Cain as the prototype of the wicked. For the wild sect of the Cainites, who took exactly the opposite view, see Appendix C. It is possible that some germs of this monstrous heresy are aimed at in 1 John 3:12.
brethren] This form of address, which occurs nowhere else in the Epistle (not genuine in 1 John 2:7), is in harmony with the subject of brotherly love.
if the world hate you] Better, as R. V., if the world hateth you: in the Greek we have the indicative, not the subjunctive or optative. The fact is stated gently, but not doubtfully. The verse is another echo of Christ’s last discourses as recorded in the Gospel: ‘If the world hateth you (same construction as here), ye know that it hath hated Me before it hated you’ (John 15:18). Comp. Mark 15:44.1 John 3:13. Ἀδελφοί μου, my brethren) In this one passage only he calls them brethren, in antithesis to the world without, and in his repeated mention of the brethren. At other times he says, beloved, my dear children, ch. 1 John 2:7, 1 John 3:12.—μισεῖ, has in hatred) as Cain hated even his brother, [viz. with a murderous hatred: for its bad works are reproved by your righteous works.—V. g.]Verses 13-24. - Hate and death contrasted with love and life (verses 13-15); generous love, which has its pattern in the self-sacrifice of Christ (verses 16, 17); sincere love, which is the ground of our boldness toward God, who has commanded us to love (verses 18-24). Verse 13. - Human nature is the same as of old. There is still a Cain, the world, hating its Abel, the Church. Therefore marvel not, brethren, if the world hateth you. Here only does St. John use the address, "brethren," which is appropriate to the subject of brotherly love. Elsewhere his readers are "children" or "beloved." The "if" (εἰ with indicative) expresses no doubt as to the fact, but states it gently and conditionally.
The only occurrence of this mode of address in the Epistle.
Indicative mood, pointing to the fact as existing: if the world hate you, as it does.
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