1 John 2:12
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake.

King James Bible
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

Darby Bible Translation
I write to you, children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

World English Bible
I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

Young's Literal Translation
I write to you, little children, because the sins have been forgiven you through his name;

1 John 2:12 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

I write unto you, little children - There has been much difference of opinion among commentators in regard to this verse and the three following verses, on account of their apparent tautology. Even Doddridge supposes that considerable error has here crept into the text, and that a portion of these verses should be omitted in order to avoid the repetition. But there is no authority for omitting any portion of the text, and the passage is very much in accordance with the general style of the apostle John. The author of this Epistle was evidently accustomed to express his thoughts in a great variety of ways, having even the appearance of tautology, that the exact idea might be before his readers, and that his meaning might not be misapprehended. In order to show that the truths which he was uttering in this Epistle pertained to all, and to secure the interest of all in them, he addresses himself to different classes, and says that there were reasons existing in regard to each class why he wrote to them.

In the expressions "I write," and "I have written," he refers to what is found in the Epistle itself, and the statements in these verses are designed to be "reasons" why he brought these truths before their minds. The word here rendered "little children" (τεκνία teknia) is different from that used in 1 John 2:13, and rendered there "little children," (παιδία paidia;) but there can be little doubt that the same class of persons is intended. Some have indeed supposed that by the term "little children" here, as in 1 John 2:1, the apostle means to address all believers - speaking to them as a father; but it seems more appropriate to suppose that he means in these verses to divide the body of Christians whom he addressed into three classes - children, young men, and the aged, and to state particular reasons why he wrote to each. If the term (τεκνία teknia) "little children" here means the same as the term (παιδία paidia) "little children" in 1 John 2:13, then he addresses each of these classes twice in these two verses, giving each time somewhat varied reasons why he addressed them. That, by the term "little children" here, he means children literally, seems to me to be clear,

(1) because this is the usual meaning of the word, and should be understood to be the meaning here, unless there is something in the connection to show that it is used in a metaphorical sense;

(2) because it seems necessary to understand the other expressions, "young men," and "fathers," in a literal sense, as denoting those more advanced in life;

(3) because this would be quite in character for the apostle John. He had recorded, and would doubtless remember the solemn injunction of the Saviour to Peter John 21:15, to "feed his lambs," and the aged apostle could not but feel that what was worthy of so solemn an injunction from the Lord, was worthy of his attention and care as an apostle; and,

(4) because in that case, each class, fathers, young men, and children, would be twice addressed in these two verses; whereas if we understood this of Christians in general, then fathers and young men would be twice addressed, and children but once.

If this is so, it may be remarked:

(1) that there were probably quite young children in the church in the time of the apostle John, for the word would naturally convey that idea.

(2) the exact age cannot be indeed determined, but two things are clear:

(a) one is, that they were undoubtedly under 20 years of age, since they were younger than the "young men" - νεανίσκοι neaniskoi - a word usually applied to those who were in the vigor of life, from about the period of 20 up to 40 years, (Notes, 1 John 2:13), and this word would embrace all who were younger than that class; and,

(b) the other is, that the word itself would convey the idea that they were in quite early life, as the word "children" - fair translation of it - does now with us. It is not possible to determine, from the use of this word, precisely of what age the class here referred to was, but the word would imply that they were in quite early life. No rule is laid down in the New Testament as to the age in which children may be admitted to the communion. The whole subject is left to the wise discretion of the church, and is safely left there. Cases must vary so much that no rule could be laid down; and little or no evil has arisen from leaving the point undetermined in the Scriptures. It may be doubted, however, whether the church has not been rather in danger of erring by having it deferred too late, than by admitting children too early.

(3) such children, if worthy the attention of an aged apostle, should receive the particular notice of pastors now. Compare the notes at John 21:15. There are reasons in all cases now, as there were then, why this part of a congregation should receive the special attention of a minister of religion. The hopes of a church are in them. Their minds are susceptible to impression. The character of the piety in the next age will depend on their views of religion. All that there is of value in the church and the world will soon pass into their hands. The houses, farms, factories; the pulpits, and the chairs of professors in colleges; the seats of senators and the benches of judges; the great offices of state, and all the offices in the church; the interests of learning, and of benevolence and liberty, are all soon to be under their control. Everything valuable in this world will soon depend on their conduct and character; and who, therefore, can over-estimate the importance of training them up in just views of religion. As John "wrote" to this class, should not pastors "preach" to them?

Because - ὅτι hoti. This particle may be rendered "for," or "because;" and the meaning may be either that the fact that their sins were forgiven was a reason for writing to them, since it would be proper, on that ground, to exhort them to a holy life; or that he wrote to them because it was a privilege to address them as those who were forgiven, for he felt that, in speaking to them, he could address them as such. It seems to me that it is to be taken as a causal particle, and that the apostle, in the various specifications which he makes, designs to assign particular reasons why he wrote to each class, enjoining on them the duties of a holy life. Compare 1 John 2:21.

Your sins are forgiven you - That is, this is a reason why he wrote to them, and enjoined these things on them. The meaning seems to be, that the fact that our past sins are blotted out furnishes a strong reason why we should be holy. That reason is founded on the goodness of God in doing it, and on the obligation under which we are brought by the fact that God has had mercy on us. This is a consideration which children will feel as well as others; for there is nothing which will tend more to make a child obedient hereafter, than the fact that a parent freely forgives the past.

continued...

1 John 2:12 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Commandment, Old yet New
'I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning.... Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you.'--1 John ii. 7, 8. The simplest words may carry the deepest thoughts. Perhaps angels and little children speak very much alike. This letter, like all of John's writing, is pellucid in speech, profound in thought, clear and deep, like the abysses of mid-ocean. His terms are such as a child can understand; his sentences short
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Difference Between Walking by Sight, and Walking by Faith
"We walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor. 5:7. 1. How short is this description of real Christians! And yet how exceeding full! It comprehends, it sums up, the whole experience of those that are truly such, from the time they are born of God till they remove into Abraham's bosom. For, who are the we that are here spoken of? All that are true Christian believers. I say Christian, not Jewish, believers. All that are not only servants, but children, of God. All that have "the Spirit of adoption, crying
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Add to This, and Here is Cause to Cry Out More Piteously...
37. Add to this, (and here is cause to cry out more piteously,) that, if once we grant it to have been right for the saving of that sick man's life to tell him the lie, that his son was alive, then, by little and little and by minute degrees, the evil so grows upon us, and by slight accesses to such a heap of wicked lies does it, in its almost imperceptible encroachments, at last come, that no place can ever be any where found on which this huge mischief, by smallest additions rising into boundless
St. Augustine—Against Lying

(On the Mysteries. Iii. )
On Chrism. 1 John ii. 20-28 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, &c.....that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 1. Having been baptized into Christ, and put on Christ [2415] , ye have been made conformable to the Son of God; for God having foreordained us unto adoption as sons [2416] , made us to be conformed to the body of Christ's glory [2417] . Having therefore become partakers of Christ [2418] , ye are properly called Christs, and
St. Cyril of Jerusalem—Lectures of S. Cyril of Jerusalem

Cross References
Acts 13:38
"Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,

1 Corinthians 6:11
Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

1 John 2:1
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

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