1 John 5:16
Parallel Verses
New International Version
If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.

King James Bible
If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

Darby Bible Translation
If any one see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life, for those that do not sin unto death. There is a sin to death: I do not say of that that he should make a request.

World English Bible
If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life for those who sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death. I don't say that he should make a request concerning this.

Young's Literal Translation
If any one may see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give to him life to those sinning not unto death; there is sin to death, not concerning it do I speak that he may beseech;

1 John 5:16 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

A sin which is not unto death - This is an extremely difficult passage, and has been variously interpreted. What is the sin not unto death, for which we should ask, and life shall be given to him that commits it? And what is the sin unto death, for which we should not pray?

I shall note three of the chief opinions on this subject: -

1. It is supposed that there is here an allusion to a distinction in the Jewish law, where there was חטאה למיתה chattaah lemithah, "a sin unto death;" and חטאה לא למיתה chattaah lo lemithah, "a sin not unto death;" that is,

1. A sin, or transgression, to which the law had assigned the punishment of death; such as idolatry, incest, blasphemy, breach of the Sabbath, and the like. And

2. A sin not unto death, i.e. transgressions of ignorance, inadvertence, etc., and such is, in their own nature, appear to be comparatively light and trivial. That such distinctions did exist in the Jewish synagogue both Schoettgen and Carpzovius have proved.

2. By the sin not unto death, for which intercession might be made, and unto death, for which prayer might not be made, we are to understand transgressions of the civil law of a particular place, some of which must be punished with death, according to the statutes, the crime admitting of no pardon: others might be punished with death, but the magistrate had the power of commuting the punishments, i.e. of changing death into banishment, etc., for reasons that might appear to him satisfactory, or at the intercession of powerful friends. To intercede in the former case would be useless, because the law would not relax, therefore they need not pray for it; but intercession in the latter case might be prevalent, therefore they might pray; and if they did not, the person might suffer the punishment of death. This opinion, which has been advanced by Rosenmuller, intimates that men should feel for each other's distresses, and use their influence in behalf of the wretched, nor ever abandon the unfortunate but where the case is utterly hopeless.

3. The sin unto death means a case of transgression, particularly of grievous backsliding from the life and power of godliness, which God determines to punish with temporal death, while at the same time he extends mercy to the penitent soul. The disobedient prophet, 1 Kings 13:1-32, is, on this interpretation, a case in point: many others occur in the history of the Church, and of every religious community. The sin not unto death is any sin which God does not choose thus to punish. This view of the subject is that taken by the late Rev. J. Wesley, in a sermon entitled, A Call to Backsliders. - Works, vol ii. page 239.

I do not think the passage has any thing to do with what is termed the sin against the Holy Ghost; much less with the popish doctrine of purgatory; nor with sins committed before and after baptism, the former pardonable, the latter unpardonable, according to some of the fathers. Either of the last opinions (viz., 2 and 3) make a good sense; and the first (1) is not unlikely: the apostle may allude to some maxim or custom in the Jewish Church which is not now distinctly known. However, this we know, that any penitent may find mercy through Christ Jesus; for through him every kind of sin may be forgiven to man, except the sin against the Holy Ghost; which I have proved no man can now commit. See the note on Matthew 12:31, Matthew 12:39 (note).

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

he shall ask.

Genesis 20:7,17 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for you, and you shall live: and if you restore her not...

Exodus 32:10-14,31,32 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of you a great nation...

Exodus 34:9 And he said, If now I have found grace in your sight, O LORD, let my LORD, I pray you, go among us; for it is a stiff necked people...

Numbers 12:13 And Moses cried to the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech you.

Numbers 14:11-21 And the LORD said to Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me...

Deuteronomy 9:18-20 And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water...

2 Chronicles 30:18-20 For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves...

Job 42:7-9 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against you...

Psalm 106:23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath...

Ezekiel 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land...

Amos 7:1-3 Thus has the Lord GOD showed to me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and...

James 5:14,15 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him...

There.

Numbers 15:30 But the soul that does ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproaches the LORD...

Numbers 16:26-32 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs...

1 Samuel 2:25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall entreat for him?...

Jeremiah 15:1,2 Then said the LORD to me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people...

Matthew 12:31,32 Why I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men...

Mark 3:28-30 Truly I say to you, All sins shall be forgiven to the sons of men, and blasphemies with which soever they shall blaspheme...

Luke 12:10 And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him...

2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:

Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift...

Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins...

2 Peter 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...

I do not.

Jeremiah 7:16 Therefore pray not you for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me...

Jeremiah 11:14 Therefore pray not you for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them...

Jeremiah 14:11 Then said the LORD to me, Pray not for this people for their good.

Jeremiah 18:18-21 Then said they, Come and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise...

John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which you have given me; for they are yours.

Library
The World Our Enemy.
"We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness."--1 John v. 19. Few words are of more frequent occurrence in the language of religion than "the world;" Holy Scripture makes continual mention of it, in the way of censure and caution; in the Service for Baptism it is described as one of three great enemies of our souls, and in the ordinary writings and conversation of Christians, I need hardly say, mention is made of it continually. Yet most of us, it would appear, have very
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

Spiritual Idolatry
"Little children, keep yourselves from idols." 1 John 5:21. 1. There are two words that occur several times in this Epistle, -- paidia and teknia, both of which our translators render by the same expression, little children. But their meaning is very different. The former is very properly rendered little children; for it means, babes in Christ, those that have lately tasted of his love, and are, as yet, weak and unestablished therein. The latter might with more propriety be rendered, beloved children;
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Blessing of Full Assurance
We do not wonder that certain men do not receive the epistles, for they were not written to them. Why should they cavil at words which are addressed to men of another sort from themselves? Yet we do not marvel, for we knew it would be so. Here is a will, and you begin to read it; but you do not find it interesting: it is full of words and terms which you do not take the trouble to understand, because they have no relation to yourself; but should you, in reading that will, come upon a clause in which
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 34: 1888

1 John 5:4-5. victory
[8] "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God I" 1 John 5:4-5. IT ought to be our practice, if we have any religion, to examine the state of our souls from time to time, and to find out whether we are "right in the sight of God" (Acts 8:21). Are we true Christians? Are we likely to go to heaven when we die? Are we born again,--born of
John Charles Ryle—The Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times

Cross References
Numbers 15:30
"'But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or foreigner, blasphemes the LORD and must be cut off from the people of Israel.

1 Samuel 12:19
The people all said to Samuel, "Pray to the LORD your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king."

Job 42:8
So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has."

Jeremiah 7:16
"So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.

Jeremiah 11:14
"Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.

Jeremiah 14:11
Then the LORD said to me, "Do not pray for the well-being of this people.

Hebrews 6:4
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,

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