Phrasing 1 John
1 John 3:11-4:6
The Foundation - God's Sovereign Work, The Structure - Passing the Test, The Pinnacle - Assurance.
Published December 4th, 2021
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CH 3:11-4:6
CH 3:11-4:6
1 John 3:11-4:6
For this is the message
that you have heard
from the beginning,
that we should love one another.
We should not be like Cain,
who was of the evil one
and murdered his brother.
And why did he murder him?
Because his own deeds were evil
and his brother’s righteous.
Do not be surprised, brothers,
that the world hates you.
We know
that we have passed
of death
into life,
because we love the brothers.
Whoever does not love
in death.
who hates his brother
Everyone ... is a murderer,
and you know
that no murderer has eternal life abiding
in him.
By this
we know love,
that he laid down his life
for us,
and we ought to lay down our lives
for the brothers.
But if anyone has the world’s goods
and sees his brother
in need,
yet [if he] closes his heart against him,
how does God’s love abide in him?
Little children, let us not love
in word
or talk
but in deed
and in truth.
We shall know
by this
that we are of the truth
and persuade our heart
before him;
whenever our heart knows against us,
(that) God is greater than our heart,
Explanation (Resumptive)
and he knows everything.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us,
we have confidence before God;
and whatever we ask
we receive
from him,
because we keep his commandments
and do
what pleases him.
And this is his commandment,
that we believe in the name
of his Son
Jesus Christ
and love one another,
just as he has commanded us.)
Whoever keeps his commandments
[then] [he] abides
in God,
and God [abides]
in him.
And by this
Means (1st mention)
we know that he abides
in us,
by the Spirit
Means (2nd mention)
whom he has given us.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit,
but test the spirits
to see whether they are
from God,
for many false prophets have gone out
into the world.
By this
you know the Spirit
of God:
every spirit ... is from God,
Explanation #1
that confesses
that Jesus Christ has come
in the flesh
and every spirit ... is not from God.
Explanation #2
that does not confess Jesus
This is the spirit
of the antichrist,
which you heard was coming
and now is
in the world already.
Little children, you are from God
and have overcome them,
who is
in you
for he ... is greater than he
who is
in the world.
They are from the world;
therefore they speak from the world,
and the world listens
to them.
We are from God.
Whoever knows God
to us;
whoever is not
from God
does not listen
to us.
By this
we know the Spirit
of truth
and the spirit
of error.
I like Result. It's better than inference in this case. Like maybe an inference might be grounds for casting off personal responsibility. "If it was because I of the evil one, then it's not my fault." But since murder was a result of being of the evil one, it shows that they are connected but not strictly causal (if he could blame the devil for it.). I also think this squares with the the question and answer below, because that question does address the causality of Cain's actions. Thus cause was his own evil deeds in the light of his brother's good deeds (and perhaps the inner turmoil that envy might produce in that situation). However, it is all still an inevitable result of him being "of the evil one."
*if I ever come back to this, my view (expressed below) fell apart as a result of the second οτι in v20. after class Ok, Andy gave arguments at the meeting that "this" referred to what followed, not what preceded. I'm going to go out on a limb and attempt to test that view and hypothesize that that "this" in v19 refers to what came before, and not after. Does it bear out? First, are there any indications that "this" refers to what comes before? NET - As far as the two ὅτι clauses in 3:20 are concerned, it is difficult to see how believers could know that they belong to the truth (19a) by means of either, since the first speaks of a situation where they are under self-condemnation (“if our heart condemns us…”) and the second ὅτι clause seems to give a further explanation related to the first (“that God is greater than our heart…”). Therefore it seems better to understand the phrase ἐν τούτῳ in 3:19 as referring to the preceding context, and this makes perfectly good sense, because 3:18 concludes with a reference to the righteous deeds with which believers are to love one another, which are produced by the truth. So the question is: by what means, or test, might we know that we are of the truth (19a)? It doesn't follow that "God's greatness and knowledge despite our self condemnation" is the means by which we know that we are of the truth. We are not really knowing if we are self condemned and trying to get to a place of knowing. On top of that a very similar phrase was given already in v14 showing the connection between "knowing that we have passed from death to life" (ie. knowing that we are of the truth), and a hoti clause that directly refers to loving the brethren as the grounds for that knowledge. It would follow very closely then, almost as the closing of that idea in this section, for "this" here to refer to the preceding acts of love done by the believer as the test for "knowing we are of the truth and reassuring our hearts." The point of the passage is that loving our brother gives us a sense of passing the test, and therefore builds security that we are really saved. So I think it follows nicely that "this" would refer to the love that came before. Also, is it always true that "en touto" when followed by 'hoti' refers to that which follows? According to the NET 1 John 4:17 has an "en touto" that refers to what precedes (although it concedes that it could refer to what follows as well). Other possibilities - 4:6 Plus the general point, that re-assurance comes from passing the tests given (by this (test) you know...therefore pass the test) is a general theme of the book. It is not common that the logic (by this you know where your at, because God is greater and knows, so just lean on that) is used. In other words, the language of God's sovereign acts are not necessarily directly connected to the idea of assurance throughout 1 John, but rather it is upon the passing of the tests that the weight of assurance falls, prooving that that sovereign grace has indeed been imparted to us. SO the passing of the test is directly connected with that assurance. Hence "en touto ginosko" throughout the book always referring to either love, or keeping commands, or righteousness, or imitation of Jesus, or confession, or something along those lines. To state the above point one more way. If you were to draw a line between God's sovereign work, and our assurance, then there would be a point in the middle entitled "pass the test." God's sovereign work is still the foundation, but the testing has to produce the assurance that we are really on that foundation. Thus, "en touto" would contextually be better connected with the above passing of the test of love, rather than directly connected with the sovereign work of God's "knowledge." The reason that God's knowledge is introduced here is not as a means of knowing we are of the truth, but rather as a resource to run to when we don't know, namely when we are failing the test.
If "en touto" refers to what preceded, then what is the since of this "hoti" clause? Is it grounding something or explaining something? For sure the believer is going to be convicted regarding this passage. I wonder if I'm saved? I'm not sure I have assurance like I thought. I believe that this hoti, as an explanation of what preceded regarding the reassurance of the heart, makes great sense. I see it like this, "by loving your brother you know that your of the truth, and find reassurance in your heart. Let me explain how reassurance works . If you are not loving your brother, then your feeling condemned, but being a believer, you need to trust in God's greatness over your own feelings of condemnation. But if you happen to be passing this test, then your heart won't condemn you, and you are obeying his command, loving your brother, and asking and receiving cause you are close with the Lord." The reason that idea is introduced here is not because it is how we know we are saved, but it is what we run to when we don't know , when we are failing the test. It would be awkward to say, for example, "by this you know your saved: when you don't know your saved, God knows you are...that's how you know." So hoti, as for, in an explanatory sense, works.
Having confidence before God and the kind of relationship where he is not afraid to give us anything we ask for goes hand in hand with keeping his commands.
This construction is used multiple times in the following verses. It is similar to what we saw in chapter 2 "of the world." And we didn't break it off. Otherwise it could be broken off and labeled source.
Although grammar doesn't indicate a ground relationship, the logical sense, and the parallelism with verse 5 give strong support of this label.
I'm kind of experimenting a bit, but this seems to be a bit of a bilateral. The reason for the murder (that his deeds were evil and his brothers righteous) seems to also be grounds for a second inference, namely that we should not be surprised when we face the same treatment. So Cain's motive is Ground for the murder, but is also Grounds for us not to be surprised. So this Grounds leads us both to the interpretation of Cain's heart, and an application for us. Am i allowed to do this?
rheteorical - therefore God's love does not abide in him.
From the class - This is really Explanation, because it is not the subject or object of the phrase.
Per class - "Out of" is a preposition, not a true genetive. The way to know is that it can be replaced by a single word preposition, ie. "from."
We can extract "we know love" and put it above, and then "by this" ends up more in order with normal subordination arrows.
Andy rocked this one, always refer back to his class. This but connects with the main phrase, and together are a negative of what came before. Try his next time we get a double conjunction.
kata ginosko - to know against.
Peter - you know I love you and you know all things.
Updated after class: The second οτι is kind of a repeat of the first, and giving the sense that the sentence was started, and then content was added after. Resumptive. So the two "thats" - that's non-negotiable. But now, does the second οτι give qualify "persuade" or does it refer back directly to "this" Is it "by this...that God is great greater than our heart..." Or is it "persuade our hearts...that God is greater than our hearts and knows all things." Why would we need to pursuade our hearts that God is greater and knows everything? I like the first, because the purpose of the whole content in v20 seems to be move toward knowledge of our true state, pursuade ourselves of something about us, not about God.
Now I see this whole passage like this: In his mention of love for brothers being the test for understanding, and in particular the kind of love that is extra-generous, he does take an aside here. However it is not totally disconnected from the theme. It's almost like he's running a race, and then sees somebody behind in the race, and slows down to go back and get them up to the speed of sanctification. "Oh brother, you are convicted of sin, and you have not loved your brother. then by this you'll persuade your heart, not by what you know against yourself, but what God knows about you, namely that you are justified by him." "But brother, if you are not in that place,
After class: The "then" piece of the conditional statement is "by this." So that it is saying, "if our heart is in a place of condemnation, then by this we will know that we are of the truth and persuade our hearts."
Ok so the whole sense is "even though you might have to know through persuading the heart through God's sovereign knowledge, yet you don't have to live that way, you can have confidence before God!
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.