Week 35: Sept 30, 2012
i. How to test (4:2-3)
2 – This is how you can recognize God’s Spirit: Every spirit who acknowledges that Jesus the Messiah has become human—and remains so—is from God.
- Having said that we should test, John now gives us a means for testing.
Jesus the Messiah has become human—and remains so
- The Greek is somewhat ambiguous here. This could be translated as Has become (NIV) or is come (KJV) The ISV translation encompasses both views. Those who left seem to have drawn a distinction between physical and spiritual and as such they would have denied this. So what John has done is go straight to the core issue: the nature and person of Jesus.
- This is also the dividing line when we look at those who attend other churches. What do they say about Jesus? We may disagree on a lot of side issues, but the key question is what do they say about Jesus.
3 – But every spirit who does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist. You have heard that he is coming, and now he is already in the world.
- This is so important that John expresses it both in a positive and a negative fashion as a way of emphasizing it.
not acknowledge Jesus
- There is a textual issue here as some manuscripts have Jesus is come in the flesh or similar variations. These are almost certainly later addition by scribes who were attempting to make this verse match verse the wording in verse 2.
- Note that the focus here on Jesus (as opposed to saying that we should acknowledge the Messiah) and thus it serves as a perfect summary. First, it focuses the issue on the key point denied by those who left. Second by just mentioning Jesus, and it serves as a generalization, i.e., the nature and person of Jesus.
spirit of the antichrist
- Again this is a term that has taken on a lot of meaning since the first century. John usage here is not focused on the end times, but on those who claim to be followers of Christ, when in reality they are against or opposed to Christ; i.e., antichrists. ( See comments on 2:18)
If you have question or comments about the class, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to put “Epistles of John” in the header.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible: International Standard Version®. Copyright © 1996-2008 by The ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission. www.isv.org
Note: Some places I have modify the text from the ISV version. Passages that I have modified have been noted with and * by the verse number and the ISV text is included in a footnote.
 4:2 Or Christ
 4:2 Or Christ