An Expositional Study of 1 John Part 10: An Exposition of 1 John 5:13-21 -- By: D. Edmond Hiebert

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 147:587 (Jul 1990)
Article: An Expositional Study of 1 John Part 10: An Exposition of 1 John 5:13-21
Author: D. Edmond Hiebert

An Expositional Study of 1 John
Part 10:
An Exposition of 1 John 5:13-21

D. Edmond Hiebert

Professor Emeritus of New Testament
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.
We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols (1 John 5:13–21).

The first four verses of 1 John formed the prologue to the epistle, setting forth the foundational realities of the gospel. These nine concluding verses appropriately form an epilogue to the epistle, restating and supplementing the truths that have been set forth. In verse 13 John declared that his basic purpose in writing was to assure his readers that they have eternal life through faith in the Son of God. In verses 14–17 John enlarged on the results of that assurance in the believer’s practice of prayer and intercession. In verses 18–20 he summed up the thrust of his apostolic message in three ringing certainties, and in verse 21 he abruptly closed the epistle with an urgent call to the readers to guard themselves from idols.

The Purpose to Assure Believers of Eternal Life

Verse 13 indicates that the epistle was drawing to a close. John’s stated purpose in writing was “that you may know that you have eternal life.” The stated purpose of the Fourth Gospel, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing y...

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