1 John 2:12-13

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by annsni, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. annsni

    annsni
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    Hubby is preaching through 1 John and he is doing some studying on these verses and is seeing some differing opinions on what is said here. What are your thoughts? I'd especially like to ask those with a working knowledge of Greek to be able to help out too. He's got four questions:

    1. Are these verses speaking of two or three groups of people? Some say "little children" is all believers (based on the usage elsewhere in this letter and John's gospel) and then "fathers" and "young men" are two ages - older men and young men. Or is it speaking of "children" as one of three generational ages.

    2. There is a different Greek word translated as "children" in vs. 12 than there is in verse 13. What is the significance of that? Is it a stylistic or semantic change?

    3. Some use vs. 13 to indicate three levels of Christian maturity whereas others say that is a stretch. What do you think?

    4. Why is "write" translated with the present tense in verse 12 and with the aorist tense in vs. 13.

    Thanks so much!!
     
  2. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    I believe that John is writing to Jewish Christians for at least a couple of reasons. First, he says that the "new" commandment is not new to them but an "old" commandment. That would be untrue if they were Gentiles. Second, Galatians 2:9 lists John among those whose ministry will be among the "circumcision.

    Vincent is probably correct when he writes:

    I HAVE WRITTEN (εγραθα). Or, strictly, I wrote. Compare I write (vv. 12, 13), and note the change of tense. The past tense, I wrote, does not refer to some previous writing, as the Gospel, but, like the present, to this Epistle. The present, I writ e, refers to the immediate act of writing: the aorist is the epistolary aorist, by which the writer places himself at the reader’s stand-point, regarding the writing as past. see on "1Pe 5:12". I write, therefore, refers to the Apostle’s immediate act of writing; I have written, or I wrote, to the reader’s act of reading the completed writing.

    LITTLE CHILDREN (παιδια). Compare τεκνια little children (ver. 1), which emphasizes the idea of kinship, while this word emphasizes the idea of subordination and consequent discipline. Hence it is the more appropriate word when spoken from the stand-point of authority rather than of affection.



    It would seem that teknia is the common address for affectionate relationship to them as an older father, whereas "paidia" is used in texts where training of a child, submission is being required. When used with "father" and "young man" it would suggest a stage of spiritual growth where they need guidance and nuture as newly born Christians by stronger (young men) and wiser (fathers) mature Christians.
     
  3. PreachTony

    PreachTony
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    I'm afraid I can't be much help when it comes to the Greek, but I can offer the point of view of a small-church hardshell Baptist from the south...

    I would actually consider verse 14 a vital part of this passage, hence it is added in bold above.

    I've studied over this in Sunday School, and I've read several commentaries on this. I've seen explanations of John's "three ages of man" in comparison to the Trinity. I've seen allusion to those who wanted to stone the woman taken in adultery (Jesus calls them out and they leave from the eldest tot he youngest). I've seen allusions to Joel's vision of the pouring out of the Spirit.

    If we go simply by order of reference, "little children" is given priority placement over "fathers" and "young men." I've always taken this to mean that "little children" was John's way to addressing all believers. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus is recorded as saying "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." John, by addressing his readers as "little children" is equating them to the believers that make up the kingdom of heaven.

    He then details how the Fathers knew God, in contrast to Paul's writing in Romans 1 about how men knew God, but refused to recognize Him as God, John crafts a passage that reveals that some men, the Fathers, did know and recognize God. The "young men" had overcome the wicked one. It's almost a type of analogy of our lives, in which our younger days are when we can most actively withstand the war brought against us by the wicked one.

    John then doubles down on his wording, saying that the little children have known the Father (note, not the Fathers), and the fathers have known God. To this, John adds "I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one." Verses 12-13a seem, to me, to show a group of people growing in faith while verses 13b-14 show a group of people established and matured in the faith. The first time through, John says the young men have withstood the wicked one. The second time through, he writes that because of their strength (spiritual) and because the Word of God n ow abides in them, they can overcome the wicked one.
     
  4. annsni

    annsni
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    Thanks for the input! I'm bumping this for last minute thoughts before he prints his message. :)
     
  5. Van

    Van
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    I believe two subgroups of born anew believers. The word translated "little" may not mean "very young" but rather small as in broken pieces. Thus those who have humbled themselves before the Lord are in view, whether old or young in physical years.
    Yes, two different Greek words are both translated as little children. G5040 seems to refer to anyone of any age who has been born anew. G3813 seems to refer to recently born boys and girls.
    Yes, I agree, we start out being born anew like little boys and girls, having yet to grow in maturity. Then, as we grow, following the leading of the Spirit and not the worldly desires, we overcome the worthlessness inherited from our worldly fathers. And when we have become sufficiently conformed to the image of Christ, we lead others to Christ, becoming "fathers" when those we have influenced are born anew.
    I do not know, my online interlinear presents both words as identical.
     

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