1 John 2:12 - 14
Here we pick up with John sort of giving his take on the churches state of spiritual growth.
A healthy human being will grow and the same applies to everything in life. John here will be describing various stages of a believers growth. Little children, adolescent children, young men, and Fathers. He uses 4 different words to describe each one.
The Apostle Paul uses an additional stage to describe a new born baby in
1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
The Greek word translated as “babes” is nēpios. Literally it is an infant, but metaphorically it means a simple-minded person, an immature Christian:—babe, child (+ -ish).
Now back to our text John speaks of the stage after new born.
I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
The word little children John uses is teknion. He uses this term a lot, 8 times. It means a little child literally, but is used as a metaphor in the NT as a term of kindly address by teachers to their disciples.
I write to you - is graphō in Greek. It is not hard to see where some of our related English words come from, i.e. graphic, graph. The word is used in the PAI meaning continuation, John is continuing to write.
John then names the reason he writes to these young believers; Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
The word forgiven is aphiēmi. It is used in a number of different ways and reviewing them will give us a greater appreciation of our being forgiven and offering forgiveness.
to send away - The idea of the Scape Goat
to bid going away or depart
of a husband divorcing his wife
to send forth, yield up, to expire
to let go, let alone, let be - makes no record of wrongs
to leave, not to discuss now, (a topic)
to omit, neglect
to let go, give up a debt, forgive, to remit - Our dept is paid
to give up, keep no longer -
to permit, allow, not to hinder, to give up a thing to a person
to leave, go away from one in order to go to another place
in order to go to another place
to depart from any one
to depart from one and leave him to himself so that all mutual claims are abandoned
to desert wrongfully
to go away leaving something behind
to leave one by not taking him as a companion
to leave on dying, leave behind one
to leave so that what is left may remain, leave remaining
abandon, leave destitute
All this forgiveness is because of or for His name’s sake. It’s all about Jesus and what He has done not anything we have done to earn it.
One last thought, Growth and Forgiveness are connected. Our growth is stunted if we refuse to forgive. , , - 24
I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father.
John now uses the last of the five stages; fathers. This is the word
patēr. Its is defined as a generator or male ancestor.
in the NT used as a term of kindly address by teachers to their disciples
Figuratively it means the originator and transmitter of anything, the authors of a family or society of persons animated by the same spirit as himself.
the authors of a family or society of persons animated by the same spirit as himself
One who has infused his own spirit into others, who actuates and governs their minds
One who stands in a father's place and looks after another in a paternal way.
What would define a spiritual father to you? A maturity, one who has lived the Christian as an example for many years.
I like Johns statement about the fathers - Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
known is the word ginōskō, it means to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel. Experiential knowledge.
It is in the Perfect AI meaning a completed act that’s effect continues.
Paul said I know Him in whom I have believed. A Father has no doubts about knowing God.
who is from the beginning - 1. beginning, origin; a. used absolutely, of the beginning of all things.
This another proof of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Now he mentions the 4th stage in the progression, young men.
neaniskos is the Greek word for young men. Meaning: a youth (under forty):—young man.
John notes the they have overcome the evil one.
Overcome is nikaō. The word where the brand name Nike comes.
It means to conquer, to carry off the victory, come off victorious. Again this is in he Perfect tense. A completed act.
to carry off the victory, come off victorious
Because you have overcome the wicked one: They are engaged in battle with the wicked one. We don’t send our little children out to war, and we don’t send our old men to the front lines. The greatest effort, the greatest cost, and the greatest strength are expected of the young me.
I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.
Here John uses a different term for Children, in verses 12 and 13 (teknia and paidia, respectively). Teknia has more of an emphasis on a child’s relationship of dependence on a parent, while paidia has more of an emphasis on a child’s immaturity and need for instruction.
I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
Here John is repeating his former thoughts for emphasis. To the Fathers He uses a different tense with I have written, to Aorist tense, as if to slams his fist down and say, because you know Him . It’s all about knowing Him, a real relationship. Not just knowing about Him.
He continues the same emphasis to the Young Men. John describes them as strong - is-khoo-ros'; from G2479; forcible (literally or figuratively):—boisterorus, mighty(-ier), powerful, strong(-er, man), valiant.
Finally, John speaks to the source of their strength, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
That is, the Logos, The Word of God, continuously abides or lives in you, and thus you have had victory the evil one.