2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have remained 1 with us. But 2 they went out from us 3 to demonstrate 4 that all of them do not belong to us. 5
1 John 2:27Context
2:27 Now as for you, the anointing 7 that you received from him 8 resides 9 in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But as his 10 anointing teaches you about all things, it is true and is not a lie. Just as 11 it 12 has taught you, you reside 13 in him.
1 tn See note on the translation of the Greek verb μένω (menw) in 2:6. Here μένω has been translated as “remained” since it is clear that a change of status or position is involved. The opponents departed from the author’s congregation(s) and showed by this departure that they never really belonged. Had they really belonged, they would have stayed (“remained”).
2 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
3 tn The phrase “they went out from us” is not repeated a second time in the Greek text, but constitutes an ellipsis. For clarity it is necessary to repeat it in the English translation.
4 tn Grk “in order that it may be demonstrated.” The passive infinitive has been translated as active and the purpose clause translated by an infinitive in keeping with contemporary English style.
5 sn All of them do not belong to us. The opponents chose to depart rather than remain in fellowship with the community to which the author writes and with which he associates himself. This demonstrates conclusively to the author that they never really belonged to that community at all (in spite of what they were claiming). 1 John 2:19 indicates that the departure was apparently the opponents’ own decision rather than being thrown out or excommunicated. But for John, if they had been genuine believers, they would have remained in fellowship. Now they have gone out into the world, where they belong (compare 1 John 4:5).
6 tc πάντες (pantes, nominative plural in “you all know”) is read by א B P Ψ sa. A C 049 33 1739 Ï latt sy bo have the accusative πάντα (panta, “you know all things”). The evidence favors the nominative reading, but it is not overwhelming. At the same time, the internal evidence supports the nominative for a variety of reasons. A scribe would naturally tend to give the transitive verb a direct object, especially because of the parallel in the first half of the verse. And intrinsically, the argument seems to be in balance with v. 19: The “all” who have gone out and are not “in the know” with the “all” who have an anointing and know that they are true believers. Further, as R. E. Brown points out, “the fact of their knowledge (pantes), not the extent of its object (panta), seems best to fit the reassurance” (Epistles of John [AB], 349). Brown further points out the connection with the new covenant in Jer 31 with this section of 1 John, esp. Jer 31:34 – “they all [pantes] shall know me.” Since 1 John alludes to Jer 31, without directly quoting it, this is all the more reason to see the nominative as original: Allusions are often overlooked by scribes (transcriptional evidence), but support the intrinsic evidence. Thus, the evidence is solidly (though not overwhelmingly) behind the nominative reading.
sn The statement you all know probably constitutes an indirect allusion to the provisions of the new covenant mentioned in Jer 31 (see especially Jer 31:34). See also R. E. Brown, The Epistles of John [AB], 349.
7 sn The anointing. The “anointing” (χρῖσμα, crisma) which believers have received refers to the indwelling Holy Spirit which has been given to them at their conversion.
8 sn The pronoun could refer to God or Jesus Christ, but a reference to Jesus Christ is more likely here.
10 sn The pronoun could refer (1) to God or (2) to Jesus Christ, but a reference to Jesus Christ is more likely here.
11 tn Grk “and is not a lie, and just as.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
12 tn Or “he.”
13 tn The verb may be read as either (1) indicative or (2) imperative mood. The same verb is found in the following verse, 2:28, but the address to the readers there seems clearly to indicate an imperative. On analogy some have called for an imperative here, but others have seen this as suggesting an indicative here, so that the author is not repeating himself. An indicative is slightly more likely here. Up to this point the thrust of the author has been reassurance rather than exhortation, and an indicative here (“…you reside in him”) balances the indicative in the first part of 2:27 (“the anointing which you received from him resides in you…”). With the following verse the author switches from reassurance (the readers at the time he is writing still ‘remain’; they have not yet adopted the teaching of the opponents) to exhortation (he is writing so that they will ‘remain’ and not succumb to the deception of the opponents).