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1 John 2:20-21

Context

2:20 Nevertheless you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 1  2:21 I have not written to you that 2  you do not know the truth, but that 3  you do know it, and that 4  no lie is of the truth.

1 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.

2 tn The interpretation of the three ὅτι clauses in v. 21 is very difficult: (1) All three instances of ὅτι (Joti) may be causal (so NASB, NIV, NEB). (2) The first two may be causal while the third indicates content (declarative or recitative ὅτι, so KJV, RSV, TEV, NRSV). (3) However, it is best to take all three instances as indicating content because this allows all three to be subordinate to the verb ἔγραψα (egraya) as compound direct objects. The author writes to reassure his readers (a) that they do indeed know the truth (first two uses of ὅτι) and (b) that no lie is of the truth (third use).

3 tn See the note on the first occurrence of “that” in v. 21.

4 tn See the note on the first occurrence of “that” in v. 21.



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