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1 John 2:23

2:23 Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. The person who confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 

1 John 3:4


3:4 Everyone who practices sin 2  also practices lawlessness; 3  indeed, 4  sin is lawlessness.

1 tc The Byzantine text, almost alone, lacks the last eight words of this verse, “The person who confesses the Son has the Father also” (ὁ ὁμολογῶν τὸν υἱὸν καὶ τὸν πατέρα ἔχει, Jo Jomologwn ton Juion kai ton patera ecei). Although shorter readings are often preferred (since scribes would tend to add material rather than delete it), if an unintentional error is likely, shorter readings are generally considered secondary. This is a classic example of such an unintentional omission: The τὸν πατέρα ἔχει of the preceding clause occasioned the haplography, with the scribe’s eye skipping from one τὸν πατέρα ἔχει to the other. (Readings such as this also suggest that the Byzantine text may have originated [at least for 1 John and probably the general epistles] in a single archetype.)

2 sn Everyone who practices sin. In contrast to the πᾶς ὁ (pas Jo) + participle construction in 3:3 (everyone who has, πᾶς ὁ ἔχων [pas Jo ecwn]) which referred to believers, the use of everyone who practices sin (πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν [pas Jo poiwn thn Jamartian]) here refers to the author’s opponents. A similar use, referring to the opponents’ denial of the Son, is found in 2:23.

3 sn The Greek word ἀνομία (anomia) is often translated “iniquity” or “lawlessness” and in the LXX refers particularly to transgression of the law of Moses. In Jewish thought the ideas of sin (ἁμαρτία, Jamartia) and lawlessness or iniquity (ἀνομία) were often equated because sin involved a violation of the Mosaic law and hence lawlessness. For example, Ps 51:5 LXX sets the two in parallel, and Paul in Rom 4:7 (quoting Ps 32:1) does the same. For the author, it is not violation of the Mosaic law that results in lawlessness, since he is writing to Christians. The ‘law’ for the author is the law of love, as given by Jesus in the new commandment of John 13:34-35. This is the command to love one’s brother, a major theme of 1 John and the one specific sin in the entire letter which the opponents are charged with (3:17). Since the author has already labeled the opponents “antichrists” in 2:18, it may well be that he sees in their iniquitous behavior of withdrawing from the community and refusing to love the brethren a foreshadowing of the apocalyptic iniquity of the end times (cf. 2 Thess 2:3-8). In Matt 24:11-12 Jesus foretold that false prophets would arise in the end times (cf. 1 John 4:1), that lawlessness (anomia) would increase, and that “the love of many will grow cold” (which would certainly fit the author’s portrait of the opponents here).

4 tn Grk “and.”

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