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1 John 3:1


3:1 (See what sort of love the Father has given to us: that 1  we should be called God’s children – and indeed 2  we are! 3  For this reason 4  the world does not know us: because it did not know him. 5 

1 John 3:16

3:16 We have come to know love by this: 6  that Jesus 7  laid down 8  his life for us; thus we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians.

1 tn The ἵνα (Jina) clause is best understood (1) as epexegetical (or explanatory), clarifying the love (ἀγάπην, agaphn) that the Father has given to believers. Although it is possible (2) to regard the ἵνα as indicating result, the use of ποταπήν (potaphn, “what sort of”) to modify ἀγάπην suggests that the idea of “love” will be qualified further in the following context, and this qualification is provided by the epexegetical ἵνα clause.

2 tn “Indeed” is not in the Greek text but is supplied to indicate emphasis.

3 tc The phrase καὶ ἐσμεν (kai esmen, “and we are”) is omitted in 049 69 Ï. There seems to be no theological reason to omit the words. This has all the earmarks of a classic case of homoioteleuton, for the preceding word (κληθῶμεν, klhqwmen, “we should be called”) ends in -μεν (-men).

tn The indicative mood indicates that the verb ἐσμέν (esmen) at the end of 3:1a is not governed by the ἵνα (Jina) and does not belong with the ἵνα clause, since this would have required a subjunctive. If the verb ἐσμέν were subjunctive, the force of the clause would be “that we should be called children of God, and be (children of God).” With ἐσμέν as indicative, the clause reads “that we should be called children of God, and indeed we are (children of God).”

4 tn Lexically it is clear that this phrase indicates reason, but what is not clear is whether (1) τοῦτο (touto) refers to what follows, (2) to what precedes, or (3) to both (as with the ἐν τοῦτο [en touto] phrases throughout 1 John). Διὰ τοῦτο (dia touto) occurs 15 times in the Gospel of John, and a pattern emerges which is so consistent that it appears to be the key to the usage here. Six times in the Gospel of John (5:16, 18; 8:47; 10:17; 12:18, 39) the phrase refers to what follows, and in each of these instances an epexegetical ὅτι (Joti) clause follows. Nine times in John (1:31, 6:65, 7:21-22, 9:23, 12:27, 13:11, 15:19, 16:15, 19:11) the phrase refers to what precedes, and in none of these instances is it followed by a ὅτι clause. The phrase διὰ τοῦτο is used three times in the Johannine Epistles. In two of these (1 John 4:5, 3 John 10) there is no ὅτι clause following, and so the διὰ τοῦτο should refer to preceding material. Here in 3:1 there is an epexegetical ὅτι clause following, so the διὰ τοῦτο should (unless it is the only exception in the Gospel of John and the Johannine Epistles) refer to what follows, that is, to the ὅτι clause itself. This is indicated by the colon in the translation.

5 sn The pronoun him is a clear reference to Jesus Christ (compare John 1:10).

6 tn Here the phrase ἐν τούτῳ (en toutw) is followed by a ὅτι (Joti) clause which is epexegetical (or explanatory), and thus ἐν τούτῳ refers to what follows.

7 tn Grk “that one.” Context indicates a reference to Jesus. The mention of the sacrificial death in 3:16 (ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἔθηκεν, Juper hmwn thn yuchn autou eqhken) points to Jesus as the referent here. (This provides further confirmation that ἐκεῖνος [ekeinos] in 2:6; 3:3, 5, and 7 refers to Jesus.)

8 sn References to the fact that Jesus laid down his life using the verb τίθημι (tiqhmi) are unique to the Gospel of John (10:11, 15, 17, 18; 13:37, 38; 15:13) and 1 John (only here). From John’s perspective Jesus’ act in giving up his life sacrificially was a voluntary one; Jesus was always completely in control of the situation surrounding his arrest, trials, and crucifixion (see John 10:18). There is a parallel with 1 John 2:6 – there, as here, the life of Jesus (during his earthly ministry) becomes the example for believers to follow. This in turn underscores the importance of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry (especially his sacrificial death on the cross), a point of contention between the author and his opponents in 1 John. See 1 John 4:10 for a further parallel.

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