Lectionary Year B
May 28, 2000
1 John 5:1-6
Step II: Disposition
(JFC) A. GENRE
Again, as seems customary with this document, we have so many different subjects
addressed, that it appears to be some kind of condensation of a fuller and more extensive record. This time, however, in contrast to previous passages, we get a sense that these subjects more readily relate to one another. Possibly, are we gaining some familiarity with Johannine epistolary style of literature? Maybe these verses are a tract, abbreviated for elementary discussion that might prompt seeking and finding and studying more detailed essays/treatises/statements on these/this topic/s.
(JFC) B. PERSONAL INTERACTION
The pericope begins identifying those who believe that Christ is God's Son and it
names them as God's Children. Then with only a comma, at most, it moves into claiming that those who love God love God's child(ren). Then, as if anyone would question it, it tells that we can know children-lovers by their loving God and obeying Divine commandments. Next, it sort of addresses the subject of God's love by stating that it involves obeying the commandments, which it calls, "not burdensome". Then, the passage rather abruptly changes the subject, or, does it expand the subject here? It addresses "defeating the world", an obvious allusion to "evil". Thereafter, it professes that "faith" is the element that enables the defeating. It concludes by referring to Jesus and the Spirit who confirms these assertions and is (worthy of believing, since the Spirit is) "the truth". So, the begotten by God overcome the world and faith overcomes the world, therefore, begotten-ness = faith? I think that logic is too simple. Then, does the text flow from faith's moving to love which goes to obedience which allows resolving, at least, conflict in/with the world and faith lets us approach victory over that world? We might be getting closer to it, but still these logical equations might just be too neat for Scripture's mysteries. We'll see.
- Why do we move from singular "child" to plural "children" as we go from verse one
to verse two?
- Who is the subject of the first sentence in verse 3, God or children?
- What has conquering the world got to do with love, obeying God's commandments and/or loving God?
- This element of victory over/defeating the world, is the first and/or only time this Epistle mentions it?
- Did some in the first two centuries believe Jesus came via water and not blood?
- Did He come and/or get revealed by both water, blood and the Spirit? If so, the Spirit might belong as a textual emendation in verse 6.
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