The First Letter from John


 1:1 ¶ OUR subject is that which was in existence at the Beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our own eyes, that which we watched and touched—it treats of the Word who is the Life.

 2 That Life was actually made visible, and we have seen, and now bear our testimony to, and tell you of, that enduring Life, which was with the Father and was then made visible to us.

 3 It is, we repeat, of what we have seen and heard that we have to tell you, so that you may have fellowship with us. Yes, and fellowship with us means fellowship with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ!

 4 And the object that we have in writing to you is that nothing may be wanting to complete our happiness.


 1:5 ¶ This then is the Message that we have heard from Jesus Christ and now tell to you—‘God is Light, and Darkness has no place at all in him.’


 1:6 ¶ If we say that we have fellowship with him, while we still live on in the Dark, we are liars, and we are not acting up to the Truth.

 7 But if our lives are lived in the Light, as God himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, purifies us from every sin.

 8 If we say that there is nothing sinful in us, we are deceiving ourselves, and the Truth has no place in us;

 9 while if we confess our sins, God, just and true as he is, will forgive us our sins and purify us from all that is bad.

 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we are making God a liar, and his Message has no place in us.


 2:1 ¶ My Children, I am writing to you to keep you from sinning; but if any one should sin, we have Jesus Christ, who is righteous, to plead for us with the Father,

 2 and he is himself the atoning sacrifice for our sins—and not for ours only, but for those of the whole world besides.

 3 This is how we can tell whether we know him—by our laying his commands to heart.

 4 Those who say ‘I know Jesus,’ and yet do not lay his commands to heart, are liars, and the Truth has no place in them;

 5 while in all who lay his Message to heart the love of God has truly reached perfection. This is how we can tell whether we are in union with Christ—

 6 Those who declare that they are always in union with him are bound themselves to live as he lived.


 2:7 ¶ Dear friends, it is no new command that I am writing to you, but an old one, which you have had from the first. That old command is identical with the Message which you received.

 8 Yet, from another point of view, it is a new Command that I am writing to you—a thing which is manifest in Christ’s life and in your own; for the Darkness is passing away and the true Light already shining.


 2:9 ¶ Those who say that they are in the Light, and yet hate their Brothers, are in Darkness to this very hour.

 10 Those who love their Brothers are always in the Light, and there is nothing within them to cause them to stumble;

 11 while those who hate their Brothers are in Darkness, and are living in Darkness, and do not know where they are going, because the Darkness prevents their seeing.


 2:12I am writing, Children, to you, because your sins have been forgiven you for Christ’s sake.

 13 I am writing, Fathers, to you, because you know him who was at the Beginning. I am writing, Young Men, to you, because you have mastered the Evil One. I write, Children, to you, because you know the Father.

 14 I write, Fathers, to you, because you know him who was at the Beginning. I write, Young Men, to you, because you are strong, and God’s Message is always in your thoughts, and you have mastered the Evil One.

 15 Do not love the world or what the world has to offer. In any one who loves the world there is no love for the Father;

 16 for all that the world has to offer—the things that our bodies crave for, the things that our eyes crave for, and a pretentious life—has it source, not in the Father, but in the world.

 17 And the world with it cravings is passing away, but those who do God’s will live for ever.


 2:18My Children, these are the last days. You were told that an Anti-Christ was coming, and many Anti-Christ’s have arisen already. From this we may learn that these are the last days.

 19 Though they started from us, they did not really belong to us; for had they really belonged to us, they would have remained among us. They left us that it might be made clear that they do not, any of them, belong to us.

 20 You Christians, however, have been consecrated by the Holy One. You all know—

 21 But I need not say that, for I am not writing to you because you do not know the Truth, but because you do know it, and because nothing false can come from the Truth.


 2:22Who is a liar, if it is not the man that rejects Jesus as the Christ? I will tell you who the Anti-Christ is—the man who rejects the Father and the Son.

 23 All who reject the Son have not found the Father either, while those who acknowledge the Son have found the Father also.

 24 As for yourselves, let what you were told at the first be always in your thoughts. If it is, you yourselves will be always in union, not only with the Son, but with the Father.

 25 And what he himself promised us is this—enduring Life!


 2:26When I write to you in this way, I am thinking of those who are leading you astray.

 27 As for you, you still retain in your hearts the consecration which you received from the Christ. You are, therefore, in no need of any one to teach you; but since you are taught about everything by his consecration, and since that is a real consecration, and no sham, then remain always in union with him, as he taught you to do.

 28 And so, my Children, I repeat, remain always in union with Christ, so that, if he should appear, our confidence may not fail us, and we may not be ashamed to face him at his coming.

 29 If you know him to be righteous, you may also be sure that every one who does what is right has derived his Life from him.


 3:1 ¶ Think what love the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called ‘God’s Children’; as indeed we are. The reason why the world does not know what we are is because it has not learnt to know him.

 2 Dear friends, we are God’s Children now; what we shall be in the future has not yet been revealed. What we do know is that, if it should be revealed, we shall be like Christ; because we shall see him as he really is.

 3 And every one who has this hope in regard to Christ tries to make himself pure—pure as Christ is.


 3:4 ¶ Every one who acts sinfully is also acting in defiance of Law; sin is defiance of Law.

 5 You know that Christ appeared in order to take away our sins, and that in him Sin has no place.

 6 No one who remains always in union with him lives in sin; no one who lives in sin has ever really seen him or learnt to know him.

 7 My Children, do not let any one lead you astray; those who do what is right are righteous—righteous as Christ is.

 8 Those who act sinfully belong to the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the first. The object for which the Son of God appeared was that he might undo the Devil’s work.


 3:9 ¶ No one who has derived his Life from God acts sinfully, because God’s very nature is always within him; and he cannot live in sin, because he has derived his Life from God.

 10 It is by this that God’s Children are distinguished from the Children of the Devil—No one who fails to do right belongs to God, nor do they who fail to love their Brothers.

 11 For this is the Message which we were told at the first—‘Love one another.

 12 We must not be like Cain who belonged to the Evil One, and killed his brother. And why was it that he killed him? It was because his life was bad while his brother’s was good.


 3:13Do not wonder, Brothers, at the world’s hating you.

 14 We, for our part, know that we have passed out of Death into Life just because we love our Brothers. Any one who does not love remains in a state of Death.

 15 Every one who hates his Brother is really a murderer; and you know that no murderer has enduring Life within him.


 3:16We have learnt what love is from this—that Christ gave up his life on our behalf. Therefore we also ought to give up our lives on behalf of our Brothers.

 17 But if any one has worldly possessions, and yet looks on while his Brother is in want, and steels his heart against him, how can it be true of him that he has the love of God within him?

 18 My Children, do not let our love be mere words, or end in talk; let it be real and true.


 3:19In this way we shall find that we are on the side of the Truth; and so we shall satisfy ourselves in God’s sight,

 20 that if our conscience should find fault with us, still God is greater than our conscience and finds out everything.

 21 Dear friends, if our conscience should find no fault with us, then we approach God with confidence,

 22 and receive from him whatever we ask for, because we are laying his commands to heart, and are doing what is pleasing in his sight.

 23 His Command is this—that we should put our trust in his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, in accordance with the Command that he gave us.

 24 And those who lay his commands to heart continue in union with Christ, and Christ with them. And we may assure ourselves that Christ continues in union with us by this—from our possession of the Spirit which he gave us.


 4:1 ¶ Dear friends, do not trust every inspiration, but test each inspiration, to see whether it proceeds from God; because many pretended Prophets have gone out into the world.


 4:2 ¶ Here is the way in which to recognize the inspiration of God—All inspiration that acknowledges Jesus Christ, as having come with our human nature, is from God;

 3 while all inspiration that will not acknowledge Jesus is not inspiration from God. It is the inspiration of the Anti-Christ; you have heard that it was to come, and it is now already in the world.


 4:4 ¶ You, my Children, belong to God, and you have successfully resisted such men as these, because he who inspires your life is greater than he who inspires that of the world.

 5 Those men belong to the world; and therefore they speak as the world speaks, and the world listens to them.

 6 We, however, belong to God. All who learn to know God listen to us, and those who do not belong to God do not listen to us. By that we may distinguish the inspiration that leads to the Truth from the inspiration that leads to Error.


 4:7 ¶ Dear friends, let us love one another, because Love comes from God; and all who love have derived their Life from God and are learning to know him.

 8 Those who do not love have not learnt to know God; for God is Love.

 9 God’s love was revealed among us by his sending his only Son into the world, that we might find Life through him.

 10 The love is seen in this—not in our having loved God, but in his loving us and sending his Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins.


 4:11Dear friends, since God loved us like this, we, surely, ought to love one another.

 12 No human eyes have ever seen God; yet if we love one another, God is living in union with us, and his love attains its perfection in us.

 13 We may know that we are living in union with him, and he with us, by this—by his having given us some measure of his Spirit.

 14 Further, our eyes have seen—and we are testifying to the fact—that the Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

 15 Whoever acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Son of God—God is living in union with that man, and he with God.

 16a Further still, we have learnt to know, and have accepted as a fact, the love with which God regards us.


 4:16b ¶ God is Love; and all who are living in a spirit of love are living in union with God, and God in them.

 17 It is in this that the perfection which love has attained with us is seen—so that we may have confidence on the Day of Judgement—in our being, even in this world, what Christ himself is.

 18 There is no fear in love. On the contrary, love, when perfect, drives out fear, for fear implies punishment, and those who feel fear have not attained to perfect love.

 19 We love, because God first loved us.

 20 If a man says that he loves God, and yet hates his Brother, he is a liar; for if a man does not love his Brother whom he has seen, he cannot possibly love God whom he has not seen.

 21 Indeed, we have this Command from God—‘Those who love God must also love their Brothers.’


 5:1 ¶ Every one who believes Jesus to be the Christ has God for his Father; and every one who loves the Father loves his Children also.

 2 We may know that we love God’s Children when we love God and carry out his commands.

 3 For to love God is to lay his commands to heart; and indeed his commands are not burdensome,

 4 because all that has derived its Life from God masters the world. This is the power that has mastered the world—our faith!

 5 Who are they that master the world except those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God?


 5:6 ¶ He it is whose Coming was attested by means of Water and Blood—Jesus Christ himself; not by Water only, but by Water and by Blood.

 7 The Spirit also bears testimony, and the Spirit is Truth itself.

 8 There is a three-fold testimony—that of the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood—and these three are at one.

 9 We accept the testimony of men, but God’s testimony is stronger still. For it is this—that he has already borne his testimony about his Son.

 10 Those who believe in the Son of God have that testimony within themselves. Those who do not believe God have made him a liar, by refusing to believe in that testimony which God has borne about his Son.

 11 That testimony consists in the fact that God gave us enduring Life, and that this Life is to be found in his Son.

 12 Those who find the Son find Life, while those who fail to find the Son of God fail also to find Life.


 5:13I am writing all this to you, that you may know that you have found enduring Life—all of you, that is, who believe in the Son of God.

 14 And this is the confidence with which we approach him, that whenever we ask anything that is in accordance with his will, he is listening to us.

 15 Then, if we know that he is listening to us—whatever we ask—we know that we have gained the requests which we have made to him.

 16 If any one sees his Brother committing some sin that is not a deadly sin, he will pray for him, and so will be the means of giving him Life—I am speaking only of those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin; in that case I do not say that a man should pray.

 17 Every wrong action is a sin, and there is sin that is not deadly.


 5:18We know that no one who has derived his Life from God lives in sin. On the contrary, those who have derived their Life from God keep the thought of God in his minds, and then the Evil One does not touch them.

 19 We know that we belong to God, while all the world is under the influence of the Evil One.

 20 We know, too, that the Son of God has come among us, and has given us discernment to recognize the True God; and we are in union with the True God by our union with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the True God and he is enduring Life.

 21 My Children, guard yourselves against false ideas of God.