1 John 5:4-21

  1. The apostle has already given a warning against the subtle attraction of the world (see 2:15-17). Now he reveals how the world may be conquered. Who does he say will overcome the world, and by what means? See verses 4-6; see also Note 1 below.
  2. A faith that can effect such great results must be well attested. What fivefold witness is given in verses 7-11, and what marvelous fact does the witness attest?
  3. Verses 13-20. There are five great certainties here concerning which John says ‘We know’. What are they? Are you building your life on this foundation?


  1. Verse 6. This verse probably refers to our Lord’s baptism and death, and not to John 18:34. He came not only to call us to repentance by the witness of his baptism, but also to wash away our sins with his blood. The two sacraments of the Christian church are the standing memorials of these things.
  2. Verses 9 and 10. God has spoken to man in Jesus with the utmost clarity and finality. He who believes has an inward witness: he who doesn’t believe makes God a liar.
  3. Verse 16. ‘A sin that leads to death’: i.e. , the deliberate, purposeful choice of darkness in preference to light.
  4. Verse 21. ‘Idols’: anyone professing to worship God, but who denies that Jesus is the Son of God, is worshipping a false God. ‘Be on your guard against all such idols’ is John’s final word.