THE FIRST CATHOLIC EPISTLE
I. WHAT was from the beginning; what we have heard; what we have seen with our eyes; what we have viewed atten-
2 lively, and our hands have handled—(with respect also to the word of the life even the life was manifested, and we have seen, and testify, and announce to you, that eternal life which
3 was with the Father, and With been clearly manifested to us) that which we have seen and heard, we announce to you, that
4 you also may have communion with us. Now this communion of ours is with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ.
5 And we write these things to you that your joy may be complete. This indeed is the message which we have heard from him, and announce to you, That God is light and in him there
6 is no darkness at all. If we say that we have communion with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practise
7 truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have communion with one another, and the blood of Jesus
8 Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have
9 not sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our s'ms, He is faithful, and just to forgive us our
10 sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a false speaker, and his word is not in us.
II. My children I write these things to you that you may not sin. But if any one sin, we have an advocate with the Fa-
2 ther Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is an atonement for our sins, and not for ours only, but for those of the whole
3 world. Now by this we know that we have known him, if we
4 keep his comma.nlments. He who saith I know him, and dotli not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in 5 him. But whosoever keepeth his word, in him indeed the G love o£ God is perfected. By this we know that we are in
him—he who saith he abideth in him, ought to walk as ho
7 Brethren, I am not writing to you a new commandment^ but an old commandment, which you had from the begin- ning. This old commandment is the word which you heard
8 from the beginning. Again I write to you a new commandment, a thing which is true in him, and in you. Because the
9 darkness is past, and the light—the true light now shineth, he who saith that he is in the light, and hateth his brother,
10 is still in darkness. He who loveth his brother, abideth
11 in the light, and in it there is no stumbling block. But he who hateth his brother is in the darkness, and walketh in the darkness, and knoweth not whither he is going, because the darkness hath blinded his eyes.
12 I write to you, children, because your sins are forgiven
13 you on account of his name. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him, who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you have known the
14 Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of
15 God abideth in you, and you have overcome the evil one. Love not the world nor the things in the world. If any one
16 loveth the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the desire of the eyes, and the pomp of this life are not of the Father, but arc
17 of the world. Now the world is passing away, and the desire thereof; but he who doth the will of God shall abide forever.
18 Children, the last period is come: and as you have heard that the Antichrist cometh, there are even now many Anti-
19 christs, by which we know that it is the last period. They went out from us; but they were not of us. For if they had been
20 of us, they would have continued with us. But to the end that they might be made manifest (because all are not of us) even you yourselves have an unction from the holy one, and
21 know everyone. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth; but because you know it, and because no kind
22 of falsehood is of thetruth. Who is the liar; but he\vhodei\ieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is the Antichrist who denieth the
23 Father and the Son: whosoever denieth the Son, hath not the
24 Father. As for you, therefore, let that which you have heard from the beginning abide in you. If that which you have heard from the beginning abide in you, then you will abide in
25 the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise which he hath promised us, even die life which is everlasting. These
26 things I have written to you with a view to them who are se-
27 ducingyou. As for you, the unction which you have received from him abideth in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you. As then this unction itself teacheth you concerning all, and is true, and is not a falsity; abide ye
28 in him as it hath taught you. And now, children, abide in him, that when he shall appear we may have confidence, and
29 not be made ashamed by him at his coming. If you know ' that he is righteous, you know that every one who practiseth
righteousness is born of him.
III. Behold what a love the Father hath shewn us, that we should be called children of God: on this account the world
2 doth not know us, because it did not know him. Beloved, we are now children of God. Though it hath not yet been manifested what we shall be, yet we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him : that we shall see him as he is.
3 Now, every one who hath this hope in him purifieth himself
4 as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin, committeth a vi-
5 olation of law; for sin is a violation of law. Now, you know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and there
6 is no sin in him. Wrhosoever abideth in him doth not sin:
7 whosoever continueth to sin hath not seen him, nor known him. Children, let no one deceive you. He who practiseth right-
8 eousness is righteous, as he is righteous. He who practiseth sin is of the devil, because the devil sinneth from the beginning; for this [purpose] the son of God was manifested, that he
9 might destroy the works of'the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not practise sin, because his seed abideth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. By this the children
10 of God are manifest, and the children of the devil. Whosoever doth not practise righteousness is not of God, nor 11 he who doth not love his brother. For this is the message
12 which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, and not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And why did he slay him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
13 Wonder not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We
14 know that we have passed from death to life, because we love
15 the brethren. He who loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and you know
16 that no murderer hath everlasting life abiding in him. By this we know the love of God. Because he lakl down his life for us, therefore we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 Whosoever hath worldly substance, and seeth his brother in want, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how dwelletjj the love of God in him?
18 My children, let us not love in word, and with the
19 tongue, but in deed, and in truth. When we know by this that
20 we are of the truth, let us in his presence persuade our hearts, in respect to what things soever our heart condemn- eth us, that God is greater than our hearts, and that he know-
21 eth all things. Beloved, if our heart doth not condemn us, we
22 have confidence towards God, and whatever we ask we obtain from him, because we keep his commandments, and do the
23 things which are pleasing in his sight. Now this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ>
24 and love one another, as he hath commanded us. And he who keepeth his commandments will abide in him, and he will abide in that man. And by this we know that he abideth in us, even by the spirit which he hath given us.
IV. Beloved, trust not every spirit, but try the spirits whether tlrey be of God; for many false teachers, are gone forth
2 into the world. By this you know the spirit of God—every spirit which acknowledged! Jesus Christ come in flesh, is of
3 God. And every spirit which doth not acknowledge Jesus. Christ come in flesh, is not of God. This indeed is that of Antichrist which you have heard is coming, and is now already in the world: You, children, are of God, and have overcome them,
4 because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the
5 world. They are of the world, therefore they speak suitably to the world, and the world hearkencth to them. We are of
6 God. He who knoweth God, hearkeneth to us. He who i;> not of God doth not hearken to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and
8 every one who loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He '9 who doth not love hath not known God, for God is love. By
this the love of God was manifested among us, because God sent his only begotten son into the world, that we may live by
10 him. In this is the love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be an atonement for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us; we surely ought to love one an-
12 other. No one hath ever seen God. If we love one another,
13 God abideth in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his spirit; and we have seen, and do testify, that
14 the Father hath sent the Son .to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever will confess that Jesus is the son of God, God
16 abideth in him, and he in God. Now we have known andjbe- lieved this love which God hath for us. God is love; and he who abideth in this love abideth in God, and God in him.
17 Love is by this perfected among us that we may have confi-
18 dence in the day of judgment, because in this world we are as he is. There is no fear in this love. This perfect love exclud- eth fear. Because fear is accompanied with torment, therefore lie who feareth is not perfect in love. As for us we love
19 him because he first loved us. If anyone saith, I love God,
20 and hateth his brother, he is a liar. For how can he who doth not love his brother whom he hath seen, love God, whom he
21 hath not seen ? Besides, we have this commandment from him, That he who loveth God, love his brother also: Whosoe-
V. verbelieveththatJesusistheChrist.isbornof God; andevery one who loveth him who begat, loveth him also who is begot-
2 ten of him; by this we know that we love the children of God.
3 While we love God, we keep his commandments; for this is the love of God that we keep his commandments.
4 Now his commandments are not grievous, because whatever is born of God overcometh the world, and the victory
5 which overcometh the world is our faith. Who is he that over-
Cometh the world, but he who believeth that Jesus is the son of
6 God? This Jesus is the Christ, whose coming was pointed out by water and by blood,* not by the water only, but byihe
7 water and the blood; and the spirit is testifying this. Because
8 the spirit is the truth, because there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood, and these three.
9 are to one and the same thing, if we admit the testimony of men the testimony of God is greater, f For this is the testi-
* Literally, he is the one who was to come by water and blood-, Jesus the Christ.
f V. 6,7, 8. Literally as in my copy. This Jesus is the Christ who was to come (or who was coming) by water and by blood, not by the water only but by the water and the blood, and the spirit is testifying this. Because the spirit is the truth—because there are three that bear witness [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one: and there are three that bear witness on the earth] the Spirit and the Water and the Blood; and these three arc for one and the same thing.
The authenticity of the words inclosed in brackets has been a subject of great doubt and dispute.
As the sense is complete, and the connection with what goes before and what follows is more clear, and better preserved without them; and as the words in dispute, supposing them tq be genuine, are not applicable to the doctrine of the trinity; for as Bezaon the passage justly remarks—r>'These three, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are one in consent, as if they were only one witness; but concerning their unity in substance, that, as it appears to me, is not. treated of in this place." And to the same purpose Calvin says, "The apostle in declaring these three are one does not refer to their essence, but to their consent, as if he should say, the Father, his eternal word, and the Spirit, with one consenting voice, do equally bear testimony to Christ; and there is no doubt but that the Father, Word, and Spirit, are said to be one in the same sense in which it is afterwards said that the blood, water and spirit are one;" and as, besides this, there are some internal and incidental marks, which render the words very much suspected; I cannot, therefore, but agree with Luther, Zuinglius, Bullinger and Erasmus, that the words in the brackets ought not to be admitted into the text, more especially as they are not found in any of the ancient Greek ma? nuscripts, except only one which is of doubtful authority.
VOL. IV. 3 I
»10 mony of God, which he hath testified concerning his son. He
who believeth in the son of God hath this testimony in him , self: he who doth not believe God, impeacheth his veracity,
because he believeth not the testimony which God hath given 11 concerning his son. Now this is the testimony, that God hath J2 given us everlasting life, and this life is by his son: he who
hath the son hath this life: he who hath not the son of God
hath not this life.
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the son of God, that you may know that you have
14 everlasting life; and that you may believe in the name of the son of God: this also is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will he hearkeneth to
1'5 us. Now, if we know that he hearkeneth to us in whatever we may ask; we know that we obtain from him the petitions which we have asked. If any one see his brother committing
16 a sin not unto death, let him ask, and he will give him life for them who do not sin unto death: there is a sin unto death,
17 with respect to this I do not say that he should make petition.
18 Every act of unrighteousness is a sin; and there is a sin not unto death, and we know that every one who is born of God doth not sin; he indeed who is born of God guardeth him-
19 self and the wicked one doth not cling to him. We know that we are of God and that the whole world is laid prostrate by
20 the wicked one; and we know that the son of God is come, and hath given us understanding that we may know him who i» true; and we are in him who is true, and in his son Jesu> Christ. He is the true God and the life eternal.
21 Dear children, keep yourselves from the idols. Amen.