2:1 My dear children [an affectionate term], I write this to you so that you will not sin [tense of Greek verb conveys acts of sin, not habitual sinning—occasional sins, not a sinful lifestyle]. But if anybody does sin [refers to a single act rather than habitual sin], we have one who speaks [an advocate; from Gr. “parakletos” or “one called alongside”] to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ [cf. Heb. 7:25], the Righteous One [the only One qualified to represent us before the Father and to plead our case].
2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice [propitiation; to appease; to make atonement or expiation for; to be gracious; to show mercy; emphasizes the removal of divine wrath (Jesus’ death turned God’s wrath from the sinner)] for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world [this does not mean that all will be saved; only those who repent and place their faith in Jesus alone will be saved].
2:3 We know that we have come to know [conveys the idea of knowledge by experience; there is a difference between “know Him” and “know about Him”] him if we obey [to keep, to observe; this is evidence of our relationship with Him; a continuous, habitual action] his commands.
2:4 The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar [because his lifestyle contradicts his confession], and the truth is not in him.
2:5 But if anyone obeys his word [same as “obey his commands” in 2:3], God’s love [Gr. “agape” means determined goodwill that seeks the best interests of others; involves volition rather than emotion] is truly made complete [has fulfilled the purpose or intention for which it is designed] in him. This is how we know we are in him:
2:6 Whoever claims to live in him must [ought to] walk [continuously; Gr. “peripateo” means “to walk” and is often used figuratively of one’s way of life] as Jesus did.
2:7 Dear friends [term of endearment; this is one word (“beloved”) in the Greek text from the Gr. root “agape”], I am not writing you a new command [the command to love one another] but an old one, which you have had since the beginning [either from the OT (cf. Lev. 19:18) or from the time the gospel had been proclaimed to them; cf. 1 Jn. 3:11]. This old command is the message you have heard.
2:8 Yet I am writing you a new [new in its centrality in the Christian life] command [cf. Jn. 13:34]; its truth is seen in him [this kind of love was a reality in Jesus’ life] and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light [Jesus is and brings the true light; cf. Jn. 1:4-5] is already shining.
2:9 Anyone who claims to be in the light [in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ] but hates his brother [probably refers to another Christian] is still in the darkness [or in the realm of evil; cf. Col. 1:13].
2:10 Whoever loves [the proof that a person is a genuine believer] his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble [does not trip himself up; does not cause others to stumble].
2:11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going [without direction; aimless wandering], because the darkness has blinded him [without sight].
2:12 I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
2:13 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, dear children, because you have known the Father.
2:14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
2:16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.
2:17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
2:18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.
2:21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.
2:22 Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.
2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
2:24 See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.
2:25 And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.
2:26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.
2:27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
2:28 And now, dear children [a term of affection], continue [remain; do not allow the false teachers to lead you away from Christ] in him [to “continue in him” refers to fellowship], so that when he appears [the second coming of Christ] we may be confident [to have boldness; to be fully assured of one’s position] and unashamed [some will be ashamed because of unconfessed sin that has marred their walk with Him or because they have stored no treasure up in heaven] before him at his coming [Gr. “parousia”].
2:29 If [or “since”] you know that he is righteous [Jesus lived a life totally without sin], you know that everyone who does what is right [lives a Christlike life; doing what is right provides the visible proof of being a Christian] has been born of him [born again].