Lectionary Year B
May 28, 2000
1 John 5:1-6

Step I: Acquaintance


The Contemporary English Version (1995), the New Living Translation (1996) and the New Revised Standard Version (1989) differ slightly.

The CEV begins, "If we believe . . ." while the other two begin, "Everyone who believes . . ." The CEV adds an adverb that the others don't have, "truly Christ" and the other two translate the article literally, "the Christ". There, NRSV has a footnote, "Or [the Messiah]".

Then, CEV says, "we are God's children." NLT has, "is a child of God." NRSV has, "has been born of God." At the end of that first verse, the CEV and the NLT both have, "Father . . ." while the NRSV has "parent".

At the end of the second verse, the NLT and the NRSV mention God's "commandments", while the CEV merely says, " . . . obey God . . ."

In verse 3, CEV says God's commandments "are not hard to follow." There, NLT says of obeying God's commandments, "and really, that isn't difficult." NRSV has, "commandments are not burdensome."

In verse 4 CEV states, "Every child of God can defeat the world," NLT, "For every child of God defeats this evil world" and NRSV, "for whatever is born of God conquers the world."

NRSV alone couches verse 5 in a question.

In the last (6th) verse, CEV begins by referencing the "Water and blood" that "came form the side of Jesus Christ." NLT says it was those elements that "Jesus Christ" as "God's Son" and NRSV reads, "This is the one who came by water and blood". The NLT adds, "and by shedding his blood on the cross". Then, CEV says that "The Spirit tells about this," where NLT has, "And the Spirit also gives us testimony . . ." and NRSV has, "And the Spirit is the one who testifies . . ." No major differences, really.


Some witnesses would alter some articles and/or conjunctions in the earlier verses of this pericope, but none that appears to make much of a difference to do so.

Then, the last word in the second verse, "poiomen", some would change to "teromen". It seems such a change would weaken the image the author(s) intend to convey here, so, I think not.

Several witnesses would change the last word in the fourth verse from first person plural "hmon", to "humon" second person. That emendation could be more nearly original, to be sure, especially if the author(s) know and intend to compliment the recipients of this message.

The sixth verse has the greatest amount of variants and, perhaps, the most nearly significant ones as well. For "haimatos", some would replace or add "pneumatos". A majority, however, would prefer the text as received, as would I, for the sake of parallelism. Others would alter the order of the words for water, blood, spirit, etc., but it makes very little difference from this perspective to do so.

Then, the final reference to the Spirit, one would change to "Christos". I think not, for the change would change to person of the Trinity being described in that verse.


1 All believing that Jesus is the Christ, from God having been born, and all loving the one having become the father loves also the one having been begotten from him. 2 In this (manner) we know that we love the children of God, when God we love and the commandments of his we perform. 3 For this (matter) is the love of God, that the commandments of his we preserve, and these commandments of his burdensome not are they. 4 For all who have been born of God conquer the world; and this is the victory which prevails over the world, the faith of ours. 5 Now this (matter) is the one prevailing over the world is it not the one believing that Jesus is the son of God? 6 This (one) is the one who has come through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not in water only but in water and in blood; and the Spirit is the one testifying, because the Spirit is the truth.

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