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First John: 1 John 2:13-The Older Men Knew Christ Experientially and the Younger Men Were Victorious Over Satan

First John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  58:22
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First John: 1 John 2:13-The Older Men Knew Christ Experientially and the Younger Men Were Victorious Over Satan

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I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. (ESV)
Fathers” is the vocative masculine plural form of the noun patēr (πατήρ), which is used as a designation for the men in the Christian community who were forty years of age or older.
Because” is the conjunction hoti (ὅτι), which is introducing a direct object clause which would indicate that John is affirming with the older men in the Christian community in the Roman province of Asia that they were presently existing in the state of being knowing Him (Jesus Christ) experientially who is from eternity past.
You know him” is composed of the following: (1) second person plural perfect active indicative form of the verb ginōskō (γινώσκω), “you know” (2) accusative masculine singular form of the definite article ho (ὁ), “him who is.”
The verb ginōskō is in the perfect tense and means, “to know experientially” in the sense of personally encountering, observing or undergoing something through a process.
It also means “to know experientially in the sense of having knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered or undergone” and implies being affected by what one meets.
Here in , the verb’s object is Jesus Christ and thus it means an “to know experientially” Him in the sense of personally encountering Him through the process of experiential sanctification (i.e. fellowship) as He is revealed in the pages of Scripture and in prayer by God the Holy Spirit.
It also involves being affected by this encounter with the Lord resulting in the gaining of practical spiritual wisdom and more of the character of Christ.
The perfect tense of the verb ginōskō is an intensive perfect, which is used to emphasize the results or present state produced by a past action.
The present state are these older men in the Christian community in the Roman province of Asia who were forty years of age or older knowing Jesus Christ experientially.
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The past action is that of these older men were obeying John’s apostolic teaching which communicated Jesus Christ’s Spirit inspired commands and prohibitions.
Him who is from the beginning” is composed of the following: (1) accusative masculine singular form of the definite article ho (ὁ), “him who is” (2) preposition apo (ἀπό), “from” (4) genitive feminine singular form of the noun archē (ἀρχή), “beginning.”
The accusative masculine singular form of the definite article ho functions as a substantive and means “Him” or “the One” referring to the Lord Jesus Christ and not the Father or the Spirit.
This is indicated by the immediate context since Jesus Christ is the word’s nearest antecedent because His name is mentioned in as being the basis for the Christian community being forgiven their sins when they confess these sins.
Also, the prepositional phrase apʼ archēs (ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς), “from the beginning,” which modifies this article appears in to describe “the Word which is truly life,” which refers to Jesus Christ.
The noun archē means “the beginning, eternity past” implying “something before time, i.e., not a beginning within time, but an absolute beginning, which can be affirmed only of God, of whom no temporal categories can be predicated.”[1]
The word is the object of the preposition apo, which functions as a marker of time indicating that the prepositional phrase ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς answers the question as to how long the Lord Jesus Christ has existed, namely, from eternity past.
Young men” is the vocative masculine plural form of the noun neaniskos (νεανίσκος), which is referring to a male in the Christian community in the Roman province of Asia who were younger than forty years of age but not a teenager.
Because” is the conjunction hoti (ὅτι), which is introducing a direct object clause which would indicate that John is affirming with the younger men in the Christian community in the Roman province of Asia that they were presently existing in the state of experiencing victory over Satan.
You have overcome the evil one” is composed of the following: (1) second person plural perfect active indicative form of the verb nikaō (νικάω), “you have overcome” (2) articular accusative masculine singular form of the noun ponēros (πονηρός), “the evil one.”
The verb nikaō means “to be victorious over” and is expressing the idea that each of these young men in the Christian community in the Roman province of Asia was victorious over Satan by employing the sword of the Spirit ().
The perfect tense of the verb nikaō is an intensive perfect, which is used to emphasize the results or present state produced by a past action.
The present state are these younger men in the Christian community in the Roman province of Asia who were younger than forty years of age experiencing victory over Satan in spiritual combat.
The past action is that of these younger men were obeying John’s apostolic teaching which communicated Jesus Christ’s Spirit inspired commands and prohibitions.
The adjective ponēros means “the evil one” referring to Satan
In some translations, such as the NET, LEB, TNIV, NIV, NRSV and HCSB, the statement egrapsa hymin, paidia, hoti egnōkate ton patera (ἔγραψα ὑμῖν, παιδία, ὅτι ἐγνώκατε τὸν πατέρα), “I write to you, children, because you know the Father” does not appear at the end of but rather they place it as the first declaration in .
On the other hand, the NASB95, ESV, RSV and NKJV place it as the last statement in .
I will follow the versification of of the NA28 and UBS5 editions of the Greek text which place this statement at the beginning of verse 14.
The same material has been translated in each case with the only difference being the versification of that material.
In fact, whether it belongs in or in is technically irrelevant since the original Hebrew and Greek texts did not have chapter divisions and the marking of verses.
The chapter divisions and the marking of verses in our modern English Bibles was not inspired by God but were just a handy way of referring to the text.
I am writing at this particular time to each one of you fathers that each of you know experientially the One from eternity past. I am writing at this particular time to each one of you young men that each of you are victorious over the evil one. (My translation)
Now, here in , the apostle John makes two more affirmations which serve as commendations.
In this verse, he addresses the younger and older men in this community.
He first affirms in this verse that the older men in the Christian community in the Roman province of Asia knew Jesus Christ experientially and then, he affirms that the younger men in this community were victorious over Satan in spiritual combat.
John is affirming that these older and younger men were remaining faithful to his apostolic teaching and had rejected the false teachers propagated by the proto-Gnostic teachers.
This is not the first-time John has mentioned knowing Christ experientially since he mentioned it in this epistle in .
Now, by means of this, any of us can, at any time confirm that we are existing in the state of knowing Him experientially, if any of us does at any time exist in the state of observing conscientiously His commands. (My translation)
Knowing the Lord experientially is another way to describe fellowship with Him.
Expressions in the Greek New Testament such as “abide in Him, abide in Me, to know experientially, living or walking in the light, in Christ, in Him” are different ways to describe the concept of fellowship.
Fellowship is the experience of the believer after conversion who is experiencing being in the presence of God and this is accomplished by obeying the Father’s will, which is revealed by the Spirit through the communication of the Word of God.
Fellowship for the believer before death or the rapture is “dynamic” meaning it can be lost due to sin but restored by confessing personal sin to the Father (cf. ) and is maintained through obedience to the voice of the Spirit who reveals the Father’s will to the believer through the communication of the Word of God.
Fellowship is experiencing eternal life, which again is accomplished through obedience to the voice of the Spirit whose voice is heard through the communication of the Word of God.
In , the apostle John also affirms and thus commends the younger men in this community that they were presently existing in the state of being victorious over Satan.
John uses nikaō again in to assure his readers that they have “overcome” the Satanically inspired false prophets because of the indwelling Spirit.
John employs the verb in where he states that the new Christ nature “overcomes” the cosmic system of Satan and this new nature was received the moment they exercised faith alone in Christ alone for eternal salvation.
Therefore, in , he states with the verb nikaō that the one who believes in Christ has “overcome” the cosmic system of Satan.
[1] Silva, M. (Ed.). (2014). New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (Second Edition, Vol. 1, p. 416). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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