1 John 2:7-11

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

January 28, 1998


John, the aging apostle has written a letter to the church at large.

One of the issues he’s dealing with is the teachings of the Gnostics, this group who claimed to have special "knowledge". They believed that they had the only real, but secret keys to knowing God. They believed that anything physical was evil, and only non-physical things could be good. There were two groups that came from these teachings –

One believed that since anything physical was sinful, and since that means our physical bodies are sinful and beyond help, why not just go ahead and "party hearty"?

The other group believed they had the ability to alienate themselves far enough from sinful physical things that they could become "sinless" themselves.

:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

John is talking about the command to love others.

We don’t have to guess at this, John tells us this a little later on –

(1 John 3:11 KJV) For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

In a sense, there’s nothing "new" about God commanding us to love –

(Deu 6:5 KJV) And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

(Lev 19:18 KJV) Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

:8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you

Even though the command to love is nothing new, when Jesus came along, He gave it the real meaning it was intended to have, which was "new" to the world.

(Mat 5:43-44 KJV) Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. {44} But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

(John 13:34-35 KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. {35} By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

:8 which thing is true in him and in you:

True love is found in Jesus.

As we know Jesus, we find that we too learn to love like He does.

:8 because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

As Jesus works in our lives, He begins to transform us, taking us out of darkness and into the light.

Specifically, He takes us out of the darkness of hatred, and into the light of true love.

:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

Again, we get the contrast between what a person "says" and how they "act".

hatethmiseo – to hate, pursue with hatred, detest

We’ve seen already this picture of light and darkness, but so far it’s been kind of general, that darkness was walking in sin, in disobedience to the Lord.

Now we get an example of the darkness, having hatred toward someone, specifically another Christian.

:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light


Understanding true love.

I think it’s important to define terms. Today it seems that some people have no problem telling you one thing, but what you think they’re saying isn’t what they’re saying.

For example, the Mormons talk about Jesus Christ, heaven, salvation, redemption, etc, but what they mean by these terms is vastly different than how we understand them.

When we talk about "love", it’s important we talk about God’s kind of love (agape) and not our human kinds of love.

(1 Cor 13:4-8 NASB) Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, {5} does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, {6} does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; {7} bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. {8} Love never fails...

"Patience" has to do with having patience with difficult people. "Kind" has to do with doing good things for others. Love is wrapped in humility (not arrogant). Love is considerate and polite (not unbecomingly). Love thinks of others’ needs first. Love doesn’t react out of being prodded or provoked to anger. Love doesn’t carry a grudge. Love is not thrilled with impure things, but is thrilled when someone speaks the truth, no matter how hard it is to hear at times. Love doesn’t spread gossip and slander about peoples’ sins (bears). Love gives a person the benefit of the doubt (to a point!). Love stays true, even under pressure (endures).


Sometimes love must be tough.

Here’s where I think we get confused with love.

We have the idea that if we love someone, then we have to always bend over backwards and never say anything that might possibly upset them.

Yet Paul says that sometimes growing up involves "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15). Solomon wrote –

Pr 27:6 Faithful [are] the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy [are] deceitful.

Sometimes it’s the truest friend who loves you so much that they have to tell you the truth about your problems.

The writer to Hebrews reminds us that God, as a loving Father, disciplines us because He loves us!

(Heb 12:5-7 NLT) And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said, "My child, don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you. {6} For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children." {7} As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined?

But as we are seeing here in 1John, we need to be sure that when it comes to discipline, it is never done in hatred or anger, but in love.

This is where I’ve had some struggles lately, not sure how my heart is supposed to treat people who need to be disciplined.

I have a hard time wanting to perform the discipline because I love them so much, yet my difficulty is because I’ve gotten the mistake notion that discipline is only towards people you’re mad at.

I have found that with my children, when my heart is right, I’ll still spank them when they need it, not out of anger or frustration, but because I love them so much I don’t want them to continue in such horrible behavior.

:10 and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

occasion of stumblingskandalon – (our word "scandal") – the movable stick or trigger of a trap, any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall; any person or thing by which one is (entrapped) drawn into error or sin


Love doesn’t stumble another person.

When we truly love another person as God wants us to love them, then we won’t be doing things that would cause them to trip up or sin.

(Rom 13:9-10 KJV) For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. {10} Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Even if there’s something in your life that you feel is okay with the Lord, but it causes someone else to sin, we should consider stopping it.

(Rom 14:13-15 NASB) Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this-- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way. {14} I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. {15} For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.


You might be okay with drinking a little wine with supper, and the Bible doesn’t condemn drinking wine, it condemns drunkenness.

Yet if you drink wine in front of someone who is an alcoholic, and they think to themselves, "well if he can do it, so can I", you are leading them into their sin, and hardly showing love to them.

Perhaps you feel you can handle watching a PG-13 movie with nudity in it. Perhaps you can honestly say that the scenes don’t cause you to lust.

But if you bring someone to that movie who admits they have a lust problem, are you showing love to them?

:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness,

walkethperipateo – to walk; lit. "to walk around"; Hebrew for, to live

The one who hates his brother is not just sitting in the dark, but walking around in it.

:11 and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

Usually we think of a bright light blinding someone.

And yet here we see a person blinded with darkness, the darkness of hatred.


Love gives direction.

If you are lacking some direction in a particular situation, like walking around in a dark room, perhaps you ought to turn on a light.

If you’ve got hatred in your heart towards someone, perhaps the first step you need to take is to let it go and ask God to help you love.

Just make sure it’s a true love, not a human kind of love.