Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

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1 John 1:1–2:6

We start with a relatively easy passage to move you smoothly into the class.Click on the biblical reference to see a short video explaining how to translate the verse.


1 John 1:1 The first verse of John has some peculiarities, like no verbs and relative pronouns that don't agree with their antecedent.
1 John 1:2 Verse 2 is pretty straight forward. It does have an unusual perfect and a relative clause with two verbs.
1 John 1:3 Beware of the postpositive, which is in an unusual position and is confusing with the καί.
1 John 1:4 Verse 4 is pretty easy to translate, but it does have a periphrastic construction (BBG 30:16). It also provides a good example of textual criticism and why you should never talk about a textual variant without talking about its significance.

1 John 1:5–7

1 John 1:5 An easy verse to translate, but we will review somethings about relative clauses and double negatives.
1 John 1:6 An easy verse to translate, but one that challenges the idea that it is okay for sin to have an ongoing role in your life.
1 John 1:7 While the verse is relatively easy to translate, it does contain a serious challenge to our lifestyles.

1 John 1:8–10

1 John 1:8 Again, an easier verse to translate but one that raises questions about the theological doctrine of perfectionism.
1 John 1:9 The important point to make here is that “faithful and just” describes the character of God as the basis for forgiveness. The Greek is pretty straight forward.
1 John 1:10 Be sure you know what a double accusative is. Check the exegesis section of chapter 6 in Basics of Biblical Greek.

1 John 2:1–2

1 John 2:1 This verse has an almost impossible word to translate and two appositional statements.
1 John 2:2 This verse gives us another chance to try to translate an untranslatable word, and also to see a postpositive in a weird position.

1 John 2:3–6

1 John 2:3 Verse 3 is pretty straightforward. There is a subjunctive and a good reminder to learn verbal roots. But theologically, this verse (and many like it throughout 1 John) tells us the primary assurance of our salvation is our obedience, our growth in sanctification.
1 John 2:4 The secret for this verse is to find the subject of ἐστίν. The verse has a compound subject and a compound predicate nominative.
1 John 2:5 The key here is to find the main verb and its subject, and then how the relative clause relates to it.
1 John 2:6 This is a complicated verse, so don't get discouraged. Find the main verb, its subject, and then what finishes the thought of the verb.