1 John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this: Ean tis ide (3SAAS) ton adelphon autou hamartanonta (PAP) hamartian me pros thanaton aitesei (3SFAI) kai dosei (3SFAI) auto zoen tois hamartanousin (PAP) me pros thanaton estin (3SPAI) hamartia pros thanaton ou peri ekeines lego (1SPAI) hina erotese (3SAAS): (he shall ask: Ge 20:7,17 Ex 32:10-14,31,32 34:9 Nu 12:13 14:11-21 De 9:18-20 2Ch 30:18-20 Job 42:7-9 Ps 106:23 Eze 22:30 Am 7:1-3 Jas 5:14,15)(There: Nu 15:30 16:26-32 1Sa 2:25 Jer 15:1,2 Mt 12:31,32 Mk 3:28-30 Lu 12:10 2Ti 4:14 Heb 6:4-6 10:26-31 2Pe 2:20-22)(I do not: Jer 7:16 11:14 14:11 18:18-21 Joh 17:9)
Amplified - If anyone sees his brother [believer] committing a sin that does not [lead to] death (the extinguishing of life), he will pray and [God] will give him life [yes, He will grant life to all those whose sin is not one leading to death]. There is a sin [that leads] to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.
WHAT IS OUR OBLIGATION TO
A SINNING BROTHER?
John Stott - Having written generally of answered prayer (1Jn 5:14–15), John now gives a specific illustration and a limitation (1Jn 5:16–17). It is not now a case of petition, but of intercession. The assurance of eternal life which the Christian should enjoy (1Jn 5:13) ought not to lead him into a preoccupation with himself to the neglect of others. On the contrary, he will recognize his duty in love to care for his brother or sister in need, whether the need which he ‘sees’ be material (as in 1Jn 3:17–18) or, as here, spiritual: if anyone sees his brother commit a sin. He cannot say ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ and do nothing.
If anyone sees his brother - The question is whether John is using this word to designate a believing brother or to speak with some degree of affection on someone we know who is not a believer. We hear the term "brother" used this way frequently in everyday conversation. While we cannot be definitive, from the context of the rest of the verse (e.g., why would you need to ask for a brother to be given life if he is already spiritually alive?), brother seems to have a more general meaning.
Brother (80)(adelphos from a = denotes unity + delphus = a womb) means brother or near kinsman. "Adelphós generally denotes a fellowship of life based on identity of origin, e.g., members of the same family (Mt. 1:2; Lk 3:1, 19; 6:14); members of the same tribe, countrymen, and so forth (Acts 3:22; 7:23; Ro 9:3)." (Zodhiates) Figuratively, adelphos describes members of the Christian community, spiritual brother, fellow Christian, fellow believer (Ro 8.29). Jews used adelphos to describe fellow countrymen (Acts 3:22).
W E Vine summarizes adelphos - (1) male children of the same parents, Mt, 1:2; 14:3; Jn 1:41 (2) male descendants of the same parents, Acts 7:23, 26; Heb 7:5; (3) male children of the same mother, Mt 13:55; 1Cor 9:5; Gal. 1:19; (4) people of the same nationality, Acts 3:17, 22; Ro 9:3. With “men” (aner, “male”), prefixed, it is used in addresses only, Acts 2:29, 37, etc.; (5) any man, a neighbor, Lk 10:29; Mt. 5:22; 7:3; (6) persons united by a common interest, Mt. 5:47; (7) persons united by a common calling, Rev. 22:9; (8) mankind, Mt. 25:40; Heb 2:17; (9) the disciples, and so, by implication, all believers, Mt. 28:10; John 20:17; (10) believers, apart from sex, Mt 23:8; Acts 1:15; Ro 1:13; 1Th 1:4; Rev. 19:10 (the word “sisters” is used of believers, only in 1 Tim. 5:2); (11) believers, with aner, “male,” prefixed, and with “or sister” added, 1Cor 7:14 (RV), 15; Jas. 2:15, male as distinct from female, Acts 1:16; 15:7, 13, but not Acts 6:3. (Brother, Brethren, Brotherhood, Brotherly - Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words)
TDNT - 1. Physical Brotherhood. There are references to the physical brothers of Judah in Mt. 1:2, to brothers among the disciples in Mk. 1:16, 19, to the brother of Mary and Martha in Jn. 11:2ff., to Paul’s sister in Acts 23:16, to brothers of Jesus in Mk. 3:31ff., and to various other brothers, e.g., in Mk. 12:19–20; Lk. 15:27; Lk. 16:28; Lk. 12:13; and Mk. 10:29–30.
2. Spiritual Brotherhood. adelphós also refers to fellow believers some 30 times in Acts and 130 in Paul. This usage has an OT and Jewish basis (cf. Acts 3:22; Mt. 5:22–23; Acts 2:29; 3:17, etc.). Jesus uses the term in Mt. 23:8; 25:40. Christians are his brethren (Rom. 8:29) and are to love one another as such (1 Jn. 2–3). adelphótēs denotes the brotherhood (1Pet. 2:17) and means brotherly disposition in Hermas (Mandates 8.10).
Stott writes that the term brother could apply "to the false teachers. In John’s view they were not apostates; they were counterfeits. They were not true ‘brothers’ who had received eternal life and subsequently forfeited it. They were ‘antichrists’. Denying the Son, they did not possess the Father (1Jn 2:22–23; 2John 1:9). They were children of the devil, not children of God (1Jn 3:10). True, they had once been members of the visible congregation and had then no doubt passed as ‘brothers’. But they went out, and by their withdrawal it was made evident that they ‘did not really belong to us’ (1Jn 2:19). Since they rejected the Son, they forfeited life (1Jn 5:12). Their sin did indeed lead to death.
Sin (266)(hamartia) literally conveys the idea of missing the mark as when hunting with a bow and arrow (in Homer some hundred times of a warrior hurling his spear but missing his foe). Later hamartia came to mean missing or falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose. Hamartia in the Bible signifies a departure from God's holy, perfect standard of what is right in word or deed (righteous). It pictures the idea of missing His appointed goal (His will) which results in a deviation from what is pleasing to Him. In short, sin is conceived as a missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is the Triune God Himself. As Martin Luther put it "Sin is essentially a departure from God."
The Puritan John Bunyan minced no words when he defined sin as "the dare of God's justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power and the contempt of His love."
Steven Cole - John does not say, “If anyone sees his brother sinning, go tell the pastor so he can deal with it.” Nor does he say, “If anyone sees his brother sinning, call up all of your friends and tell them about it so that they can pray.” That is a thin spiritual cover for gossip. Nor does he say, “If anyone sees his brother sinning, he should shake his head in disgust and ask, ‘How could he do such a thing?’” That is called “judging your brother.”
Rather, he says that if you see a brother in sin, pray for God to give life to him. While we all are responsible for our own sins, only God can truly deliver us from sin, because only God can impart life. So we’re dependent on God to deliver, but at the same time the sinning brother is responsible to turn from his sin and take the necessary steps not to fall into it again. Also, before we speak to a brother about his sin, we need to speak to God about the brother. Prayer is essential in the restoration process!
But, John’s words set up an interpretive dilemma. If this per-son is a brother, then why does he need life? Don’t believers already have new life from God? This had led interpreters into two camps. Some say that John is using the word “brother” loosely, to refer to a professing Christian, who is not truly saved. They interpret life to mean conversion, moving from spiritual death to spiritual life (see 3:14). But others say that brother means a true Christian, and thus they interpret life to mean either restoration to fellowship with God or preservation of physical life.
Death (2288)(thanatos) is a permanent cessation of all vital functions and thus is the end of life on earth (as we know it). The separation of the soul from the body and the end of earthly life. Spiritual death is separation from the life of God forever by dying without being born again. The first use in the Septuagint is in a well known promise from God "you shall surely die (Lxx = thanatos apothnesko).” (Ge 2:17) followed by the second use in the deceptive lie by Satan “You surely shall not die (thanatos apothnesko)!" (Ge 3:4) Death is natural to humanity as part of the created world. Death is a result of Adam’s sin (Ro 5:12). Death is universal - no one can escape it.
Friberg has a simple summary of thanatos - (1) physically, as the separation of soul from body (physical) death (Jn 11.13); (2) as a legal technical term, of capital punishment (physical) death (Mt 26.66); (3) spiritually, as the separation of soul from God (spiritual) death (Jn 5.24; Jas 1.15), opposite zoe (life); (4) spiritually, as the separation of soul from spirit or from the possibility of knowing God, as the result of judgment (eternal) death (Ro 1.32); called second death in Rev 2.11; 20.6; (5) by metonymy deadly disease, pestilence (Rev 6.8)
He shall ask - The way to deal with sin in the body is to pray!
God will for him give life - John has already told us "that God has given us eternal life" (1Jn 5:11).
James says something similar to John - "And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. (James 5:15) and "let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins." (James 5:20)
There is a sin leading to death - The natural question is which sin is this? James writes that "when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth (births) death." (James 1:15-note). So there is a sense in which all sin deals a death blow! However clearly that is not John's intended meaning here because he distinguishes between sin that does not lead to death and sin which leads to death.
Clearly this commentary will not provide a definitive answer to this question which has bothered commentators for almost 2000 years! What follows is a summary of the three general categories that have been proposed as the sin leading to death (and much of this is based on John Stott's excellent comments).
(1) A Specific Sin - One recalls certain sins in the OT for which the perpetrator was sentenced to death (Lev 20:1-27, Nu 18:22) Stott adds that "in the Old Testament generally a distinction was drawn between sins of ignorance, committed unwittingly, which could be cleansed through sacrifice, and wanton or ‘presumptuous’ sins (Ps. 19:13), committed ‘with a high hand’, for which there was no forgiveness. The same distinction was ‘common among Rabbinic writers’ (Westcott), and certain early Christian fathers carried it over into the gospel age." Stott then summarizes this candidate writing "although the rendering is ‘a mortal sin’ in RSV and ‘a deadly sin’ in NEB, it is doubtful whether John is referring to specific ‘sins’ at all, as opposed to ‘sin’ (as in 1:8), that is, ‘a state or habit of sin willfully chosen and persisted in’ (Plummer)."
(2) Apostasy - "The second suggestion, favored among modern commentators by Brooke, Law and Dodd, is that the sin that leads to death is neither a specific sin, nor even a ‘backsliding’, but a total apostasy, the denial of Christ and the renunciation of the faith… It seems clear, unless John’s theology is divided against itself (Ed: e.g., his statements that a true Christian cannot persist in sin - 1Jn 3:9), that he who sins unto death is not a Christian. If so, the sin cannot be apostasy. We are left with the third alternative." (Stott)
(3) Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. In summary this sin as "committed by the Pharisees, was a deliberate, open-eyed rejection of known truth. (See Mk 3:29, Mt 12:32)… the outcome of his sin will be spiritual ruin, the final separation of the soul from God, which is ‘the second death’, reserved for those whose names are not ‘written in the book of life’ (Rev. 20:15). But, it may be objected, if the ‘sin leading to death’ is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit committed by a hardened unbeliever, how can John call him a brother? To be exact, he does not. It is the one whose sin does not lead to death who is termed a brother; he whose sin lead to death is neither named nor described. Nevertheless, supposing John thinks of each as a brother, we must still assert that neither can be regarded as a child of God. The reasons for denying that he who sins ‘unto death’ is a Christian have already been given; what can be said about him whose sin does not lead to death? An important point, to which commentators surprisingly give no attention, is that he is given life in answer to prayer. This means that, although his sin does not lead to death, he is in fact dead, since he needs to be given life. For how can you give life to one who is already alive? This person is not a Christian, therefore, for Christians have received life, and do not fall into death when they fall into sin. True, ‘life’ to John means communion with God, and the sinning Christian cannot enjoy fellowship with God (1Jn 1:5–6), but John would certainly not have said that when the Christian sins he dies and needs to receive eternal life again. The Christian has ‘passed from death to life’ (1Jn 3:14; cf. John 5:24). Death and judgment are behind him; he ‘has life’ (1Jn 5:12) as a present and abiding possession. When he stumbles into sin, which he may (1Jn 2:1), he has a heavenly Advocate (1Jn 2:2). He needs to be forgiven and cleansed (1Jn 1:10), but John never says he needs to be ‘quickened’ ‘made alive’, or ‘given life’ all over again. If this is so, then neither he whose sin leads to death nor he whose sin does not lead to death is a Christian, possessing eternal life. Both are ‘dead in transgressions and sins’ (Eph. 2:1). Each ‘remains in death’ (1Jn 3:14). The difference between them is that one may receive life through a Christian’s intercession, while the other will die the second death. Spiritually dead already, he will die eternally. Only such a serious state as this would lead John to say that he does not advise his readers to pray for such." (John Stott)
I would add one more possibility and that is physical death of a brother who is disciplined by the Lord (although I cannot explain why we should not pray for such a one). I have seen situations where a minister was involved in a heinous sin that if exposed to the public would have brought great shame to the body of Christ and the sin was not exposed because the minister was taken out (by a fatal car wreck). Obviously this is a speculative consideration. Frankly, I think passages such as this will only be satisfactorily resolved when we are in the presence of our Lord one day future!
I do not say that he should make request for this - While John does not strictly command we should still not pray for the one that commits a sin leading to death, he certainly does not encourage such prayer. However clearly he alludes to the fact that it will not be efficacious praying. Interestingly in the OT God specifically instructed His prophet Jeremiah not to pray for Judah (Jer 7:16, 11:14, 14:11).
Wuest has note quoting at length from Henry Alford - For the exposition of this difficult verse, we turn to Alford, and his canons or rules of interpretation. He says: “Our first canon of interpretation of ‘the sin unto death’ and ‘not unto death’ is this, that the ‘death’ and the ‘life’ must correspond. The former cannot be bodily death, while the latter is eternal and spiritual life. This clears away at once all those commentators who understand the sin unto death to be one for which bodily death is the punishment, either by human law generally, … or by sickness inflicted by God (Ed: Which rules out my consideration given above!).
“Our second canon will be, that this sin unto death being thus a sin leading to eternal death, being further explained to the readers here, must be presumed as meant to be understood by what the Evangelist has elsewhere laid down concerning the possession of life and death. Now we have from him a definition immediately preceding this, in verse 12, ‘The one who has the Son has the life. The one who does not have the Son of God, the life does not have.’ And we may safely say that the words ‘unto death’ here are to be understood as meaning ‘involving the loss of this life which men have only by union with the Son of God.’ And this meaning they must have, not by implication only, which would be the case if any obstinate and determined sin were meant, which would be a sign of the fact of severance from the life which is in Christ (see 3:14, 15, where the inference is of this kind), but directly and essentially, i.e., in respect of that very sin which is pointed at by them. Now against this canon are all those interpretations far too numerous to mention, which make any atrocious and obstinate sin to be that intended. It is obvious that our limits are thus confined to abnegation of Christ, not as inferred by its fruits otherwise shown, but as the act of sin itself.
“Our third canon. will help us decide, within the above limits, which especial sin is intended. And it is, that by the very analogy of the context, it must be not a state of sin, but an appreciable ACT of sin, seeing that that which is opposed to it in the same kind, as being not unto death, is described by ‘if anyone see his brother sinning.’ (The verb “see” is aorist subjunctive, speaking of a single act of seeing. K.S.W.)
“In enquiring what this is, we must be guided by the analogy of what St. John says elsewhere. Our state being that of life in Christ Jesus, there are those who have gone out from us, not being of us (1Jn 2:19), who are called antichrists, who not only ‘have not’ Christ, but are Christ’s enemies, denying the Father and the Son (1Jn 2:22), whom we are not even to receive into our houses nor to greet (2John 1:10, 11). These seem to be the persons pointed out here, and this is the sin, namely, the denial that Jesus is the Christ, the incarnate Son of God. This alone of all sins bears upon it the stamp of severance from Him who is the Life itself. As the confession of Christ, with the mouth and in the heart, is salvation unto life (Ro 10:9), so denial of Christ with the mouth and in the heart, is sin unto death.”
From the above we are led to the conclusion that “the sin unto death” refers in the context in which John is writing, to the denial of the Incarnation, and that it would be committed by those whom John designates as antichrists, who did not belong to the true Christian body of believers, but were unsaved. In view of the foregoing interpretation which is based upon the historical background and the context in which John is writing, we can now proceed with the exegesis of this verse. We will look at the Greek text itself. “See” is aorist subjunctive, speaking of a single act, not a continuous viewing. The sin in question here therefore is not an habitual one but a single act. The word “unto” is pros, “near, facing.” Vincent says: “describing the nature of the sin. The preposition unto (pros) signifies tendency toward, not necessarily involving death.” “He shall ask” is aiteō, in future tense, the imperative future. Vincent suggests: “In prayer. The future tense expresses not merely permission (it shall be permitted him to ask), but the certainty that, as a Christian brother, he will ask. An injunction to that effect is implied.” “For it,” referring to “the sin unto death,” is ekeinos, the pronoun of the remote person or thing. Vincent says in this connection. “Note the sharp distinctness with which that terrible sin is thrown out by the pronoun of remote reference and its emphatic position in the sentence.” “Pray” is erōtaō, used of one on equal terms with another making request. Vincent suggests that “it may mark a request based upon fellowship with God through Christ, or it may hint at an element of presumption in a prayer for a sin unto death.” The present writer confesses his utter inability to understand this verse except that the sin unto death is the denial of the incarnation, and that it is committed by an unsaved person who professes to be a Christian. The rest of the verse is an enigma to him, and he will not attempt to offer even a suggestion as to its possible interpretation. (Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)
Ask (154)(aiteo) means to ask for something or make petition. It can mean to ask with a sense of urgency and even to the point of demanding. For example, Thayer notes that the use of aiteo in 1Cor 1:22 conveys a stronger sense of demand. One gets that same sense of aiteo in Mt 27:20 (in fact NJB translates it "demand.")
Of children of God asking their Father (Mt 6:8). In Mt 7:8-11 three of the uses (Mt 7:8-9, 11) of aiteo are in the present tense picturing continued asking. Of the sons of Zebedee making request (present tense) of Jesus (Mt 20:20)
In Mt 5:42 commands His readers to be generous with those asking (may allude to begging; giving alms was viewed highly in the ancient world).
The derivative noun aitema (155) is used in Php 4:6 and 1Jn 5:15 of requests, in the sense of a petition of men to God, both NT uses in the plural. In Lk 23:24 aitema is used more in the sense of a demand by the Jews to Pilate.
Zodhiates - Ask, request, beg. The seeking by the inferior from the superior (Acts 12:20); by a beggar from the giver (Acts 3:2); by the child from the parent (Matt. 7:9); by man from God (Matt. 7:7; James 1:5; 1 John 3:22).(I) To ask, with the acc. of thing in pará (3844), from (with the gen. of person). (II) Generally (Matt. 5:42; 7:9, 10; Mark 6:22–25; Luke 11:9–13; 1 John 5:14–16; Sept.: Josh. 15:18; 19:50). Spoken in respect to God, to supplicate, to pray for (Matt. 6:8; 7:11; 18:19; James 1:5, 6). With the word Theós (2316), God, implied (Matt. 7:7, 8; Col. 1:9; James 4:2, 3; Sept.: Is. 7:11, 12). In His requests to the Father, the Lord never uses aitéō, to beg, but erōtáō, to ask as an equal of the Father on behalf of Himself or His disciples (John 14:16; 16:26; 17:9, 15, 20). (III) To ask or call for, require, demand (Luke 1:63; 12:48; 23:23; Acts 3:14; 25:15; 1 Pet. 3:15; Sept.: Job 6:22; Dan. 2:49). (IV) To desire (Acts 7:46; Sept.: 1 Kgs. 19:4; Eccl. 2:10; Deut. 14:26). (Complete Word Study Dictionary- New Testament)
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask (erotao) and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request (erotao) for this.
Erotao suggests that the person making the petition is on a footing of equality or familiarity with the person he is petitioning and is the word that Jesus used when addressing God the Father. Aiteo is never used to describe Jesus' prayers to His Father. Aiteo means to ask for, with a claim on receipt of an answer. As noted aiteo more frequently suggests attitude of a suppliant, that is, of the petition of one who is lesser in position than he to whom the petition is made, as of men in asking something from God (Mt 7:7, Jas 1::5 1Jn 3:22), as of a child from a parent (Mt 7:9-10), as of a subject from a king (Acts 12:20), as of priests and people from Pilate (Lu 23:23) or finally as of a beggar from a passer by (Acts 3:2).
Webster on ask - To seek to obtain by making one’s wants known. To request; to seek to obtain by words; to petition; with of before the person to whom the request is made. Ask is not equivalent to demand, claim, and require, at least, in modern usage. Ask and request imply no right, but suppose the thing desired to be a favor.
Aiteo - 70x in 67v - NAS Usage: ask(36), asked(16), asking(7), asks(7), beg(1), called(1), making a request(1), requesting(1).
Matthew 5:42 "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
Matthew 6:8 "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 "Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 "Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
Matthew 14:7 so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.
Matthew 18:19 "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 20:20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him.
22 But Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" They said to Him, "We are able."
Matthew 21:22 "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
Matthew 27:20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.
58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.
Mark 6:22 and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you."
23 And he swore to her, "Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you; up to half of my kingdom."
24 And she went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptist."
25 Immediately she came in a hurry to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."
Mark 10:35 James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, "Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You."
38 But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
Mark 11:24 "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.
Mark 15:8 The crowd went up and began asking him to do as he had been accustomed to do for them.
43 Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.
Luke 1:63 And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, "His name is John." And they were all astonished.
Luke 6:30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
Luke 11:9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
10 "For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.
11 "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?
12 "Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?
13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"
Luke 12:48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
Luke 23:23 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail.
25 And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.
52 this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
John 4:9 Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."
John 11:22 "Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You."
John 14:13 "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
John 15:7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
16 "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
John 16:23 "In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.
24 "Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
26 "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf;
Acts 3:2 And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple.
14 "But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
Acts 7:46 "David found favor in God's sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.
Acts 9:2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Acts 12:20 Now he was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and with one accord they came to him, and having won over Blastus the king's chamberlain, they were asking for peace, because their country was fed by the king's country.
Acts 13:21 "Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
28 "And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed.
Acts 16:29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,
Acts 25:3 requesting a concession against Paul, that he might have him brought to Jerusalem (at the same time, setting an ambush to kill him on the way).
15 and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him.
1 Corinthians 1:22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
Ephesians 3:13 Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
Colossians 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
James 4:2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
1 John 3:22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
1 John 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.
Aiteo - 66v in the Septuagint - Ex 3:22; 11:2; 12:35; 22:14; Dt 10:12; 18:16; Josh 14:12; 15:18; 19:50; 21:42; Jdg 1:14; 5:25; 8:24, 26; 1Sa 1:17, 20, 27; 8:10; 12:17, 19; 2Sa 3:13; 12:20; 1Kgs 2:16, 20, 22; 3:5, 10f, 13; 10:13; 12:24; 19:4; 2Kgs 2:9f; 4:3, 28; 1Chr 4:10; 2Chr 1:7, 11; 9:12; 11:23; Ezra 6:9; 7:21; 8:22; Neh 13:6; Esther 8:12; Job 6:22, 25; Ps 2:8; 21:4; 27:4; 40:6; 78:18; 105:40; Prov 30:7; Eccl 2:10; Isa 7:11-12; 58:2; Lam 4:4; Dan 2:49; 6:7, 12f; Mic 7:3; Zech 10:1
Here are some representative uses of aiteo in the Septuagint…
Ps 2:8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, And the [very] ends of the earth as Thy possession.
Ps 27:4 One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to meditate in His temple.
Aiteo and erotao are frequently translated as though they were synonymous. In numerous instances it is correct to translate either word by "to ask," though sometimes the translators of the Authorized Version marred the perspicuity of their work by not varying their words where the original indicates a difference. For example, obliterating the distinction between aitein and erotan in John 16:23 might easily suggest a wrong interpretation of the verse as though its two clauses were closely related and directly antithetical, which is not the case. Our English version reads: "In that day you will ask Me nothing [eme ouk erotesete ouden]. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask [hora an aitesete] the Father in my name He will give you." All competent scholars agree that the "you will ask" in the first half of the verse has nothing to do with the "you ask" in the second. In the first half Christ is referring back to the ethelon auton erotan of John 16:19 to the questions the disciples wanted to ask him, the perplexities they wanted him to resolve if only they dared to ask. "In that day," he would say, "in the day of my seeing you again I will by the Spirit so teach you all things that you will be no longer perplexed, no longer wishing to ask me questions [cf. John 21:12], if only you might venture to do so." Thus Lampe well stated:
It is a new promise for the fullest light of understanding, by which the situation in the New Testament must be properly illuminated. For as an inquiry presupposes ignorance, so the person who no more asks questions believes that he has been fully taught, and he agrees to a teaching as completely explained and understood.
This verse does not draw a contrast between asking the Son, which will cease, and asking the Father, which will begin. The first half of the verse closes the declaration of one blessing: from now on the Spirit will teach them so that they will have nothing further to inquire; the second half of the verse begins the declaration of a new blessing: whatever they seek from the Father in the Son's name, he will give to them. No one would say that this is the impression conveyed by the English text.
The distinction between aiteo and erotao is as follows. Aiteo is the more submissive and suppliant term. It is consistently used to refer to an inferior's seeking something from a superior (Acts 12:20), of a beggar's seeking alms from a potential donor (Acts 3:2), of a child's seeking something from a parent (Lamentations 4:4; Matthew 7:9; Luke 6:11), of a subject's seeking something from a ruler (Ezra 8:22), and of a man's seeking something from God. In classical Greek, erotao never means "to ask" but only "to interrogate," or "to inquire." Like rogare (inquire), erotao implies an equality between the one who asks and the one who is askedas a king with another king (Luke 14:32) or if not equality, then a familiarity that lends authority to the request.
It is noteworthy that Jesus never used aitein or aiteisthai to refer to himself when speaking to God on behalf of his disciples, for his is not the petition of the creature to the Creator but the request of the Son to the Father. Jesus' consciousness of his equal dignity and prevailing intercession appears whenever he asks (or declares that he will ask) anything of the Father, because he always uses eroto or eroteso, an asking on equal terms (John 14:16; John 16:26; John 17:9; John 17:15; John 17:20), and never aiteo or aiteso. Martha, on the contrary, by ascribing aiteisthai to Jesus, recognized him as no more than a prophet and thus revealed her poor conception of him.
Erotan, the term of authority, is proper for Christ but not for his creatures to use. In fact, in the New Testament erotan is never used to refer to a man's prayer to God. The only passage that seems to contradict this assertion is 1 John 5:16, a difficult verse. Whatever solution is accepted will not be a true exception to the rule, and perhaps, in the substitution of erotese for the aitesei of the earlier clause of the verse, will rather confirm it. (Ask - Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament)
Request (2065)(erotao from éromai = ask) means (1) to ask for information, to put a query to someone, to ask for, usually with an implication of an underlying question (Lk 9:45, 22:68, Jn 1:25, 8:7, 9:21, 16:19; of disciples requesting or urging Jesus to eat Jn 4:31). To interrogate, to inquire (Mt 16:13, Jn 1:19, 16:5) The other major sense of erotao is (2) to ask for something in the sense of to request, to beg, to urge (Jn 4:40; 19:31, Lk 14:32, Acts 3:3). Of the rich man begging Abraham in Hades (Lk 16:27, cp similar sense of begging by the man whose son was at the point of death = Jn 4:47). In Acts 16:39 Acts 16:39 they kept begging" (Imperfect tense - over and over). Robertson notes that use of erotao in "this sense of beg or petition is common in the papyri and Koine generally. The original use of asking a question survives also."
See also Trench's Synonyms above for his discussion of aiteo and erotao.
Zodhiates adds that "A very distinct meaning of the verb erōtaō is “to pray,” but it is in contrast to the verb aiteo. Erotao provides the most delicate and tender expression for prayer or request with the one asking and the one being asked being on an equal level, such as the Lord Jesus asking of the Father. The contrast is made clear in Jn 14:13-14, where the word aiteo is used in the case of our asking God as an inferior to a superior, leaving it up to Him to do that which pleases Him. However, in John 14:16 ("I will ask [erotao] the Father and He will give you another Helper"), when the Lord Jesus is praying to the Father or asking the Father, the verb erotao is used, as also in John 17:9, 15, 20."
And so erotao is generally more conversational than aiteo and at times may express a more intimate relation between the parties than aiteo would. Jesus always used erōtaō in prayer to His Father (John 14:16), whereas the disciples use aiteo in prayers to God.
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask (erotao) and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request (erotao) for this. (1Jn 5:16)
Friberg on erotao - (1) as seeking information ask, inquire, question (Mt 19.17); (2) as making a request ask, demand, beg someone to do something (Jn 4.40); as making a request to God ask, pray (Jn 16.26)
NIDNTT on erotao - It commonly mans to ask, inquire. Jesus’ asking and counter-questions were part of his teaching method, designed to expose the person concerned to the implications of his own questions or make him reflect on his attitudes (e.g. Mt. 16:13; 19:17; 21:24; Mk. 8:5; Lk. 20:3). But it is also used of the theological questions put by the disciples (Mk. 4:10; Lk. 9:45; Acts 1:6). Jn. 16:23 implies that in the future salvation there will be no need to ask Jesus further questions. Asking implies imperfect knowledge which will be overcome by perfect fellowship with Jesus (cf. Jn. 16:30; cf. Jn 16:5, 19). Conversely Jesus does not need to ask questions, for he knows already what is in man (Jn. 2:25). Apart from Jn. 9:2 and the final discourses, the disciples are never said to ask Jesus. In John asking is characteristic of the doubting, contentious questions of the Jews (Jn. 1:19, 21, 25; 4:31, 40, 47; 5:12; 8:7; 9:15, 19, 21, 23; 18:19, 21; 19:31, 38). But it may be compared with the question of the Greeks (Jn 12:21) and those of Jesus (Jn 14:16; 17:9, 15, 20; of the intercession of Jesus, where Jesus asks things for his disciples of the Father). The verb is used of the efficacy of intercession in 1Jn. 5:16. The use here of the verb of the praying believer extends to him a sense of the verb which in Jn. is only applied to Jesus. H. Greeven thinks that the use of erōtaō in the sense of to pray may be a Semitism (TDNT II 686 f.). In 2 Jn. 5 it describes the action of the author in begging his readers to follow love (cf. 2Jn 1:6). In Acts 1:6 it means to ask (a question). Elsewhere it generally means to request: of the disciples to Jesus (Mt. 15:23; Lk. 4:38); of the Jews to Pilate (Jn. 19:31); and in the Lucan writings of invitations (Lk. 7:36; 11:37; Acts 10:48; 18:20). In Lk. 14:18f. it has the polite, weakened sense of “I pray you”.
Vine on erotao - more frequently suggests that the petitioner is on a footing of equality or familiarity with the person whom he requests. It is used of a king in making request from another king, Luke 14:32; of the Pharisee who "desired" Christ that He would eat with him, an indication of the inferior conception he had of Christ, Luke 7:36; cp. Luke 11:37; John 9:15; 18:19 .
In this respect it is significant that the Lord Jesus never used aiteo in the matter of making request to the Father. "The consciousness of His equal dignity, of His potent and prevailing intercession, speaks out in this, that as often as He asks, or declares that He will ask anything of the Father, it is always erotao, an asking, that is, upon equal terms, John 14:16; 16:26; 17:9,15,20 , never aiteo, that He uses. Martha, on the contrary, plainly reveals her poor unworthy conception of His person, that … she ascribes that aiteo to Him which He never ascribes to Himself, John 11:22 " (Trench, Syn. xl).
In passages where both words are used, the distinction should be noticed, even if it cannot be adequately represented in English. In John 16:23 , "in that day ye shall ask Me nothing," the verb is erotao, whereas in the latter part of the verse, in the sentence, "If ye shall ask anything of the Father," the verb is aiteo. The distinction is brought out in the RV margin, which renders the former clause "Ye shall ask Me no question," and this meaning is confirmed by the fact that the disciples had been desirous of "asking" Him a question (arotao, John 16:19 ). If the Holy Spirit had been given, the time for "asking" questions from the Lord would have ceased. In John 14:14 , where, not a question, but a request is made by the disciples, aiteo, is used.
Both verbs are found in 1 John 5:16 : in the sentence "he shall ask, and God will give him life for them that sin not unto death," the verb is aiteo, but with regard to the sin unto death, in the sentence "not concerning this do I say that he shall make request," the verb is erotao.
Later, the tendency was for erotao to approximate to aiteo. (Ask - Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words)
In classical Greek erōtaō usually means “to ask a question” in order to gain information. It may also mean “to challenge a person” or “to request something from someone.” In the Septuagint the primary meaning of erōtaō is “to ask for information.” Another use of erōtaō in the Septuagint is in connection with prayers to God. Prayers using erōtaō are generally requests for guidance. The Christian use of erōtaō in prayers to God is documented by an inscription in a Roman catacomb (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
Webster on request - To ask; to solicit; to express desire for. To express desire to; to ask. We requested a friend to accompany us.
Erotao - 63x in 61v - NAS Usage: ask(15), ask a question(1), asked(14), asking(11), asks(3), beg(1), begging(1), implored(1), imploring(1), make request(1), please(2), question(5), questioned(2), request(4), requesting(1), urging(1). Note the majority of uses in John.
Matthew 15:23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, "Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us."
Matthew 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
Matthew 19:17 And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
Matthew 21:24 Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.
Mark 4:10 As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables.
Mark 7:26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
Mark 8:5 And He was asking them, "How many loaves do you have?" And they said, "Seven."
Luke 4:38 Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's home. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her.
Luke 5:3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat.
Luke 7:3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave.
36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.
Luke 8:37 And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned.
Luke 9:45 But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.
Luke 11:37 Now when He had spoken, a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch with him; and He went in, and reclined at the table.
Luke 14:18 "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, 'I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.'
19 "Another one said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.'
32 "Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
Luke 16:27 "And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house--
Luke 19:31 "If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' you shall say, 'The Lord has need of it.'"
Luke 20:3 Jesus answered and said to them, "I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me:
Luke 22:68 and if I ask a question, you will not answer.
Luke 23:3 So Pilate asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?" And He answered him and said, "It is as you say."
John 1:19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"
21 They asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" And he said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No."
25 They asked him, and said to him, "Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"
John 4:31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."
40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.
47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death.
John 5:12 They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Pick up your pallet and walk '?"
John 8:7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
John 9:2 And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?"
15 Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, "He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see."
19 and questioned them, saying, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?"
21 but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself."
John 12:21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
John 14:16 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
John 16:5 "But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?'
19 Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, "Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, 'A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me'?
23 "In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask () the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.
26 "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf;
30 "Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God."
John 17:9 "I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;
15 "I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.
20 "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;
John 18:19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching.
John 18:21 "Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said." (Note: KJV has eperotao in both instances of "question" but aiteo in more modern manuscripts).
John 19:31 Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body.
Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?"
Acts 3:3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.
Acts 10:48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.
Acts 16:39 and they came and appealed to them, and when they had brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city.
Acts 18:20 When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he did not consent,
Acts 23:18 So he took him and led him to the commander and said, "Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you."
20 And he said, "The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him.
Philippians 4:3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
1 Thessalonians 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.
1 Thessalonians 5:12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction,
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,
1 John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.
2 John 1:5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.
Erotao - 54v in the Septuagint - Ge 24:47, 57; 32:17, 29; 37:15; 40:7; 43:7, 27; 44:19; Ex 3:13; 13:14; Deut 6:20; 13:14; Josh 4:6, 21; Jdg 4:20; 13:6, 18; 18:5, 15; 20:18, 23; 1Sa 10:4; 19:22; 22:10, 13, 15; 23:4; 25:5, 8; 30:21; 2Sa 5:19; 8:10; 20:18; 1Chr 14:10, 14; 18:10; Ezra 5:9-10; Neh 1:2; Job 21:29; 38:3; 40:7; 42:4; Ps 35:11; 122:6; Isa 41:28; 45:11; Jer 6:16; 18:13; 23:33; 30:6; 36:17; 37:17; 38:14, 27; 48:19; 50:5; Da 2:10
In the Septuagint the primary meaning of erōtaō is “to ask for information.” A fairly common use of erōtaō in the Septuagint is in connection with prayers to God. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you.