1 John 5:18 Commentary

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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Overview Chart - 1 John - Charles Swindoll
Conditions of
Cautions of
Meaning of 
1 Jn 1:1-2:27
Manifestations of
1 Jn 2:28-5:21
Abiding in
God's Light
Abiding in 
God's Love
Written in Ephesus
circa 90 AD
From Talk Thru the Bible

1 John 5:18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him:

Greek - Oidamen (1PRAI) hoti pas o gegennemenos (RPPMSN) ek tou theou ouch hamartanei (3SPAI) all o gennetheis (APPMSN) ek tou theou terei (3SPAI) auton kai o poneros ouch haptetai (3SPMI) autou:

Amplified - We know [absolutely] that anyone born of God does not [deliberately and knowingly] practice committing sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him [Christ’s divine presence within him preserves him against the evil], and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch [him].

NLT We know that God's children do not make a practice of sinning, for God's Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.

  • No one: 1Jn 5:1,4 2:29 3:9 4:6 Joh 1:13 3:2-5 Jas 1:18 1Pe 1:23
  • keeps: 1Jn 5:21 3:3 Ps 17:4 18:23 39:1 119:101 Pr 4:23 Joh 15:4,7,9 Ac 11:23 Jas 1:27 Jude 1:21,24 Rev 2:13 3:8-10
  • evil 1Jn 2:13,14 3:12
  • See comments on Born Again in John 3
  • 1 John 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


See multiple articles on Assurance of Salvation

W E Vine on we know - (In 1Jn 5:18-20 John ) recalls much of what he has written before. The first of the three things is, that there is a power at the disposal of the believer enabling him to keep from sin (cp. 1Jn 2:1, 14, 20; 1Jn 3:6, 9; 1Jn 4:13; 1Jn 5:4). The second is, that this power is consequent upon the new birth, and is realized in separation from the world (cp. 1Jn 2:29; 1Jn 3:9; 1Jn 5:4, 5). The third is, that, by reason of the new birth, we have an anointing from God and an abiding relationship with the Father and with the Son (cp. 1Jn 2:3, 27; 1Jn 3:2, 24; 1Jn 4:7, 12, 15, 16).

Hiebert - The fact of human sin, which is touched on in each chapter of this epistle, plagues the life of the believer and is involved in the conflicts which mark the Christian life. In this verse John declares that the born-again believer does not practice sin (1Jn 5:18), is being protected by Christ (1Jn 5:19), and is secure from the re-enslaving efforts of Satan (1Jn 5:20). (The Epistles of John- An Expositional Commentary)

Steven Cole - Although I have not studied it since my high school days, I enjoyed studying geometry. It fascinated me how you could prove theorems based on certain axioms. If those axioms were true, the rest followed in logical, step-by-step fashion. You could conclude something with certainty based on the truth of the axioms. Throughout First John, the apostle has been concerned about what we as Christians can know for certain. He began the letter with the certainty of his firsthand, eyewitness testimony of Jesus Christ (1Jn 1:1-4). In 1Jn 2:3, he wrote, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” He writes to the fathers, because they know Him who has been from the beginning (1Jn 2:13). He writes to the children, because they know the Father (1Jn 2:14). He says (1Jn 3:14), “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren.” In my English concordance, I counted 36 instances of the word know in First John. As he concludes the letter, John drives home this theme. He sums up his purpose (1Jn 5:13), “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” In 1Jn 5:15, “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.” Now, in the final section, three times again he uses this word, at the beginning of 1Jn 5:18, 19, 20: “We know… we know« we know«.” John wants us to be certain about these important truths. He is still countering the false teachers and their destructive claims of secret knowledge. 1Jn 5:18, 19, and 20 are in one sense just a review of what has already been said. You tend to read these verses and think, “Got it! Got it! Got it!” You think that you’ve passed the course, that you’ve got the material down just fine. Then John throws a final fastball right by us (1Jn 5:21): “Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” You stand there flat-footed, thinking, “Where did that come from?” He hasn’t been saying anything about idolatry. He hasn’t mentioned it in the entire book. So, at first glance, it seems out of context. But as you think about it, it sums up his entire message. Idolatry is making up your own god as a substitute for the one true God, who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. The false teachers were doing just that. They were offering a false god of speculation, not the one true God of revelation. So John’s final words are a warning against adopting the errors of man-made religion. We can sum up his message in 1Jn 5:18-21: Because of what we know about our relationship with God, we must guard ourselves from idols. (1 John 5:18-21 Knowing This, Guard Yourself)

David Smith titles this verse "Our Security through the Guardianship of Christ. The child of God may fall into sin, but he does not continue in it; he is not under its dominion. Why? Because, though he has a malignant foe, he has also a vigilant Guardian."

We know (1492)(eido/oida) means we have a settled (perfect tense) intuitive knowledge, knowledge which is divinely imparted. We know this beyond a shadow of a doubt! This is the first of three things we know (1Jn 5:18, 19, 20) in John's concluding remarks. And the first thing we know is that no one who is born of God lives in sin (as their habitual, unremitting practice). In 1Jn 5:17-note he has just written that there is a sin not leading to death and he wants to make sure his readers understand that it never normal for the child of God to sin with continual reckless abandon. This verse is essentially a repetition of his teaching in 1Jn 3:4-10-note summed up with the truth that "No one who is born of God practices (present tense = as their lifestyle) sin“ (1Jn 3:9-note). John is not saying a true believer never sins (perfection) (in fact we do = 1Jn 1:8, 10; 1Jn 2:1; 1Jn 5:16), but he is saying that the direction of their life is toward godliness and righteousness.

W E Vine feels that John's three successive uses of eido/oida at the end of his letter are "obviously designed as against the boasted and spurious “knowledge” of the Gnostics." Christian gnosis trumps Gnostic gnosis!

In 1Jn 3:9-note John explains a true believer cannot live perpetually in sin "because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin (habitually), because he is born of God." And so the new birth results in His seed now living in the believer and giving them a new nature (2Pe 1:4-note), a new desire and a new power (Php 2:13NLT-note) to live victoriously over the old sin nature (cp Ro 6:11-note, Ro 6:12-14-note).

Beloved, be aware (like a Berean Acts 17:11) that there is an aberrant (that is euphemistic!) teaching going around in "evangelical" circles and this teaching says you can be saved and then spend the rest of your days on earth living in sin (Zane Hodges is a proponent of this "Gnostic-like" doctrine).

Steven Cole on this "aberrant" teaching says "that is exactly what the Gnostics in John’s day claimed. They drew a distinction between the material body and the spirit. If you confronted them with frequenting prostitutes, they would have claimed, “That was just my body; my spirit is not tainted by that, it is pure!” John is saying, “That is nonsense!” He says (1Jn 3:7-8a), “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil.” You can normally tell by looking at a man whether he is a child of God or not. So, both in chapter 3 and in our text, John is saying that the new birth has an obvious result, namely, a righteous life. (Ed: Notice he did not say "perfect" life for that must await our day of glorification. Maranatha, Lord Jesus. Amen) While true believers do fall into sin, they cannot live in it indefinitely. The changed nature results in changed behavior. If a pig falls into a mud hole, he wallows in it and doesn’t try to get out, because that is its nature. But if a sheep falls in a mud hole, it wants to get out, get cleaned up, and avoid that hole in the future, because it has a different nature. So it is with a true child of God. (1 John 5:18-21 Knowing This, Guard Yourself)

Born (1080)(gennao from genos = offspring, in turn from ginomai = to become) means has been begotten and the perfect tense signifies the abiding effect of our new birth. In other words, everyone God has been saved in the past continues to give evidence of that fact in the present (in context they do not habitually keep on sinning). Our new birth is not a passing experience, but a new nature that continues to produce spiritual change in us (cp "we are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory" - 2Cor 3:18)

Wuest adds that the perfect tense signifies that "The relationship between God and the believer as Father and child is a permanent one." (Word Studies) So even the tense of the verb supports the doctrine of eternal security! Once saved, always saved! The caveat is one must be genuinely saved! Asking Jesus into one's heart and living the rest of your life like the devil is absolutely not evidence of genuine salvation contrary to what some evangelical scholars write! Do not be deceived, dear reader! (Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)

Sins (264)(hamartano) literally means to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize). Hamartano means to act contrary to the will and law of God. To commit a wrong. To be in error. Hamartano means to err (err is from Latin errare = to wander or to stray!) which means to wander from the right way, to deviate from the true course or purpose and so to violate an accepted standard of conduct. To err is to miss the right way. To err means to deviate from the path or line of duty. To stray by design or mistake. To err is to stray from God and/or His commandments.

The present tense speaks of continual, habitual, persistent sinning! While a believer is not sinless, the fact is that he sins less! If he doesn't than there is a serious question as to whether he (or she) has ever truly been born again! A T Robertson "Lineal present active indicative, “does not keep on sinning,” as he has already shown in 1Jn 3:4–10."

Hiebert comments that in 1Jn 5:16 "John notes that if a brother sins, his Christian brother will intercede for him; here he asserts that “whosoever is born of God sinneth not.” This apparent contradiction illustrates the tension produced by sin in the believer. Plummer explains: “The one statement refers to possible but exceptional facts; the other to the habitual state. A child of God may sin; but his normal condition is one of resistance to sin.”" (The Epistles of John- An Expositional Commentary)

But - While this normally introduces a strong contrast, in the present context it seems more plausible to see it as giving the reason that those born of God cannot sin habitually. Why? In a word God keeps (guards, watches over) him!" Note that the KJV has "keeps himself" but all modern translations favor keeps him, so that the keeping is not a result of our power but God's power! That certainly would be what we see elsewhere. E.g., Peter writes that believers "are protected (tereo in the ) by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1Pe 1:5)

He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him - The NET Note says this is "extraordinarily difficult" to interpret. This commentary will not go into the different possibilities but if you are interested in more detail see the NET Note on this verse (1Jn 5:18 = select note #49).

He who was born of God - This speaks of the Son Who was born of God in His incarnation. Vincent adds that the verb is literally "was begotten. This exact phrase does not occur elsewhere. Some refer it to the man who is born of God, making it parallel with he that is begotten of God. Others to Christ, the only-begotten of God. The latter is preferable."

Was born (1080)(gennao) or "was begotten" now in the aorist tense which "points to a fact in the past and most agree refers to the Son of God, “the Only Begotten from the Father” (John 1:14), in contrast to the evil one. Christ is the keeper." (Vine) While the KJV translation would lead one to identify this as a believer, it is notable that John has heretofore used only the perfect tense when describing believers (in his gospel and epistles), and his switching tenses in the same verse supports the premise that now he is referring to Christ and not a believer.

Hiebert on He Who was born of God - As used of Christ, the aorist tense participle has been differently understood. Thus Lias remarks that “the Son’s generation is an eternal fact, incapable of alteration, addition, or completion” whereas Smalley suggests that the aorist tense refers “to the specific event, in the past, of the birth of Jesus.”58 The former seems preferable, pointing to His eternal Sonship. (The Epistles of John- An Expositional Commentary)

Wuest agrees with Lias (above) and explains born of God as referring to "the Son of God, (Who is) Son of God by eternal generation from God the Father in a birth that never took place because it always was." (Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)

In His prayer to His Father, Jesus alludes to His keeping power declaring "While I was with them, I was keeping (tereo in the imperfect tense = continued to keep, over and over, again and again watched over and preserved) them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded (phulasso ~ like a sentinel guarding his post) them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled." (John 17:12).

Similarly in Jesus' words to the church at Philadelphia, He declared "Because you have kept (tereo) the word of My perseverance, I also will keep (tereo) you from the hour of testing, that [hour] which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth." (Rev 3:10-note)

Jude also refers to God's keeping power - "Now to Him Who is able (dunamai in the present tense - continually has the inherent ability or power) to keep (phulasso ~ like a sentinel guarding his post) you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, [be] glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25-note)

Keeps (5083)(tereo from teros - a guard or warden) means to keep an eye on, to keep watch over or or to attend carefully. The idea is guarding something which is in one’s possession (believers are God's possession - cp Titus 2:14-note) watching as one would some precious thing. Jesus uses tereo in his "job description" of a genuine Christ follower (disciple) in Mt 28:20 ("teaching them to observe all that I commanded you").

Note that tereo is in the present tense which speaks God's continually watching carefully over us, protecting us, guarding us from evil!

Hiebert adds that tereo in the present tense "describes Christ’s continued action of preserving the believer from the dangers threatening him. Well aware of his own weaknesses and failures, the Spirit-guided believer can rejoice in the assurance that his own safekeeping does not depend solely upon his own efforts. “Our security is not our grip on Christ but His grip on us.” (David Smith) This, of course, does not imply that he can be indifferent to or relax his efforts to keep the commandments of God, but he knows that apart from the divine empowerment his own efforts would be ineffectual. He rejoices in the fact that “it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13-note)." (The Epistles of John- An Expositional Commentary)

Tereo is a favorite verb of John in this epistle, one that he uses to describe the believer's response to God's commandments - see 1Jn 2:3-5; 1Jn 3:22, 24; 1Jn 5:2, 3


The Apostle John does not point out in this Epistle how regeneration can take place, because that he had already done in his Gospel, particularly John 1:12, 13+, and the whole of chapter 3. Here in his Epistle he points out the proofs whereby we may know we are born from above.

I. Faith is both the condition and the proof of regeneration. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1+).

II. Love. “Every one that loveth is born of God” (1 John 4:7+).

III. Life. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (margin, “practice”) sin; or as W., “No one who is a child of God is habitually guilty of sin” (1 John 3:9+). This is to say, one of the clearest proofs of the new birth is to be found in the fact that a new life is begun. Not a life of sin as before, but a life of victory—there may be, there usually is, especially in the early days, lapses into sin, but not a life of sin. By and by we learn the secret of full victory.

IV. Overcomes. “For whosoever is born of God overcometh the world” (1 John 5:4+).

V. Kept. “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not, but He that was begotten of God (i.e., the Lord Jesus) keepeth him” (1 John 5:18+, R.V.). The begotten one is kept by the only Begotten of the Father. And the result?

VI. Holiness. Personal holiness. “Every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:29+).

(James Smith - Handfuls on Purpose)

Hiebert on the conjunction and - With “and” John sets side by side the rival supernatural realms contending for control over and possession of the individual human being. (Ibid)

The evil one does not touch him - The mention of the evil one emphasizes the believer's great need for Christ's keeping power which was just described.

Evil one (wicked one) (ho poneros) - More literally "That evil one" or "The evil one." "The title “that wicked one” (ho ponēros) underlines the malicious, evil-minded nature of the Devil as the active enemy of the believer. As Morgan observes, “Ruined himself, his whole purpose and effort are to ruin others. Wickedness is the element in which he lives and delights.”" (Hiebert)

Evil (wicked) (4190)(poneros from poneo = work or toil, Robertson says the idea is that labor is an annoyance, bad, evil) means evil including evil, malignant character, pernicious, that which is morally or socially worthless, wicked, base, bad, degenerate. Poneros denotes determined, aggressive, and fervent evil that actively opposes what is good. Poneros is not just bad in character (like kakos), but bad in effect (injurious)! Poneros describes evil in active opposition to good. It means not only evil in its nature but viciously evil in its influence and actively harmful. See also devil (diabolos).

Most agree that poneros in this context is used to describe Satan (ho poneros = "Evil one"), the god of this age, who is corrupting man and dragging him to destruction. This denotes someone who is not content in being corrupt themselves. They seek to corrupt others and draw them into the same destruction!

A T Robertson adds that poneros is "Masculine and personal as in 1Jn 2:13, not neuter, and probably Satan as in Mt. 6:13, not just any evil man.)"

Wuest - The word refers to Satan who is not content to perish in his own corruption, but seeks to drag everyone else down with himself to his final doom. (Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)

The evil one does not touch him - John is not saying Satan cannot attack us, because he can. Paul describes the "fiery missiles of the evil one" that he can shoot at us. Peter describes him as a "roaring lion seeking whom he can devour." He can tempt us and sift us like wheat (Luke 22:31). And the list goes on. What John is saying is that Satan cannot touch us

Cole adds that the idea is not that the evil one cannot assault us as described above but that he "cannot lay hold of us to make us captives of sin for the rest of our lives. We may fall into his evil clutches and end up in Doubting Castle, as Bunyan’s pilgrim did, but we have the key to escape and get back on the path to the Celestial City. John says that we know that no one born of God continues in sin. But in light of the false teaching that true Christians can live apart from the lordship of Christ, I wonder if we really do know this today!" (1 John 5:18-21 Knowing This, Guard Yourself)

In a sense John's words are an amplification of Jesus' prayer to His Father, in which He repeatedly alluded to our protection from the world system and its evil leader - "And I am no more in the world; and [yet] they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep (tereo in the aorist imperative which conveys a sense of urgency) them in Thy name, [the name] which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We [are.] 12“While I was with them, I was keeping (tereo) them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded (phulasso like a sentinel on guard duty!) them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 “But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 “I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep ((tereo) them from the evil [one.] (Jn 17:11-15)

In Job 1:11 (cp Job 2:5) Satan says to God "But put forth Your hand now and touch (hapto in aorist imperative) all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face." In Job 1:12 Jehovah tells Satan "do not put forth your hand on him" (clearly to harm him - the Lxx translates the Hebrew with hapto/haptomai).

Touch (681)(hapto/haptomai where haptomai is the middle voice which constitutes the majority of uses) means to grasp, to lay hold of with the basic meaning of touching for the purpose of manipulating. Hapto conveys the sense handling of an object as to exert a modifying influence upon it or upon oneself. The majority of the 39 uses are in the Gospels and are associated with Jesus touching someone (or someone touching Him) usually with a beneficial effect. In contrast the use in 1Jn 5:18 speaks of touching with the intent of a negative or harmful effect (cp harmful sense in Lxx of Ge 26:11, Ex 19:12). Four uses refer to lighting a lamp (Lk 8:17, 11:33, 15:8) or kindling a fire (Acts 28:2). Paul uses it of touching a woman, apparently a euphemism for sexual contact (2Cor 7:1, cp Abimelech "had not come near" [Lxx = haptomai] Sarah - Ge 20:4,6; see hapto in Pr 6:29). In Ge 32:25 (cp Ge 32:32)

Hapto/haptomai is used over 100 times in the Septuagint (Lxx). The first use of hapto in Ge 3:3 is by the woman who misquoted God's command saying "You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’” God touched the socket of Jacob's thigh resulting in dislocation while they wrestled! Hapto/haptomai is used in Leviticus numerous times of touching something with a negative impact (the majority of uses are negative and refer to touching something unclean e.g., Lev 5:2) or positive impact (consecrated - Lev 6:27). In Jdg 6:21 the Angel of the LORD touched Gideon's offering of meat and it was consumed (cp 1Ki 19:7). In Ru 2:9 Boaz instructed the servants not to touch Ruth apparently referring to touching her roughly. (cp Ru 2:9NLT). 1Sa 10:26 refers to God touching hearts of the valiant men. Of the wings of the cherubim touching each other (1Ki 6:27, 2Chr 3:11). Of an angel touching Elijah (1Ki 19:5). In 1Chr 16:22 hapto/haptomai is used in a negative sense - "Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm." In Isa 6:7 (hapto used twice) the angel touched Isaiah's mouth and his iniquity was taken away. Jehovah touched (Lxx - hapto) Jeremiah's mouth, placing His words in his mouth. (Jer 1:9)

NIDNTT - Classic uses of hapto - In Homer the act. haptō has basically the meaning to fasten to, then to take hold of, kindle (i.e. to take hold of with fire). It is far more frequently found in the middle haptomai, touch, eat (i.e. touch food), attack (i.e. touch with hostility). In the classical writers of the 5th cent. it is used also for sexual relationships with women, and also means to seize, attack, concern oneself with (a work or philosophy) and finally to understand. Aristophanes tells ironically how the god of healing, Asclepius, healed miraculously by a touch. Other stories of healing by touch, whether by Asclepius, Serapis or other gods, come mostly from the 2nd and 3rd cent. A.D.

Vine explains that in this context hapto signifies “to lay hold of.” The evil one assaults, but he cannot sever the vital connection between the believer and Christ. However grievously a child of God may sin, he can never be snatched out of the hand, either of Christ or of the Father (John 10:28-29 = "no one shall snatch them out of My hand… and no one is able to snatch [them] out of the Father’s hand.")." (Comment: I would submit the truth of this verse is another one which substantiates the doctrine of our eternal security in Christ. Safe forever from being touched and snatched by the devil! Do you believe this beloved?)

Hiebert adds that the words does not touch him "declare the comforting assurance that the Devil will fail in his efforts to recapture the believer. The verb “touch” denotes more than a superficial touch but rather suggests firm contact. In the middle voice it means “lay hold on” or “fasten to,” and thus conveys the picture of the evil one seeking to fasten his grip on the believer; the present tense depicts his persistent effort. Although the verb may be used benevolently to bless, here it clearly conveys a hostile intention. Satan will assail the believer, but his slimy fingers will never regain an abiding grip on the redeemed soul. His attacks may be vicious and inspire fear, but the promise is that he will never destroy the true child of God. The security of the saint, even when he is tempted and sins, lies in the intercessory action of Christ on his behalf (cf. Luke 22:31–32). (The Epistles of John- An Expositional Commentary) (Bolding added)

Robertson on does not touch him - Present middle indicative of haptō, elsewhere in John only John 20:17. It means to lay hold of or to grasp rather than a mere superficial touch (thigganō, both in Col. 2:21). Here the idea is to touch to harm. The devil cannot snatch such a man from Christ (John 6:38-39)."

Vincent on touch - Both this verb (hapto) and thiggano (Col. 2:21; Heb. 11:28; 12:20) express a touch which exerts a modifying influence upon the object, though thiggano indicates rather a superficial touch… The idea here is layeth not hold of him.

Vincent on hapto used in John 20:17 ("Stop clinging [present imperative] to Me") The verb, primarily, means to fasten to. Hence it implies here, not a mere momentary touch, but a clinging to. Mary thought that the old relations between her Lord and herself were to be renewed; that the old intercourse, by means of sight, sound, and touch, would go on as before. Christ says, “the time for this kind of intercourse is over. Henceforth your communion with me will be by faith through the Spirit. This communion will become possible through my ascending to the Father.”

David Smith says, “There is no comfort in the thought that we are in our own keeping; our security is not in our grip on Christ but His grip on us.”

Hapto - 39x in 37v - NAS Usage: clinging(1), handle(1), kindled(1), light(1), lighting(2), touch(13), touched(19), touching(1).

Matthew 8:3 Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him.

Matthew 9:20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak;

21 for she was saying to herself, "If I only touch His garment, I will get well."

29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, "It shall be done to you according to your faith."

Matthew 14:36 and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.

Matthew 17:7 And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, "Get up, and do not be afraid."

Matthew 20:34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.

Mark 1:41 Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed."

Mark 3:10 for He had healed many, with the result that all those who had afflictions pressed around Him in order to touch Him.

Mark 5:27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak.

28 For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I will get well."

30 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?"

31 And His disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'"

Mark 6:56 Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.

Mark 7:33 Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva;

Mark 8:22 And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Jesus and implored Him to touch him.

Mark 10:13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.

Luke 5:13 And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately the leprosy left him.

Luke 6:19 And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.

Luke 7:14 And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!"

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner."

Luke 8:16 "Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light.

44 came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.

45 And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You."

46 But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me."

47 When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.

Luke 11:33 "No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.

Luke 15:8 "Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?

Luke 18:15 And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them.

Luke 22:51 But Jesus answered and said, "Stop! No more of this." And He touched his ear and healed him.

John 20:17 Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'"

Acts 28:2 The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.

1 Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

2 Corinthians 6:17 (quoting Isa 52:11) "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH (present imperative) WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.

Colossians 2:21 "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!"

1 John 5:18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.


Hapto - 103 verses in the Septuagint - Ge 3:3; 20:4, 6; 26:11; 32:25, 32; Exod 19:12f; 29:37; 30:29; Lev 5:2f; 6:18, 27; 7:19, 21; 11:8, 24, 26f, 31, 36, 39; 12:4; 15:5, 7, 10ff, 19, 21ff, 27; 22:4ff; Num 3:10, 38; 4:15; 16:26; 17:13; 19:11, 13, 16, 18, 21f; 31:19; Deut 14:8; Josh 9:19; Judg 6:21; Ruth 2:9; 1 Sam 6:9; 10:26; 2 Sam 5:8; 14:10; 1 Kgs 6:27; 19:5, 7; 2 Kgs 13:21; 15:5; 1 Chr 16:22; 2 Chr 3:11f; Job 1:11f, 19; 2:5; 4:5; 5:19; 19:21; 20:6; 31:7; Ps 104:32; 105:15; 144:5; Prov 6:29; 9:17; Isa 6:7; 52:11; Jer 1:9; 4:10, 18; 12:14; 48:32; Lam 4:14f; Ezek 17:10; 41:6; 42:14; Dan 3:27; 4:22; 8:5, 18; 9:21; 10:10, 16, 18; Mic 1:9; Hag 2:12f; Zech 2:8


I think God wants the totality of this book to have its impact on us. It is dominated by the concern to give “tests of life” or effects and evidences of the new birth. He gives at least eleven evidences that we are Born Again. We could probably boil them all down to faith and love. But for now let’s let them stand the way he says them. Here they are:

1. Those who are born of God keep his commandments.

1 John 2:3-4-note: “By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

1 John 3:24-note: “Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him.”


2. Those who are born of God walk as Christ walked.

1 John 2:5-6-note: “By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

3. Those who are born of God don’t hate others but love them.

1 John 2:9-note: “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.”

1 John 3:14-note: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.”

1 John 4:7-8-note: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:20-note: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar.”

4. Those who are born of God don’t love the world.

1 John 2:15-note: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

5. Those who are born of God confess the Son and receive (have) him.

1 John 2:23-note: “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.”

1 John 4:15-note: “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

1 John 5:12-note: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

6. Those who are born of God practice righteousness.

1 John 2:29-note: “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”

7. Those who are born of God don’t make a practice of sinning.

1 John 3:6-note: “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.”

1 John 3:9-10-note: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

1 John 5:18-note: “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.”

8. Those who are born of God possess the Spirit of God.

1 John 3:24-note: “By this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”

1 John 4:13-note: “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”

9. Those who are born of God listen submissively to the apostolic Word.

1 John 4:6-note: “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

10. Those who are born of God believe that Jesus is the Christ.

1 John 5:1-note: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.”

11. Those who are born of God overcome the world.

1 John 5:4-note: “Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

Two Wrong Conclusions - One of the effects of all those “tests of life” is to overwhelm us with the sense that John may be saying: “If you’re born again, you’re perfect. If you’re born again you don’t sin at all. There is no defeat in the Christian life. There is only victory.” (ED: IF ONE IS BORN AGAIN, HE IS NOT SINLESS, BUT HE DOES SIN LESS!)

Another effect that these tests might have in our minds is to make us think we can loose our salvation. That is, we can be born again for a while and then begin to fail in these tests and die and lose the spiritual life that we were given in the new birth.

Two Key Clarifications - John is very aware that his words could be taken in these two wrong ways. So he is explicit as any writer in the New Testament that this is not the case: Christians are not sinless, and born-again people cannot lose their spiritual life and be lost.

He says in 1 John 1:8-10-note, “If we say we have no sin [present tense], we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins [present tense], he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” So John is at pains to say that “walking in the light” (1Jn 1:7-note) does not mean walking flawlessly. It means that, when you stumble, the light of Christ causes you to see it and hate it and confess it and move forward with Christ.

And John is just as jealous to make sure we don’t infer from these “tests of life” that we can be born again and then later lose our life and be lost. 1John 2:19-note is one of the clearest statements in the Bible that there is another way to understand what happens when a person abandons the church. It says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

Notice three things John says to protect us from misunderstanding. 1) Those who seemed to be born again and forsook the faith never were born again—they never were of us. “They went out from us, but they were not of us.” In other words, the explanation is not that they lost their new birth. They never had it. 2) Those who are truly born again (“of us”) will persevere to the end in faith. 1Jn 5:19b-note: “For if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” Endurance is not the cause of the new birth. The new birth is the cause of endurance, and endurance is the evidence of new birth. 3) God often makes plain who the false Christians are in the church by their eventual rejection of the truth and the people of God. Verse 19c: “But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” It became plain. And it often becomes plain today. (Everyone Who Has Been Born of God Overcomes the World)

1 John 5:17 Commentary <> 1 John 5:19 Commentary