1 John 5:5 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 5:5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?:

Greek - tis de estin (3SPAI) o nikon (PAPMSN) ton kosmon ei me o pisteuon (PAPMSN) hoti Iesous estin (3SPAI) o huios tou theou:

Amplified - Who is it that is victorious over [that conquers] the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on that fact]?

Wuest - Who is he who is constantly coming off victorious over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.?


Who is the one who overcomes the world - Since Jesus has overcome the world (Jn 16:33) all those who by grace through faith are safe in Christ are also those who overcome the world.

John MacArthur answers John's opening question noting that "Christians are victorious overcomers from the moment of salvation, when they are granted a faith that will never fail to embrace the gospel. They may experience times of doubt; they may cry out with David, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? (Ps. 13:1; cf. Ps 22:1; 27:9; 44:24; 69:17; 88:14; 102:2; 143:7; 2Ti 2:11–13). But true saving faith will never fail, because those who possess it have in Christ triumphed over every foe. The “great … cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1; cf. Ro 8:31–39)—the heroes of faith described in Hebrews 11:1-40—testify that true faith endures every trial and emerges victorious over them all. Job expressed the triumph of faith when he cried out in the midst of his trials, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15). (1-3 John- MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Overcomes (3528)(nikao) means to conquer, to be victorious or to prevail in the face of obstacles. Overcome describes the quality of a true saint who may stumble and fall but who God always picks up and he continues onward and upward in the power of the Spirit and motivated by victory Christ has won for us on the Cross. Nikao is in the present tense which identifies born again ones as continually overcoming (at least they have that potential to overcome) the fallen world. Do you feel like you are an overcomer or like the world has "overcome" you? It the latter describes you, then you are not living in the power and freedom of the new birth. Ask God's Spirit to increase your faith, not faith in faith, but faith in the One Who has overcome and faith in the completeness of His victory at Calvary. Jesus told His disciples "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome (perfect tense signifying permanence of Christ's triumph over) the world." (Jn 16:33)

Related Resource:

Believes (4100)(pisteuo from pistis; pistos; related studies the faith) means to consider what the Bible says about Jesus being the Son of God as true and worthy of one’s full, unreserved trust. To believe means that one accepts Jesus as the Son of God and the Christ or Messiah - Anointed One. He or she has a firm conviction as to the efficacy and sufficiency of the Son of God to provide propitiation (satisfaction of the righteous wrath of God - 1Jn 4:10) that we might be saved by Him (1Jn 4:14) and forever live through Him (1Jn 4:9). Pisteuo is in the which signifies that this belief is ongoing. Almost every believer's faith wavers and at times seems so small, but even in those low times we do not completely cease believing that Jesus is the Son of God.


Son of God is synonymous with Christ, i.e., Messiah - "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God, [even] He who comes into the world… but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 11:27HCSB, John 20:31HCSB)

Halley's Bible Handbook asks - Was Jesus the Son of God? This is the most important question for the Christian faith. Jesus undoubtedly was a great teacher and a great example, but if that was all He was, He can't do much for us, since we find ourselves again and again unable to live by His teachings and follow His example. The best He can do for us then is make us feel guilty. But the Bible leaves no doubt that He claimed to be the Son of God and that others knew that He was the Son of God.

Jesus is called the Son of God in all four Gospels:

  • Matthew 3:17; 4:3, 6; 8:29; 14:33; 16:16; 17:5; 26:63; 27:54
  • Mark 1:1, 11; 3:11; 5:7; 9:7; 14:61-62
  • Luke 1:32, 35; 3:22; 4:41; 9:35; 22:70
  • John 1:34, 49; 3:16, 18; 5:25; 9:35; 10:36; 19:7; 20:31

What Jesus Said About Himself -

Jesus called Himself the Son of God (John 5:25), thus making Himself equal with God (John 5:18). Three times Jesus categorically said that He was the Son of God (Mark 14:61-62; John 9:35-37; 10:36).

What Others Said About Jesus

  • Mark called Jesus "the Son of God" (Mark 1:1).
  • John called Jesus "the Son of God" (John 3:16, 18; 20:31).
  • John the Baptist called Jesus "the Son of God" (John 1:34).
  • Nathanael called Jesus "the Son of God" (John 1:49).
  • Peter called Jesus "the Son of God" (Matthew 16:16).
  • Martha called Jesus "the Son of God" (John 11:27).
  • The disciples called Jesus "the Son of God" (Matthew 14:33).
  • The angel Gabriel called Jesus "the Son of God" (Luke 1:32, 35).
  • God Himself called Jesus His own "beloved Son" (Mt 3:17 KJV; 17:5; Mk 1:11; 9:7; Lk 3:22; 9:35).
  • Evil spirits called Jesus "the Son of God" (Matthew 8:29; Mark 3:11; 5:7; Luke 4:41).
  • It was commonly recognized that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God:
  • "If you are the Son of God… " (Matthew 4:3, 6).
  • "Truly you are the Son of God" (Matthew 14:33).
  • "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross" (Matthew 27:40 KJV).
  • "He said, 'I am the Son of God'" (Matthew 27:43).
  • "Surely he was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:54).
  • "He claimed to be the Son of God" (John 19:7).
  • The Rock on which Jesus said He would build His church (Matthew 16:18) was the truth that He is the Son of God.
  • Jesus is Himself called God (John 1:1; 10:33; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Colossians 1:16; 2:9; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20; Jude 25).

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.

Son of God - 43x in 43v in NT - Matt 4:3, 6; 8:29; 26:63; 27:40, 43, 54; Mark 1:1; 3:11; 15:39; Luke 1:35; 3:38; 4:3, 9, 41; 22:70; John 1:34, 49; 3:18; 5:25; 10:36; 11:4, 27; 19:7; 20:31; Acts 8:37; 9:20; Rom 1:4; 2 Cor 1:19; Gal 2:20; Eph 4:13; Heb 4:14; 6:6; 7:3; 10:29; 1 John 3:8; 4:15; 5:5, 10, 12f, 20; Rev 2:18. Note how Satan's first ploy was to call into question the fact that Jesus is the Son of God (Mt 4:3, 6 = "If you are the Son of God… ").

Son of God, eternal Savior,
Source of life and truth and grace,
Son of Man, whose birth incarnate
Hallows all our human race,
Thou, our head who, throned in glory,
For Thine own dost ever plead,
Fill us with Thy love and pity;
Heal our wrongs, and help our need.
- Somerset Lowry

J. C. Philpot - RICHES - Overcoming the world
"Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" 1 John 5:5
A man must either overcome the world—or be overcome by it. To overcome the world is to be saved—to be overcome by it is to be lost. He, then, who does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God does not and cannot overcome the world—for he has not the faith of God's elect—he is not born of God—there is no divine life in his soul—and he has therefore no power to resist the allurements, endure the scorn, or rise superior to the frowns and smiles of the world—but is entangled, carried captive, and destroyed by it!

Where the world is loved, the heart is necessarily overcome by it—for in the love of the world, as in the love of sin, is all the strength of the world. Now unless the love of Christ in the soul be stronger than the love of the world, the weaker must give way to the stronger. Those who do not love Christ cannot overcome the world, for such are utter strangers to the faith which purifies the heart from the lust of it, to the hope which rises above it, and to the love which lifts up the soul beyond it. -J. C. Philpot. RICHES

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