Believe on God’s Son1; love one another (other saints2) as Christ has loved us; abide in Christ, John 13:34,35; 15:1-4; 1 John 3:24, 25. These are the commandments for Christian’s today. Christians are not under any quality of law, but rather under grace3. This does not mean that there is no standard for a Christian or that a Christian may continue in sin without any penalty4. Grace is not a license to sin; rather, through grace we are provided the ability to act righteously. The law5 of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is the standard by which we live. We fulfill the righteousness of the law of the Spirit when we are […]
1 John 3:6 Every, the one abiding, in Him does not sin. Every, the one sinning, has not seen Him with discernment nor experientially knows Him.
We do not see the change in any of our English translations with the word “sin” in this passage. ‘Sin” is used twice, once as a verb, which describes an action and once as a participle which describes a characteristic. The KJV and NAS us the same word “sin” for both forms, which actually hides the meaning from the reader. The ESV attempts to distinguish the words from the NAS and KVJ, but ends up making the same mistake. The forms of the word “sin” are very important here. A participle is a verbal noun which uses an action to describe a person or characterize them as someone who does the action stated by the verbal portion. Its focus is not on the action of the verb directly. Whereas, a verb simply looks at the action.
We have two participles that are extremely important to our understanding of this passage. First is “the one abiding”. This is one who is characterized as feeling as ease in Him (Christ). Not just simply abiding for a small period of time, off and on, but not really feeling at ease; rather, one who has settled down and feels at ease with who he or she is in Christ. In the translation above I followed the Original Greek, which makes for a bit of hard English, but also helps to bring out the truth of the passage. “Every, the one abiding” (participle), is not referring directly to the action but to the characteristic of the individual who is abiding. “every” is added in the Greek […]
In Greek class we were discussing the Middle/Passive form of the verb and looking at 1 John 3:9. I know I started speaking grammar, but don’t let that intimidate you, the truth we learned from this passage is incredible. Our major translations in English make the statement “and he cannot sin” as active; the one born from God is the one inhibiting the ability for that saint to habitually sin; however, the form of the verb is middle or passive so it actually cannot be translated that way.
Quick grammar lesson.
Middle is a voice in Greek that does not exist in English and means the subject is not only producing the action of the verb, but also receiving the action. We would express a similar idea with “he did this for himself (or his own benefit)”; although that is a bit more reflective than middle voice.
Passive means that the action of the verb is being acted upon the subject.
To justify an active translation on a middle/passive form of Greek, some grammarians have come up with the concept of a “deponent verb” in error. A deponent verb is a verb that never occurs in Scripture in an active form, but these grammarians think that it should be translated as active. This not only violates the normal grammar of the Kione Greek, it is actually unsupported when you examine the words they think must be translated as active, even though their form is passive or middle. Without justifiable evidence to show that in the original language exceptions were made on a regular basis by using the wrong form of a verb to express an idea that is not inherent to its form, […]