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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The DEEP

The Witness

of eternal life.

1 John 5:9–12

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

This continues the point of the previous passage, which cited the witness of the Spirit and the water and the blood. Those three are the witness of God.

John’s point is to those who received the witness of men (believers). He’s saying that the witness of God is even greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. “This” is the Spirit and the water and the blood.

In other words, receiving the witness of men is nice and all that, but recognize how much greater the witness of God is. The believer has the witness in himself (the aforementioned Spirit).

This is all to set up how extreme the difference between the believer and the non-believer is. Rejection of the testimony makes God to be a liar.

Then John takes his point about the testimony a step further. The testimony isn’t just that Jesus is God’s Son; it’s that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

John then drops the hammer with this oft quoted verse: He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

The Daily Dose of Greek lesson on 1 John 5:12 notes that this would be more literally translated as, “He who has the Son has this life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have this life.

Eternal life.


This starkly divides humanity into two distinct groups: those with (eternal) life and those without it. It’s a harsh warning.

Except that 1 John isn’t written to warn non-believers; it’s written to believers. The stark comparison between believers and non-believers is important, but it’s the believers that John wants to be informed about this.

So, this isn’t to warn them; it’s to encourage them. These were tough times for Christians back then.

They could use some encouragement.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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