The Meaning of 1 John 5:19 Explained

1 John 5:19

KJV: And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

YLT: we have known that of God we are, and the whole world in the evil doth lie;

Darby: We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the wicked one.

ASV: We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the evil one.

What does 1 John 5:19 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Moreover, we are distinct from the world system that Satan controls since we are God"s children ( 1 John 5:9-13). We need not accept the worldly teachings of antichrists ( 1 John 3:7-8) nor capitulate to worldly lusts ( 1 John 2:15-17).

Context Summary

1 John 5:13-21 - Ask According To His Will
We know that we have eternal life. The rope is in our hand bearing us onward, but its ends are hidden from view in the past and in the future. We also know that God hears us when we comply with the conditions of true prayer. We know, moreover, that we can become the medium through which the life of God passes to others. Thus the humblest child may have power with God and man.
The Only-Begotten keeps the begotten. Evil can no more touch them than blight could reach the bush in the wilderness that was bathed in the celestial fire. Who would go back to the world? Enumerate and press to heart these four items of positive knowledge; but beware lest what is legitimate and natural in itself may become an idol. Love, knowledge, abiding, conquering-these are the keynotes of this wonderful letter. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 John 5

1  He who loves God loves his children, and keeps his commandments;
3  which to the faithful are not grievous
9  Jesus is the Son of God;
14  and able to hear our prayers

Greek Commentary for 1 John 5:19

Of God [εκ του τεου]
See 1 John 3:10; 1 John 4:6 for this idiom. [source]
Lieth in the evil one [εν τωι πονηρωι κειται]
Present middle indicative of the defective verb κειμαι — keimai to lie, as in Luke 2:12. Πονηρωι — Ponērōi is masculine, like ο πονηρος — ho ponēros in 1 John 5:18. This is a terrible picture of the Graeco-Roman world of the first century a.d., which is confirmed by Paul in Romans 1 and 2 and by Horace, Seneca, Juvenal, Tacitus. [source]
We are of God [ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐσμέν]
For the phrase εἷναι ἐκ tobe from, see on John 1:46. For ἐσμέν weare, see on 1 John 3:1. John expresses the relation of believers to God by the following phrases: To be born or begotten of God, γεννηθῆναι ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ (1 John 5:1; 1 John 2:29; 1 John 4:7): denoting the initial communication of the new life. To be of God, εἷναι ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ (John 8:47; 1 John 3:10; 1 John 4:6): denoting the essential connection in virtue of the new life. Child of God, τέκνον Θεοῦ (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1, 1 John 3:10): denoting the relation established by the new life. [source]
World [κόσμος]
See on John 1:9. [source]
Lieth [κεῖται]
The word is stronger than ἐστι isindicating the passive, unprogressive state in the sphere of Satan's influence. “While we are from God, implying a birth and a proceeding forth, and a change of state, the κόσμος theworld, all the rest of mankind, remains in the hand of the evil one” (Alford). [source]
In wickedness [ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ]
Rev., better, in the evil one. The expression to lie in has a parallel in Sophocles' “Antigone:” ἐν ὑμῖν γὰρ ὡς Θεῷ κείμεθα τλάμονες “Wretched we lie in you as in a god” (247). [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 John 5:19

John 17:15 From the evil [τοῦ πονηροῦ]
Or, the evil one. This rendering is according to John's usage. See 1 John 2:13, 1 John 2:14; 1 John 3:12; 1 John 5:18, 1 John 5:19; and compare John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11. From ( ἐκ ), literally, out of, means out of the hands of. [source]
John 3:19 And this is the judgment [αυτη δε εστιν η κρισις]
A thoroughly Johannine phrase for sequence of thought (John 15:12; John 17:3; 1 John 1:5; 1 John 5:11, 1 John 5:14; 3 John 1:6). It is more precisely the process of judging The light is come Second perfect active indicative of το σκοτος — erchomai a permanent result as already explained in the Prologue concerning the Incarnation (John 1:4, John 1:5, John 1:9, John 1:11). Jesus is the Light of the world. Loved darkness Job (Job 24:13) spoke of men rebelling against the light. Here πονηρα — to skotos common word for moral and spiritual darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5), though Πονηρος — hē skotia in John 1:5. “Darkness” is common in John as a metaphor for the state of sinners (John 8:12; John 12:35, John 12:46; 1 John 1:6; 1 John 2:8, 1 John 2:9, 1 John 2:11). Jesus himself is the only moral and spiritual light of the world (John 8:12) as he dared claim to his enemies. The pathos of it all is that men fall in love with the darkness of sin and rebel against the light like denizens of the underworld, “for their works were evil In the end the god of this world blinds men‘s eyes so that they do not see the light (2 Corinthians 4:4). The fish in the Mammoth Cave have no longer eyes, but only sockets where eyes used to be. The evil one has a powerful grip on the world (1 John 5:19). [source]
Romans 3:26 Him which believeth in Jesus [τὸν ἐκ πίστεως Ἱησοῦ]
Lit., him which is of faith in Jesus. See on Romans 3:22. Some texts omit of Jesus. The expression “of faith” indicates the distinguishing peculiarity of the justified as derived from faith in Christ. For the force of ἐκ outof, see on Luke 16:31; see on John 8:23; see on John 12:49; see on 1 John 5:19. [source]
2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this world [ο τεος του αιωνος τουτου]
“Age,” more exactly, as in 1 Corinthians 1:20. Satan is “the god of this age,” a phrase nowhere else in the N.T., but Jesus uses the same idea in John 12:31; John 14:30 and Paul in Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12 and John in 1 John 5:19. Satan claimed the rule over the world in the temptations with Jesus. [source]
Ephesians 6:12 Rulers of the darkness of this world [κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τούτου]
Rev., more correctly, world-rulers of this darkness. World-Rulers only here. Compare John 14:30; John 16:11; 1 John 5:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4. [source]
1 John 5:18 We know [οἴδαμεν]
John uses this appeal to knowledge in two forms: we know (1 John 3:2, 1 John 3:14; 1 John 5:18, 1 John 5:19, 1 John 5:20); ye know (1 John 2:20; 1 John 3:5, 1 John 3:15). [source]
1 John 4:4 He that is in the world []
In 1 John 5:19, the world is said to be in the evil one. Compare Ephesians 2:2. [source]
1 John 2:13 The evil one [τὸν πονηρόν]
See on wickedness, Mark 7:22; see on evils, Luke 3:19; see on evil spirits, Luke 7:21. The prince of darkness is styled by John ὁ διάβολος thefalse accuser (John 8:44; John 13:2; 1 John 3:8, 1 John 3:10. See on Matthew 4:1): ὁ Σατανᾶς Satanthe adversary (John 13:27; compare ὁ κατήγωρ theaccuser, properly, in court, Revelation 12:10): ὁ πονηρός theevil one (John 17:15; 1 John 2:13, 1 John 2:14; 1 John 3:12; 1 John 5:18, 1 John 5:19): ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου theruler of this world (John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11). Note the abrupt introduction of the word here, as indicating something familiar. [source]
1 John 2:2 The propitiation [ιλασμος]
Late substantive from ιλασκομαι — hilaskomai (Luke 18:13; Hebrews 2:17), in lxx, Philo, Plutarch, in N.T. only here and 1 John 4:10. Christ himself is the means of propitiation for It is possible to supply the ellipsis here of των αμαρτιων — tōn hamartiōn (the sins of) as we have it in Hebrews 7:27, but a simpler way is just to regard “the whole world” as a mass of sin (1 John 5:19). At any rate, the propitiation by Christ provides for salvation for all (Hebrews 2:9) if they will only be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:19-21). [source]
1 John 2:2 For the whole world [περι ολου του κοσμου]
It is possible to supply the ellipsis here of των αμαρτιων — tōn hamartiōn (the sins of) as we have it in Hebrews 7:27, but a simpler way is just to regard “the whole world” as a mass of sin (1 John 5:19). At any rate, the propitiation by Christ provides for salvation for all (Hebrews 2:9) if they will only be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:19-21). [source]
1 John 2:15 Love not the world [μη αγαπατε τον κοσμον]
Prohibition with μη — mē and the present active imperative of αγαπαω — agapaō either stop doing it or do not have the habit of doing it. This use of κοσμος — kosmos is common in John‘s Gospel (John 1:10; John 17:14.) and appears also in 1 John 5:19. In epitome the Roman Empire represented it. See it also in James 4:4. It confronts every believer today. [source]
1 John 5:18 We know [οιδαμεν]
As in 1 John 3:2, 1 John 3:14; 1 John 5:15, 1 John 5:19, 1 John 5:20. He has “ye know” in 1 John 2:20; 1 John 3:5, 1 John 3:15. [source]
1 John 5:20 An understanding [διανοιαν]
Here alone in John‘s writings, but in Paul (Ephesians 4:18) and Peter (1 Peter 1:13). John does not use γνωσις — gnōsis (knowledge) and νους — nous (mind) only in Revelation 13:18; Revelation 17:9.That we know (ινα γινωσκομεν — hina ginōskomen). Result clause with ινα — hina and the present active indicative, as is common with ινα — hina and the future indicative (John 7:3). It is possible that here ο — o was pronounced ω — ō as a subjunctive, but many old MSS. have ινα γινωσκουσιν — hina ginōskousin (plainly indicative) in John 17:3, and in many other places in the N.T. the present indicative with ινα — hina occurs as a variant reading as in John 5:20.Him that is true That is, God. Cf. 1 John 1:8.In him that is true (εν τωι αλητινωι — en tōi alēthinōi). In God in contrast with the world “in the evil one” (1 John 5:19). See John 17:3.Even in his Son Jesus Christ The αυτου — autou refers clearly to εν τωι αλητινωι — en tōi alēthinōi (God). Hence this clause is not in apposition with the preceding, but an explanation as to how we are “in the True One” by being “in his Son Jesus Christ.”This (ουτος — houtos). Grammatically ουτος — houtos may refer to Jesus Christ or to “the True One.” It is a bit tautological to refer it to God, but that is probably correct, God in Christ, at any rate. God is eternal life (John 5:26) and he gives it to us through Christ. [source]
1 John 5:20 In him that is true [εν τωι αλητινωι]
In God in contrast with the world “in the evil one” (1 John 5:19). See John 17:3. [source]
1 John 5:20 Him that is true [τον αλητινον]
That is, God. Cf. 1 John 1:8.In him that is true (εν τωι αλητινωι — en tōi alēthinōi). In God in contrast with the world “in the evil one” (1 John 5:19). See John 17:3.Even in his Son Jesus Christ The αυτου — autou refers clearly to εν τωι αλητινωι — en tōi alēthinōi (God). Hence this clause is not in apposition with the preceding, but an explanation as to how we are “in the True One” by being “in his Son Jesus Christ.”This (ουτος — houtos). Grammatically ουτος — houtos may refer to Jesus Christ or to “the True One.” It is a bit tautological to refer it to God, but that is probably correct, God in Christ, at any rate. God is eternal life (John 5:26) and he gives it to us through Christ. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 John 5:19 mean?

We know that of - God we are and the world whole in the evil [one] lies
οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐσμεν καὶ κόσμος ὅλος ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ κεῖται

οἴδαμεν  We  know 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Indicative Active, 1st Person Plural
Root: οἶδα  
Sense: to see.
ὅτι  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅτι  
Sense: that, because, since.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Θεοῦ  God 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
ἐσμεν  we  are 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 1st Person Plural
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
κόσμος  world 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: κόσμος  
Sense: an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government.
ὅλος  whole 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ὅλος  
Sense: all, whole, completely.
πονηρῷ  evil  [one] 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: πονηρός  
Sense: full of labours, annoyances, hardships.
κεῖται  lies 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: κεῖμαι  
Sense: to lie.