This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 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. If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death. (5:14–17)
As noted above, the full experience of eternal life awaits Christians in heaven. But though they have not yet entered into their eternal inheritance (cf. 1 Peter 1:4), they have access to all of God’s resources through prayer. Parrēsia (confidence) literally means “freedom of speech” (cf. the discussion of 3:21 in chapter 13 of this volume). It can also be translated “boldness” (Acts 4:31), or “openness” (Acts 28:31). The phrase translated before Him has the sense of “in His presence.” Through Jesus Christ believers have “boldness and confident access” (Eph. 3:12) to God that enables them to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that [they] may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
The sure promise of God is that when believers boldly and freely come to Him with their requests, He will hear and answer. If we ask anything according to His will, John wrote, He hears us. 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. Hearing in this context refers to more than merely God’s being aware of believers’ requests; it also means that He grants the requests which we have asked from Him. That is nothing less than a blank check to ask God for anything, but it comes with one important qualifier: the requests must be according to His will.
To pray according to God’s will assumes first of all being saved. God is not obligated to answer the prayers of unbelievers. He may choose to do so when it suits His sovereign purposes, but God does not obligate Himself to any unbeliever. John illustrated this principle when he wrote earlier in this epistle, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (3:21–22). The Lord Jesus Christ made a similar statement, recorded in John 15:7: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you [the definition of a genuine believer], ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (cf. v. 16). Only believers, those who obey God’s commandments, can have the certainty that He will answer their prayers.
Praying according to God’s will also means confessing sin. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (cf. 1 Peter 3:7).
Again, the Lord’s promise in John 14:13–14 affirms the requirement of praying according to God’s will: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray consistent with who He is, with the goal of bringing Him glory. It is to follow the pattern of His model prayer: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10), and His example of humble submission to the Father’s will when He prayed in Gethsemane, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). The goal of prayer is not to gratify our selfish desires (cf. James 4:3), but to align our wills with God’s purposes.
Praying according to God’s will not only brings glory to the Son, but also joy to believers. “Truly, truly, I say to you,” Jesus said, “if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (John 16:23–24). When obedient believers delight themselves in the Lord, He will plant the desires in their hearts for what glorifies Him (Ps. 37:4), and those desires will control their prayers. God’s answers to those prayers will glorify Him, bring believers’ wills into line with His purposes, and fill them with joy.
At first glance, verse 16 appears to introduce an abrupt change of subject. But upon further consideration, the connection of verses 16 and 17 to verses 14 and 15 becomes clear. By giving one important exception, John illustrates in a contrasting manner the extent of God’s promise to answer prayer. When a believer sees a brother (a real or professing believer) committing a sin not leading to death, the apostle writes, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. On the other hand, there is a sin leading to death, and the apostle did not advise Christians to make request for this sin.
Evidently John and his readers knew what the sin leading to death was, since no explanation is given, but its exact meaning is difficult for us to determine. Two possibilities present themselves.
First, the sin in question may be that of a non-Christian leading to eternal death. In that case it would be a final rejection of Jesus Christ, such as that committed by those who attributed His miracles to the power of Satan (Matt. 12:31–32). Such ultimate apostasy is unforgivable, as Jesus declared:
Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matt. 12:31–32)
Praying for the restoration of such people to the fellowship from which they have departed (1 John 2:19) is futile, because “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame” (Heb. 6:6). John did not forbid prayer for such people, since it is impossible to know who they are. The apostle merely stated that prayer for them will not be answered; God has already made the final decision about their future. Supporting the view that John is referring to unbelievers is the present tense of the participle hamartanonta (“sinning”; the Greek text literally reads “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin …”); John elsewhere in this epistle uses the present tense to describe the habitual sins that characterize unbelievers (e.g., 3:4, 6, 8; 5:18).
Another possibility is that John is not referring to an unbeliever, but to a believer. According to this view, the sin leading to death refers to a Christian’s sin that is so serious that God takes the life of the one committing it. He put to death Ananias and Sapphira when they lied to the Holy Spirit in front of the church (Acts 5:1–11). Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning those who were abusing the Lord’s Table, “For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep [have died]” (1 Cor. 11:30). The sin is not one particular sin, but any sin that the Lord determines is serious enough to warrant such severe chastisement.
Both of the above views reflect biblical truth, and it is hard to be dogmatic as to which one John had in mind. In either case, John’s point is that prayer for those committing a sin leading to death will not result in the outcome that might otherwise be expected.
Although God mercifully does not immediately punish every sin with death, every sin is nonetheless a serious matter to Him. All unrighteousness is sin, John reminded his readers, even sin not leading to death. Every sin is a violation of His law and an affront to God, and is to be confessed (1:9; Ps. 32:5), forsaken (Prov. 28:13), and mortified (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5).
Confidence in Prayer and Intercession
1 John 5:14–17
This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
There are few subjects in the Christian life more puzzling to more of God’s people than prayer. On the surface we might think that prayer should be the most natural and uncomplicated part of Christian living, for what should be more natural than to speak out of one’s heart to one’s heavenly Father? Nevertheless, in practice Christians often are confused by prayer and ask: What is prayer? Does prayer change things or does prayer merely change the one who is praying? How should we pray? What should we pray for? Can we be sure that God always hears prayer? Can we be confident that he will answer it? Most of these questions are answered in the verses that form the first half of the postscript to 1 John.
Strictly speaking, the letter has ended with 5:13. In that verse John has summed up his letter by saying that he has written to those who have already believed on Jesus in order that they might be assured of their salvation. But once again John seems reluctant to leave the matter. So he adds a postscript in which he first returns to the subject of prayer (vv. 14–17) and then lists three final affirmations about which the Christian may have confidence (vv. 18–21). He has already discussed prayer once in chapter 3.
The outline for his discussion of prayer is striking. The verses contain two subjects: confidence in prayer (vv. 14–15) and prayer for others (vv. 16–17). Each of these contains a promise followed by a qualification.
Confidence in Prayer (vv. 14–15)
Verse 14 contains the word “assurance” (parrēsia), which is translated three other times in John’s letter as “confidence.” Twice it has been used of the Christian’s confidence before God in view of the final judgment (2:28; 4:17). On one other occasion, as here, it refers to the Christian’s confidence in regard to prayer (3:21–22). The Christian need not fear that for some unknown reason God will refuse to hear him when he prays or turn from him, says John. Indeed, such confidence is actually a product of knowing that one is a true child of God and of having no doubts on the matter, as he says in chapter 3.
In this verse John phrases the content of the Christian’s confidence as being “that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” In English this promise seems to fall into two parts, the two parts being (1) that God hears us and (2) that he answers when he hears. This is not quite the point, however. To begin with, whenever the Bible speaks of God hearing prayer, this means, at least in the great majority of cases, that God answers. So in this case the first part of the promise is actually that God hears in the sense that he answers. But, then, what does the second part mean? Is it mere repetition? Actually it introduces an entirely new idea, for the promise is not just that God answers, but rather that because he answers we have the items we requested of him now. In Greek the verb “have” is in the present tense. Consequently, the promise is not even that we will have them, but that we have them even as we pray.
How did the author of this letter arrive at such confidence? It is hard to miss the fact that he probably did so on the basis of Jesus’ own teaching about prayer, much of which is recorded in John’s Gospel. Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13–14). He said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. … The Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:7, 16). “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive” (John 16:24).
Certainly these were new and bold teachings, and they were remembered as such by John. They are the basis of his extraordinary confidence.
But the Christian is not to suppose that God will grant just anything he might happen to pray for, however foolish or sinful it may be, just because he prays for it. He must pray according to God’s will. In prayer the Christian can be absolutely certain that God hears and answers his requests so that whatever he asks he obtains, but with this qualification: that he prays not according to his own sinful wishes but rather according to what an all-wise, infinite, and holy God desires.
This, interestingly enough, is found in all the verses that speak so firmly about the Christian’s right to be confident in prayer. Earlier, in the third chapter, John said nearly the same thing as he does in this closing passage—“We have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask” (3:21–22). But there is a qualification there also, for the verses immediately go on to add, “because we obey his commands and do what pleases him” (v. 22). Similarly, in Jesus’ statements about prayer, qualifications are also added to the effect that we must pray “in my [that is, Christ’s] name” and “remain in me [that is, in Christ],” and that Christ’s “words” must “remain” in the believer.
This says a great deal about the nature of prayer, of course. Probably in most people’s minds prayer is thought of primarily as that means by which God’s will is changed or at least enlarged to include the concerns of the one praying. According to these verses prayer is not so much getting God to pay attention to our requests as it is getting our requests in line with his perfect and desirable will for us. It is learning to think God’s thoughts after him and to desire his desires. Dodd writes on this point, “Prayer rightly considered is not a device for employing the resources of omnipotence to fulfill our own desires, but a means by which our desires may be redirected according to the mind of God, and made into channels for the forces of his will.” In the same vein Barclay notes that prayer, even more than “talking to God,” is “listening” to him.2
Prayer for Others (vv. 16–17)
Having indicated the nature of true prayer and having stated the confidence in prayer that every Christian should possess, John now moves on to the content of prayer in answer to the question: What requests should the believer bring before God? A first response to that question is nearly always personal, which indicates no doubt our own limited understanding of this privilege. We think of our needs for food and clothing, a good job (or a better one), our desire for a husband or a wife, the elimination of a vexing problem, and other things. In other words, we think of ourselves. It is somewhat of a surprise, therefore, to find that, first of all, John thinks not of himself but of others and that, as a result, his first specific example of prayer is intercession.
This, too, says much about prayer, for it tells us that the privilege of prayer should not lead us into a preoccupation with our own affairs, as though prayer were a blank check drawn on the bank of heaven given to us so that heaven’s resources can be spent purely on our own needs or pleasure. Prayer implies responsibility, and part of that responsibility is in intercession for others. Do others have needs? Then we should pray for them. The one who truly understands prayer and who prays according to the will of God will pray for others, just as in material ways he will strive to show love practically (3:17–18).
The encouragement to pray for others is based on a great promise; namely, the promise that God will hear and “give … life … [for] those whose sin does not lead to death” (v. 16). John has spoken often in this letter of the need to pursue righteousness as one evidence that the individual involved is truly a child of God. But in spite of the fact that the individual Christian must and, in fact, will pursue righteousness, he will, nevertheless, also sin and even from time to time become entangled in it. What then? Obviously, the Christian should confess sin and turn from it, knowing that he has an advocate in Jesus Christ and that the Father is faithful and just to forgive him on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice and continuing intercession (1:9–2:2). But it is often the case, when he is in this state, that this is what the Christian least wants to do. So what then? Should he be left to himself to suffer the consequences of his sinning? Not at all, says John. Rather, those who are spiritual should pray in his behalf, knowing that God will hear and respond when they thus pray for others.
In all honesty it must be acknowledged that in this area Christians often fail grievously, for sin in a brother becomes all too often a cause for gossip rather than a cause for prayer. What is wrong in this case? The answer is in these verses, for they suggest that it is when a believer is himself in the will of God and is therefore praying according to the will of God that he will pray for others. John does not even use the imperative (“Pray!”). He uses the future indicative, saying that the spiritual person will intercede for the sinning brother.
It is hard to imagine anything more obviously in accord with the will of God than the restoration of a Christian who has become entrapped in some sin. Yet, surprisingly, John seems to hesitate. His desire is obviously to encourage his readers to be bold in their prayers. He stresses confidence. But is it right, after all, that it is always God’s will to restore the sinner? Always? In verse 16 John seems to recognize that it is not always the case and therefore introduces an exception based on a distinction between sin that “leads to [literally, toward] death” and sin that does not. “There is a sin that leads to death,” he says. “I am not saying that he should pray about that.”
What is this sin that is “to death”? Apparently, in John’s day and with his readers the phrase was a common one and was well understood, for John does not bother to explain it. But today the key has been lost, and opinion is widely divided in regard to John’s meaning. Four views are prominent.
- The first view is that John is referring to some particularly heinous sin, which God, so we are told, will not pardon. At first glance this seems to be suggested by a long history of divisions between various types of sin, beginning with the Old Testament Scriptures. In the law codes of the Old Testament several distinctions are fundamental: a distinction between capital offenses and those that are not capital offenses, for example; or a distinction between sins of neglect or ignorance and sins of presumption or premeditation. This latter is the same kind of distinction that is made in modern American law between murder in the first (that is, premeditated) and murder in the second (that is, unpremeditated) degrees. Rabbinical law further elaborated such distinctions, and in time the classification of sins as forgivable and unforgivable entered the church. At this time it was spelled out as the difference between “mortal” and “venial” sin so common in Catholic theology.
The difficulty with this interpretation is that it is somewhat of an anachronism to apply the distinction between mortal and venial sins here. Moreover, it may also be said that such a distinction is simply not supportable from the pages of the New Testament and that John, even in this very letter, seems to contradict it (see the discussion on 3:6, 9).
- A second view, supported in part by the concerns of this letter, is that John is thinking of what we would call apostasy, namely a deliberate repudiation of the Christian faith by one who once was a Christian. Those who take this view find support for it both in 1 John, in regard to the Gnostics who had professed faith in Jesus as the Christ but who had later repudiated him, and in other select New Testament passages that speak of falling away from Christianity. Hebrews provides the best examples of such texts, for it speaks of those who, like Esau, are “rejected,” finding “no change of mind” though they seek it “with tears” (Heb. 12:17; cf. Heb. 6:4–6; 10:26–27).
But is it really possible for one who is truly a Christian to apostatize? Or, laying aside the whole of biblical teaching that is clearly against this conclusion, is such a view even consistent with the theology that we find in this letter? Here Stott writes, “Surely John has taught clearly in the Epistle that the true Christian cannot sin, that is, persist in sin (3:9), let alone fall away altogether. He is about to repeat it: ‘we know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him’ (v. 18). Can he who does not sin, ‘sin unto death’?” In these verses John is teaching the doctrine of eternal security or perseverance; but if this is so, then there is no such thing as apostasy by a genuine believer. The Gnostics, for example, were just not Christians to begin with (2:19). Similarly, those touched upon in the problem texts in Hebrews are best understood as being merely external adherents to Christianity.
- A third view is that John is speaking of that “blasphemy against the Spirit,” about which Jesus warned his disciples. He warns of it in Matthew 12, defining it as that extreme form of rejection of truth seen in ascribing God’s works to Satan. On this occasion the Pharisees had claimed that Jesus did his works of healing by Satan’s power. He countered by saying, “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. … Anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:31–32).
The major objection to this view is that it is hard to see how John could call such a hardened sinner a brother, as he seems to do. Stott, who holds to this interpretation, argues correctly that strictly speaking John does not call such a person a brother. He uses the word only for that one who does not thus sin, saying, “If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray, and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death.” However, says Stott, in actual fact neither one can be thought of as a brother in the sense of being a true child of God, for the prayer is that even the brother might be given “life,” and if this is so, then he must have been dead in sin originally. In this case the prayer that John has in mind is a prayer for the salvation of unbelievers, with the promise that God will save such, as the Christian prays.
But is John using the word “brother” in a way that does not mean another “child of God”? Stott points out that the word can be used in a broader sense to designate one whom we might call a “neighbor,” citing 2:9, 11 and 3:16–17 as examples. But it is not so clear that these cases do support a broader use of the word. Nor is it easy to feel that John can be departing from the more precise usage at this point of his letter.
- The fact that none of the other explanations is entirely satisfactory leads one to wonder whether John may not be speaking just of physical death inflicted on a Christian by God as a result of a Christian’s persisting in some deliberate sin. Certainly there are examples of such judgments. Ananias and Sapphira are two (Acts 5:1–11). A number of references in 1 Corinthians suggest others (5:5; 11:30). In speaking of the ministry of intercession, John may therefore be saying that in some cases God will not turn back a physical judgment on one of his disobedient children, no matter how much another Christian prays. So he does not say that prayer must be made in such a situation, although, we note, he does not forbid it.
The objection to this view is that “life” must mean spiritual life and that, therefore, “death” must mean spiritual death. But John is not necessarily making that distinction. For example, if the brother is a true Christian brother, then he is already alive spiritually; and the prayer would be, not so much that God would give him spiritual life, but that he might have life in abundance, as we might say.
A Further Qualification
The difficulty with a discussion such as this is that it becomes strangely fascinating to certain Christians, so much so that they tend to spend all their time on the exception (the sin unto death) and not on the central message of the passage. Whatever the interpretation we give to the exception, therefore, we must always bear in mind that it is the exception and that the burden laid upon us by John is to pray for any believer whom we see falling into sin.
Moreover, we must not even be quick to note the exceptional case even assuming that we have been able to decide what the nature of such a case is. Here the example of Jesus’ prayer for Peter should make us cautious. Peter had spent three years with Jesus; but at the time of Christ’s arrest, when asked by a servant girl and others if he knew Christ and was his disciple, Peter denied the Lord with oaths and cursings. We might say, if we did not know the end of the story, that if anyone had ever sinned unto death, certainly Peter had. Yet Peter did not die, either physically or spiritually. He had a lifetime of useful service. Moreover, far from refusing to pray for him, Jesus, we are told, actually interceded for him: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31–32).
We do not need encouragements not to pray. That comes naturally. We need encouragements to pray, particularly for others. In this responsibility we are greatly encouraged by John’s teaching and by the example of the Lord Jesus Christ in his prayer for Peter.
14. And this is the confidence. He commends the faith which be mentioned by its fruit, or he shews that in which our confidence especially is, that is, that the godly dare confidently to call on God; as also Paul speaks in Eph. 3:12, that we have by faith access to God with confidence; and also in Rom. 8:15, that the Spirit gives us a mouth to cry Abba, Father. And doubtless, were we driven away from an access to God, nothing could make us more miserable; but, on the other hand, provided this asylum be opened to us, we should be happy even in extreme evils; nay, this one thing renders our troubles blessed, because we surely know that God will be our deliverer, and relying on his paternal love towards us, we flee to him.
Let us, then, bear in mind this declaration of the Apostle, that calling on God is the chief trial of our faith, and that God is not rightly nor in faith called upon except we be fully persuaded that our prayers will not be in vain. For the Apostle denies that those who, being doubtful, hesitate, are endued with faith.
It hence appears that the doctrine of faith is buried and nearly extinct under the Papacy, for all certainty is taken away. They indeed mutter many prayers, and prattle much about praying to God; but they pray with doubtful and fluctuating hearts, and bid us to pray; and yet they even condemn this confidence which the Apostle requires as necessary.
According to his will. By this expression he meant by the way to remind us what is the right way or rule of praying, even when men subject their own wishes to God. For though God has promised to do whatsoever his people may ask, yet he does not allow them an unbridled liberty to ask whatever may come to their minds; but he has at the same time prescribed to them a law according to which they are to pray. And doubtless nothing is better for us than this restriction; for if it was allowed to every one of us to ask what he pleased, and if God were to indulge us in our wishes, it would be to provide very badly for us. For what may be expedient we know not; nay, we boil over with corrupt and hurtful desires. But God supplies a twofold remedy, lest we should pray otherwise than according to what his own will has prescribed; for he teaches us by his word what he would have us to ask, and he has also set over us his Spirit as our guide and ruler, to restrain our feelings, so as not to suffer them to wander beyond due bounds. For what or how to pray, we know not, says Paul, but the Spirit helpeth our infirmity, and excites in us unutterable groans. (Rom. 8:26.) We ought also to ask the mouth of the Lord to direct and guide our prayers; for God in his promises has fixed for us, as it has been said, the right way of praying.
14–15 The closing section of 1 John summarizes the privileges enjoyed by true believers. Primary among these privileges is the ability to pray with “confidence” (parrēsia). John elsewhere uses parrēsia to describe speech that is clear and direct, hiding nothing (Jn 16:25–30). Believers will speak to God with parrēsia on the day of judgment because they have no fear (1 Jn 4:17). The reason believers may pray in this way is indicated in v. 15: God hears our requests and is ready to grant them. This being the case, we should hold nothing back in our prayers.
Sadly, these two verses have been much abused by advocates of the “health and wealth gospel.” This school of thought insists that God wants all believers to be healthy, happy, and prosperous. Christians can therefore expect to receive any material blessing they ask God to grant them. Such thinking can produce two dangerous extremes. On the one hand, it can sanctify materialism and greed by cloaking the objects of worldly desire under a divine blessing; on the other hand, it can engender deep guilt and remorse in those whose prayers are not answered, under the logic that God is not listening because one’s faith is insufficient. John would reject both conclusions. Those who believe that God desires for them to have a new car and designer clothes while others starve should recall 1 John 2:16—that such cravings come not from the Father but from the world. The Johannine Jesus promises his followers pain and persecution in this world, not health and wealth (Jn 15:18–16:4). And those who fear that God has rejected them because their whims have not been granted should recall 1 John 3:19–20, which assures believers that all who love and obey God “belong to the truth,” regardless of their circumstances.
As though anticipating these misunderstandings, John specifies that God hears us “if we ask anything according to his will” (5:14). A similar condition appears at 3:21–24, which says that believers may receive anything they ask for as long as “we obey his commands and do what pleases him.” Marshall, 246, notes that the reference to God’s will at v. 14 directs the reader’s attention to the main point of this section in v. 16. John is not offering a general principle about prayer but rather is urging believers to pray for sinning brothers. God’s will is that all sinning believers confess and repent so that they may remain in fellowship with him. Barker, 355, is therefore correct to suggest that vv. 14–15 have more the force of a command than a promise. While only God can forgive sins, intercessory prayers indicate the community’s forgiveness and acceptance of the sinner and are therefore a critical aspect of complete restoration. To “ask according to his will” (v. 15), then, means that we should ask for things that God wishes to achieve; it doesn’t mean that God wants us to have whatever we ask for.
 MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 203–206). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 Boice, J. M. (2004). The Epistles of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 137–143). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
 Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (pp. 265–266). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Thatcher, T. (2006). 1 John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 501–502). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.