A Redefinition of Sin – A Closer Look on 1 John 3:4

That the first Johannine epistle is a difficult letter in terms of its theology is not hard to recognize. There are many difficulties but the most difficult passage for some Christian seems to be 1 John 3:4-10. But why is that so? We might suppose that verses 6 and 9 is the stumbling block for us today. What does the author of 1 John mean when he states e.g. “everyone who remains in him does not sin” (v. 6; πᾶς ἐν αὐτῷ μένωνοὐχ ἁμαρτάνει”)? And does this not clearly contradict 1:8-10?
These are the questions that will be addressed in this paper. It will be argued that the author redefines sin in 3:4 (“sin is lawlessness”; ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἀνομία) and that hence the issue is not sin in general but a specific sin which the author has in mind. The thesis for this paper is that, in light of the dualistic worldview as well as the eschatological emphasis of group identity, John defines sin as rebellion against God and that the believer does not and cannot partake in that.
1. Perfectionism and Sinlessness
            In this section of the paper we will deal with the assertions made in 3:4, 6, and 9 in light of the usage of the present tense and in light of the seemingly contradictory nature of those assertions in reference to 1:8-2:2.[1]
1.1. The Present Tense. Some exegetes attempt to solve the issue of sinless perfection through John’s usage of the present tense (e.g. ποιῶν; ἁμαρτάνει). Burdick, for example, argues that the KJV translation of ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν (v. 4; committeth sin) is misleading because “it suggests a point action rather than the continuing practice indicated by the Greek present tense.”[2]Hiebert translates “does not sin” (οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει) as someone who does not “continue in willful, habitual sin”[3]and Kistemaker refers to “he sins” (ἁμαρτάνει) as an iterative present.[4] However, the present tense cannot be decisive. Kubo rightly points out that if the present tense is taken to mean habitual sin, then we run into difficulty with 1:8 where the present tense is used (ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ ἔχομεν) and Marshall points to 5:16 (ἁμαρτάνοντα ἁμαρτίαν) for the same objection.[5]This leads us to the second point.
1.2. The Relationship to 1:8-2:2. In 1:8-2:2 the author of 1 John asserts that a claim to sinlessness would be incongruous. We read in 1:8 “if we say that we do not have sin (ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ ἔχομεν) we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” and in 2:1 “my children I write these (things) to you so that you may not sin. If (ἐαν),[6]however, someone should sin, we have a helper before the Father Jesus Christ, the righteous one.”[7]How do we reconcile this passage with the assertions made in 3:6 and 9? The problem with the view of Christian sinlessness is that John writes about the possibility of sin in the believers’ lives (1:8, 10; 2:1; 5:16). Furthermore, his exhortation to do righteousness (2:1, 15, 29; 3:12, 18; 5:21) does not make sense if that is all they can do anyway.[8] On the one hand Christians “can never claim that they are without sin (1 Jn 1:5–2:2)”, yet on the other hand “continuation in sin is a structural absurdity, an affront to a new ontology, for those who are born of God and have the sperma of God remaining in them (1 Jn 3:9).”[9] This latter statement by Davidson also implies that the meaning of οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει, ἁμαρτίαν οὐ ποιεῖ, and οὐ δύναται ἁμαρτάνεινrefers to habitual or consistent sin. This point warrants further investigation. Let it suffice to say that in 3:4 John redefines sin and thus does not talk about habitual sin; a point we will come to later. 
Kruse observes that out of the six (1:6, 8, 10; 2:4, 6, 9) statements only in two (1:8, 10) we find no “inappropriate concomitant behavior” being mentioned and therefore “the claim itself is said to be inappropriate, and constitute those who make it liars.” Hence, John can say in 1:6-2:10 “that the claim to intimacy with God is legitimate as long as one’s behavior does not invalidate such a claim. However, the claim not to have sinned is never legitimate.”[10]This helps to loosen the tension of the relationship between 1:8-2:2 and 3:4-10, but does not help us understand what John is exactly saying in the latter passage. Therefore, we need to look at John’s eschatological worldview (see section 2) and his redefinition of “sin” in v. 4 (see section 3).
2. John’s Eschatological/Dualistic Worldview[11]
2.1 Dualism.In this section we will just briefly investigate the letter of 1 John to see that the author does in fact portray are world in an “either-or-fashion”; in this view of things there is no gray zone, only black and white. The author uses imagery of light and darkness (1:5-7; 2:8-11), life and death (1:1-2; 2:17; 3:14-15; 5:11-12, 20) as well as righteousness and sin/unrighteousness (1:7-9; 2:1, 29; 3:4-10, 12; 5:17). In the given pericope we also observe that the clause ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐκ τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστίν (v. 8) shows that if sin (and we will in due time argue for a certain sin) is committed one’s origin is revealed “according to John’s dualistic worldview.”[12]The issue at hand is “one’s parentage, with God and the devil as possible alternatives… a stereotyped pattern of apocalyptic argument.”[13]Being born of God (3:1-2, 9-10) does lead to a fundamental change in nature and thus sinning becomes unnatural, “so unnatural, indeed, that its practice constitutes a powerful refutation of any claim to possess the divine life. John’s antitheses are clear-cut.”[14]This “stereotyped pattern of apocalyptic argument” shows the interrelatedness of the dualism and eschatology in John. Thus we need to see what the author is portraying to be true of the times in which he is writing and the text was received at first.
2.2 Eschatological Emphasis. We see in 2:18 that the author calls the opponents ἀντίχριστοι and that and that indeed ἐσχάτη ὥρα ἐστίν which in 1 John “is not characterized by an eschatological catastrophe, but by a christological opposition of confession and denial, of Christ and Antichrist, of truth and lie”; there are deceivers (2:26) and ψευδοπροφῆται(4:1) out in the world.[15] In his eschatological worldview the antichrist(s) is (are) historicized ,[16] they do become reality and are obvious (φανερά ἐστιν, v. 10).
One more word needs to be said before we will come to the redefinition of sin by the author in 3:4. This observation is in point of fact closely tied to section 3 since it has to do with the word ἀνομία which we will investigate. Matthew is the only Gospel writer who uses this term and Kruse states that he “does so consistently in association with false prophets or others who oppose God’s kingdom, and always with some association in the context with the last days or the final judgement (Matt 7:23; 13:41; 23:28; 24:21).”[17]Having observed the eschatological viewpoint with the Christological opposition in mind, we now are able to make sense of ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἀνομία.
3. Redefinition of Sin
The subject-matter of sin in 1 John is “the most striking feature”[18] of this letter with 1 John 3:4 as a key text.[19] There are 26 occurrences of the ἁμαρτ– word group and 24 of them are found in 1:6-2:2 (8x); 3:4-10 (10x); 5:16-18 (6x) which “indicates that John has dealt with the topic of sin in an ordered fashion” and we should not think that he would contradict what he is saying throughout his writings.[20]
In order for us to come to an understanding of the term ἀνομία it is necessary to see how this term was used in the Old Testament (OT/LXX), in Jewish literature, especially in the Dead Sea Scrolls (DDS), and lastly how this term was used in the New Testament (NT). Due to the restriction of this paper, this can only be done concisely and in sketches.
            3.1 ἀνομία in the OT/LXX. De la Potterie points out that in the LXX ἀνομία is almost synonymous with ἁμαρτία;[21] yet there is no rigid Hebrew equivalence to ἀνομία in the LXX. About 60x it corresponds to עון, about 25x (especially in the Psalms) to און, roughly 20x to פשע, and some 25x to תועבה.[22]We further observe that ἀνομία in the LXX can have Satanic connotations and actually translates Belial in 2 Sam 22:5(ὅτι περιέσχον με συντριμμοὶ θανάτου, χείμαρροι ἀνομίας [בְלִיַּעַל] ἐθάμβησάν με) and Ps 17:4 [ET 18:4] (περιέσχον με ὠδῖνες θανάτου, καὶ χείμαρροι ἀνομίας [בְלִיַּעַל] ἐξετάραξάν με). This gave raise to later Jewish interpretation, to which we will turn now.   
            3.2 Lawlessness in the Jewish Literature. In some of the Jewish writings (cf. T. Dan 5:4-6; 6:1-6; T. Napht 4:1) it was portrayed that the sins committed by the Israelites “were brought about by the powers of wickedness – by Satan and his spirits.”[23] The link between light and darkness as well as sin and righteousness are also common features. In 1QS 3:18-21 we read for example: “…Those born of truth spring from a fountain of light, but those born of injustice spring from a source of darkness. All the children of righteousness are ruled by the Prince of Light and walk in the ways of light, but all the children of injustice are ruled by the Angel of Darkness and walk in the way of darkness.” And in 1QS 4:19-20, 23: “But in the mysteries of His understanding, and in His glorious wisdom, God has ordained an end for injustice, and at the time of the visitation He will destroy it for ever…There shall be no more lies and all the works of injustice shall be put to shame.”[24]Thus in 1QS 3:20, 5:2 and 10:20 those who commit sin are hence called children of iniquity. De la Potterie notes that “iniquity is considered to be a satanic power under whose influence impiety is committed” and also quotes 1QS 1:23-24 to bring out the full weight of Judaistic understanding of the word ἀνομία. [25] 1QS 1:23-24 reads: “All their revolts and their sins are brought about by the power of Belial.”
            3.3 ἀνομία in the NT. Having studied the background of the term ἀνομία in the LXX as well as the later Jewish writings, we are now prepared to look at some of the implications and usages of the NT writers.
According to Limbeck there are two different contexts in which ἀνομία and ἄνομος are used: 1) “when the subject under discussion is the redemption effected by Jesus Christ” and 2) “when the discrepancy between a specific person and the will—and thus also the ‘world’—of God is to be expounded.”[26] Further the word ἀνομία when used in the NT has usually eschatological connotations.[27]This we find in the Pauline writings in two specific texts in which the apostle deals with the issue at hand. In 2 Cor 6:14-15 we read (ESV): “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” Note here the dualistic emphasis of righteousness and lawlessness (δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ἀνομίᾳ), light with darkness (φωτὶ πρὸς σκότος), and Christ and Belial (Χριστοῦ πρὸς Βελιάρ) which we also find in 1 John in general and 3:4-10 in specific. [28]
In 2 Thess 2:3, 7 with its eschatological outlook (ὑπὲρ τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶνἸησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡμῶνἐπισυναγωγῆς ἐπʼ αὐτὸν; v. 1) ἀνομία is used to describe the “man of lawlessness” ( ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας) in the context of “rebellion” ( ἀποστασία) against the Christ. “This and other references suggest that the word was associated with the final outbreak of evil against Christ and that it signifies rebellion against the will of God” Marshallobserves. Further he states that “[t]o commit sin is thus to place oneself on the side of the devil and the antichrist and to stand in opposition to Christ.”[29]From his passage we observe that ἀνομία is again used in an eschatological context and is further connected with rebellion ( ἀποστασία) which is ἤδη ἐνεργεῖται(in 1 John 2:18 νῦν ἀντίχριστοιπολλοὶ γεγόνασιν). Kruse emphatically states that in the NT ἀνομία does not refer to the transgression of the law, such a meaning is “completely absent.”[30]
3.4. The meaning of καὶ ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἀνομία.[31] In the present context John is redefining sin as referring to rebellion. Thus Gutbrod freely translates this verse “he who commits sin is thereby in revolt against God; indeed, sin is nothing but rebellion against God.”[32] The eschatological emphasis of the letter (esp. 2:18) “indicates that ή ανομία in 3:4 functions to define sin in this passage as ultimate rebellion.”[33]What the author of 1 John is saying is that the sin here is ἀνομία with its implication of opposition and rebellion against God. This is the same sin Satan committed; he rebelled and opposed the Creator. Kruse brings this study to its conclusion when he writes: “The children of God do sometimes commit sins (2:1), but the one thing they do not do is commit anomia, the sin of rebellion, the sin of the devil.”[34]
In light of this we can now understand why John is stating in 3:6, 9 πᾶς ἐν αὐτῷ μένων οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει, that πᾶς γεγεννημένοςἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἁμαρτίαν οὐ ποιεῖ and actually οὐ δύναται ἁμαρτάνειν.[35]John has (at least in this pericope) redefined sin so that he “can use the same word, ἁμαρτάνω…with significantly different connotations.”[36]The believer does not participate in rebellion against God he actually “cannot participate in such final opposition”[37]because they are children of God (3:1) and the σπέρμα αὐτοῦ[38] ἐν αὐτῷ μένει.
Appendix
Some thoughts for further investigation will be given in this appendix. These two topics are of interest to the current author but could not be developed due to space restrictions. 
One valuable investigation is to further see how John’s redefinition of sin via ἀνομία can also be seen in reference to the ἐντολὴν καινὴν which the author has been talking about in 2:7ff and picks up in 3:10 – καὶ μὴ ἀγαπῶν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ. Griffith, for example, notes: “The first thing to note is that the treatment of sin is related to the issue of not loving one’s fellow Christian in 3:10,  and leads into a consideration of the significance of Cain.”[39] Not many commentators and exegetes further investigate this issue.
Another topic for further study is the relationship of 3:4-10 to 5:16-18. If, as we have argued, sin in 3:4 is to be taken as rebellion and apostasy, then it is interesting to see that ἁμαρτία πρὸς θάνατον can be understood in the same manner as 3:4. This would render πᾶς γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει (5:18) in the same manner we have been arguing for above. Griffith writes: “Understanding sin as apostasy in 3:4-10 also makes good sense of the discussion of two distinct kinds of sin in 5:16-17: ‘unto death’ and ‘not unto death’.”[40]
Bibliography
<!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN ZOTERO_BIBL {"custom":[]} <![endif]–>Akin, Daniel L. 1, 2, 3 John. The New American Commentary v. 38. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2001.
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____________. The Letters of John. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000.
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[1]Raymond E. Brown, The Epistles of John (1st ed.; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1982), 413 bluntly states that “[n]o other NT author contradicts himself so sharply within such a short span of writing, and inevitably much scholarly energy has been devoted to proving that no contradiction exists.” D. Edmond Hiebert, The Epistles of John: An Expositional Commentary (Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1991), 148 sees this inconsistency in the “moral incompatibility between the believer’s old and new nature.” Yet no inconsistency or contradiction need to be proposed when we see what the author of 1 John is actually accomplishing in 3:4-10. 
[2]Donald W. Burdick, The Letters of John the Apostle: An in-Depth Commentary(Chicago: Moody Press, 1985), 236. He further writes that the NASB translation (“everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness”) is better because it is “not merely referring to an instance of lawbreaking, but to the continued, habitual performance of lawless acts” (ibid.). So also V. Kerry Inman, “Distinctive Johannine Vocabulary and the Interpretation of I John 3:9,” Westminster Theological Journal 40, no. 1 (1977): 142 who writes “The thought being conveyed in I John 3:9 is not that one born of God will never commit a sinful act but that he will not persist in sin.”
[3]D. Edmond Hiebert, “An Expositional Study of 1 John. Pt 5, an Exposition of 1 John 2:29-3:12,” Bibliotheca Sacra 146, no. 582 (1989): 210. The “willful” part will be explored in the section on the Redefinition of Sin; yet the habitual sin part might be due to an understanding of the Greek tense which might not be all that helpful. We can find a more fruitful observation in Inman’s study where we find that the expressions ἁμαρτίαν οὐ ποιεῖ and οὐ δύναται ἁμαρτάνειν (v. 9) might have “distinctive Johannine nuances” and that the “the verb ποιεῖν opens the possibility that the phrase ποιεῖν ἁμαρτίαν in the Johannine works bears the nuance of continuing in sin or capacity for sinful deeds”; Inman, “Distinctive Johannine Vocabulary and the Interpretation of I John 3:9,” 136, 141. The same is being observed by Louw who further argues that since we have ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν in v. 4 and ἁμαρτάνει in v. 6 the durative aspect is present in this pericope. J. P. Louw, “Verbal Aspect in the First Letter of John,” in Essays on the General Epistles of the New Testament (Pretoria: NTWSA, 1975), 102. He calls the switch from ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν to ἁμαρτάνει “stylistic reduction”. Louw further observes that “[t]o mark incomplete aspect, a lexical notation is necessary…ποιεῖ ἁμαρτία – the durative aspect is now expressed lexically by ποιέω. An item like ἁμαρτάνει…does not explicitly denote duration, it is merely unmarked as for completion” (100).
[4]Simon Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John(New Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 300.
[5]Sakae Kubo, “1 John 3:9: Absolute or Habitual?,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 7, no. 1 (1969): 51. I.Howard Marshall, The Epistles of John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1978), 180. See also Martin M. Culy, 1, 2, 3 John: A Handbook on the Greek Text (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2004), 73 who writes that the present tense “simlpy potrays the sin as a process withoutregard to the event’s frequency or recurrence” [emphasis mine].
[6]Here we have a third class condition. A third class condition expresses “projection without any statement of probability of its coming to pass”; Culy, 1, 2, 3 John, 14; quoting Stanley E. Porter, Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament: With Reference to Tense and Mood (New York: P. Lang, 1989), 307.
[7]The translation given is the author’s own translation. This will be the case throughout the paper, unless otherwise indicated. Note also the present tense ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ ἔχομεν.
[8]Cf. Marshall, The Epistles of John, 178. Wilckens comments to 3:4-9 that “[s]olche – in gewissem  Sinn ontologischen – Sätze über Sündeund Gerechtigkeit als einander eschatologisch-endgültig auschließende, radikal gegensätzliche Seinsweisen, und über ein so ganzheitlichen Einbeschlossenheit der Christen in Jesus Christus, daß sie nicht einmal die Möglichkeit zu sündigen haben, sind in den nichtjohanneischen Schriften nicht zu finden.” This eschatological dualism will be dealt with in the section John’s Eschatological/Dualistic Emphasis. But Wilckens is further pointing out that this epistle is the only NT document we have which directly witnesses to the Reformation slogan simul iustus et peccator. Ulrich Wilckens, Der Sohn Gottes und seine Gemeinde: Aufsätze zur Theologie der Johanneischen Schriften (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003), 137, 146.
[9]Ivor J. Davidson, “Pondering the Sinlessness of Jesus Christ: Moral Christologies and the Witness of Scripture,” International Journal of Systematic Theology10, no. 4 (2008): 384-85. Daniel L. Akin, 1, 2, 3 John (The New American Commentary v. 38; Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2001), 148 writes: “John is not suggesting the believer is completely free from sin, but that the Christian’s life is not characterized by sin, which is the mark of the follower of Satan, who has been sinning from the beginning (v. 8). The child of God does not behave in a manner that has the nature or character of sin.” Stephen S. Smalley, 1, 2, 3 John (Rev. ed.; Word Biblical Commentary v. 51; Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 172 writes “Our conclusion is that John has in view throughout the present passage the Christian’s potential state of sinlessness,” a very questionable observation as will be seen in the remainder of this paper.
[10]Colin G. Kruse, “Sin and Perfection in 1 John,” Faith and Mission 23, no. 1 (2005): 27.
[11]P. P. A. Kotzé, “The Meaning of 1 John 3:9 with Reference to 1 John 1:8 and 10,” in Studies in the Johannine Letters (Bloenfontein, South Africa: New Testament Society of S. Africa, 1981), 68–69 sees that John’s theology is best seen “in the light of dualism in his eschatology and within the scheme of the indicative and the imperative.” Ignace de la Potterie, “The Impeccability of the Christian According to I Jn 3,6-9,” in The Christian Lives by the Spirit(ed. Stanislas Lyonnet and Ignace de la Potterie; Staten Island, NY: Alba House, 1971), 178-79 observes that the doctrine of impeccability is only in the “Judeo-Christian eschatology” in its true context referencing Isa 60:21, Dan 7:18, 27; 8:24 and Ezek 36:27-29 and, according to de la Potterie, Jewish apocrypha picks up the same doctrine and further develops it.
[12]Terry Griffith, “A Non-Polemical Reading of 1 John: Sin, Christology and the Limits of Johannine Christianity,” Tyndale Bulletin 49, no. 2 (1998): 263. Griffith, as the title implies, argues for a non-polemical reading of the text. See also D. Neufeld, Reconceiving Texts as Speech Acts: An Analysis of 1 John (BIS 7; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994) and Hansjörg Schmid, “How to Read the First Epistle of John Non-Polemically,” Biblica 85, no. 1 (2004). Here in this paper we will not engage with this reading of the Johannine letters, though there are some interesting linguistic parallels. Griffith, Neufeld, and Schmid argue against hypothetical or real opponents (i.e., secessionist) but see the author of 1 John using rhetorical devices to create a dichotomistic world. Griffith via the TLG observes that the given examples use “the same introductory [e.g. λέγων] formulae found in 1 John…in the service of advancing arguments” (260) without having actual opponents. Schmid is a little more cautious and observes that “[e]ven when 1 John speaks about opponents in the third person, this refers to the system itself. This does not mean automatically that the opponents are banned to the realm of hypothesis. There may have been opponents, but 1 John read self-referentially is not an adequate source to get to know something about them. The question is, therefore, not who the opponents were but with which purpose 1 John creates them” (33).  
[13]Urban C. Von Wahlde, “The Stereotyped Structure and the Puzzling Pronouns of 1 John 2:28-3:10,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 64, no. 2 (2002): 323-24. Further it is noteworthy to observe that in 1QS 3:20 and 1QH 5:8 those who belong to darkness are called “children of iniquity (or injustice)” which corresponds to John’s “children of the devil” (τὰ τέκνα τοῦ διαβόλου) in 3:10.
[14]F. F Bruce, The Epistles of John: Introduction, Exposition, and Notes(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979), 92 [emphasis mine].
[15]Schmid “How to Read the First Epistle of John Non-Polemically,” 34. He further points out four motives of the opponents in their apocalyptic function in 1 John: the last hour; division; victory; and the two spirits (34-35).
[16]Julian Victor Hills, “‘Sin Is Lawlessness’ (1 John 3:4): Social Definition in the Johannine Community,” in Common Life in the Early Church (Harrisburg, Pa: Trinity Pr Int’l, 1998), 292 with reference to Bultmann’s famous phrase of demythologizing.
[17]Colin G. Kruse, The Letters of John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), 117.
[18]Harry C. Swadling, “Sin and Sinlessness in 1 John,” Scottish Journal of Theology35, no. 3 (1982): 205.
[19]Ignace de la Potterie, “‘Sin is Iniquity’ (1 Jn 3,4),” in The Christian Lives by the Spirit (ed. Ignace de la Potterie and Stanislas Lyonnet; Staten Island, NY: Alba House, 1971), 37.
[20]Griffith, “A Non-Polemical Reading of 1 John,” 262.
[21]De la Potterie, “‘Sin is Iniquity’ (1 Jn 3,4),” 41. Listing (in reference to Schnackenburg’s work) Ps 31:1; 50:4; 58:4; 102:10.
[22]Walter Gutbrod, “νόμος κτλ,” ed. Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964), 4:1086. There are 20 other Hebrew verbs which correspond to ἀνομία.
[23]Kruse, “Sin and Perfection in 1 John,” 30. Kruse is also to be credited with the other observations here.
[24]The translation of the DDS is taken from Géza Vermès, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Penguin Books, 1998).  
[25]De la Potterie, “‘Sin is Iniquity’ (1 Jn 3,4),” <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM {"citationID":"ljuahqust","citationItems":[{"locator":"42-43","label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/700505/items/PDMPPM6M"%5D}]} <![endif]–>42–43.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> See also 1 Enoch 5:8-9 and Jubilee 5:12 for an understanding of sinlessness of the righteous people of God.
[26]M. Limbeck, “ἀνομία,” EDNT, 1:107. For 1) he cites and for Rom 4:7; Titus 2:14; Heb 10:17 and for 2) Matt 7:23; 23:28; 24:12; Rom 6:19; 2 Cor 6:14; 2 Thess 2:3, 7, 8; Heb 1:9; 1 John 3:4.
[27]De la Potterie, “‘Sin is Iniquity’ (1 Jn 3,4),” 44.
[28]Yet, Χριστοῦ πρὸς Βελιάρ is substituted with τὰ τέκνα τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὰ τέκνα τοῦ διαβόλου.
[29]Marshall, The Epistles of John, 176–77. 
[30]Kruse, “Sin and Perfection in 1 John,” 30. 
[31]The predicate noun ἀνομία is has the definite article. To this BDF §273 notes: “Predicate nouns as a rule are anarthrous. Nevertheless the article is inserted if the predicate noun is presented as something well known or as that which alone merits the designation (the only thing to be considered).” Georg Strecker, The Johannine Letters: A Commentary on 1, 2, and 3 John (ed. Harold W. Attridge; trans. Linda M. Maloney; Hermeneia; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 94, sees the word ἀνομία as an intensification; i.e., “anyone who is guilty if ἁμαρτία is also guilty of ἀνομία.” So also Hills, “‘Sin Is Lawlessness’ (1 John 3:4),” 288. John R. W. Stott, The Letters of John: An Introduction and Commentary (2nd ed.; The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries 19; Leicester, England : Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press ; Eerdmans, 1988), 126 states “Lawlessness is the essence, not the result, of sin.” So also Griffith, “A Non-Polemical Reading of 1 John,” 262 who notes that “the καί in 3:10 is epexegetical.”
[32]Gutbrod, “νόμος κτλ,” TDNT, 4:1086. C. Haas, Marinus de Jonge, and J. L Swellengrebel, A Handbook on the Letters of John (Helps for translators; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 87 give the following possibilities for translating this verse: “‘who commits sin does what is (characteristic for) Lawlessness,’ ‘who sins is living in (accordance with) Lawlessness,’ ‘if a person sins it is like the Lawless One that he is acting,’ ‘who sins does what the Lawless One does (or sides with the Lawless One).”
[33]Griffith, “A Non-Polemical Reading of 1 John,” 264. De la Potterie, “Sin is Iniquity (1 Jn. 3:4),” 37-55, 50; quoted in Griffith, “A Non-Polemical Reading of 1 John,” 264 writes: “In the dualistic and eschatological context of this passage, [the sin] can hardly be anything but the typical sin of the ‘Antichrists’, who reject Christ, the Son of God (2.22-23). It is the sin which the Fourth Gospel has described as the sin of the world: that of not believing in Jesus (John 16.11).” 
[34]Kruse, “Sin and Perfection in 1 John,” 30.
[35]<!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM {"citationID":"ijflr2kt","citationItems":[{"locator":"170","label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/700505/items/P8NETBET"%5D}]} <![endif]–>Rudolf Schnackenburg, The Johannine Epistles: Introduction and Commentary (New York: Crossroad, 1992), 170 interestingly translates and comments on the development from verse 6 to 9 “Not-being-allowed-to-sin is forced into not-being-able-to-sin (v. 9b).”
[36]Robert W. Yarbrough, 1-3 John (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 184.
[37]Judith Lieu, The Theology of the Johannine Epistles (New Testament Theology; Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 52–53.
[38]For some of the interpretation for σπέρμα αὐτοῦ see Jannie Du Preez, “‘Sperma autou’ in 1 John 3:9,” in Essays on the General Epistles of the New Testament (Pretoria: NTWSA, 1975), 105-112. Raymond E. Brown, The Epistles of John (1st ed.; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1982), 411 however rightly states that “[t]he exact identification is not so important, so long as we recognize that the author is talking about a divine agency for begetting God’s children, which not only brings us into being but also remains and keeps us His children.” It is interesting to observe that Hans-Martin Schenke, “Determination und Ethik im ersten Johannesbrief,” Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 60, no. 2 (1963): 209 sees the language of μένειν ἐν as “Synonym der Gotteszeugung” and that therefore “Wer aus Gott gezeugt ist, kann nicht sündigen, muß vielmehr Liebe üben, muß dem rechten Bekenntinis anhängen und kann, wenn er schon einmal sündigt, gar nicht anders als seine Sünden bekennen.”
[39]Griffith, “A Non-Polemical Reading of 1 John,” 262.
[40]Griffith, “A Non-Polemical Reading of 1 John,” 266. Yarbrough, 1-3 John, 182 writes “To commit sinful acts…is to flirt with apostate behavior and consequences.” Smalley, 1, 2, 3 John, 152 maintains that “in 3:6, 9 and 5:18 John is evidently describing sin as an entity, rather than particular expressions of it” but this needs to be proven. Maybe the better solution is to look at John’s redefinition of such sin in v. 4 where the apostle describes sin as ἀνομία as we have been trying to show in this study.

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