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Words To Encourage

“I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.
I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one.” 1John 2:12-14

In our focus text, the apostle John engages in writing a little poetry. It’s written in a very common, simple, style. The first line in each pairing makes a statement in which John declares that he’s written to a specific group in the church: little children, fathers, and young men respectively. The second line pairs to it the reason for the action stated in the first line. There are six pairings presented in two cycles of three pairs.

In the poem, there’s a strong reference to the depth of the relationship the church has with God. They’ve been forgiven, they’ve known “him who is from the beginning” and the Father, they’ve been victorious in battling with the wicked one, they’re strong, and the word abides in them. All of these commendations tell us that the church membership, whether young or old, are deeply rooted in their relationship with God and bearing the fruit of that relationship.

Another relational component is John’s use of the expression, “little children.” John’s already used the expression once in his letter and he will use it several more times, and it refers not to actual little children but to the church membership as a whole.

John is very old at the writing of this letter, and it appears that he has a very fatherly relationship with the church. All the members are his children.

It also strikes me as being a wonderfully fatherly thing for John to commend the church in the way he does. Already the church has weathered attacks as Satan has tried to destroy the church through persecution and attempted to weaken and dilute the gospel by trying to interject Jewish legalism and Greek philosophy. I can just imagine John smiling and sagely nodding his head as he considers their accomplishments and then states in his strong and simple terms the merits he sees present in the church.

But it’s not enough to just write the words. No he has to make them stand out from the rest of the letter. He takes steps to make them memorable. He writes them as poetry.

Too often we neglect to lighten the loads and strengthen the hands of each other by the words of praise and encouragement we have to give. Sometimes, perhaps most times, encouragement accomplishes more than criticism and complaining.

These verses are perhaps some of the least thought about in the entire letter but, I believe, that they were some of the most important to John.

1 thought on “Words To Encourage”

  1. Thank you for “Words to Encourage”.

    These posts bring to life scriptures. Sharing words of praise and encouragement seems to have an effect on the body and the health in a good way and
    criticism and complaining seem to have a bad effect.

    When, “the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one”
    it is possible to praise and encourage.

    Thank you again!

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