corner graphic

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 John 3:12

 

 

not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Not as Cain - Men should not act to each other as Cain did to his brother Abel. He murdered him because he was better than himself. But who was Cain? Εκ του πονηρου ην, he was of the devil. And who are they who, through pride, lust of power, ambition, gain, etc., murder each other in wars and political contentions? Εκ του πονηρου εισι . To attempt to justify the principle, and excuse the instigators, authors, abettors, etc., of such wars, is as vain as it is wicked. They are opposed to the nature of God, and to that message which he has sent to man from the beginning: Love one another. Love your enemies. Surely this does not mean, Blow out their brains, or, Cut their throats. O, how much of the spirit, temper, and letter of the Gospel have the nations of the world, and particularly the nations of Europe, to learn!

And wherefore slew he him? - What could induce a brother to imbrue his hands in a brother's blood? Why, his brother was righteous, and he was wicked; and the seed of the wicked one which was in him induced him to destroy his brother, because the seed of God - the Divine nature, was found in him.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-john-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Not as Cain - Not manifesting the spirit which Cain did. His was a most remarkable and striking instance of a want of love to a brother, and the case was well adapted to illustrate the propriety of the duty which the apostle is enjoining. See Genesis 4:4-8.

Who was of that wicked one - Of the devil; that is, he was under his influence, and acted from his instigation.

And wherefore slew he him? - Because his own works were evil, and his brother‘s righteous.” He acted under the influence of envy. He was dissatisfied that his own offering was not accepted, and that his brother‘s was. The apostle seems desirous to guard those to whom he wrote against the indulgence of any feelings that were the opposite of love; from anything like envy toward more highly favored brethren, by showing to what this would lead if fairly acted out, as in the case of Cain. A large part of the crimes of the earth have been caused, as in the murder of Abel, by the want of brotherly love. Nothing but love would be necessary to put an end to the crimes, and consequently to a large part of the misery, of the world.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-john-3.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 John 3:12

Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother

The world’s hatred of the godly

I.
A reference to the example of Cain.

1. His character--“he was of that wicked one.” He inherited his disposition. He was under his influence. He did his will. Had anyone warned Cain of the danger to which he was exposed, there is no doubt he would have treated it as the grossest insult. The fact proves there is no iniquity to which Satan will not prompt, and which he may not one day induce us to perpetrate. We are, therefore, farther warned to resist his encroaches upon our minds. They are deceitful and gradual. We need to be ever watchful against his devices. Let us remember the counsel of the apostle (1 Peter 5:8).

2. The conduct of Cain--“he slew his brother.” How shall the deed be designated?

3. But how are we to account for it? “Wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” It was envy that first moved him to the unparalleled iniquity. His offering was rejected, while Abel’s was accepted. He was mortified by the distinction, and would be avenged. It is very instructive to mark the progress of his mind under the influence of his envious feelings. The first notice is, “He was wroth.” It is then added, “His countenance fell.” So “he rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” What an instructive history! It is the progress of envy till it ended in fratricide. We need to be watchful over the movements of our own minds. Impressions may be guided or removed if early dealt with, but if they are allowed to strengthen, it is impossible to restrain them. We may be borne away by them as by a resistless torrent.

II. A reflection founded upon it--“Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” The world, of which Cain was a type, hates the godly, who are represented by Abel.

1. Surely, then, they who know the history of the world and the Church should not marvel. It begins with Cain and Abel. The same spirit has appeared in all ages, in all places, and under all circumstances. It has been carried on upon the wide theatre of nations, the narrower scene of communities, within the circle of friends, and in the bosom of families.

2. The causes of the enmity of the world to the Church remain as they were at the beginning, and therefore we should not wonder at it.

3. Important purposes are served by the hatred of the world, and therefore we need not wonder at it. It belongs to God to make the wrath of man to praise Him. He brings good out of evil, light out of darkness, and joy out of sorrow. It shows what man is. His “mind is enmity against God.” Thus the grace of God is exalted. That alone can change the human heart. At the same time the believer is thus subjected to a wholesome influence. As he is useful and holy so does the world watch him with a malignant eye. He needs to remember the injunction “watch unto prayer.”


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 John 3:12". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-john-3.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

not as Cain was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his works were evil, and his brother' s righteous.

The story of Cain is recorded in Genesis 4:1ff, where Cain's wickedness (which long preceded the murder of Abel) at last issued in his offering being rejected by God. In the ensuing hatred of Abel, Cain killed his brother. It is an important point to remember why God rejected Cain's offering. Stott has a remarkably clear word on this:

If Cain had done well, his offering would have been accepted (Genesis 4:7). According to Hebrews 11:4, it was by "faith" that Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain ... we may assume that God had revealed his will to the two brothers ... By faith Abel obeyed ... Cain was willfully disobedient.[28]

Stott's deductions in this are so obviously true that one may only wonder about those who consciously try to make allowances for Cain.

Cain was of the evil one ... It is a mistake to suppose that God punished Cain merely for making a mistake in the worship; this reveals that Cain was controlled by evil principles. "It is inferred here that even before Cain slew Abel, there was something in the actions of the brothers that revealed their difference."[29] The New Testament reveals that Abel was righteous and that Cain's works were evil, as this very verse flatly declares.

And slew his brother ... This sheds further light upon what is recorded in Genesis 4, where it is recorded merely that Cain rose up and slew his brother. The word John used in this place properly means: "slaughtered," "butchered," "by cutting the throat ("jugulare") like an ox in the shambles."[30]

And wherefore slew he him ... ? It was not for any offense of Abel's against his brother, but simply and only because, "Cain's works were evil, and his brother's righteous." Thus quite early in human history the hatred of darkness against the light was revealed. Cain was the archtype of the world's eternal opposition to truth and righteousness. Roberts was of the opinion that John's choice of Cain as his example of evil could very possibly have been due to the fact that the odious heresy of the Cainites (which flourished a little later) might already have made its appearance at the time he wrote.[31]

The heroes worshipped by this monstrous system were Cain, Korah, the Sodomites and Judas Iscariot. They advocated such nonsense by means of a "Gospel of Judas." ... They taught that men could not be saved until they had passed through every kind of experience, even the most vile, claiming that an angel attended their orgies and urged them on to incur pollution. Out of their debaucheries, they claimed to have "perfect knowledge," and did not shrink to rush into such actions as it is unlawful even to name?[32]

[28] John R. W. Stott, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Vol. 19 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1964), p. 140.

[29] J. W. Roberts, op. cit., p. 89.

[30] David Smith, op. cit., p. 185.

[31] J. W. Roberts, op. cit., p. 89.

[32] Irenaeus, Against Heresies I, 31 in The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, n.d.), Vol. I, p. 358.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-john-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Not as Cain,.... That is, let us not be like him, or do as he did, hate the brethren. The apostle illustrates brotherly love by its contrary, in the instance of Cain, who was the first instance and example of hatred of the brethren, and of fratricide, and a very detestable one, by which he would dissuade from so vile and abominable a practice:

who was of that wicked one; Satan, a child of his, an imitator of him, one that appeared to be under his influence, and to belong unto him. So the Jews say of CainF14Midrash Ruth in Zohar in Gen. fol. 42. 4. , that

"he was of the side of the serpent (the old serpent the devil); and as the way of the serpent is to slay and to kill, so Cain immediately became a murderer.'

And again,

"because Cain came from the side of the angel of death, he slew his brotherF15Zohar in ib. fol. 43. 1. ;'

though they say that he afterwards repented, and became worthy of paradiseF16Ib. fol. 41. 1, 2. .

And slew his brother; see Genesis 4:8. According to the tradition of the JewsF17Targum Jon. in Gen. iv. 8. Pirke Eliezer, c. 21. he struck a stone into his forehead, and killed him:

and wherefore slew he him? what was the cause and occasion of it? what moved him to it?

because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous; or "his work", as the Ethiopic version reads: the sacrifice which he offered up, which, though it was not evil as to the matter and substance of it, yet was so, being offered with an evil mind, and with an hypocritical heart, and without faith in the sacrifice of Christ, and so was unacceptable to God; whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice his brother brought was offered up in the faith of Christ, by which he obtained a testimony that he was righteous, and that the work he did was a righteous work, being done in faith, and so was acceptable to God; which Cain perceiving, was filled with envy, and this put him upon killing him. The JewsF18Targum Hieros. & Jon. in Gen. iv. 8. relate the occasion of it after this manner;

"Cain said to Abel his brother, come, and let us go out into the open field; and when they were both out in the open field, Cain answered and said to Abel his brother, there is no judgment, nor Judge, nor another world; neither will a good reward be given to the righteous, nor vengeance be taken on the wicked; neither was the world created in mercy, nor is it governed in mercy; or why is thy offering kindly accepted, and mine is not kindly accepted? Abel answered and said to Cain, there is judgment, and there is a Judge, and there is another world; and there are gifts of a good reward to the righteous, and vengeance will be taken on the wicked; and the world was created in mercy, and in mercy it is governed, for according to the fruit of good works it is governed; because that my works are better than thine, my offering is kindly accepted, and thine is not kindly accepted; and they both strove together in the field, and Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.'

In the Hebrew text in Genesis 4:8; there is an extraordinary large pause, as if a discourse of this kind, which passeth between the two brothers, was to be inserted. Philo the Jew saysF19Quod Det. Potior. p. 161. , that in the contention or dispute between Cain and Abel, Abel attributed all things to God, and Cain ascribed everything to himself; so that the controversy was about grace and works, as now; and as then Cain hated his brother upon this account, so now carnal men hate and persecute the saints, because they will not allow their works to be the cause of justification and salvation: and from hence also it may be observed, that a work may be, as to the matter of it, good, and yet as to its circumstances, and the end and view of it, evil.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-john-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

12 Not as Cain, [who] was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. 13 And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

(12) An amplification taken from the contrary example of Cain who slew his brother.

(13) A short digression: Let us not marvel that we are hated by the world for doing our duty, for such was the condition of Abel who was a just person: and who would not rather be like him than Cain?


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-john-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

who - not in the Greek.

of that wicked one — Translate, “evil one,” to accord with “Because his own works were evil.” Compare 1 John 3:8, “of the devil,” in contrast to “of God,” 1 John 3:10.

slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother‘s righteous — through envy and hatred of his brother‘s piety, owing to which God accepted Abel‘s, but rejected Cain‘s offering. Enmity from the first existed between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-john-3.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Of the evil one (εκ του πονηρουek tou ponērou). Ablative case and the same for neuter and masculine singular, but 1 John 3:10 makes it clear that the reference is to the devil.

Slew (εσπαχενesphaxen). First aorist active indicative of σπαζωsphazō old verb, to slay, to butcher, to cut the throat (Latin jugulare) like an ox in the shambles, in N.T. only here and Rev (Revelation 5:6, Revelation 5:9, Revelation 5:12, etc.).

Wherefore? (χαριν τινοσcharin tinos̱). “For the sake of what?” Post-positive preposition (Ephesians 3:1, Ephesians 3:14) except here. The interpretation of the act of Cain (Genesis 4:8.) is an addition to the narrative, but in accord with Hebrews 11:4. Jealousy led to murder.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-john-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Cain who was ( Κάΐ́ν ἧν )

Who is not in the Greek. The construction is irregular. Lit., as Rev., not as Cain was of the evil one.

Slew ( ἔσφαξεν )

The verb occurs only in John, and only here outside of Revelation. Originally, to slay by cutting the throat; so in Homer, of cattle:

“the suitor train who slay ( σφάζουσι )

His flocks and slow-paced beeves with crooked horns.”

Odyssey,” i., 92.

To slaughter victims for sacrifice:

“Backward they turned the necks of the fat beeves,

And cut their throats ( ἕσφαζαν ), and flayed the carcasses.”

Iliad,” i., 459.

Thence, generally, to slay or kill.

Wherefore ( χάριν τίνος )

Lit., on account of what. Χάριν forthe sake of, on account of, is elsewhere placed after the genitive. See Ephesians 3:1, Ephesians 3:14; 1 Timothy 5:14; Galatians 3:19.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-john-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

Who was of the wicked one — Who showed he was a child of the devil by killing his brother.

And wherefore slew he him — For any fault? No, but just the reverse; for his goodness.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-john-3.html. 1765.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

12.] Not as Cain was of the wicked one and slew his brother (the construction is elliptic, or rather brachylogic, for nothing is to be supplied, as ἐσμέν (Sander), or ὦμεν ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ, as Grot., Lücke, or diligamus, as Corn.-a-lap.; or a relative ὅς before ἐκ τ. πον. ἦν, as Beza and Socinus. The construction is just as in John 6:58, and in the passage of Demosth. p. 415 A, which Winer adduces, οὐ γὰρ ἐκ πολιτικῆς αἰτίας, οὐδʼ ὥσπερ ἀριστοφῶνἔλυσε τὴν προβολήν. It would be simpler, οὐ καθὼς κάϊν ἔσφαξε τὸν ἀδ. αὐτοῦ, ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ ὤν. The word σφάζω properly means to kill by cutting the throat. It is said to occur in LXX and N. T. in the general sense of killing (so Düsterd.); but I cannot find any instances which will not bear the precise meaning as well as a more general one. It is remarkable however, that St. John only of N. T. writers uses the verb, and that in every place there is nothing requiring the proper sense: so that any inference from its occurrence here as to the manner of Cain’s murder of Abel would be unsafe. In ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ ἦν we have a resumption of ἐκ τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστίν from above, 1 John 3:8; the word πονηροῦ being used probably on account of τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ πονηρὰ ἦν following. Observe, the ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ ἦν is the inference from that great proof which he gave of it by killing his brother: as is also the reason given in what follows: see below. So that here the assertion of his being of the wicked one is, as above, strictly ethical, and in no way physical or dualistic: “Cain erat filius non Dei sed diaboli, non generatione, sed imitatione et suggestione,” Corn.-a-lap.). And for what reason (reff.) slew he him? because his (own) works were wicked, and those of his brother righteous (it has caused some difficulty, that no mention of this ethical difference is made in the narrative in Genesis. It has been supposed, e. g. by Socinus, that the Apostle gathers it from God’s differing acceptance of the offerings of the two: others, as Lyra, have called the ethical characters of the two the “occasio prævia,” whereas the immediately exciting cause was the “occasio propinqua,” of the murder. But properly considered, the Apostle’s assertion here is only a “deductio ex concesso.” Cain murdered his brother: therefore he hated him: and hate belongs to the children of the evil one,—classes him at once among those whose works are evil, and who hate those who, like Abel, are testified to (Hebrews 11:4) that they are of the children of God who work righteousness. Whatever might be the exciting occasion of the murder, this lay at the root—the hatred which the children of the devil ever bear to the children of God. The various legends, about Cain being the child of the serpent by Eve, and the characters of Cain and Abel, see in Lücke, edn. 3, pp. 317, 318, notes; and the former in Huther, p. 148).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-john-3.html. 1863-1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

12Not as Cain This is another confirmation, taken from what is contrary; for in the reprobate and the children of the devil hatred reigns, and it holds, as it were, the chief place in their life; and he brings forward Cain as an instance. It served in the meantime to give them consolation, as he at length concluded by saying, Marvel not, if the world hate you.

This explanation ought to be carefully noticed, for men ever blunder as to the way of living, because they make holiness to consist of fictitious works, and while they torment themselves with trifles, they think themselves doubly acceptable to God, as the monks, who proudly call their mode of living a state of perfection; nor is there any other worship of God under the Papacy but a mass of superstitions. But the Apostle testifies that this righteousness alone is approved by God, that is, if we love one another; and further, that the devil reigns where hatred, dissimulation, envy, and enmity prevail. We ought, however, at the same time, to bear in mind what I have already touched upon, that brotherly love, as it proceeds from the love of God as an effect from a cause, is not disjoined from it, but on the contrary is commended by John on this account, because it is an evidence of our love to God.

By saying that Cain was driven to slay his brother, because his works were evil, he intimates what I have already stated, that when impiety rules, hatred occupies the first place. He refers to Abel’s righteous works, that we may learn to endure patiently when the world hates us gratuitously, without any just provocation.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-john-3.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

Ver. 12. Who was of that wicked one] Tertullian calleth Cain the devil’s patriarch. Cain is dead, saith another, but I could wish that he did not still live in his heirs and executors, Qui clavam eius sanguine Abelis rubentem, ut rem sacram circumferunt, adorant et venerantur, who bear about and make use of Cain’s club, to knock on the head God’s righteous Abels. (Bucholcer.)

And slew his brother] Gr. εσφαξε cut his throat. Acerbissima sunt odia (ut ita nominem) Theologica, saith one. These divinity hatreds are most deadly. Such fratricides were Alphonsus Diazius, and Charles, king of France, stirred up by Pope Urban to kill his brother Manford, king of Sicily.

Because his own works, &c.] The old enmity, Genesis 3:15. So Numbers 22:3-4. Moab was irked because of Israel, or did fret and vex at them, as Exodus 1:12, yet they were allied, and passed by them in peace, and, by the slaughter of the Amorites, freed them from evil neighbours which had taken away part of their land, and might do more, as one hath well observed.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-john-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 John 3:12. Not as Cain, &c.— The original is expressive; Not like Cain! he was of the wicked one, and murdered his brother: God forbid therefore that we should be like him. To be of the wicked one, is the same thing as being a child of the devil. See 1 John 3:8. In this verse St. John assigns a second reason why Christians should love each other, namely, that otherwise they will be like Cain, and children of the devil. If, instead of evil, in the last clause, our translators had rendered it wicked, the apostle's sense would have appeared more plainly; and the connection between the wicked one, and wicked works, would have been set in a stronger light. Cain's brother being preferred to him, gave rise to jealousy,envy, and hatred, which, at length, settling into the most rancorous malice, hurried him on to fratricide. See on Genesis 4:4 and Hebrews 11:4.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-john-3.html. 1801-1803.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 John 3:12. The converse of Christian brotherly love is the hatred of the world, which has its example in Cain.

οὐ καθὼς κάϊν κ. τ. λ.] Contrary to the opinion of Grotius, with which Lücke agrees, that before καθώς we must supply “ οὐκ ᾦμεν ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ” dependent on ἵνα, de Wette has shown the clumsiness of speech that would result with this construction; it is unjustifiable, however, on the side of the thought also, for it is impossible that John would say that to Christians the commandment has been given from the beginning, not to be ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῖ. Most commentators supply after οὐ the thought “we should be disposed,” and after κάϊν the relative ὅς. Thus there certainly results a good sense; but if the apostle had thought thus, he would also have expressed himself thus; at least he would not have left out the ὅς. De Wette rightly finds here “an inexact comparison of contrast, as John 6:58, only still more difficult to supply, and just on that account not to be supplied,” i.e. by a definitely formulated sentence (so also Braune). Christians are (and therefore should also show themselves as) the opposite of Cain; they are ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, Cain was ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ; τοῦ πονηροῦ is not neuter, but masculine; πονηρός = διάβολος; comp. especially Matthew 13:38.(220)

καὶ ἔσφαξεν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῖ] This murder of his brother is the evidence that Cain was ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ. The verb σφάζειν (besides here, only in the Apocalypse), strictly used of slaughter, indicates the violence of the action;(221) the diabolical character of it is brought out by the following: καὶ χάριν τίνος κ. τ. λ.; the form of the sentence in question and answer serves to bring out emphatically the thought contained in it, that the hatred of Cain towards his brother was founded in his hatred towards the good, i.e. that which is of God, for it is just in this that the hatred of the world towards believing Christians is also founded.(222) The correspondence between ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ and τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ πονηρά, which J. Lange and Düsterdieck have already noticed, is to be observed.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-john-3.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 John 3:12. οὐ καθὼς) not as. An ellipsis. See ch. 1 John 2:27, note.— κάϊν, Cain) The Scripture speaks more mildly respecting Adam himself, than respecting Cain and persons like him.— ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ, from the Evil One) Afterwards πονηρὰ, evil. It is antithetical to, of God, 1 John 3:10.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-john-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And what again, on the other hand, (q.d.) can be more devil-like, than such a temper as Cain’s was, whose hatred of his brother brake out into actual murder, upon no other account but because his brother was better than he? Which showed him to be

of that wicked one, of the serpent’s seed: so early was such seed sown, and so ancient the enmity between seed and seed.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-john-3.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

That wicked one; the devil, the father of all murderers.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-john-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

12. A brother’s love suggests its opposite, a brother’s hate, and that in the typical instance of it, the fratricide Cain.

οὐ καθὼς Κάϊν. As R.V., Not as Cain was of the evil one. In A.V. the definite article has been exaggerated into a demonstrative pronoun, ‘that wicked one.’ The same fault occurs John 1:21; John 1:25; John 6:14; John 6:48; John 6:69; John 7:40. For ὁ πονηρός see on 1 John 2:13. In ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς ἁμαρτάνει (1 John 3:8) S. John took us back to the earliest point in the history of sin. The instance of Cain shewed how very soon sin took the form of hate, and fratricidal hate. It is better not to supply any verb with ‘not’; although the sentence is grammatically incomplete, it is quite intelligible. ‘We are not, and ought not to be, of the evil one, as Cain was.’ Commentators quote the “strange Rabbinical view” that while Abel was the son of Adam, Cain was the son of the tempter. Of course S. John is not thinking of such wild imaginations: Cain is only morally ‘of the evil one.’ Here, as elsewhere in the Epistle (1 John 2:13-14; 1 John 5:18-19), S. John uses ‘the evil one’ as a term with which his readers are quite familiar. He gives no explanation. To render τοῦ πονηροῦ ‘that wicked one’ while πονηρὰ is translated ‘evil,’ mars the Apostle’s point. Cain’s πονηρὰ ἔργα prove that he is ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ.

καὶ ἔσφαξεν τ. ἀδελφόν. This is special proof of his devilish nature. The devil ἀνθρωποκτόνος ἦν ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς (John 8:44). Σφάζειν is a link between this Epistle and the Apocalypse: it occurs nowhere else in N.T. Its original meaning was ‘to cut the throat’ (σφαγή), especially of a victim for sacrifice. In later Greek it means simply to slay, especially with violence. But perhaps something of the notion of slaying a victim clings to it here, as in most passages in Revelation (1 John 5:6; 1 John 5:9; 1 John 5:12; John 6:9; John 13:3; John 13:8; John 18:24).

καὶ χάριν τίνος. S. John puts this question to bring out still more strongly the diabolical nature of the act and the agent. Was Abel at all to blame? On the contrary, it was his righteousness which excited the murderous hate of Cain. Cain was jealous of the acceptance which Abel’s righteous offering found, and which his own evil offering did not find: and ‘who is able to stand before envy?’ (Proverbs 27:4). Cain’s offering was evil, [1] because it ‘cost him nothing’ (2 Samuel 24:24); [2] because of the spirit in which it was offered. The καί emphasizes the question. Comp. καὶ τίς ἐστιν, κύριε; (John 9:36): καί τίς ἐστί μου πλησίον; (Luke 10:29): καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι; (Luke 18:26). Winer, 545. Elsewhere in N.T. χάριν follows its case, as commonly in classical Greek. The exceptional arrangement seems to emphasize the χάριν: ‘And because of what?’

δίκαια. This is the last mention of the subject of δικαιοσύνη, with which the section opened in 1 John 2:29 : comp. 1 John 3:7; 1 John 3:10. Neither δικαιοσύνη nor δίκαιος occurs again in the Epistle, righteousness being merged in the warmer and more definite aspect of it, love. This is a reason for including from 1 John 2:29 to 1 John 3:12 in one section, treating of the righteousness of the children of God. Comp. ‘By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous’ (Hebrews 11:4).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
"Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-john-3.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12. Not as Cain—Who is a model to avoid. And Cain and Abel are types of the world and the brethren through 12-16. Cain is selected, apparently, from association of the idea, moral and bodily, of the word brother; and the first two brothers of mankind are presented as types of the two classes of mankind. 1 John 3:10 says, Love your brother; this verse says, Not as Cain who slew his brother, being a son of the devil and brother to the devil’s children; 1 John 3:14 quotes love of the brethren as token of our sonship; and so the further verses. Of, or from that wicked one. But was Cain born of the devil? It must be remembered that regeneration is a figurative term. When the power of the Spirit conforms us more or less to the image of God, we are said to be born of God, children of God; while conformed to the image of Satan, we are called children of the devil. The old Jewish legends fabled that Cain was the physical son of Satan by Eve. But his sonship, like our divine sonship, was in fact spiritual. Slew his natural, not moral, brother.

Evil… righteous—The antagonism of sons of God and children of the devil was the dividing line between them.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-john-3.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Cain"s murder of Abel evidenced control by Satan rather than by God. Cain was jealous because of Abel"s greater righteousness, and this motivated him to kill his brother ( Genesis 4:3-8; cf. John 8:40; John 8:42; John 8:44). Often our pride tempts us to dislike those who are more righteous than we are because they make us feel guilty by comparison. This is the only Old Testament reference in John"s epistles and the only proper name, except for names of God, in1John. Love and hatred are typical forms of righteousness and sin respectively. [Note: Dodd, p82.]

Saying that Cain was unsaved and so an unsaved person must be in view here will not work. The Bible does not say that Cain was unsaved. Furthermore, Christians have committed murder, as Cain did. Peter warned his readers, "Let none of you suffer as a murderer ..." ( 1 Peter 4:15). Christians are capable of any and every type of gross sin. It should be obvious that a true believer can hate his brother Christian.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-john-3.html. 2012.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 John 3:12. οὐ καθὼς, κ. τ. λ., a loose, almost ungrammatical expression, analogous to John 6:58. Were there no οὐ, 1 John 3:11 might be regarded as a parenthesis: “he that loveth not his brother, even as Cain was, etc.”. The phrase is elliptical: “We must not hate our brethren, even as Cain was, etc.”. τοῦ πον., see note on 1 John 2:18. ἔσφαξεν, a strong word, “slaughtered,” “butchered,” properly by cutting the throat (jugulare), like an ox in the shambles.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-john-3.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

that = the.

wicked. App-128. See John 8:44.

slew. Greek. sphazo. Only here and Revelation 5:6, Revelation 5:9, Revelation 5:12; Revelation 6:4, Revelation 6:9; Revelation 13:3, Revelation 13:8; Revelation 18:24.

wherefore = for the sake (Greek. charin) of what. The accusative case of charis (App-184.) is used as a preposition.

own. Omit.

evil. Same as "wicked", above.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-john-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

Who - not in the Greek.

Of that wicked one - `evil one:' corresponding to "because his own works were evil." Compare 1 John 3:8, "of the devil," in contrast to "of God," 1 John 3:10.

Slew he him? because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous - through every and hatred of his brother's piety, for which God accepted Abel's, but rejected Cain's offering. Enmity from the first existed between the seed the woman and that of the serpent.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-john-3.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
as
Genesis 4:4-15,25; Hebrews 11:4; Jude 1:11
of
8; 2:13,14; Matthew 13:19,38
And
1 Samuel 18:14,15; 19:4,5; 22:14-16; Psalms 37:12; Proverbs 29:27; Matthew 27:23; John 10:32; 15:19-25; 18:38-40; Acts 7:52; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Peter 4:4; Revelation 17:6
and his
Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51; Hebrews 11:4; 12:24

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-john-3.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

Like Cain. Cain is an example of hate. The Greek says literally that Cain butchered his own brother! Because. "The bad in Cain caused him to hate the good in his brother!" Compare John 3:20; John 8:44; Matthew 5:21-22.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-john-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

This verse confirms the comments on the preceding one as to when the beginning occurred. The case of Cain and Abel is the first one in the divine record that pertains to the subject of love. Cain would not have slain his brother had he loved him. John"s explanation of the cause of the lack of love is that his own works were evil while those of his brother were righteous. It seems strange that such a circumstance would cause the hatred. The basic or remote cause actually was envy which gave him a feeling of spite.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 John 3:12". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/1-john-3.html. 1952.

To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology