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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 John 4:5

 

 

They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

They are of the world - This was one of the marks by which those who had the spirit of antichrist might be known. They belonged not to the church of God, but to the world. They had its spirit; they acted on its principles; they lived for it. Compare the notes at 1 John 2:15.

Therefore speak they of the world - Compare the notes at John 3:31. This may mean either that their conversation pertained to the things of this world, or that they were wholly influenced by the love of the world, and not by the Spirit of God, in the doctrines which they taught. The general sense is, that they had no higher ends and aims than they have who are influenced only by worldly plans and expectations. It is not difficult to distinguish, even among professed Christians and Christian teachers, those who are heavenly in their conversation from those who are influenced solely by the spirit of the world. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” and the general turn of a man‘s conversation will show what “spirit is within him.”

And the world heareth them - The people of the world - the frivoulous ones, the rich, the proud, the ambitious, the sensual - receive their instructions, and recognize them as teachers and guides, for their views accord with their own. See the notes at John 15:19. A professedly religious teacher may always determine much about himself by knowing what class of people are pleased with him. A professed Christian of any station in life may determine much about his evidences of piety, by asking himself what kind of persons desire his friendship, and wish him for a companion.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-john-4.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

They are of the world: therefore speak they as of the world, and the world heareth them.

They are of the world ... This is another in a series of tests by which evil teachers could be recognized and refused. Significantly, in the early church, there were persons supernaturally endowed with the ability to "discern spirits," that is, the ability to know which were of God and which were not (1 Corinthians 12:10); but it appears that John had the succeeding ages in mind here, a period when all who might have had that apostolic gift no longer lived. Other tests already stressed in this first paragraph of the chapter were: (1) the test of confessing that Jesus was the Christ who came in the flesh; (2) the test of whether or not they were indwelt by the Father (1 John 4:4); and (3) the test of their life-style. The false teachers were worldly, concerned chiefly with material and temporal things, living in pride and ostentation, being "of the world." These tests are still valid.

And the world heareth them ... This is not surprising. "These false teachers speak from the same principle, wisdom, and spirit of the world; and, of consequence, the world approvingly hears them."[21] In our own times, the false teacher speaks the wisdom of the world, reasons from the worldly frame of reference, quotes its philosophers, heeds its authorities, accommodates to its theology, all the while neglecting to declare emphatically the precious teachings of the apostles of Christ as revealed in the New Testament.

ENDNOTE:

[21] John Wesley, Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament (Naperville, Illinois: Alec. R. Allenson, Inc., reprint, 1950), p. 914.


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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 4:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-john-4.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

They are of the world,.... That is, the false prophets and teachers that were gone into the world, and had the spirit of antichrist in them; these were as they were when they came into the world, under the pollution, guilt, and dominion of sin, in a state of unregeneracy, carnality, and darkness; they properly belonged unto it, and walked after the course of it, and were under the influence of the god of it, who led them into error; and were sensual, and indulged themselves in worldly lusts, and were seeking after worldly things; supposed that gain was godliness, and had men's persons in admiration because of advantage; their nature and disposition, their principles and practices, and their ends and views, were worldly; and were quite different from Christ and his apostles, John 17:14,

therefore speak they of the world; they speak the wisdom of the world, or that in which the world thinks wisdom lies, and cry up for true knowledge, and right principles; and this they do with the enticing words of man's wisdom, or in words which man's wisdom teacheth; speaking great swelling words of vanity, which take with vain and carnal minds; and preach doctrines suited to their own taste, and the taste of others, as carnal and worldly men; such as the purity of human nature, in its first conception and birth, its freedom from any original corruption, and from any concern with the sin of Adam, only with actual sin of its own; and the power of it to do that which is good, keep the law of God, and obtain his favour; the non-necessity of any internal work of efficacious grace, a reformation of life and manners being thought sufficient to render a man acceptable to God, and prepare him for eternal happiness; the doctrine of justification and salvation by works; all which are pleasing to carnal men: hence it follows,

and the world heareth them; the wicked of the world; worldly and unregenerate men attend on their ministry, approve of what they deliver, and receive it with pleasure, and believe it: this expresses both the quality of the hearers of false teachers, that they are that part of the world, the worse part of it, which lies in wickedness; and the quantity of them, the greater part of the world, as it was foretold by Christ, and his apostles, that they should deceive many, that many should follow their pernicious ways, and that they should draw many disciples after them; wherefore the numbers that attend such persons, as it need not be wondered at, since both preachers and hearers, and the doctrines preached and heard, are all alike, they are of the world, so it should not be stumbling to the people of God.


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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.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-john-4.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

4 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

(4) He brings a reason why the world receives these teachers more willingly than the true: that is, because they speak nothing but that which is worldly: which is another note also to know the doctrine of antichrist by.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-john-4.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

of the world — They derive their spirit and teaching from the world, “unregenerate human nature, ruled over and possessed by Satan, the prince of this world” [Alford].

speak they of the word — They draw the matter of their conversation from the life, opinions, and feelings of the world.

the world heareth them — (John 15:18, John 15:19). The world loves its own.


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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 4:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-john-4.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Of the world (εκ του κοσμουek tou kosmou). As Jesus is not and as the disciples are not (John 17:14.).

As of the world (εκ του κοσμουek tou kosmou). No “as” (ωςhōs), but that is the idea, for their talk proceeds from the world and wins a ready hearing. The false prophets and the world are in perfect unison.


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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 4:5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-john-4.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Of the world ( ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου )

Proceeding from, as their source ( ἐκ ). Different from ἐκ τῆς γῆς fromthe earth (John 3:31), as marking the whole worldly economy morally considered.

Speak they of the world ( ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου λαλοῦσιν )

An ambiguous rendering, which might readily be interpreted “they speak concerning the world.” Literally it is: “they speak out of the world; i.e., the character of their utterances corresponds to their origin. Rev., “speak they as of the world.” The position of the world in the sentence is emphatic: “it is out of the world that they speak.”


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-john-4.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

They — Those false prophets.

Are of the world — Of the number of those that know not God.

Therefore speak they of the world — From the same principle, wisdom, spirit; and, of consequence, the world heareth them - With approbation.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-john-4.html. 1765.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

5.] They are of the world (this description is not ethical, as Socinus and Grot.,—“affectus habent, quales habet mundus, i. e. pars longe maxima humani generis: amant splendorem hujus vitæ, opulentiam et voluptates:”—but betokens the origin and source of that which they are and teach, as ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστέ did on the other side. That origin and source is the world, unregenerate human nature, ruled over and possessed by the devil, the prince of this world): for this cause they speak of (not concerning, but of, as out of and from; the material of what they say being cosmic: “ex mundi vita et sensu sermones suos promunt,” Bengel) the world, and the world heareth them (loving as it does its own, who aro of it, John 15:19, from which our verse is mainly taken: see also John 8:47; John 18:37).


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-john-4.html. 1863-1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

5They are of the world It is no small consolation that they who dare to assail God in us, have only the world to aid and help them. And by the world the Apostle means that portion of which Satan is the prince. Another consolation is also added, when he says that the world embraces through the false prophets that which it acknowledges as its own. (85) We see what great propensity to vanity and falsehood there is in men. Hence false doctrines easily penetrate and spread far and wide. The Apostle intimates that there is no reason why we should on this account be disturbed, for it is nothing new or unusual that the world, which is wholly fallacious, should readily hearken to what is false.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-john-4.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

Ver. 5. They are of the world] i.e. The seducers; fit lettuce for such lips; Dignum patella operculum. Vos infernates estis. "Ye are from beneath, I am from above," saith Christ, John 8:23.

Therefore speak they of the world] The water riseth not (unless forced) above its source. Out of the warehouse, the shop is furnished. Carnal teachers gratify their hearers with pleasing positions. The Papists in their petition to King James for a toleration, plead this as an argument, That their religion is agreeable to men’s nature: and indeed it is an alluring, tempting, bewitching religion, giving way to all licentiousness and lasciviousness. So Mahomet in his Koran tells his followers concerning venery, That God did not give men such appetites to have them frustrated, but enjoyed, as made for the gust {a} of man, not for his torment; and a great deal more of such paltry stuff.

{a} Keen relish, appreciation, or enjoyment, esp. as displayed in speech or action. ŒD


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-john-4.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 John 4:5. They are of the world: False prophets and corrupt teachers are of the world, as long as a worldly spirit influences them; therefore speak they from that worldlydisposition, suiting their hearers, and consulting worldly interests; and as they sooth men in their prejudices, flatter them, and make them easy in their vices, the world readily heareth them; for there are many who would be gladly freed from moral obligations, and reconcile religion and the love of the world.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-john-4.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Here we have, 1. The character given of these seducers and false teachers, They are of the world; that is, men of worldly minds and interests, They speak of the world; that is, they preach a doctrine suitable to the lusts and inclinations of worldly men, who greedily hear them, and easily believe them; ordinarily our words are such as we are; they who are of the world must needs speak of the world, for they have nothing else to speak of. THe covetous man speaks covetously, and the proud man proudly.

Observe, 2. The character which the apostle gives of himself and his fellow-apostles, we are of God; that is, taught and instructed by God. We have our mission and our message from God, and he has given us his attestation, by opening the ears and hearts of those that attend upon our ministry, to receive and embrace our doctrine; but such as are not taught of God, reject both it and us.

Observe, 3. The inference and conclusion which our apostle draws from hence, namely, that by the doctrine and writings of the apostles and evangelists, the truth or falsehood of doctrines may and must be judged; for, says he, Hereby we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error; he that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth not us.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/1-john-4.html. 1700-1703.

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

1 John 4:5. In chap. 1 John 2:19, John had said of the false teachers: οὐκ εἰσὶν ἐξ ἡμῶν; now he states from what source they spring; this is the κόσμος; the antichristian nature in them belonged to the world, quatenus Satanas est ejus princeps (Calvin). The manifestation of life corresponds with the source of it; because they are of the world, διὰ τοῦτο ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου λαλοῦσι; ἐκ τ. κόσμου λαλεῖν means: to speak that which the κόσμος supplies, to take the burden of their speech from the κόσμος, ex mundi vita ac sensu sermones suos promere (Bengel). This is not identical with ἐκ τῆς γῆς λαλεῖν (John 3:31), for γῆ is not an ethical idea like κόσμος.

καὶ κόσμος αὐτῶν ἀκούει] The false prophets had gone out from the Church into the world, to which they inwardly belonged, and proclaimed to it a wisdom which originated in it; therefore the world heard them, i.e. gave to their words applause and assent: τῷ γὰρ ὁμοίῳ τὸ ὅμοιον προστρέχει (Oecumenius); in contrast to which believers were hated and persecuted by the world.


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-john-4.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 John 4:5. αὐτοὶ) they themselves.— ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου λαλοῦσι, speak of the world) They derive their language from the life and perception of the world.— ἀκούει, heareth) on account of its agreement with them.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-john-4.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 5,6. He giveth here a further rule whereby to judge of doctrines and teachers, viz. what they severally savour of, and tend to. The doctrines and teachers whereby these Christians were assaulted and tempted, were of an earthly savour and gust, tending only to gratify worldly lusts and inclinations, and to serve secular interests and designs; and therefore men only of a worldly spirit and temper were apt to listen and give entertainment to them. On the other hand, says he, (in the name of the asserters and followers of true and pure Christianity, comprehended with himself):

We are of God; i.e. our doctrine and way proceed from God, and tend only to serve, please, and glorify him, and draw all to him; therefore such as

know God, i.e. are his friends, and converse much with him,

hear us; the things we propose and offer are grateful and savoury to them, {as John 8:37,47} having manifestly no other aim than to promote serious godliness. And hereby may the spirit of truth and the spirit of error in matters of this nature be distinguished; the one being next of kin to purity, and holiness, and a godly life; the other, to sensuality, and a design only of gratifying the animal life.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-john-4.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

They; the false teachers.

Are of the world; belong in their spirit to the world, and are governed by its principles.

Speak they of the world-the world heareth them; their doctrine proceeds from a worldly spirit and is worldly in its character. For this reason it is agreeable to worldly men.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-john-4.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

5. αὐτοὶ ἐκ τ. κ. εἰσίν. The pronouns at the beginning of all three verses are in emphatic opposition; ὑμεῖςαὐτοὶἡμεῖς. That they, the antichristian teachers, are ‘of the world’ was implied in 1 John 2:19, where it is stated that they are ‘not of us’: for there is no middle neutral position. The verse is another reminiscence of the Lord’s farewell discourses: ‘If ye were of the world, the world would love its own’ (John 15:19; comp. John 17:14).

διὰ τοῦτο ἐκ τ. κ. λαλοῦσιν. Therefore of the world they speak: as in John 3:31, the Greek order is impressive and worth preserving. (See on 1 John 3:1; but here διὰ τοῦτο is not followed by ὄτι.) The impressive repetition of ‘the world’ is very characteristic of S. John’s style; e.g. John 1:10; John 3:17; John 15:19; John 17:14. Comp. ‘He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh’ (John 3:31): where, however, ἐκ τῆς γῆς λαλεῖν is to speak of God’s work on earth; whereas ἐκ τ. κόσμου λ. is to speak what is alien from God’s work and opposed to it. ‘To speak of’ (λαλεῖν ἐκ) is not the same as ‘to speak concerning’ (λέγειν περί) 1 John 5:16; John 1:22; John 1:47; John 2:21, &c. ‘To speak of the world’ is to have the world as the source of one’s words, so that one’s inspiration flows from it: and of course the world ‘heareth,’ i.e. loves to hear, the wisdom derived from itself. It expects to secure everything, the honour of the Christian name and the credit of lofty spiritual γνῶσις, without any humiliation or crucifixion of the flesh.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-john-4.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5. Speak they of (rather from) the world—They draw their inspiration, not from Christ, but from the world-spirit; and their doctrines are but the expression of the world’s feelings; and themselves are the organs of the Satan-inspired world.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-john-4.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The antichrists" teachings have an appeal to worldly minds because they come from the world and share the viewpoint of the world (cf. John 3:31). Heterodoxy has a greater appeal than orthodoxy because many religious movements are composed mainly of unsaved people who find false doctrine appealing.

"How can a man whose watchword is competition even begin to understand an ethic whose key-note is service?" [Note: Barclay, p113.]

"The term "world" (kosmos) is probably to be understood in two ways: as a system of thought antithetical to Christian belief and as a description of those members of the community who were led astray by the false teachers. That some members of the community were easily persuaded to forsake the truth of the gospel should not bewilder the faithful." [Note: Barker, p341.]

"The word "world" has several nuances of meaning; in 1 John 4:3 it means more the area inhabited by men, but in 1 John 4:4 it refers rather to sinful mankind, while in 1 John 4:5 the stress is more on the sinful principle found in such people" [Note: Marshall, p209 , footnote18.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-john-4.html. 2012.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 John 4:5. αὐτοὶ (as opposed to ὑμεῖς) ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου εἰσίν, as its delegates, messengers, representatives, and as such ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου λαλοῦσιν. λαλεῖν, not “speak” ( λέγειν), but “talk,” with a suggestion of prating (cf. John 4:42). ἀκούειν takes accus. of the thing heard, genit. of the person from whom it is heard. Cf. Luke 5:1; Acts 1:4 (where both are combined). The world listens to those who speak its own language.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-john-4.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

They are of the world. Such antichrists and heretics are guided by a worldly spirit, teaching men to follow the corrupt customs and inclinations of the world and the flesh, therefore the world heareth them, and men are more easily seduced by them. (Witham)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-john-4.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

therefore = on account of (App-104. 1 John 4:2) this.

speak. App-121.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-john-4.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

Of the world - they derive their spirit and teaching from the world: 'unregenerate bureau nature, ruled over and possessed by Satan' (Alford).

Speak they of the world - they drew their convocation from the life, opinions, and feelings of the world.

The world heareth them - (John 15:18-19.) The world loves its own.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-john-4.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
are
Psalms 17:4; Luke 16:8; John 3:31; 7:6,7; 8:23; 15:19,20; 17:14,16; Revelation 12:9
and
Isaiah 30:10,11; Jeremiah 5:31; 29:8; Micah 2:11; John 15:19; 17:14; 2 Timothy 4:3; 2 Peter 2:2,3

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-john-4.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

About matters of the world. Compare 1 John 3:12. "Do not be discouraged by the success of the false teachers. They tell the world what it wants to hear!" See 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; 2 Timothy 4:3-4.


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-john-4.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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

They (the antichrists) are of the world, which means they are interested in worldly practices. That is why they are opposing Christ because he condemns their evil ways. But the people of the world will hear their false teaching because it encourages their unrighteous life.


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Bibliography
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 John 4:5". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/1-john-4.html. 1952.

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