1 John 5:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 John 5:18, NIV: "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them."

1 John 5:18, ESV: "We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him."

1 John 5:18, KJV: "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not."

1 John 5:18, NASB: "We know that no one who has been born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him."

1 John 5:18, NLT: "We know that God's children do not make a practice of sinning, for God's Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them."

1 John 5:18, CSB: "We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the one who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him."

What does 1 John 5:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

John's use of "we" in this letter is probably a reference to the apostles, but may also be a reference to the Christians to whom John is writing. As in 1 John 3:6 and 1 John 3:9, John here indicates that sin is never the result of fellowship with Christ. Believers can sin, but those sins are never the result of their walk with Jesus. The normal, expected state of a Christian's life is very different from that of an unbeliever. Temptation will continue to exist and even mature believers will struggle with sin (Romans 7). However, actively pursuing sin as a continual practice is not the mark of someone who has been changed by Christ.

The reference to being "protected" or "kept safe" is challenging to interpret. Some see "he who was born of God" in this verse as a reference to Jesus, but this is not a phrase used to describe Christ anywhere else by John. It has been interpreted to mean other believers, meaning other believers help protect a Christian through prayer and Satan cannot touch him (1 John 5:16–17). While both are possible, a more likely answer is that the phrase ought to be interpreted as "the one born of God keeps himself." In other words, just as John said in 1 John 3:9, walking closely with God means power against sin and temptation.