What does 1 John 2:19 mean?
ESV: They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
NIV: They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
NASB: They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be evident that they all are not of us.
CSB: They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.
NLT: These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.
KJV: They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Verse Commentary:
John further describes the traits of "antichrists" as those who "went out from us, but they were not of us." These false teachers claimed to be believers, but were not. John explains why: "if they had been of us, they would have continued with us." John uses the idea of "continuing" to refer to ongoing or repeated action. Those who did not last in the faith, particularly those who claimed to be leaders in the church, but turned against God, were literally against Christ or antichrists.

John adds, "But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us." This abandonment of the faith offered proof or evidence that these false teachers were not true believers (1 John 2:22–23). In contrast with those who had been anointed (1 John 2:20), these false teachers did not have God's Spirit within them. They did not know the truth (1 John 2:21), denied Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2:22), and deceived others (1 John 2:26).
Verse Context:
First John 2:18–27 warns against those who oppose Christ in their teachings. These ''anti-Christs'' deny that Jesus is God. They reject Him as part of the Trinity, or claim He did not appear in the flesh. John again makes reference to truth ''abiding'' in someone, encouraging his readers to hold to the gospel that saved them.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 2 explains the fellowship Christians have with God. Christ is our advocate, even when we sin. Christians are not to love things of the world, or to love the world. Instead, we are to live, love, and act like Christ. False teachers, and those who deny Jesus are called ''liars.'' Those who demonstrate a Christ-like behavior are ''born of'' God.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 1 introduced the primary themes of John’s letter. Chapters 2 and 3 lay out a detailed description of how Christian conduct is meant to be marked by obedience to the truth. Christians are called to live like Christ. Therefore, those who do not (live that way) do not have ''the truth'' in them. Later chapters of this letter will fill in how Christian love and conduct give us confidence in our daily lives.
Book Summary:
First John seems to assume that the reader is familiar with the gospel. Rather than re-state these facts, John is concerned with building confidence in Christian believers. At the same time, his words encourage believers to examine their own lives for signs of their relationship with Christ. This letter also challenges false teachers and their incorrect claims about Jesus. Many themes are shared with the Gospel of John.
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