What does 1 John 2:20 mean?
ESV: But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
NIV: But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.
NASB: But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.
CSB: But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.
NLT: But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth.
KJV: But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
NKJV: But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
Verse Commentary:
In contrast with the false teachers John described in 2:18–19, he reassures true believers reading this letter that they have been anointed and possess knowledge of the truth. This anointing referred to the Spirit of God being poured out by Jesus "the Holy One" on those who have come to faith in Christ. This anointing "you received from him abides in you" (1 John 2:27), meaning it was lasting. The New Testament described Jesus as the Anointed One (Acts 4:26–27) who also anointed those who believe in Him.

Jesus was also often called the Holy One (Revelation 3:7). This title was used by Simon Peter (John 6:69; Acts 2:27), Paul (Acts 13:35), angels (Revelation 16:5), and even evil spirits (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34). The idea that "you all have knowledge" refers to a Christian believer's true knowledge of Jesus as the Christ. The Bible elsewhere parallels knowledge with salvation (Luke 1:77; 1 Corinthians 1:5).
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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