What does 1 John 2:9 mean?
ESV: Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.
NIV: Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.
NASB: The one who says that he is in the Light and yet hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now.
CSB: The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now.
NLT: If anyone claims, 'I am living in the light,' but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness.
KJV: He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
NKJV: He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.
Verse Commentary:
Here, John reveals the new commandment hinted at in the previous verses. His statement is direct, simple, and easy to understand: those who claim to follow Christ, but demonstrate hatred for fellow Christians, are actually walking in darkness. It is impossible for one who hates other believers to honestly claim to have fellowship with Christ. This is stated in strong, clear terms.

In Hebrew thinking, "light" was the ultimate ideal. All good things were described in terms of "light," all evil things in terms of "darkness." So, it's not surprising to see the concept of "being in the light" used often in John's letter. God is light (1 John 1:5), we are to walk in the light as Christ is in the light (1 John 1:7), the true light is already shining (1 John 2:8), and whoever loves his brother abides in the light (1 John 2:10).

The Gospel of John refers to Jesus as "the Light" more than twenty times, seven of those in chapter 1 alone. In the book of Revelation, John also notes that God Himself will be our source of light (Revelation 22:5). Rejecting that light comes with consequences, both in this life and in eternity.
Verse Context:
First John 2:7–11 reminds the reader that these are not new commandments. From the very beginning of one’s faith, a Christian is taught that how they behave demonstrates their relationship with Christ. A powerful indicator of this relationship is how one thinks about, acts towards, and treats other professing believers. As with other tests mentioned in 1 John, these are markers of one’s intimacy with and knowledge of Christ.
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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