What does 1 John 3:8 mean?
ESV: Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
NIV: The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
NASB: the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
CSB: The one who commits sin is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the devil's works.
NLT: But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.
KJV: He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
NKJV: He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Verse Commentary:
Again as in verses 6—7, John emphasizes that those who live in consistent, habitual sin have no fellowship with Christ. In fact, John clearly states that all sin is from the Devil; it can never be from a relationship with Christ. All sin, in all forms, is from Satan. This verse is frequently interpreted as a warning to unbelievers, whose lives are marked with habitual, unrepentant sin. The specific context, however, is to Christians. As Paul does in Romans and Galatians, John seems to be refuting the claim that the gospel gives Christians a license to sin.

Christians are not supposed to submit to our sin natures. John points out that Jesus appeared to destroy the Devil's works. This teaching closely reflects Hebrews 2:14: "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil." Believers are to resist the devil (James 4:7), who will eventually receive his proper judgment (Revelation 20:10).
Verse Context:
First John 3:4–10 strongly condemns sin, and leaves no excuse for it. While this warning is often interpreted as a ''litmus test'' for salvation, John's specific audience is actually Christian believers. Salvation is no excuse for sin, because all sin is from the Devil, not God. Sin always disrupts our ''walk'' with God. And, those who only walk in sin and darkness cannot claim to be children of God.
Chapter Summary:
The third chapter of 1 John focuses mostly on the concept of love. Because of His love, God not only calls us His children, He actually makes us His children. John also explains how sin, including hate, is never the result of a proper relationship with God. Christians, in contrast to the world, are supposed to do more than simply ''feel'' love; we are to act on it, as well
Chapter Context:
Chapters 1 and 2 introduced the stark differences between those who truly have fellowship with Christ, as opposed to those who are ''in darkness.'' Chapter 3 continues this discussion, with a particular emphasis on love. This serves as a bridge, between John's descriptions of lives lived abiding either in darkness or light, to an explanation of how God's faithfulness gives us confidence as Christian believers.
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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