What does 1 John 5:5 mean?
ESV: Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
NIV: Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
NASB: Who is the one who overcomes the world, but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
CSB: Who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
NLT: And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
KJV: Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
NKJV: Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Verse Commentary:
This verse clearly defines an overcomer as one who has put their faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. John refers to Jesus as the Son of God four other times in this chapter (1 John 5:10, 12, 13, 20), in addition to 1 John 3:8 and 1 John 4:15. The only New Testament book using this phrase more often is John's gospel. John similarly used a question, in 1 John 2:22, to note that a liar is someone who denies Jesus is the Christ. John also uses questions to communicate his teachings in this letter in 1 John 3:12 and 17.

The one who believes in Jesus as the Son of God overcomes the world. This includes overcoming the evil one (1 John 2:13–14), evil spirits, and even death. Just as Jesus defeated death and the grave, believers will also experience eternal life (John 3:16). Believers have been born again and will not experience the second death, a theme John develops in Revelation (Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8).
Verse Context:
First John 5:1–5 develops two major ideas. Initially, John repeats the idea that love, as a commandment from God, is a necessary action by believers. Showing love to others is how we demonstrate that we are ''born of God.'' Second, John explains that those who have faith in Christ can overcome worldly sins and temptations. Victory, for the Christian, is through faith in Christ, who has already defeated these powers of darkness.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 5 concludes the book of 1 John, once again emphasizing the supremacy of love in the Christian experience. Those who put their faith in Christ can know, for sure, that they have eternal life. This assurance comes by trusting what we know of the life of Jesus Christ, as well as the evidence of the Holy Spirit within us. Following God's commands, particularly love, results in confidence of our salvation, as well as strength against the temptations of the world.
Chapter Context:
First John 5 completes the letter by summarizing how Christians can know that they have eternal life. Prior chapters have explained the various signs of ''abiding'' with God, but the key measurement is love. In this final passage, love is once again used as the supreme measurement. In light of the rest of the letter, love for God and love for others is shown to be both a source of confidence and a sign of faith.
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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