1Jn 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
This post continues from the previous post on this same Bible passage. And that post is a continuation of the post prior to that one. In the immediately prior post to this one, I attempted to clarify the meaning of 1 John 3:15 by applying the first principle of interpretation–placing the verse in context by reading and studying the verses that come before and the verses that come after this one.
The second principle is to study a verse by consulting its cross references to the other passages found in the Bible that shed more light on this verse.
Many Bible readers have never seen, and so have never used cross references in their Bible study. Where do cross references come from? Cross references have been supplied by careful Bible scholars to the passages they have found that link to each verse in the Bible, including this specific verse, 1 John 3:15. Cross references are given in the center column or side column of reference Bibles and some study Bibles. Cross references were collected by the great commentator Thomas Scott in the margins of his five-volume commentary known as Scott’s Bible. These were in turn placed in the center columns of the Comprehensive Bible published by Bagster and Sons in London in the early 19th century. The cross references and the explanatory notes were then gathered into a separate single volume under the title The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. I, in turn, collected more cross references in my work, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, published in 1992. I have expanded these references once again in 2016 in my latest work, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury, available as a premium module for the e-Sword Bible software program.
Here are the cross references that I have for 1 John 3:15,
Whosoever. or, Everyone who. Gr. pas ho. 1Jn 3:9.
hateth his brother. 1Jn 3:10, 1Jn 2:9; 1Jn 2:11, Gen 27:41, *Lev 19:16, 17, 18, +*Deut 15:9, 1Sa 19:4, 2Sa 13:22-28, Pro 26:24-26, +*Zec 7:9; Zec 7:10, *Mat 5:21; *Mat 5:22; Mat 5:27; Mat 5:28, Mar 6:19, Act 23:12; Act 23:14, Eph 4:31, Jas 1:15; Jas 4:1-2.
is a murderer. Gr. anthrōpoktonos (S# G443, only here and Joh 8:44). Joh 8:44. %+*Acts 20:26.
ye know. Gr. oida, Joh 8:55 note. 1Jn 5:18.
no murderer hath. Joh 4:14, +*Gal 5:21, *1Pe 1:23, +*Rev 21:8.
eternal. Gr. aionios, +Mat 18:8.
life. 1Jn 5:11; 1Jn 5:13; 1Jn 5:20, +Mat 19:16, Joh 3:36; +Joh 4:14; Joh 6:53, +Rom 2:7.
abiding in him. 1Jn 3:9; 1Jn 3:17, 1Jn 2:14; 1Jn 2:27, Joh 5:38; Joh 6:56; Joh 15:5; Joh 15:7, 2Jn 1:2, *3Jn 1:9, 10. 11.
The cross references I have listed above should appear as live links on your computer or other device screen. Hovering the mouse pointer will open a pop-up window which displays the text of each cross reference.
I will give the text below of several of the most significant cross references given above with a few comments upon them.
Hateth his brother.
1 John 3:10.
In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
John plainly discusses how to identify true children of God. Whosoever does not practice righteousness is not of God. Neither is a person truly a believer or a Christian who does not love his brother. The term brother is generic and so refers to another Christian, male or female. The reference is not primarily to a family member who is your blood brother, though that could be included. John, therefore, is warning us not to hate fellow believers.
Hatred to fellow believers evidenced by (1) failing to warn a person when they are in spiritual danger when we are in a position to do so:
Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
The context of this Leviticus passage is worth further study. The idea seems to be that we should correct a person to save them from the error of their ways. This may be related to what Paul affirms in Acts 20:26,
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
And this statement of Paul may also be related to Ezekiel 3:18,
When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Eze 3:19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
The point is, failure to correct a fellow believer when they are on the wrong path is by John stated to be the same as to hate them, and anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and does not have eternal life abiding in him.
Hatred to fellow believers is also evidenced by (2) a mean and selfish spirit when we fail to provide help or assistance to them when we are providentially in a proper position to responsibly do so:
Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.
Deu 15:10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.
The thought here is that in Israel a person would hesitate to lend to a poor person as the seventh year approached because all debts were to be forgiven every seventh year, and the lender would not get his money back or the loan would not be repaid. Note the reference to “if thine eye be evil.” Jesus made reference to this evil disposition in Matthew 6:23 and Matthew 20:15. See also Mark 7:22. Jesus alludes directly to this Deuteronomy 15:7 passage in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:12, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” In the seventh year, all debts were cancelled, and everyone started out with a “clean slate” economically. That is the spirit and manner in which we are to forgive others, though without waiting until the seventh year is up!
Abiding in him.
Another evidence of hatred to fellow believers is (3) the failure to properly extend a continuing welcome, a failure to provide the opportunity to extend friendship and develop lasting friendships with them, a failure to receive them into our group, church, or fellowship. This is pointedly seen in the behavior of Diotrephes, condemned by John in his short Bible book of 3 John, at 3 John 1:9, 10, 11.
3Jn 1:8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
3Jn 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
3Jn 1:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
3Jn 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
The Apostle John roundly condemns in a not too subtle manner the behavior and attitude of Diotrephes. He labels these unkind and unwelcoming actions of Diotrephes as evil, and states that he that practices evil has not seen God. John authoritatively pronounced Diotrephes an unsaved man, though I’m sure Diotrephes thought he was a saved man.
So, what might be the point or application of all this? We who believe the Bible need to exercise loving care for others, not just economically, but also spiritually, as God gives us opportunity within the circle of those with whom we have some contact. We can pray for those we know who are not saved, or who are not walking in the light of the Gospel as they should. We can, as appropriate, give them warning. We can, as appropriate, extend them help materially or spiritually. We can always welcome the fellowship of other believers, and seek to strengthen them, or be ourselves strengthened by them.
Pastor W. L. Wade of the Lighthouse Bible Church of Danville, Virginia, as always preached an encouraging message this very Sunday morning on Mark 14:8, on the significant words, “She hath done what she could.” That is what Jesus wants us all to do. If we did that, many more would be reached with the Gospel, and the world would be a different and much better place.