Sorry my reply took so long. Too many irons in the fire.
Okay, I read 1 John and it reminded me why I know the OT – specifically the Pentateuch – so much better than the NT. The NT is endlessly tedious. And you obviously have a much better handle on it than I do. But I see it as an opportunity to help me shore up a weakness.
When I originally wrote this, I included a comprehensive commentary on 1John. It was very long and mostly off topic. So I have excluded it. I may post it elsewhere as a stand alone thread, which you are welcome to participate in. But it will not be in the Shelter because I had a hard time containing my contempt for John.
Here is the point of discussion:
I find it interesting, however, that Jesus himself sets the requirement of belief to be obedience in 1 John.
First of all, this isn’t jesus talking. It is John.
And we’re not even sure which John.
Anyway, chapter by chapter:1 John 1
I did not find the word “believe” here in any form nor anything that addressed our conversation. It says god is light here. 1 John 2
It starts to deal with obedience at 2:3:
3 Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. 4 Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; 5 but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6 whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked.
This links knowledge, obedience and love. The word “know” is ginosko, which is about understanding and knowledge. It is related to Gnostic and gnosis. It would be a stretch to equate this with belief.
The word believer comes up at 2:11, but the word is “adelphos” which is more commonly used as “brother”. Granted, xians referred to each other as brother, and so I understand that this is not strictly a familial meaning and probably applied to all xians. But the idea we are looking at is belief and how it correlates to obedience. So for that study, I do not think this applies.
I think this verse also applies to our conversation:
2:17 And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.
Here is it explicit about what you have to do: obey. It is not ambiguous nor does it use words that have to mean what they otherwise would mean.
Because the bible is a collection of writings that have conflicting and contradictory messages, there is a mixed message. For sure you can find where one apostle or another says you have to obey. Clearly. It is right above. You also cited other quotes in your reply to me. But none of them directly link belief and obedience. And it appears there were others who said belief was all you needed. The equivocation of belief and obedience strikes me as an attempt to forge coherence out of an incoherent anthology. 1 John 3
Way down in 3:23 is the word “believe”. Pisteuo. Context does not imply obedience.1 John 4
First sentence has “believe” in it. Pisteuo. “Do not believe every spirit.” Context does not imply obedience.
4:16 believe = pisteuo Context does not imply obedience.
It also says god is love here. So good= light=god=love.1 John 5
Now we’re talking.
Believe appears a lot here:
5:1 pisteuo. Context does not imply obedience
5:2-3 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments.”
This equates obedience and love in a way similar to they way you are equating belief and obedience. It uses metaphorical language that really only serves to muddle the lexicon. If we add your calculus to it - belief = obedience - then we have belief = obedience = love = god = light = good. When any of these words are used, it is impossible to know what they mean or what the author intended. It says light, but does it mean a light or does it mean good or god or what?
The difficulty this muddled lexicon presents was mentioned before – being an anthology, not every biblical writer was writing on the same page as all the others. When one guy says belief, there is no guarantee the next guy was even aware of his particular interpretation.
This is also relevant because one of the longstanding problems I have had in discussions with xians is the ambiguity of the language they use, specifically regarding the word “faith”.
Not coincidentally, 5:4 includes a mention of faith as do some of your other references. By the way, those other references only mentioned faith, not belief. That would be a shifting of meaning I talk about here and in my Faith essay.
5:5 pisteuo. Context does not imply obedience
5:10 pisteuo used three times. Context does not imply obedience. It talks about believing testimony.
5:13 pisteuo. Context does not imply obedience
So, here we are at the end of the first epistle of John and I’m not convinced that when NT writers say you have to believe in god they mean you have to obey his rules. Sure, there are many writers who said you have to obey. But I see nothing that equates it to belief.
You also mentioned john 3 and Paul. I’m discounting Paul out of hand. He was a fraud and never knew jesus. The reports of his alleged meeting with jesus are in conflict and, quite frankly, completely fantastical. That anyone ever took him seriously is just a testament to human credulity and makes me sad. John 3:36
You specifically said the word was “apeitheo”. However, it is the only time in that whole chapter that particular word is used.
3:12 – twice, both times pisteuo.
3:15 – pisteuo
3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” so popular at football games. Pisteuo.
In 3:18 it uses “believe” three times, using pisteuo all three. The verse:
“Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
This and 3:16 are almost identical to 3:36:
“ Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.”
Pisteuo and then apeitheo
Why was this different? Why are 3:16 and 18 not the same as 36? Why does 3:18 not give the exact same message given just 18 verses later? My answer – because they came from different writers with different ideas. Most scholars agree.
And to get into apeitheo a bit. It’s root is peitheo, which is “to persuade” or “to convince”.
So apeitheo is failure to be convinced. Not necessarily to disobey.
Sorry, muchlove. I do not find your claim convincing. I suppose that makes me apeitheo.
I did my best to make this Shelter worthy. I depend on the community to regulate me. If anyone finds this post overly agressive, please let me know. I will withdraw from the Shelter.
edit apeithe? --> apeitheo