KJV John 15:19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 

Westcott and Hort / [NA27 variants] εἰ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἦτε, ὁ κόσμος ἂν τὸ ἴδιον ἐφίλει· ὅτι δὲ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου οὐκ ἐστέ, ἀλλ' ἐγὼ ἐξελεξάμην ὑμᾶς ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου, διὰ τοῦτο μισεῖ ὑμᾶς ὁ κόσμος.


3 Answers 3


Perhaps it could be interpreted as the order(strongs also gives κόσμου as meaning order or structure) that constitutes this creation- a fallen framework and broken rules, unclean from the source point of sin entry at Eden- like a little yeast causing the whole lump to rise, sin contaminated the order of creation- leaving behind an impure universe hurtling toward judgement, dragging all in contact with its uncleaness along with it. (John seems to use γῆς for Earth esp in Rev 13:8 rather than κόσμου, implying creation and the this present “structure” of the universe and its law. Again, just as a side note Mathew speaks of the salt of γῆς and the light of the κόσμου , Math 5:13)

Rather than γῆς , this is the entire concept of creation rising up against those not part of it

The OT has rules regarding purification of impure objects Num 31:21/Lev 11:32. Uncleaness precludes communication/communion with God. Things unclean were according to the Law either destroyed, or purified with fire and/or water- and in this is the archetype of our souls. All of us are effectively unclean and are therefore to be destroyed like an unclean clay pot- or be cleansed by fire- this time, the living fire of the Spirit.

When chosen, ( parallel the choosing of Israel out of the nations of earth, no intrinsic good in either Israel, or us individually, but saved and chosen because of promise Deut 7:6-8 and Jer 31:31

  1. A new creation, not part of the old system, therefore aliens and a foreign body, like an implanted organ that is rejected. Basically gave up the world’s citizenship and now we’re walking around without a world visa. (World citizens threatening: “We don’t take too kindly to heaven citizens round these parts”) Aliens for Christ
  2. Old order/arrangement/law no longer applicable- diplomatic immunity from Law of death- (reflect heavenly kingdom and so on and so forth) Ambassadors for Christ
  3. Ceremonially spirituality clean, and therefore Able to Access Christ
  • I do think "order" is the general sense but I'm looking for the specific "order" John has in mind. Are you suggesting that the "order" that John has in mind is human culture? A passage I have in mind that I use as an acid test is this: Joh 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. Were they expecting a prophet to come into human culture?
    – Ruminator
    Apr 13, 2018 at 0:14
  • No, not human culture, (as you rightly point out) because that goes against what I infer from the meaning of order/world used elsewhere. Most particularly in 1John 2.16 where he paints κόσμῳ as source for evil/desire/lust, and not human beings/human culture.
    – Emmanuel L
    Apr 13, 2018 at 0:43

In my view (and I realize I get little support from BDAG on this or anyone else for that matter) John uses KOSMOS in a somewhat peculiar sense to refer to the contemporary (to him) Jewish theocratic establishment. If I were pressed for a single word to render what John meant it would probably be "establishment" or "system". It isn't intrinsically negative though often used that way. John's usage can be neutral as referring to "our people" but he is often brutally negative. It is similar to his usage of "the Jews". In modern times that is how "hippies" and the oppressed tend to refer to the government and all of the ancillary systems such as self-serving religion, establishment-serving education, rigged economics, oppressive law enforcement, etc. In this video John Lennon can be seen denouncing the "system":


I believe that "John" that authored the 4th canonical gospel and John Lennon have a great deal in common in their use of the "system". And our John's "system" is the Jewish theocracy. Many are tempted to see it as Rome or humanity but I don't think a broader investigation of John's usages bears that out. A couple of good examples are:

Joh 12:19  The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him. 

Joh 6:14  Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

Note that no one expected that the prophet to come would "come into the world" but rather into Judaism:

Deu 18:15  The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

Those are neutral usages. In John 8 he refers to "the Jews" as "the spawn of Satan". So too in 1 John "the whole establishment is under the control of the wicked one]":

NIV 1Jn_5:19  We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

So to answer the question, the KOSMOS is the contemporary (to the disciples) Jewish theocracy which expected to be the seat of the messiah and instead was decidedly outside of independent of its authority structure. So too the disciples, once beholden to the "system" were liberated to become critics of the "establishment":

Act 5:17  Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,  Act 5:18  And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.  Act 5:19  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,  Act 5:20  Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.  Act 5:21  And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.  Act 5:22  But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,  Act 5:23  Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.  Act 5:24  Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.  Act 5:25  Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.  Act 5:26  Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.  Act 5:27  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,  Act 5:28  Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.  Act 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.  Act 5:30  The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.  Act 5:31  Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.  Act 5:32  And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.  Act 5:33  When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.

The same KOSMOS that persecuted Christ persecuted his disciples:

Joh_15:20  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

It was not Rome that persecuted Christ or his disciples.

KJV unless otherwise noted


In John 15:19 what does the author intend by κόσμος and the apostles no longer being of it?

You do not belong to the world

John 15:19 (NRSV)

“If you belonged to the world,[a] the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you."

James wrote about the sinners flirting with the world, and loving the things of the world:

“Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." James 4:4 (NRSV)

The “world", that Jesus is referring to, is mankind that is alienated, and self-centered that do not know God, ignore his commandments and are “following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient." Ephesians 2:2 (NRSV}

This however does not mean that Christians, are to become hermits and avoid all physical contact with other people. John wrote;

“I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.” John 17:15-16.

So in what sense are the apostles and followers of Christ, living in the world but do not belong to the world? Some of the ways that Christians are "no part of the world"

1/ Resist the spirit of the world.

Galatians 5:16-21 (NRSV)

The Works of the Flesh.

“Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy,[a] drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Paul warns Christians to resist the spirit of the world by putting on the whole armor of God, so they can withstand the evil tricks of the Devil. Paul likens Christians to Roman soldiers; Roman soldiers were well trained and equipped with their armor. Likewise, Christians should also be dressed with their spiritual armor and be ready to fight when the evil comes, to be able to resist and fight to the end. How? By putting on the armor of God.

Paul wrote:

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NRSV)

Put on the whole armor of God.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our[a] struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

14 Stand therefore, fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these,[b] take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 Pray in [the] Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

2/Warning against - False Prophets, Man of Lawlessness, the Antichrists.

a/ False prophets.

Matthew 7:15-20 (NRSV)

"15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits."

What characterizes their way of life?

Galatians 5:19-23 (NRSV)

“ Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy,]drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before, those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

b/ Man of Lawlessness.

About 20 years later Paul also warned Thessalonians not to be lead astray by apostates (apostasy- αποστασια ), the man of lawlessness that would desert the true worship of God ,but profess to worship God, but reject or change the teaching of the word of God to suit his own beliefs.

Christians are warned to stay away from false worship, this is includes any religion or organization that practices, and teaches things, other than what is in the word of God.

Paul wrote to stay away from them.

2 Corinthians 6:17 (NRSV)

Therefore come out from them and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you,

c/ Antichrists.

Just before the close of the first century, John warns Christians to be aware of the antichrists. Antichrist means against Christ, denies what the Bible teaches about Jesus, and persecutes his followers.

John 2:18-19 (NRSV)

"18 Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us."

The antichrists deny that Christ came in the flesh, some say that Jesus was God and faked being a man.

2 John 7 (NRSV)

“Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist!"

Deny Christ is the "Messiah", deny Christ is the "begotten son of God."

1 John 2:22 (NRSV)

Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ?[a] This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son."

Theological bias in translations.

Translators have allowed their beliefs to interfere with the accuracy of their translations, instead of translating they are interpreting. The word "spirit" for example is one of them, there is no doubt that it is indefinite, ”a spirit” yet translators ignore the rules of Greek grammar and make it definite by adding the article “the" without justification, which is not in the original Greek scriptures.

Some verses that are mistranslated, Acts 10:38, Luke 11:13, John 20:22, Acts 18:15, Luke 2:25, Ephesians 4:30 with regard to the relative pronoun "which", Again in 1 Corinthians 6:19 with the relative pronoun "which you have from God".

The Greek word "πνευμα /pneuma " translated "spirit" is referred to by a neuter noun in Greek and consequently it is always referred to as an " it/which" as for material things, power etc., it is never spoken with personal pronouns "He/whom/who" by doing so translators make readers believe "spirit/holy spirit " in human terms.

Some examples:

John 20:22 ;22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive a holy Spirit.

If Luke wanted to make the spirit defined he could have used the definite article, but he did not do so, translators without justification add the article "the" which is not in the original Greek.

Acts 10:38 "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with a holy Spirit and with power. "

Both Holy Spirit and power are indefinite; translators add the article "the" not in the original Greek without justification.

3/ Neutrality.

Christians do not participate in wars, armed conflicts and politics, Jesus said to love your enemies. When interrogated by the Roman ruler Pontius Pilate, Jesus said:

John 18:36 (NRSV)

“My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Matthew 26:51-52 (NRSV)

51 Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

Luke 6:27-28 (NRSV)

Love for Enemies

27 “But I [Jesus] say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you."

Involment in politics.

Jesus and the Apostles refused to become involved in politics. Secular history says that early Christians refused to hold political office or join the Roman army. When the Jews came and wanted to make him their king, Jesus refused to have any involment.

John 6:15 (NRSV)

“When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself."

Jesus called Satan the ruler of this world, so regardless of the political faction somebody is supporting; he is unwittingly serving the interest of Satan.

John 14:30 (NRSV)

"I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me;


Mass media has polluted fashion, it is no longer fashion they sell, but a way of life, long on skin, fewer cloths, less morality and indecent clothing, designed to stir up immoral thinking in others.

Christians should avoid this trend, the spirit of the world, and dress in a modest way, clean, neat, and in good taste, and well groomed, Christians should show devotion to God.

1 Timothy 2:9-10 (NRSV)

Also that the women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes, 10 but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God.

  • Thanks for all the effort in this answer. I want to remind you that the question was specifically about the 4th canonical gospel ("John) rather than Paul or anyone else. "Flesh" and "sin" and "spirit" etc. as Paul uses them may or may not be used the same way as John does, etc. So please try to focus on John. The usage by other authors is of value, of course but ultimately the usages by the author in question need to be dealt with first.
    – Ruminator
    Apr 25, 2018 at 19:18
  • John 20:22 και τουτο ειπων ενεφυσησεν και λεγει αυτοις λαβετε πνευμα αγιον And when he has said this, he breathed on them and said to them , receive a holy spirit (labete pneuma hagion).Source Truth in Translation by Professor of Religious studies Jason David BeDuhn Page 139 May 27, 2018 at 19:01
  • I am an Ozzie and I do not understand Amarican slang, explain.Question , this week I received 5 points (Which I do not seek) on a question based on the scriptures, But some chose to put it on hold, How and why May 27, 2018 at 19:15
  • When was the Holy of Holies anointed as prophesied by Daniel 9:24 [on hold] I have researched the question and it answerable from the scriptures. ( Yes I purchased a copy of the book from USA and have read it several times) May 27, 2018 at 19:47
  • I will change it, thanks .The prophesy has been fulfilled Hebrews 9:11-12 , Matthew 3:16, Hebrews 9:29, Luke 4:18-21 May 27, 2018 at 20:46

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