In my mother language Bible, 1 John 5:1 is referring to The Son (singular) by using capital H for "he". It's almost similar as read in the NIV version.

1 John 5:1 (NIV)
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

So... in my mother language, the sentence in English is something like this :
and everyone who loves The Father, loves He who born of Him.

But today I just found out that in NLT version is like this :

1 John 5:1 (NLT)
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.

While the ESV version I think has the similar meaning as the NLT version :

1 John 5:1 (ESV)
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.

So to whom does "the one" refer in 1 John 5:1?

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  • Are you asking if 1 John 5:1 is supposed to mean that Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, is born of the Father? Perhaps you could edit your question to make what you are aking more clear. Thanks. – Lesley Aug 31 at 17:12
  • No... what I'm asking, the one who born of the father is in plural or in singular, Lesley. In other words, is it The Father's child ? or The Father's children ? – karma Aug 31 at 17:19
  • 1
    (+1) A very interesting and rewarding question. Thank you for asking it. – Nigel J Sep 1 at 11:36
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The Greek behind this text is as follows (Received Text - Stephens, Elzevir, Beza and Scrivener all read exactly the same) :

πας ο πιστευων οτι ιησους εστιν ο χριστος εκ του θεου γεγεννηται και πας ο αγαπων τον γεννησαντα αγαπα και τον γεγεννημενον εξ αυτου

It is important to notice that neither 'child' nor 'children' is in the Greek text. The word used is 'begotten', γεγεννημενον. It appears as a participle - a verb-form used in noun-form - and has the definite article attached, τον 'the'.

So the correct translation ought to include the words 'the begotten'.

The agent is singular, as is the predicate singular, that is to say the subject of the sentence 'every one (singular)' and the object of the sentence 'loveth the begotten (singular)' both correspond grammatically.

The wording τον γεγεννημενον, the begotten, is accusative singular, both the article and the noun. The accusative plural would end in ους, not ον.

The KJV renders the text as follows :

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. [KJV 1769].

The KJV is not unique in this presentation :

'... doth love also him that is begotten of him' Young's Literal.

'... loves also the having been born of him' Green's Literal (but 'born' is not quite the same as 'begotten', I would point out).

'... loves also him that has been begotten of him' EGNT (The literal interlinear of the Englishman's Greek New Testament - Bagster.)

'... loveth him also which is begotten of him' Tyndale.

'... loves also him that is begotten of him' J N Darby.

Translations from the Latin Vulgate :-

'... loves him that is born of him' The Wycliffe (again, 'born' is not quite correct for τον γεγεννημενον. Wycliffe uses 'gendered', correctly, in the first half of the verse.

'... loveth him also who is born of him' Douay Rheims. (Again, perhaps the Latin re-translation has influenced the loss of the specific meaning of τον γεγεννημενον.)


John speaks of one who is begotten of the Father. And he says that everyone who loves him that begat - loves also him that is begotten of him. Or, to be even more literal :

... (loves) also the begotten out of him

... (αγαπα) και τον γεγεννημενον εξ αυτου

This love would include the love of Jesus Christ, for the Son is begotten of the Father. And this love would also include any individual who is born of God with a second birth - a birth not of nature, but from above.

John's use of the wording 'the begotten' includes both him who is everlastingly begotten (the begetting of the Father in One Spirit of the Son of God, eternally) and also him who is born of water and of spirit, a 'new' birth, an 'again' birth, a birth 'from above'.

It appears to me that some translations are paraphrasing John's words and it appears to me that something quite significant is being lost in translation.

  • 2
    From your answer, I think then the ESV version is more "fit" ---> whoever born of God ---> it can be included Jesus besides those who are born of God with a second birth. Also, I just checked in biblehub, all the translation of verse 2 is in plural form. For example (NIV) : "This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. So, if verse 2 is a continuation of verse 1 and verse 1 in a plural meaning then it makes more sense. Thank you for the answer, Nigel. – karma Sep 1 at 11:37
  • Glad to be of service. – Nigel J Sep 1 at 11:38

You really have to look at the following verse to understand better what's going on here. In the following verse it says: "This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands". The first verse was saying that everyone who loves God loves his child (or children, depending on the interpretation), while the following is saying that if we love God, we can be said to love his children. So, it is really about Christians the followers of Christ that the Bible is talking about here.

My translation of this verse would be: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God; and everyone who loves the [one] having given birth [=the parent] loves the [one] having been born [= the child] from him." The "him" here is definitely the one having given birth, namely God. That is, if we love God, we love the brethren (v2, see also 1 John 2:9, 3:11, 4:7, etc).

The NRSV offers: "Everyone believing who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child."

NIV: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well."

YLT: "Every one who is believing that Jesus is the Christ of God he has been begotten, and every one who is loving Him who did beget doth love also him who is begotten of Him."

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