Syntactical Similarities: 1 John 2:2, John 11:51-52
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Just wanted to note a similarity between two passages. It might help us define the word ‘world’ better.

As some background information, John and 1 John were effectively written by the same author, probably none other than whom they’re named after, John himself. This is from the same corpus, body, of literature, and so we may have a case where the author is drawing (though not necessarily) a similarity between two terms.

With a single author, despite writing in different genres (one is a letter, the other a narrative), this may be possible. See John 11:47-51 (NASB) and notice the sentence structure is very oddly similar.

11:47 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” 51 Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation onlybut in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

Now 1 John 2:2

and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

While there definitely is truth in saying that Jesus died for the world as a whole (meaning every person who every lived in the passed and will in the future), it seems like the 1 John 2:2 passage could be using the word ‘world’ as shorthand for ‘the children of God who are scattered abroad’, i.e. in this case, the church. What would one of the most efficient options to say ‘not just you and me, but the people of God everywhere?’ Possibly ‘world’?

News Reporter
From Madison, Wisconsin. B.A. Biblical Studies: Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. M.Div. Student at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario.

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