Abstract

Like the Gospel of the same name, the First Letter of John uses the language of faith (πιστεύω κτλ.) extensively. The letter is aimed at encouraging faith (3:23). A key expression within the encouragement of faith is the reference to “our faith” that overcomes the world (5:4). This faith is often understood in primarily cognitive terms, arguing that correct propositional belief overcomes the world. While this reflects an important component of the language of faith in 1 John, it misses another significant aspect. The language of faith within the letter is not only geared toward a correct cognitive response, for the language of faith also contributes to exhorting the audience to right action. The expression ἡ πίστις ἡμῶν (5:4) functions to sum up both the call to right cognitive belief and right action, for it is enduring in both that overcomes the world.

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