Do Not Love the World: What Does 1 John 2:15 Mean?


1 John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” King James Version (KJV)

Translation1 John 2:15
ESVDo not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
NASBDo not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
NIVDo not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
NLTDo not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

Do Not Love the World: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

2:15-17 The things of the world may be desired and possessed for the uses and purposes which God intended, and they are to be used by his grace, and to his glory; but believers must not seek or value them for those purposes to which sin abuses them.

The world draws the heart from God; and the more the love of the world prevails, the more the love of God decays. The things of the world are classed according to the three ruling inclinations of depraved nature.

1. The lust of the flesh, of the body: wrong desires of the heart, the appetite of indulging all things that excite and inflame sensual pleasures. 2. The lust of the eyes: the eyes are delighted with riches and rich possessions; this is the lust of covetousness.

3. The pride of life: a vain man craves the grandeur and pomp of a vain-glorious life; this includes thirst after honour and applause. The things of the world quickly fade and die away; desire itself will ere long fail and cease, but holy affection is not like the lust that passes away.

The love of God shall never fail. Many vain efforts have been made to evade the force of this passage by limitations, distinctions, or exceptions. Many have tried to show how far we may be carnally-minded, and love the world; but the plain meaning of these verses cannot easily be mistaken.

Unless this victory over the world is begun in the heart, a man has no root in himself, but will fall away, or at most remain an unfruitful professor.

Yet these vanities are so alluring to the corruption in our hearts, that without constant watching and prayer, we cannot escape the world, or obtain victory over the god and prince of it.

1 John 2:15 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

15. Love not the world—that lieth in the wicked one (1Jo 5:19), whom ye young men have overcome. Having once for all, through faith, overcome the world (1Jo 4:4; 5:4), carry forward the conquest by not loving it.

“The world” here means “man, and man’s world” [Alford], in his and its state as fallen from God.

“God loved [with the love of compassion] the world,” and we should feel the same kind of love for the fallen world; but we are not to love the world with congeniality and sympathy in its alienation from God; we cannot have this latter kind of love for the God-estranged world, and yet have also “the love of the Father in” us.

neither—Greek, “nor yet.” A man might deny in general that he loved the world, while keenly following some one of THE THINGS IN IT: its riches, honors, or pleasures; this clause prevents him escaping from conviction.

any man—therefore the warning, though primarily addressed to the young, applies to all.

love of—that is, towards “the Father.” The two, God and the (sinful) world, are so opposed, that both cannot be congenially loved at once.

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