Why is 1 John 2:15-17 unacceptable to most people? Almost everyone I know changes the words in this passage to say: do not love the evil in the world. Is that what it says? Is this talking about the people? Who is in the world? We have neighbors, friends, enemies and brethren. We are commanded to love our neighbor. We also are commanded to love our brethren, enemies and friends. Who else is there in the world? Is this a contradiction in the Bible? Is He talking about souls or things?
Loving the “people” of the world is loving ones’ neighbor, which is commanded and good.
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Though the world hates us, we must love them (even our enemies).
- “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 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” (John 15:18-19).
- “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5:44-45).
We were born into this material world, not into worldliness.
- “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:6-7).
The word “world” is used in the sense of the physical world much the same as Romans 1:25 uses the word creation.
- “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature (creation) more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Rom. 1:25).
- NT:3844=para, which is a primary preposition; properly, near; i.e. (with genitive case) from beside (literally or figuratively), (with dative case) at (or in) the vicinity of (objectively or subjectively), (with accusative case) to the proximity with (local [especially beyond or opposed to] or causal [on account of]:
The verse (if translated exactly according to the Greek words God inspired) would literally read, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creation (what God created) along side of (or as well as) God.”
The cares of this physical world are what choke the word.
- “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (Matt. 13:22).
The word world in the Greek language is kosmos—literally orderly arrangement—the same word we use in English for the universe. What is he saying? What does he mean when he says, “Do not love the kosmos?” What about the things around us in the world? Do not love “the things that are in the world.” He has to be talking about the world itself and the material things in it.
Do you know any scripture that contradicts this command which says we can love the material things of the world but are not to love “worldliness” or the “evil” things which are in the world? At first glance Colossians 2:20-22 appears to give permission to love the material things in the world, but let’s see if it does.