Quietly Through 1st John (Week 4) :: Their Spiritual State (1 John 2:12-14)

It’s Tuesday and the fourth week of our Quietly Through 1st John online Bible study. I’m so glad you came back to study God’s word with me. Please let me know you’re here by leaving a comment at the end of the post or by sending me an email. I so appreciate hearing from you.

Their Spiritual State

12 I write to you, little children,
    Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
13 I write to you, fathers,
    Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
    Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
    Because you have known the Father.
14 I have written to you, fathers,
    Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
    Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
    And you have overcome the wicked one. (1 John 2:12-14)


  1. What are the three spiritual states?
  2. What are the two reasons that he writes to the young children?
  3. What are the reasons for John to write to the young men?
  4. And last, why does John write to the fathers?


(This is just a little bit of what I took away from the passage. Remember, I’m human and severely flawed. Don’t just take my words as God’s truth. Be sure to be led by the Spirit, not me.)

John uses two Hebrew words to describe the little children. The first is teknion and is a metaphor for recently converted Christians. The second is paideia and it refers to those Christians who have yet to mature spiritually. These young Christians may still have much to learn and may lack the experiences of the young men and fathers; however, their sins are not any less forgiven. John emphasizes this by explaining that the forgiveness occurred “for His name’s sake” only (v12). God’s forgiveness happens because of who He is — because of the mercy He shows and the grace He extend. We can not earn it. And putting their faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ also affirms that the little child does in fact know the Father. They may not know Him perfectly, but they are beginning to get acquainted with Him.

John also address the young (people) of the church.  These are the Christians who are a bit farther along in their spiritual walk with the Lord. John reminds them that they have overcome the wicked one. Not once but twice he iterates this. He also stresses that they are strong because of the word of God which abides in them.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:11

Though he mentions them twice, John only gave one reason for writing to the father. These are the parental type figures, both men and women, who have been walking faithfully with the Lord for some time. This reason: because they had “known Him who is from the beginning.” These people in the church had experienced God over and over again in their lives. They knew Him on a personal and intimate level. For them knowing God was more than just being able to always give the Sunday school answer. It was more than having scripture memorized or religious rituals down pat. Knowing God for them was knowing His heart and doing His will. And that my friends is really what it’s all about.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 14:3

Our goal as Christians should simple be to know the one true God fully and completely. It takes time. It takes testing and refining. It takes a full life’s struggle while we are on earth. It takes a laying down of our own wills and the pursuit of His.


  • Which spiritual state do you think you are in? Why?
  • Read John 14:9. How does this verse apply to the spiritual state of the little children?
  • John writes, “your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.” What is the significance of “for His name’s sake”?
  • How do these verse help John fulfill his purpose for writing? (Hint: Look at the what and why in week one.)


Lord, I know that my motives for being a Christian have not always been to know You more. I have called you Lord in an attempt impress others, save myself from eternal damnation, and to lead a good, moral life — just to name a few. Please forgive me. Search my heart, know me God, and teach me how to pursue an intimate relationship with you.  In your name I pray, amen.


Here are a few study ideas to do between now and next Tuesday. I suggest doing one a day in order to keep you thinking about the passage all week long.

  • Start or continue a double entry journal.
  • Hand write the passage.
  • Do a word study for the word overcome.
  • Did this passage make you think of other passages in the Bible? Share those passages with the rest of us in the comments.
  • Write a summary of what you’ve learned from this passage. If you are a blogger, post your summary and share a like to it the comments below.
  • Take some time today and so the Lord to reveal to you and other reasons you may be doing this Christian thing. Write them down here. Do they line up with scripture? If not, confess them to Christ and repent.
  • Read 1 John 1-5. Yep, the whole thing.


  1. This is wonderful, Kelli. I forgot to link up last week I am so sorry. It is because I forgot to “write” it down. Writing down things proves to be such a help. I have been writing more (lately) from a place of being worn. I can see it when I reread my words. The more I focus on this the less grateful I am – and it wraps into this because I feel for how long I have been walking with God that this should not be. But everyday we are human and hat fact never changes. I just read a post about the power of putting praise in our prayers, and it is so true that when I remember to PRAISE, my stance and outlook completely shifts. I love your summary: Our goal as Christians should simple be to know the one true God fully and completely. It takes time. It takes testing and refining. It takes a full life’s struggle while we are on earth. It takes a laying down of our own wills and the pursuit of His.

    This is it. I push and push because I want to do my best, but in that I lose my first love (just listened to Elevation church podcast titled Put Your Passion in It’s Place) and therein lose my footing. But I need to remember to call out to him and that HE wants to forgive and help me, rather than feel ashamed and not worthy to get onmy knees for a fresh start, Why do I avoid what I need?? Wake up calls hurt but I want to grow. Sorryt this is so long….I have been doing a lot of searching and “waking up” the past few days as our church is going on 3 weeks of revival (most of which I did not attend from being worn out from life). Praying for you, please pray for me. I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my love of being with the Father and His people.

    1. Worn out. Restless. Tense. Anxious. It all comes from refusing to sit at His feet — a problem in my life that the Lord has been making me aware of. The cry of my heart lately as been, “Lord! Teach me to rest in You!” I will be praying the same for you. 🙂

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