“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world-1 John 5:4a(KJV)(Underline mine)
WHATSOEVER(Greek:/pas/): Pas means everything, everybody,every man,all manner of things.The root meaning of ‘whatsoever’ in Greek is beyond ‘whosoever’ as seen in many Bible translations.Rather it encompasses both persons and things.Let’s keep that in mind…I will come back to it later.
BORN(Greek:/gennaō/): Gennaō has both literal and figurative meanings.
Literally,it means ‘to procreate’ by a father then a mother by extension.Among the Jews,therefore,it is disgraceful for a child to be called the ‘son of his mother’.When Jesus was to be insulted in his hometown,he was referred to this way:”Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son…”-Mark 6:3a.If you pay attention to how the Jews write their genealogy you will see that the pattern is along the line of the father:“Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren”-Matt 1:2. Gennaō primarily is not about the mother that delivers the child in the labour room!It is broader than that literally.
Figuratively, Gennaō means to bear,to bring forth,to conceive,to be delivered through regeneration(‘genetic’ reconstitution).By this definition,Abraham was referred to as father of many nations.It is not that Abraham directly gave birth to the citizens of these nations.Rather,any of the citizens that has faith in the God of Abraham is believed to be a scion of Abraham.
GOD(Greek:/theos/) :Theos means deity, not just God(the supreme Being) but gods too! Apostle John, however,was referring to the Almighty God here.What is the responsibility of God in this verse? John says some people are born of God.When? How?God?Give birth to children? Hmmmmm…Hold on!Let’s look at the flip side of that first.Do other gods have children? Yes!yes!!yes!!! In Africa especially, many children are believed to be brought forth by some gods(deities). For example,you hear names like:”Ogunbiyi” meaning “the god of iron birthed this one”, “Sangobiyi” meaning “the god of thunder birthed this one”. Does it mean that the god of thunder was delivered of a baby by a midwife? Hahahaha.I have gone this far because of literate people who have difficulty in comprehending how God can conceive a child.Anyways, let’s check the next underlined word in our text:
OVERCOMETH(Greek:/nikaō/):To nikaō means to conquer, to get the victory,to prevail.This is a warfare terminology.Suddenly,Apostle John jolts the reader up to something serious: This is a war situation between the person I just mentioned(the born of God) and the next object/subject(the world).However,Apostle John already knows the aftermath of this war:The born of God overcomes…
WORLD(Greek:/kosmos/):Kosmos is broad in meaning but I will try to simplify it here.Literally, it means this material world,the globe,the habitation of human beings.But is this the world Apostle John had in mind? No! If it were,it meant he wanted to conquer himself! He was alive when he wrote this afterall.He obviously was talking about another world.The kosmos he had in mind is the world that is anti-God: Any human/society/thing that is hostile to God is overcome by whatsoever is born of God.
This is just the introductory part of the teaching.The applications are coming soon…