Three categories of believers

Under the house where I grew up, on the farm, we had a celler (Not a basement) with a dirt floor where my mother stored all the fruits and vegetables we had raised for the winter. On the cellar side of the door, my mother would periodically have me stand with my back to the door … More


In our text today, John points out three categories of believers. We see in these categories three stages of spiritual development in our quest for spiritual maturity. The three stages of Christian growth are children, fathers, and young men (vv. 12-14). I do not believe these categories have anything to do with age or gender. It is possible for someone to be seventy years old and still be a spiritual babe. Perfection is not the goal, progress is. We don’t want to be at the same place as we were last year, we want to be moving upward. John is addressing and classifying these various stages of spiritual growth. Each group (stage of growth) is mentioned twice with two reasons for writing attached to each. By grouping them together we observe the following:

  1. “I write unto you, little children (that is new Christians), because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake” (v. 12).
  2. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the father” (v. 13).
  3. “I write unto you, fathers (spiritual mature with a deep rich knowledge of God) because you have known Him that is from the beginning” (vv. 13, 14).
  4. “I write unto you, young men, (mature believers) because you have overcome the wicked  one,” (v. 13); “because ye are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you” (v. 14).


The Bible clearly teaches that the goal of every Christian believer is to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and into full Christian maturity. The question I need to ask myself is where am I in this quest for maturity in Christ?

I John 2:12-14 (English Standard Version)

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