What do you make of this?


Whosoever is born of God, committeth not sin: for his seed abideth in him, and he can not sin, because he is born of God. (1 John 3:9 Douay)

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (1 John 3:9 KJV)

Okaaaay? :whistle: What are we supposed to make of this? Whats the explanation?


  1. we are all sinners. Somewhere scripture is supposed to say that even a righteous person sins 7 times a day. In this restricted sense, the verse seems to refer to Christ (or to Mary) who was sinless.

  2. a literary explanation is that copyright law forbids plagiarism. Those two renditions are very close, but there’s a difference of wording to separate them somewhat. Avoidance of copyright infringement is a big barrier to publishing new editions of the Bible in English.


Haydock’s commentary on 1 John 3:9.


[quote=Haydock] … as long as he keepeth in himself this seed of grace, and this divine generation, by which he is born of God. But then he may fall from this happy state … He cannot sin, because he is born of God. The meaning of this can be no more, than that he cannot sin as long as the seed of grace remaineth in him, and as long as he is the adoptive son of God. But it is evident he may fall from this happy condition, and from the grace of God.

Hmmm, I dont feel entirely satisfied with Haydocks explanation. It doesnt really answer the next obvious questions, What about the person who has not fallen from grace? Does he not sin? Or, does everybody who receives this “seed of grace” lose it as soon as his very next sin?


I’m sorry Cyber, I’m not so sure what you are trying to comment on or what you are having difficulty with. ?


The seed is Jesus, and the passage needs to be taken in context with the whole book. It is my understanding the book was written to people who were having trouble accepting Jesus’ humanity and/or divinity. So a hard line is taken in this, what the NAB calls, theological treatise.


Same here. What needs explaining? Is it about the difference between the two translations that you quoted?


IMO it should be possible to not sin… should be …


The explanation is this.

My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; (1 John 2:1)

Scripture is a unified whole. That’s one of the first rules of reading and interpreting scripture for Catholics. We don’t pick and choose verses apart from the rest of the Bible.

Conversion is an ongoing process. That’s all.



Romans 3:23. I am not going to stay up playing scriptural badminton all night. (I am actually really tired)


Don’t condescend to me; Im just as aware of context as Catholics are. You have explained ch.2:1, however, I would still like to know what ch 3:9 means. Anyone?


Whether a Christian loses the “seed of grace” as soon as his very next sin or not depends on whether his very next sin is mortal or not mortal (a venial sin). John later talks about these two classes of sins (mortal sin and venial sin) when he says:
If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal. (1 John 5:16-17)


Hi, seeker!

Believers become children of God through Jesus (St. John 1:1-13), specifically:

12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name 13 who were born not from human stock or human desire or human will but from God himself. (John 1:12-13)

But while we are granted inheritance along with Jesus, we remain not Divine and in a constant battle–St Paul explains it this way:

12 For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the principalities and the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world, the spirits of evil in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12)

So our struggle is to maintain that Grace given to us through Christ–we are called to be sons (children) of God but that state of Fellowship/Grace/Birth remains tethered to Christ, His Word, His Divinity (St. John 15:1-1510). Regretfully, both Believers and non-Believers continue to wrestle against God’s Authority and Will… inevitably losing our inheritance!

5 For you can be quite certain that nobody who indulges in sexual immorality or impurity or greed – which is worshipping a false god – can inherit the kingdom of God. 6 Do not let anyone deceive you with empty arguments: it is such behaviour that draws down God’s retribution on those who rebel against him. 7 Make sure that you do not throw in your lot with them. 8 You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; behave as children of light, (Ephesians 5:5-8)

Maran atha!



I too am not sure of the question.

If we say “we have no sin”, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. I find it unusual that “we cannot have no sin without being liars” and “cannot have sin” seemingly opposites, appear in the same letter. I don’t believe the author would contradict himself within two pages.


Hi, Darryl!

…it goes back to St. John 1 and 15 (with a twist St. John 3:14-21): Jesus brings us into the fold (makes us children of God); as a person born of God a Believer cannot sin. Yet, we have been given freedom to choose to adhere to God’s Authority or to choose our own path–a path that is loaded with double mindedness, blind ambition, and stubbornness (recall the prodigal son); it is our personal psyche that often turns us from God and as we follow our own (usually populated by society’s whims) ethos; we run the gambit in carefree defiance (all or nothing & I did it my way–something too many “Catholics” are luxuriating in) losing the Grace given freely by God.

…and because we have a tendency to turn from God (sin) Jesus purchased for us the freedom from sin so that we do not engage in death but in Life.

Both passages are correct because a child of God has no sin and is not able to sin; yet, human nature incites us to go against God’s Authority and Will causing us to sin. It is therefore necessary to include that third passage:

1 My children, I am writing this to prevent you from sinning; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the upright. 2 He is the sacrifice to expiate our sins, and not only ours, but also those of the whole world. (1 St. John 2:1-2)

Maran atha!



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