Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 25: Overcome the World

Today’s passage: 1 John 5:1–5

Focus verse: Everyone born of God overcomes the world. (1 John 5:4)

There is a lot packed into today’s passage, but most of it reviews what John has already written. He talks about believing in Jesus as our Savior (the Christ) for us to be born again.

How loving the Father is loving his Son. There’s a reminder to love others and obey God’s commands, which are easy to do and not a burden (see Day 18).

Then John slides in the word overcome. He’s already mentioned this word in two passages. 

First, he said that the word of God lives in us, and we have overcome the evil one (1 John 2:13–14). Second, he said that since we are from God—that is, his children—we have overcome the spirit of false prophets, the antichrists (1 John 4:1–4).

For his third mention of overcome, John does not build on either of these prior mentions. Instead, he adds a third consideration, one even more grand. He says that everyone born of God overcomes the world.

Yes, we, through our belief in Jesus as God’s Son, have overcome the world. Not that we can, not that we might, but that we are actually doing so. We are overcoming the world.

From a spiritual sense we will overcome the world as we move closer to our time of joining Jesus in heaven. From a tangible perspective we overcome the world each day—at least that’s God’s expectation.

Yet many Christians don’t act as though they’re overcoming the world. Instead, they live defeated, dejected lives that prove how the world has overcome them. I get that. I’ve been there. But that’s not God’s plan; this is not his intent.

Everyone born of God overcomes the world. Not a few. Not some. Not even most. Everyone. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God has this overcome-the-world condition in them. 

Then why don’t our lives show it? Or show it more often?

I wonder if it’s because we try to live a life that’s too close to the world we hope to overcome. If we act like the world and think like the world, it’s impossible to overcome the world because we are part of it; we’re fully immersed in it.

But this isn’t a call to segregate ourselves from our worldly neighbors, community, and society. If we do that, we’ll never have a chance to tell them about Jesus.

Yes, we must stay in our world, but if we’re too much like it, our witness will be ineffective, and we’ll have no hope of overcoming the world.


  1. Are we overcoming the world or is it overcoming us? 
  2. How can we move from living a defeated life to overcoming it?
  3. What should we do to be less like the world?
  4. How can we remain in the world and not be overcome by it?
  5. How can we be a better witness for Jesus?

Discover what else John writes about overcome in John 1:5 and John 16:33.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

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Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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