- A. Likeness to God to Be Perfected at the Second Coming (3:1–3)
- B. Righteousness the Antithesis of Sin (3:4–6)
- C. Children of God Contrasted with Children of the Devil (3:7–10)
- D. Righteousness Manifested in Love of the Brothers (3:11–24)
- E. Exhortation to Test the Spirits (4:1–6)
In 2:29 John declares his thesis; the subsequent verses serve as an exposition of its implications. A new metaphor is introduced here in the words born of him. It is not new, however, to the Johannine world of thought, since it is a major motif in Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus (Jn 3). Here it appears to be used primarily to introduce the concept of sonship since the following passages emphasize the necessity of children bearing the family likeness. This is a truth that runs throughout Scripture. God's people are to manifest his character in their daily lives; here that character is defined as righteousness.