In 1 John 5:16, John wrote that if you see someone committing a sin that leads to death (the KJV goes on to say) I don’t say you should pray about that. On the surface, that sounds strange, doesn’t it?
Well, it is strange. Why shouldn’t you pray for him?
Because of the kind of sin he committed-one that leads to death. What sin is that? To answer that isn’t the purpose of this posting. I want to concentrate on that word “pray” or “ask,” as some have it.
There are two distinct words in the Greek—
One, aiteo means “to ask for, or pray.” That’s not the word used here.
The other is eratao, which means “to ask about, inquire.” It is used here.
The verse doesn’t say not to pray, but rather not to go about trying to dig up all the dirt behind his sin unto death! A very important exhortation we need to stress often to overly curious people and gossips.
For more information about this passage and 49 others (shameless plug alert), see my recent book, Fifty Problem Passages Explained.