Fellowship in the Epistles of John

Fellowship in the Epistles of John

The epistles of John are the quintessential fellowship letters.  From beginning to end, it is the underlying theme.  Not just one letter but all three speak of fellowship in truth and love.  They are connected not only by subject but also by a progression through time on how to practically deal with error under differing circumstances.

The topic of the epistles is established early on in 1 John 1:3.

(1 John 1:3 KJV)  "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."

This is the key verse for John and the reason for his writing.  It is important to connect verse 3 with the verse that follows it.

(1 John 1:4 KJV)  "And these things write we unto you, that your[1] joy may be full."

Fellowship for John was that aspect of Christian life that brought true joy to all the believers.[2]  The word “joy” is the key word that connects all the epistles along with the concept of “walking in the light” or “walking in truth”. 

(1 John 1:6-7 KJV)  "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: {7} But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

(2 John 1:4 KJV)  "I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father."

(3 John 1:3-4 KJV)  "For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. {4} I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

The joy that John speaks about is something that goes beyond cheerfulness and a happy disposition.  It is a joy felt in fellowship that endures throughout all tribulations and troubles.  It is a joy that is set before all those who are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.  So joy is an expression of true fellowship that comes from those who walk together in light.  It is a walk based on the ways of God that is not only expressive of a list of doctrines but the ability to put them into practice by loving the brethren.

The Antichrist Challenge

It is important to realize that in the epistles there is a challenge from false prophets to the ecclesia’s joy and the apostles’ authority.  Every New Testament letter is a reaction to a problem or error and the epistles of John are no exception.  The foremost false doctrine was of the antichrist, that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh.  This error would have both an impact on the truth of God as well as on the love of the brethren.  The antichrist challenge will show us that first principles define fellowship but also that any true first principle will reveal itself in the way it affects our walk.

Threat to the Ecclesia

John’s ultimate reason for writing is to encourage those in the ecclesia who had remained after the antichrist doctrine followers had left.

(1 John 2:18-19 KJV)  "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. {19} They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."

These verses indicate the problems had come from inside the ecclesia.  They were the type that Paul had prophesied would come (Acts 20:30) of their own selves.  For our purposes, where or why this doctrine emerged is of little importance to the danger that the ecclesia faced.  Their goal would be to deceive as many as possible and draw them away.

(1 John 2:26 KJV)  "These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you."

John does not tell us how many were seduced into leaving but it must have been a significant and prolific group to instigate these letters of warning.  His fear was that it would spread farther so he provided a test for the believers to “try the spirits” in 1 John 4:1-6. 

(1 John 4:1 KJV) “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

Remember the “false prophets” are the ones who were originally in the ecclesia and had gone out from them (1 John 1:19).  The very act of them leaving provided the proof that they were false prophets.  Their teaching or spirit was not to be accepted because it was of the world.

(1 John 4:2-3) “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: {3} And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

This may very well be one of the first tests of fellowship.  As we shall see later, this doctrine was so evidently wrong not just in logic but also in how it manifested itself in the behavior of those who believed it.  How we understand the nature of Christ truly is a first principle doctrine.   It was so serious that those who heard (or received) the spirit or teaching of antichrist were of the world.

“{4} Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. {5} They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. {6} We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."

It is important to remember in this passage that “they” (v.5) were well known to the apostle because they had gone out from them (1:19).  They were former brethren.  They were ones that had once been in fellowship.  They were now “of the world”.

It is just not the false prophets that he warns against but also “the world that heareth them”.  The world here being those former brethren and sisters who followed them and gladly accepting their teaching or “spirit of error”.  Those who were true believers remained with the apostles and heard their teaching or “spirit of truth”.

Threat to the Apostles

Not only was the ecclesia under threat but also the foundation of the apostles’ authority.  The false prophets, having left, in effect had no respect for the apostle’s eyewitness.  Apparently, they did not accept that the apostles were guiding the ecclesia by the Holy Spirit. 

This is why the first epistle starts as it does.  It establishes the apostles’ authority.  This is seen by noticing the pronouns of “we” and “us” being used, which can only refer to the apostles.

(1 John 1:1-2 KJV)  "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; {2} (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)"

So if the “we” and “us” in verses 1-2 refer only to the apostles then the verses that follow become more interesting.[3]

(1 John 1:3 KJV)  "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."

“Fellowship with us” refers to fellowship with the apostles.  Any true fellowship is predicated on believing and following the apostles’ doctrine.  It is significant that in Acts 2:42 the apostles’ doctrine comes first and then fellowship.

(Acts 2:42 KJV)  "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

As we come into and continue in the apostles’ doctrine,[4] we come into fellowship with the Father and the Son.  This is based on the principle that Jesus had sent the apostles and any who received the apostles received Jesus (Luke 10:16; John 13:20; 1 Thess. 4:8).

Tests of Fellowship

Following the opening statement (1 John 1:3-4) regarding the purpose of his writing as being fellowship or fullness of joy the apostle continues with a series of tests or sayings.  The phrase “If we say…” (1:6, 8, 10) or “He that saith…” (2:4, 6, 9; 4:20) initiates each test.  There are seven all together.  Why he lists the tests at this point must be in reaction to the antichrist doctrine that “Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh”.

Key Message

Before John starts on the tests it is important to realize that verse five is the main starting point for all that follows.  It defines or becomes a foundation for all seven tests.

(1 John 1:5 KJV)  "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

At this point, the question arises, “what is light?”  Once all the scriptural references are gathered, they can be put into two categories.  Intellectually light is knowledge vs. ignorance or truth vs. error.  It also has a moral aspect of righteousness vs. wickedness or good vs. evil.  In the epistles of John, it is used in both senses.

Probably one of the first verses one thinks of in terms of light is Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet.”  Light represents the word of God heard and understood (see also Prov. 6:23; 2 Pet. 1:19).  It therefore has a doctrinal import relating to God’s truth in teaching and instruction.  Light is what brings knowledge verses ignorance.  As much as Jesus was the Word made flesh, he also represents the light as he spoke the words of God (John 12:46-49; 2 Cor. 4:4-6).  John equates light with truth by the parallel phrases “walk in light” (1 John 1:7) and “walk in truth” (2 John 4; 3 John 3-4).

The light of God not only enlightens the mind to understand but also illuminates the path in which we should walk.  The aspect of light therefore also has a moral behavioral aspect to it.  In Isaiah 5:20 the prophet warns, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.”   A truly righteous man works in the daytime (Rom. 13:11-14).  Jesus also uses light in this sense in John 3:19-21,

(John 3:19-21 KJV)  "And this is the condemnation[5], that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. {20} For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. {21} But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

As we hear and understand more of the truth, we come to the light and in the process have fellowship with God and his Son.  Truth is not only something we believe but also something we do (1 John 1:10).  Jesus’ whole life shone as a light (John 1:4-9).  What we do in our life should also shine as a light (Matt. 5:16). 

Light then is any word or conduct that teaches men how to walk (Eph. 5:6-14).  It is a balance of speaking the truth in love (2 John 3; Eph 4:15).  John will draw out this twofold aspect in the seven tests of fellowship.

The Seven Tests of Fellowship

The seven tests start with the phrase “If we say…” (1:6, 8, 10) or “He that saith…” (2:4, 6, 9; 4:20)[6].  John just doesn’t start saying things out of the blue.  These teachings must have been something the false antichrist prophets said or taught.  The first three have to do with a doctrinal aspect of our understanding of sin and forgiveness.  The doctrine that “Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh” caused an erroneous view of sin and our nature. 

  1. (1:6-7) “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: {7} But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
  2. (1:8-9) “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive[7] ourselves, and the truth is not in us. {9} If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
  3. (1:10) “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word[8] is not in us.”

The last four tests concern a moral aspect of how we love our brethren.  Those who held to the antichrist doctrine must have also felt themselves on a superior plane and despised their brethren.  Their errors in doctrine also led them astray in how they treated one another.

  1. (2:4-5) “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. {5} But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”
  2. (2:6-8) “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. {7} Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. {8} Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.”
  3. (2:9-11) “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. {10} He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. {11} But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”
  4. (4:20-21) “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? {21} And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

Therefore, it was not only the teaching of the antichrist but also the attitude of those professing it that caused contention in their ecclesia.  Eventually the disagreements would become so sharp that they would leave.  This action would then set a progression of fellowship practice concerning this error in the first and second of John’s epistle.

The Progression of Fellowship Practice

One cannot tell how long the ecclesia would have dealt with the error both internally and externally.  It does seem to follow a progression throughout the letters.  There was the initial dealing with the problem from within.  Once they had left, there was a clear distinction in fellowship.  When they took their error to other ecclesias there was a need to write a second letter and warn others so that they might use the same test of fellowship.

1 John

By the time John wrote his epistle the split had all ready occurred, “they went out from us” (1 John 2:19).  There must have been quite a period of time while dealing with the error in the ecclesia.  We are not told of any of this in John but it must have been similar to Paul’s instruction in 2 Tim. 2:14-26.  In a similar vein, there were those, Hymenaeus and Philetus, who were teaching a wrong doctrine.  Their words were eating like gangrene through the ecclesia and destroying the faith of some.  Paul’s advice was to depart from such iniquity (2 Tim. 2:19).  In dealing with error, Paul’s words in 2 Tim. 2:24-25 are instructive,

"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, {25} In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;"

This must have been the approach of the apostle John as well.  However, in John’s efforts to win back those who opposed themselves they left.  Their leaving was the sure sign that they were not of the ecclesia but of the world.

The next step in the epistle was the acknowledgement of the separation.

(1 John 4:1 KJV)  "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

These false prophets that had gone out into the world were once brethren.  They were now outside the fellowship of the apostles and so John provides a test of fellowship.

(1 John 4:2-3 KJV)  "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: {3} And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."

This then becomes the test where true believers are distinguished to those in the world.  It is important to recognize that in the following verses the “them” and “they” still refers to those who had left the ecclesia.  The “ye” are the ones who abided in the apostle’s doctrine.  The “us” are the apostles.

(1 John 4:4-6 KJV)  "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. {5} They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. {6} We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."

The surprising thing is the complete identification of those who left with those of the world.  The reason for this is more than likely that John saw the “love of the world” (1 John 2:15-17) in everything they did.  He righteously judged their deeds.  The other surprising thing is that the condemnation comes not only on the false prophets but “the world that heareth them.”  The “world” in this case refers to those from the ecclesia who followed the false teachers, gladly heard them and supported them.

2 John

The problems did not end here.  After they left, they went to another ecclesia preaching that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh (2 John 7).   John took action by writing his second epistle to “the elect lady”.  Many commentators regard the term “elect lady” as referring to an ecclesia and not to a specific individual.[9]  Whatever the case may be, the letter was written to a group of believers (see the plural in v. 8) warning them of the same false prophets.  These same “went out” of the ecclesia (1 John 2:19), “gone out” (1 John 4:1) and “entered into the world (2 John 7).  As they had not “continued” (1 John 2:19) so they did not “abide” in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). [10]

The verses in 2 John 10-11 are John’s instruction to another ecclesia on how to handle the intrusion of the antichrist doctrine.  There was an expectation for them to follow the same fellowship practice.  The words he uses have special meaning in terms of fellowship that are not wholly apparent in the English translation.

  • The term “receive” has special meaning in terms of letters of recommendation and therefore refer to receiving into fellowship.[11]  It is used this way in 3 John 8-10.
  • In verse 10 the word “your” is in italics and therefore is not in the original.  It most likely should say “the house” in reference to the ecclesia.  In the first century, the ecclesias met in believer’s homes (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 26:19; Col. 4:15; Phm. 2).
  • The word “God bless” is an unfortunate translation.   Most modern versions have “greet”.  It was a common form of salutation.  Although to John, it meant so much more.  The Greek word is “chairo” which in other places is translated as “joy” or “rejoicing”.  In this same epistle the word is translated as “rejoiced” in verse 4 (also 3 John 3) and “joy” in verse 12 (also 1 John 1:4; 3 John 4).  As we have seen earlier this fullness of joy has more to do with true fellowship then any simple greeting.
  • Finally, the word “partaker” in verse 11 is the Greek word “koinoneo” (2842) which means to “share.”  A root word “koinonia” (2842) is translated as “fellowship” in 1 John 1:3, 6, 7.    The concept of sharing or collaborating is the concept of fellowship.

The passage in 2 John 10-11 is therefore not just a warning about saying “hi” to someone who has false doctrine entering your personal home.  The emphasis is more on an ecclesia receiving into fellowship anyone who would confess that Jesus did not come in the flesh.  The fellowship, or fullness of joy, is not just a breaking of bread but also a supporting by feeding and housing which in turn is a supporting of their preaching.[12]  This type of fellowship, even though those in the ecclesia may not have believed the antichrist doctrine, would be tacit to them being supporters of evil deeds.

Application of the Test

As the error spread in the ecclesia, out of the ecclesia and into the world there was a need for a common application of the test of fellowship that John had established in 1 John 4:1-3 and 2 John 7.  Did this test apply to just the false prophets preaching the doctrine or was it also used on those who followed them?  To answer this question it is best to start in 2 John and look at the pronouns.

  • Verse 8 is a warning for everybody to “look to yourselves.”  It was a collective warning to all those in the ecclesia to beware of this false doctrine so that nobody would lose their “full reward”.   The collective sense of this caution sets the stage for the collective sense of what follows.
  • Verse 9 is also for everybody as is starts with the word “whosoever”.   The ESV says, “Everyone who goes on ahead…” and the NASB has, “Anyone who goes too far…”  The NET Bible note on this verse supports this continued collective sense by commenting, “The construction [of this Greek phrase] occurs frequently in 1 John (13 times) where it is used by the author to divide people into categories: ‘everyone who does this’ as opposed to ‘everyone who does the opposite.’”[13]
  • Verse 10 starts off the same by saying, “if there come any unto you…”  All modern translations have “if anyone come to you.”

It is clear then that these verses apply not only to the false teachers promulgating the antichrist doctrine but also to any who confessed that they believed it to be true.  This is consistent with John’s teaching in 1 John 4:5 that those who heard the false teachers were of the world.  It was not only those who taught but those who supported them in their teaching.  The test was about anyone confessing or giving assent (1 John 4:2-3).  Anyone, who asserted that Jesus did not come in the flesh was not of God.  The positive confession then for every true believer is given in 1 John 4:15,

"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God."

While considering the application of John’s fellowship practice it must also be asked about how wide of a scope is allowed.  It is no doubt that John was dealing with a specific error that said Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh.  Most commentators pin this to a certain group of Gnostic teaching.  One would be hard pressed to find a Christian who would attest to such Gnostic teaching today.  Even Trinitarians would confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh even though they believe he is also very God in nature.  Therefore, to relegate this passage to be only applicable to the antichrist doctrine is really to make it useless for us.  Certainly if some other serious false doctrine had presented itself then the apostle would have taken the same tact.  It must be useful as a principle on how to deal with many different errors.

On the other hand, there is a danger in taking this principle too far.  There is a danger of taking an uncertain detail and making it a test a fellowship and wrongly applying John’s method.  To distinguish between a spirit of truth and error is one of the most difficult parts of our calling.  Maybe this is why the Spirit has provided us with a third letter.

A Misapplication of Fellowship Practice

The last epistle is about fellowship practice as well, yet it does not deal with the antichrist error.  In this case, John commends certain for receiving travelling brethren while also providing an example of one Diotrophes who overstepped the bounds of proper practice.  So while the first two epistles show us how to deal with error the last one balances this by showing how it is just as wrong to deny fellowship to those who are true brethren.

The third epistle does start differently than the first two in that it is no doubt written to a particular individual, Gaius (v. 1).  It seems certain brethren (v. 3) had come back from visiting Gaius and testified well of their “walking in truth”.  We have seen earlier how the terms “rejoiced greatly” (v. 3), “no greater joy” (v. 4) and “walking in truth” are aspects of true fellowship for John. 

These brethren had been travelling missionaries, much like Paul, who went forth for “his name’s sake” (v. 7).  They would have to rely on the hospitality of brothers and sisters, but verse 5 indicates they were unknown to the ecclesias abroad.  In the King James, it reads as if there are two classes “the brethren, and to strangers” but it should read more like the ESV, “for these brothers, strangers as they are…”  In keeping with custom, John would have written letters of commendation[14] for them so when arriving at an ecclesia they would be readily “received” as being in fellowship and worthy of ecclesial support.  This they did as is indicated in verse 6-7 and therefore were “fellow helpers” to the truth (v. 8).

It is helpful to compare 2 John 11 with 3 John 8.

"For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." 

"We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth."

There is a sharing here of either that which is evil or good.  If we fellowship with one that has no ecclesial commendation and does not confess to truth then we are partakers with them of evil deeds.  On the other hand, and equally as important, brethren who come commended from another ecclesia and confess to the same doctrine are to be warmly supported so that we might by laborers together of the truth.

A brother named Diotrophes disregarded this method of inter-ecclesial fellowship as recorded in 3 John 9,

(3 John 1:9 KJV)  "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not."

When John says, “I wrote unto the church” it would seem to be a direct communication to Diotrephes’ ecclesia to receive these same unknown brethren that had been warmly received by Gaius.  His letter to them was then a letter of commendation.  John took the rejection of his commendation very personally when he says Diotrophes “receiveth us not” (v. 9).  This follows the principle, so often in scripture, that he who receives you, receives me and he who rejects the one sent, rejects the one who sent (Matt. 10:40-41; 18:5; Luke 10:16; John 13:20).  Therefore, Diotrephes’ rejection of these travelling brethren was truly a rejection of the apostle John.

As the antichrist doctrine produced an attitude not conducive to loving the brethren so did Diotrephes spirit manifest itself in deeds.  He “prated” or “babbled” against the apostle with “malicious words” (v. 10).  Anytime our conversations sink to snap judgments and name calling we can be certain that another spirit is at work.  John saw this for what it was and knew that it came from a proud heart that “loveth to have the preeminence” (v. 9).

Not only did Diotrophes reject the brethren sent by John but he also forbad those who would.  Others were trying to do what is right but in a most dramatic fashion he cast out them out (v. 10; cp. John 9:34-35).  In a misguided zeal, Diotrophes separated himself from true brethren, which John calls evil (v. 11).  In this, John provides us with a truly stark example of how not to implement fellowship.


If there is any consolation in a Spirit inspired Apostle of Jesus Christ facing such opposition it is that we will also face such challenges.  The doctrine of fellowship while so important is a difficult one.  It involves both a recognition of truth in doctrine and behavior, a walk in truth and love (2 John 4-5).  There is a balance, which is difficult to maintain. 

We’ve also seen that there is also an approach to fellowship practice which is different depending on the circumstances.  In first dealing with error there is a patient gentle spirit in seeking to correct what is wrong and bring healing.  Sometimes though there is no remedy and separation rightly occurs.  The line between these actions is also a difficult balance.

John gives us ample material to ponder and consider as we seek to apply these principles in our lives.  His wish was that all his children would walk together in the truth.  His letters show a desire that all ecclesias would correctly apply these principles as one.  In so doing, may we find that fullness of joy that true fellowship brings.


[1] Modern translations have “our” instead of “your”

[2] Paul also connects fellowship with a fullness of joy in Phil. 2:1-2

[3] Passages like 1 John 2:19 and 4:6 also must be referring to the apostles.

[4] For a good method to determine the apostle’s doctrine see “What are the First Principles”, George Booker.  http://www.christadelphianbooks.org/booker/what_are_1st_princ/index.html

[5] The NET Bible translation is interesting, “Now this is the basis for judging:  that the light has come into the world and people  loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.”

[6] Note that the first three are a collective “we” while the last four are singular exclusive “he”.

[7] The word “deceive” here is the same word “seduce” in 2:26, showing that this is what the false antichrist prophets were most likely saying.

[8] Notice how light=truth=word throughout this passage.

[9] Compare also 2 John 13 where the elect sister would be another ecclesia.

[10] The words “abide” and “continue” are the same in the Greek and used extensively by John.

[11] See my paper on “Letters of Commendation”.

[12] More will be said of this in the discussion of 3 John.

[14] See “Letters of Commendation”, Tim Young