1 John Chapter 4

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THERE are two principal subjects discussed in this chapter: --

I. The method by which we may determine that we have the Spirit of God, 1Jn 4:1ff. The apostle had said (1Jn 3:24) that it could be determined that God dwells in them by the Spirit which he has given them; but as it is probable that the teachers of error, the persons whom John regarded as "antichrist," (1Jn 2:18, 1Jn 2:19,) would lay claim to the same thing, it was important to know how it could be ascertained that the Spirit of God had been really given to them, or how it could be determined that the spirit that was in them was not the spirit of antichrist, the very thing against which he would guard them. In doing this, he

(1.) cautions them against trusting to every kind of spirit, or supposing that every spirit which animated even the professed friends of religion was the Spirit of God, 1Jn 4:1; and

(2.) he shows them how it might be determined that they had really the Spirit of God, or what would, be the effect of the influences of the Spirit on the mind. This evidence consisted of the following things:

(a.) they had the Spirit of God who confessed that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh, 1Jn 4:2;

(b.) they who denied that, had not the Spirit of God, and the denial of this was the real spirit of antichrist, 1Jn 4:3;

(c.) they who had the Spirit of God had not the spirit of this world, 1Jn 4:4, 1Jn 4:5; and

(d.) they who had the Spirit of God would hear those who were his apostles, or who were sent by him, 1Jn 4:6.

II. The duty, power, and influence of love, 1Jn 4:7ff. This is a favourite subject with John, and he here considers it at length, as a subject that was essential in determining the evidences of piety. The duty and value of love are enforced by the following considerations:

(1.) Love has its origin in God, and every one who has true love is born of God, 1Jn 4:7, 1Jn 4:8.

(2.) God has shown his great love to us by having given his Son to die for us; and as he has so loved us, we ought also to love one another, 1Jn 4:9ff.

(3.) If we love one another, it furnishes the best evidence that God dwells in us, 1Jn 4:12ff.

(4.) God is love, and if we have true love we dwell in him, and he dwells in us, 1Jn 4:16.

(5.) Love will furnish us great advantage in the day of judgment, by giving us confidence when we come before him, 1Jn 4:17.

(6.) Love will cast out all fear, and will make our minds calm in view of the events which are to come, 1Jn 4:18.

(7.) The very fact that he has first manifested his love to us should lead us to the exercise of love, 1Jn 4:19

(8.) A man cannot truly love God and yet hate his brother, 1Jn 4:20; and

(9.) it is the solemn command of God that he who loves God should love his brother also.


1: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. edit

2: Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: edit

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. edit

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. edit

5: They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. edit

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. edit

7: Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. edit

8: He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. edit

9: In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. edit

10: Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. edit

11: Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. edit

12: No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. edit

13: Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. edit

14: And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. edit

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

16: And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. edit

17: Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. edit

18: There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. edit

19: We love him, because he first loved us. edit

20: 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? edit

21: And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. edit

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