1 John 4

Test the spirits; many prophets are false 1
We are of God distinguishing between truth and error 4
God is love; we should love each other 7
Dwelling in God and He in us 13
As a witness, John declares that the Father sent the Son 14
Love perfected; no fear of judgment; loving God impossible while hating 17
Text Comments
.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.
2  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.

  1 - Try the spirits ... false prophets John is writing about prophets because there were many false ones. If there were not to be true ones, he would have said simply, Don't believe in prophets.
  1 - Spirit Every prophet has a spirit. It is either the one Holy Spirit or it is a demonic spirit re1613. How then do we try the spirits? See is0819f.
  2 - Hereby know ye Look at verses 2 and 3. What if a spirit says nothing about Jesus' coming in the flesh? This situation is not mentioned. The humanity of Christ was an important issue when this was written. Believing that Jesus literally took on human flesh is still important he0214 but so are other points.
  3 - Antichrist He was already in the world. Some preachers today say he will come during the millennium. Compare this verse to 2th0207. See on 1jo0218.
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.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.
  4 - Ye In the emphatic in Greek showing a distinction between the believers and false teachers.
  4 - Ye[Emphatic in Greek] are of God See 1jo0309,10; verses 1,2 above.
  4 - Overcome them " instead of being 'overcome and brought into (spiritual) bondage' by them (2Pe 2:19) ..., 'the sheep did not hear them': 'a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.'" (JFB Commentary)
  4 - Greater is he In God through Christ we have power over the evil one victory over temptation.
  6 - We are of God Paul speaks for the true teachers including himself.
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  5 - Heareth not us Those who have resisted the appeal of the Holy Spirit will be turned away under the influence of the unholy spirit. See 1co0214.
.7 ¶ Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
.8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
.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.
 9 And the love of God was made clear to us when he sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. (BBE)
.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.
  7 - Beloved let us love Paul moves from knowing the spirits to another aspect of knowing God.
  7 - Love one another See 1jo0311. They type of love needed is seen in mt0543,4.
  8 - To know Him is to love Him and the world.
  9 - Manifested the love of God See 1co1301.
  9 - Herein Or "In this." That is, what follows. See alternate translation at the left.
  10 - Love John sees love as the highest of all principles and that it is God Himself v8. God was not persuaded by our love to give His Son. "No: we were enemies to God, and yet Christ died for our ungodly souls. (See Ro 5:6-11, and the notes there.)  So it was God's love, not our merit, that induced him to devise means that his banished might not be expelled from him." (Clarke).
 11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
.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.
.13  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
 11 - If God ... we ought Because to not love those Jesus died for would be an offence to Him. See the principle in mt2540.
  12 - No man "Compare on John 1:18. In the Greek the word for God appears without the article, as in John 1:18, which fact indicates that John is thinking of the nature and character of Deity rather than of His personality. The word for "seen" is different in the two passages." (SDABC) In John's gospel He uses a general term horao. Here it is theaomai which means to contemplate or perceive 1jo0101.
  12 - Love is perfected This is a precious promise. We all have room to grow in this aspect of our character!
  13 - Dwell in Him This is a way to be close to our Lord.
.Unconditional loveThis common term is often misunderstood. "God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16). Our salvation, however, depends on our response to this love. If we continue to follow our unrestrained impluses and habits, we take ourselves out of God's magnificent love. We may pray for wisdom and strength.
.14 ¶ And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
 15  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
.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.
  16 - He that dwelleth in love Compare jn1504.
.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.
 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.
.19  We love him, because he first loved us.
.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?
 21  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
  17 - Herein ... love made perfect The verse could refer to the previous one about love but verse 17 seems to be a completing or perfecting of verse 16. We need not only love but the fruit of love.
  17 - Day of judgment Literally "the day of the judgment" meaning that it would begin at a specific time re1407.
  17 - Judgment We may be confident in judgment. The standard is the law ja0212 which God fulfills ro1310. Perfect love is important.
  19 - We love him, because Other manuscripts omit "him." Thus our love in general, as in the context, is because He gave us love.
  20 - Say I love God and hateth He is also a murderer 1jo0314.
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