World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
4. God's Love and Ours
1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already. 4Ye are of God, my little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 5They are of the world: therefore speak they as of the world, and the world heareth them. 6We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he who is not of God heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. 8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No man hath beheld God at any time: if we love one another, God abideth in us, and his love is perfected in us: 13hereby we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God. 16And we know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him. 17Herein is love made perfect with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, even so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19We love, because he first loved us. 20If 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, cannot love God whom he hath not seen. 21And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.
7. Resumption of the main theme (1Jo 2:29). Love, the sum of righteousness, is the test of our being born of God. Love flows from a sense of God's love to us: compare 1Jo 4:9 with 1Jo 3:16, which 1Jo 4:9 resumes; and 1Jo 4:13 with 1Jo 3:24, which similarly 1Jo 4:13 resumes. At the same time, 1Jo 4:7-21 is connected with the immediately preceding context, 1Jo 4:2 setting forth Christ's incarnation, the great proof of God's love (1Jo 4:10).
Beloved—an address appropriate to his subject, "love."
love—All love is from God as its fountain: especially that embodiment of love, God manifest in the flesh. The Father also is love (1Jo 4:8). The Holy Ghost sheds love as its first fruit abroad in the heart.
knoweth God—spiritually, experimentally, and habitually.
8. knoweth not—Greek aorist: not only knoweth not now, but never knew, has not once for all known God.
God is love—There is no Greek article to love, but to God; therefore we cannot translate, Love is God. God is fundamentally and essentially LOVE: not merely is loving, for then John's argument would not stand; for the conclusion from the premises then would be this, This man is not loving: God is loving; therefore he knoweth not God IN SO FAR AS God is loving; still he might know Him in His other attributes. But when we take love as God's essence, the argument is sound: This man doth not love, and therefore knows not love: God is essentially love, therefore he knows not God.