An Expositional Study of 1 John Part 8: An Exposition of 1 John 4:7-21 -- By: D. Edmond Hiebert

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 147:585 (Jan 1990)
Article: An Expositional Study of 1 John Part 8: An Exposition of 1 John 4:7-21
Author: D. Edmond Hiebert

An Expositional Study of 1 John
Part 8:
An Exposition of 1 John 4:7-21

D. Edmond Hiebert

Professor Emeritus of New Testament
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California

In 1 John 4:7–5:5, the third major division of the epistle, John presented an elaborate development of the nature and results of Christian love. In 2:7–11 he already noted that love is one of the signs of the believer’s fellowship with God; in 3:13–24 he also portrayed the conflict between love and hatred as an assuring sign of a vital Christian faith. Now John noted that love is related to the very nature of God Himself. He spelled out the precise nature and the results of the love demanded of all true believers.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his

brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also (1 John 4:7–21).

In 1 John 4:7–16a John presented a comprehensive treatment of the nature of true love, while in

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