The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits4:1 1Th 5:21 to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh4:2 Jn 1:14; Php 2:7; 3:3 is from God,4:2 1Co 12:3
3but every spirit that does not confess Jesus4:3 Other mss read confess that Jesus has come in the flesh is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist,4:3 1Jn 2:18,22; 2Jn 7 which you have heard is coming; even now it is already in the world.
4You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in you4:4 Rm 8:31; Col 1:27; 1Jn 3:20 is greater than the one who is in the world.4:4 Jn 12:31
5They are from the world.4:5 Jn 17:6; 2Pt 2:20 Therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them.
6We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us;4:6 Jn 8:47 anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.4:6 Mk 13:5–6; 1Co 2:12; 1Tm 4:1
Knowing God through Love
7Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God4:7 1Jn 2:29 and knows God.
8The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
9God’s love was revealed among us4:9 Or in us in this way: God sent4:9 Mk 9:37 his one and only Son4:9 Jn 1:14,18; 3:16,18 into the world so that we might live4:9 Jn 10:28 through him.
10Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us4:10 Jn 3:16 and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice4:10 Or the propitiation4:10 2Co 5:21; 1Jn 2:2 for our sins.
11Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.4:11 Jn 13:14; 15:12; Rm 13:8; 1Th 4:9; 1Pt 1:22
12No one has ever seen God.4:12 Ex 33:20 If we love one another, God remains in4:12 Or remains among us and his love is made complete in us.
13This is how we know that we remain in him4:13 Jn 15:4–7; 1Jn 2:6,24,27–28; 3:6,24; 4:15–16 and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.4:13 Rv 3:22
14And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son4:14 Rm 1:3 as the world’s Savior.
15Whoever confesses4:15 Jn 9:22; Php 2:6 that Jesus is the Son of God — God remains in him and he in God.
16And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.
17In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment,4:17 Mt 10:15; 11:22,24; 12:36; 2Pt 2:9; 3:7; Jd 6 because as he is, so also are we in this world.4:17 Jn 14:10–11; 15:9–10; 17:11,15,18
18There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear,4:18 Rm 8:15 because fear involves punishment.4:18 Or fear has its own punishment or torment So the one who fears is not complete in love.4:18 Eph 4:11–16
19We love4:19 Other mss add him because he first loved us.4:19 2Th 2:13
20If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister,4:20 1Jn 2:9,11; 3:15 he is a liar.4:20 1Jn 1:10 For the person who does not love his brother or sister4:20 1Jn 2:10; 3:10,14–17 whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.4:20 Other mss read has seen, how is he able to love ... seen? (as a question)
21And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.