1 John 3:17
Parallel Verses
New International Version
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

New Living Translation
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion--how can God's love be in that person?

English Standard Version
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

New American Standard Bible
But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

King James Bible
But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If anyone has this world's goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need--how can God's love reside in him?

International Standard Version
Whoever has earthly possessions and notices a brother in need and yet withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God be present in him?

NET Bible
But whoever has the world's possessions and sees his fellow Christian in need and shuts off his compassion against him, how can the love of God reside in such a person?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Whoever has worldly possessions and sees his brother who has a need and withholds his compassion from him, how is the love of God in him?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Now, suppose a person has enough to live on and notices another believer in need. How can God's love be in that person if he doesn't bother to help the other believer?

Jubilee Bible 2000
But whosoever has this world's goods and sees his brother have need and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how does the charity of God abide in him?

King James 2000 Bible
But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his heart of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?

American King James Version
But whoever has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?

American Standard Version
But whoso hath the world's goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him?

Douay-Rheims Bible
He that hath the substance of this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him?

Darby Bible Translation
But whoso may have the world's substance, and see his brother having need, and shut up his bowels from him, how abides the love of God in him?

English Revised Version
But whoso hath the world's goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him?

Webster's Bible Translation
But he who hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

Weymouth New Testament
But if any one has this world's wealth and sees that his brother man is in need, and yet hardens his heart against him--how can such a one continue to love God?

World English Bible
But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart of compassion against him, how does the love of God remain in him?

Young's Literal Translation
and whoever may have the goods of the world, and may view his brother having need, and may shut up his bowels from him -- how doth the love of God remain in him?
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:16-21 Here is the condescension, the miracle, the mystery of Divine love, that God would redeem the church with his own blood. Surely we should love those whom God has loved, and so loved. The Holy Spirit, grieved at selfishness, will leave the selfish heart without comfort, and full of darkness and terror. By what can it be known that a man has a true sense of the love of Christ for perishing sinners, or that the love of God has been planted in his heart by the Holy Spirit, if the love of the world and its good overcomes the feelings of compassion to a perishing brother? Every instance of this selfishness must weaken the evidences of a man's conversion; when habitual and allowed, it must decide against him. If conscience condemn us in known sin, or the neglect of known duty, God does so too. Let conscience therefore be well-informed, be heard, and diligently attended to.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 17. - "But δέ if a man not only fails to do this, but even steadily contemplates θεωρῇ another's distress, and forthwith (aorist, κλείσῃ closes his heart against him, although he has the means of relieving him, how can he have any love for God?" The meaning is not, "How can God love him?" as is plain from 1 John 4:20. But possibly "love such as God has shown towards us" may be meant (1 John 4:10). "The world's goods" τὸν βίον τοῦ κόσμου is literally "the world's means of life" (see on 1 John 2:16, and Trench on 'New Testament Synonyms,' for the difference between βίος and ζώη. (For τὰ σπλάγχνα as the seat of the affections, comp. Luke 1:78; 2 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 7:15; Philippians 1:8; Philippians 2:1; Philemon 1:7, 12.) The ἀπ αὐτοῦ is graphic; closes his heart and turns away from him (1 John 2:28).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But whoso hath this world's good,.... The possessions of this world, worldly substance, the temporal good things of it; for there are some things in it, which are honestly, pleasantly, and profitably good, when used lawfully, and not abused, otherwise they are to the owner's hurt: or "the living of this world"; that which the men of the world give up themselves to, are bent upon, and pursue after; or on which men live, and by which life is maintained, and preserved, and made comfortable in the present state of things; such as meat, drink, apparel, money, houses, lands, &c. The Ethiopic version renders it, "he that hath the government of this world"; as if it pointed at a person that is in some high office of worldly honour and profit, and is both great and rich; but the words are not to be restrained to such an one only, but refer to any man that has any share of the outward enjoyments of life; that has not only a competency for himself and family, but something to spare, and especially that has an affluence of worldly substance; but of him that has not, it is not required; for what a man distributes ought to be his own, and not another's, and in proportion to what he has, or according to his ability:

and seeth his brother have need; meaning, not merely a brother in that strict and natural relation, or bond of consanguinity; though such an one in distress ought to be, in the first place, regarded, for no man should hide himself from, overlook and neglect his own flesh and blood; but any, and every man, "his neighbour", as the Ethiopic version reads, whom he ought to love as himself; and especially a brother in a spiritual relation, or one that is of the household of faith: if he has need; that is, is naked and destitute of daily food, has not the common supplies of life, and what nature requires; and also, whose circumstances are low and mean, though not reduced to the utmost extremity; and if he sees him in this distress with his own eyes, or if he knows it, hears of it, and is made acquainted with it, otherwise he cannot be blameworthy for not relieving him.

And shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him; hardens his heart, turns away his eyes, and shuts his hand; has no tenderness in him for, nor sympathy with his distressed brother, nor gives him any succour: and this shows, that when relief is given, it should be not in a morose and churlish manner, with reflection and reproach, but with affection and pity; and where there is neither one nor the other,

how dwelleth the love of God in him? neither the love with which God loves men; for if this was shed abroad in him, and had a place, and dwelt in him, and he was properly affected with it, it would warm his heart, and loosen his affections, and cause his bowels to move to his poor brother: nor the love with which God is loved; for if he does not love his brother whom he sees in distress, how should he love the invisible God? 1 John 4:20; nor that love which God requires of him, which is to love his neighbour as himself.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

17. this world's good—literally, "livelihood" or substance. If we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1Jo 3:16), how much more ought we not to withhold our substance?

seeth—not merely casually, but deliberately contemplates as a spectator; Greek, "beholds."

shutteth up his bowels of compassion—which had been momentarily opened by the spectacle of his brother's need. The "bowels" mean the heart, the seat of compassion.

how—How is it possible that "the love of (that is, 'to') God dwelleth (Greek, 'abideth') in him?" Our superfluities should yield to the necessities; our comforts, and even our necessaries in some measure, should yield to the extreme wants of our brethren. "Faith gives Christ to me; love flowing from faith gives me to my neighbor."

1 John 3:17 Additional Commentaries
Context
Love One Another
16We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 15:7
If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.

Proverbs 14:31
Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Proverbs 21:13
Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.

James 2:15
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

James 2:16
If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

1 John 4:20
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
Treasury of Scripture

But whoever has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?

whoso.

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 If there be among you a poor man of one of your brothers within any …

Proverbs 19:17 He that has pity on the poor lends to the LORD; and that which he …

Isaiah 58:7-10 Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the …

Luke 3:11 He answers and said to them, He that has two coats, let him impart …

2 Corinthians 8:9,14,15 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he …

2 Corinthians 9:5-9 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brothers, that they …

1 Timothy 6:17,18 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, …

Hebrews 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices …

shutteth.

Proverbs 12:10 A righteous man regards the life of his beast: but the tender mercies …

Proverbs 28:9 He that turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer …

how.

1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for …

1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every …

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