Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.1 John 4:1. Παντὶ) every spirit, which presents itself.—πνεύματι) spirit, by which any teacher is influenced.—δοκιμάζετε, try) according to the rule, which is given in 1 John 4:2-3.—πολλοὶ) many, as at other times, so in that age also. A dreadful crop of heresies sprung up in those times. John zealously contends against them. If he were alive at this day, he would be called by some too severe.—ψευδοπροφῆται, false prophets) 2 Peter 2:1; Matthew 24:11; Matthew 24:24.—ἐξεληλύθασιν, have gone out) from their places. They have entered into the world: 2 John 1:7.—κόσμον, the world) which is easy to be deceived: 2Jn 1:4-5.
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:1 John 4:2. Γινώσκετε, ye know) Respecting the heresies of that age there are recent and easily accessible writings: the Apostolic Church of Buddeus, and the Disputations of Lange, etc.—πᾶν, every) The discourse is respecting the spirits of that time: for at other times false prophets also impugned other heads of doctrine respecting Jesus Christ.—πᾶν πνεῦμα, every spirit) The Spirit of God is one only: but from Him every true teacher has his own peculiar inspiration, which is called πνεῦμα, spirit.—ὁμολογεῖ, confesses) with the assent of the heart and mouth. By this word the doctrine is presupposed as already ratified and confirmed.—ἐν σαρκὶ, in the flesh) He Himself, therefore, is something more than flesh. The heresies, which deny the truth of the flesh of Jesus Christ, presuppose, and by this very thing confirm, His Deity, since they were not able to reconcile with this His flesh, as worthy of it.—ἐληλυθότα, who is come) On this advent the whole doctrine respecting Christ depends; for that advent partly presupposes, partly embraces, and partly draws after it, this doctrine: 1 John 4:15, note.
 The reading γινώσκεται (is to be known), which in the margin of both Ed. is left to the decision of the reader, is preferred in the Germ. Vers.—E. B.
Γινώσκεται is read by Vulg. and Syr. of the oldest authorities; but γινώσκετε, by ABC Memph. Theb. later Syr. Iren. and Lucifer, the weightest authorities.—E.
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 John 4:3. Τὸ) that is, πνεῦμα, the spirit.—καὶ νῦν, and now) ch. 1 John 2:18, note.
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.1 John 4:4. Ὑμεῖς, ye) who acknowledge Jesus Christ.—νενικήκατε, ye have overcome) ch. 1 John 5:4-5.—[αὐτοὺς, them) the false prophets.—V. g.]—ὁ ἐν ὑμῖν, who is in you) God.—ὁ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, who is in the world) the spirit of antichrist, or the evil one.
They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.1 John 4:5. Αὐτοὶ) they themselves.—ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου λαλοῦσι, speak of the world) They derive their language from the life and perception of the world.—ἀκούει, heareth) on account of its agreement with them.
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.1 John 4:6. Ἐσμὲν, we are) Understand, on this account we speak from [of] God.—ἐκ τούτου, from this) which is stated in 1 John 4:2-6.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.1 John 4:7. Ἀγαπῶμεν, let us love) From that very doctrine, which he has just defended, he now derives an exhortation to love. See 1 John 4:9. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit: 1 John 4:2; Romans 5:5.—ἡ ἀγάπη, love) All love is from God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.1 John 4:8. Οὐκ ἔγνω, knoweth not) Is not born of God, and knoweth not God.—ὁ Θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστὶν, God is love) ἀγάπη, without the article, as in 1 John 4:16. This brief sentence imparted to John, even during the mere time which he took in writing it, more delight than the whole world can impart.
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.1 John 4:9. Ἐν ἡμῖν, in us) that is, the love of God, which is now in us, throughout our whole spiritual experience.—ὅτι, because) This motive of love is derived from 1 John 4:3. From that which is said in 1 John 4:3 respecting Jesus Christ, who is come in the flesh, mutual love is inferred, 1 John 4:7 : the consequence is proved from the love of God towards us, who sent His Son, that we might live. It is a proof of the love of God towards us: it is a motive to our mutual love.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.1 John 4:10. Ἔστιν, is) This denotes something prior to His manifestation.—τὸν Θεὸν, God) who is most worthy to he loved.—ἡμᾶς, us) who are most unworthy.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.1 John 4:11. Ὁ Θεὸς, God) who owes nothing.
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.1 John 4:12. Ὁ Θεὸς, God) otherwise invisible. Comp. 1 John 4:20.—ἐν ἡμῖν μένει, dwelleth in us) This is treated of in 1 John 4:13-16.—τετελειωμένη ἐστὶν, is perfected) accomplishes all things, which follow upon the expiation of sins. This is treated of, 1 John 4:17-19.
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.1 John 4:13. Ὅτι ἐκ, because of) Where the Spirit of God is, there is God.
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.1 John 4:14. Καὶ ἡμεῖς) and we ourselves. Thus John 15:27.—τεθεάμεθα καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν; have seen and do testify) This is inferred from that which follows, we have known and believed, 1 John 4:16. By the word, we have known, the first knowledge is marked, as it appears, as it is in the German Kennen lernen, to become acquainted with. For there is a kind of knowledge which is antecedent to faith: and faith is antecedent to μαρτυρίαν, testimony. But the word, we have seen, denotes the full food of the eyes, in beholding.—τὸν Υἱὸν, the Son) There are two foundations and proofs [tests] of our dwelling in God, and God in us: the fellowship of the Spirit, and the acknowledging of the Son of God: 1 John 4:13; 1 John 4:15.
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.1 John 4:15. Ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, the Son of God) and therefore the Saviour of the world, 1 John 4:14.
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.1 John 4:16. Καὶ ἡμεῖς, and we) A repetition [in beginning a fresh sentence], by the figure Anaphora [See Append.] Comp. 1 John 4:14, note. There is also an increase of the force by Epitasis [See Append.]: wherefore ἐν ἡμῖν, shortly afterwards, properly means in us [not to us, as Engl. Vers.], as appears by a comparison with the end of the verse.—[ἐν τῇ ἀγαπῇ, in love) viz. the Divine love.—V. g.]
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.1 John 4:17. Μεθʼ ἡμῶν, with us) The love of God in itself is always the same, and perfect: but with us τετελείωται, it is brought to its consummation, rising more and more from its descent to us.—ἵνα) to such a degree that.—παῤῥησίαν, confidence) The opposite term is fear.—ἐν, in) Thus, in, Romans 2:16, note.—ἡμέρᾳ, the day) most terrible to others, more so than the day of death itself.—τῆς κρίσεως) of the last judgment.—ὅτι, because) The because has reference to τούτῳ, this.—ἐκεῖνός ἐστι, He is) Jesus Christ is love, in heaven; which is silently opposed to the world. By the words, in heaven, however, I suppose His previous dwelling in the world: the word is, on the other hand, shows certainly the present state of Jesus Christ.—ἡμεῖς ἐσμεν, we are) who love God. See the next ver.; John 15:10.—ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ, in this world) which is void of love, and fears judgment. The mention of the world is an argument that the word He denotes Jesus Christ. Comp. 1 John 4:9.
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.1 John 4:18. Φόβος, fear) which shrinks from God and the day of judgment. The condition of men is varied: without fear and love; with fear without love; with fear and love; without fear with love.—ἀγάπῃ, love) towards God.—τελεία, perfect) To this refers, is brought to its consummation.—κόλασιν ἔχει, has torment) For it distrusts: it imagines to itself and sets forth all things as unfriendly and opposed to it; it flees from and hates them.
We love him, because he first loved us.1 John 4:19. Ἀγαπῶμεν) we love, driving away fear.—πρῶτος ἠγάπησεν, He was the first to embrace us with love) How much the more hereafter? Therefore fear is cast out.
 The omission of the pronoun αὐτὸν, although expressed in the Germ. Vers., is reckoned among the more established readings by the margin of both Editions.—E. B.
AB omit αὐτόν. Vulg. in some MSS. has “Deum.” Amiat. MS. has “invicem.” Vulg. makes ἀγαπῶμεν let us love, diligamus: not we love. Rec. Text has αὐτὸν, with inferior authorities.—E.
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?1 John 4:20. Ὅν ἑώρακε, whom he hath seen) In this life we are held enthralled by the external senses.—πῶς δύναται, how can he) A modal expression [See Append. on MODALIS SERMO): It is impossible that such a man should love God, in the present.
And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.1 John 4:21. Τὴν ἐντολὴν, the precept) which must be kept by those who love God: Matthew 22:39. [He who loves not his brother, does not keep the commandment as to φιλαδελφία, and therefore does not love GOD.—V. g.]