James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
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 4:7-5:21
GOD IS LOVE
What is the third characteristic of God which John reveals (1 John 4:7-8)? If, then, God is love, How is fellowship to be maintained with Him (same verses)? In the working out of the thought that fellowship with God is maintained by experiencing and exercising love, notice:
1. how His love was particularly manifested toward us (1 John 4:9-10); 2. how our love toward Him should be manifested (1 John 4:11-12); 3. how such love implies fellowship (1 John 4:13-16); 4. how it effects our spiritual life, begetting assurance (1 John 4:17-18); 5. how its absence destroys fellowship (1 John 4:19-21); 6. how the experience and exercise of love is only another aspect of walking in the light and doing righteousness (1 John 5:1-4); 7. that the basis and source of this love, is faith in Christ (1 John 5:5-12). In conclusion, note how many things we may thus know (1 John 5:13; 1 John 5:15; 1 John 5:18-20). A simpler outline of this last division which some might prefer is: (1) the reason for love, God’s love toward us (1 John 4:9-11); (2) the source of love, God’s dwelling in us (1 John 4:12-16); (3) the rest or confidence of love, boldness in the day of judgment (1 John 4:17-19); and (4) the fruit of love, loving the brethren (1 John 4:20 to 1 John 5:12).
The conclusion of the epistle (1 John 5:13-21) is easily to be interpreted in the light of what has preceded it.
1. can you name the seven divisions of the first treatment of this lesson?
2. Can you name the four divisions of the second treatment?
3. Have you considered all the things which the Christian may know?
4. Do you appreciate why John is called the apostle of love?