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1 John 4 Reading Guide

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Passage: 1 John 4

Dig Deeper:

Chapter Summary

  • v1-6 - John writes that we must 'test every spirit.' What he means is we must thoroughly evaluate every idea and opinion that we encounter. Ideas which acknowledge Jesus Christ - not just in name, but as the eternal, incarnate Son of God, who has fully accomplished salvation and changes the life of those who are in Him - these ideas have validity. But most ideas and opinions today do not have their basis in Christ, even those which come from people identifying as Christians. John gives us a good way to quickly test ideas in v5: if the world really likes it, the idea is of the world, and not of God.

  • v7-21- This passage is chock full of awesome memory verses, and they're a perfect example of John's idiolect, that is, his particular writing style that is sort of like a literary fingerprint. John's writing style is like the old cursive handwriting styles: very frilly and flowing with elegant loops and sweeping lines. Here's a simplified version of what John is communicating from God:

God is love.

God showed His love by sending His Son to save you.

You now live in God, and He lives in you.

Therefore, you must love others.

Old Testament Reference -

  • 2 Kings 6:8-22 tells of an awesome story of how God protected Elisha when it looked like the world was going to overpower him. Memorize v16 and compare it with 1 John 4:4 -

Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them 2 Kings 6:16.


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions. For every comment or reply you post, you will receive an entry for this month's prize: a gift certificate to Seed & Stem 12:27

  1. Look at how many times in this short letter John uses the phrase "This is how you know." How would you summarize 1 John with a person who was struggling to know if they truly were a Christian?

  2. Many times we rob ourselves of the discovery of deeper truths in Scripture because we see a passage and say to ourselves, “I already know that.” For which teachings in this chapter might it be easiest for Christians to fall into that trap?

  3. From what you've read in 1 John, would you agree with this statement: The only way a person can tell what he actually believes is to examine how he actually behaves.

  4. In practical terms, what confidence do you gain from the truth John teaches in verses 4–6?

Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is love (v16), and He loved you before you loved Him (v19)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God for His love to flow through you and out to others



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