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1 John 4 - Solidly Beautiful Theology

John's writing is beautiful and easy to memorize, but it's also hard hitting, solid theology.

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1 John 4 Summary

John opens this chapter with a command 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.

Dig Deeper

In the second half of chapter four, John uses his trademark writing style to make it clear that since one of God's essential attributes is love, we must reflect His love in the way we treat those around us.

In doing so, John showcases both the beauty and usefulness of theology. These words certainly have an aesthetic beauty; just look at the outlined version (in the drop down menu above) and you can see their symmetry and even a rhythm to them. It's no wonder so many verses in this chapter are easily memorized or turned into catchy songs.

Lots of churches are very good at engendering a sense of external beauty of the Christian religion, but John shows that solid theology must do more than just promote majestic aesthetics; it must dictate both what we do and why we do it.

We often look to Paul's epistles for the well reasoned, technically precise what's and why's of Christianity, but be sure not to miss John's elegant theology! Here's just one of the logical syllogisms that John 4 presents:

God is love (v8, 16) God abides in you (v4, 12, 13, 16) Therefore, His love must be evident in your life in how you treat others (v7, 8, 11, 19)

AAA Prayer:

  • 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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