1 John 4 Expanded Bible (EXB)
Warning Against False Teachers
4 ·My dear friends [L Beloved], many false prophets [Deut. 13:1–5; 18:14–22; Mark 13:22] have gone out into the world. So do not ·believe [trust] every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God [C the false teachers evidently claimed that their teaching was from the Spirit; 1 Cor. 12:1–3; 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:19–21]. 2 This is how you can ·know [recognize] God’s Spirit: Every spirit [C a teacher/prophet claiming inspiration from the Spirit] who ·confesses [acknowledges] that Jesus Christ came ·to earth as a human [L in the flesh] is from God. 3 And every spirit who ·refuses to say this about Jesus [L does not confess/acknowledge Jesus] is not from God [2 John 7]. It is the spirit of the ·enemy of Christ [L antichrist; 2:18, 22], which you have heard is coming, and now he is already in the world.
4 ·My dear children [2:1], you ·belong to [L are from] God and have ·defeated [conquered; overcome] them [C the antichrists/false teachers]; because ·God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world [L that which is in you is greater than that which is in the world]. 5 And they ·belong to [L are from] the world, so what they say is from the world, and the world ·listens to [hears; obeys] them. 6 But we ·belong to [are from] God, and those who know God ·listen to [hear; obey] us. But those who are not from God do not ·listen to [hear; obey] us. That is how we ·know [recognize] the Spirit that is true and the spirit that ·is false [deceives; errs].
Love Comes from God
7 ·Dear friends [L Beloved], ·we should [let us] love each other, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has ·become God’s child [L been begotten/fathered by God] and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God ·showed [revealed] his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. 10 This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. He sent his Son ·to die in our place to take away our sins [as the atoning sacrifice/T propitiation for our sins; see 2:2].
11 ·Dear friends [Beloved], if God loved us ·that much [or in this way; John 3:16] we also should love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God [C God the Father; John 1:18], but if we love each other, God ·lives [remains; abides] ·in [or among] us, and his love ·is made perfect [is made complete; comes to full expression] in us.
13 [L By this] We know that we ·live [abide; remain] in God and he ·lives [abides; remains] in us, because he gave us [L of; from; 3:24] his Spirit [C we share in his Spirit]. 14 We have seen and can ·testify [witness; proclaim] that the Father sent his Son ·to be [or as] the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever ·confesses [acknowledges] that Jesus is the Son of God has God ·living [abiding; remaining] inside, and that person ·lives [abides; remains] in God. 16 And so we ·know [have come to know] the love that God has for us, and we ·trust [believe; rely on] that love.
God is love. Those who ·live [abide; remain] in love ·live [abide; remain] in God, and God ·lives [abides; remains] in them. 17 This is how love ·is made perfect [is made complete; comes to full expression] ·in [or among] us: that we can ·be without fear [have boldness; have confidence; 2:28; 3:21; 5:14] on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him [C probably referring to Christ, our example of love]. 18 ·Where God’s love is, there is no fear [L There is no fear in love], because ·God’s perfect love drives out fear [T perfect love casts out fear]. It is punishment that makes a person fear, so love is not made ·perfect [complete] in the person who fears [C fear of punishment, not an appropriate fear of God; compare Prov. 1:7; 2 Cor. 7:15; Phil. 2:12].
19 We love because ·God [L he] first loved us. 20 If people say, “I love God,” but hate their brothers or sisters [C fellow believers], they are liars. [L For] Those who do not love their brothers and sisters [C fellow believers], whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen. 21 And ·God gave us this command [L we have this command from him]: Those who love God must also love their brothers and sisters [C fellow believers; John 13:34].