Study Guide

Johannine Epsitles (1-3 John) Love

Love

Whoever says, "I am in the light," while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness. (1 John 2:9-11, NRSV)

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:9-11, KJV)

Love and hate definitely do not go together. In order to be basking in the light of God's awesomeness, you need to be shining the light of love on others, too.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world. (1 John 2:15, NRSV)

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15, KJV)

Not all love is created equal. Sure, love your fellow Christians, but don't go around loving "worldly" or "secular" goodies. God is pretty particular about this love stuff.

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. (1 John 3:11, NRSV)

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. (1 John 3:11, KJV)

Jesus says the same thing in John's Gospel (which is the book the elder and his community are probably following): "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another" (John 13:34). Nice quoting, elder.

We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another[…] We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. (1 John 3:14, 16, NRSV)

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren[...] Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:14, 16, KJV)

Guilt trip, much? Jesus died because he loved you so much. The least you could do is love that annoying lady from church.

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love[…] Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:7-8, 11-12, NRSV)

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love[…] Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 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 4:7-8, 11-12, KJV)

Translation: God loves us and we should love each other; and through our love for each other we make God visible to the world. Someone's getting poetic.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. (1 John 4:16, NRSV)

God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16, KJV)

Famous quote alert! The elder is saying that God is the essence and source of all love, so if you love another person, you can connect with God.

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:17-19, NRSV)

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. 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. We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:17-19, KJV)

The elder continues: love not only makes us feel good and connected to God, it also keeps us from being fearful. If we're doing what God wants by loving, then what do we have to be afraid of? When the world ends, we'll be all set to ride the Love Train to Heaven.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. (1 John 5:1-3, NRSV)

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. (1 John 5:1-3, KJV)

And…family metaphor. If you love someone, you have to love his kids, too. (Tell that to some of those wicked stepmothers.) According to the elder, that means loving Jesus and your fellow Christians, who are all technically "children of God."

I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it. (2 John 1:5-6, NRSV)

I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. (2 John 1:5-6, KJV)

Again, the elder alludes to Jesus: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34). He means to say that the community has been told by Jesus to love each other through the Gospel of John. And you definitely do not argue with a gospel.

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