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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 John 3:16

 

 

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Hereby perceive we the love of God - This sixteenth verse of this third chapter of John's first epistle is, in the main, an exact counterpart of the sixteenth verse of the third chapter of St. John's gospel: God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, etc. Here the apostle says, We perceive, εγνωκαμεν, we have known, the love of God, because he laid down his life for us. Of God is not in the text, but it is preserved in one MS., and in two or three of the versions; but though this does not establish its authenticity, yet του Θεου, of God, is necessarily understood, or του Χριστου, of Christ, as Erpen's Arabic has it; or αυτου εις ἡμας, his love to us, as is found in the Syriac. A higher proof than this of his love Christ could not have possibly given to the children of men.

We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren - We should risk our life to save the lives of others; and we should be ready to lay down our lives to redeem their souls when this may appear to be a means of leading them to God.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-john-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Hereby perceive we the love of God - The words “of God” are not in the original, and should not have been introduced into the translation, though they are found in the Latin Vulgate, and in the Genevan versions, and in one manuscript. They would naturally convey the idea that “God” laid down his life for us; or that God himself, in his divine nature, suffered. But this idea is not expressed in this passage as it is in the original, and of course no argument can be derived from it either to prove that Christ is God, or that the divine nature is capable of suffering. The original is much more expressive and emphatic than it is with this addition: “By this we know love;” that is, we know what true love is; we see a most affecting and striking illustration of its nature. “Love itself” - its real nature, its power, its sacrifices, its influences - was seen in its highest form, when the Son of God gave himself to die on a cross. For an illustration of the sentiment, see the notes at John 3:16; John 15:13.

Because he laid down his life for us - There can be no doubt that the Saviour is here referred to, though his name is not mentioned particularly. There are several instances in the New Testament where he is mentioned under the general appellation “he,” as one who was well known, and about whom the writers were accustomed to speak.

And we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren - For the good of our fellow Christians, if it be necessary. That is, circumstances may occur where it would be proper to do it, and we ought always to be ready to do it. The spirit which led the Saviour to sacrifice his life for the good of the church, should lead us to do the same thing for our brethren if circumstances should require it. That this is a correct principle no one can doubt; for:

(1)the Saviour did it, and we are bound to imitate his example, and to possess his spirit;

(2)the prophets, apostles, and martyrs did it, laying down their lives in the cause of truth, and for the good of the church and the world; and,

(3)it has always been held that it is right and proper, in certain circumstances, for a man to lay down his life for the good of others.

So we speak of the patriot who sacrifices his life for the good of his country; so we feel in the case of a shipwreck, that it may be the duty of a captain to sacrifice his life for the good of his passengers and crew; so in case of a pestilential disease, a physician should not regard his own life, if he may save others; and so we always hold the man up to honor who is willing to jeopard his own life on noble principles of self-denial for the good of his fellow-men. In what cases this should occur the apostle does not state; but the general principle would seem to be, that it is to be done when a greater good would result from our self-sacrifice than from carefully guarding our own lives. Thus, in the case of a patriot, his death, in the circumstances, might be of greater value to his country than his life would be; or, his exposing himself to death would be a greater service to his country, than if that should not be done.

Thus, the Saviour laid down his life for the good of mankind; thus the apostles exposed their lives to constant peril in extending the principles of religion; and thus the martyrs surrendered their lives in the cause of the church and of truth. In like manner, we ought to be ready to hazard our lives, and even to lay them down, if in that way we may promote the cause of truth, and the salvation of sinners, or serve our Christian brethren. In what way this injunction was understood by the primitive Christians, may be perceived from what the world is reported to have said of them, “Behold, how they love one another; they are ready to die for one another.” - Tertullian, Apol. c. 39. So Eusebius (Eccl. His. vii. 22) says of Christians, that “in a time of plague they visited one another, and not only hazarded their lives, but actually lost them in their zeal to preserve the lives of others.” We are not indeed to throw away our lives; we are not to expose them in a rash, reckless, imprudent manner; but when, in the discharge of duty, we are placed in a situation where life is exposed to danger, we are not to shrink from the duty, or to run away from it. Perhaps the following would embrace the principal instances of the duty here enjoined by the apostle:

(1)We ought to have such love for the church that we should be willing to die for it, as patriot is willing to die for his country.

(2)we ought to have such love for Christians as to be willing to jeopard our lives to aid them - as in case of a pestilence or plague, or when they are in danger by fire, or flood, or foes.

(3)we ought to have such love for the truth as to be willing to sacrifice our lives rather than deny it.

(4)we ought to have such love for the cause of our Master as to be willing to cross oceans, and snows, and sands; to visit distant and barbarous regions, though at imminent risk of our lives, and though with the prospect that we shall never see our country again.

(5)we ought to have such love for the church that we shall engage heartily and constantly in services of labor and self-sacrifice on its account, until, our work being done, exhausted nature shall sink to rest in the grave. In one word, we should regard ourselves as devoted to the service of the Redeemer, living or dying to be found engaged in his cause. If a case should actually occur where the question would arise whether a man would abandon his Christian brother or die, he ought not to hesitate; in all cases he should regard his life as consecrated to the cause of Sion and its friends. Once, in the times of primitive piety, there was much of this spirit in the world; how little, it is to be feared, does it prevail now!


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-john-3.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

In such a verse as this the unattainability of the full Christian ideal is starkly clear. John did not here command Christians to lay down their lives for each other, but he thundered the principle that they ought to do it. Why? Because Christ did so for us. If the exhibition of such a love as this is the final test to be met before one can be saved, we must be convinced that heaven is going to be sparsely settled! Such an ethic is very much like that set forth in the parable of the good Samaritan, being simply beyond that which the vast majority of Christian people have ever dared to attempt. It is perhaps intended in such Scriptures as these that Christians shall behold the truth of their being "unprofitable servants," and utterly incapable of achieving, in any complete sense, that righteousness which alone can save. In the light of this verse, who could ever imagine that he merited salvation, or that he had earned it? We believe that John's purpose here was primarily that of illuminating this truth. Knowing human weakness and inability to survive such a test (at least in the general sense), God, in his providence, has most infrequently made it a test of Christian fidelity. There are other tests of love, however; and John will immediately turn to one of them.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-john-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Hereby perceive we the love of God,.... The phrase "of God" is not in the Oriental versions, nor in the Greek copies, but is in the Complutensian edition, and in the Vulgate Latin version, and is favoured by the Syriac version, which reads, "by this we know his love to us"; and so the Ethiopic version, "by this we know his love". That is, the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is truly and properly God, the great God, the mighty God, the true God, and God over all, blessed for ever. His love is manifested to his people, and perceived by them in various instances; but in nothing is it more clearly seen than in the following one:

because he laid down his life for us: of the life of Christ, and his laying it down in the room of his people; see Gill on , which shows his love, his free grace and favour; for this arose not from any merit or worth in the persons he died for; not from their love, loveliness, or duty, but from his rich mercy, and the great love wherewith he loved them; and which, though it cannot be equalled, should be imitated:

and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren: not in such sense, or for such ends and purposes, as Christ laid down his life for us; for no man, as by giving his money, so by laying down his life, can redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him: but the meaning is, that saints ought to risk their lives, and expose themselves to dangers, for the sake of their brethren, when they are called to it, and the case requires it: as Priscilla and Aquila laid down their necks, or ventured their lives for the Apostle Paul, Romans 16:3; and they should also, when called unto it, freely lay down their lives in the cause of Christ, and for the sake of his Gospel, for the gaining of souls to Christ, and for the confirming of the faith of the brethren in him, as the apostles of Christ, and the martyrs of Jesus, have done; this is an argument for brotherly love, in the highest instance of it, taken from the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, than which nothing is more forcible, or can lay a greater obligation on the saints.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-john-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

16 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.

(16) Now he shows how far Christian charity extends, even so far, that according to the example of Christ every man forgets himself, to provide for and help his brethren.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-john-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

What true love to the brethren is, illustrated by the love of Christ to us.

HerebyGreek, “Herein.”

the love of God - The words “of God” are not in the original. Translate, “We arrive at the knowledge of love”; we apprehend what true love is.

he — Christ.

and we — on our part, if absolutely needed for the glory of God, the good of the Church, or the salvation of a brother.

lives — Christ alone laid down His one life for us all; we ought to lay down our lives severally for the lives of the brethren; if not actually, at least virtually, by giving our time, care, labors, prayers, substance: Non nobis, sed omnibus. Our life ought not to be dearer to us than God‘s own Son was to Him. The apostles and martyrs acted on this principle.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-john-3.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Know we (εγνωκαμενegnōkamen). Perfect active indicative, “we have come to know and still know.” See 1 John 2:3 for “hereby” (εν τουτωιen toutōi).

Love (την αγαπηνtēn agapēn). “The thing called love” (D. Smith).

He for us (εκεινος υπερ ημωνekeinos huper hēmōn). ΕκεινοςEkeinos as in 1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:3, 1 John 3:5, υπερhuper here alone in this Epistle, though common in John‘s Gospel (John 10:11, John 10:15; John 11:50, etc.) and in 3 John 1:7.

Laid down his life (την πσυχην αυτου ετηκενtēn psuchēn autou ethēken). First aorist active indicative of τιτημιtithēmi the very idiom used by Jesus of himself in John 10:11, John 10:17.

We ought (ημεις οπειλομενhēmeis opheilomen). Emphatic ημειςhēmeis again. For οπειλωopheilō see 1 John 2:6. Of course our laying down our lives for the brethren has no atoning value in our cases as in that of Christ, but is a supreme proof of one‘s love (John 13:37.; John 15:13), as often happens.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-john-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Hereby ( ἐν τοίτῳ )

See on 1 John 2:3.

Perceive ( ἐγνώκαμεν )

Rev., correctly, know.

The love

Omit the italics of A.V., of God, and render as Rev., hereby know we love.

Laid down His life ( τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἔθηκεν )

See on John 10:11.

We ought ( ὀφείλομεν )

See on 1 John 2:6.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-john-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

The word God is not in the original. It was omitted by the apostle just as the particular name is omitted by Mary, when she says to the gardener, "Sir, if thou hast borne him hence;" and by the church, when she says, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth," Song of Solomon 1:2; in both which places there is a language, a very emphatical language, even in silence. It declares how totally the thoughts were possessed by the blessed and glorious subject. It expresses also the superlative dignity and amiableness of the person meant, as though He, and He alone, was, or deserved to be, both known and admired by all.

Because he laid down his life ā€” Not merely for sinners, but for us in particular. From this truth believed, from this blessing enjoyed, the love of our brethren takes its rise, which may very justly be admitted as an evidence that our faith is no delusion.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-john-3.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

To lay down our lives, to be willing to lay them down.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-john-3.html. 1878.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

16.] Example of true love in Christ, and enforcement of it on us. In this (on ἐν τούτῳ, see above, 1 John 3:10, and note, ch. 1 John 2:3) we have the knowledge of ( ἐγνώκαμεν, “we have arrived at and possess the apprehension of:” γινώσκειν implying knowledge as an act of the understanding proceeding on intellectual grounds. Here however it is used entirely within the sphere of the Christian life of union with Christ. None can understand true love as shewn in this its highest example, but he who is one with Christ, and has felt and does feel that love of His in its power on himself. See note on ch. 1 John 2:3) love (i. e. what love is: the nature of love true and genuine: “amoris naturam,” Bengel; “veram indolem amoris,” Rosenmüller. And Aug(62), “perfectionem dilectionis dicit, perfectionem illam quam commendavimus.” And so most of the Commentators. Some have held to the insertion of τοῦ θεοῦ after ἀγάπην, which has hardly any authority (only one cursive (“52”) vulg. arm-usc). So Beza, Socinus, Whitby, Grot., Seb.-Schmidt, Calov. And others, as Spener, Carpzov., Episcopius, though they do not read θεοῦ, yet would supply it, or χριστοῦ, in the sense of Romans 5:8, John 3:16. But there can be but little doubt that the other is the right view. The love of God to us is not that which would, as such, be adduced as a pattern to us of brotherly love; it is true that in the depth of the matter, all true love is love after that pattern: but in a passage so logically bound together it is much more probable that the term common to the two, Christ and ourselves, would be, not divine love, which as such is peculiar to Him, but love itself simply, that of which He has given the great example which we are to follow), that He (Christ, as the words beyond question shew) laid down His life for us ( ψυχὴν τιθέναι, as “vitam ponere” in Latin, to lay aside life, to die: not as Grot., who in all the places where it occurs maintains that it is only “vitam objicere periculis,” which would entirely enervate the Apostle’s saying here. ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν carries in it and behind it all that we know of the nature of the death which is spoken of: but the vicariousness and atoning power of Christ’s death are not here in consideration: it is looked on here as the greatest possible proof of love, as in John 15:13. It is the very perversity of unsound reasoning to maintain, as Paulas (in Düsterd.), that because our imitation of Christ’s example, insisted on below, cannot have the virtue commonly ascribed to his death, therefore his death had in reality no such virtue): and we ( ἡμεῖς, emphatic: we on our part, as followers of Christ) ought on behalf of the brethren to lay down our lives (on ψυχάς, Socinus says well: “Non dicit nos debere animam ponere, quasi ut unus pro multis morti sit obstrictus, sed animas, quia singuli pro singulis mori debemus.” The Apostle states the duty generally: and thus stated it is clear enough. As Christ did in pursuance of His love, so ought we to do in pursuance of ours, bound as we are to Him not by the mere force of an outward example, but by the power of an inward life. But naturally and necessarily the precept finds its application only in those cases where our Heavenly Father’s will sets the offering of such a sacrifice in the course and pursuance of our brotherly love, which He has ordained. Of such an occasion the aor. θεῖναι gives perhaps a hint: not τιθέναι, as a habit of mind ever ready: but θεῖναι, once for all, on occasion given. It is not the place here to enter on, or even to enumerate, the various cases of conscience which casuists have raised as to the question, when a Christian ought to lay down his life for a brother. The subject will be found discussed in such commentaries as those of Corn.-a-lap., Justiniani, Estius, Episcopius; and a summary is given by Düsterdieck h. l.).


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-john-3.html. 1863-1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

16Hereby perceive we, or, By this we know. He now shews what true love is; for it would not have been enough to commend it, unless its power is understood. As an instance of perfect love, he sets before us the example of Christ; for he, by not sparing his own life, testified how much he loved us. This then is the mark to which he bids them to advance. The sum of what is said is, that our love is approved, when we transfer the love of ourselves to our brethren, so that every one, in a manner forgetting himself, should seek the good of others. (79)

It is, indeed, certain, that we are far from being equal to Christ: but the Apostle recommends to us the imitation of him; for though we do not overtake him, it is yet meet, that we should follow his steps, though at a distance. Doubtless, since it was the Apostle’s object to beat down the vain boasting of hypocrites, who gloried that they had faith in Christ though without brotherly love, he intimated by these words, that except this feeling prevails in our hearts, we have no connection with Christ. Nor does he yet, as I have said, set before us the love of Christ, so as to require us to be equal to him; for what would this be but to drive us all to despair? But he means that our feelings should be so formed and regulated, that we may desire to devote our life and also our death, first to God, and then to our neighbors.

There is another difference between us and Christ, — the virtue or benefit of our death cannot be the same. For the wrath of God is not pacified by our blood, nor is life procured by our death, nor is punishment due to others suffered by us. But the Apostle, in this comparison, had not in view the end or the effect of Christ’s death; but he meant only that our life should be formed according to his example.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-john-3.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE CROSS AND SUFFERING

‘Hereby know we love, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.’

1 John 3:16 (R.V.)

‘Hereby know we love’—hereby, by the Cross of Christ, we know not only that love is, but also what love is; ‘because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.’

I. Hereby we learn that, in an imperfect world, love means self-sacrifice.—The Divine love, entering in the person of Jesus Christ, into this world of sin and sorrow, took on itself the form of suffering, voluntarily submitted to in order to redeem mankind. And Christ’s self-sacrifice demands to the uttermost a responding self-sacrifice on our part. If we appreciate in the remotest degree the love of Christ for us, we must love Him with all our hearts in return, and if we love Him, we must love all His brethren. And true love can be no idle sentiment; if we really love our fellow-men, we must devout ourselves heart and soul to their service. And we cannot serve others without practising in many ways constant self-sacrifice, often very hard and stern self-sacrifice; we must continually give up for their sakes many things which we greatly like, and submit to many things which we greatly dislike.

II. And at times when we truly realise the love of Christ, we surely find ourselves impelled irresistibly to respond unreservedly to the demand which that love makes on us. Then it is true that ‘the love of Christ constraineth us.’ For a time at least we do feel that we could do anything whatever, bear anything whatever, for His sake. In the full sight of the Cross, it seems mean and base to care whether we are happy or not, to want ‘to please ourselves’; ‘Christ pleased not Himself.’ In face of that supreme act of self-sacrifice, we cannot for very shame refuse to give ourselves up to the service of Christ and of our brethren for His sake. We owe ourselves absolutely to Him, body, soul, and intellect, with all our powers and energies and gifts and abilities; ‘we are not our own, for we are bought with a price,’ the price of the life-blood of the Son of God.

III. And so self-sacrifice is the essential principle of the Christian life; it is the very breath of that life. It is not simply a duty which we have to practise sometimes to a certain extent. The Christian life is all self-sacrifice, and that is no true Christian life which does not bear some real mark of the Cross. It is impossible to put the whole gospel into a sentence, or even into a sermon, but if there is any one sentence which, more than another, sums up almost the whole heart and essence of the gospel-message, it is this, just these short and simple words: ‘He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.’

Rev. N. E. Egerton Swann.

Illustration

‘The Cross of Christ has shed a new light on human sorrow and suffering. Any one who has visited any district of mountain or of rugged coastland may have seen a great grey cliff towering up hundreds of feet, and presenting a stern, harsh, almost forbidding aspect. And then one may have seen the same cliff on a summer evening, when the rays of the setting sun fell full on its face and it was suffused with a glorious crimson glow and its awful sublimity was transformed into a rich, tender beauty. Just so, the light which streams from the Cross of Christ has transfigured the rugged aspect of sorrow and suffering.’


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-john-3.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

16 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.

Ver. 16. Because he laid down] {See Trapp on "John 15:13"} {See Trapp on "Romans 5:8"}

We ought also to lay down our lives] If Pylades can offer to die for Orestes merely for a name, or out of carnal affection at the best; should not Christians lay down their own necks one for another, as Aquila and Priscilla did for Paul? Romans 16:4.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-john-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 John 3:16. Hereby perceive we the love of God, This text, as it stands in our version, has generally been mentioned as equivalent to Acts 20:28. In which, as he who laid down his life for us, is God as well as man, God is said to have done that, which the man united to him did. The verse may be thus paraphrased: "How contrary is this unmerciful temper to that which God the Son has shewn towards us: we may conceive something of the greatness of his compassionate love, from the most transcendent instance that could be given of it; since he, who is the eternal Word, and was made flesh, and so was truly and properly God incarnate (John 1:14.), has loved us, and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour (Ephesians 5:2.). And we ought to be so deeply affected with, and influenced by this unparalleled loveof Christ, as to stand ready after his example, and in imitation of his love, to expose or lay down our own lives, whenever he calls us to it, (as St. Paul did his, Philippians 2:17.) for encouraging the faith and hope of the brethren; and for the preservation and safety of those who are eminently serviceable to his church, as Aquila and Priscilla laid down their own necks for that great apostle's life. Romans 16:4." In what sense the primitive Christians understood this injunction of the apostle, may appear from what the world is said to have reported concerning them; "Behold, how they love one another, and how ready they are to die for one another!" We have here a sixth reason why Christians should love one another,—even the astonishing and unparalleled love of Christ in dying for them.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-john-3.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Here our apostle presses brotherly love from another argument, namely, from the example of Jesus Christ, who being God, as well as man, laid down his life, as man, for us.

Where note, That the intimate union betwixt the divine and human nature in Christ, gives ground for the calling Christ's life, as man, the life of God: as his blood is said, Acts 20:28 to be God's own blood; Hereby perceive we the love of God, that is, of Jesus Christ the Redeemer, in that he laid down his life for us.

Thence learn, That the death of Christ for us is a special manifestation of his singular love unto us.

Observe farther, The inference which our apostle draws from Christ's love in laying down his life for us, namely, that we therefore ought to lay down our lives for the brethren: That is, in a time of persecution, when the glory of God, the edification of the church, and the eternal salvation of our brethren, do require it, and stand in need of it: We must never stick at laying down our lives when God calls us to it, as needful for better ends than our lives. It is not needful that we live, but needful and necessary that we glorify God, both in life and death.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/1-john-3.html. 1700-1703.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 2448

THE LOVE OF CHRIST A PATTERN FOR US, TO EACH OTHER

1 John 3:16. 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.

IN contemplating Christianity as a system, we scarcely know whether to admire more, the depth of its mysteries, or the height of its requirements. Of all mysteries, that specified in our text, the death of our incarnate God for the sins of men, is beyond all comparison the greatest: and, of all requirements, there is not one so arduous as that, which also is here inculcated, of laying down our lives for the brethren. The two taken together present Christianity in a most endearing view; and exhibit it as alike conducive to the perfection of our nature and the completion of our bliss. Let us notice,

I. The extent in which God has manifested his love to us—

If we survey the works of creation, we shall see love inscribed upon them all. There was not one which the Creator himself did not pronounce to be “very good:” and, if there be any thing within the whole compass of it that is noxious to man, it was not so according to its original constitution, but has been rendered so by sin. If we mark also the dispensations of providence, we shall find in all of them too the same blessed character of love: for the very anger of God, is only an exercise of paternal love; and his judgments, an effort to bring his offending creatures into a state of reconciliation and acceptance with him. But it is in redemption that his love is chiefly displayed: for, in order to effect it, Jesus Christ assumed our nature, and actually “laid down his life for us.”

In order that we may behold somewhat of the love displayed in this stupendous act, let us consider,

1. What our situation was that rendered such an effort necessary—

[We were fallen, after the example of “the angels that kept not their first estate;” and with them we must have taken our portion to all eternity. To deliver ourselves was absolutely impossible: nor could the whole creation afford us any effectual aid. The judgments denounced against sin must be executed, either on the sinner himself, or on one capable of standing in his place, and of satisfying all the demands of law and justice. But where could such an one be found? The first archangel was unequal to the task. None but God himself could interpose with effect, even that God, whose law we had violated, and whose majesty we had offended. Such was our helpless and hopeless state, when Almighty God determined to rescue us from our misery, by sending his only dear Son into the world to offer up himself a sacrifice for sin, and, by dying in our stead, to redeem us from all the penal consequences of our transgression.]

2. What by that effort is accomplished for us—

[Our guilt is expiated — — — And God is reconciled unto his offending creatures — — — We may now go to him in the name of his dear Son. We may plead the merit of his obedience unto death. The vilest sinner in the universe has no occasion to despair. All that is necessary for his acceptance with God has been done; and he needs only to “lay hold on the hope set before him,” and to embrace the salvation that is freely offered him. If only we believe in Jesus, justice itself is become our friend and our advocate: because its utmost demands having been satisfied in Christ’s obedience unto death, it claims, on behalf of all who believe in Jesus, the transfer of those rights to which, through the intervention of our Surety, we are entitled — — —]

3. What wonders of love are contained in it—

[To what, but love, can we trace this merciful interposition of the Deity in our behalf? was there any thing in us to merit, it at God’s hands? We, alas! were in the very state of the fallen angels, “ungodly,” “sinners,” “enemies,” filled with all evil, and destitute even of a good desire. But, if God could find no inducement from any thing that was in us to exercise this mercy towards us, was there none to be found within his own bosom? No, not any. He would have been equally happy and equally glorious, if neither men nor angels had ever existed: and, if neither his happiness nor his glory have been at all affected by the ruin of the one, neither would it have been by the ruin of the other, if we, like them, had been left to perish to all eternity. To his sovereign love and grace alone can we trace this stupendous act of mercy: and to that it is uniformly traced in the Holy Scriptures: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son [Note: John 1:16.]:” “Herein is love; not that we loved God; but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins [Note: 1 John 4:9-10.]:” “God commendeth his love towards us, in that, when we were yet sinners, Christ died for us [Note: Romans 5:8.].” To all eternity will this be the one subject of wonder, and adoration, and thanksgiving to all the hosts of the redeemed; “To Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, be glory and dominion for ever and ever [Note: Revelation 1:5-6.].”]

Our meditations on this subject will be the best preparation for considering,

II. The extent in which we should exercise love to our brethren—

To imitate our blessed Lord and Saviour, as far as possible, is our bounden duty: and especially are we commanded to do so in the exercise of love. Again and again does he require us to “love each other as he loved us [Note: John 13:34; John 15:12.]:” and the duty is enforced from the very same consideration as is proposed to us in the text [Note: 1 John 4:11.].

Consider then our duty,

1. Towards “our brethren” of mankind at large—

[There is not a human being towards whom we do not owe a debt of love: and were it in our power, there is not a pain which we should not alleviate, nor a want which we should not supply. This is particularly noticed in the words following our text: “Whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

But if this be our duty towards them in reference to their temporal wants, how much more is it in reference to the concerns of their souls! How should we weep over the unhappy state of the heathen world, immersed as they are in darkness, and subjected to the entire dominion of the god of this world! What efforts should we not make for the enlightening of their minds, and for the discovering to them that love, that stupendous love, wherewith our God has loved both us and them! Say, brethren, do ye not blush when you look back upon your conduct in this respect, and see what contracted views you have had of your duty towards them, and how little you have endeavoured to discharge your duty, even as far as it has been seen and acknowledged by you? Consider more especially your duty towards your Jewish brethren, from whom you have received all the light which you yourselves enjoy: should it be no grief to you to see that highly-favoured people so blinded by prejudice, that, with the Scriptures in their hands, they contemn, and even execrate, that very Saviour who has shewn such love to them? Why do we not feel for them? why do we not exert ourselves in their behalf? why do we not endeavour to repay to them the debt of love which we have received from their forefathers? The Apostles, and multitudes of their descendants in the ministry, laid down their lives for us, accounting themselves richly recompensed if they might but lead us to the knowledge of the true God, and of Jesus Christ whom he has sent. O that there were in us a corresponding sense of our duty, and that we could, with one heart and one mind, rise to the performance of it!]

2. Towards our brethren of the Church in particular—

[There is an especial duty towards those who are united to the Church of Christ: “We are to do good unto all men, but especially unto them that are of the household of faith.” We owe to them a pre-eminent degree of love, because they are so near to us, and because they are so dear to God, and more especially because there is such an identity of interest between Christ and them. They are our brethren in a higher sense than others, being children of the same heavenly Father, and heirs of the same glorious inheritance. From all eternity have they been objects of God’s electing love; and now, the monuments of his grace, the very temples in which he deigns to dwell. Every one of them is a member of Christ’s mystical body, yea, “one spirit with him:” so that whatever we do for them, we do for Christ himself, as much as if he were personally present with us, and the visible object of our attentions. What love then do we not owe to these? I hesitate not to say, that our very life should be of small estimation with us in comparison of their welfare; and that martyrdom itself, if endured for the benefit of their souls, ought not to be an object of dread, so much as of desire and joyful self-congratulation. We see this love in Aquila and Priscilla [Note: Romans 16:4.], and in Epaphroditus also [Note: Philippians 2:30.]; but more especially in the Apostle Paul, who was contented to be “in deaths oft” for the benefit of the Church, and who, in the near expectation of martyrdom, could say, “If I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all [Note: Philippians 2:17.].”]

For the further improvement of the subject,

1. Let us contemplate our obligations—

[The love of God, which ought to be ever uppermost in our minds, alas! how light an impression does it make upon us! Even the mystery of the incarnation of God’s only dear Son, and of “his laying down his life for us,” is heard without any emotion, and regarded with little more concern, than if it were only “a cunningly-devised fable.” What shall I say then, brethren? Must there not be something essentially wrong, where such insensibility exists? are we not ashamed? are we not confounded, when we consider the state of our souls in this respect? Let us rise to a sense of our duty. Let us view our obligations to Almighty God: let us dwell upon them night and day; and let us never rest till our whole souls go forth in love to him, who has loved us, and given himself for us.]

2. Let us address ourselves to our duties—

[Methinks, the duty of love should be no burthen to us: it is in itself most delightful; and brings always its own reward along with it. Let us then exercise it in all its branches. Let every disposition contrary to love be mortified and subdued: all envy, hatred, malice, wrath, uncharitableness, let it all be banished from our hearts; and let the love which hopeth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things, be the one reigning principle in our souls.

Let this principle too be brought into activity for the benefit of all mankind. Our time, our talents, our property, our very life, let it all be consecrated to the Lord for the glory of his name, and for the welfare of his Church and people. Let us not be indulging vain excuses, and saying, ‘This will require sacrifices, which I am unwilling to make: that will require abilities which I do not possess.’ What sacrifice is there beyond that of life? Even that it is our duty to make for the world and for the Church; and therefore every subordinate sacrifice should be of no account. And as for talents and abilities, if only we will use those which we have, God will glorify himself by them, and render them subservient to the welfare of mankind, if only we will endeavour to improve them with diligence, and to exercise them with fidelity.

You see what God would have us both to be and do: he would have us overwhelmed with a sense of his love to us, and abounding in the most self-denying exercises of love to all mankind. Come, brethren, gird yourselves to the occasion. Your God and Saviour demands it at your hands. The whole universe also joins in one common cry, “Come over to us, and help us.” And he who most abounds in offices of love to others, shall receive the richest recompence into his own bosom from that God whose name and nature is “Love.”]


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Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/1-john-3.html. 1832.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 John 3:16. Whilst he who belongs to the world hates his brother and is therefore an ἀνθρωποκτόνος, Christians, on the contrary, are by the example of Christ to lay down their life for their brethren.

ἐν τούτῳ refers to the following ὅτι.

ἐγνώκαμεν τὴν ἀγάπην] “we have known the love, i.e. the character or the nature of the love” (Bengel, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Lücke, Sander); some commentators (Carpzov, Paulus, etc.) erroneously supply with τὴν ἀγάπην as a more particular definition: τοῦ χριστοῦ; others (Grotius, Spener, etc.): τοῦ θεοῦ. In Christ’s self-devotion to death, love itself became concrete. Without adequate reason Ebrard supplies with ἐν τούτῳ an οὖσαν, so that ἐν τούτῳ forms the predicate of τὴν ἀγάπην; thus: “we have known love as consisting in this;” and ἐγνώκαμεν is only used as an accessory.

ὅτι ἐκεῖνος] i.e. Christ; comp. 1 John 3:7, chap. 1 John 2:6. “He, says the apostle, without mentioning him by name, for He is to every believer the well-known,” Rickli.

The phrase: τὴν ψυχὴν τιθέναι, besides here and frequently in the Gospel of John, never appears elsewhere either in the N. T. or in the classics. Meyer on John 10:11 explains it by the “representation of the sacrificial death as a ransom paid: to lay down, to pay; according to the classical usage of τιθέναι, according to which it is used of payment; “Hengstenberg (on the same passage) explains it by Isaiah 53:10; but it is unsuitable to supply the idea “ransom” or “an offering for sin,” for the τιθέναι τὴν ψυχήν is not merely ascribed to Christ, but is also made the duty of Christians; besides, in that case ὑπέρ could not be wanting, as is the case in the Gospel of John 10:17-18. The derivation of it from the Hebrew שִׂים נֶפֶשׁ בְּכַף (Ebrard) is equally unsuitable, because “here the בְּכַף is essential” (Meyer). According to John 13:4, τίθημι may in this phrase also be interpreted = deponere (so most commentators), which is so much the more appropriate as in John 10. ἵνα πάλιν λάβω αὐτήν is conjoined with τίθημι τὴν ψυχήν μου, just as in John 13:12 it runs: καὶ ἔλαβεν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ; “comp. animam ponere in Propert. II. 10, 43, and animam deponere in Corn. Nep. vita Hannib. I. 3” (Brückner). Perhaps τίθημι might also be taken in the meaning of “to give up” (Il. xxiii. 704: θεῖναι εἰς μέσσον, τιθέναι εἰς τὸ κοινόν, in Pape see τίθημι).

ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν is: “for our good” i.e. to save us from destruction; for the idea, comp. chap. 1 John 2:2.

καὶ ἡμεῖς κ. τ. λ.] comp. chap. 1 John 2:6. By this the climax is stated (John 15:13); but even every self-denying sacrifice for our brethren belongs to the τιθέναι τὴν ψυχήν, to which we are bound by the example of Christ by virtue of our fellowship with Him.

The reading θεῖναι is just as conformable to the N. T. usus loquendi as the Rec. τιθέναι, for ὀφείλειν is sometimes connected with the pres. inf., and sometimes with the aor. inf. For the idea, comp. Romans 16:4.(228)


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-john-3.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 John 3:16. τὴν ἀγάπην, love) the nature of love.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-john-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He laid down his life for us: the intimate union between the Divine nature and the human in Christ, gives ground for the calling Christ’s life as man the life of God; as, Acts 20:28, his blood is said to be God’s

own blood. And this testimony of God’s love to us, his laying down his life for us, ought so to transform us into his likeness, that out of the power of that Divine principle, the love of God in us, (so that implanted love is called, 1 John 3:17,

the love of God), we should never hesitate, or make a difficulty, to lay down our lives for the Christian community, or even for the common good and welfare of men, being duly called thereto.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-john-3.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Hereby perceive we the love of God; the words "of God" are not in the original. The literal rendering is, "Herein"-by the example that follows-"we know love," we see and understand its true nature.

He; Christ.

To lay down our lives; to have that love which makes us ready to die for our brethren, and actually to do so when God calls us. Such a love is constantly active in doing good, as the apostle proceeds to show. We may be called on to sacrifice life, but never to give up our salvation, for the good of others.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-john-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

16. ἐν τούτῳ ἐγνώκαμεν τ. ἀγ. The A.V. here collects the errors of previous Versions. Tyndale and Cranmer have ‘perceave we.’ Wiclif, Purvey, and the Rhemish insert ‘of God’ from the Vulgate without any support from Gk. MSS. The Genevan is right on both points; ‘Hereby have we perceaved love.’ Better, as R.V., Hereby know we love. Why not ‘Herein’? In the concrete example of Christ’s vicarious death we have obtained the knowledge of what love is. Christ is the archetype of self-sacrificing love, as Cain is of brother-sacrificing hate. Love and hate are known by their works. The article has its full force; τὴν ἀγάπην, love in its very essence: comp. 1 John 4:10. The Vulgate here, as in 1 John 4:16, inserts Dei after caritas: Western interpolation.

ὄτιἔθηκεν. For ἐν τούτῳ followed by ὅτι see on 1 John 2:3. Τιθέναι may mean ‘to pay down’ in the way of ransom or propitiation, or simply ‘to lay aside.’ Classical usage sanctions the former interpretation: Demosthenes uses the verb of paying interest, tribute, taxes. And this is supported by ‘for us’ (ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν), i.e. ‘on our behalf.’ But ‘I lay down My life that I may take it again’ (John 10:17-18), and ‘layeth aside His garments’ (John 13:4; comp. John 13:12), are in favour of the latter: they are quite against the rendering ‘He pledged His life.’ The phrase τιθέναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὑτοῦ is peculiar to S. John (John 10:11; John 10:15; John 10:17; John 13:37-38; John 15:13). In Greek the pronoun (ἐκεῖνος as in 1 John 2:6 and 1 John 3:7) marks more plainly than in English who laid down His life: but S. John’s readers had no need to be told. Ἐκεῖνος and ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν are in emphatic juxtaposition: ‘He for us His life laid down.’

καὶ ἡμεῖς ὀφείλομεν. The ἡμεῖς is emphatic: this on our side is a Christian’s duty; he ‘ought himself also to walk even as He walked’ (1 John 2:6). The argument seems to shew that though ‘the brethren’ specially means believers, yet heathen are not to be excluded. Christ laid down His life not for Christians only, ‘but also for the whole world’ (1 John 2:2). Christians must imitate Him in this: their love must be [1] practical, [2] absolutely self-sacrificing, [3] all-embracing. ‘God commendeth His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). Tertullian quotes this dictum of the Apostle in urging the duty of martyrdom: “If he teaches that we must die for the brethren, how much more for the Lord” (Scorp. xii.). Comp. Proverbs 24:11. See on 1 John 4:18. Ὀφείλειν occurs four times in these Epistles (1 John 2:6; 1 John 4:11; 3 John 1:8), twice in the Gospel (John 13:14; John 19:7), and not at all in Revelation. In the Gospel and Revelation we commonly have δεῖ. Bengel on 1 Corinthians 11:10 thus distinguishes the two: “ὀφείλει notat obligationem, δεῖ necessitatem; illud morale est, hoc quasi physicum; ut in vernaculâ, wir sollen und müssen.”


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"Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-john-3.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

16. Of God, as the italics indicate, is not in the Greek, and should be omitted. He has no antecedent, and refers to our true Abel, the unnamed Jesus. Between him, the Unnamed, and Cain is a solemn contrast; the latter exemplifies what hate is in its completion, the former the consummation of love. As hate is the element that murders a brother, so love is the element that would die for a brother.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-john-3.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.’

He now draws attention to what that love must be like. It is a love known through experience (‘we know’), for love is what Jesus showed in His life and practised, and through which we have benefited. Jesus, he points out, gave us an example of it, by laying down His life for us. He did the opposite to Cain. Instead of taking life He gave His life. It is therefore sacrificial love. It is an all-giving love. It is practical love. It is love that is full of consideration for others. Indeed if we so truly love we will be ready to lay down our own lives for the brethren, and especially for those who bring us the truth.

But the thought goes deeper than that, for here John is linking love for the brethren with the love that brought Jesus to the cross. This is Christian love, love linked with the cross, love that is unlike any known before, love that gave itself on the cross to bear men’s sins, love that takes part in Christ’s sacrifice of Himself and lives it out (Galatians 2:20), and thus it is love that is dead to sin and reveals true Christian faith (compare 1 John 4:9-10; John 10:15-18).


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-john-3.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

In contrast to the murderer Cain"s Acts , we see love in Jesus Christ"s laying down His life for us (cf. John 10:11). This is the opposite of taking another person"s life, as Cain did. Jesus Christ laid down His life once, and we ought to lay down our lives repeatedly in self-sacrificing love, as the tenses of the Greek verbs suggest.

"Most people associate Christianity with the command to love, and so they think that they know all about Christianity when they have understood its teaching in terms of their own concept of love. John found it necessary to explain clearly to his readers what he meant by love ....

"Love means readiness to do anything for other people." [Note: Marshall, p192.]


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-john-3.html. 2012.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 John 3:16. τὴν ἀγάπην, “the thing called ‘love’ ”. The love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord is the perfect type. Till the world saw that, it never knew what love is. ἐκεῖνος, Christ; see note on 1 John 2:6. ἡμεῖς emphatic, “we on our part”. ὀφείλομεν, see note on 1 John 2:6.


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-john-3.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

===============================

[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Charitatem Dei, Greek: tou Theou: scarce in any manuscripts nor read by St. Augustine in his commentary on this verse.

====================


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-john-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Hereby = In (App-104.) this.

perceive we = we know, as in 1 John 3:1.

life. App-110. See John 10:15.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-john-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

What true love to the brethren is, is illustrated by Christ's to us.

Hereby - `herein.'

The love of God. "Of God" is not in the original. Translate, 'We arrive at the knowledge of LOVE' we apprehend what true love is.

He - Christ.

And we - on our part, if necessary for the glory of God, the good of the Church, or the salvation of a brother.

Lives. Christ laid down His one life for us all: we ought to lay down our lives severally for the lives of the brethren: if not actually, at least virtually, by giving our time, care, prayers, substance: 'Non nobis, sed omnibus.' Our life ought not to be dearer to us than God's own Son was to Him. The apostles and martyrs acted on this principle.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-john-3.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
perceive
4:9,10; Matthew 20:28; John 3:16; 10:15; 15:13; Acts 20:28; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 5:2,25; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:18; 2:24; 3:18; Revelation 1:5; 5:9
and we
2:6; 4:11; John 13:34; 15:12,13; Romans 16:4; Philippians 2:17,30

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-john-3.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

What love is. "Christ acted out this LOVE by giving his life for us. Rather than hating and destroying our brother, we ought to have the spirit of Christ and lay down our lives for our brothers, when called upon to do so."


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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-john-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The words of God have been supplied by the translators. The passage means that the Lord gave direct evidenceā€˜ of His love in that he laid down his life for us. This is a beautiful contrast with the man who hates his brother. Such a person not only does not make any sacriļ¬ce for another, but takes the other man"s life from him. We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. This cannot necessarily mean that we can literally die for the sake of another, except where the other person"s life is in danger and we might lose ours in protecting him. The passage refers to the interest or devotion we would manifest for our brethren even to the extent of making great and trying sacriļ¬ces. (See Romans 16:4.)


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Bibliography
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/1-john-3.html. 1952.

The next logical question would be: how are we to manifest our love for the brethren? John answers this by an illustration.

1 John 3:16. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

He expresses the same thought in the fourth chapter.

1 John 4:9. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

1 John 4:10. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God manifested His love to us by sacrifice. We manifest our love for the brethren by sacrifice. We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. He is not talking about martyrdom here. He is talking about loving our brother with the kind of love He manifested. This is one of the greatest needs among God's people today.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another ( John 13:34-35).

How shall we love each other? Even as He has loved us! This is a love that must come from God.

The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us ( Romans 5:5).

It is not our doctrine, nor our ability, nor some special gift of the Spirit, but it is love of the brethren that is the evidence of fellowship with God who is righteous. The Lord wants this love of the brethren to be a reality, not just empty profession. He wants deeds, not just talk. God sees my faith but men should experience my love. Christianity is love in action.

Let us not judge other Christians in the light of our own conscience or in the light of our experience. It is so easy to judge the falling brother and to criticize those who do not walk the way we think they should walk.

Remember, there are those in the family of God who are mature Christians, and there are those who are not mature. We do not expect a baby to live and act like a grown man or woman. Likewise, there must be time for growth in the things of God.

Immature Christians, new Christians, babes in Christ may say things and do things that are not right, yet they belong to the Saviour. We are to love them. If God loves them, we ought to, too.

Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted ( Galatians 6:1).i

Satan has knitted together all the antichristian forces, and he also succeeds in separating the believers from within. Love is the need among professing Christians today. We who love the Saviour and who love the Word of God should be genuine in our love one for the other. We are to love those who love the Saviour.

This does not mean that we are to compromise our own faith in the Saviour or our conviction of truth. It does mean we are to love anyone who belongs to the Saviour. How are we ever going to come together in a oneness of doctrine and of life unless we first love one another in Christ?

What a testimony it would be before the world if we loved even those who don't agree with us on every point!

Personally, I will go a long way with a person who really is genuine in his love for the Lord Jesus Christ. We must keep in mind that all Christians do not have the same opportunities, they are not equally taught, they do not equally love the Word of God.

Yet the command is that all Christians should love one another. The tragedy is that some Christians will even go to the world to criticize another Christian. This is what the world loves. It is like a sweet morsel under their tongue. It gives them ammunition against the gospel.

My brother, if we must criticize another Christian, let us do it in love and to his face, or, if necessary, before the people of God. Let us never go to the world and there run down the people of God.

We preach Christ. Then let us also manifest the love of Christ!


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Bibliography
Mitchell, John G. D.D. "Commentary on 1 John 3:16". "Mitchell's Commentary on Selected New Testament Books". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jgm/1-john-3.html.

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