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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 John 4:6

 

 

We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Adam Clarke Commentary

We are of God - We, apostles, have the Spirit of God, and speak and teach by that Spirit. He that knoweth God - who has a truly spiritual discernment, heareth us - acknowledges that our doctrine is from God; that it is spiritual, and leads from earth to heaven.

Hereby know we the Spirit of truth - The doctrine and teacher most prized and followed by worldly men, and by the gay, giddy, and garish multitude, are not from God; they savor of the flesh, lay on no restraints, prescribe no cross-bearing, and leave every one in full possession of his heart's lusts and easily besetting sins. And by this, false doctrine and false teachers are easily discerned.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-john-4.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

We are of God - John here, doubtless, refers to himself, and to those who taught the same doctrines which he did. He takes it for granted that those to whom he wrote would admit this, and argues from it as an indisputable truth. He had given them such evidence of this, as to establish his character and claims beyond a doubt; and he often refers to the fact that he was what he claimed to be, as a point which was so well established that no one would call it in question. See John 19:35; John 21:24; 3 John 1:12. Paul, also, not unfrequently refers to the same thing respecting himself; to the fact - a fact which no one would presume to call in question, and which might be regarded as the basis of an argument - that he and his fellow apostles were what they claimed to be. See 1 Corinthians 15:14-15; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-11. Might not, and ought not, all Christians, and all Christian ministers, so to live that the same thing might be assumed in regard to them in their contact with their fellow-men; that their characters for integrity and purity might be so clear that no one would be disposed to call them in question? There are such men in the church and in the ministry now; why might not all be such?

He that knoweth God, heareth us - Every one that has a true acquaintance with the character of God will receive our doctrine. John might assume this, for it was not doubted, he presumed, that he was an apostle and a good man; and if this were admitted, it would follow that those who feared and loved God would receive what he taught.

Hereby - By this; to wit, by the manner in which they receive the doctrines which we have taught.

Know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error - We can distinguish those who embrace the truth from those who do not. Whatever pretensions they might set up for piety, it was clear that if they did not embrace the doctrines taught by the true apostles of God, they could not be regarded as his friends; that is, as true Christians. It may be added that the same test is applicable now. They who do not receive the plain doctrines laid down in the word of God, whatever pretensions they may make to piety, or whatever zeal they may evince in the cause which they have espoused, can have no well-founded claims to the name Christian. One of the clearest evidences of true piety is a readiness to receive all that God has taught. Compare Matthew 18:1-3; Mark 10:15; James 1:19-21.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-john-4.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 John 4:6

Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error

The time spirit and the Holy Spirit

I.
The time spirit. What the Germans call the Zeit Geist; the spirit of the world, and of the age in which we live. What is that spirit? It is the world about us, this age of ours, speaking inarticulately to the soul of man. The world lies all around, a varied, splendid scene; vast, rich, fair, full of wealth and beauty. Till it can express itself, it is like a very lovely body without a soul. But it makes to itself a voice in the time spirit, and so talks to our hearts. Its mediums are manifold and diverse; among them are art and literature; the voices vary greatly, according to race, age, and clime. This is an age of marvels. Here are scholars studying and speculating; inventors planning and contriving; politicians doing their best as architects of their own fortunes. Here be poets, and painters, mechanics and artisans; here are grand cities, growing grander year after year; here we have luxury, comfort, delights of all sorts, music, world’s shows, balls, dances, entertainments, with titles, dress, gala, and glory to the full. What is all this? A mere chaos of activities till the Zeit Geist speaks. To this it gives, what is needed, expression and interpretation; as the musician would say, it interprets the world’s psalm of the world life.

II. Is there then no other voice? Surely something is lacking here. There is such other voice: the voice of another spirit, greater than the time spirit. We name Him in the Creed when we say, “and I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life.” This is the Spirit which speaks against the spirit of the age; which strengthens, purifies, and elevates, as the other weakens, corrupts, and depresses; whose utterances are wisdom and truth.

III. Such are the two spirits, which, on either side, perpetually address the soul of man. How shall we know them apart? Or rather what constitutes their difference? If is marked and strong. The time spirit preaches boastfully of man, of the world, of life; the Holy Spirit of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. The spirit of the age applauds and flatters us; the Holy Spirit rebukes, reproves, convicts. The time spirit talks to us of the glory and greatness of man, of temporal things as all-sufficient, of the world as the measure of our destinies, of a free and reckless life without responsibility, faith, or fear. The Holy Spirit on the contrary, speaks of the sin of man, his weakness and corruption; of a righteousness which consists in faith, obedience, and self-denial, of a battle against the world, of a coming judgment on the earth and its guilty tenants. And this is the essential difference between the voices; the one bids to indulgence, the other to discipline; the one addresses the physical, the other the moral nature; the one displays the kingdoms of this world and all the glory of them, the other points to that straight and narrow gate through which we enter into the kingdom of heaven. There are strange fables and legends of the old time and of the new; stories of syrens, who, singing in their rock-bound coasts, drew hapless mariners to wreck and death before their cruel eyes; stories of melodies so sweet and strange, that men, if once they listened, straightway forgot home, and kindred, and all that ever they knew, and cared for nothing but to listen to that song forever. And we must choose what we will do; whether we will hearken to the syrens, and forget thenceforth all that ever we were taught of God and Christ, of sin and its dire penances temporal and eternal, of righteousness and its crown. Such is our choice; and it presses on us for a decision, since the time is short, and the fashion of this world passeth away. (M. Dix, D. D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 John 4:6". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-john-4.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

We are of God ... us ... The apostle's high claim in this is that of "speaking for God in Christ," as one of the plenary representatives of the Son of God on earth and as one of the eyewitnesses of that full gospel which he declared, including his personal and first hand knowledge of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The blunt point of this verse is: that if the false teachers do not agree with the apostles of Christ, they are liars. Everything that was ever advocated in the name of Christianity must pass this test. As Roberts expressed it:

Notice that John sharpens the antithesis, the "us" (the apostolic teachers) and the "them," (the circle of the false teachers). They are two mutually exclusive groups with no neutral ground.[22]

No private teacher could afford to say, as John said here that, "Whoever knows God agrees with me; and only those who are not of God disagree with me."[23] But as regards the holy apostles of Jesus Christ, this is the simple truth. In today's circumstances, this means that those who are of God and those who are not of God are revealed, absolutely, by whether or not their teaching agrees with the New Testament.

By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error ... This is a fourth test of the false teachers, to be considered along with the three tests mentioned in the preceding verse. There is nothing exhaustive about this list of tests; John's extensive teaching on the tests of determining genuine Christianity reveal others.

[22] J. W. Roberts, The Letters of John (Austin, Texas: The R. B. Sweet Company, 1968), p. 109.

[23] John R. W. Stott, op. cit., p. 158.


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 4:6". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-john-4.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

We are of God,.... Not only as the chosen of God, the children of God, regenerated ones, and believers, but as ministers of the Gospel; they were chosen, and called, and sent of God to preach the Gospel, and were qualified for it, by gifts received from him, and had their doctrine from him, as well as their commission and mission: they were not of the world, and therefore did not speak of the world, nor things suited to worldly men; but being of God, they spoke the words of God, which were agreeable to him, which made for the glory of the three divine Persons, and were consistent with the divine perfections; which maintained the honour and dignity of the persons in the Godhead; which magnified the grace of God in salvation, and debased the creature:

he that knoweth God; not only as the God of nature and providence, but as in Christ, and that not only professionally, but practically; that has an experimental knowledge of him, that knows him as exercising lovingkindness, having tasted of his grace and goodness; that knows him so as to trust in him, and love him; for such a knowledge of God is meant, as has true real affection to him joined with it; so that it is he that loves his name, his glory, his truths, and his ordinances: he

heareth us: not only externally, constantly attending on the ministry of the word, as such do; but internally, understanding what is heard, receiving it in love, cordially embracing it, and firmly believing it, and acting according to it:

he that is not of God; who is not born of God, but is as he was when born into the world, and is of it: and who does not righteousness, nor loves his brother, nor confesses the divinity, humanity, and offices of Christ, and so is not on the side of truth, nor has the truth of grace in him; see 1 John 3:10; such a man

heareth not us; he is a mere natural man, a carnal and unregenerate man; and such an one cannot attend on a Gospel ministry, or receive Gospel doctrines, which are with him senseless, stupid, and foolish notions, yea, foolishness itself; nor can he know and understand them through ignorance, and want, of a spiritual discerning; they are hard sayings, and he cannot hear, nor bear them; and when this is the case, it is a plain token of unregeneracy, and that such persons are not of God; see John 8:47.

Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error; the difference between truth and error; can distinguish one from another, and discern who are the true ministers of Christ, and who are the false teachers; for not only the word of God, the Scriptures of truth, are the test and standard, the touchstone to bring them to, and try them by; and the doctrines they severally bring show who they are; but even their very hearers distinguish them. Spirits, or men pretending to the Spirit of God, may be known in a great measure by their followers; they who have the spirit of error, and are of the world, they are followed, and caressed, and applauded by the men of the world, by unregenerate persons; they who have the spirit of truth, and are of God, they are heard and approved of, and embraced by spiritual men, by such who know God in Christ, and have tasted that the Lord is gracious.


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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-john-4.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

5 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the e spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

(5) He testifies to them that his doctrine and the doctrine of his companions, is the assured word of God which of necessity we have boldly to set against all the mouths of the whole world, and thereby discern the truth from falsehood.

(e) True prophets, against whom are false prophets, that is, those who err and lead others into error.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-john-4.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Wetrue teachers of Christ: in contrast to them.

are of God — and therefore speak of God: in contrast to “speak they of the world,” 1 John 4:5.

knoweth God — as his Father, being a child “of God” (1 John 2:13, 1 John 2:14).

heareth us — Compare John 18:37, “Every one that is of the truth, heareth My voice.”

Hereby — (1 John 4:2-6); by their confessing, or not confessing, Jesus; by the kind of reception given them respectively by those who know God, and by those who are of the world and not of God.

spirit of truththe Spirit which comes from God and teaches truth.

spirit of errorthe spirit which comes from Satan and seduces into error.


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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 4:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-john-4.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

We (ημειςhēmeis). In sharp contrast with the false prophets and the world. We are in tune with the Infinite God. Hence “he that knoweth God” (ο γινωσκων τον τεονho ginōskōn ton theon present active articular participle, the one who keeps on getting acquainted with God, growing in his knowledge of God) “hears us” (ακουει ημωνakouei hēmōn). This is one reason why sermons are dull (some actually are, others so to dull hearers) or inspiring. There is a touch of mysticism here, to be sure, but the heart of Christianity is mysticism (spiritual contact with God in Christ by the Holy Spirit). John states the same idea negatively by a relative clause parallel with the preceding articular participle, the negative with both clauses. John had felt the cold, indifferent, and hostile stare of the worldling as he preached Jesus.

By this (εκ τουτουek toutou). “From this,” deduction drawn from the preceding; only example in the Epistle for the common εν τουτωιen toutōi as in 1 John 4:2. The power of recognition (γινωσκομενginōskomen we know by personal experience) belongs to all believers (Westcott). There is no reason for Christians being duped by “the spirit of error” (το πνευμα της πλανηςto pneuma tēs planēs), here alone in the N.T., though we have πνευμασιν πλανοιςpneumasin planois (misleading spirits) in 1 Timothy 4:1. Rejection of the truth may be due also to our not speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).


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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 4:6". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-john-4.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

He that knoweth ( ὁ γινώσκων )

Lit., the one knowing: he who is habitually and ever more clearly perceiving and recognizing God as his Christian life unfolds. The knowledge is regarded as progressive and not complete. Compare Philemon 3:12, and He who is calling ( ὁ καλῶν , 1 Thessalonians 5:24) also ὁ ἀγαπῶν hethat loves (1 John 4:7).

Hereby ( ἐκ τούτου )

Not the same as the common ἐν τούτῳ (1 John 4:2). It occurs only here in the Epistle. Ἑν τούτῳ is in this: ἐκ τούτου fromthis. The former marks the residing or consisting of the essence or truth of a thing in something the apprehension of which conveys to us the essential nature of the thing itself. The latter marks the inference or deduction of the truth from something, as contrasted with its immediate perception in that something. Rev., by this.

The spirit of error ( τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης )

The phrase occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Compare πνεύμασι πλάνοις misleadingspirits, 1 Timothy 4:1.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-john-4.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

We — Apostles.

Are of God — Immediately taught, and sent by him.

Hereby we know — From what is said, 1 John 4:2-6.


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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 4:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-john-4.html. 1765.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

6.] contrast. We (emphatic, as opposed to them: but who are meant? The Apostles and their companions in the ministry, or all believers? Or again, all teachers of God’s truth, the Apostles included? It is hardly likely that the wider meaning has place here, seeing that 1) he has before said ὑμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐ?James , , 2) he is here opposing one set of teachers to another. On the other hand, it is not likely that he should confine what is said to the Apostles only: such as are mentioned with praise in 3 John 1:5-8 would surely be included) are of God (see above): he that knoweth (pres.: apprehendeth: hath any faculty for the knowledge of. The Apostle sets ὁ γινώσκων τὸν θεόν in the place of ὁ ὢν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, as belonging more immediately to the matter in hand, the hearing, and receiving more knowledge. This γινώσκειν τὸν θεόν, the apprehension and recognition of God, is the peculiar property of God’s children, not any natural faculty in which one unrenewed man differs from another. All rationalistic interpretations of these words, e. g., that of Socinus, Schlichting, al. “animi probitas et studium ea faciendi quæ Deo probantur,” are quite beside the purpose) God heareth us: he who is not of God doth not hear us (here we must remember carefully, what the context is, and what its purpose. The Apostle is giving a test to distinguish, not the children of God from those who are not children of God, but the spirit of truth from the spirit of error, as is clear from the words following. And this he does by saying that in the case of the teachers of the truth, they are heard and received by those who apprehend God, but refused by those who are not of God. It is evident then that these two terms here, ὁ γινώσκων τὸν θεόν, and ὃς οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, represent two patent matters of fact,—two classes open and patent to all: one of them identical with the κόσμος above: the other consisting of those of whom it is said above, ἐγνώκατε τὸν πατέρα, … ἐγνώκατε τὸν ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, ch. 1 John 2:13-14. How these two classes are what they are, it is not the purpose of this passage to set forth, nor need we here enquire: we have elsewhere tests to distinguish them, ch. 1 John 3:9-10, and have there gone into that other question. We have a striking parallel, in fact the key to these words, in the saying of our Lord to Pilate, John 18:37). From this (viz., not, as Düsterd., al., the whole foregoing train of circumstances; nor, those tests proposed in 1 John 4:2-3; but the facts set forth in 1 John 4:5-6; the reception of the false teachers by the world the reception of the true teachers by those that apprehend God, and their rejection by those who are not of God: as Schlichting, who however means the words in his rationalistic sense, “ex assensu et dissensu proborum et improborum.” The same point is touched by our Lord in John 10:8, ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἤκουσαν αὐτῶν τὰ πρόβατα) we know (in this unemphatic first person the Apostle includes his readers: we, all God’s children. γινώσκομεν, distinguish, recognize, as so often) the Spirit of truth (the Spirit that cometh of God and teacheth truth: see reff.) and the spirit of error (the spirit that cometh of the devil, teaching lies and seducing men into error: see ch. 1 John 1:8, 1 John 2:26).


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-john-4.html. 1863-1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6We are of God Though this really applies to all the godly, yet it refers properly to the faithful ministers of the Gospel; for the Apostle, through the confidence imparted by the Spirit, glories here that he and his fellow-ministers served God in sincerity, and derived from him whatever they taught. It happens that false prophets boast of the same thing, for it is their custom to deceive under the mask of God; but faithful ministers differ much from them, who declare nothing of themselves but what they really manifest in their conduct.

We ought, however, always to bear in mind the subject which he here handles; small was the number of the godly, and unbelief prevailed almost everywhere; few really adhered to the Gospel, the greater part were running headlong into errors. Hence was the occasion of stumbling. John, in order to obviate this, bids us to be content with the fewness of the faithful, because all God’s children honored him and submitted to his doctrine. For he immediately sets in opposition to this a contrary clause, that they who are not of God, do not hear the pure doctrine of the Gospel. By these words he intimates that the vast multitude to whom the Gospel is not acceptable, do not hear the faithful and true servants of God, because they are alienated from God himself. It is then no diminution to the authority of the Gospel that many reject it.

But to this doctrine is added a useful admonition, that by the obedience of faith we are to prove ourselves to be of God. Nothing is easier than to boast that we are of God; and hence nothing is more common among men, as the case is at this day with the Papists, who proudly vaunt that they are the worshippers of God, and yet they no less proudly reject the word of God. For though they pretend to believe God’s word, yet when they are brought to the test, they close their ears and will not hear, and yet to revere God’s word is the only true evidence that we fear him. Nor can the excuse, made by many, have any place here, that they shun the doctrine of the Gospel when proclaimed to them, because they are not fit to form a judgment; for it cannot be but that every one who really fears and obeys God, knows him in his word.

Were any one to object and say, that many of the elect do not immediately attain faith, nay, that at first they stubbornly resist; to this I answer, that at that time they are not to be regarded, as I think, as God’s children; for it is a sign of a reprobate man when the truth is perversely rejected by him.

And by the way, it must be observed, that the hearing mentioned by the Apostle, is to be understood of the inward and real hearing of the heart, which is done by faith.

Hereby know we The antecedent to hereby, or, by this, is included in the two preceding clauses, as though he had said, “Hence the truth is distinguished from falsehood, because some speak from God, others from the world.” But by the spirit of truth and the spirit of error, some think that hearers are meant, as though he had said, that those who give themselves up to be deceived by impostors, were born to error, and had in them the seed of falsehood; but that they who obey the word of God shew themselves by this very fact to be the children of the truth. This view I do not approve of. For as the Apostle takes spirits here metonymically for teachers or prophets, he means, I think, no other thing than that the trial of doctrine must be referred to these two things, whether it be from God or from the world. (86)

However, by thus speaking he seems to say nothing; for all are ready to declare, that they do not speak except from God. So the Papists at this day boast with magisterial gravity, that all their inventions are the oracles of the Spirit. Nor does Mahomet assert that he has drawn his dotages except from heaven. The Egyptians also, in former times, pretended that all their mad absurdities, by which they infatuated themselves and others, had been revealed from above. But, to all this I reply, that we have the word of the Lord, which ought especially to be consulted. When, therefore, false spirits pretend the name of God, we must inquire from the Scriptures whether things are so. Provided a devout attention be exercised, accompanied with humility and meekness, the spirit of discernment will be given us, who, as a faithful interpreter, will open to us the meaning of what is said in Scripture.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-john-4.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

Ver. 6. Heareth us] Christ’s sheep are rational; they can discern his voice from that of a stranger, and will hear it not with that gristle only that grows upon their heads, but with the ear of their soul, which trieth doctrines as the mouth doth meat, Job 34:3, and knoweth the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-john-4.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 John 4:6. We are of God: When the apostles had given clear proofs of a divine mission, by numerous and beneficent miracles which they worked; by the exercise of various spiritual gifts themselves, and by imparting spiritual gifts and miraculous powers to others; when their lives were so holy, their labours so disinterested, their sufferings so great and numerous, their doctrine so excellent, and their proofs of a divine mission so many and evident,—they might justly say, we are of God: He that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth us not.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-john-4.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 2454

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, AND THE SPIRIT OF ERROR

1 John 4:6. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

IN matters of eternal moment, every man must think for himself. We should take nothing upon trust; but bring to the test of Scripture the doctrines we hear, and the persons who profess to instruct us in the mind of God. This may appear presumptuous, in persons who have not made theology their peculiar study: but it is not presumptuous in any one who has the Scriptures in his hands, and a Divine Instructor to apply to. It was to the Church at large, and not to any particular person, that St. John said, “Beloved, believe not every spirit; but try the spirits, whether they be of God.” Even in the apostolic age, “many false prophets had gone out into the world:” and certainly there are not a few at this day, who, whilst they profess to preach the Gospel, hold forth an extremely erroneous standand of truth and duty. But the Gospel itself affords us a sufficient test, whereby to try whatever is set before us. Moreover we should feel the same jealousy respecting ourselves, and use the same precautions in estimating our own character. There is “a spirit of truth;” but there is also “a spirit of error:” and the two may easily be mistaken for each other; and, through that mistake, a most erroneous judgment be formed of our conduct. To keep you from any such mistakes, I will shew,

I. The different spirits by which men are actuated—

There is, in some, “a spirit of truth”—

[In some there is a simplicity of mind, that desires nothing but what is right and true. They are open to conviction: they will weigh with candour whatever is set before them: they will not knowingly harbour any prejudices or prepossessions. They take pains to acquire knowledge: they, in particular, search into the fountain of all knowledge, the book of God: and, conscious of their need of divine instruction, they will look up to God for the teachings of his Spirit, and readily submit to whatever they find to be his revealed will. They are like Cornelius, who, though a heathen, hesitated not to send for Peter, who was a Jew, and to receive without gainsaying all that that divine instructor was commissioned to reveal.]

There is, in others, “a spirit of error”—

[There is in some a perverseness of mind, which, instead of affecting truth, loves rather paradox and disputation. There is in them an inaptitude to receive instruction. They have certain principles in their mind, which bias them on all subjects; and they have a certain pleasure in being singular. Things which are plain and obvious to others are not so to them, because their minds are fertile in supplying objections: to find which, they will travel far out of their road; and, having found them, they will lay a far greater stress on them than such trifling difficulties can in any way deserve. Hence, on almost all subjects, they are at issue with their nearest friends, unless indeed they have prevailed to draw others into the same vortex with themselves.]

But, as these imagine themselves to be influenced by a very opposite spirit, it will be proper for us to inquire,

II. How we are to discriminate between them—

As in natural substances we may, by a chemical process, discover of what they are compounded; so may we, by the application of certain tests, find how far the foregoing ingredients enter into the composition of our minds. In the context, two tests are proposed; namely, the world, and the Gospel; and by these “we may know” the two different spirits which we have been considering.

1. Take the world, then, as a test—

[If we have “a spirit of truth,” there will be a readiness to see and acknowledge the vanity of all things here below. The whole world, and all that it contains, will appear to us lighter than vanity itself. Its views will appear erroneous in the extreme: its habits, altogether contrary to the mind of God. Eternity will be taken into the account in every estimate of the things of time; and every thing be viewed with a direct reference to that.

On the other hand, let the world be brought as a test to one who is blinded by “a spirit of error;” and how manifest will be the delusion under which he is labouring! He cannot see that the world is so vain or so mistaken as enthusiasts imagine: there is nothing so evil in its ways: its pursuits are highly rational; its pleasures altogether innocent; its friends and votaries in a state of acceptance with God. Nothing in it is to be condemned, except its excesses and its crimes. In a word, as the Pharisees “derided our Lord” when he spake of covetousness, because “they were covetous,” so the man who is led by “a spirit of error” shuts his eyes against the plainest truths, and will admit nothing which thwarts his own worldly and carnal inclinations.]

2. Take the Gospel as a test—

[This is still more calculated to try the hidden dispositions of the soul. If we are actuated by a spirit of truth, we shall receive whatever God has spoken in his word, as little children. We shall not dispute against it, because it does not accord with our pre-conceived opinions; but shall rather form our opinions from it, than presume to sit in judgment upon it. The deepest truths which are there revealed will not offend us. It will be no stumbling-block to us, to find that God himself has become incarnate, and died upon the cross under the guilt of his creatures’ sins: our only inquiry will be, Is this revealed? if it be, then is it true, whether we can understand it or not. Nor shall we be averse to the way of obtaining salvation simply by faith in Christ; because, if it be pointed out as the only way of access to God, and the only means of obtaining blessings from him, then is it with all readiness and humility to be complied with, nor will a thought be suffered to rise against it. This is “the honest and good heart,” which our blessed Lord commends as the proper soil wherein to sow the seed of life, and as the principle which we must cultivate with all possible care.

But far different will be the conduct of one who is carried away by “a spirit of error.” The blessed word of God to him is rather a field wherein to exercise and display his own ingenuity. Nothing is acceptable to him that does not commend itself to his reason: he sits in judgment upon every thing, pronouncing this reasonable, and that unreasonable; and the great mystery of redemption, through the blood and righteousness of our incarnate God, he regards as foolishness. This is the spirit of Arians, and Socinians, and numberless others, who, instead of receiving the sacred oracles with the simplicity of a little child, deal with them as they would with a merely human composition; receiving what they like, merely because it accords with their own views, and rejecting all the rest as erroneous and absurd.

Thus by these tests we may distinguish “what spirit we are of.” They call into action the hidden principles of the heart; and give occasion for the manifestation of them, in a way that is clear, and that admits of no doubt.]

Let me now proceed to mark,

III. The importance of distinguishing them aright—

A just discernment of these spirits will enable us,

1. To account for the conduct of others—

[It appears strange, at first sight, that a religion so worthy of God, and so suitable to man, as Christianity is, should not be readily received, and universally obeyed. How can it be, that its principles should be so generally controverted, and its practice so generally condemned? Is there any want of evidence, that the religion itself is from God? or, is there any thing really unreasonable in a life of faith and holiness? No: the fact is, that the pride of human nature is averse to receive a free salvation; and the corruption of human nature knows not how to bear the restraints which the Gospel imposes on it. Hence the spirit of man rises against the Gospel itself; and either fashions it to a standard of his own, or rejects it altogether, as unworthy to be received. Here then, at once, we see whence it is that worldlings continue worldly, and infidels retain their infidelity. They say in their hearts, “Who is lord over us? They hate to be reformed: “they hold fast deceit:” they shut their eyes against the light: they “cast God’s word behind them;” and say, in effect, “We will not have this man, the Lord Jesus Christ, to reign over us.” This explains that phenomenon which proves such a stumbling-block to Jews and Gentiles. They say, ‘If your religion be so clear, whence is it that there is such a diversity of opinions respecting it?’ The answer is, ‘Amongst those who are humble and contrite, there is no difference as to any fundamental part of doctrine, or practice: and, if there be amongst others, it is because they are led away by a “spirit of error,” and “blinded by the god of this world.”]

2. To form a correct judgment of our own—

[To attain a knowledge of ourselves, we must diligently mark our own motives and principles of action. We see in others a bias; and we must observe how far there may be any undue influence upon our own minds. If we will candidly examine ourselves, we shall see that, in ten thousand instances, there is a leaning to self, through the workings of pride, or interest, or passion; and that, to be perfectly impartial in our views and actions, is an attainment of no common magnitude. To have no wish but to conform ourselves to the will of God, is a measure of grace that is but rarely found; so rare is “a spirit of truth” in its full extent, and so prevalent “a spirit of error.” Hence there is no man who has not occasion to humble himself for his defects; nor any who has not to watch continually against the deceitfulness of his own heart.]

Let me further IMPRESS this subject on your minds, by adding,

1. A word of caution—

[The persons who most need to have this subject brought home to their own hearts, are the most backward to bestow a thought upon it; so blinded are they by the very evil against which they ought to guard. But I would affectionately remind them, that confidence in error will not make error cease to be what it is; and that a pertinacity in error may cause God to give them over to judicial blindness and hardness. We read, that “God gives over some to a strong delusion, to believe a lie, that they may be damned, because they believe not the truth, but obey unrighteousness [Note: 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.].” Their “believing a lie” does not make it true; nor does its being “a delusion” prevent their being “damned” for yielding to it. O brethren! provoke not God so to abandon you; but beg of him to give you more simplicity of mind, and to put “truth in your inward parts.”]

2. A word of advice—

[You know, that in natural substances there are a great variety of component parts, which are hidden from the natural eye; but which, as we have before hinted, may, by a chemical process, be brought to view. By the application of certain tests, the parts may be separated, and new combinations of them be formed. In like manner, by the application of tests to your souls, you may discover the hidden principles of your hearts. See what it is to which your mind has an affinity: mark what it embraces; and what, on coming into contact with some other thing, it is disposed to relinquish. There are both “flesh and spirit” in the renewed man; and, by diligent observation of the way in which they are called into action, and of the degree in which they operate, you may ascertain your real character before God. If the world drives out spiritual considerations, and more tenaciously occupies the mind, you will see reason for self-abasement before God. If, on the contrary, the blessed truths of the Gospel readily fill your mind, and exclude the world, then have you reason for gratitude and thanksgiving. We are assured that “they who are after the flesh, do mind, and savour, the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” “Try then yourselves” by these tests, and “examine” carefully your state before God [Note: δοκιμάζετε, 2 Corinthians 13:5 and again 1 Thessalonians 5:20.]: for, “if your own heart condemn you, God is greater than your heart, and knoweth all things; but if your heart condemn you not, then have you confidence towards God.”]


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Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/1-john-4.html. 1832.

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

1 John 4:6. ἠμεῖς] Antithesis of αὐτοί, 1 John 4:5; either specially John and the other apostles (Storr, Düsterdieck, Brückner, Braune, etc.) as the true teachers, or believers generally (Calvin, Spener, Lücke, de Wette, etc.); in favour of the former interpretation is the fact that believers are addressed in this section in the second person, together with the following ἀκούει ἠμῶν, as also the antithesis to ψευδοπροφῆται indicates teachers.

With ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐσμεν we are to supply, according to 1 John 4:5, the thought διὰ τοῦτο ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ λαλοῦμεν; the following words: γινώσκων τὸν θεὸν ἀκούει ἡμῶν, contain the proof of the thought just expressed.

γιν. τὸν θεόν forms the antithesis of κόσμος, and is synonymous with ὅς ἐστιν ἐκ τ. θεοῦ, for it is only he who is a child of God that possesses the true knowledge of God. According to Lücke and others, the apostle means by this those to whom belongs the “general ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ εἶναι, i.e. the divine impress and instinct, which is the condition of childhood of God in Christ;” but the expression itself is opposed to this, for the knowledge of God is necessarily conditioned by faith in Christ.

In the second clause: ὃς οὐκ ἔστινοὐκ ἀκ. ἡμῶν, ὃςθεοῦ forms the antithesis to γινώσκων τ. θεόν. This is the antithesis between “world” and “church of the children of God.”

In the concluding clause: ἐκ τούτουτῆς πλάνης, it is to the immediately preceding thought that ἐκ τούτου refers. According to the usual view, with which Düsterdieck agrees, the sense of this passage is: He who hears the apostles shows thereby that the πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας is in him; he who, on the contrary, does not hear them, shows that the πν. τῆς πλάνης is in him; it is in his relation to the apostolic teaching that any one shows of what spirit he is the child.(259) But, according to the train of thought in this section, it is not the spirit of the hearers, but that of the teachers that is the subject (so also Myrberg and Braune); the sense therefore is: That the πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης prevails in the false prophets, may be known by this, that the world hears them; that in us, on the contrary, the πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας dwells, may be perceived by this, that those who know God, i.e. the children of God, hear us. The πν. τῆς ἀληθείας cannot be in him whom the world hears, nor can the πν. τῆς πλάνης be in him whom the children of God hear; Braune: “the πν. τῆς πλάνης is certainly in him whom the world hears, and the πν. τῆς ἀληθείας in him whom the children of God hear.”

τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας; comp. John 14:17; John 15:26; John 16:13; a description of the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as He not only produces a knowledge of the truth, but “makes the truth His very nature” (Weiss).(260) τὸ πν. τῆς πλάνης, the spirit that emanates from the devil, which seduces men to falsehood and error; comp. chap. 1 John 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1.


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-john-4.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 John 4:6. ἐσμὲν, we are) Understand, on this account we speak from [of] God.— ἐκ τούτου, from this) which is stated in 1 John 4:2-6.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-john-4.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "1 John 4:5"


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-john-4.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

We are of God; the apostles and those who taught like them had the Spirit of God and proclaimed the truth of God. This they proved by their works, God working with them by miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost. Mark 16:20; John 21:24.

He that knoweth God; the true Christian.

Hereby; by their believing and obeying the truths taught by the apostles, or disbelieving and rejecting them. False teachers proclaim doctrines which are more agreeable to worldly men than the doctrines of the Bible, and flatter them with hopes of heaven though they live in sin. For this reason those who love their sins follow them, while those who hate their sins embrace the doctrines and follow the precepts of the Bible.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-john-4.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

6. ἡμεῖς. Once more we have no barren seesaw, but an advance. Αὐτοί is opposed to ἱμεῖς, and ἡμεῖς is opposed to αὐτοί: but ἡμεῖς is not a return to ὑμεῖς. The contrast between ὑμεῖς and αὐτοί is that between true and false Christians. The contrast between αὐτοί and ἡμεῖς is that between false and true teachers. As in 1 John 4:14 and 1 John 1:4, ἡμεῖς probably means the Apostles. Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:37.

ὁ γινώσκων τὸν Θεόν. Both the verb itself and the present participle are very expressive; ‘He that is increasing in the knowledge of God’. It is with a view to this increase that Christ has given us διάνοια (1 John 5:20); and he who has it ἀκούει ἡμῶν, listens to us. Here again we have that magisterial tone of Apostolic authority which is so conspicuous in the Prologue (1 John 1:1-4). It underlies the whole Epistle, as it does the whole of the Fourth Gospel, but here and there comes to the surface. It is the quiet confidence of conscious strength. Comp. ‘He that is of God heareth the words of God; for this cause ye hear them not because ye are not of God’; and, ‘Every one that is of the Truth heareth My voice’ (John 8:47; John 18:37). For ordinary Christians to adopt this language is presumptuous sectarianism.

Note, that, as usual, the antithesis is not exact: ‘he that knoweth God’ is balanced by ‘he that is not of God’; indicating that it is the child of God who comes by experience to know Him.

ἐκ τούτου. A fresh sentence should begin here. It is not certain whether ‘from this’ refers to the whole section (1–6), or to the latter half (4–6), or only to the first half of 1 John 4:6. In any case the meaning is, not that those who hear the Apostle have the Spirit of truth, while those who refuse to hear have the spirit of error; but that the Apostles have the Spirit of truth because God’s children listen to them, while the false prophets have the spirit of error because the world listens to them. On the other hand the world does not listen to the Apostles, because it has no sympathy or affinity with what they have to teach (1 Corinthians 2:14).

τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας. The Holy Spirit; John 14:17; John 15:26; John 16:13 : comp. 1 Corinthians 2:12. It is not easy to decide whether τῆς ἀληθείας expresses the character of the Spirit, as in τῷ πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῷ ἁγίῳ (Ephesians 1:13), and τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς χάριτος (Hebrews 10:29), or the source, as τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ θεοῦ (1 Corinthians 6:11). The Spirit is the Truth (1 John 4:6), proceeds from Him who is the Truth (John 14:6; John 14:26), communicates and interprets the Truth (John 16:13-14).

τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης. The expression occurs nowhere else in N.T. Comp. τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου (1 Corinthians 2:12). It is the spirit which emanates from him who ‘is a liar and the father thereof’ (John 8:44).


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"Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-john-4.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6. We—The utterers of the true apostolic traditions from Christ himself, as claimed with bold emphasis by our St. John in 1 John 1:1-3. Hence here is the third test of the antichristic spirits—the not hearing the true gospel history and doctrine, as maintained and declared by St. John and his fellow-apostles. Compare similar claim of St. Paul, 1 Timothy 1:11-20, with our notes. As the apostles were the true chosen witnesses and pupils of Jesus, their narrative of facts and statements of principles are solely authoritative. The heretics were outsiders. They took their systems from the spirit of the age— the world—mixed them with Christian dogma, and undertook to palm an unhistorical, unauthentic, pseudo-Christianity upon the Church.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-john-4.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘We are of God. He who knows God hears us. He who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.’

The question here is who are ‘we’?’ Does he mean ‘we Apostles’ of whom he is now the representative, or does he mean ‘we churches’, especially the duly appointed leaders. Either way his message is emphatic. ‘We are of God.’ Thus we have the truth. And those who know God hear us, because the anointing within them reveals to them the truth through the word. On the other hand there are some that do not hear us. This demonstrates that they are not of God. That is how the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error can be detected, by whether such men speak in accordance with the true men of the Spirit, with the true Apostolic doctrine.

‘The spirit of error’ is probably intended to cover all angles, whether the prophets’ own spirits, or possessing spirits, or the Evil One himself. All are part of the ‘spirit of error’, the movement and trend in the world towards error.

Having dealt with the question of false prophets, and the importance of establishing the truth about Jesus Christ, John now moves on to deal in much more detail with the question of love within the Christian communities, and its source.


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-john-4.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

"We" probably refers to the apostolic eyewitnesses, as in 1 John 1:1-4, but it probably also includes all the faithful. Those believers who "know" God intimately respond positively to the teaching of the apostles. By apostolic doctrine we know whether any teaching is truth or error, namely, having its source in the Holy Spirit or Satan, the motivating spirit of the world. The way to distinguish truth from error is to compare it with what the Scriptures teach.

"When people confess that Jesus came in the flesh, when they hear God speak to them in the gospel of his Son and are obedient to it, then the "Spirit of truth" has been present and active. When people deny the gospel, when they will not hear it as God"s Word and will not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, then "the spirit of falsehood" has been at work." [Note: Barker, p341.]

"Since John issues warnings to his readers against being taken in by the false teachers ( 1 John 2:24; 2 John 1:7-11), he appears to have reckoned with the possibility of true believers going astray." [Note: Marshall, p210.]


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-john-4.html. 2012.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 John 4:6. Conversely, those who are getting to know God, understand the language of His messengers and listen to it. ἐκ τούτου, i.e, from their hearkening or not hearkening. Men’s attitude to the message of the Incarnate Saviour ranks them on this side or on that—on God’s side or the world’s. Of course St. John does not ignore St. Paul’s ἀληθεύοντες ἐν ἀγάπῃ (Ephesians 4:15). The message may be the truth and be rejected, not because of the hearers’ worldliness, but because it is wrongly delivered—not graciously and winsomely. Cf. Rowland Hill’s anecdote of the preaching barber who had made a wig for one of his hearers—badly made and nearly double the usual price. When anything particularly profitable escaped the lips of the preacher, the hearer would observe to himself: “Excellent! This should touch my heart; but oh, the wig!” τῆς ἀληθείας see note on 1 John 1:8. τὸ πν. τῆς πλάνης, “the spirit that leadeth astray”.


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-john-4.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

We (Christians) are of God, have received the Spirit; we, the apostles of Christ, were lawfully sent by him. --- He that knoweth God, heareth us, &c. That is, they who love and serve God, and comply with the doctrine of his Son, Jesus Christ, hear and follow the doctrine which we were commissioned by him to teach. --- He that is not of God, heareth us not. The are not of God, who refuse to hear and obey the voice of the Church and those whom Christ appointed to govern his Church, as hath been observed elsewhere. --- By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Here St. John gives them the second general mark and rule, to preserve them and all Christians from errors and heresies to the end of the world. He that knoweth God, heareth us Apostles, whom he sent, and heareth our successors, invested with the same mission and authority, whom Christ sent, as his heavenly Father sent him, whom he appointed to govern his Church, and with whom he promised to remain to the end of the world. (Witham)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-john-4.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Hereby = From (App-104.) this.

spirit. App-101.

of truth. Genitive of character, or relation. App-17.

truth. See 1 John 1:6.

spirit. App-101. of error. Genitive of character, as above.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-john-4.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

We - true teachers of Christ; in contrast to them.

Are of God - and therefore speak of God; in contrast to 'speak of the world,' 1 John 4:5.

Knoweth God - as his Father, being a child "of God" (1 John 2:13).

Heareth us - (cf. John 18:37.)

Hereby (1 John 4:2-6) - by their confessing, or not confessing, Jesus: by the reception given us respectively by those who know God, and by those who are of the world, and not of God.

Spirit of truth - the Spirit coming from God and teaching truth.

Spirit of error - the spirit coming from Satan, and seducing into error.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-john-4.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
We are
4; Micah 3:8; Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 2:12-14; 2 Peter 3:2; Jude 1:17
he that knoweth
8; Luke 10:22; John 8:19,45-50; 10:27; 13:20; 18:37; 20:21; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Corinthians 10:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:8
Hereby
1; Isaiah 8:20
the spirit of truth
John 14:17; 15:26
and
Isaiah 29:10; Hosea 4:12; Micah 2:11; Romans 11:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-john-4.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

But we belong to God. "We have nothing to do with the world that follows the Enemy of Christ." Whoever knows God. "The one who does in fact know God listens to what we apostles say, and teaches the same things which we teach. The one who does not know God rejects us and our message." This is the way. We have in written form all that the apostles taught (the New Testament). Those who hear and do what they taught, follow the Spirit of truth. Those who reject what they taught, follow the spirit of error which comes from the Enemy of Christ. Compare John 8:42-47.


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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-john-4.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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

We has special reference to John and the other apostles because they had been inspired to write the truth. To know God means to have come into close fellowship with Him by obedience to the word that was given by the Spirit. All such persons would logically be inclined to hear the apostles. The conflict between truth and error still is the concern of the apostle. That conflict is determined by whether a man is of God or of the world.


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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 John 4:6". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/1-john-4.html. 1952.

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