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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 John 4:7

 

 

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Beloved, let us love one another - And ever be ready to promote each other's welfare, both spiritual and temporal.

For love is of God - And ever acts like him; he loves man, and daily loads him with his benefits. He that loveth most has most of God in him; and he that loveth God and his neighbor, as before described and commanded, is born of God, εκ του Θεου γεγεννηται, is begotten of God - is a true child of his heavenly Father, for he is made a partaker of the Divine nature; and this his love to God and man proves.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-john-4.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Beloved, let us love one another - This verse introduces a new topic, the consideration of which occupies the remainder of the chapter. See the Analysis. The subject is one on which John dwells more than on any other - that of love. His own character especially inclined him to the exercise of love; and the remarkable affection which the Lord Jesus had shown for him, seems to have had the effect to give this grace a special prominence in his views of what constituted true religion. Compare John 13:23. On the duty here enjoined, see the John 13:34-35 notes, and 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:23 notes.

For love is of God -

(1)All true love has its origin in God.

(2)real love shows that we have his Spirit, and that we belong to him.

(3)it assimilates us to God, or makes us more and more like him.

What is here said by the apostle is based on the truth of what he elsewhere affirms, 1 John 4:8, that God is love. Hatred, envy, wrath, malice, all have their source in something else than God. He neither originates them, commends them, nor approves them.

And everyone that loveth, is born of God - Is a regenerated man. That is, everyone who has true love to Christians as such, or true brotherly love, is a true Christian. This cannot mean that everyone that loves his wife and children, his classmate, his partner in business, or his friend - his house, or his farms, or his horses, or his hounds, is a child of God; it must be understood as referring to the point under discussion. A man may have a great deal of natural affection toward his kindred; a great deal of benevolence in his character toward the poor and needy, and still he may have none of the love to which John refers. He may have no real love to God, to the Saviour, or to the children of God as such; and it would be absurd for such a one to argue because he loves his wife and children that therefore he loves God, or is born again.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-john-4.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God.

Here, of course, is another test, the love of "one another," such love being of God himself. One stands in amazement at a comment on this like the following:

"Everyone" here includes all the human beings in whose nature love is or ever has been, whether they ever heard of God or Christ or not.[24]

Such a comment is typical of much of the nonsense that has been written on this section of John's letter. "Love one another" is neither sexual love ([@eros]) nor animal affection ([@fileo]), but Christian love ([@agape]). This is a love known only "in Christ," being the gift of God himself, having no connection whatever with mere humanism. John's repeated stress of such Christian love in this epistle might have been due to the fact, as supposed by Macknight, that "some of the Jewish converts, retaining their ancient prejudices, still considered it their duty to hate the heathen,"[25] even those who had accepted Christianity.

[24] James William Russell, Compact Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1963), p. 603.

[25] James Macknight, op. cit., p. 90.


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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 4:7". "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

Beloved, let its love one another,.... The apostle having finished what he proposed to say concerning the trying of spirits, returns to his former exhortation to brotherly love, and which comes with fresh force and strength; for since worldly men follow, hear, embrace, and cleave to the false teachers; such as are of God, and on the side of truth, should love one another, and their faithful ministers, and stand fast in one spirit by the truths of the Gospel, in opposition to every error:

for love is of God: to love one another is the command of God, it is his revealed will, and is well pleasing in his sight; it comes from him, is a gift of his grace, and a fruit of his Spirit, and which he teaches regenerate ones to exercise:

and everyone that loveth God, as the Alexandrian copy reads, or Christ, and the saints, who seem to be particularly meant:

is born of God; for love to the brethren is an evidence of regeneration; See Gill on 1 John 3:14;

and knoweth God; he knows God in Christ, and therefore loves those who have the grace of God in them, and the image of Christ upon them; he knows the mind and will of God, being taught of God to love the brethren; and he knows the love of God, and has had an experience of the grace of God, which influences him to love 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.
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 4:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-john-4.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

6 Beloved, let us love one another: 7 for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

(6) He returns to the commending of brotherly love and charity. {(7)} The first reason: because it is a very divine thing, and therefore very fitting for the sons of God: so that whoever is missing it cannot be said to know God correctly.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "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

Resumption of the main theme (1 John 2:29). Love, the sum of righteousness, is the test of our being born of God. Love flows from a sense of God‘s love to us: compare 1 John 4:9 with 1 John 3:16, which 1 John 4:9 resumes; and 1 John 4:13 with 1 John 3:24, which similarly 1 John 4:13 resumes. At the same time, 1 John 4:7-21 is connected with the immediately preceding context, 1 John 4:2 setting forth Christ‘s incarnation, the great proof of God‘s love (1 John 4:10).

Beloved — an address appropriate to his subject, “love.”

loveAll love is from God as its fountain: especially that embodiment of love, God manifest in the flesh. The Father also is love (1 John 4:8). The Holy Ghost sheds love as its first fruit abroad in the heart.

knoweth God — spiritually, experimentally, and habitually.


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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 4:7". "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

Of God (εκ του τεουek tou theou). Even human love comes from God, “a reflection of something in the Divine nature itself” (Brooke). John repeats the old commandment of 1 John 2:7. Persistence in loving (present tense αγαπωμενagapōmen indicative and αγαπωνagapōn participle) is proof that one “has been begotten of God” (εκ του τεου γεγεννηταιek tou theou gegennētai as in 1 John 2:29) and is acquainted with God. Otherwise mere claim to loving God accompanied by hating one‘s brother is a lie (1 John 2:9-11).


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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 4:7". "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

Of God ( ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ )

Flows from God.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "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

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

Let us love one another — From the doctrine he has just been defending he draws this exhortation. It is by the Spirit that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. Every one that truly loveth God and his neighbour is born of God.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-john-4.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Is born of God; is formed anew by the power of God, and become his child.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-john-4.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

7Beloved He returns to that exhortation which he enforces almost throughout the Epistle. We have, indeed, said, that it is filled with the doctrine of faith and exhortation to love. On these two points he so dwells, that he continually passes from the one to the other.

When he commands mutual love, he does not mean that we discharge this duty when we love our friends, because they love us; but as he addresses in common the faithful, he could not have spoken otherwise than that they were to exercise mutual love. He confirms this sentence by a reason often adduced before, even because no one can prove himself to be the son of God, except he loves his neighbors, and because the true knowledge of God necessarily produces love in us.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-john-4.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

‘LOVE IS OF GOD’

‘Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God.’

1 John 4:7 (R.V.)

This section of the Epistle, 1 John 4:7-21, contains one of those profound truths which are so often expressible in simple words, but which are inexhaustible in their fulness of meaning, God is love.

I. This is the foundation—a foundation great and wide—and therefore we may expect that the edifice to be built up on it will be great and wide also. The foundation is wide as the world. God, Who is love, so loved the world that He gave His Son. We need not, therefore, be surprised if the edifice built up on such a foundation is world-embracing also.

II. St. John expresses his deduction from this foundation fact in a fourfold form.

(a) First, in our text it comes to us in the form of an invitation, ‘Beloved, let us love one another.’

(b) In 1 John 4:11 it is expressed as a binding obligation. It is a debt we ought to pay. We Englishmen pride ourselves on paying our debts. Here is a debt which needs a great deal to clear it. Beloved, if God so loved us—if, that is, we have received so much love—we also ought, we owe it as a debt, to love one another. It is an invitation, it is a binding duty; but St. John has not done yet. In sweeter, more alluring tones he puts it before us in another form. He, as it were, turns the prism once again to show us a yet more beautiful ray of coloured light.

(c) In 1 John 4:12 he shows us the indescribably blessed result which follows from loving one another; it is nothing else than this, the abiding of God within us.

(d) But St. John knew man’s heart; he knew its dulness; he knew how slow we are to respond to an invitation, to regard it even when coming from the King of kings as something to be accepted or refused as we will. The late Dr. Macleod was once invited to preach before Queen Victoria, and in view of some previous engagement he had written a letter to decline Her Majesty’s invitation, when it was pointed out to him that a royal invitation was equivalent to a command. St. John knew we might make a like mistake, perhaps from our all too slight acquaintance with our heavenly Sovereign; he knew, too, that some of us might underestimate the binding duty of paying our dues, that some would find it difficult to rise to the sublime height of appreciating the blessedness of God’s abiding Presence, and therefore, when he reiterates his deduction for the fourth time, he puts it in a form about which there can be no manner of doubt. ‘This commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.’

III. On no point was the closest friend of Jesus Christ more insistent than on this supreme duty of love.—It is as wide as its foundation. It is wide with the width of God’s heaven, for it is as wide as the love of God. Beloved, ‘one another’ includes all the souls whom God the Father created in love, whom God the Son redeemed in love, whom God the Holy Ghost is waiting to sanctify in love.

—Rev. J. A. Wood.

Illustrations

(1) ‘On the east wall of the Church of the Ascension, in the Bayswater Road, London, the artist, Mr. F. Shields, who is decorating that old mortuary chapel with a most wonderful series of pictures of our Lord’s life, has painted a panel embodying his conception of what love means. Love is a beautiful female figure, with a face strong as well as tender, a face which bears witness to suffering endured. On Love’s lap is a little European child, by Love’s side stands a little African child, one little foot still fettered, the other freed by Love. At Love’s feet a little Chinese and a little Indian child are playing together. Both the little hands of the white babe on Love’s lap are outstretched to draw to itself the little black boy’s face and impress upon it a kiss. To the artist the embodiment of love knows no distinction of race or language or colour. He interprets the “one another” of our text with a world-wide meaning.’

(2) ‘A short while ago there went to Burma from a Leicestershire vicarage a young missionary. A year of work, and then to that stricken home went the sad news of his death from fever. But to Bishop Montgomery flashed back from the bereaved parents this inspiring answer: “We have another son to send.” Love counts no gift too great to give to the God who is Love.’


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-john-4.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

Ver. 7. Beloved, let us love one another] This beloved disciple breathes nothing but love; as if he had been born with love in his mouth, as they say.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-john-4.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

1 John 4:7

The Source of Love.

I. Essentially and eternally, all love is of God, and all God is love. To reveal this to man, that stream of paradise was parted, and became into three heads. There was the electing love of God the Father, which gave His Son to the world, and the world to His Son; and there was the love of Jesus to the death, by which He gave Himself, the innocent Sufferer for a guilty race; and there was the love of the patient Spirit in sevenfold offices, and all to comfort those who were unhappy because they were wicked, and wicked because they were unhappy.

II. What do we mean when we say, "Love is of God"? (1) We mean, it is of the nature of God. All love is first in God. (2) Love is of God because it is His gift. Whoever wants real love must ask for it as a creation. It does not spring up here in the lower ground, but it comes down from heaven. If you find it hard to love anybody, you must remember that love is a fruit; and before there can be fruit there must be seed. (3) Love is of God because it is an emanation always flowing. This is the reason why those who live nearest to God grow the most loving. They catch the droppings; they get imbued with that with which they are in contact.

III. The shortest road to almost every good thing is through love. You will have to meet, and to do battle with, many strong things; and not very long hence you will have to meet death, that mighty conqueror death. There is only one thing strong enough to be antagonistic to death—you must take it out of God's armoury—"Love is strong as death."

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 5th series, p. 267.


Love of Relations and Friends.

There have been men before now who have supposed Christian love was so diffusive as not to admit of concentration upon individuals, so that we ought to love all men equally. And many there are who, without bringing forward any theory, yet consider practically that the love of many is something superior to the love of one or two, and neglect the charities of private life while busy in the schemes of expansive benevolence or of effecting a general union and conciliation among Christians. Now I shall here maintain, in opposition to such notions of Christian love, with our Saviour's pattern before me, that the best preparation for loving the world at large, and loving it duly and wisely, is to cultivate an intimate friendship and affection towards those who are immediately about us.

I. It has been the plan of Divine providence to ground what is good and true in religion and morals on the basis of our good natural feelings. What we are towards our earthly friends in the instincts and wishes of our infancy, such we are to become at length towards God and man in the extended field of our duties as accountable beings. To honour our parents is the first step towards honouring God, to love our brethren according to the flesh the first step towards considering all men our brethren. The love of our private friends is the only preparatory exercise for the love of all men. By trying to love our relations and friends, by submitting to their wishes, though contrary to our own, by bearing with their infirmities, by overcoming their occasional waywardness by kindness, by dwelling on their excellences and trying to copy them—thus it is that we form in our hearts that root of charity which, though small at first, may, like the mustard seed, at last even overshadow the earth.

II. Further, that love of friends and relations which nature prescribes is also of use to the Christian in giving form and direction to his love of mankind at large, and making it intelligent and discriminating. By laying a good foundation of social amiableness, we insensibly learn to observe a due harmony and order in our charity; we learn that all men are not on a level, that the interests of truth and holiness must be religiously observed, and that the Church has claims on us before the world. Those who have not accustomed themselves to love their neighbours whom they have seen will have nothing to lose or gain, nothing to grieve at or rejoice in, in their larger plans of benevolence. Private virtue is the only sure foundation of public virtue; and no national good is to be expected (though it may now and then accrue) from men who have not the fear of God before their eyes.

J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. ii., p. 51.


References: 1 John 4:7.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 26; J. Keble, Sermons for Sundays after Trinity, Part I., p. 223. 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:8.—M. Butler, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxii., p. 72.


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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/1-john-4.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 John 4:7. Beloved, let us love one another: St. Jerome tells us, that when this blessed evangelist had continued at Ephesus to extreme old age, and was with difficulty carried to the church between the arms of some of the disciples, being unable to pronounce more words, he was wont, every time they assembled, to say nothing but this, "Little children, love one another." In the verse before us, the apostle assigns a strong reason why we should love one another;—for love is of God. He who planted the principle of attraction in the material world, plants the principle of benevolence in intelligent creatures; and has in particular enjoined Christians to love one another. He therefore who, through grace, possesses and cultivates this disposition, manifests that he is a Christian, born into the family of God; and that he continues to be a true child of God, resembling his heavenly Father; and that he knows the nature and will of God, so as to comply therewith. Others may pretend to great knowledge and sound faith, or just sentiments in religion; but he who does not love his Christian brethren, has not that disposition, and does not thoseactions, which are agreeable to the nature and command of God, and pleasing and acceptable in his sight. See the next note.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-john-4.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Our apostle here resumes his exhortation to brotherly love, and urges and reinforces it with fresh arguments.

1. He assures us, that love is God; that is, the fruit of his good spirit in us; common love is his common gift, and holy love is his special grace: Love is of God.

2. It is an evidence that we have a right knowledge of God, both of his nature and will, and that we understand both what he is, and what he requires; he that has not the grace of love in his heart, has not the right knowledge of God in his head, whatever he may think of himself, or pretend to others.

3. The apostle assures us, That love is not only commanded, but exemplified by God himself: God is love. He had said before, Love is of God, as a quality; here he says, God is love;not as a mere quality, but his essence. God is love.

1. Essentially; love in the creature is an accidental quality, in God an essential property.

2. God is love, casually, the efficient cause of whatever is loving or lovely in us: All our love to him, and one another, is but a reflection of his love to us.

3. God is love, objectively; he is, or ought to be, the supreme object of our love; and we must love him above all, or he accounts we love him not at all.

4. God is love, declaratively; all his works, as well as his word, are a declaration of his love to us, and ought to engage us to stedfastness in our love to him. Let us, therefore, says the beloved disciple, love one another, for love is of God is love.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/1-john-4.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 John 4:7. ἀγαπῶμεν, let us love) From that very doctrine, which he has just defended, he now derives an exhortation to love. See 1 John 4:9. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit: 1 John 4:2; Romans 5:5.— ἀγάπη, love) All love is from God.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". 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

Beloved, let us love one another: in opposition to the malice and cruelty of these enemies to true and pure Christianity, he exhorteth to mutual love, not limited to themselves, as undoubtedly he did not intend, see note on 1 John 3:14; but that they should do their part towards all others, letting it lie upon them, if it were not reciprocated and mutual.

For love is of God; this he presses as a further discrimination; nothing being more evidential of relation and alliance to God, than a duly regulated love, which is of him.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". 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

Love is of God; he is its author, and those who exercise it are his children, spiritually born of him.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "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

7. ἀγαπητοί, ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλ. See on 1 John 3:2 and 1 John 4:11. The transition seems abrupt, as if the Apostle had summarily dismissed an unwelcome subject. But the connexions of thought in S. John’s writings are often so subtle, that it is rash to assert anywhere that two consecutive verses or sections are entirely without connecting links. Two such links may be found here. 1. The power to love one another, no less than the power to confess the Incarnation, is the gift of the Spirit (1 John 4:2; 1 John 4:12-13). And faith and love mutually aid one another. This is the case even between man and man. Faith and trust soon pass into love. 2. The antichristian spirit is a selfish one; it makes self, i.e. one’s own intellect and one’s own interest, the measure of all things. Just as it severs the Divine from the human in Christ, so it severs Divine love from human conduct in man. ‘Beloved, let us do far otherwise. Let us love one another’.

For the third and last time in this Epistle the Apostle introduces the subject of brotherly love. First it was introduced as a consequence and sign of walking in the light (1 John 2:7-11). Next it was introduced as a special form of righteousness and mark of God’s children (1 John 3:10-18). Here it appears as a gift of the Spirit of God, a contrast to the antichristian spirit, and above all as an effluence from the very Being of God.

‘Love one another’ here, as in 1 John 3:11, applies primarily to the mutual love of Christians. The love of Christians to unbelievers is not expressly excluded, but it is not definitely before the Apostle’s mind.

ἡ ἀγάπη ἐκ τ. Θεοῦ ἐστίν. And ‘we are of God’ (1 John 4:6), and ‘ye are of God’ (1 John 4:4); therefore there should be the family bond of love between us.

πᾶς ὁ ἀγαπῶν κ.τ.λ. This follows from the preceding statement. If God is the source of all love, then whatever love a man has in him comes from God; and this part of his moral nature is of Divine origin. Of ‘every one that loveth’ is this true, whether he be heathen or Christian: there is no limitation. If a Socrates or a Marcus Aurelius loves his fellow-men, it is by the grace of God that he does so. See first note on 1 John 3:3.

γεγέννηται. ‘Hath been begotten of God and remains His child’; the full sense of the perfect. Translate with R.V. is begotten of God. καὶ γινώσκει. And groweth in the knowledge of God: see on ὁ γινώ σκων in 1 John 4:6. A loyal child must increase in knowledge of its father.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-john-4.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7. Love one another—Namely, with that elevated love which desires and seeks to do everything for the happiness of the object loved, both temporal and eternal. Our apostle here begins with this spirit of love in our hearts, and traces it to its fountain, God.

Knoweth God—Philosophers may prove by various arguments the being and attributes of God; but it is to divine experience we must resort to know God as love. Much of goodness appears in nature, but the fulness of love in God is learned by grace alone.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-john-4.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Love, as well as faith (i.e, acknowledging the true doctrine of Christ, 1 John 4:1-6), is a product of God"s Spirit. The believer (one "born of God") who also "knows" God (i.e, has intimate fellowship with Him) loves (cf. 1 John 2:3-5).

"The love which the New Testament enjoins involves a consuming passion for the well-being of others, and this love has its wellspring in God." [Note: Bruce, p107.]

This verse is a concise summary of the argument of this whole epistle.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-john-4.html. 2012.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 John 4:7. St. John reiterates the “old commandment” (1 John 2:7-11). It is so all-important that he cares not though his readers be tired of hearing it. Cf. the anecdote which St. Jerome relates on Galatians 6:10 : “Beatus Joannes Evangelista cum Ephesi moraretur usque ad ultimam senectutem, et vix inter discipulorum manus ad Ecclesiam deferretur, nec posset in plura vocem verba contexere, nihil aliud per singulas solebat proferre collectas nisi hoc: Filioli, diligite alterutrum. Tandem discipuli et fratres qui aderant, tædio affecti quod eadem semper audi-rent, dixerunt: Magister, quare semper hoc loqueris? Qui respondit dignam Joanne sententiam: Quia præceptum Domini est, et si solum fiat, sufficit.” Love is the divine nature, and those who love have been made partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4); and by the practice of love they “get to know God” more and more.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-john-4.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Let us love one another. This is the repeated admonition of St. John, the evangelist, both in this epistle and to the end of his life, as St. Jerome relates in his Epist. ad Galat. (cap. vi. tom. 4, part 1, p. 414) that the apostle being very old, and when carried to Church meetings of the Christians, being desired to give them some exhortation, he scarce said any thing, but "love one another;" and it being tedious to his disciples to hear always the same thing, they desired some other instruction, to whom (says St. Jerome) he gave this answer, worthy of St. John: that this was the precept of our Lord, and that if complied with, it was sufficient. --- Charity is of God, is love, is the fountain and source of all goodness and mercy, infinitely good in himself, and in his love and mercy towards mankind. This love and charity of God hath appeared by his sending his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. See John i. 14. --- Thus God having first loved us, (ver. 10) when we were sinners, and his enemies, let us not be so ungrateful as not to love him, and to love one another after his example. (Witham)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-john-4.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

love. App-135.

love. App-135.

born = begotten.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "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

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

Resumption of the main theme (1 John 2:29). Love, the sum of righteousness, is the test of being born of God. Love flows from a sense of God's love. 1 John 4:9 resumes 1 John 3:16; 1 John 5:13 resumes 1 John 3:24. At the same time, 1 John 4:7-21 are connected with the preceding context, 1 John 4:2 setting forth Christ's incarnation, the great proof of God's love (1 John 4:10).

Beloved - appropriate to his subject, "love."

Love. All love is from God, its fountain; especially its great embodiment, God manifest in the flesh. The Father also is love (1 John 4:8). The Holy Spirit sheds love as its first-fruit abroad in the heart (Romans 5:5).

Knoweth God - spiritually, experimentally, habitually.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-john-4.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

The Bond of Brotherhood

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God.—1 John 4:7.

1. The religion of the New Testament differs from all others in this: it affects and appeals to and governs the heart. Other systems have laid hold upon other powers of our nature, but the Gospel is distinctive in constraining the affections, in seizing the motive and controlling forces of the soul, and in bringing them into subjection to its loving claims. It is true, indeed, that the Divine revelation is not neglectful of any part of our being. Though it appeals to reason, enlightened and instructed by truth, it often addresses the imagination, bringing up before it the most lively images of good and evil, of blessing and cursing for time and eternity. Not infrequently it addresses itself to the sentiment of fear on the one hand, and of hope on the other, portraying the hour of death with its solemn realities, depicting judgment with its dread scenes, and unveiling heaven and hell with the objects which should awaken desire and aversion in every human soul. But all this is done only as a means to an end; it is to move the heart, to draw the soul away from things of sense and sin, to introduce it into the love and fellowship of God, and to produce in it that holy sympathy with the Divine nature which shall cause it to dwell in love as it dwells in God.

2. Of this love there could be no more illustrious example than was St. John himself. It was undoubtedly the loving nature of St. John that drew towards him the sympathetic affection of Jesus Christ. Between the two there existed a harmony of character, which bound them necessarily to each other. In both there was the humility and calmness of that highest kind of love which is as far removed from the vehemence of passion as it is elevated above the changes inherent in passionate affection.

These is a tradition that, when St. John was too old to walk, he used to be carried by his friends to the Christian Assembly in Ephesus. Then followed a hush among those who were present. The Apostle who had leaned on the breast of Jesus, the Apostle who had been with Him through His ministry, who knew more of His mind than others, was about to speak to them, and when he did speak it seemed that time after time the only word which he uttered to them was, “Beloved, let us love one another”: “Little children, love one another.”1 [Note: Archbishop W. Alexander.]

I

Love in its Origin

Henry Drummond has described love as the greatest thing in the world. But in that definition he has set forth only half the truth, because love is the greatest power in the heavens above as well as in the earth beneath, Almighty God Himself being Love perfect, infinite and eternal. Heaven is the fulness of joy unspeakable, not on account of streets of gold, and gates of pearl, and walls of sapphire, but because it is the presence and home of Divine love. Angels are angels because therein they have absorbed and radiate everlastingly the rays of this Divine light of love. Men and women are angelic so far as they have received and reflect this sublime grace. The earth is like to heaven in proportion to the love that is in it.

1. God is love.—This is the first fact in the universe—first in time, and first in significance. Man cannot be the only or the highest thing that loves in this vast universe. There is—there must be—in it some great, deep heart of sympathy, the infinite counterpart of our faint and feeble human love; for we could not be so moved and awed by unreality and deadness; and till we feel this—till we feel that the holy tenderness which comes over us at the sight of boundless oceans or setting suns or starry skies, that the strong sympathies which seize us when we think of human sufferings and wrongs, and will not let us rest till we have done our utmost to relieve and redress them, cannot be explained by any curious network of nerves and fibres, by any laws of chemistry or mechanics, but is a living breath from the Omnipresent Love, working unseen but ever active beneath the material veil of things—we do not truly believe; the cold inference of reason is not yet quickened into a living faith; God is still a name rather than a power, a force than an agent, an operation than a person.

There is a gem which is called the flystone gem. To the naked eye there is no peculiarity to differentiate it from other like gems; but place it under a microscope and you will see in the midst of its luminous brilliancy a tiny insect, perfect in all its proportions, even to the minute framework of its gauze-like wings and the network of facets on its tiny eyes. Diamond-enclosed, diamond-protected, it is a riddle in the book of Nature. How it came there no one knows, and no human skill could remove it. Whoso would touch that fly must first crush the wall of adamant around it. It is hid in the bosom of the gem, and the natural eye perceiveth it not, for it is microscopically discerned. The analogy fails, for it is dead, and we speak of life. But there is in man that which can call God Father, and which can never cease to be Divine, for it is similarly buried in the heart of the Omnipotent.1 [Note: B. Wilberforce, Feeling after Him, 130.]

Love is the mightiest power in the heavens above or in the earth beneath, pure and overflowing at the heart of the universe. How marvellously it is akin to another most attractive force in Nature—gravitation. Remove this single binding influence, and worlds with all they contain instantly dissolve into chaos. Remove the single bond of spiritual love, and society melts into a social chaos. And just as the sun is the principal seat of gravitation, and the planets are the inferior seats of gravity, so God is the central source of love, and His angels and children are subordinate sources of love. Then, again, as gravitation is extended equally everywhere, so also the love of God. No matter to what depths of sin the heart of man has sunk, be it steeped in degradation and vice, or paralysed by carelessness and indifference, God’s love is ever-present, able and ready to save. No man is beyond its reach and secret influence. Its force never fails or decreases. Love can never die: it is infinite and eternal as God Himself. And because He reigns and directs, and lovingly takes measures unceasingly for the betterment of His children, this world of His is daily and hourly progressing and improving. To-day the world is better than yesterday. To-morrow it will be better than to-day. Let then our fixed resolve and maxim ever be: “God, Thou art love. I take my stand on that.” “Love’s faith in love is the surest anchor amid the waves of this troublesome world.”1 [Note: D. S. Govett, in The Church Family Newspaper, Oct. 13, 1911, p. 764.]

When I found Him in my bosom,

Then I found Him everywhere,

In the bud and in the blossom,

In the earth and in the air.


And He spake to me with clearness

From the quiet stars that say,

As ye find Him in His nearness

Ye shall find Him far away.

2. Love had its supreme manifestation in Christ.—What sort of deity is Cupid, the pagan God of love? A mischievous boy, a winged and beautiful shape, a troubler of men’s hearts, a fugitive and irresponsible visitor, who sets the nerves tingling with passion, but does not touch, and cannot touch, the moral nature. The God of love in Christianity is Christ, who went about doing good, and pleased not Himself, but gave His life a ransom for many. Compare these two visions, if comparison be possible, and mark how vast the difference. What wonder is it that love, as described by the ancients, is always a bitter heritage, a golden apple of passionate contention, and that its records are all of the ardour, the distress, and the unavailing sorrow of the individual? But the love which Christianity presents to us is something that forgets itself and is lost in a renunciation which is beatitude. It is not limited, personal, or egotistic; it overleaps all common human relationships, and finds higher relationships with all loving hearts. It comes with no purple wings, beating a delicate and perfumed air, and stirring the mere nerves of a man with passionate delight; it comes as a Divine power, which enters his heart and transforms it; it creates a brother in every man and a sister in every woman. It binds a golden girdle round the globe, and claims all those within it in the name of the love of God. It enters every avenue of human life, and sanctifies it. It is mercy when it meets the criminal, sympathy when it meets the fallen, compassion when it meets the suffering, labour when it meets the lost, renunciation when it meets the poor, sacrifice when it meets the sinful, and it is in all a Divine power which men cannot help recognizing to be Divine. Jesus Christ is the incarnation of the love of God—love itself incarnated and embodied in the flesh—and those who would learn what love is must learn of Him.

“I see,” he said to me, “the revelation of God to man in the history of the world, and in the individual experience of each of us, in the progressive triumph of God, and the working of the law by which wrong works out its own destruction. I cannot resist the conviction that there is something more in the world than Nature. Nature is blind. Her law works without regard to individuals. She cares only for the type. To her, life and death are the same. Ceaselessly she works, pressing ever for the improvement of the type. If man should fail her, she will create some other being; but that she has failed with man I am loathe to admit, nor do I see any evidence of it. It would be good for us,” he added thoughtfully, “if we were to take a lesson from Nature in this respect, and cease to be so wrapped up in individuals, to allow our interests to go out to the race. We should all attain more happiness, especially if we ceased to care so exclusively for the individual I. Happiness is usually a negative thing. Happiness is the absence of unhappiness.”1 [Note: W. T. Stead, article on Meredith in Review of Reviews, March 1904.]

If love is not worth loving, then life is not worth living,

Nor aught is worth remembering but well forgot;

For store is not worth storing and gifts are not worth giving,

If love is not:


And idly cold is death-cold, and life-heat idly hot,

And vain is any offering and vainer our receiving,

And vanity of vanities is all our lot.


Better than life’s heaving heart is death’s heart unheaving,

Better than the opening leaves are the leaves that rot,

For there is nothing left worth achieving or retrieving,

If love is not.2 [Note: Christina G. Rossetti, Poems, 127.]

3. The love of God in Christ to us is the motive of our love to one another.—“We have known and believed the love that God hath to us.” “We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” That is the assurance, that is the ground Jesus Christ has disclosed for the love of God. Those who believe in the evidence of Divine love are tuned to the sufficient pitch, and the motive in them works sufficiently. If God so loved us. we ought also to love one another; we ought because we can; for God Himself in us, through that act of the loving Christ, enables us to do so. By trying to love one another we find ourselves putting out the energies lodged in us by God Himself; we are bringing into fuller use the force wherewith God has loved us. If we love one another God dwells in us, and we discover that it is His love that is perfected in us. Robert Browning has found in this theme the indisputable proof of the reality of the Gospel story. Our recognition of God as love, and of love as the final principle of life, which now seems to us so habitual, so familiar, has been created in us so easily solely by the force of Christ’s recorded passion; that historic manifestation of God has endowed us with our present capacity for love and for belief in love.

God’s love is reflected in His children. The veriest beam of light passing through the vault of heaven and smiling in through your windows is exactly the same as the great surging ocean of light in the distant sun. Catch that slender beam, split it open on your prism, and it will tell you what the sun is made of. The difference between the beam and the sun is only one of degree. One drop of water on the palm of your hand has in it all the tides and motions of the sea; it is smaller, but the same.1 [Note: J. M. Gibbon, The Gospel of Fatherhood, 30.]

There is an Eastern legend of a rose so sweet that even the earth which lies around its roots becomes permeated with fragrance and little bits of it are sold as amulets and worn by princes. You and I are but common clay, but if we will lie close to Jesus Christ, His sweetness will flow through our very lives and make them fragrant and precious for ever.2 [Note: H. van Dyke, The Open Door, 121.]

Faces, loving faces,

Lifting up their light,

With a thousand graces,

Shining in the night;


Lighting up with glory

All this darkened earth,

Telling us the story

Of our heavenly birth.


For, in holy faces,

Faces full of love,

We may find the traces

Of our God above.


So to all the races,

So to us and all,

By these loving faces

God to us doth call.1 [Note: R. H. Story, in The Sunday Magazine, 1881, p. 788.]

4. Love can be readily learned in Christ’s school.—The dullest scholar may be a very master of this art, and the most unlettered may read aright the signs and mysteries of love.

It is related of an eminent singer that his teacher kept him day after day, and even month after month, practising the scales, in spite of the pupil’s entreaties for something more advanced. At last the master told him to go forth as the best singer in Europe, having mastered the scales. Not otherwise did our Lord teach His first disciples. For three years He taught them “to love” by miracle and parable, by prayer and sermon. He grounded them in love. When seated with them at the last supper He said: “A new commandment I give unto you,” and behold it was the old one: “That ye love one another.” After His resurrection, He met the disciples on the beach, and He took the repentant Peter and put him through the scales: “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” And then, having perfected them in love, He said: “Go ye into the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Having learned to love, their education was complete, their training ended. They could go everywhere and do all things.2 [Note: J. M. Gibbon, The Gospel of Fatherhood, 20.]

Some one showed me the other day one of the advertisements of a professional athlete, in which it was stated that the average man keeps himself in inferior health because he uses only a small proportion of his lung capacity; there is an infinity of good air around him, but he is not breathing it. Moreover, he does not know how greatly he could enlarge the capacity he already possesses; the more air he can use the more fully he lives. I dare say this is quite true of our physical organization, and it is true of our spiritual organization too. The more fully we breathe the more fully we live. Inhale as deeply as you can of the infinitude of Divine love that is everywhere around and within you, inexhaustible, potent, free. Breathe it forth again in blessing upon the world. You cannot retain it for yourself; you must breathe it forth in order to live; everybody must; there is not a being on the face of God’s earth who does not exhale something of eternal love in his relations with his fellows; the great difference between one person and another is the difference in spiritual lung capacity, so to speak.1 [Note: R. J. Campbell, in The Christian Commonwealth, xxx. 533.]

II

Love in its Issues

1. Love is the chief of the Christian graces.—It is the keystone of the arch which gives beauty and symmetry and permanency to the others. It is the crowning glory of the Christian character, the essential element of Christian perfectness, the highest exhibition of Christian excellence. It is opposed to envy, to jealousy, to pride, to haughtiness, to injustice, to evil thoughts, to wrong desires, to unkind and ungenerous words, to sharp and offensive acts. It thinks no evil. It wishes no harm. It does no wrong. It is not given to falsehood, to fault-finding, to suspicion. It is not apt to mark the infirmities of others; to dwell with pleasure upon their weaknesses, foibles, and sins; to give currency to statements which will be damaging to the good name or peace of its neighbours. It is not concerned to stir up strife, to intermeddle with other people’s affairs, to disseminate injurious rumours, to promote dissension, to alienate friendship, or to create trouble. It is neither hasty nor vindictive; lustful nor grasping; litigious nor severe; but is kind, gentle, and peaceable; considerate of the good of others, forbearing to their faults, forgiving their injuries, casting the mantle of charity over their infirmities; it promotes their welfare, and does them all the good which it is in its power to render. Love heals divisions, softens asperities, removes alienations, promotes friendships, binds human hearts together in sweet and pleasant union, cherishes amiability and gentleness of temper, puts far away unholy feelings, and brings Christians to associate together as members of a common brotherhood—as a holy band, living and labouring for the glory of God.

Far above all other motives was his love to Christ. That was the root of his life, and the life of all his effort. It was a conscious, personal, realized devotion. It was too hallowed a feeling for him to speak much of. It coloured and pervaded every thought; was an unceasing presence with him; lay at the foundation of every endeavour, and was brought to bear on every action in life, on every book he read, and almost on every word he spoke.1 [Note: S. A. Brooke, Life and Letters of the Rev. F. W. Robertson, 164.]

Nature had done much for Coxe, but grace did more. The personal Religion of the man it was,—the lingering of the dew of the morning,—which kept him so fresh and green. Such a character would else have been spoiled by popularity. The humour would have degenerated into caustic wit, the courtesy, into mere worldliness, the sense of beauty, into æsthetic selfishness. The one only safeguard of a disposition exposed to so many and such various temptations was clearly the love of God. It was this which harmonized his character; preserved him from running into extremes; saved him from secularity; kept his faculties fresh and youthful. He really loved all God’s works, because he loved their Author.2 [Note: J. W. Burgon, Lives of Twelve Good Men, ii. 143.]

2. Love is the parent of many virtues.—In the first place, love begets justice. Not only justice of deed but justice of thought—of which we all stand even more in need. When we love anyone we are sure to judge him more fairly, to make more sound and proper excuses for him and to give all the credit due to his better motives. And even when he has deserved just condemnation, true love will not shut its eyes to his fault or close the lips of just reproach. You cannot be just to anyone whom you dislike or hate, you cannot be just and true to anyone for whom your love is not pure and true, for it is not true love that is ever blind to real faults. True love then adds to justice the quality of mercy, not sparing in the condemnation of the sin, but tender, merciful, and forgiving to the sinner. Then we find love the faithful parent of patience, forbearance, humility, and meekness, all elements of the highest humanity and sources of unspeakable blessing and peace. When we truly love, we show all these virtues in their lustre.

How can one man, how can all men,

How can we be like St. Paul,

Like St. John, or like St. Peter,

Like the least of all

Blessed Saints? for we are small.


Love can make us like St. Peter,

Love can make us like St. Paul,

Love can make us like the blessed

Bosom friend of all,

Great St. John, though we are small.


Love which clings, and trusts, and worships,

Love which rises from a fall,

Love which, prompting glad obedience,

Labours most of all,

Love makes great, the great and small.

3. It is love that gives value and charm to all our actions.—For the love spoken of here is not merely a sentiment. It is a pure and holy affection, a controlling principle of action, a consuming, abiding life. It would be a great mistake to regard Christian love as a passion, as a state or quality of heart unconnected with activity, as a mere negation of enmity or dislike. A large part of its force consists in its positive aspects, of the exhibition of active energy in outward conduct. Its full measure is realized only when, besides restraining us from its opposite vices, it impels and directs us into that course of conduct which is consistent with its high and imperious claims.

“It seems to me,” remarked Isabel, “that love is the leaven that leavens the whole lump. It is only when people begin to care for each other that the fineness of human nature is seen. I was horribly selfish myself till I really cared for somebody, and then I gradually became quite nice.

“As long as you don’t love anybody much your character is like a garden in winter; one virtue is under a glass shade, and another is covered over with straw, and all of them are dreadfully pinched and sickly. Then love comes by, and it is summer; and your garden rejoices and blossoms like the rose, without your bothering about it at all.”1 [Note: Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler, Isabel Carnaby, ch. xxiv.]

It is hard now to represent adequately the extraordinary personal charm which so many of his contemporaries felt in John Henry Newman. The letters convey much of it, but not all. Yet the tradition of this charm is a fact which must be set down in his biography. It was a charm felt by intellectual minds and even sceptical minds, and by simple and practical men. Blanco White, Mark Pattison, Henry Wilberforce, Frederick Rogers, R. W. Church, and Ambrose St. John were all among his most intimate friends. The almost unique combination of tenderness, brilliancy, refinement, wide sympathy, and holiness doubtless went for much. He had none of the repellent qualities which sometimes make asceticism forbidding. He had an ample allowance of those human sympathies which are popularly contrasted with asceticism. Again, he seemed able to love each friend with a peculiarly close sympathy for his mind and character and thoughtfulness for the circumstances of his life. The present writer’s father—never one of the most intimate of the circle which surrounded Newman at Oxford—used to say that his heart would beat as he heard Newman’s step on the staircase. His keen humour, his winning sweetness, his occasional wilfulness, his resentments and angers, all showed him intensely alive, and his friends loved his very faults as one may love those of a fascinating woman; at the same time many of them revered him almost as a prophet. Only a year before his death, after nearly twenty years of misunderstandings and estrangement, W. G. Ward told the present biographer of a dream he had had—how he found himself at a dinner party next to a veiled lady, who charmed him more and more as they talked. At last he exclaimed, “I have never felt such charm in any conversation since I used to talk with John Henry Newman, at Oxford.” “I am John Henry Newman,” the lady replied, and raising her veil showed the well-known face.1 [Note: W. Ward, The Life of Cardinal Newman, ii. 348.]

III

Love in its Insight

Is God knowable? No, answers the agnostic; God may exist, but we cannot know Him, for we cannot see Him, and knowledge is of the senses. Yes, answers the Apostle John; for the deepest knowledge is not of the senses, but of the heart; the deepest knowledge is through the operation of the affections, the choices, the will. We may choose, be affectioned toward, will, what is utterly impalpable to sense; and these things are more real than anything that can be perceived by the senses. By this organ, then, by the organ of love, a man may know God, whom the organs of sense can never find. The man with the retort and the microscope knows not God; but the man with a right heart, a loving heart, knows Him: “for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God.”

Love is the clue to the knowledge of God. Men grub and toil in dust and mud, they explore the depths of the ocean, and sweep the breadths of heaven: they analyse all things, and, baffled at last, they say: “Here is law; where is God? There is no God in the world.” Now, is this wise? Is it thus we come to know men? God is not among the gases! Why seek ye the living among the dead? You cannot by searching find out God. “God is not any one of these things, nor the sum of all, nor the mere maker of all”—God is love, and he that loveth, to the extent that he loveth, knoweth God.

The sun can mirror his glorious face

In the dew-drop on the sod;

And the humblest human heart reflect

The light and love of God.1 [Note: J. M. Gibbon, The Gospel of Fatherhood, 27.]

Standing the other day on the topmost ridge of Leith Hill, and looking where I had been told to look, through a small gap in the South Downs, more than thirty miles away, I could dimly perceive the shining sea. It was little more than a bright speck on the horizon, but I knew that if I made towards it that gap would open and let me through, and I could sail round the whole world upon the bosom of the deep represented by that shimmering patch of silver. It is not a perfect figure, but it does something to illustrate the mode or approach to perfect knowledge of God. Where love is, God stands revealed, small and restricted though our capacity for Him may be. But that shining spot is not a cloud, not a delusion; it is the real thing; follow it up and you shall see.2 [Note: R. J. Campbell, in The Christian Commonwealth, xxx. 533.]

A child has very few notions in regard to his mother, expressible or inexpressible,—not nearly as many as he will have later on. The faculties whose business it is to manufacture ideas are not yet fairly at work in him. But he knows his mother a great deal better than any psychological expert from the university knows her or can know her unless he gets into some other relation toward her than that of an expert. Thinking goes round and never gets there; love makes a cross cut and arrives.3 [Note: C. H. Parkhurst, The Sunny Side of Christianity, 116.]

The Bond of Brotherhood

Literature

Benson (E.), Fishers of Men, 33.

Binney (T.), Sermons in King’s Weigh-House Chapel, 1st Ser., 191.

Buckland (A. R.), Text Studies for a Year, 162.

Calthrop (G.), in Sermons for the People, v. 47.

Carter (T. T.), The Spirit of Watchfulness, 206.

Chadwick (W. E.), Social Relationships, 173.

Deshon (G.), Sermons for the Ecclesiastical Year, 254.

Dyke (H. van), The Open Door, 109.

Gibbon (J. M.), The Gospel of Fatherhood, 14, 22.

Keble (J.), Sermons for the Christian Year: Sundays after Trinity, i. 223.

Moberly (R. C.), Sorrow, Sin, and Beauty, 179.

Newman (J. H.), Parochial Sermons, ii. 51.

Scott (M.), Harmony of the Collects, Epistles and Gospels, 148.

Stevens (W. B.), Sermons (1879), 1.

Vaughan (J.), Sermons (Brighton Pulpit), ii. (1870), No. 92.

Voysey (C.), Sermons, iv. (1881), No. 42.

Christian Commonwealth, April 20, 1910, p. 533 (Campbell).

Christian World Pulpit, xxii. 72 (Butler); xxxii. 178 (Beach); liv. 20 (Alexander); lvi. 107 (Holland).

Churchman’s Pulpit: First Sunday after Trinity, 450 (Farquhar), 454 (Lawrence), 456 (Taylor).

Contemporary Pulpit, 2nd Ser., vii. 358 (Candlish).

Homiletic Review, xxxii. 315 (Mcllwaine).


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-john-4.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
let
20,21; 2:10; 3:10-23; 5:1
love is
8; Deuteronomy 30:6; Galatians 5:22; 1 Thessalonians 4:9,10; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Peter 1:22
every
12; 2:29; 3:14; 5:1
and knoweth
John 17:3; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Galatians 4:9

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-john-4.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

Because love comes from God. "The false teachers claim knowledge is all that is necessary to please God, and they do not love one another. Love grown cold is a sign of evil (Matthew 24:12). Therefore, because love comes from God, let us love one another!" Whoever loves. John uses a continuous form for ‘loves.' "Love is God's very nature, and those who love share the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4); and as they continue to love, they get to know God more and more!!!"


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". "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

The apostle again comes to the subject of love which seems to have been very near to him. He has a sound reason for such interest in that subject, namely, love and God are inseparable. For that reason if a man is born (begotten) of God he is sure to exhibit love also since it is the family trait of God"s children.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/1-john-4.html. 1952.

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

1 John 4:7

"Love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."— 1 John 4:7-8

If ever you have loved Jesus with a pure affection; if ever you have felt him near, dear, and precious to your soul, that love can never be lost out of your heart. It may lie dormant; it does lie dormant. It may not be sweetly felt in exercise; but there it is. "If any man loves not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema" ( 1 Corinthians 16:22). You would be under this curse if the love of the Lord Jesus Christ were to die out of your heart. But this love is often sleeping. When the mother sometimes watches over the cradle and looks upon her sleeping babe with unutterable affection, the infant knows not that the mother is watching its slumbers; but when it awakes, it is able to feel and return its mother"s caresses.

It is so with the soul sometimes when love in the heart is like a babe slumbering in the cradle. But as the babe opens its eyes, and sees the mother smiling upon it, it returns the smiles, and stretches forth its arms to embrace the bending cheek; so when the eyes of the soul are opened to see the smiling face of Jesus stooping to imprint a kiss of love, or drop some sweet word into the heart, and there is a flowing forth toward him of love and affection—this is the power of love.

"Beloved, let us love one another—for love is from God; and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God." 1 John 4:7

"Love is of God." I can have no satisfaction, real satisfaction, that I am a partaker of the Spirit and grace of Christ except I feel some measure of the love of God shed abroad in my heart. I may have hopes, expectations, and evidences, fainter or brighter; but I have no sure, clear evidence in my own soul that I have the Spirit and grace of Christ there, except I am blessed with the love of God; for until love comes, there is fear which has torment. And while we have fear which has torment, there is no being made perfect in love. You have no clear assurance in your own breast that God has loved you with an everlasting love; nor have you any bright testimony that the Spirit of God makes your body his temple until this love comes into your soul. But when the crowning blessing comes of the love of God experimentally felt and enjoyed by his own shedding of it abroad in the heart, with the communication of the Spirit of adoption to cry "Abba, Father," that is the sealing testimony of your possession of the true spirit; for it is "a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind;" and where there is this, there is also a spirit of love and affection to all the family of God.

"Love is of God." 1 John 4:7

Love is a gift which the risen Mediator has received that he may freely communicate it out of his fullness to his people. And we must be brought to feel that it is a gift. Could we produce or keep it alive in our own hearts, we would burn incense to our own skill or our own care. Some perhaps will scarcely believe that a child of God can feel enmity against Christ; but his carnal mind is unmitigated enmity against him. And oh, what a cutting feeling it is for a follower of the Lamb to have a principle in him which hates Christ; hates, bitterly hates his Person, hates his holiness and purity; which could join in the cry, "Crucify him, crucify him," and push and strike him with the Roman soldiers and the Jewish rabble. Unless painful experience convinced us that there was such a dreadful principle within, we could not believe that there was this devilish enmity in our heart against him whom our souls desire to love and adore.

But what know we about love, if we have not all this enmity, carnality, and coldness to try it? When we have been exercised with all these wretched feelings, and the Lord begins to drop into our hearts a little mercy and grace, and to draw forth our affections unto him, we then begin to feel what a sweet thing love is. Love is the sweetest balm man can taste in this life. It is so naturally. There is a sweetness in love. When we love our wives, our children, our friends, there is a sweetness and tenderness in the very feeling, that is—as moralists say of virtue—its own reward. Coldness, dislike, envy, prejudice, jealousy, suspicion, peevishness, quarreling—these sparks of hell burn and torture every spot on which they fall. And Song of Solomon , if ever there is a hell in a man"s bosom, it is when full of hatred against God and his people. But if ever we feel a foretaste of heaven, it is when the Lord kindles some meltings of love, some drawings of affection toward Jesus and to those who are his. Then enmity and prejudice flee away; and we feel as if we could take all the people of God into our bosom, and say, "Your people shall be my people, and your God my God."


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on 1 John 4:7". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jcp/1-john-4.html.

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