New International Reader's Version

1 John 4:1-21

Jesus Came as a Human Being

1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see if they belong to God. Many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2Here is how you can recognize the Spirit of God. Every spirit agreeing that Jesus Christ came in a human body belongs to God. 3But every spirit that doesn’t agree with this does not belong to God. You have heard that the spirit of the great enemy of Christ is coming. Even now it is already in the world.

4Dear children, you belong to God. You have not accepted the teachings of the false prophets. That’s because the one who is in you is powerful. He is more powerful than the one who is in the world. 5False prophets belong to the world. So they speak from the world’s point of view. And the world listens to them. 6We belong to God. And those who know God listen to us. But those who don’t belong to God don’t listen to us. That’s how we can tell the difference between the Spirit of truth and the spirit of lies.

We Love Because God Loved Us

7Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become a child of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9Here is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world. He sent him so we could receive life through him. 10Here is what love is. It is not that we loved God. It is that he loved us and sent his Son to give his life to pay for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we should also love one another. 12No one has ever seen God. But if we love one another, God lives in us. His love is made complete in us.

13Here’s how we know that we are joined to him and he to us. He has given us his Holy Spirit. 14The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. We have seen it and are witnesses to it. 15God lives in anyone who agrees that Jesus is the Son of God. This kind of person remains joined to God. 16So we know that God loves us. We depend on it.

God is love. Anyone who leads a life of love is joined to God. And God is joined to them. 17Suppose love is fulfilled among us. Then we can be without fear on the day God judges the world. Love is fulfilled among us when in this world we are like Jesus. 18There is no fear in love. Instead, perfect love drives away fear. That’s because fear has to do with being punished. The one who fears does not have perfect love.

19We love because he loved us first. 20Suppose someone claims to love God but hates a brother or sister. Then they are a liar. They don’t love their brother or sister, whom they have seen. So they can’t love God, whom they haven’t seen. 21Here is the command God has given us. Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.