In 1 John 4:21 what does “he who loveth God love his brother” mean?

Author: BibleAsk Team

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Speaker 1

Alright, so Paul is asking in 1 John 4:21, what is meant by and this commandment have we from him that he who loveth God loves his brother also?

Speaker 2

That’s a good question. And for that, yeah, let’s go down to first John, chapter four. And let’s actually look at verses 20 and 21, if you don’t mind, just to kind of get the context of it. It says, if someone says I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar. And he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? Let me go back for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And in verse 21 is kind of what you’re talking about, my friend. And it reads and this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God must love his brother also. So this commandment that we have from God that we have to love our brother, it is a commandment that Jesus actually mentions in the book of John, chapter 15 and verse 17. So if you want to go there and it’s interesting because John actually wrote both of these books, the, the apostle John. So John wrote the Gospel of John, he wrote 1st, second and third John and he wrote the book of Revelation.

Speaker 2

So John is actually referring back to an instance that he saw as an eye witness of jesus’s words, which he recorded in John chapter 15 and verse 17. So sorry, you can put that up again. These things I command you, these are the words of Jesus that you love one another. So basically, when it comes to the commandments of God, we think of the Ten Commandments, which are absolutely they’re a foundation of God’s law and of his government and of his character and basically to love God and to love man. That’s a summary of what the law is all about. So Jesus is saying, I am commanding you love one another. Because you have to think of it in the context in which they were living in at that time. You had the religious leaders of those days who were not loving. They were trying to uphold God’s law, but they did not show love or mercy or kindness in any way. They were not reflecting the character of God. And so Jesus was not, he said, I didn’t come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it because he in no way sinned, which is the sin, is the transgression of the law.

Speaker 2

But Jesus upheld the law, but did it in a way that showed love to God and love to each other. And so basically, when it’s talking about the commandment of God being to love your brother, it’s not that God’s saying you better love your brother or else it’s not in that way. It’s that when you understand God’s law, his commandments, the Ten Commandments. The first four being basically your relationship with God, and the last six being your relationship to fellow man, which is don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, don’t covet all these things. These are because you love your brother and because God has shown love to you. You can then love other people, and you can obey God’s law by not doing these things that hurt other people. And so that’s really the heart of God’s commandments, is love in every single way. Jeremy and other thoughts on that?

Speaker 3

Amen. No, I think we’ll actually probably circle back on that a little bit later, if you are able to get to it.

Speaker 2

Sounds good.

Speaker 3

Thank you.

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