In my ongoing series of posts on the current lectionary readings, I offer you these notes on 1 John 4:7-21. There are notes from DA Carson, Eugene Peterson, I Howard Marshall, Craig Keener, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and David Jackman among others. The notes focus mainly on John’s call to his congregation to love one another as this is the booked found in verses 7 & 21. There are 15 pages of notes in this study.
May 10, 2009: 1 John 4:7-21, Love One Another
Let us love one another. I know how this works. I know what it means, but I tell you the truth: Loving one another is not about uttering words or feeling some particular swelling of the heart. John says that the only possible explanation for loving one another is that we happen to know God. He says that the only possible outcome of our knowing God is that we love one another.
And if we do not love one another then it is not God we know regardless of how much we claim to ‘know’ about him. Knowledge begets action not mere facts. Whoever does not love does not know: It is that simple and that terrifying. Furthermore, John is not content to allow us to define love on our own terms either. No. No. No. Scripture contains its own definition of what love is and how we can know that it is God we know. Anyone can define love on their own terms. Anyone can create their own ideas about love, but John defines love on different terms altogether: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him.”