Notes and discussion questions for 1 John 4.


  • Test every spirit as to whether it is from GOD or a false prophet. Spirits which confirm Jesus came in the flesh are from GOD. Otherwise, the spirit was of the Antichrist. (Note that 1 John 4:3 says the Antichrist was already in the world.)
  • The Christians to whom John was writing were of GOD and had overcome the Antichrists because GOD who is in us is greater than the devil who was in the world.
  • The spirits of truth are the ones who hear GOD and hear the apostles, whereas the spirits of error do not.
  • We must love one another because:
    • Love is of GOD
    • Those who love are born of GOD
    • Those who love know GOD.
  • The love of GOD was manifested to man in the sending of Jesus, that we might live through Him. Jesus is the sign of GOD's love and the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins.
  • Since GOD has loved us so much, we need to love one another.
  • No one (other than Jesus) has seen GOD at any time.
  • If we love each other, GOD abides (stays, dwells) in us and His love is perfected (completed) in us.
  • The Holy Spirit is our confirmation that we abide (stay, dwell) in GOD. The one who confesses Jesus as the Son of GOD abides in GOD, and GOD in him.
  • GOD's love when it is completed results in boldness in our day of judgment. There is no fear in love, because fear involves torment.
  • Perfect love casts out fear. He who fears has not been made complete in love.
  • We love because GOD first loved us.
  • Anyone who claims to love GOD but hates his brother is a liar.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do we still have a responsibility to test the spirits today? How would one test a spirit, according to this text?
  2. As you reflect upon the seriousness of GOD's command to love one another, how far along do you feel that you are in the growth process?
  3. How does the statement that GOD abides within you make you feel?
  4. Do you fear GOD's judgment right now?
  5. According to 1 John 4:13, who has the Holy Spirit within them? According to Acts 2:38, when does one receive the Holy Spirit?
  6. How does one know they have the Holy Spirit living within them?
Author Info
Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris
About Me
Tim Harris is a Christian writer and teacher currently living in Montgomery, Alabama. He is married to Holly and they have two children. Tim and Holly have hosted a house church since 2010. Tim started in 2010 to promote the full gospel, encourage other Christians hungry to develop a deeper relationship with GOD, and create a reusable library of spiritual content.

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