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This is a summary of each of the four main sections of the Book of 1 John. It purposely does not interpret each verse but attempts to provide a good grasp of 1 John. This is especially important when trying to understand this book which again and again overlaps themes. By getting a good grasp of the whole book, then we can excitedly find how the particular passage we are studying fits into John's presentation. Each section has follow up questions to foster one's own reflection and meditation.
Summaries of 1 John
Love One Another
1 John 4:7-12
Did you ever find it hard or even impossible to love others? This is often because something bad happens to us, often when we are young, and we make wrong conclusions about that situation or those people involved. We might doubt God’s love–though this conclusion goes directly against the truth stated here that God is love. Those persistent and deep rooted thoughts, however, tend to lead us away from God and assure our hearts are kept at a good distance from God where cynicism can easily develop.
￼People also disappoint us, and similarly, we conclude that we will never forgive them.... and these deeply buried assumptions cause much damage in our lives. Our response is hardened in. For example, we sometimes try to prove ourselves to others with a spirit of revenge, “I’ll show you!” Others, though, retain a spirit of giving up that continue to plague them, “I guess no one loves me.”
When we are hurt we become very protective of our wound. Think of the time you stubbed your toe. You made sure nothing even came close to your toe. People do this with God and others too, protecting their inner pain. These spiritual wounds, then, become hidden and fester further selfish thinking. We watch over our interests with such care that we often don’t even see the needs of others.
This mindset keeps us distant from God and holds us back in our ability to love others. This passage from 1 John 4 has everything to do with showing how we can be like Jesus and show God’s extraordinary love to others.
Although we become Christians and can love others, we are shaped by these unbiblical assumptions; they cripple our spiritual lives and our relationships with others. As long as we focus on our own needs, we cannot focus on the needs of others (which is the basis of love). Satan cleverly accentuates these problems and false conclusions so we do not freely step into obedience to God’s command to love one another.
Obedience in faith would heal our problem, but we tend to ‘protect’ our hidden wounds, disobey and remain spiritually crippled.
A little later in this same chapter John explains, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear….”(1 John 4:18). Our passage is not about this, but it helps us realize that expression of love for others solves both our problems and helps others. The more we know God’s love and understand it, the more our fears will be treated by the rays of God’s healing love, leaving our
A) The Power to Love (1 John 4:7-8)
Am I really able to love?
B) The Portrait of Love (1 John 4:9-10)
What if I was never loved before?
C) The Proof for Love (1 John 4:11-12)
What can I expect when I love?
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Links to main 1 John articles
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Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
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