1 John 4 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
God Is Love
4 Dear friends, don’t believe everyone who claims to have the Spirit of God. Test them all to find out if they really do come from God. Many false prophets have already gone out into the world, 2 and you can know which ones come from God. His Spirit says that Jesus Christ had a truly human body. 3 But when someone doesn’t say this about Jesus, you know that person has a spirit that doesn’t come from God and is the enemy of Christ. You knew that this enemy was coming into the world and now is already here.
4 Children, you belong to God, and you have defeated these enemies. God’s Spirit[a] is in you and is more powerful than the one that is in the world. 5 These enemies belong to this world, and the world listens to them, because they speak its language. 6 We belong to God, and everyone who knows God will listen to us. But the people who don’t know God won’t listen to us. That is how we can tell the Spirit that speaks the truth from the one that tells lies.
7 My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God’s children, and we know him. 8 God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never known him. 9 God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. 10 Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other.
12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts.
13 God has given us his Spirit. That is how we know that we are one with him, just as he is one with us. 14 God sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. We saw his Son and are now telling others about him. 15 God stays one with everyone who openly says that Jesus is the Son of God. That’s how we stay one with God 16 and are sure that God loves us.
God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay one in our hearts with God, and he will stay one with us. 17 If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won’t be worried about the day of judgment. 18 A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows that we have not really learned to love.
19 We love because God loved us first. 20 But if we say we love God and don’t love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don’t love the people we can see? 21 The commandment that God has given us is: “Love God and love each other!”
1 John 4 New International Version (NIV)
On Denying the Incarnation
4 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
God’s Love and Ours
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 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. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.