1 John 4:7-21 Amplified Bible (AMP)
God Is Love
7 Beloved, let us [unselfishly] [a]love and seek the best for one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves [others] is born of God and knows God [through personal experience]. 8 The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.] 9 By this the love of God was displayed in us, in that God has sent His [One and] only begotten Son [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind] into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath]. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us [in this incredible way], we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. But if we love one another [with unselfish concern], God abides in us, and His love [the love that is His essence abides in us and] is completed and perfected in us. 13 By this we know [with confident assurance] that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given to us His [Holy] Spirit. 14 We [who were with Him in person] have seen and testify [as eye-witnesses] that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 Whoever confesses and acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know [by personal observation and experience], and have believed [with deep, consistent faith] the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides continually in him. 17 In this [union and fellowship with Him], love is completed and perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him]; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love]. 19 We love, because [b]He first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates (works against) his [Christian] brother he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should also [unselfishly] love his brother and seek the best for him.
1 John 4:7-21 The Voice (VOICE)
How can the words of prophets be tested to discover the truth? The most important question is whether they acknowledge that Jesus is fully God and fully human. In the first century, many people were so convinced that this material world was corrupt and evil that they couldn’t imagine how a perfect God could wrap Himself in imperfect skin. Many today still function as if the physical world is a bad thing; this understanding is demonstrated when they downplay the hope of bodily resurrection and emphasize the heavenly destination of souls. Implicitly, this belittles Jesus’ own incarnation and resurrection.
On the other hand, many people accept Jesus’ humanity but deny His divinity. He may have been a great teacher, they say, but certainly not the incarnation of God. However, Jesus made bold claims about who He was and what He came to do. These are not the things a great teacher would have said or done if they had not been true. It is fair to say that no other life has drawn so much scrutiny, and no other life has ever elicited such praise.
7 My loved ones, let us devote ourselves to loving one another. Love comes straight from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and truly knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
9 Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. 10 This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 So, my loved ones, if God loved us so sacrificially, surely we should love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God with human eyes; but if we love one another, God truly lives in us. Consequently God’s love has accomplished its mission among us.
13 How can we be sure that He truly lives in us and that we truly live in Him? By one fact: He has given us His Spirit. 14 We have watched what God has done, and we stand ready to provide eyewitness testimonies to the reality that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone unites with our confession that Jesus is God’s own Son, then God truly lives in that person and that person lives in God. 16 We have experienced and we have entrusted our lives to the love of God in us.
God is love. Anyone who lives faithfully in love also lives faithfully in God, and God lives in him. 17 This love is fulfilled with us, so that on the day of judgment we have confidence based on our identification with Jesus in this world. 18 Love will never invoke fear. Perfect love expels fear, particularly the fear of punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been completed through love.
19 We love because He has first loved us. 20 If someone claims, “I love God,” but hates his brother or sister, then he is a liar. Anyone who does not love a brother or sister, whom he has seen, cannot possibly love God, whom he has never seen. 21 He gave us a clear command, that all who love God must also love their brothers and sisters.