What does it mean that "everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God?"

What does John mean when he says in I John 4:7-8,"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love"

Is he saying those who are not born of God don't have the ability love or cant truly love? Or is he talking about a specific love only Christians have because we are of God and have the Holy Spirit in us? A love that others don't have but only God's children have?

1 John 4:1 - 21

KJV - 1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

Clarify Share Report Asked April 27 2015 Mini Nanyamka Anderson

For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.

Closeup Jennifer Rothnie

The love this verse speaks of is defined in the passage, and explained within the chapter:

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins". I John 4:10

The love spoken of here is not a general love of neighbors, nor romantic love, but the very essence of love itself, which is sacrificial and gracious.

I John 4:9 shows the primary, most notable instance in which that pure love was manifested.

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him". (See also John 3:16)

I John 4:7-8 show the contradiction between the love of God and a person who claims to be a Christian, but does not love his brothers and sisters in Christ. This is explained further on in the chapter.

"We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his 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. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also". I John 4:19-20

In John 13:34, 35 Jesus Himself tells his disciples that the world shall know them by their love for one another, even as Christ loved them.

If we do not love the brethren, regardless of their social status, personal traditions, or how they treat us, then we do not know the love of God, and we do not know God. Also see Matt 5:46-48.

April 27 2015 Report

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