Bible Reading Outline: 1 John 4:1-21

Harold S. Paisley


This epistle is almost equally divided into two parts:

Chapters 1-4:6 - This section has for its text "God is Light" (ch. 1:5).
Chapters 4:7-5:21 - This section has for its text "God is Love" (ch. 4:8 to 16).

Eternal life is the portion of all believers and is manifested by two distinct features: Light and Love. The consideration of this Epistle of Eternal Life is therefore most practical. May our meditations graciously produce increased evidence of a life of light and love as we walk in the light, and love one another.

Two Main Parts

Part 1 (verses 1-6): "Trying the Spirits"

1. God bath spoken since the world began by His holy prophets (Luke 1:17). These are recognized by the Holy Spirit in them. "Hereby we know the Spirit of God" (v. 2).
2. There are also other spirits who speak through men - lying spirits - the spirit of error. How may a believer discern the spirit who is speaking? There must be "thus saith the Lord" (Deut. 18:21-22; Isa. 8:20, Matt. 7:20).

Part 2 (verses 7-21): Concerning Divine Love

1. The Source (vv. 7-8)
2. The Manifestation (vv. 9-10)
3. The Purposes (vv. 9-10)
4. The Obligations (vv. 11-12)
5. The Privileges (vv. 13-16)
6. The Perfecting (vv. 17-18)
7. The Origin (vv. 19-21)

* * * * *

Get alone with God and your Bible and prayerfully devote a good portion of your time to the humble study of His Word, looking to the Holy Spirit to unveil the precious truths of God to your soul. Then, having bought the truth, sell it not (Prov. 23:23). Hold it securely! It will cost you time! It will cost you effort! But in the end, it will make you a strong and intelligent Christian, fully able to try (put to the acid test) the spirits, whether they are of God or not.

R. Surgenor