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1 John 4:20-21 meaning...

The First Epistle of John, from which these verses are taken, emphasizes the themes of love, fellowship, and authentic Christian living. In this passage, the apostle John addresses the connection between love for God and love for fellow believers.

  • Love for God and Love for Others: 
John begins by presenting a challenging scenario. If someone claims to love God but harbors hatred for their brother or sister, they are a liar. John highlights the contradiction in claiming to love the unseen God while failing to love a fellow human being who is visible and tangible.

  • The Inseparable Connection: 
John argues that love for God and love for one's brother or sister are inseparable. He implies that genuine love for God naturally extends to love for others, especially fellow believers. This is because God's love should transform the believer's heart, leading them to love as God loves.

  • Authentic Faith: 
It challenges believers to examine the authenticity of their faith. Claiming to love God is meaningful only when it is expressed through love for others. It calls for a consistent and genuine faith that is evident in actions.

  • Unity in the Church: 
These verses emphasize the importance of unity and love within the Christian community. Love for fellow believers is a central aspect of Christian fellowship and witness to the world.

  • Self-Examination: 
Believers are encouraged to examine their hearts and actions to ensure that their love for God is reflected in their love for others.

  • Conflict Resolution: 
When conflicts arise within the church or among believers, 1 John 4:20-21 serves as a reminder of the need for reconciliation and love.

  • Community Building: 
It underscores the importance of fostering a loving and supportive Christian community where love for one another is evident.


Matthew 22:37-39: "Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" These verses align with the idea that love for God and love for others are inseparable.

1 Corinthians 13:2: "If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing." This verse underscores the centrality of love in the Christian life.

1 John 4:20-21 emphasizes the intimate connection between love for God and love for others. It challenges believers to demonstrate their love for God through their love for their fellow human beings. This passage calls for authentic and transformative faith that is visible in acts of love and unity within the Christian community.

See also: vs 17-19

1 John 4:20-21. If a man says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who doesn’t love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should also love his brother.