Digging Deeper posts are intended to help us go farther into God’s word than a simple surface reading
and are designed to help us discover new tools in the process.
Curious as to why we Dig Deeper? Here’s Why!
1 John 4:13-19 English Standard Version (ESV)
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because 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 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.
1) There are a couple of key words in this passage. What exactly does “abide” mean? “Love” is also a key word, and it can have many meanings. What kind of love is being talked about in this passage?
2) How is love perfected in us?
3) How do we abide in God? In love?
A trip to www.studylight.org is in order here.
We will get super cozy with this site as we study Scripture together!
Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom!
It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.
Want to know more about a specific word in a verse?
Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!
Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage?
Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))
The Findings for Original Intent
1) In every case in this passage, the word translated “abide” is the Greek word ménō, which means to remain, or stay. Each instance of the word “love” in this passage is the Greek word agape. This type of love is not a romantic or sexual love, nor is it a brotherly love. It is the word that describes God’s love for us, and is characterized by good will and benevolence.
2) Pay special attention to the linking words and phrases in this passage–words like “by,” “because,” “for,” and “so.” These linking words explain how the different truths fit together. Verse 17 begins with “By this is love perfected with us.” What does “by this” refer to? God abiding in us. And we see from the first verses in the passage that God abides in us when we confess Christ as our Savior. So love is perfected in us when we truly trust that Christ came to die for our sins—when we “come to know and believe the love that God has for us” (verse 16).
3) What does it mean to abide in God, or abide in love? Verse 16 tells us that God is love. God’s nature, his character, is love. So abiding in God and abiding in love are the same thing. There is a sense in which God always abides in us once we become believers—we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and God will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). But there’s another sense of abide, which means to remain or stay in a certain state. We remain in love when we keep God’s love for us at the front of our minds, when we are confident that He has saved us and He will keep us, and when we operate our daily lives in that confidence.
Some Applications for Our Everyday Lives
1) It’s important to understand the truth of God’s agape love. It isn’t like the imperfect love we humans have—it is constant, unchanging and doesn’t depend on circumstances or behavior. We can trust that we are perfectly loved by God, all the time!
2) If our love has been perfected, that is, if we have trusted in Christ for salvation, then we have no need to fear judgment. Christ took our punishment for us on the cross, and no condemnation awaits us. We do not need to fear what will happen to us after we die!
3) What are the clues in my life that I am forgetting to abide in God? (Do I find myself getting selfish, irritable, entitled, etc.?) How can I keep God’s deep love for me at the front of my mind and in every interaction I have with my spouse, my kids, my co-workers, etc.?
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!
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