1 John 4:12 KJV
No man hath seen God at any time.
If we love one another,
God dwelleth in us,
and his love is perfected in us.
New International Version
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
New Living Translation
No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
English Standard Version
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
Berean Study Bible
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us.
Berean Literal Bible
No one has seen God at any time; if we should love one another, God abides in us, and His love is having been perfected in us.
New King James Version
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
New American Standard Bible
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us.
No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
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.
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No man hath seen God at any time.
See John 1:18, where the same declaration occurs.
No man hath seen God at any time;
the only begotten Son,
which is in the bosom of the Father,
he hath declared him.
- The essence of God is to our eyes invisible,
- incomprehensible to our minds;
- but by yielding ourselves to the power of his love, so as to be transformed by it, and habituated to the exercise of mutual love, we come to know Him by the most pleasant and most apprehensible effects, experiencing His indwelling, vital, operative presence and influences, whereby He is daily perfecting this His own likeness and image in us.
This is the most desirable way of knowing God, when, though we cannot behold Him at a distance, we may feelingly apprehend Him nigh us, and in us.
God, whom no man hath seen at any time, hath appointed His children as the visible recipients of our outward kindness which flows from love to Himself, “whom not having seen, we love,”
This verse explains why, instead (in 1 John 4:11) of saying, “If God so loved us, we ought also to love God,” he said, “We ought also to love one another.”
The statement seems to be made here in order to introduce a remark to show in what way we may know that we have any true knowledge of God.
The idea is, “He has never indeed been seen by mortal eyes. We are not, then, to expect to become acquainted with what He is in that way.
But there is a method by which we may be assured that we have a true knowledge of Him, and that is, by evidence that we love another, and by the presence of His Spirit in our hearts.
We cannot become acquainted with Him by sight, but we may by love.”
If we love one another, God dwelleth in us
Though we cannot see Him, yet there is a way by which we may be assured that He is near us, and that He even dwells in us by His Holy Spirit. That way is by the exercise of love (See John 14:23-24).
If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, for God is love; and it must have been from Him dwelling in us that we drew the real love we bear to the brethren (1 John 4:8, 16). John discusses this in 1 John 4:13-16.
Rather, “the love of Him,” that is, “to Him” (1 John 2:5), evinced by our love to His representatives, our brethren.
And His love is perfected in us
His love is carried out to completion is.
That is, our love for each other is the proper exponent of love to Him reigning in our hearts.
The idea here is not that we are absolutely perfect, or even that our love is perfect, whatever may be true on those points, but that this love to others is the proper carrying out of our love toward Him; that is, without this our love to Him would not have accomplished what it was adapted and designed to do.
Unless it produced this effect, it would be defective or incomplete (See 1 John 4:17).
The general sense is this: “We claim to have the love of God in our hearts, or that we are influenced and controlled by love. But however high and exalted that may seem to be as exercised toward God, it would be defective; it would not exert a fair influence over us, unless it led us to love our Christian brethren.
It would be like the love which we might profess to have for a father, if it did not lead us to love our brothers and sisters.
True love will diffuse itself over all who come within its range, and will thus become complete and entire.”
This passage, therefore, cannot be adduced to demonstrate the doctrine of sinless perfection, or to prove that Christians are ever absolutely perfect in this life.
It proves only that love to God is not complete, or fully developed, unless it leads those who profess to have it to love each other (See Job 1:1).
Is perfected in us
John discusses this in 1Jo 4:17-19.
Compare 1 John 2:5, “is perfected,” that is, attains its proper maturity.
No one ☆ οὐδεὶς (oudeis) ☆ Adjective – Nominative Masculine Singular ☆ No one, none, nothing.
Has ever seen ☆ τεθέαται (tetheatai) ☆ Verb – Perfect Indicative Middle or Passive – 3rd Person Singular ☆ A prolonged form of a primary verb; to look closely at, i.e. perceive; by extension to visit.
πώποτε (pōpote) ☆ Adverb ☆ At any time, ever. From po and pote; at any time, i.e. at no time.
God ☆ Θεὸν (Theon) ☆ Noun – Accusative Masculine Singular ☆ A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.
[but] if ☆ ἐὰν (ean) ☆ Conjunction ☆ If. From ei and an; a conditional particle; in case that, provided, etc.
We love ☆ ἀγαπῶμεν (agapōmen) ☆ Verb – Present Subjunctive Active – 1st Person Plural ☆ To love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem. Perhaps from agan; to love.
One another ☆ ἀλλήλους (allēlous) ☆ Personal / Reciprocal Pronoun – Accusative Masculine Plural ☆ One another, each other. Genitive plural from allos reduplicated; one another.
God ☆ Θεὸς (Theos) ☆ Noun – Nominative Masculine Singular ☆ A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.
Remains ☆ μένει (menei) ☆ Verb – Present Indicative Active – 3rd Person Singular ☆ To remain, abide, stay, wait; with acc: I wait for, await. A primary verb; to stay.
In ☆ ἐν (en) ☆ Preposition ☆ In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; ‘in, ‘ at, on, by, etc.
Us ☆ ἡμῖν (hēmin) ☆ Personal / Possessive Pronoun – Dative 1st Person Plural ☆ I, the first-person pronoun. A primary pronoun of the first person I.
And ☆ καὶ (kai) ☆ Conjunction ☆ And, even, also, namely.
His ☆ αὐτοῦ (autou) ☆ Personal / Possessive Pronoun – Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular ☆ He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.
Love ☆ ἀγάπη (agapē) ☆ Noun – Nominative Feminine Singular ☆ From agapao; love, i.e. Affection or benevolence; specially a love-feast.
Is ☆ ἐστιν (estin) ☆ Verb – Present Indicative Active – 3rd Person Singular ☆ I am, exist. The first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist.
Perfected ☆ τετελειωμένη (teteleiōmenē) ☆ Verb – Perfect Participle Middle or Passive – Nominative Feminine Singular ☆ From teleios; to complete, i.e. accomplish, or consummate.
In ☆ «ἐν (en) ☆ Preposition ☆ In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; ‘in, ‘ at, on, by, etc.
Us ☆ ἡμῖν» (hēmin) ☆ Personal / Possessive Pronoun – Dative 1st Person Plural ☆ I, the first-person pronoun. A primary pronoun of the first person I.
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