1 John 4:1-6

 |  April 17, 2017

The context of 4:1–6 concerns the source of true and false teaching. Note that the phrase “from God” occurs six times in these six verses; in every verse except verse 5 and twice in verse 6.

The source of true Christian teaching is God through the Holy Spirit. In this paragraph John uses the word “Spirit” with a capital “S” to refer to the Holy Spirit. He uses the word “spirit” with a lower case “s” when referring to demonic spirits and as a metonymy (a literary device meaning the part for the whole) for the person who speaks about God and what he teaches about God.

The paragraph is clear in its structure. John issues a command in v. 1 followed by three tests to use to determine the genuineness of one’s teaching:

I. Test the Teaching! – (v. 1).

A. Do These Teachers Confess the Divine Lord? – (vv. 2–3)  

B. Do These Teachers Possess the Divine Life? – (v. 4).

C. Do These Teachers Profess the Divine Truth? – (5–6).

Category: Sermon Structure
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