Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 22: Acknowledge Jesus

Today’s passage: 1 John 4:13–15

Focus verse: If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. (1 John 4:15)

In yesterday’s reading John said that anyone who loves has been born of God and knows him (1 John 4:7).

Later we’ll read that anyone who believes in Jesus as the Messiah is born of God (1 John 5:1). And today we read that anyone who acknowledges Jesus as God’s Son has God living in them (1 John 4:15).

Are these three ways to approach God in conflict? Or are they alternative options to achieve the same outcome? Neither.

Instead let’s view them as complementary, working in cooperation to bring about our right standing with God and our future with him in heaven.

It starts with believing in Jesus as the Messiah, as our Savior. We then acknowledge him as the Son of God and give testimony to others about him.

The outcome of our belief and our testimony is loving others. Loving others isn’t a requirement to earn our salvation. It’s the result of our salvation—a natural byproduct of our faith.

The word acknowledge appears four times in the book of first John. This is more than any other New Testament book. (As you might expect, acknowledge also shows up in the gospel of John, 2 John, and Revelation, three of John’s other writings.)

First, we read that whoever acknowledges Jesus as the Son of God also has the Father (1 John 2:23). It’s as if they’re a package. Acknowledging one acknowledges the other. Through our acknowledgment we have the Son and the Father.

Next, in 1 John 4:2–3 the word acknowledge comes up twice. (See our discussion about the false prophets in Day 19.)

Every spirit who acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah who walked among us in human form is from God. Whereas every spirit who does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.

Acknowledging Jesus is key. 

This means our faith can’t be silent. We need to tell others about the confidence we have in Jesus and what he’s done for us. 

At a basic level acknowledging him means to give our assent. If someone asks if we’re a Christian—a believer or a follower of Jesus—we acknowledge our standing with him by saying yes. And we do so with confidence.

On a more consequential level, acknowledging means taking the initiative to tell others about Jesus. We testify about him. We are his witnesses to the world. If we don’t tell them, who will?

This is what it means to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God.


  1. When have we been silent about Jesus when we should have spoken? 
  2. How can our actions, apart from our words, acknowledge Jesus?
  3. How can we do a better job at acknowledging Jesus before a world who needs him?
  4. What can we do to better tell others about Jesus?
  5. What does our witness look like?

Discover what John says about acknowledgment in John 9:22, John 12:42, 2 John 1:7, and Revelation 3:5 and 9.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

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Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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