Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 13: Children of God

Today’s passage: 1 John 3:1–3

Focus verse: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)

The Bible says that Jesus is God’s one and only Son (John 3:16–18 and 1 John 4:9).

However, God also calls us his children. How can we be God’s children if he has only one Son?

The Bible is full of paradoxes, but this isn’t one of them.

Scripture gives us two explanations for this seeming contradiction.

The first is adoption. 

In another letter, Paul writes that, through the Holy Spirit living in us, we’re adopted as children into God’s family. We can call him Father, Abba, or even Papa (Romans 8:15).

Parents of biological children accept whatever God blesses them with.

Parents of adopted children make a conscious decision to accept them and bring them into their family. They are children by the choice of their adoptive parents. They are chosen.

In the same way, God chooses us to be his children. He adopts us into his family.

Another truth builds on this, giving us a second way to understand how God can have only one Son yet many children.

The other metaphor to aid us in our understanding of our relationship with God is that of a bride and groom, with Jesus being the groom and we, the church, being his bride.

By virtue of this holy, spiritual union, Jesus, the only Son of God, brings the church into his family through marriage. This makes us, his church, the children of God through our union with the Lamb of God, that is, the Son of God.

As such, we are indeed God’s children. Scripture confirms it. 

This first occurs when God adopts us into his family through the Holy Spirit. The second will occur when we, as God’s church, marry his Son. Our marriage to the Son makes us children of the Father.

We are first adopted into God’s family and will later marry into it, doubly confirming us as children of God.


  1. How can we find comfort knowing that Father God chose us and adopted us to be his sons and daughters? 
  2. What are the similarities between your earthly father and your Heavenly Father?
  3. What are the differences between your earthly father and your Heavenly Father?
  4. How has your earthly father helped you to better understand God?
  5. What are the implications that we will one day spiritually marry God’s Son?

Discover more about our adoption in Romans 8:23, Romans 9:3–4, Galatians 4:4–5, and Ephesians 1:4–6. Read about us being Jesus’s bride in Revelation 19:6–8.

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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