Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 18: Jesus’s Two Commands

Today’s passage: 1 John 3:21–24

Focus verse: And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1 John 3:23)

John teaches us that if we have a clear conscience before God, we can be confident that we’ll receive from him whatever we ask (1 John 3:21–22).

We’ll cover this more in Day 27, but for now, we’ll look at John’s reason why God will answer our prayers. It’s because we keep his commands.

But this doesn’t refer to the Old Testament law and the many directives we find there. Instead, it refers to a pair of commands. That’s right.

Just two commands rise above all others. These are what God expects us to follow. We’ve touched on them in our prior readings. 

What are they? 

The first is to believe in Jesus. The second is to love one another. When we keep these two commands, we live in him, and he lives in us. 

In considering this first command—to believe in God’s son, Jesus Christ—let’s not make the mistake of thinking that Jesus is his first name and Christ is his second.

Though Jesus Christ may roll off our tongues as if it’s his full name, this is not the case. Christ is a descriptor of Jesus, not his name—even though we’ve made it into one. 

Christ means Messiah (John 1:41), as in Jesus the Messiah (Mark 1:1) or Jesus the Christ (1 John 2:22).

Therefore, when we read the instruction to believe in Jesus Christ, it means to believe in Jesus the Messiah, the Savior—essentially to believe in Jesus as our Messiah, our Savior.

The second command of John—to love one another—stands as a recurring theme of his. He’s already covered it and will continue to do so.

We see it throughout the book of 1 John. We’ve also covered this in Day 16 and touched on it in many other days.

God’s two commands—to believe in Jesus as the Christ and to love one another—are consistent with Jesus’s teaching about the two greatest commandments in Scripture (Matthew 22:36–40).

In a broad sense, believing in Jesus is the key way we love God, which Jesus says is the greatest Old Testament commandment.

The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. That is, we should love one another.


  1. How clear is your conscience before God?
  2. Have we taken the essential step to believe in Jesus as our Savior? 
  3. Is believing enough? Why?
  4. What can we do to more rightly consider the word Christ as a descriptor and not a name?
  5. How well do we do at obeying God’s second command to love one another?

Discover more about loving one another in 2 Thessalonians 1:3. Contrast this with Titus 3:3.

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.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.

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.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.