Today’s passage: 1 John 2:7–11
Focus verse: Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. (1 John 2:10)
John launches into a discussion about an old command and not a new one. Then he pivots just as quickly to talk about a new command. Which is it?
This is confusing until we realize who the author is. John delights in tapping our imaginations with his playful, poetic prose.
As such, the old command and the new command are one in the same. But John doesn’t tell us what this old/new command is. At least not in this passage. Elsewhere in his letter, it’s clear that this command is love.
He says this most clearly in 1 John 3:11 when he says the old command, which we’ve heard from the beginning, is to love one another. Later, in 1 John 3:23, he writes that we are to believe in Jesus and love one another, just as he commanded us to live.
To discover more about the old part of this command to love, all we need to do is look at the Old Testament. In a broad sense, all the commands we read there either relate to loving God or loving others, our brothers and sisters.
Many of the Old Testament commands prescribe the right way to worship God—that is to love him properly—through their rituals and celebrations.
The rest of the Old Testament commands instruct the people how to rightly interact with others—that is, to love them properly through their daily interactions.
We even find these two aspects of love when we look at the Ten Commandments. The first four commands relate to our relationship with God, which is loving him. The last six relate to our relationship with others, which is loving them.
With this as our background, Jesus arrives on earth. He personifies love to his creation. His life and teaching all relate to love, modeling it for us to follow.
When asked what Old Testament command is the most important, Jesus says to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then he tacks on a second one, to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.
Anyone who claims to follow Jesus—that is, follows the light or walks in the light of Jesus—but doesn’t love his brothers and sisters is still in darkness. Yet when we love our brothers and sisters as he commanded us, we prove that we walk in his light.
And when we live in the light, we will not stumble.
- Are our lives marked by the love of Jesus?
- In the same way that Jesus loved us, who do we need to do a better job at loving?
- How can we connect loving God with loving others?
- How can we connect worshiping God with loving him?
- What can we do to walk in light?
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.
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.