Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 21: The Love of God

Today’s passage: 1 John 4:7–12

Focus verse: This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9)

So far in John’s letter he’s already talked a lot about love, building up to this passage in chapter four, where the topic of love becomes the focus. In the rest of chapter 4, John mentions love twenty-seven times. That’s a lot of love.

Building on his encouragement to love one another from the prior chapter, John again reminds us—his dear friends—to love one another.

This is because love comes from God, and he empowers us to love others. When we are born of God and know him, we’re able to love others well. But those who don’t know God aren’t able to love. 

Loving others is the fruit of our relationship with our Heavenly Father; it’s proof of our right standing with him, through Jesus.

Though we love God, he loved us first (1 John 4:19). He proved this by sending his precious Son to earth so that we might live eternally through him. Father God sent Jesus into our world as the sacrifice to atone for our sins (1 John 4:10).

We often think of Jesus’s great love for us. He showed this ultimate expression of love through his willingness to die in our place for all the wrong things we’ve done in our life—and all the wrong that we will do. 

Jesus endured a most painful death, tortured at the hands of his Roman executioners. Dying in our place is the epitome of love, and we celebrate him for making this supreme sacrifice. In turn, we love him back to the best of our ability.

Yet John isn’t talking about Jesus’s love for us by dying in our place. Instead, the apostle is talking about Father God’s great love for us. God showed his immense love for us by sending Jesus to save us.

For those of us who are parents, we don’t want to see our children suffer. We’d gladly stand in their place if we could shelter them from the pain of their struggles.

Our Heavenly Father is no different from us in this regard. How hard it must have been for Father God to send his precious Son into our world, knowing what he would have to endure.

That’s real love. And God’s immense love for us is why we should love one another.

When we do, “God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:12).


  1. How well do we do at accepting God’s love for us? 
  2. How well do we do at loving others?
  3. Who do we love well enough to die for?
  4. Should our list be longer? Why?
  5. How can we thank God for loving us?

Discover more about God’s love for us in Romans 5:7–10.

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.

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