“Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4


I JOHN:1-21 invites us to recognize God’s goodness, greatness and purposes. In discovering what these passages have  accomplished for my own understanding and application of the Bible, I am hopeful that sharing these words from the scriptures will be enlightening for you, too. As you read sections in the Bible, I encourage you to put what you find into your own statements.

The Bible tells us that not everything that we hear is of God. He requires that we ‘test the spirits’ to see if they are indeed from Him. 

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world.” ~1John 4:2 


God will not contradict himself, therefore the Holy Scriptures have been God’s vehicle for us to decipher his truth for many centuries.

The Bible declares there are many false prophets in the world, but how can we know which are untrue? His Word says,

“By this you will know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” 1 John 4:2-4

The denial of Christ is the spirit of the Antichrist. Those who are of the world speak from their erroneous perspective.

“This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and is already in the world. You, little children, are from God and have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.…” 1 John 4:2-4

Though the world may not hear, we who are of the light and goodness of God – those who know God – listen to Him.


“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

Jesus referenced Isaiah 42:20 when he said:

“This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”  ~Matthew 13:13


This is how we recognize both the spirit of God and the spirit of error:

“They are of the world. That is why they speak from the world’s perspective, and the world listens to them.  We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error; whoever is not from God will not hear us. That is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception. ~1 John 4:6


Love comes from God—and he who loves is born of God.

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” ~1 John 4:7

He who does not love does not know God. God’s love was demonstrated in that he sent his only Son in to the world that we might love one another and learn to live by our relationship with Jesus.

We are to love God—but he loved us first. He sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Seeing that God loves us to this degree—we ought to love one another. When we love one another—we know that God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. How can we not forgive others, knowing we are forgiven?


We know that we abide in God because he has put his Spirit in us. The Father has sent the Son as the Saviour of the world. “Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”~1 John 4:15

We know the love God has for us. We see that God is not distant. He is close to us. Our lives are enriched by his presence and teaching.  He is love!

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,” 1 John 4:18 

We see in this passage of I John 4:20-21, a challenge to do what the Lord says, and to love one another.

“If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” ~1 John 4:20

In your own words, put what you have read into your own heart, to live in your own life.

Dr. Foster H. Shannon
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More about Foster…
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
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