Welcome back! It’s Tuesday and time for us to continue our journey quietly through 1st John. If you missed week one or week two, I highly encourage you to read those posts first. If you are ready for week three, let’s go.
The Test of Knowing Him
3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:3-11)
IDEAS TO CONSIDER
- Does your Bible give a title for this passage? What is it? Look at the title in a few other translations.
- How do we know we know Christ (v3)? What is your initial reaction to verses 4 and 5?
- Once we start abiding in Christ, what is the next step (v6)?
(This is just a little bit of what I took away from the passage. Remember, I’m human and severely flawed. Don’t just take my words as God’s truth. Be sure to be led by the Spirit, not me.)
If you are reading the New King James then you may be alarmed by the title — “The Test of Knowing Him”. Hello! You have my attention. I suppose that if we read this passage carefully and honestly examine your own hearts, we will know whether or not we pass the test, whether or not we really know Christ.
“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (v3, emphasis mine). If you are like me, your heart is thumping right now because you’re thinking of all the times you haven’t been able to obey His commandments. In fact today alone, you may have failed once or twice or twenty times (me, too!). You may be asking yourself do I really know Jesus? But before we throw your hands in the air and give up this seemingly impossible task called Christianity, let’s look at the word keep a bit closer.
The original Greek word for keep is tēreō and it means to attend to carefully — to care of, to guard, or to observe. In other words, we are to keep Christ’s commandments in our sight, we are to pay attention to them carefully, think on them, and keep them in our hearts.
Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes. ~Psalm 119:11-12
Verse 6 says, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” We walk as Christ in order to know Him, to be His, to be in Him. But at this point you may be wondering, how does one walk as Christ walked?
Jesus walked intimately with God (John 5:19). He walked in fellowship with His followers. We see this throughout all of the Gospels, but in John 15:15 we see that this fellowship is something great. It is more than just hanging out once a week, as we often do with fellow church-goers. It is friendship. Jesus also walked with compassion for others (Matthew 14;14) and He walked in obedience to the Father. He was so obedient, in fact, that He laid down His will for the Father’s (Luke 22:42).
Now, as far as the stuff about not hating your brother goes…That’s a seems little tricky because we all know a person from church, brother or sister, who just gets on our nerves. Maybe it’s more than nerve rattling, may you can’t stand the person. Here’s the key to loving him or her — abide in Christ. The abiding comes before the doing/behaving/obeying/walking/loving. Psalm 119:112 says, “Teach me Your statues.” We have to be dependent on the the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us before we can actually walk and love as Christ does.
You and I are not Jesus, so we will not walk perfectly as He did. We are sinners and will mess up time and again, but we can still keep His word for the sake of knowing Him — for the sake of being intimate with our creator. By doing so we too can have true fellowship with other Christians, we can have true compassion for the hurting and the lost. We too can walk in obedience to the Father’s will. But it first starts with His word and is fueled by the Holy Spirit.
…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ~Romans 10:17
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” ~Acts 1:8a
So did you pass the test? If you are taking the time to go through this Bible study for the purpose of know Him then I’m sure you did. No, your walk may not be perfect, but you know Him, you know His voice (John 10:14), you are His and always will be. Rejoice and be glad!
- How can you keep our Lord’s commandments in your heart (v6)? Why is it important to do so (vv4-5)?
- How can we walk as Jesus walked? What does this have to do with abiding (v6)?
- How do the commands in verses 7-8 relate to 9-11? What comes before stepping into the light or loving your brother/sister? (HINT: Think about the lessons we learned last week.)
Lord in heaven, we desperately want to know you more and more and more. Hide your word deep in our hearts. Teach us by your Holy Spirit to keep your commandments. Remind us to abide in You daily, even moment by moment. Show us how to walk as Your Son walked and love as you love. For your glory we pray. Amen.
FURTHER STUDY IDEAS
Here are a few study ideas to do between now and next Tuesday. I suggest doing one a day in order to keep you thinking about the passage all week long.
- Start or continue a double entry journal.
- Hand write the passage.
- Study the original Greek word for abide. Don’t know how to do that? Watch this video.
- After studying the word abide, list three simple ways you could abide more.
- Did this passage make you think of other passages in the Bible? Share those passages with the rest of us in the comments.
- Read John 5:19, 15:15, Matthew 14:14, and Luke 22:42. What do these verses teach us about Jesus’ walk?
- Old commandment, new commandment? Not sure what John is referring to in verses 7-8? Read Deuteronomy 6:5-9, Leviticus 19:18 and John 13:34-36
- Write a summary of what you’ve learned from this passage. If you are a blogger, post your summary and share a like to it the comments below.
- Read 1 John 1-5. Yep, the whole thing!