Beloved (agaphtoi). Three times in this chapter ( John 1711 ) we have this tender address on love. Believe not every spirit (mh panti pneumati pisteuete). "Stop believing," as some were clearly carried away by the spirits of error rampant among them, both Docetic and Cerinthian Gnostics. Credulity means gullibility and some believers fall easy victims to the latest fads in spiritualistic humbuggery. Prove the spirits (dokimazete ta pneumata). Put them to the acid test of truth as the metallurgist does his metals. If it stands the test like a coin, it is acceptable (dokimo, 2 Corinthians 10:18 ), otherwise it is rejected (adokimo, 1 Corinthians 9:27 ; 2 Corinthians 13:5-7 ). Many false prophets (polloi pseudoprophtai). Jesus had warned people against them ( Matthew 7:15 ), even when they as false Christs work portents ( Matthew 24:11Matthew 24:24 ; Mark 13:22 ). It is an old story ( Luke 6:26 ) and recurs again and again ( Acts 13:6 ; Revelation 16:13 ; Revelation 19:20 ; Revelation 20:10 ) along with false teachers ( 2 Peter 2:1 ). Are gone out (exelhluqasin). Perfect active indicative of exercomai. Cf. aorist in 1 John 2:19 . They are abroad always.