1 John 4:20

20 1If anyone says, "I love God," and 2hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God 3whom he has not seen.

1 John 4:20 Meaning and Commentary

1 John 4:20

If a man say I love God, and hateth his brother
Than which profession nothing can be more contradictory, not black and white, or hot and cold in the same degree:

he is a liar;
it is not truth he speaks, it is a contradiction, and a thing impossible:

for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen;
his person, which might have drawn out his affection to him; and something valuable and worthy in him, which might have commanded respect; or his wants and distresses, which should have moved his pity and compassion:

how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
it cannot be thought he should; the thing is not reasonable to suppose; it is not possible he should; (See Gill on 1 John 4:12).

1 John 4:20 In-Context

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
19 We love because he first loved us.
20 If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Cross References 3

  • 1. 1 John 2:4; 1 John 3:17
  • 2. 1 John 2:9, 11
  • 3. ver. 12; [1 Peter 1:8]

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Some manuscripts how can he
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.