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1 John 4:20

    1 John 4:20 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    If a man says, I have love for God, and has hate for his brother, his words are false: for how is the man who has no love for his brother whom he has seen, able to have love for God whom he has not seen?

    Webster's Revision

    If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen.

    World English Bible

    If a man says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who doesn't love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen.

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 John 4:20

    If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother - This, as well as many other parts of this epistle, seems levelled against the Jews, who pretended much love to God while they hated the Gentiles; and even some of them who were brought into the Christian Church brought this leaven with them. It required a miracle to redeem St. Peter's mind from the influence of this principle. See Acts 10.

    Whom he hath seen - We may have our love excited towards our brother,

    1. By a consideration of his excellences or amiable qualities.

    2. By a view of his miseries and distresses.

    The first will excite a love of complacency and delight; the second, a love of compassion and pity.

    Whom he hath not seen? - If he love not his brother, it is a proof that the love of God is not in him; and if he have not the love of God, he cannot love God, for God can be loved only through the influence of his own love. See on 1 John 4:19 (note). The man who hates his fellow does not love God. He who does not love God has not the love of God in him, and he who has not the love of God in him can neither love God nor man.

    Barnes' Notes on 1 John 4:20

    If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother - His Christian brother; or, in a larger sense, any man. The sense is, that no man, whatever may be his professions and pretensions, can have any true love to God, unless he loves his brethren.

    He is a liar - Compare the notes at 1 John 1:6. It is not necessary, in order to a proper interpretation of this passage, to suppose that he "intentionally" deceives. The sense is, that this must be a false profession.

    For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen ... - It is more reasonable to expect that we should love one whom we have seen and known personally, than that we should love one whom we have not seen. The apostle is arguing from human nature as it is, and everyone feels that we are more likely to love one with whom we are familiar than one who is a stranger. If a professed Christian, therefore, does not love one who bears the divine image, whom he sees and knows, how can he love that God whose image he bears, whom he has not seen? Compare the notes at 1 John 3:17.

    Wesley's Notes on 1 John 4:20

    4:20 Whom he hath seen - Who is daily presented to his senses, to raise his esteem, and move his kindness or compassion toward him.