1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
In this regard, recall that during the days of His flesh (which was years before John wrote this letter), Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment:
Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Note carefully how Jesus answers (beginning with a quotation of Deuteronomy 6:4-5):
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
Mark 12:30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
But note that Jesus doesn’t stop here. He keeps talking (quoting also Leviticus 19:18):
Mark 12:31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
That is, when Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, He gave the greatest two commandments. He was unwilling to talk of loving God without mentioning in the same breath that loving one another should be the primary expression of our love for God. John took note of this and that is why 1 John 4:21 says what it does.
The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verses are rendered in all capital letters.)