1 John 1:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 John 1:6, NIV: If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

1 John 1:6, ESV: If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

1 John 1:6, KJV: If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

1 John 1:6, NASB: If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;

1 John 1:6, NLT: So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.

1 John 1:6, CSB: If we say, "We have fellowship with him," and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.

What does 1 John 1:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verse 3 was John's first mention of fellowship, both between believers and with God. He picks up on this theme again here in verse 6. If God is light and has no darkness (1 John 1:5), then a believer cannot both walk with God and walk in darkness. To make this claim is a lie, both to one's self and to others.

This verse says that those who claim Christ, but show no signs of a changed life, are lying. This is typically interpreted as a reference to "false converts," or those who do not, in fact, have saving faith. It's important to note that the Bible never commissions Christians as "salvation police," or encourages judgment of another person's salvation. Those who show no change in life may give little evidence that they are true believers, but this is ultimately only something God can know (1 Samuel 16:7).

Though a changed life is the normal, expected condition of a Christian believer, the immediate context of verse 6 is clearly focused on Christians. Accepting Christ does not automatically make a person sinless, or incapable of sin. Nor does it guarantee a close walk with God. Here, in particular, self-professed believers are called out for attempting to walk with God while living in sin. If we are truly walking with God, we will live consistently with our beliefs, offering evidence of a life changed by God.

Even saved believers have a choice whether or not to walk with God in the light, or apart from Him in the darkness. Choosing to sin does not remove our salvation, but it will destroy our fellowship with God. Sin still has consequences, even for those who possess eternal life. A major goal of the Christian life is close fellowship with other believers and with the Lord. This requires walking in the light (obedience) rather than darkness (disobedience).