1 John 3:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 John 3:16, NIV: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."

1 John 3:16, ESV: "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers."

1 John 3:16, KJV: "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

1 John 3:16, NASB: "We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters."

1 John 3:16, NLT: "We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters."

1 John 3:16, CSB: "This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."

What does 1 John 3:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In contrast to the person who hates or murders (1 John 3:15), the ultimate sign of love is to lay down one's life for others. Jesus gave the supreme example of this kind of love by giving His own life on behalf of the sins of the world (John 3:16; Hebrews 12:2). Jesus is the ultimate example of how we ought to live our lives (John 13:15–17).

But what does it look like to lay down our life for the brothers? John certainly had in mind more than physical death, though this could certainly apply. Verses 17 and 18 add additional details about how to help others in need, and to show that God's love abides in us (1 John 3:17). This includes helping those in need through actions and truth (1 John 3:18). God desires believers to both know the word and live it out (James 1:22), not merely to "feel" love and not act to benefit other people (Matthew 15:4–9).