1 John 3:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 John 3:17, NIV: "If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?"

1 John 3:17, ESV: "But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?"

1 John 3:17, KJV: "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"

1 John 3:17, NASB: "But whoever has worldly goods and sees his brother or sister in need, and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God remain in him?"

1 John 3:17, NLT: "If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion--how can God's love be in that person?"

1 John 3:17, CSB: "If anyone has this world's goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him--how does God's love reside in him?"

What does 1 John 3:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

John next offers a direct application to show God's love abides in the believer, in the form of a question. This involves a person who has more than enough to meet his or her own needs, but who chooses to be hard-hearted, failing to meet the other person's need. Keeping material things for ourselves, beyond our needs, while brothers or sisters suffer shows a lack of love. A believer in Christ should have concern for the needs of others, and not merely in an emotional sense.

John was a student of John the Baptist before following Jesus (John 1:35–39). The application he gives here in verse 17 is very similar to the teaching of John the Baptist, that someone with two shirts should give one to the person who has none (Luke 3:11).

Here again is the concept of "abiding." Christians are still capable of sin, so it's possible for a believer to be stingy, cold-hearted, or unloving. But this is a sign of someone not "abiding" in Christ. That attitude is never the product of fellowship with Jesus. Cold-heartedness or hatred are always signs of spiritual failure.