1 John 3:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 John 3:18, NIV: "Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."

1 John 3:18, ESV: "Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."

1 John 3:18, KJV: "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."

1 John 3:18, NASB: "Little children, let’s not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth."

1 John 3:18, NLT: "Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions."

1 John 3:18, CSB: "Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth."

What does 1 John 3:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Following his application in verse 17, John summarizes the need for Christians to act on love, not just think about it. It is important to communicate love through our words, but we must also do so through our actions. Jesus gave a similar warning to the Pharisees in Matthew 15:4–9. Just as truly saving faith will produce good works (James 2:17–19), truly loving another person will produce loving actions. This verse once again uses the Greek root word agape, meaning a selfless, sacrificial love.

Jesus not only spoke about love, He provided powerful actions to match His teachings. John 13 offers a clear example in which Jesus washed the feet of His disciples to teach them to serve one another in humility. His death on the cross offered the most powerful evidence of love "in deed and in truth." He endured suffering, ridicule, and death from those who should have recognized Him as the Messiah. Yet His actions also included His resurrection, offering love in action that changed the course of history.