1 John 4:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 John 4:12, NIV: No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:12, ESV: No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

1 John 4:12, KJV: No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1 John 4:12, NASB: No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us.

1 John 4:12, NLT: No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

1 John 4:12, CSB: No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us.

What does 1 John 4:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

John reminds his readers of an important biblical truth. No person has ever seen God in His full divine essence. Even Moses saw only the back of God (Exodus 33:18–23). However God's love allows humanity to "see" Him through the actions of His people. This echoes statements made in 1 John 2:5, and coming up in verse 17. When we have a thorough, complete experience of walking in God's love, we demonstrate Him to ourselves and to others. God abides in those who seek to love Him. We do not need to physically see Him; He is already in us.

Also, God's love is made perfect or complete in us. This does not mean we become sinless. Instead, the focus is on maturity or the quality of love in us. We can find no greater love than God's love. The believer experiences God's love inside of them, offering us everything we need to live for Him and to love others. We do not need to seek another experience, person, or teaching, as false teachers would suggest. The love of God is sufficient.