1 John 4:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 John 4:18, NIV: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

1 John 4:18, ESV: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."

1 John 4:18, KJV: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

1 John 4:18, NASB: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love."

1 John 4:18, NLT: "Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love."

1 John 4:18, CSB: "There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love."

What does 1 John 4:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

When we experience God's love in our lives and share it with others, we do not need to fear. The future punishment that awaits those who do not believe does not concern the "abiding" believer. The two-way relationship of God's love in our lives gives us confidence and security. The ability to live out His love is a sign of our faith in Him, and the way for us to follow His will in order to gain eternal rewards.

Fear is associated with punishment. The believer has been fully forgiven of sins. The one who knows Christ in true fellowship lives for Him and does not need to fear future punishment. The person who experiences fear "has not been perfected in love." In other words, those who fear punishment don't have a complete or mature relationship with God. This certainly applies to unbelievers, but can also include believers who are not growing in Christ. It is the growing, maturing believer who can look forward to the future with joy rather than fear.