John 13:34 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 13:34, NIV: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:34, ESV: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

John 13:34, KJV: A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 13:34, NASB: I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:34, NLT: So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

John 13:34, CSB: "I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.

What does John 13:34 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

There is some confusion over Jesus' reference to this commandment as "new." Earlier in His ministry, Jesus made it explicitly clear that love for others was a cornerstone of obedience to God (Matthew 22:36–40). The general instruction to love, then, is not being stated as if it's the first time it's being mentioned. The "newness" Jesus refers to here is in the sense of something refreshed, re-emphasized, or highlighted. The Greek term Jesus uses here, kainēn, leans heavily toward this version of "new."

This re-issued commandment is being given in the context of Jesus' washing of the disciples' feet (John 13:2–5). Jesus explained that if the Master acts as a humble servant, so too should those who follow Him (John 13:12–17). Here, Jesus doubles down on that idea by setting His own love as the standard to which all believers should aspire. In the next verse, Jesus will further explain the importance of acting in Christian love. In no uncertain terms, love—especially between fellow believers—is meant to be the primary and most powerful sign of one's Christian faith (John 13:35; 1 John 3:14).