What does 1 John 3:10 mean?
ESV: By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
NIV: This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God's child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
NASB: By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother and sister.
CSB: This is how God's children and the devil's children become obvious. Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother or sister.
NLT: So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.
KJV: In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
NKJV: In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.
Verse Commentary:
John summarizes his teachings in verses 1 through 9 with two characteristics. First, a person who does not "practice righteousness" is not from God. In other words, a believer will seek to live according to God's ways. They may fail, sometimes miserably (Psalm 51:1–4), but they will not persist in deliberately "walking" in darkness.

This is the general position of the Bible, and John's letter supports that notion. At the same time, his specific audience is the Christian believer. It is possible for Christians to sin, and all sin involves rejecting God in favor of Satan. This does not mean salvation can be lost. It does mean that certain attitudes or actions can never be excused for the saved believer. A person who does not love other believers fails to show the primary sign of the faith: love (John 13:35). Believers are brothers and sisters in Christ and are children of God. A believer's top goals are to fully love God and to love one's neighbor as oneself (Matthew 22:37–40). Those who show no desire to love others, especially their fellow believers, cannot truly claim to be a child of God.
Verse Context:
First John 3:4–10 strongly condemns sin, and leaves no excuse for it. While this warning is often interpreted as a ''litmus test'' for salvation, John's specific audience is actually Christian believers. Salvation is no excuse for sin, because all sin is from the Devil, not God. Sin always disrupts our ''walk'' with God. And, those who only walk in sin and darkness cannot claim to be children of God.
Chapter Summary:
The third chapter of 1 John focuses mostly on the concept of love. Because of His love, God not only calls us His children, He actually makes us His children. John also explains how sin, including hate, is never the result of a proper relationship with God. Christians, in contrast to the world, are supposed to do more than simply ''feel'' love; we are to act on it, as well
Chapter Context:
Chapters 1 and 2 introduced the stark differences between those who truly have fellowship with Christ, as opposed to those who are ''in darkness.'' Chapter 3 continues this discussion, with a particular emphasis on love. This serves as a bridge, between John's descriptions of lives lived abiding either in darkness or light, to an explanation of how God's faithfulness gives us confidence as Christian believers.
Book Summary:
First John seems to assume that the reader is familiar with the gospel. Rather than re-state these facts, John is concerned with building confidence in Christian believers. At the same time, his words encourage believers to examine their own lives for signs of their relationship with Christ. This letter also challenges false teachers and their incorrect claims about Jesus. Many themes are shared with the Gospel of John.
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