What does 1 John 3:7 mean?
ESV: Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
NIV: Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
NASB: Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
CSB: Little children, let no one deceive you. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
NLT: Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.
KJV: Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
NKJV: Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
Verse Commentary:
John again refers to his readers as "little children," a term he uses seven times in this letter in reference to believers. Jesus also referred to His followers as little children (John 13:33). They are warned not to be deceived. False teachers were spreading dangerous and phony spiritual claims. This is why John speaks in such strong terms throughout this letter.

A believer who is truly walking with Christ will practice what is right, just like Jesus did. Ultimately, we cannot know for certain the spiritual condition of others (1 Samuel 16:7). We can judge behaviors. However, as far as this principle is concerned, there is no need to judge another's salvation. In fact, we should be careful about making such judgments in the first place. Regardless of what their spiritual state is, if a person lives contrary to the teachings of Jesus, they are not "in fellowship" with God and are not to be listened to or followed. False teachers have existed throughout the church's history, even as early as when John wrote his letters.
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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