What does John 13:35 mean?
ESV: By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
NIV: By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
NASB: By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.'
CSB: By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
NLT: Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.'
KJV: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
NKJV: By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Verse Commentary:
John reiterates this idea in his first letter (1 John 3:14; 4:20). Jesus sets love as the primary outward sign of a person's Christian faith. He is especially referring to love between those who claim to be His followers. Earlier in the evening, Jesus humbly washed the feet of His disciples (John 13:2–5). He explained that this was an example of service for them to follow (John 13:12–17). In the prior verse, Jesus indicated that this command to love falls under that same umbrella: we are to love as Jesus loved (1 John 3:16; Ephesians 5:25). This was phrased as a renewed, re-emphasized command stemming from those He had given before (Matthew 22:36–40).

No aspect of Christian faith can be dismissed, though some are more pressing than others . These include sound doctrine (Titus 2:1; 1 Timothy 6:3–5) and moral behavior (1 John 1:7; Colossians 3:1–10). But the gold standard for living out Christian belief, and the means by which believers are to distinguish themselves from non-believers, is expressed in this verse. As Paul expresses in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, nothing is commendable unless it is done out of love (1 Corinthians 13:1–3). Love must be pursued truthfully and with good judgment (Ephesians 4:15; John 7:24; 1 John 3:18), but it cannot be set aside under any circumstances.
Verse Context:
John 13:31–35 contains one of the most powerful commands given to Christians: that love for others is the defining sign of faith for ''all people,'' marking the life of a true believer. Jesus frames this as a new commandment, using His own example as the standard. In giving this charge, Jesus once again predicts His impending death and departure from earth.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus meets with a smaller group, possibly only the twelve disciples, in a private setting. Before eating a meal, Jesus performs the work of a lowly servant, washing the feet of the disciples. He explains that this is an object lesson. Their Lord is willing to serve in humility, so they are obligated to do the same. Jesus also predicts His impending betrayal, subtly telling Judas to leave and complete His conspiracy. The disciples don't realize what's happened, however. Peter foolishly brags about his loyalty. Jesus responds with a cutting prediction: Peter will deny his relationship to Christ three times in the next few hours.
Chapter Context:
The first twelve chapters of the gospel of John describe the public ministry of Jesus. Starting in chapter 13, most of what John describes are the last private moments Jesus enjoys prior to His crucifixion. This begins with Jesus washing the disciples' feet, establishing both an example and a command for humble service. Jesus also predicts His impending betrayal and Peter's cowardly denials. Following chapters contain Jesus' last instructions to the disciples, including a rich collection of truths which are central to the Christian faith.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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