John writes about knowing God’s love. 1 John 4: 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love…13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit… 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
Knowing God’s Love is Experiential
John uses the word “know” four times in 1 John 4:7-21. Each time, it is the Greek word ginosko, which means to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, or feel. This word describes experiential knowing, not simply head knowledge.
John had experienced physically walking with Jesus. John wrote this letter almost sixty years after Jesus had returned to heaven. Yet, he urges his readers (that includes us) to know God’s love through experience. Walking with Jesus is a daily experience and is exciting as we get to know Him better and better each day. This knowledge is continually growing as we experience God in our lives. Knowing Jesus is not dry facts but a relationship. We get to participate in the drama of God’s love.
When John explains that those who don’t love don’t know God, the Greek conveys that such a person not only doesn’t know God but has never known him. We can’t just speak words that say we love God; we need to act on those words. This is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit and abiding in Jesus.
Knowing Leads to Abiding
God desires to have a relationship with us. He loved us so much that He sent His Son to pay the price for our sin. When we accept God’s gift and trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. This is how we know the relationship exists. In his Gospel, John gives an example of what it means to abide with God.
John 15: 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
As we abide with Jesus, we experience God’s love, which flows through us to others. We can reveal God’s love to a needy world. This love is the fruit we bear and proof that the Spirit abides in our hearts. How can abiding with Jesus increase your experiential knowledge of Him? How can you show God’s love to others in your world?
To learn more about knowing God’s love, listen here:
[1,4]The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
 Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 361). Tyndale House Publishers.