Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 John 3:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

But whoso hath this worlds good - Here is a test of this love; if we do not divide our bread with the hungry, we certainly would not lay down our life for him. Whatever love we may pretend to mankind, if we are not charitable and benevolent, we give the lie to our profession. If we have not bowels of compassion, we have not the love of God in us; if we shut up our bowels against the poor, we shut Christ out of our hearts, and ourselves out of heaven.

This world's good. - Του βιον του κοσμου· The life of this world, i.e. the means of life; for so βιος is often used. See Mark 12:44; Luke 8:43; Luke 15:12, Luke 15:30; Luke 21:4, and other places.

How dwelleth the love of God in him? - That is, it cannot possibly dwell in such a person. Hardheartedness and God's love never meet together, much less can they be associated.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But whoso hath this world‘s good - Has property - called “this world‘s good,” or a good pertaining to this world, because it is of value to us only as it meets our wants this side of the grave; and perhaps also because it is sought supremely by the people of the world. The general meaning of this verse, in connection with the previous verse, is, that if we ought to be willing to lay down our lives for others, we ought to be willing to make those comparatively smaller sacrifices which are necessary to relieve them in their distresses; and that if we are unwilling to do this, we can have no evidence that the love of God dwells in us.

And seeth his brother have need - Need of food, of raiment, of shelter; or sick, and poor, and unable to provide for his own wants and those of his family.

And shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him - The bowels, or “upper viscera,” embracing the heart, and the region of the chest generally, are in the Scriptures represented as the seat of mercy, piety, and compassion, because when the mind feels compassion it is that part which is affected. Compare the notes at Isaiah 16:11.

How dwelleth the love of God in him? - How can a man love God who does not love those who bear his image? See the notes at 1 John 4:20. On the general sentiment here, see the notes at James 2:14-16. The meaning is plain, that we cannot have evidence of piety unless we are ready to do good to others, especially to our Christian brethren. See the Matthew 25:45 note; Galatians 6:10 note.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Here is the condescension, the miracle, the mystery of Divine love, that God would redeem the church with his own blood. Surely we should love those whom God has loved, and so loved. The Holy Spirit, grieved at selfishness, will leave the selfish heart without comfort, and full of darkness and terror. By what can it be known that a man has a true sense of the love of Christ for perishing sinners, or that the love of God has been planted in his heart by the Holy Spirit, if the love of the world and its good overcomes the feelings of compassion to a perishing brother? Every instance of this selfishness must weaken the evidences of a man's conversion; when habitual and allowed, it must decide against him. If conscience condemn us in known sin, or the neglect of known duty, God does so too. Let conscience therefore be well-informed, be heard, and diligently attended to.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 94

This is the testimony that must go throughout the length and breadth of the world. It presents the law and the gospel, binding up the two in a perfect whole. (See Romans 5 and 1 John 3:9 to the close of the chapter.) These precious scriptures will be impressed upon every heart that is opened to receive them. “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple”—those who are contrite in heart. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” These have not a mere nominal faith, a theory of truth, a legal religion, but they believe to a purpose, appropriating to themselves the richest gifts of God. They plead for the gift, that they may give to others. They can say, “Of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” TM 94.1

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” TM 94.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 164


The following view was given at Ulysses, Pennsylvania, July 6, 1857. It relates to things as they have existed in —— and other places in New York. 1T 164.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 176

A strictly honest, honorable course has not been taken by some. Such must take a very different course and work fast to redeem the time. Many Sabbathkeepers are at fault here. Advantage is taken even of their poor brethren, and those who have an abundance exact more than the real worth of things, more than they would pay for the same things, while these same brethren are embarrassed and distressed for want of means. God knows all these things. Every selfish act, every covetous extortion, will bring its reward. 1T 176.1

I saw that it is cruel and unjust to have no consideration for a brother's situation. If he is distressed, or poor, yet doing the best he can, allowance should be made for him, and even the full value of things he may purchase of the wealthy should not be exacted; but they should have bowels of compassion for him. God will approve of such kindly acts, and the doer will not lose his reward. But a fearful account stands against many Sabbathkeepers for close, covetous acts. 1T 176.2

I was pointed back to a time when there were but few who listened to and embraced the truth. They had not much of this world's goods. The wants of the cause were divided among a very few. Then it was necessary for some to sell their houses and lands, and obtain cheaper to serve them as a shelter, or home, while their means were freely and generously lent to the Lord, to publish the truth, and to otherwise aid in advancing the cause of God. As I beheld these self-sacrificing ones, I saw that they had endured privation for the benefit of the cause. I saw an angel standing by them, pointing them upward, and saying: “Ye have bags in heaven! Ye have bags in heaven that wax not old! Endure unto the end, and great will be your reward.” 1T 176.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 161

Selfishness marks the course of many. “But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” 2T 161.1

Divest yourselves of selfishness and make thorough work for eternity. Redeem the past and do not represent the holy truth you profess where you now live as you have where you have lived hitherto. Let your light so shine that others by seeing your good works may be led to glorify our Father in heaven. Stand upon the elevated platform of eternal truth. Regulate all your business transactions in this life in strict accordance with the word of God. 2T 161.2

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