Sometimes when I read things in Scripture that puzzle me I’ll pencil a mark by the verse in my Bible. So when I read in 1 John 4:12 (from today’s OYB reading), “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us,” the phrase “made complete” puzzled me—just what does that mean? I noted it. Another translation said “perfected” in us.

I kept reading the passage (Scripture can help us understand Scripture), and in v. 16b-17a we read, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way love is made complete in us…” There it was again! “Love is made complete in us.”

It seems this passage is speaking about loving others as God loves us, which those of us who have trusted in Jesus (see v. 15) have begun to understand. By loving one another, as God loved us, our love for others is perfected or made complete—we do it better, more fully, completely.

We have not seen God (mentioned both in v. 12 and again in v. 20), but if we do profess to love Him, we then should also be loving our brother, whom we have seen (v. 20)! “Whoever loves God must also love his brother” (v. 21). That’s a strong challenge to us!

In reading Scripture I do want to always grow in my understanding (knowledge) of the things I don’t understand well (I think I will always be learning), but also recognize that indeed there are plenty of things in the Bible that I can and do understand clearly, and that I should be living by and applying in my life.

by Bob Busenitz

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