1 John 3:18 (NASB)

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue,
but in deed and truth.

Bible Commentary

1 John 4:18 is a Bible verse from the New Testament that gives us guidance about how to live in, and recognize, love and truth.

Before we make any assumptions on the meaning of this verse, let’s look at the two references in the Greek for “love,” which is: to love (in a social or moral sense).

There are also two references for comparison:

1)   be a friend to, have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling)

2)   embracing the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety. The former being chiefly of the heart and the latter of the head


What one recognizes as love, another might not. What 1 John 4:18 is saying is that the way to live in love--and recognize love in others--is by our deeds, not just by our words.

And not only by our deeds, but also truth, as 1 John 4:18 says. If you look up “truth” in the Greek, it says: true (as not concealing). The way we find out if our actions are in truth is to ask ourselves if we attempt to hide those actions.
We have no reason to conceal something if it is done in love and truth. We emulate Jesus Christ in this way.

1 John 1 6-8 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sinIf we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

Unlocking the Truth - Actions from Love and Truth

Now, let’s look closer at the word “deed” in the Greek: toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act: deed, doing, labor, work.

We’ve heard the term, “an honest day’s work,” which means just what it says—working without deception or dishonesty, or giving a full day’s work for the pay we receive. We didn’t get someone else to do our job; we didn’t deceive our boss into thinking we did something we didn’t do; we gave our best effort for the pay we received.

If I say I love people, but then try and deceive them or cheat them in some way, it is not love. 1 John 3:18 says love is more than a bunch of talk. It is backing up our words with our actions—actions we have not tried to conceal.


Of course, none of us is perfect. None of us is completely clear and clean without Jesus Christ. However, if we profess Christ and then make a practice of deception, we are emulating the devil, not Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:6 says, “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning.”


The word “practice” is the key. What do we do on a regular basis? Are we consistently acting in truth, or are we consistently concealing our deeds? That is how you discern the truth from a lie, and how to determine if you (or someone else) is walking in truth and love.

Because of the devil, the world is filled with lies and deception. The Bible warns us not to be deceived. What we believe can be a matter of life and death.

Seek the truth and you will surely find it (John 8:32). Your future is depending on it. Study the Bible verse of 1 John 3:18 for help discerning the truth from a lie. Only Christ will set you free.



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