I John 4:1-6 The Spirit Of Truth And The Spirit Of Error.
The beloved, or those enveloped in agape love, are to “test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (v. 1 Cf. Mt. 24:5). This is a specific injunction for those who still had those who exercised revelatory gifts, as the canon of scripture was being completed. However, there is a principle directly related to this that all coming after the completion of the canon need to also exercise, and that is to test anyone claiming to teach and preach biblical truth, that they test that by the Bible itself (vv. 1-2a). In particular, “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God” (v. 2b-3a Cf. I Cor. 12:3).
Again, “this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (v. 3b Cf. 2:18, 22; II Jn. 7). John also reminded them again, that they and we also have the Spirit to teach and guide us in this exercise (v. 4 Cf. 2:20). False prophets and teachers are spokespeople for the ungodly seed-the world set against the people of God (v. 5 Cf. 2:15-17; Jn. 3:31; 15:19; 16:11; 17:14). John, and the other N.T. writers were received on proven grounds, namely that they wrote as the Spirit led them, and what they wrote was consistent with the scriptures already established. So those who “are of God,” heard them and thus received what they wrote and said. This also holds true for those who claim to teach in accord with this word (v. 6).