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Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews write,
1 John 4:20 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother. His Christian brother, or, in a larger sense, any man. The sense is that no man, whatever may be his professions and pretensions, can have any true love for God unless he loves his brother.
He is a liar. Comp. 1 John 1:6. It is not necessary, to have a proper interpretation of this passage, to suppose that he intentionally deceives. The sense is that this must be a false profession.
For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. It is more reasonable to expect that we should love one we have seen and known personally than we should love one we have not seen. The apostle is arguing from human nature as it is, and everyone feels that we are more likely to love one with whom we are familiar than one who is a stranger. If a professed Christian, therefore, does not love one who bears the Divine image, whom he sees and knows, how can he love that God whose image he bears, whom he has not seen? Comp. 1 John 3:17.
Daniel L. Akin,
4:20 The inward character of an individual is revealed when he lies about his love for God. He declares that he loves God but fails to demonstrate that love in his treatment of fellow Christians. One may possibly claim to love God and deceive others since God cannot be seen and others are not able to prove the truth of the declaration. The visible manifestation of an individual’s love for God, however, will eventually show up in his dealings with his brothers and sisters in Christ, who indeed are very visible.
The phrase “whom he can see” (hon hēoraken), which is expressed in the perfect tense, pictures a permanent condition that continues from the past. The unloved brother has been and continues to be in sight, while God has been and remains out of sight. This is no sporadic occasion but a constant and sustained situation. It is not just unlikely, but it also is impossible for a man to love God if he fails to love his brother. Love for God and hatred for a brother cannot coexist in the same heart. They are mutually exclusive and completely incompatible. The concern here is not with the individual’s attempt to love, that is, he tried and failed, but his complete unwillingness and inability since he does not have the love of God in him in order to accomplish the task in the first place. The words “God” and “brother” are juxtaposed to emphasize the fact that one must have the same love for both.
Jesus had already made it clear that to love God and to love one’s neighbor are mutually inclusive (Mark 12:29–31). John very clearly acknowledged this existence of the potential for people to claim verbally to know God and to be indwelt by him and yet treat others who have made this same commitment with disdain. John has not hidden his own contempt for this kind of hypocrisy and in fact has already stated that to behave this way puts the perpetrator in kinship with Cain (1 John 3:18).
 Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: James to Jude, ed. Robert Frew (London: Blackie & Son, 1884–1885), 335.
 Daniel L. Akin, 1, 2, 3 John, vol. 38, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 187.