Verses 1 John 4:1-6 are parenthetical and are a warning to the believers to discern the spirits (since the Spirit, whereby we know that the Lord abides in us, is mentioned in the preceding verse, 1 John 3:24) that they may know the false prophets. A similar warning was given in 1 John 2:18-23. The expressions every spirit and the spirits refer to the spirits of the prophets (1 Cor. 14:32), which are motivated by the Spirit of truth, and the spirits of the false prophets, which are actuated by the spirit of deception. Hence, there is the need to discern the spirits by proving them to determine whether they are of God.