Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Book of 2 John

Bible Study: The book of 2 John

Note: While there is no reliable source that tells us John the apostle is the author of this book, “The elder” in verse one is traditionally thought to be John. Second John touches on a few things the book of 1 John goes into in more detail.

1:1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

While some believe “the elect lady and her children” are a noble woman and her family, I think this verse is John addressing a church and the church’s congregation.

1:2 For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

When John refers to “the truths sake” he is referring to Jesus. John 14:6 says: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus tells us he is the “truth” which is obviously what John is referring to here. We also know this because we know that once we are saved, we have the Holy ghost in us, and we will never lose our salvation (“and shall be with us forever”).

1:3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Here the author is trying to bless the “elect lady” and her children, and is quick to remind us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

1:4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

The author is pleased to hear that the elect lady and her children (church and congregation) are keeping God’s commandments and walking in the truth. Because Jesus is the truth, I believe that this also means to follow Jesus and the ways that he has shown us. At every step of Jesus Christ’s life he has shown us how we should live. 1Peter 2:21 tells us, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” 1 John 2:6 says, “ He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” We know from the Bible that it is not enough to just say you believe in Jesus. A good example of this would be: If you walked around drunk all the time, and then one day went out to try and save some souls, you are probably going to run into people who have seen you stumbling around drunk, who are then not going to care what you have to say, because you’re not acting very much like Christ. People will think, “How can he be a Christian? They can’t even take care of their own life, why should I trust them to take care of my soul?” So we can see why John is so pleased to hear that this elect lady and her children are walking in the truth, and not simply claiming to be believers.

1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

In 1:5 John is pleading with the elect lady to follow God’s commandment to love one another. John admits that this is not a new commandment, but one that we have had from the beginning. In 1:6 John tells us what love is: “that we walk after his commandments.” If we love God, we will try to do as he wants us to, and walk as he walked.

1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

John tells us in 1:7 that there are many “deceivers” that are in the world… people who would act as if they are connected to God in some way, but never confess that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior… that he was born as man and died as their sins. He tells us these people who would try to deceive us into believing they are followers of God but never accept Christ are called an “antichrist.”

1:9 tells us that whoever doesn’t abide in Christ’s teachings doesn’t have God and isn’t saved. Remember that once you are saved, your flesh will continue to sin, but your soul is clean, and will not sin… your body doesn’t go to heaven, but if you are saved, your clean soul does go to heaven.

1:10 tells us that if an antichrist comes to you, don’t bid him God speed… I think this is important: why would you bid somebody God speed, or, “May God go with you and help you with your task,” if they don’t have plans to do things for God… people who aren’t saved don’t have God in their hearts, and don’t want to do good things for God. Now that’s not to say it’s not ok to pray for the unsaved. 1:11 tells us that if you bid the antichrist God speed you then become part of his evil deeds. I'm pretty sure this is just like being the getaway driver for a bank robber...

1:12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
1:13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

Because John has many things to speak to the “elect lady” he is planning on trying to meet with them instead of writing it all out on paper.

In 1:13 when he says, “The children of thy elect sister greet thee,” I believe this is also a sign that the “elect lady,” and her children refers to a church, and not an actual person. If you think about the word “elect” defined in the Websters 1828 dictionary as: “Chosen, but no inaugurated, consecrated or invested with office; as bishop elect; emperor elect; governor or mayor elect. But in the scriptures, and in theology, this word is generally used as a noun.” And also defined as, “Chosen; selected; set apart as a peculiar church and people; applied to the Israelites. Is.45,” we can see that this elect lady is probably a type of office, such as the one the pastor of a church might hold. If the elect lady and her elect sister were two churches, it would make sense that their children are the congregations of those two churches.



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