A little background before we begin 2nd John. This comes from the Bible Dictionary. This epistle is like the 1st epistle in that it condemns false teachings. The elect lady to whom this epistle is addressed remains nameless.
Children Walking in Light is the Greatest Joy
The epistle is to the elect lady and her children whom he loves in truth and all they who have known the truth. I think this description rules out family. He loves the children in the truth and so does everyone else who loves truth. I think if a family member were being addressed here, it would have been more personal.
John is rejoicing because he found her children walking in truth. That is, he is glad her children are righteous. Cross reference 3rd John 1:4, parents have no greater joy than to see their children walk in the light.
This letter is John pretty much doing what any home teacher/visiting teacher would do. He is sending her a message reminding her to love one another. Love within the family, but also walking after God’s commandments. This isn’t a new commandment but one that has been around since the beginning of time. I wonder if this elect lady is one of his converts?
There Are Many Who Deny The Coming of Christ
He tells her that there are many deceivers that have come into the world, who confess that Jesus Christ has not come in the flesh. These people are deceivers and an Anti-Christ. He says to look to yourself. Realize all things that have been received from Christ and that you’ll receive a full reward. Essentially, don’t forget Christ and what he has done, taught, and given us.
John says that if you transgress and don’t abide in the doctrine of Christ, you don’t have God. But if you abide in the doctrine of Christ, you have both the father and the son. Notice it doesn’t use the transgress again. This is because if you are abiding in the doctrine of Christ you aren’t transgressing. It is pretty much all or nothing when it comes to having the spirit. You transgress, you don’t abide in the doctrine of Christ, you don’t have God. But if you do the opposite, abide in the doctrine, you won’t transgress and you will have God and Jesus Christ.
If people come preaching not this message, don’t let them into your house, don’t even talk to them. Wolves in sheep clothing? Drawing near to God with their lips, yet their hearts are still far from Him.
John closes by saying the same thing he’ll say in the third epistle, I have many things to write unto you but not with pen and ink. I trust to come unto you and we can speak face to face that our joy may be full. The best part comes next. The children of thy elect sister greet thee, amen. In other words, “Your nieces and nephews say hi.”
The Third Epistle of John
That’s it for 2nd John. Since it was so short, I’ll include 3rd John in here as well. I think the two of them combined should give us a reasonable length for this post.
Let’s begin with some background on 3rd John. All three people mentioned in this epistle, Gaius, Diotrephes, and Demetrius are unknown to history (this is coming from the Bible Dictionary).
John is writing to Gaius and thanking him for his help. He says he has no greater joy than to hear that his children walk in truth. Gaius has been faithful, not only in helping members but also non-members. These people have told the leaders of the church what he has done. This is making John really happy.
He says that Gaius if he teaches in a godly manner, will do well. Because his converts won’t take any traditions of the gentiles. And that the people need to receive these new converts, that they might be fellow-helpers in the truth. It seems that John knows all about recent converts and receiving them into the ward/branch.
Diotrephes is in Big Doodoo
John wrote unto Diotrephes (probably the bishop) telling him about these new people. But Diotrephes didn’t like being told what to do because it’s his congregation and his need for “preeminence among them [his ward/branch” is holding him back from doing the right thing. John says if he comes to visit, he will remember what this guy has done. He wants to lift himself up and has been condescending to them with malicious words, never is content, and doesn’t receive the brethren but forbiddeth them and castest them out. Oh, SNAP! If I was John, I would go buck wild over the whole operation!
John lays it out simple. If you do good, you are of God. If you do evil, ye have not seen God. I love the last part. He that doeth evil hath not seen, God. I think people would think it is easy for him to say that because he actually has seen God, but I think it is easily applied to us as well. Yes, we haven’t seen God physically. But by him and through him, all things were created. There was not one thing that was created which was not by him. All things denote there is a God. I’ve looked for it in the world around me and found it. I’ve found it in art, mathematics, biology, music, and literature. It’s incredible. I guess in a sense, I have seen God, I have seen him through his works. Much like the reader is seeing me through my works, my annotations of the scriptures. Hello, reader! Nice to meet you! Thank you for having the desire to meet me!
You Don’t Have to Worry About the Righteous
In contrast to Diotrephes, we have Demetrius. He has a good rapport with all men. Truth beareth of it and so do both John and Gaius. They know their record is true. Look at the sharp contrast between the wicked and righteous. He doesn’t even have to worry about Demetrius. When you are good and doing good, people can rely on and trust in you. Most people have a lot to worry about, but if they don’t have to worry about you because of your righteousness, you will be more liked, respected, and trusted. Not to mention, God will trust you more.
John closes the epistle by saying that he has a lot more to say to Gaius, but not with pen and ink. He’ll see him soon so they can talk face to face. Until that time, he salutes him and says to tell everyone hi.
I’d Love to Meet John One Day
What a great guy! He’s solid. Do you think John is in the church records? That would be so cool! I said in my annotations of Revelation that I would love to meet John. Preferably in this life but the next I could too. I would love to sit down with him and just talk about his writings, stories from his life, stuff like that. The family would be an interesting topic for sure. Does he only have one family that passed away? Or maybe his wife is translated with him and they are together? That would be so sweet! Ahhh, I just want to meet him. He’s like a celebrity for me. Imagine how much history you would know! How many languages could you pick up in nearly 2000 years? Where would you work? What would you do? I know he is ministering but does he have another job? Because he’s probably overqualified for all of them. It’s fun stuff to think about. Maybe someday we’ll bump into one another.
That’s it for 3rd John. I hope over the course of these three epistles, you’ve had your interest piqued and had a desire to study more the teachings and epistles of John. Stay tuned till next week. We’ll have another set of scriptures coming your way!