Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      2 John - Chapter 01 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. From the church leader. To a very special woman and her children. I truly love all of you, and so does everyone else who knows the truth.
    2. We love you because the truth is now in our hearts, and it will be there forever.
    3. I pray that God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son will be kind and merciful to us! May they give us peace and truth and love.
    4. I was very glad to learn that some of your children are obeying the truth, as the Father told us to do.
    5. Dear friend, I am not writing to tell you and your children to do something you have not done before. I am writing to tell you to love each other, which is the first thing you were told to do.
    6. Love means that we do what God tells us. And from the beginning, he told you to love him.
    7. Many liars have gone out into the world. These deceitful liars are saying that Jesus Christ did not have a truly human body. But they are liars and the enemies of Christ.
    8. So be sure not to lose what we have worked for. If you do, you won't be given your full reward.
    9. Don't keep changing what you were taught about Christ, or else God will no longer be with you. But if you hold firmly to what you were taught, both the Father and the Son will be with you.
    10. If people won't agree to this teaching, don't welcome them into your home or even greet them.
    11. Greeting them is the same as taking part in their evil deeds.
    12. I have much more to tell you, but I don't want to write it with pen and ink. I want to come and talk to you in person, because that will make us really happy.
    13. Greetings from the children of your very special sister.

2 John - Chapter 01

Entered: June 05, 2005
John intertwines love and obedience very closely. He says love is to walk according to God's commands and then says that God's command is to walk in love. I think this is John's way of stating the Great Commandment, that we are to love God and man. What he seems to be saying is that if we love God we will keep His commandments, and His commandment to us is to love others.

Entered: May 11, 2010

John seemed to have a very focused purpose for this letter. Though it is addressed to "the elect lady and her children," it is traditionally accepted as a reference to a church. One that adhered to truth. His purpose was to caution the church against those who did not adhere to truth, encouraging them not to even extend to them hospitality.

John's message in this letter is very similar to that of his first letter, with a strong emphases on love. As in that first letter, he makes a close tie between love and obedience to God's commands. This thinking is outlined in verses 5 and 6. First he urges his readers to love one another, and then he states what love is. It is to "walk according to His commands." (1:6) Love, therefore, is a fruit of obedience. As with joy and similar attributes, true love cannot be a direct pursuit. Otherwise it will degenerate into unwise, sentimental activity. But if the focus is on obedience, love becomes a natural and healthy result. We love others because we love the Lord, and this love is founded in truth, which is the basis of healthy love.

John's primary concern, though, is truth. The threat against truth was great and to be swayed from this truth would not only result in loss of reward for the believers, it would defeat the purpose for which Christ died and for which many Christians had and were dying.  The falsehood that was threatening the Christian community taught that Christ did not come in the flesh. In other words, He was not God incarnate. If this were the case, Christ could not and did not accomplish His purpose in dying on the cross, nor was He resurrected from the dead following that crucifixion. If Christ did not come in the flesh, there was no death, and if there was no death, there was no resurrection. Thus, Christ did not defeat sin and death, and, as Paul stated in 1Corinthians 15:17, "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins." So, though this false teaching may not have seemed of great concern on the surface, it stripped away the core of Christian teaching. It was a great deceit of which John had good reason to warn this church.

We get a hint of the degree of threat to which John considered this false teaching in his admonishion to this church. They were not to even give a greeting to these false teachers, let alone offer hospitality. To do so would be to share in their false teaching. So in the midst of his encouragement to these Christians to walk in love, this love was not to be extended to false teachers. The love John spoke of was based in truth, not deceit. Therefore, it had no bases. Any effort to show love would either be deceitful or an acceptance of the false teaching.