2 John Bible study

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1. Greetings 1 - 3.                  

 

2 John 1:1 From the elder, to an elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth (and not I alone, but also all those who know the truth),

 

The term used here for elder does not refer to the position within the church but to the apostle John, the grandfather in the faith.   He was the last survivor of the original apostles and had reach a great age. Some have suggested that the elect lady he is sending his letter to was a code name for the church in Rome or Jerusalem but there are no grounds for this. The Greek word for lady is Cyria and is a proper Christian name therefore I have taken this to be a personal letter from John to this Cyria and her family as his third letter is a personal one to Gaius. First of all he tells the family that he loves them in sincerity, without hypocrisy (Rom. 12:9), not a surface, emotional love or from any ulterior motive but with the love of the Lord, a pure and perfect love. He goes on to assure them that all those who are in Christ and know them has this same love for them.  

 

2 John 1:2  because of the truth that resides in us and will be with us forever.

 

The source of this love is the truth, which is Christ, that dwells in them, it is not of the world but of heaven therefore it is eternal.  

 

2 John 1:3  Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

 

Secondly, he greets them with the prayer that they will know and receive Grace - the unearned, undeserved favour, goodness and blessings of God. Mercy - the resources and willingness of God to meet their every need. Peace - of being reconciled, of having confidence and trust, of knowing God loves them and will take care of them. This grace, mercy and peace comes from the Father and the Son and is therefore the real and genuine thing and is imparted by the fact that God is Love.  

 

2. Walking in Truth 4 - 6

 

2 John 1:4  I rejoiced greatly because I have found some of your children living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded us.

 

He has great joy in knowing that some (NKJ) of her children have come to a knowledge of salvation and are growing in grace and walking in love (Eph. 5:2) and in a way that is worthy of the Lord (Col. 1:10).  

 

2 John 1:5  But now I ask you, lady (not as if I were writing a new commandment to you, but the one we have had from the beginning), that we love one another.

 

It is because of this love that he has for them that John is moved with a compassionate care for their eternal well being and makes an earnest plea for her to remember the commandment to love one another (John 13: 34). Perhaps this was because they were giving ear to the deceivers in verse 7 and it was causing division. He uses the command as a basis of his earnest plea for her to abide in it.  

 

2 John 1:6  (Now this is love: that we walk according to his commandments.) This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning; thus you should walk in it.

 

The definition of this love and the proof that the commandment is being kept is that the life being lived will reflect and be guided and ruled by it.

 

3. Reject False Teachers 7 - 13.

 

2 John 1:7  For many deceivers have gone out into the world, people who do not confess Jesus as Christ coming in the flesh. This person is the deceiver and the antichrist!

 

After assuring and exhorting the lady he turns to the main point of his letter to warn her of the many, (note that word many, not just the odd one or two) deceivers who were going around seeking whom they may devour. Their hallmark was that they denied that God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ (1 John 4: 2-3 and that He became a man (1 Tim. 3:16). Like Paul, John does not mince his words but reveals these people for who they really are, opposers of Christ doing the work of antichrist.  

 

2 John 1:8  Watch out, so that you do not lose the things we have worked for, but receive a full reward.

 

He warns that she should be on her guard against such people and not to lend her ears to them, otherwise she could lose all that she had already spiritually attained in Christ through the apostles teachings.  

 

2 John 1:9  Everyone who goes on ahead and does not remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God. The one who remains in this teaching has both the Father and the Son.

 

He further describes these deceivers as being people who transgress, that is, who is intent on breaking the laws of God their only purpose is to do this. They do not have the love or the word of God abiding in them and therefore do not have God. On the other hand the true believer is one who has the love and word of God abiding in them and therefore have the Father and Son dwelling within.  

 

2 John 1:10 - 11 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house and do not give him any greeting, because the person who gives him a greeting shares in his evil deeds.

 

He tells her how to handle such people. She was not to welcome or admit them into her house.   To have them in the house would be to identify herself with them, accepting and participating in their beliefs and opening herself to their errors. Do not greet them give any encouragement or wish them success or to say God Bless for in doing so she will be a partaker in their evil.  

 

2 John 1:12  Though I have many other things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink, but I hope to come visit you and speak face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

 

There were many other points John wanted to clear up with this lady that could not be dealt with by writing but he would sort them out when he visited her.  

 

2 John 1:13  The children of your elect sister greet you.

 

This lady's sister must have gone to be with the Lord for it is her children who send greetings to their aunt.

Further Reading Resources for you - John

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