THE APOSTLE JOHN spoke of himself as a disciple ‘whom Jesus loved’ (John 13:23). Now, as an ‘elder’ among the believers, he was keen to guide them in the way of truth and love, as taught by Jesus.
This second of John’s letters is addressed to ‘the elect lady and her children’ (verse 1). The ‘lady’ may have been a particular believer, or it may have been a congregation. The Bible speaks of the community of believers as the bride of Christ, awaiting her marriage which will happen when Christ returns to earth (for example Revelation 19:6–8). If this is the case, her ‘children’ will be the individual members.
John was pleased to learn that the ‘children’ were ‘walking in the truth’ (v. 4). This is vital. If we do not ‘abide in the teaching of Christ’ (v. 9), we shall not receive eternal life at his coming (v. 8).
In John’s day (towards the end of the First Century ad), false teaching was already being spread within the brotherhood by ‘many deceivers’, whom John terms the ‘antichrist’ (v. 7). Their false ideas were the start of an apostasy which eventually affected most of Christendom. For example, most ‘Christians’ fail to accept the Bible teaching that Jesus was of our nature—a nature from which temptation can arise. They think of him as ‘God the Son’ instead of the Son of God who ‘in every respect has been tempted as we are’ (Hebrews 4:15).
John warned the believers to maintain the distinction between truth and error, and not to allow false teachers to enter their ‘house’ (or congregation) or to worship with them (vs. 10–11).
The community of Christ must continue to show true love, divine love, by being concerned for the eternal life of others, their fellow believers included (v. 5).
By kind permission of ‘The Christadelphian’
Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible:
- 2 John verse 1—see John 8:32; Galatians 1:8.
- 2 John verse 6—see John 14:15; 1 John 2:5.
- 2 John verse 7 – see 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4; Acts 20:30.
To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us for ever:
Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
The children of your elect sister greet you.