2 John -13

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

The children of your elect sister greet you. Amen. 2 John -13

John now makes a change in his address from the previous verse. The two verses are presented in the following manner –

Having many things to write to you (2nd person plural), I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you (2nd person plural) and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

The children of your (2nd person singular) elect sister greet you (2nd person singular). Amen.

First, in not mentioning the “elect sister” in the greeting there are various ideas. One is that the elect sister is either deceased or absent at the time. The other is that the “elect sister” is actually a church body. Therefore, the greeting is coming from those of the church who form the body.

This would be the same as if the “elect lady” of verse 1 is a church body. But then why make the change to the singular if it is addressed to a church and not an individual? It seems unlikely. However, the same type of change from the singular to the plural is found in Moses’ words when addressing Israel in Deuteronomy 4, for example.

There, it is certain that he is speaking to all, but at times it is focusing on individual responsibility within the whole, and at times, it is focusing on collective responsibility of the whole. The change here could be the same. It does not answer definitively whether the elect lady (and the elect sister) is a church or an individual, but neither option is excluded.

Either way, and because of this, John’s words can be used as a template for writing to either individuals or a group. The main idea to be gained from his words is that the focus of the believer is to be on Jesus Christ, but it must be Jesus Christ as he is portrayed in Scripture – God incarnate. Nothing else can be considered acceptable to identify a true believer. Greetings between individuals and churches are only to be extended to those of the true faith.

It would not be acceptable for a church that accepts Jesus Christ as God incarnate to write a letter to a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation saying, “We greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Lord of one is not the same as the “Lord” of the other. Likewise, a single believer in Jesus Christ should not write such a letter to an apostate individual or group, greeting him or them in such a way.

Fraternal greetings within the context of the faith must only be made to those who are grounded in the same proper faith. With this understood, John closes with “Amen,” or “so be it” and “truth.” Though some manuscripts do not include this, it is probably rightly included in the letter. The word beautifully closes out this short but important letter from the hand of John.

Life application: From the pen of the heartfelt and beloved apostle of the Lord Jesus, we have searched the intimate words of John to “the elect lady and her children.” We can be pleased that God kept the nature of the true recipient from us so that we can use this letter as a guide when addressing individuals or church bodies.

Take time to re-read the letter one more time before you finish your study today, and think on the layout and theme of it. In the future, try to use it as a guideline when writing on similar issues. If this is a part of the Bible, then it is approved of God in both style and content.

Closing out with the word “Amen,” or “truth,” makes a nice touch. Truth has been the very focus of the letter. Where truth is, there will be no tendency to demonstrate love without correction – something John has carefully pointed out. Love without truth is ultimately a condemning love. Let us remember this as we speak and write about the truth of God’s plan for humanity.

Lord Jesus, what a treat it is to study and think on the depth of Your precious word. You have given it for our edification. Each day we read it, we feel so edified. We peer into its love and truth, and come away with a deeper knowledge of what touches Your very heart. Until You come for us, may we always demonstrate love, but may it be a love which is combined with truth. Amen.










2 John -12

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. 2 John -12

John’s short letter begins its closing remarks here, and it is in a manner which is very similar to his next letter, 3 John. He begins with, “Having many things to write to you.” It is an indication that John had a lot on his mind, but either time, strength, or maybe caution because of the sensitive nature of what he desired to say, precluded him from putting his thoughts down. For whatever reason, he cut his thoughts short.

He then next says, “I did not wish to do so with paper and ink.” The words “to do so” are supplied by the translators, supposedly for clarity. However, they then make the verse illogical. The two thoughts would show someone not thinking clearly –

“I have a whole bunch to write to you, but I don’t want to do so with paper and ink.” “What are you going to write with then? Crayons and a plank of wood?”

Rather, John is saying, “I had a lot to write to you, but I purposed not with paper and ink.” It shows that despite having the desire to write, he decided that putting his words to paper and ink was not the best means of conveying what he desired to say.

As a point of interest, the word translated as “paper” is chartés. It is found only here in Scripture. Vincent’s Word Studies explains the word –

“The Egyptian papyrus or byblus, Cyperus papyrus, anciently very common, but not now found within the limits of the country. It is a tall, smooth flag or reed, with a large triangular stalk, containing the pith which furnished the paper. The paper was manufactured by cutting the pith into strips, arranging them horizontally, and then placing across them another layer of strips, uniting the two layers by a paste, and subjecting the whole to a heavy pressure. The upper and middle portions of the reed were used for this purpose. The fact that the plant is no longer found is significant in connection with Isaiah’s prophecy that “the flags (Hebrews suph, papyrus) shall waste away” (Isaiah 19:6). The plant grew in shallow water or in marshes, and is accordingly represented on the monuments as at the side of a stream or in irrigated lands. The Jews wrote on various materials, such as the leaves of the olive and palm, the rind of the pomegranate, and the skins of animals. The tablet (πινακίδιον, Luke 1:63) was in very common use. It consisted of thin pieces of wood, strung together, and either plain, or covered with papyrus or with wax.”

The word translated as “ink” is melan. It literally means “black.” This is its third and last use in Scripture. Again, Vincent’s says, “Ink was prepared of soot or of vegetable or mineral substances. Gum and vitriol were also used. Colored inks, red and gold, were also employed.”

John next says, “but I hope to come to you and speak face to face.” Whatever is on John’s mind is either not pressing enough to spend a lot of time writing, or it is too important or sensitive to be put into writing. Thus, it will have to wait until they can speak “face to face.” The Greek literally reads, “mouth to mouth.” As Paul uses the term, “face to face,” in 1 Corinthians 13:12, John’s words here should be translated as he says them, thus avoiding the confusion of having two separate thoughts translated in the same way.

Finally, John gives the reason for such an intimate discussion, saying, “that our joy may be full.” Here, the verb is a perfect participle. It is more rightly translated as, “having been completed,” or “filled full.” John is saying that fellowship in such matters is far more satisfying than simply putting thoughts on paper. Such thoughts can be misconstrued, fail to express proper emotion, and so on. It is evident from Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 7 that the words of his previous letter to those at Corinth had been taken in an unintended light. Because of this, he spent time and effort to ensure that things were properly understood. However, when speaking intimately, the joy of the conversation, and the surety that the discussion is fully understood, is always a blessing to the souls of those who participate in them.

Life application: It is apparent that John had a lot on his mind when he started writing but wearied of “paper and ink.” Instead, he decided to hold off on his thoughts until he could speak with the elect lady.

When John would meet up with the lady, he says their conversation would make his joy full. The way he says it brings about the thought of not only being full, but continuing to be filled, even to overflowing. He gives the same sentiment in 1 John 1:4 – “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” John had a passion for those he addressed, and it is apparent that he truly reveled in them and their company. We can learn a great deal from such an attitude as we relate to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ – not only sharing time with them, but truly reveling in their company and sharing the close bond which is with our Lord and Savior.

Heavenly Father, what a joy it is to read your Word each day and to share in the personal thoughts of those who have written down the various passages of it. They are thoughts which deal with their relationships with You, with other people of faith, and how we also should interact between one another. Thank You for including these treasures in Your word. Amen.












2 John -11

Monday, 29 June 2020

…for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John -11

The words of this verse should be taken together with the previous verse to get a full understanding of the context –

“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”

With the context understood, John’s words begin with, “for he who greets him.” Here, he uses the same word for “greet” that he did in the previous verse. It means “to rejoice.” As we saw, the word “rejoice” was the customary way of formally greeting someone in the Greek culture. And so, a good paraphrase would be, “for he who extends a courteous blessing to him.” With that idea in mind, John next says that the believer who does this, “shares in his evil deeds.”

The verb translated as “shares” signifies “to have a share in,” or “to participate in.” It was used in Hebrews 2:14 when speaking of our participation in humanity –

“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.”

One can see the intimate connection between the two things. We are humans because we have partaken of what makes us a part of humanity. Therefore, a person who greets someone who does not abide in the doctrine of Christ partakes in his evil deeds. Or, as the Greek more literally reads, “partakes in the works of him, the evil.”

As you can see, the emphasis is on the word “evil.” In greeting someone who bears such wicked doctrine, we imply that what they are doing is ok, and thus we not only share in their evil, but we bear the responsibility for the harmful effects that result from their false doctrine. The thought here is reflected in Paul’s writings in several ways, such as these two thoughts –

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15

“Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.” 1 Timothy 5:22

Though Paul’s words especially cover other issues, the general idea is the same, even if John’s words are more direct.

Life application: Suppose someone from the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or any other faith or organization that denies the fundamental tenets of Christianity comes to your door. What do you do?

The previous verse gave us the answer – “Do not receive him into your house nor greet him.” Therefore, John’s words of this verse give us the reason – “For he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”

Welcoming them isn’t a light and simple matter; it is light vs. darkness and life vs. death. Ultimately, we are in a battle against the evil forces of this world. Anything which contradicts the truth of Jesus Christ is of the devil (1 John 3:8). By greeting someone who is actively promoting an anti-Christian cause, or an actual heresy of the Christian faith, we are in effect condoning his work. When we do this, we solidify the thinking that what he is doing is acceptable.

This is no different than having inter-faith prayer meetings. Christians must never hold prayer meetings with those of other faiths. By doing so we implicitly acknowledge that the person of the other faith is praying to a real god who really hears, even though this is not the case.

There is One God and He has revealed Himself in the Trinitarian model of Christianity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are to hold to this truth as the supreme test of what is and what is not acceptable within the confines of our faith. Jesus Christ is the second member of this eternal Godhead – fully God and fully Man. If agreement on this cannot be reached, the person is to be rejected as a member of the family of faith. God doesn’t condone heresy, and neither can we.

Heavenly Father, in the Bible are strong and sober reminders that we are participants in a great spiritual battle for human souls. We are reminded, again and again, that we are accountable for our actions when dealing with others who believe differently than we do concerning the core tenets of proper doctrine. Lead us as we walk through this world of sin and heresy so that we may be proper lights, shining forth the truth of Your gospel. Amen.










2 John -10

Sunday, 28 June 2020

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 2 John -10

John now refers to those who do “not abide in the doctrine of Christ” (verse 1:9). That is referring to those “who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” (verse 1:7). John says that such “is a deceiver and an antichrist” (verse 1:7). Understanding this context, John now says – clearly and unambiguously – a command, “If anyone comes to you.” The words are in the indicative mood, not the subjunctive. It is not a possibility, but an assurance. In essence, “These people are out there, and you can expect them to come to you.”

He then explains who he is referring to by saying, “and does not bring this doctrine.” It is the doctrine he has referred to, meaning that of Christ being God incarnate. If someone comes who does not bring this doctrine, John warns them by saying, “do not receive him into your house.”

The context has to be maintained. John is not telling his reader to not provide human assistance to someone who is, for example, injured. It would be contrary to proper morality to not receive in a person who desperately needed it. The key to understanding his words is “this doctrine.” The person is not coming to the door selling vacuums. He is not coming to the door with a gunshot wound. And, he is not coming to the door to tell you your house is on fire and you need to get out. The person has come with the purpose of conveying heretical doctrine. Once this is understood, “do not receive him into your house.”

But John goes even further, saying, “nor greet him.” The Greek reads, chairein autō mē legete – “rejoice him not tell,” or more understandably, “Do not tell him, ‘Rejoice!’” The word “rejoice” was the customary way of formally greeting someone, just as “shalom” is to a Hebrew audience. Today, we might say, “Blessings to you,” or something like that.

Again, the context needs to be remembered. If you are on the street and you pass a person, it is only natural to tell that person, “Good day to you!” We don’t first stop each person and say, “Do you hold to the doctrine of Christ?” Rather, we treat people with common courtesy. But, if you see the Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on doors, knowing this is what they are doing, and knowing that they are presenting heretical doctrine, we are directed to not greet them at all.

Likewise, if they, or the Mormons, or any other cult that denies the fundamental truth that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, when we know that is what they have come to convey when they knock on the door, we are not to allow them in, and when we tell them to buzz off, we are not to extend them the courtesy of a formal goodbye, such as, “Be blessed as you head out.” John will explain why he has so ordered this in the coming verse.

Life application: Verses 4-6 spoke of love in the Christian context, not an “all-inclusive must love unconditionally despite bad doctrine” type of love. From verses 7-9, John spoke of deceivers who have neither the Father nor the Son.

He is giving a progression of thought, leading directly to the main impetus for writing the letter in the first place – careful attention to not accepting or even condoning heresy.

Because these people are deceivers, they will come with a friendly guise and speak as if they are competent and correct on matters of faith. Such is how the devil swayed Adam and Eve, and such is how he attempted to sway Jesus. The defining line is Jesus. Therefore, one must be aware of who Jesus is and which “Jesus” is being presented.

Some of the most flagrant cases of false doctrine that you can expect at your door in the modern world are the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They bring a false Jesus. Such as these are not to be given common Christian hospitality. This may seem hard to reconcile with other New Testament teachings, but it’s really not.

Jesus said, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44). We cannot demonstrate love to our enemies if we condone the very teaching in their lives that condemns them to hell. By greeting them and receiving them, we are implicitly acknowledging that what they are teaching is valid when it clearly isn’t. So, instead of demonstrating love by greeting them, we are actually demonstrating a lack of it.

To love them is to reject them from fellowship and to pray for them. Don’t be misled by anyone who says it is ok to condone heresy. Instead, ignore them as well. Be strong in your faith and be firm in your convictions. Souls are in the balance and you bear responsibility.

Lord, even in our small circle of acquaintances – family, co-workers, and so on – we know that there are those who hold to heretical teachings. Help us to be proper examples of how to demonstrate firmness by rejecting their lies. May our firm examples of holding fast to what is sound lead them to repentance and salvation. Amen.




















2 John -9

Saturday 27 June 2020

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 2 John -9

As noted in verse 8, what is stated now in verse 9 is not explaining the words, “we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.” One does not “work” for salvation, nor does one “work” in order to keep being saved. What John now says contrasts what was said there, it does not explain it. Understanding this, John says, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ.”

Two points concerning this. First, in this verse, both instances of the word “Christ” are preceded by a definite article in the Greek – “the Christ.” There is the true Christ, and then there are false Christs and there is the antichrist. John is setting a distinction between the true Christ and any other supposed “Christ.” Secondly, some manuscripts state “goes ahead” instead of “transgresses.” The idea is that Christ (the Christ, meaning Jesus) has set forth His doctrine. Those who do not accept what He has put forth transgress that doctrine and do not abide in it. The thought being presented is similar to that found in 1 John 2 –

“He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” 1 John 2:4-6

One cannot separate the teachings of Christ from who Christ is. As He is God, He cannot contradict Himself. To say, “I follow Christ,” and then to reject His teaching is contradictory. For such a person, John says he “does not have God.”

John is going back to verse 7 and showing who he was speaking about there – “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.” It is these people who transgress and who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ. Verse 8 was a warning to those who had already accepted the true Christ that they should continue in their proper faith. To not do so would not lead to a loss of salvation, but to a loss of reward. For those who never came to Christ, they do not have God at all.

The reason is obvious. One cannot have God if He does not have access to God through His only Mediator. Jesus is the God/Man. He makes a connection to the infinite God possible. Without that mediatorial connection, man remains forever separated from God.

With that understood, John next says, “He who abides in the doctrine of Christ.” The opposite proposition is now stated. There are those who transgress what the Christ has stated, and they do not abide in His doctrine. And then, there are those who abide in the doctrine of the Christ. The way one abides in His doctrine is to believe in the true Christ, as He is presented in Scripture.

For such a person who has believed in Jesus as He is presented in Scripture, meaning God incarnate, he “has both the Father and the Son.” To have the Son is to have the Father. To not have the Son is to not have the Father. It is such a simple proposition that it is hard to see how people muddy these waters.

What John is saying here is in line with his words of 1 John 4. There he uses the word “abide” six times in just these five verses –

“No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

To confess that Jesus is the Son of God, meaning that He is God incarnate, is the continuously repeated thought of John. He is setting any other belief as false because it is based on a false teaching.

For one more validation of this, we can go again to John 2 –

“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22, 23 –

Life application: That the Messiah, or Christ, would be fully God is revealed not only in the New Testament, but in both testaments of the Bible. For example, the book of Zechariah teaches this in the Old. To read the Bible and deny this then means one “does not abide in the doctrine of Christ.” False teachers, either explicitly denying this truth, or making up other aberrant doctrines, have no part in God.

The doctrine of Christ is the full teaching and reality of who Jesus is. He is the Son of God the Father. Therefore, He has all the characteristics of His Father. He is also the Son of Man, and therefore He has all the characteristics of Man. This is the doctrine of Christ, and this is what we are expected to accept at face value.

Denying one or the other, or making something up in our heads which has no basis in reality (such as the Mormon teaching that Jehovah God was once a man who became God), therefore excludes these adherents from any relationship at all with Christ and thus with the Father.

How much better is it that we put aside such lying and deceitfulness, and simply trust God and His word! By doing this, He is properly glorified, and we are eternally saved.

Lord God, help us not to waste the most precious gift of all by denying the one and only possibility of reconciliation to You. Keep us from being seduced by such twisted and heretical doctrines. May we experience the joy of honoring You for eternity through Jesus. In Him alone are we reconciled to You. By His precious blood this is possible! Hallelujah for what You have done for us. Amen.