Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Reading Through 2nd John

index johnI am continuing to read through the New Testament accompanied by the commentary series The Bible Speaks Today, edited by John R. W. Stott. These next few books are short so the posts will be coming quickly, This post quotes from the book The Message of John’s Letters: Living in the Love of God, written by David Jackman. My analysis of the letter by 2nd John is in black below. Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I post quotes from these commentaries on my Facebook page and periodic summaries of the commentary here on my blog. I welcome discussion on these post on my Facebook page. As always, quotes from the author are in blue font.

The author of the 2nd epistle of John is "John the Elder" Traditionally this was considered to be John the Apostle. The letter is too short for there to be much external evidence of authorship. Iranaeus and Origen considered it to be written by John the apostle although there are other early sources that refer to both 2nd and 3rd John as disputed. John may have used the title “elder” in the sense of “old man.” He was always reluctant to draw attention to himself. Style, vocabulary and outlook are so similar in 1st, 2nd and 3rd John that it is very likely the same man wrote all three epistles and the Gospel of John. The letter was written to the “elect lady.” 2 John chartThis is most likely a metaphorical reference to a church in Asia Minor that was some distance from Ephesus. It was probably written around 90-95 AD, between the Gospel of John and Revelation. 

The letter was written to to motivate believers to exercise discernment and not to invest in the work of heretics and to remind believers to love another. That is we must live in Truth and Love. The message of 2nd John is that "Truth and Love must go together. The only foundation for a proper loving relationship with God and with other people is the truth of the apostolic teaching found in God's Word.  Truth defines what real love is."

When the truth of God lives in us, the true love of God will come out of us. Love must be based on the truth of God and committed to the truth of the Gospel. Love and Truth must always be balanced in order to live effectively. 1-3

So the truth of who Christ is and what he has done for us always exists side by side with the love we experience as we believe in him. The objective reality that the man Christ Jesus is the eternal Son of the Father, the only true God, undergirds our personal experience of that love in salvation and guarantees its eternal validity. 2 John 1-3, 177

Love is directed by the commands of God and is motivated by the desire to obey and please God. Daily life must be directed by the truth of God. The motivation for love is God's command. Essentially love is obeying God. Obedience to the commands and example of Christ as taught by the apostles is what love is all about. 4-6

As we believe and appropriate all that his Word promises—that eternal life which is ours by our union with Christ—so we grow in truth and love, receiving more and more his grace, mercy and peace. These are the divine priorities we are called to develop. 2 John 4-6, 180

Love resists and exposes false teachers who deny and oppose Christ. There are many false teachers in the world who deny the truth and present a false Jesus. The content of their teaching was to deny the full humanity of Christ and believers must be discerning to recognize and oppose false teaching. Being deceived by false teachers could result in loss of eternal reward and loss of one's experience and blessing of relationship with God. Thus, anyone who supports, encourages or in any way helps spread false teaching becomes a partner in evil. 7-11

It is a fundamental principle of the New Testament writers not to devote themselves to the detailed dissection or even analysis of the false teaching they were combating. Rather, they give themselves to the positive proclamation of the truth, confident that it will, in and of itself, undermine and destroy the error. 2 John 7-11, 180

Balancing truth and love will ultimately result in the true joy of fellowship. You cannot separate truth and love. 12-13

We all have so much to learn from other Christians who hold the same truth and seek to exercise the same love as we do. We are all children of the same Father, members of the same family. The more we can live together in truth and love, the more will that climate be produced in which, together, our obedience to the Head of the church can flourish. 2 John 12-13, 188

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