2 John (day 1165) 10 March 2013

          1-3: There is general consensus among scholars that the author of 1st John also penned 2nd and 3rd John, though there is no widespread agreement as to whom the author might have been (see comments at 1 John 1). In 2 and 3 John he identifies himself only as “the elder.” There is also a great deal of debate over the identity of the intended recipient, “the elect lady and her children.” Most scholars today support the idea that the “elect lady” is not an individual but a congregation, and “her children” are the members of the church there. When John says that he knows “her” “in the truth,” he means that they have faith in Jesus Christ in common.

4-6: John is pleased that some of the members of the church are “walking in the truth,” his phrase for those who keep to the original apostolic witness. The implication, of course, is that some are not. Three essential requirements for fullness of life are upheld in this paragraph: walking in the truth, walking in love and walking in the commandment. Walking in the truth means to accept the testimony about Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the dead. Walking in love means to love God and neighbor. Walking in the commandment means to obey the law of loving one another.

7-11: We come to the purpose of the letter. There are teachers claiming to be followers of Jesus Christ who do not teach the truth. Here we get a rare glimpse of what some of these false teachers were peddling: they are saying that Jesus Christ did not appear “in the flesh.” That is, they are denying his human nature. It is likely that this is the same danger John alluded to in his previous letter (1 John 4:2).

12: Having delivered his warning, John immediately brings his letter to a close, saying that he plans to visit and converse with them face to face.

13: In keeping with verse 1, John greets the “elect lady” from her “elect sister,” ostensibly a reference to the congregation in which he is currently living.

This is, by the way, the shortest book in the Bible.

 

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