Second John is a small book, only 13 verses, but it is powerful and full of truth for us. Our study of 1 John is complete and it is only right to continue with studying 2 John as well as 3 John.
As we examine this short letter, we will keep in mind the principles of studying inductively. That is, we will ask the questions who-what-where-when-why and how as we observe the text.
As always, I use the King James Version so feel free to follow along in your version as we study. Read through the book at least once for an overview before we begin our observations.
To help with your study, you can download the 2 John Worksheet from Resource Library when you sign up to the Go – Gather – Grow Letters.
Author and Recipient
As you read through this short book, mark the author and the recipient. This will help place the key players in their positions.
In 1 John 1, the author did not identify himself as scholars concluded that he was writing to people whom he knew and therefore it is assumed that he, John, felt it unnecessary to identify himself. This second epistle and the third one as well were written with the same reasoning. John wrote to specific people who knew him and whom he knew.
It is time to observe “who” and the first “who” is the Elder unto the elect lady. John is referring to himself as the Elder and indeed he was. He was one of the 12 disciples who lived and walked with Jesus for three and a half years. After the Holy Spirit descended on the 120 in the upper room, some of the disciples went out to other towns and cities to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
John was an Elder in the church and he is writing to a specific person, the elect lady, and her children. Who is she? Did she serve in the church? Was she a stay at home mom or did she have a business? Was she an agent of hospitality, sharing her home and food with strangers?
Maybe ‘she’ wasn’t a specific woman but maybe ‘she’ was the local church. That’s a thought. For the sake of this study, we will consider her as a woman.
We also know that John rejoiced greatly when he found her children walking in truth according to the commandment that Jesus gave from the Father.
There is much we don’t know about ‘her’ but we do know that John loves her in the truth and he blesses her with grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. To find out what you know about her, make a list of all you discover.
I wonder if something was happening that caused John to ‘beseech’ her to love one another. He then explains what love is and that she should walk according to this commandment. She is reminded that she heard of this command through John and that she should walk in it.
Why did he tell her this, reminding her to walk in love? In 2 John 7, he states the reason. What does it say? He told her that many deceivers are in the world, people who do not confess that Jesus Christ had come as a man. She is told that these people who do not support Jesus Christ are deceivers and antichrists.
Here is the caution for us. Look to yourself, that you keep in your heart and mind the things you learned from John and other men of God who profess Jesus Christ. Don’t let anyone deceive you. Keep yourself true to God and true to Jesus Christ.
There is a reminder of those who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ, that they do not have God in them. These people transgress against God. All those who have the doctrine of Jesus Christ dwelling within them, have both the Father and the Son. Living and walking in the Word will be evident to all. Why? The words you speak and your actions will prove where your heart is, where you have stored your treasure.
If anyone comes to you who does not speak of this doctrine or live according to this doctrine, have nothing to do with him. Do not invite him into your house. John even goes so far as to say, do not even wish him well or in King James verbiage, neither bid him God speed. Why? If you do that, you are partaking of his evil deeds. How? Let’s look at this for a minute.
Saying the words “God go with you” to a person who is an antichrist is like uniting yourself to their cause. So telling a deceiver “God speed” is making yourself a part of their evil deeds. The NASB puts verse 11 this way, for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
I didn’t say that. John did, in 2 John 10-11.
2 John Key Words
Are you studying this book inductively with me? If so, mark the following kkeywords
Do you have the sample key word list showing you examples of how to mark key words? If not, you can get your free copy when you sign up for the Go – Gather – Grow Letters which will give you access to the Resource Library.
As you find these words in the text, think about them and make a list of what you learn.
John spoke about ‘abiding’ in 1 John and again he mentions this to the elect lady. What is she to abide in? What are we to abide in? 2 John 9 states whoever sins and does not abide in the doctrine of Jesus Christ does not have God in them. The opposite of that is whoever has the doctrine of Jesus has both the Father and the Son in them. Sounds simple, right?
Do you think we can look around and tell who has the doctrine of Jesus in them? Since God is light and He is in us, we are to let our light shine so that others will see the love of the Father in us. When we have the doctrine of the gospel of Christ in us, we live by it, it is hidden in our hearts, we meditate on it, and it overflows from us to others. It can be in our countenance, or our actions, or our words.
Are we abiding in the Word the way we ought to?
‘Abide’ and ‘dwell’ mean the same. Who should we not dwell with? Who should we avoid? That’s right, those who are deceivers, who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we are to love everyone, yes, we are to share Christ, but we are to be careful who we let into our circle of influence. We do not want to be deceived ourselves. We are to set parameters around us. Paul taught that, Peter taught that, Jesus taught that and John teaches that.
Another question to ponder. If you were faced with the situation of 2 John 10, how would you respond?
Have you ever had so many things to say to someone that you couldn’t finish the letter you started to them? Maybe writer’s cramp kicked in so you figure it would be better to tell them in person? Or maybe you figured it would be better to have a conversation so there would be two-way interaction. Well, that’s what John finished off this epistle with, that he would see her in person and finish off the conversation then. I wonder what they talked about?
To wrap up this study, let’s determine the theme of this book. I came up with two phrases. What did you come up with? In my Bible, at the top of the page, I wrote Walk in Truth and Beware of Deceivers. Is that what you were thinking of?
Well, gals, as always, I invite your comments. Please drop me a line or two!