1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.
1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:
7 Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.
13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.
The Apostle John’s Letters
By Yoga Raj
Today’s devotion is on two letters from the apostle John, 2 John and 3 John, the shortest books in the entire Bible. I have attempted to summarize content from the NIV Devotional Study Bible to give background and context on his 3 letters.
Setting: When the apostle John wrote his letters, Christian faith was 50 to 60 years old. A generation had grown up in Christian homes and a distinct subculture was already developing. At the close of the first century, words were being twisted and drained of their original meanings. The 3 letters from John are an effort to address the confused and subtle distortion of truth.
John’s Objective: John wrote his Gospel account of Jesus’ life in order to bring readers to a belief in Christ. But he is directing these 3 letters to people who were already Christians, outlining how that faith should affect a person’s life. God is light; so, walk in the light. He is Spirit; so, worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. He is love; so, demonstrate that love to others. John was probably the last surviving apostle when he wrote his book. He lived almost to the end of the first century. But he was not too old to fight vigorously against whatever might corrupt the faith that had inspired him for so many years.
1 John – Words That Get Polluted: As Christianity spread across the Mediterranean, it came into contact with other religions. Greeks and Romans tried to absorb the faith into their own philosophies, just as some Jews had initially. Intellectual centers of the Mediterranean raised questions about Jesus: Who He was and if He was God. Throughout the letter John criticizes those who denied that Jesus came in the flesh. In this book John chooses key words, light, sin, Christ, love, faith etc. “disinfects” them and then restores their original meanings by pointing back the truth behind these words. Pattern being used – He defines a word, such as light, discusses its opposite, darkness, and then describes what a life in the light should look like. In every case, he shows God as the source of power in a Christian’s life. Repeatedly he begins with the phrase “If we claim…” and proceeds to show what actions must result if we claim to live in the true light and know God. He stresses the theme of brotherly love and urges fellow brothers and sisters to “love one another” (1 John 3:11).
1 John 3:18-20: Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
2 John – Undesirable Guests: Roman roads made first century travel safer and easier, but hotels were centuries away. Therefore, when teachers of the Christian faith traveled the empire, they relied on local Christians for food and lodging. Before long, false teachers and religious fraudsters took advantage, attracted primarily to the free food and lodging. This letter concerns with the mounting problems of hospitality to such groups. 2 John urges true Christians to use discretion in testing a visitor’s message and motive. The author warns against entertaining visitors who do not teach the truth about Christ.
2 John 8-9: Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward.
But the apostle of love repeats his motto, “Love one another” even in this letter of warning, urging the believers to show discretion, but also love.
2 John 5-6: ..I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
3 John – Guidelines for Hospitality: This letterand its companion (2 John) give a balance view of proper Christian hospitality. 2 John warns against entertaining false teachers. But 3 John praises a man named Gaius for warmly welcoming genuine Christian teachers and believers.
3 John 1-4: This letter is from John, the elder. I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth. Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
It also goes against confrontational dictators like Diotrephes who had been gossiping against John, refused to welcome other believers, stopped those who would want to do so and put them out of church. (3 John 9-10).
In a nutshell, 2 John and 3 John deal with heresy and church splits, two problems that have plagued the church in every age, in every place. To defend against those dangers, John urges love and discernment. Believers must know whom to accept and support, and whom to resist in love.
3 John 11: Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.