January 25, 2016 ~ 2 John
“And now I ask you, dear lady — not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning — that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments;” ~ 2 John 5-6
Explanation of the Text: Having just finished a long devotional on 1 John, it makes logical sense to continue on into 2 John. The epistle follows from John’s previous writing both chronologically and in content.
Like 1 John, reasoning suggests that John also wrote this second epistle that bears his name. While the author identifies himself only as the elder it is a title that makes sense for John. It is a title that “conveys the advanced age of the apostle, his authority, and his status during the foundational period of Christianity” (1). Indeed, John is the elder statesman of all of the original disciples. In fact, there are probably not many alive at this point who were even witnesses to the events of Christ’s life and John by far has the most authority to speak of such things because of his proximity to Jesus Christ. Furthermore, there have been no serious claims that John is not the author and the writing style and content match that of 1 John.
While 1 John was written in the early 90’s, 2 John was written shortly thereafter sometime between AD 90-95, although an exact and precise dating is not probable.
2 and 3 John are the shortest epistles within the New Testament, containing less than 300 Greek words each. Yet, despite it’s brevity the epistle carries a strong authoritative teaching that deals with the subject of hospitality in quite an unexpected way. Following the previous epistle, John is still concerned about the false teaching that infiltrates the church. In this case though, he addresses the issue from the standpoint that the hospitality of the people is furthering the effect of the false teaching. While this seems contrary to the love that John previously wrote about in 1 John, we must remember that John emphasizes love to fellow believers. It is through his teaching here that we recognize that love that is not defined by God and grounded in truth aids in false teaching.
Examination & Application of the Text: It seems strange to talk about application of 2 John since we have not yet discussed it. My urging to you is this. Read through the entire text of 2 John over the course of the next week and as you do, write down some key takeaways from the text. Perhaps come up with five key application and points that John makes. It might be helpful to note how John uses the words trust, love, commandment, walk, and teaching to tie the epistle together.
(1) John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), Location 279414 in Amazon Kindle.