Survey of II John

Most scholars believe that the author of II John was the author of I John, III John, and the Gospel of John. This would be "the disciple whom Jesus loved . . ."(John 21: 20, 24). His writings have an ethereal quality to them compared to the factual reporting of most of the other New Testament writers. John writes on a very spiritual plane and shows himself to be a very deep thinker. He writes to motives and emotions, speaking directly to the heart. John refers to himself in this letter as "the elder" and to the church in general as "the elect lady," a concept consonant with the depiction of the church as the bride of Christ in Ephesians 5: 22 ff (verses following). Along with Peter, he was an apostle (Matthew 10: 1-4) who was also an elder (II John 1) and was a preacher of righteousness, standing with Peter and the others on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 14 ff) and preaching Jesus Christ in the face of adversity and persecution by the Sanhedrin (Acts 3 and 4). By this time, John is certainly an very old man, particularly for the times in which lifespans typically did not exceed fifty years. The letter is believed to have been written in the A. D. 90s, possibly 96, and from the isle of Patmos, on which John had been exiled (Revelation 1: 9). He may well have been the last remaining apostle by the time he wrote these letters.

John continues with his exultations of truth through Jesus Christ, adopting some of the mannerims and interest of Christ about the purity of truth. He urges the first century Christians to "follow love" (vs. 6). He repeats the observation that those who deny the Christ and His coming in the flesh are the antichrist.

"7For 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. 8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9Whosoever 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."

Is it clear from this passage that doctrine matters? Many today do not want to admit that; they say that there are many paths to Heaven, but all lead to the same place. This conclusive treatise on doctrine disavows such a benevolent-sounding pronouncement and turns the reader back to attention to the detail of the doctrine that is the trademark of the true believer.

Verses 10 and 11 also give a stern reminder to Christian to investigate who they are supporting and donating resources to:

"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."

Could it be much clearer? Truth is not just anything that someone utters, invoking the name of Christ as he does it. It must be the truth that Christ taught. And Christians should be certain to support only those efforts that bespeak the truth, lest they partake in the same punishment as the false prophet (Revelation 20: 10).

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Sid Womack, webmaster