Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read the entire book.
Orientation 2 John is book #24 of 27 in the New Testament, and and is one of the general letters. For more information see the Bible Overview page. Synopsis This short note is addressed to a "special woman and her children". This likely does not refer to a literal woman, but rather to a specific church and its members.
The command to love another is emphasized (5). We express love to God by following his commands (6). There are many false teachers in circulation (7) and they are antichrists. Test them to determine if they are true or false (9). Do not welcome the false teacher, feed them, or allow them to sleep in your home (10). Doing so is sharing in their wicked work (11). John has much to say, but will wait until he meets with them face to face (12).
Activity Review the tests John has provided thus far for determining whether teachers are true or false:
- 1 John 3:10: test Christian integrity: to do what is right
- 1 John 4:2: test Christian belief: Jesus came in the flesh (both when born and resurrected).
- 2 John 6: test Christian behavior: to love the brethren.
- 2 John 7: test Christian belief: Jesus will come again in the flesh (in the future).
Discussion points It was the custom of the time for traveling evangelists to seek food and housing in the community. Note that the instruction (10) does not prohibit greeting a false teacher or inviting them into your home for a conversation - but rather prohibits sheltering them or providing food.
When dealing with false teachers today, what is the limit of your cooperation? Where do you draw the line while still behaving in a Christian manner? Listen politely? Accept literature? Attempt to argue, convert, or convince them? What should we not do if we follow 10 and 11 to the letter?
Who could the "chosen sister" (13) be?
Connections Note that 1 John is essentially a big sermon, without the usual opening and closing of letters. Meanwhile, short 2 John has both an opening and a closing. One idea is that idea is that 1 John was meant for publication - as a widespread distribution, not as a personal letter. 2 John is then an enclosure - a letter to a specific church, to be included with their copy of 1 John.
For source citations see the home page. Revised April 14 2014
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