Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 2 John 1:4-11

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John's Commendation - 2 John 1:4

Commendation for Faithfulness. John expresses his joy that some of the members of the church are walking in the truth, that is, the command to love each other. Those who had left their congregation (see note on 1 John 2:19) were still disrupting the fellowship between church members and with their pastor, John.

Command to Love - 2 John 1:5-6

Command to Love. John focuses on Christ's command to love one another (see notes on 1 Jn. 2:7-8). new commandment, from the beginning. See notes on 1 Jn. 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11-12. The love command is not new, because it goes back to the Law (see note on Lev. 19:18). The example of Jesus' life and death, however, is the ultimate expression of this law (see notes on Jn. 13:34-35). Here, the beginning probably refers to Jesus' earthly ministry (see note on 1 Jn. 2:7). It could also refer to the time John's readers first heard the gospel. In 1 and 2 John, to love one another means to maintain fellowship in the teachings and practices of the Christian community, unlike the opponents who departed. This is not merely showing affection, but living with one another in a way that lines up with God's will, revealed in the Scriptures and by Christ's example.

Policy Against Housing False Teachers - 2 John 1:7-11

These verses are the core of the letter and reveal John's reason for writing. John's readers must be careful who they support with their hospitality, for deceivers, who deny Christ's full humanity, are leading other people astray as they travel around to teach (see notes on 1 Jn. 1:8; 2:26; 3:7; 4:2-3, 6).

In the flesh - 2 John 1:7

in the flesh, antichrist. See notes on 1 Jn. 2:18-19; 4:2-3. One of the key marks of Christian identity is a clear confession of apostolic Christology. In his first letter, John described those who do not believe Jesus has come from God in the flesh are not born of God, but are anti-Christ (see notes on 1 John 4:1-3). Their denial of the incarnation negates Jesus' mission to give himself as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of his people (see notes on 1 Jn. 1:7; 2:2; 3:5; 4:10). Those false confessors who left the fellowship and "went out into the world" are still trying to deceive the faithful.

Lose reward- 2 John 1:8

lose, reward. See BC 24. John is concerned, not that church members will lose their salvation, rather, that they will lose rewards in heaven (see notes on Matt. 6:20; Mk. 9:41; Lk. 19:16-19). Having worked so hard together to cultivate their congregation in the ways of Christ, they could compromise their congregation if they allow the false teachers to lead other people astray. Some Greek manuscripts say what we have worked for, as John has worked hard with them to build this community. He does not want them to lose the ground they have gained through well-intentioned but harmful practical support offered to false teachers in the form of hospitality.

2 John 1:9-10

See WCF 10.4.

Runs ahead - 2 John 1:9

goes on ahead. The teaching of John's opponents may have offered a "further and deeper spirituality" than John's gospel. But John's imagery warns readers they should not leave behind the gospel they heard from eyewitnesses in the beginning. John's point here is to urge his readers to resist false teaching that separates knowing God the Father from knowing his Son, Jesus Christ (see notes on 1 Jn. 5:12-13). On Father and Son, see note on Jn. 14:23. Both the Father and the Son indwell a Christian through the Holy Spirit.

False teachers - 2 John 1:10-11

See WCF 20.4. In these verses, John is telling his readers how they can practically deal with itinerant false teachers. In ancient culture, travelers depended on hospitality from family and friends. However, by accepting a person into their home, a host would be saying to the rest of the community that their guest was worthy of respect. John warns his readers not to host false teachers who are trying to disrupt and deceive Christian communities.

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