3 John

3j.jpgGreetings!  This is one of only 2-3 personal letters included in the Bible. 

The elder,

To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

2 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. 3 It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Verse 4 is one of my favorites.  I know he meant metaphorical children – i.e., those he had discipled in the faith.  But I like to think of it in terms of my own children as well.  See friends and loved ones walking in the truth of God brings me great joy.

5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.

9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. 10 So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

As noted in many places in the New Testament, the early church had its problems just like our churches do.  Gossiping and in-hospitality are poisonous.  Diotrephes appears to be a church leader gone wrong, and John is trying to correct the situation and encourage those who are doing right.  There are so many false teachers in churches today.  It is hard to know who is just a little off track (we all have our blind spots) and who is truly an enemy of the Gospel.

11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.

13 I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.

One of the great things about the body of Christ is that we instantly have the most important thing in common with all sorts of people in every culture in the world: Faith in Jesus.  I especially notice this on mission trips, where despite all of our differences we can worship freely and joyfully with people around the world.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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2 John

2j.jpgGreetings!  This is one of the shortest books of the Bible – only one chapter.  Study it then congratulate yourself on reading a whole book of the Bible today!  He mainly reiterates themes he expressed in the Gospel of John and in 1 John.

2 John

The elder,

To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— 2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:

3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

The “chosen lady and her children” probably means the church and its members, or perhaps an individual church. 

4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 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.

He ties love to obedience to God, just as he did in 1 John and the Gospel of John (John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”)  Doing what God commands is the right way to show love for others.

7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. 11 Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.

Also, he reiterates that Jesus is the only way (“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”).  He also teaches not to associate with false teachers.

12 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

13 The children of your chosen sister send their greetings.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

I John – III John introduction

1j.jpgGreetings!  The Bible includes three short letters that the Apostle John wrote (in addition to the Gospel of John).  The first has five chapters and the next two only have one chapter each.

They were written to encourage Christians everywhere in their faith and to combat false teachings.  The church wasn’t very old but was already fighting a two front battle: Externally, against the Romans and other persecutors, and internally against false teachers.  Depending on where you live in the world, those battles continue to this day.

Some people were teaching that Jesus was just a spirit.  John shows how Jesus had a real body.

John mentions love a lot, but he also teaches clear and important doctrines such as the exclusivity of Christ:

1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Read and enjoy these wonderful books!