2 John

Carefulness concerning evil doctrine. Compare with 1 Corinthians to see how serious we need to be about evil Doctrine. Evil Doctrine is warned of in:
  • 2 John – concerning the person of Christ
  • Galatians – concerning the work of Christ.

The word Gnostic comes from the Greek word ‘gnosis’, which means knowledge. The word is used by historians to describe a school of thought. Gnosticism arose from a group of evil workers who claimed to have higher light, special spiritual knowledge, or “secret wisdom”. This movement began in the days of the apostles, and continued into the 5th century. Before John died the seeds of Gnosticism had been sown; perhaps even before Paul's death (1 Tim. 6:20). John’s epistles are written to defend against the inroads of Gnosticism (2 John 1:7,9). Peter warns of their false teaching, and Jude warns of its moral effect on the Christian testimony. Gnosticism is responsible for not just one heresy, but seven or eight. What is it? In this mystical system, the spiritual world was good, and material world was evil. They rejected the incarnation, because it connects the human with the divine. The Gnostics would try to separate “Jesus” from “Christ”, by making Christ an emanation (a shining out from a source) from God that never truly became flesh, or else was united to a mere man named Jesus at his baptism, but returned to God before Jesus’ death on the cross. In doing so, this evil system annulled the incarnation, the atonement, and the resurrection. The doctrine of the New Testament anticipates this irreverent and wicked system of doctrine by stating the simple truth of Christ's Person and work. Church fathers who defended against Gnosticism were Ignatius of Antioch ('Seven Epistles'), and Irenaeus of Lyons ('Against Heresies').

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Greeting (vv.1-3)

1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom “I” love in truth, and not “I” only but also all who have known the truth, 2 for the truth’s sake which abides in us and shall be with us to eternity. 3 Grace shall be with you, mercy, peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Walking in Truth and Love (vv.4-6)

4 I rejoiced greatly that I have found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received commandment from the Father. 5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as writing to thee a new commandment, but that which we have had from the beginning, that we should love one another. 6 And this is love, that we should walk according to his commandments. This is the commandment, according as ye have heard from the beginning, that ye might walk in it.

Detecting and Rejecting False Teachers (vv.7-11)

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, they who do not confess Jesus Christ coming in flesh — this is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 See to yourselves, that we may not lose what we have wrought, but may receive full wages. 9 Whosoever goes forward and abides not in the doctrine of the Christ has not God. He that abides in the doctrine, “he” has both the Father and the Son. 10 If any one come to you and bring not this doctrine, do not receive him into the house, and greet him not; 11 for he who greets him partakes in his wicked works.

Conclusion (vv.12-13)

12 Having many things to write to you, I would not with paper and ink; but hope to come to you, and to speak mouth to mouth, that our joy may be full. 13 The children of thine elect sister greet thee.