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CONTENTS OF THE LETTER
The ‘elect lady’ whom John mentions in his opening greeting could have been an individual known to John, but the expression seems more likely to refer to a church. If this is so, ‘her children’ would be the church members. Whoever they were, John addresses them in a way that shows the respect and love he has for them. They are united with John and with Christians everywhere through the truth of Christ that they hold in common and the love of Christ in which they all share. Truth and love are inseparable from the gospel by which they have been saved, and do not change to suit current trends and popular philosophies (1-3).
John is thankful that his readers have maintained their loyalty to the gospel, but he wants them to remember that they must also maintain their Christian love. Those who claim to live according to God’s truth will show it in their love for one another and in their obedience to God’s commands (4-6). In this way they will strengthen themselves and so will not be easily deceived by those who give wrong teaching concerning Christ. One error that some of the travelling preachers were spreading around was that Jesus Christ did not have a truly human body. John warns that if they are allowed to preach such things in the church, their erroneous ideas will soon destroy all the good work that the church has done (7-8).
The false teachers think that their teaching about Jesus is advanced, but actually it destroys all hope of salvation. By refusing to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God who became a man, they are refusing God himself, for no one can have the Father without having the Son. Christians must not listen to such teaching nor give any encouragement or help to the teachers (9-11).
As John hopes to visit the believers soon, he will write no more at present. The group of Christians from which John writes (possibly the church in Ephesus) joins him in sending greetings (12-13).
CONTENTS OF THE LETTER
John is always glad to hear good news of Christians whom he has helped over the years. In particular, he is encouraged by the news he has heard about Gaius, namely, that he continues to grow in spiritual strength and remains faithful to the truth (1-4).
Besides being faithful to God in the things he believes and teaches, Gaius is helpful to the travelling preachers. He welcomes them to preach in the church and provides them with loving hospitality. This is true not just of those travellers who are his friends, but also of those who are strangers to him (5-6). By supporting such people, he is helping to preserve God’s truth in a time of widespread false teaching. Others in the church should follow his example (7-8).
By contrast Diotrephes acts only out of selfish ambition. He opposes the authority of John (who was an apostle as well as an elder), refuses to pass on John’s instruction to the church and makes false accusations against him. Harshly domineering and always self-assertive, he refuses to welcome the travelling preachers into the church and expels any who oppose him. If Gaius is unable to restore some harmony and order in the church, John himself may have to come and use his apostolic authority to punish Diotrephes (9-10).
John reminds Gaius of the need to stand firm for what is right and not to give in to wrongdoing merely for the sake of peace. He suggests that the respected Demetrius might be a reliable helper in this difficult time (11-12). John expects that he himself will visit Gaius soon, and this will give him the opportunity to talk over these and other matters at greater length. Meanwhile, he and his friends pass on their greetings to the church (13-15).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 John 1". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28