2 John Commentary

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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Overview Chart - 2 John- Charles Swindoll

2 John 1:1 The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth,

KJV  2 John 1:1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

BGT  2 John 1:1 Ὁ πρεσβύτερος ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτῆς, οὓς ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος ἀλλὰ καὶ πάντες οἱ ἐγνωκότες τὴν ἀλήθειαν,

NET  2 John 1:1 From the elder, to an elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth (and not I alone, but also all those who know the truth),

CSB  2 John 1:1 The Elder: To the elect lady and her children: I love all of you in the truth-- and not only I, but also all who have come to know the truth--

ESV  2 John 1:1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth,

NIV  2 John 1:1 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--

NLT  2 John 1:1 This letter is from John, the elder. I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth-- as does everyone else who knows the truth--

NRS  2 John 1:1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth,

NJB  2 John 1:1 From the Elder: my greetings to the Lady, the chosen one, and to her children, whom I love in truth -- and I am not the only one, for so do all who have come to know the Truth -- and I am not the only one, for so so do all who have come to know the Truth-

NAB  2 John 1:1 The Presbyter to the chosen Lady and to her children whom I love in truth-- and not only I but also all who know the truth--

YLT  2 John 1:1 The Elder to the choice Kyria, and to her children, whom I love in truth, and not I only, but also all those having known the truth,

MIT  2 John 1:1 This letter comes from the senior [surviving apostle] to a chosen lady and her children. I love all of you truly. I not only love you, but also all of those who understand the truth,

  • elder: 1Pe 5:1 3Jn 1:1 
  • to the chosen lady and her children: 2Jn 1:5,13 Lu 1:3 Eph 1:4-5 1Th 1:3-4 2Th 2:13,14 1Pe 1:2 
  • whom I love in truth: 2Jn 1:2,3 1Pe 1:22,23 1Jn 3:18 3Jn 1:1 
  • also all who know the truth: John 8:32 Ga 2:5,14 Gal  3:1 Gal 5:7 Col 1:5 2Th 2:13 1Ti 2:3-4 Heb 10:26 1Jn 2:21 
  • 2 John Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

1 Peter 1:22=23 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

3 John 1:1   The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth

John 8:31-32 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (Where do we find truth? One source, the only sure source, is God's Word of Truth - 2Ti 2:15b, Jas 1:18).

Colossians 1:5  because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel

Galatians 2:5; But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.

Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? 

Galatians 5:7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?

2 Thessalonians 2:13  But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

1 Timothy 2:3-4  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Hebrews 10:26  For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

1 John 2:21  I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.

1 John 3:18  Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.


Second and Third John are the shortest books in the NT and both would qualify as "letters" in the sense that they could have "been written on a single papyrus sheet of standard size (about 25 × 20 cm)." (Hiebert)

MacArthur sums up the purpose of 2 John - Second John deals with the same problem as 1 John (see Introduction to 1 John: Background and Setting). False teachers influenced by the beginnings of Gnostic thought were threatening the church (2Jn 1:7; cf. 1 John 2:18,19,22,23; 4:1–3).

Wilkinson - The basic theme of this brief letter is steadfastness in the practice and purity of the apostolic doctrine that the readers “have heard from the beginning” (2Jn 1:6). (BORROW Talk Thru the Bible)

Spurgeon in his study notes - Second John reminds readers of the high priority of the most basic Christian outlook and activity—mutual love. Yet another priority is no less critical—true Christian teaching. This epistle strikes a short but strong blow for steadfastness, assuring that attentive readers would take the right steps to “receive a full reward” (2Jn 1:8). Second John is an excellent example of hortatory or exhortation discourse, which has the intent of moving readers to action

Hiebert - The writing of 2 John was occasioned by the writer’s knowledge that certain heretical teachers, posing as Christian missionaries, were planning to work in the Christian community where this Christian lady lived. John knew that she was a Christian lady, known for her hospitality, who made it a practice to entertain itinerant preachers visiting the community. Aware of the efforts of these false teachers to gain entrance to such homes to propagate their heretical teachings, he warns her not to welcome them into her home and thus encourage their efforts, lest she become a partaker of their sins. The letter was prompted by John’s pastoral concern for his dear friends. Her Christian home, as a sanctuary of God’s truth, must keep out all that was contrary to His revealed truth....The primary purpose of this letter is to give warning against extending indiscriminate hospitality to traveling teachers whose soundness in the Christian faith is justly questionable (The Epistles of John)

The elder (presbuteros) to the chosen (elect - eklektos) lady and her children (teknon), whom I love (agapao - present tense) in truth (aletheia); and not only I, but also all who know (ginosko) the truth (aletheia) - While the elder does not identify himself by name, virtually all writers agree that this is the apostle John (see note below; see MacArthur's Introduction). John is not claiming a spiritual office of "elder" (or presbyter), but by now is in fact quite elderly (probably around 90 years old). Note John's statement love in truth which speaks of love not based on sentimentally, but upon the firm foundation of truth. As he will go on to emphasize, while love is a crucial component in the life of every believer, it must not be unhinged from truth. The manifestation of Biblical love must always balanced by Biblical truth. So if someone seeks to willfully destroy the truth of the Gospel of Christ, one is not to give them sentimental love, but in fact is to shun such an individual (2Jn 1:10).

Barclay - Christian truth tells us the way in which we ought to love. Agape is the word for Christian love. Agape is not passion with its ebb and flow, its flicker and its flame; nor is it an easy-going and indulgent sentimentalism. And it is not an easy thing to acquire or a light thing to exercise (ED: IN FACT SINCE IT IS LOVE LIKE GOD LOVES, RELIANCE ON THE SPIRIT IS THE ONLY WAY TO EXERCISE IT!). Agape is undefeatable goodwill; it is the attitude towards others which, no matter what they do, will never feel bitterness and will always seek their highest good. There is a love which seeks to possess; there is a love which softens and enervates; there is a love which withdraws a man from the battle; there is a love which shuts its eyes to faults and to ways which end in ruin. But Christian love will always seek the highest good of others and will accept all the difficulties, all the problems and all the toil which that search involves. It is of significance that John writes in love to warn.

Barclay - Christian truth tells us the reason for the obligation of love. In his first letter, John clearly lays it down. He has talked of the suffering, sacrificing, incredibly generous love of God; and then he says, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another" (1 John 4:11). The Christian must love because he is loved. He cannot accept the love of God without showing love to the men God loves. Because God loves us, we must love others with the same generous and sacrificial love.

Vine on in truth - The absence of the article here indicates the meaning “in the sphere of truth,” (locative of sphere) that is, in all sincerity, in contrast to a profession of love that was actually hypocritical.

The Truth makes true love possible
-- B F Wescott

Brian Bell - My title I choose...Who’s That Lady? Might stir up an old song by the Isley Brothers, but it begs the question regarding who this postcard was mailed to. There are 2 equally extreme misconceptions that many people have concerning what it means to be a Christian or to live the Christian life. 1. One view says, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere and loving.” 2. The other one says, “It doesn’t matter how you live as long as you believe the truth.” a) The reason why both views are just as wrong is because the Word of God binds both truth and love inseparably together. [They are friends, not enemies] b) Nowhere will you see this perspective more clearly, than in 2nd John.

Some like John MacArthur and Charles Swindoll see the chosen lady and her children as literally referring to a known woman and her physical children. Others see this as a figurative reference to a local church and its members. Either interpretation is possible and one cannot be dogmatic (in my opinion). 

Hiebert - The two terms denoting the recipient, “unto the elect lady” (eklektē kuria), may be rendered with a definite article “the elect lady,” but more probably the absence of the article is intended to convey a qualitative implication, described here as “an elect lady,” recognized as among those “chosen” of God. The fact that John also uses this adjective of her sister in verse 13 indicates that both sisters were recognized as believers by grace, chosen out of the godless world around them as acknowledged members of the family of God. The contents of the letter make it obvious that the adjective “elect” was more than an expression of respect or flattery but is descriptive of their true spiritual status. The source of their election was God’s grace, not human will (Eph. 1:4–5), but they had freely responded to God’s call in their hearts and lives through the preaching of the gospel. (Ibid)

Wilkinson has an interesting comment that Paul's command “Let him who thinks he stands take heed (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12+) "could well stand as a subtitle for John’s little epistle. The recipients, a chosen lady and her children, were obviously standing. They were walking in truth, remaining faithful to the commandments they had received from the Father. John is deeply pleased to be able to commend them. But he takes nothing for granted. Realizing that standing is just one bad step removed from falling, he hesitates not at all to issue a reminder: love one another." (BORROW Talk Thru the Bible)

Chosen refers to God's election of this lady to believe in the Gospel and become a child of God. Election is not a popular topic as so many feel that it is unfair of God to elect some to salvation. In thinking about God's election it is critical to remember that chosen does not necessarily imply the rejection of those not chosen. In the mystery of mysteries while Christ's Death was sufficient for all men (see unlimited atonement), and is effective in the case of the elect, yet men are still treated as responsible, being capable of the will and power to choose.

C. H. Spurgeon, when asked how he reconciled God’s election with man's free will replied, “I never have to reconcile friends!” Touché! He also commented that…

You might go for fifty years to some places of worship, and never hear the word “elect” even mentioned. Modern ministers seem to be ashamed of the grand old doctrine of election; but it was not so with the apostles and the early Christians, they were accustomed to speak of one another as the elect of God. The doctrine of election was most precious to their hearts, and therefore Peter writes: “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,”

The first Christians were not so afraid of the doctrine of election as some are now-a-days. Peter was not ashamed to address the saints as the elect of God, for so, indeed, they are, if they be saints at all. It is he that chose them, not because they were sanctified, but that they might be sanctified — chose them to eternal life through sanctification. Oh! happy are they who by grace have made their calling and election sure (2Pe 1:10+), and now ascribe all the glory of their salvation to the sovereign choice of God. “Grace unto you, and peace be multiplied.”

John MacArthur adds this comment on chosen lady explaining "The only other time outside of this epistle that it is used of an individual is in Romans 16:13, where Paul described Rufus as a "choice [from eklektos]man in the Lord." John's description of this woman (and her sister; 2Jn 1:13) as chosen reflects the biblical truth that God sovereignly chooses believers for salvation (in addition to the verses cited above, see Mk 13:20; Acts 13:48; Ro. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:4-5, 11; 2Th 2:13; 2Ti 1:9; Jas 2:5). Unlike those who hold a weak view of divine sovereignty, the New Testament writers did not hesitate to refer to believers as "the elect." In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself did so in Matthew 24:22: "Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short." The term is no less appropriate than the more popular terms "child of God," "saved," "born again," "believer," or "Christian." (See MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Steven Cole - Both in 2Jn 1:1 and in 2Jn 1:13, John uses the adjective chosen to refer to these two churches. This does not refer to our choosing God, but rather to His choosing us to be His people. The initiative in salvation lies with God’s sovereign choice. When you choose to believe in Jesus Christ, it is because God has first chosen you for salvation. God did not choose us because He saw that we would choose Him or because He saw great potential in us. Rather, He chose us through grace alone. (ED: cf Jn 6:44+) This robs us of any source of pride. Why does John emphasize God’s choice both at the start and close of this short letter? I believe that it is because the reality that God chose us to be His children gives comfort when we are under attack or going through trials. These churches had gone through turmoil when the false teachers caused confusion and division. It would be a comfort to be reminded that God had initiated their salvation and He would complete what He started (Phil. 1:6). The false teachers would not and could not undermine what God sovereignly purposes to do in His church.

Related Resources:

Know the truth - Know (ginosko) is in the perfect tense indicating that they had come to know (experientially) the truth in the past and still know it (it endures). What truth did they come to know? That Jesus is the Christ (fully God, fully Man) and the Gospel of Christ is good news. How did they come to know the truth? Someone told them the truth about Jesus and they believed (by grace) that truth. What does know in the perfect tense say about assurance of salvation? The perfect tense supports the premise that once (truly) saved, always saved. 

Note that truth and love go together;
Christians cannot have fellowship where there is false doctrine. 

-- Warren Wiersbe

Truth is clearly a keyword in the initial section of 2 John occurring 5x in 4v - 2Jn 1:1, 2, 3, 4. Truth is found 5 more times in John's third epistle. Clearly the impetus of John's two one chapter epistles is to put truth on full display with the implication that truth was under attack by the adversary (Jn 8:44) and his workers of iniquity. The message from John's repeated use of truth should remind us all that the best remedy for false teaching is the whole truth of the Word of Truth and nothing but the truth. Amen! 

Elder (4245presbuteros the comparative form of présbus = an old man or an ambassador) referred to men who were older or more senior with no negative connotations but rather a sense of venerability. Presbuteros is transliterated into English as “presbyter” (a leader in one of the Jewish communities--especially a member of the Sanhedrin--or of the early Christian churches) and from which the word “priest” (from Late Latin presbyter) was derived.

Chosen (1588eklektos from verb eklego which in middle voice [eklegomai] means select or pick out for one's self which is derived from ek =out + lego =call) means literally the "called out ones" or "chosen out ones". The idea of eklektos is the ones who have been chosen for one's self, selected out of a larger number.

Eklektos - 22x in 22v - The NAS renders ekletos as = choice(2), choice man(1), chosen(1), chosen(9), chosen one(1), elect(8). Note however that the proper interpretation of the meaning of elect in each of these NT uses depends on the context. Mt 22:14; 24:22, 24, 31; Mk 13:20, 22, 27; Lk 18:7; 23:35; Ro 8:33; 16:13; Col 3:12; 1Ti 5:21; 2Ti 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1Pe 1:1; 2:4, 6, 9; 2Jn 1:1, 13; Rev 17:14.

Children (5043teknon from  tikto = bring forth, bear children, be born) is strictly a child produced, male or female, son or daughter. Teknon naturally includes learning from mentors – which is very positive as it exalts depending on the Lord Himself. (See 1 Ti 1:18; 2 Ti 1:2; Philemon 10). The greater our dependence on the Lord, the greater we develop in knowing Him.  Jesus Himself set the model for us when saying, "I do nothing unless I see My Father doing it first" (Jn 5:19). Teknon is thus a child as viewed in relation to his or her parents or family. In the plural, teknon is used generically of descendants, posterity or children. Teknon is "a child living in willing dependence" which illustrates how believers must live in utter dependence upon the Lord moment-by-moment.  They draw guidance (care, nurture) from their heavenly Father as Christ speaks His rhēma-word within to impart faith (cf. Ro 8:16,17 with Ro 10:17, Gk text). Ironically we only grow up, by growing in dependence on our heavenly Father!  Doing this always brings eternal transformation ("spiritual formation" in Christ) – i.e. more conformity to Him as we are transformed from "glory to glory" (2 Cor 3:18).  Teknon emphasizes the childlike (not childish) attitude of heart that willingly (gladly) submits to the Father. Note that another  Living in faith transforms the believer from child to Bride (cf. Eph 5:27)!  We successfully make this "journey" by discerning what pleases the Lord by hearing His voice and doing what we hear. The goal of life is growing from child to the glorified bride of Christ (cf. Rev 19:7-9)! While the Lord is Creator of all people, He is only the Father of His born-again children.  Salvation means a believer is spiritually begotten of God (re-born, adopted by the Lord).  This brings the new status of being in Christ, i.e. belonging to the Lord as His true child (téknon).

Love (verb) (25) agapao (noun - agape) Note that agapao is a verb and by its verbal nature calls for action. This quality of love is not an emotion but is an action initiated by a volitional choice (Spirit initiated). Love not from affection but based on a decision of the will. Not an impulse from the feelings. Does not run with the natural inclinations thus needs supernatural energy to carry out. Loves the unlovely and unlovable.  A love that is lacking in much of the body of Christ. Sacrificial love exemplified by Jesus Who loved us enough to leave heaven, come to earth, take on a human form, be spit on and mocked, crowned with a crown of thorns, nailed to a cross, abused, and have a spear thrust into His side. He loved the church enough to die. That's sacrificial love. 

To unconditionally, sacrificially love. The love God Himself is. Not sentimental or emotional but obedient as act of will desiring another's highest good. Unconditional so still given if it's not received/returned! Agape gives & is not withheld.This quality of love is not activated by any virtue in the person loved. 

Agapao is primarily matter of will rather than emotions & the     fact we are commanded to love indicates that it is something we can choose to do. If it were an uncontrollable emotion that swept over us at unexpected moments, we could scarcely be held accountable. This does not deny, however, that the emotions can be involved. Agapao is impossible for unconverted to manifest this divine love & in fact it is impossible even for a believer to demonstrate it in his own strength. It can only be exhibited by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Love's perfect expression on earth in the Lord Jesus Christ & not surprisingly Greek literature throws little light on its distinctive meaning in NT

Wuest writes that "Agapao speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it. It springs from an apprehension of the preciousness of an object. It is a love of esteem and approbation. The quality of this love is determined by the character of the one who loves, and that of the object loved.

Truth (225aletheia  from a = indicates following word has the opposite meaning ~ without + lanthano = to be hidden or concealed, to escape notice, cp our English "latent" from Latin = to lie hidden) has the literal sense of that which contains nothing hidden. Aletheia is that which is not concealed. Aletheia is that which that is seen or expressed as it really is (this idea is discussed more below). The basic understanding of aletheia is that it is the manifestation of a hidden reality (eg, click discussion of Jesus as "the Truth"). For example, when you are a witness in a trial, the court attendant says "Raise your right hand. Do you swear that you will tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?" And you say, "I do" and you sit down. The question the court attendant is asking is "Are you willing to come into this courtroom and manifest something that is hidden to us that only you know so that you will bear evidence to that?" Therefore when you speak the truth, you are manifesting a "hidden reality". Does that make sense? An parallel example in Scripture is the case of the woman in the crowd who had touched Jesus (Read context = Mk 5:24-25, 26-27, 28-29, 30, 31-32), but when she became "aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth " (Mk 5:33) and nothing but the truth. She did not lie. She spoke no falsehoods.

Truth then is the correspondence between a reality and a declaration which professes to set forth or describe the reality. To say it another way, words spoken or written are true when they correspond with objective reality. Persons and things are true when they correspond with their profession (which we describe with words like integrity, sincerity, non-hypocritical, etc). In other words, "what you see is what you get". Hence a truth is a declaration which has corresponding reality, or a reality which is correctly set forth. Since God is Himself the great reality, that which correctly sets forth His nature is pre-eminently the Truth of Creation (Natural Revelation) and the Truth of Scripture (Special Revelation). Thus it is not surprising that rebellious, sinful men actively hold down or suppress the Truth of Creation (and the glorious Creator) (Ro 1:18+) and even exchange the truth, the clearly manifested (and objective) reality (Creation) for the lie (Ro 1:25+).

Aletheia - 111x in 98v - certainly*(2), most(1), rightly*(1), truly*(2), truth(104). (NOTE FREQUENT USE OF "TRUTH" IN JOHN'S WRITINGS - EMPHASIZED IN BOLD FONT) - Matt. 22:16; Mk. 5:33; Mk. 12:14; Mk. 12:32; Lk. 4:25; Lk. 20:21; Lk. 22:59; Jn. 1:14; Jn. 1:17; Jn. 3:21; Jn. 4:23; Jn. 4:24; Jn. 5:33; Jn. 8:32; Jn. 8:40; Jn. 8:44; Jn. 8:45; Jn. 8:46; Jn. 14:6; Jn. 14:17; Jn. 15:26; Jn. 16:7; Jn. 16:13; Jn. 17:17; Jn. 17:19; Jn. 18:37; Jn. 18:38; Acts 4:27; Acts 10:34; Acts 26:25; Rom. 1:18; Rom. 1:25; Rom. 2:2; Rom. 2:8; Rom. 2:20; Rom. 3:7; Rom. 9:1; Rom. 15:8; 1 Co. 5:8; 1 Co. 13:6; 2 Co. 4:2; 2 Co. 6:7; 2 Co. 7:14; 2 Co. 11:10; 2 Co. 12:6; 2 Co. 13:8; Gal. 2:5; Gal. 2:14; Gal. 5:7; Eph. 1:13; Eph. 4:21; Eph. 4:24; Eph. 4:25; Eph. 5:9; Eph. 6:14; Phil. 1:18; Col. 1:5; Col. 1:6; 2 Thess. 2:10; 2 Thess. 2:12; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Tim. 2:4; 1 Tim. 2:7; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Tim. 4:3; 1 Tim. 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Tim. 2:18; 2 Tim. 2:25; 2 Tim. 3:7; 2 Tim. 3:8; 2 Tim. 4:4; Tit. 1:1; Tit. 1:14; Heb. 10:26; Jas. 1:18; Jas. 3:14; Jas. 5:19; 1 Pet. 1:22; 2 Pet. 1:12; 2 Pet. 2:2; 1 Jn. 1:6; 1 Jn. 1:8; 1 Jn. 2:4; 1 Jn. 2:21; 1 Jn. 3:18; 1 Jn. 3:19; 1 Jn. 4:6; 1 Jn. 5:6; 2 Jn. 1:1; 2 Jn. 1:2; 2 Jn. 1:3; 2 Jn. 1:4; 3 Jn. 1:1; 3 Jn. 1:3; 3 Jn. 1:4; 3 Jn. 1:8; 3 Jn. 1:12

Wilkinson on the author of 2 John - Because of the similarity of the contents and circumstances of Second and Third John, the authorship of both will be considered here. These letters were not widely circulated at the beginning because of their brevity and their specific address to a small number of people. This limited circulation, combined with the fact that they have few distinctive ideas to add that are not found in First John, meant that they were seldom quoted in the patristic writings of the early church. Their place in the canon of New Testament books was disputed for a time, but it is significant that there was no question in the minds of those church fathers who lived closest to the time of John that these two epistles were written by the apostle. The second-century writers Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria entertained no other view. Only as the details of their origin were forgotten did doubts arise, but the positive evidence in their favor eventually won for them the official recognition of the whole church.
It is obvious that the recipients of Second and Third John well knew the author’s identity, although he did not use his name. Instead, he designated himself in the first verse of both letters as “the elder.” This is not an argument against the Johannine authorship of Second and Third John, since the context of these epistles reveals that his authority was far greater than that of an elder in a local church. The apostle Peter also referred to himself as an elder (1 Pet. 5:1), and John uses the distinguishing term “the elder.”
The similarity of style, vocabulary, structure, and mood between Second and Third John makes it clear that these letters were written by the same author. In addition, both (especially Second John) bear strong resemblances to First John and to the fourth Gospel. Thus, the external and internal evidence lends clear support to the traditional view that these epistles were written by the apostle John. (BORROW Talk Thru the Bible)

2 John 1:1-6 Ring The Bell

The story is told of a king who had a silver bell placed in a high tower of his palace early in his reign. He announced that he would ring the bell whenever he was happy so that his subjects would know of his joy.

The people listened for the sound of that silver bell, but it remained silent. Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, and months into years. But no sound of the bell rang out to indicate that the king was happy.

The king grew old and gray, and eventually he lay on his deathbed in the palace. As some of his weeping subjects gathered around him, he discovered that he had really been loved by his people all through the years. At last the king was happy. Just before he died, he reached up and pulled the rope that rang the silver bell.

Think of it--a lifetime of unhappiness because he didn't know that he was warmly loved and accepted by his loyal subjects.

Like that monarch, many lonely souls live out their days without the joy of knowing they are loved and appreciated by others. Do you know people who need an encouraging word? If so, tell them how much they mean to you. It may be just what's needed to bring joy into their lives. --R W DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Someone gave me a cheering word
Of which I was in need,
And faith was bolstered once again
By just that tiny deed. --Sheldon

The human spirit rings with hope at the sound of an encouraging word.

F F Bruce - Who Is the Chosen Lady?

The little books of 2 and 3 John may well have served as cover letters to personalize the general letter 1 John. Whatever their purpose, they are addressed to individual people or groups. But what or who is this “lady” to whom 2 John is addressed? Why would the elder write such a letter to a lady? What was his relationship to her? Was she a real lady at all? And if this is a lady, what implications does that have for church leadership?

Three different views have been held on this topic. First, some of the earliest commentators on this text read the Greek as if “chosen” or “lady” were the personal names of the woman receiving the letter. In the first case her name would be Electa (as in Rom 16:13), and in the second Kyria (which would be the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic name Martha and does occur in Greek literature). But unfortunately there is no definite article with this Greek term, so it is unlikely that it is a proper name.

Second, another group of scholars have seen this as an honorable title for a certain woman leader in the church, although she remains anonymous (as does the author, who simply uses his title “the elder”). This would mean that a woman was serving at least as a house-church leader and possibly a city-church leader at the time 2 John was written. Such a situation is certainly possible, for women such as Phoebe (Rom 16:1–2), Euodia and Syntyche (Phil 4:2) probably served in such capacities. However, the decision on the meaning of the term (as well as that of “your chosen sister” in 2 John 13) depends on the context of this particular letter, not on historical possibility.

Third, and most likely, is the interpretation that the “lady” is a church. It is not that the second interpretation is impossible, but that the switch in Greek to the second person plural in 2 John 8, 10 and 12 (before returning to the second person singular in 2 John 13) appears to indicate that the elder has a group in mind, not an individual. Likewise the situation in 2 John 9–11 appears to fit best in a group of house churches, not with a single individual. In fact, 2 John 9–11 would be rather strong words to address to a person whom one “loves” and who has children “walking in the truth” (although not all the “children” are). Therefore, although it is possible to explain the plurals as references to the woman and her children, the letter fits better as a message to a church, which is in turn greeted by the church in which the elder is presently residing.

The background for this interpretation is clear. Jerusalem is often seen in both testaments as a mother (see Is 54:1–8; Gal 4:25; Rev 12:17; 21:2). Furthermore, the church is viewed as the bride of Christ (see 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:22–32). In fact, if she is his bride, the title here is especially apt, for she is certainly chosen in that she has heard and responded to the call of God, and she is therefore a “mistress” (the more archaic translation of the Greek term translated “lady”), which is the feminine form of “lord” (“lord” in Greek is kyrios and “lady” is kyria). She participates in the rule of her husband. As in the biblical passages in which a city’s or a nation’s citizens are her children (such as Mt 2:18 citing Jer 31:15), so the individual church members here are the children.

Why would the elder write so cryptically? One reason would be to bring out his theology of the church, making it meaningful by making it personal. Another reason would be to avoid naming names that would identify the church for Roman authorities. If this letter fell into the wrong hands it would look like a relatively innocent personal letter, while it was really a letter supporting a church. Even beyond its content, then, it gives us an example of supervisory support in the early church (when there were no offices of bishop or superintendent, which were later developments in the history of the church)1 and of the warm mutual relationships among churches. (Online Hard Sayings of the Bible)

James Smith -  2 John

This is a private personal letter from the aged Apostle John, addressed to an unknown Christian woman, and her pious family. This is the only Epistle in the New Testament addressed exclusively to a lady. There is a tradition that the lady addressed was Martha of Bethany. “The Greek Hyria (Lady, verse 1), answers to the Hebrew Martha,” wrote Bengel. If this be true, the “sister” referred to in verse 13 would be Mary. It was written specifically to warn this lady and her family of some false teachers (verse 10).

LOVE AND TRUTH 2 John 1, 2

The word “truth” is met with five times in this short Epistle of but thirteen verses, and forms its key-word.

I. The Source of Love. Truth. Most versions print truth with a capital “T,” Truth. Certainly this is one of the Lord’s Names, and He is the source of all true love.

II. The Reality of Love. That is, the nature of love commended here is true love, love that is no mere pretence or make-believe.

III. The Breadth of Love. Love cannot be confined to one. The Elder (John must have been about 90 years old when he wrote this Epistle) not only loved “The elect lady,” but also “her children,” and this pious family was not only loved by the aged apostle, but also by “all they that have known the truth.”

IV. The Realisation of Love. R. gives “understand” for “known” in verse 1. This is to say, those who have realised truth and the love of God in Christ to themselves love others.

V. The Inwardness of Love. “Which dwelleth in us,” God’s love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Is it truth or love that is meant here? Well, He is both Truth and Love, and as both dwells within us and with us.

2 John 1:2 for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:

KJV  2 John 1:2 For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

BGT  2 John 1:2 διὰ τὴν ἀλήθειαν τὴν μένουσαν ἐν ἡμῖν καὶ μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν ἔσται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.

NET  2 John 1:2 because of the truth that resides in us and will be with us forever.

CSB  2 John 1:2 because of the truth that remains in us and will be with us forever.

ESV  2 John 1:2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

NIV  2 John 1:2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:

NLT  2 John 1:2 because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.

NRS  2 John 1:2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

NJB  2 John 1:2 because of the truth that remains in us and will be with us for ever.

NAB  2 John 1:2 because of the truth that dwells in us and will be with us forever.

YLT  2 John 1:2 because of the truth that is remaining in us, and with us shall be to the age,

MIT  2 John 1:2 because the truth remains in us and will be with us always.

  • for the sake of the truth: 1Co 9:23 2Co 4:5 
  • which abides in us: Joh 15:7 Col 3:16 2Ti 1:5 1Pe 1:23-25 1Jn 2:14,17
  • 2 John Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

John 14:6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 14:17  that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 

John 15:26  “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,

John 16:13  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

2 Corinthians 6:7 in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left,

Colossians 1:5;  because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel

2 Timothy 2:15  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


For the sake of the truth (aletheiawhich abides (meno - present tense) in us and will be with us forever (aion - literally "to the age") - Truth is not like food which enters our mouth and is eliminated. Spiritual truth enters one's heart and mind and is irrevocably planted there and preserved there by the Spirit of truth Who abides in every believer forever. In John 14:16+ Jesus gave a promise to the disciples declaring “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever (aion)." As an aside, this truth about the eternal, internal presence of truth should also undergird to some degree every believer's assurance of salvation.

William MacDonald on for (because of) the sake of the truth Because of the truth has two possible explanations. It may refer to the motive for loving all the saints, or it may give John's reason for writing this Letter. Both are valid meanings. (BORROW Believer's Bible Commentary

Hiebert - The expression “for the truth’s sake” (dia with the accusative, “because of, for the sake of”) explains why John and all orthodox believers feel this love for this chosen lady. Their relationship to “the truth” is experiential and abiding; it “dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.”...God’s truth, embodied in Christ and vitalized in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, by its nature is unchanging; it “shall be with us for ever.” (Ibid)

Smalley says "truth is the motivation as well as the context of all Christian love." (BORROW Epistles of John)

Brian Bell - Problem: It’s possible this lady/church’s hospitality may have been hindering the cause of the gospel. a) Lacking discernment, she had allowed her love to “spill over” the boundaries of truth.

Regarding the meaning of the truth MacDonald adds "Here the truth may refer to: (1) the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, "I am... the truth" (John 14:6); (2) the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit is truth" (1 Jn. 5:6; see John 14:16, 17); or (3) the Bible. "Your word is truth" (John 17:17). Should we not pause to marvel at our being sustained by these Three, and their being with us forever!"  (BORROW Believer's Bible Commentary

Lehman Strauss - Not far from our branch church in Southfield there stands a community church. One of its members invited one of our members to visit there. He said, “Our church is the kind where Jews, Roman Catholics, and Protestants worship together and no one is ever of-fended.” I can tell you now that no true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ can remain in that church without surrendering the truth. John emphasizes faithfulness to the truth. Paul withdrew himself from them that “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:11–14). And so must we! It is the truth of God that binds hearts together because the truth is the basis of all divine righteousness, thus “we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8).

Utley "which abides in us" This is a present active participle of one of John's favorite terms to describe believers, "abide." See Special Topic at John 2:10. This seems to refer to the indwelling Holy Spirit (cf. Romans 8:9; or Son, Romans 8:9-10). All the Persons of the Trinity also abide in/with/by believers (cf. John 14:23). "will be with us forever" Truth abides in and remains with all believers forever. What a powerful statement of assurance! 

Related Resources:

Abides (continues, endures, remains, stays) (3306meno  in simple terms means to remain in the same place or position over a period of time. It means to reside, stay, live, lodge, tarry or dwell. Menō describes something that remains where it is, continues in a fixed state, or endures.

Meno can mean "to take up permanent residence" or "to make yourself at home." Meno is the root of the Greek noun mone which means mansion or habitation (Jn 14:2, 23). More than one half of the uses of meno are by John in his Gospel and letters. 

Louw-Nida - 1. stay, remain, abide (to remain in the same place over a period of time) (Acts 27:31); 2. wait for, remain in a place or state, and expect something in future (Acts 20:5); 3. continue to exist, remain in existence (Mt 11:23); 4. keep on, continue in an activity or state, as an aspect of an action (2Jn 9) (BORROW Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : based on semantic domains)

Analytical Lexicon - (1) intransitively; (a) of someone or something remaining where it is remain in a place, stay, tarry (Mt 10.11), opposite exerchomai (go away, depart); (b) in a more permanent sense dwell, live, lodge (Jn 1.38); (c) figuratively, as remaining unchanged in a sphere or realm continue, abide, remain (2Ti 2.13); (d) figuratively, as remaining in a fixed state or position keep on, remain, abide (1Cor 7.11; Heb 7.3); (e) of persons continuing on through time last, remain, continue to live (Jn 12.34), opposite apothnesko (die, perish); (f) of things continuing on through time last, be permanent, endure (Heb 13.14); (2) transitively; (a) as expecting someone or something wait for, await (Acts 20.5); (b) of things, such as danger, that threaten await, face (Acts 20.23) (BORROW Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament)

Spurgeon - Morning and Evening -  “For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever.” —2 John 2

Once let the truth of God obtain an entrance into the human heart and subdue the whole man unto itself, no power human or infernal can dislodge it. We entertain it not as a guest but as the master of the house—this is a Christian necessity, he is no Christian who doth not thus believe. Those who feel the vital power of the gospel, and know the might of the Holy Ghost as he opens, applies, and seals the Lord’s Word, would sooner be torn to pieces than be rent away from the gospel of their salvation. What a thousand mercies are wrapped up in the assurance that the truth will be with us for ever; will be our living support, our dying comfort, our rising song, our eternal glory; this is Christian privilege, without it our faith were little worth. Some truths we outgrow and leave behind, for they are but rudiments and lessons for beginners, but we cannot thus deal with Divine truth, for though it is sweet food for babes, it is in the highest sense strong meat for men. The truth that we are sinners is painfully with us to humble and make us watchful; the more blessed truth that whosoever believeth on the Lord Jesus shall be saved, abides with us as our hope and joy. Experience, so far from loosening our hold of the doctrines of grace, has knit us to them more and more firmly; our grounds and motives for believing are now more strong, more numerous than ever, and we have reason to expect that it will be so till in death we clasp the Saviour in our arms.

Wherever this abiding love of truth can be discovered, we are bound to exercise our love. No narrow circle can contain our gracious sympathies, wide as the election of grace must be our communion of heart. Much of error may be mingled with truth received, let us war with the error but still love the brother for the measure of truth which we see in him; above all let us love and spread the truth ourselves.

2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.  

KJV  2 John 1:3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

BGT  2 John 1:3 ἔσται μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν χάρις ἔλεος εἰρήνη παρὰ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ παρὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐν ἀληθείᾳ καὶ ἀγάπῃ.

NET  2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

CSB  2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

ESV  2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love.

NIV  2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love.

NLT  2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ-- the Son of the Father-- will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.

NRS  2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, in truth and love.

NJB  2 John 1:3 In our life of truth and love, we shall have grace, faithful love and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father.

NAB  2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son in truth and love.

YLT  2 John 1:3 there shall be with you grace, kindness, peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

MIT  2 John 1:3 With us there will be grace, mercy, and peace, expressed in truth and love, from Father God and from Jesus Christ, his son.

  • Grace: Ro 1:7 1Ti 1:2 
  • the Son: 1Jn 2:23,24 4:10 
  • in truth: 2Jn 1:1 Zec 8:19 Ga 5:6 1Ti 1:14 2Ti 1:13
  • 2 John Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Timothy 1:2  (THESE TWO PASTORAL EPISTLES ARE ONLY PLACE OTHER THAN 2 JOHN THAT HAVE "GRACE, MERCY AND PEACE") To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 

2 Timothy 1:2  To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 

1 Peter 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

1 John 3:18   Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

Philippians 1:9-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, (AKA "TRUTH") 10 (WHAT'S THE PURPOSE?) so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.


Grace (charis), mercy (eleos) and peace (eirene) will be with us - Normally grace in the beginning of a letter (as with Paul) is in the form of a prayer or benediction, but here it is a declaration of what is true about us (believers). His phrase "will be with us" (this verb is first in Greek sentence for emphasis) speaks of John's confidence in his declaration of the abiding presence of grace, mercy and peace. John includes himself and other believers in this divine "triumvirate," for even apostles stand continually in need of these three great divine provisions. Note the order. Grace is foundational and is our great need for we are unworthy beggars (Ro 5:6), so God gives us what we do not deserve, sovereign grace. In short, although we deserve Hell, God gives us Heaven! Then He gives us boundless mercy which means He holds back from giving us what we do deserve as sinners against His holiness. Mercy is His pity and compassion for those in trouble and distress. And in His supernatural divine mathematics, grace added to mercy yield the supernatural sum of peace, not only peace with Him (Ro 5:1+), but the potential for inner peace and peace in our relationships with others (aka the peace OF God - Php 4:6-7+).

Bengel tersely summarizes: “Grace removes guilt; mercy, misery; peace expresses a continuance in grace and mercy,”

Westcott writes that “the succession ‘grace mercy, peace’ marks the order from the first motion of God to the final satisfaction of man.” (Online Epistles of St John page 278)

John Stott adds "Grace and mercy are both expressions of God’s love, grace to the guilty and undeserving, mercy to the needy and helpless. Peace is that restoration of harmony with God, others and self which we call ‘salvation’. Put together, peace indicates the character of salvation, mercy our need of it and grace God’s free provision of it in Christ."  (BORROW The Epistles of John)

From God (theosthe Father (pater)and from Jesus Christ (Christos), the Son of the Father (pater) - From expresses the Source of the 3 blessings. In short, John describes the Fountainhead from which these supernatural attributes flow to all God's children. Note that the specific phrase the Son of the Father is found only here in the Bible. Note that in a time when the truth about Christ was being challenged, John's description clearly links the Father and Son, affirming the deity of Jesus Christ as the only Son of the Father.

In truth (aletheiaand love (agape) - These attributes are like two sides of a coin, for truth without love is brutal, and love without truth is a lie. Or to quote Warren Wiersbe's similar description of truth and love "Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.” John Stott wrote "Our love grows soft if it is not strengthened by truth, and our truth grows hard if it is not softened by love.” Truth and love lead to a balanced Christian life and are critical for a flourishing and unified local Christian fellowship. 

Westcott remarks, "Truth and love describe an intellectual harmony and a moral harmony; and the two correspond with each other according to their subject matter. Love is truth in human action; and truth is love in regard to the order of things." (Online Epistles of St John page 278)

One is reminded of Paul's exhortation to the saints at Ephesus who are to be "speaking the truth in love" (Eph 4:15+)

Stott adds "the addition of in truth and love....may mean either that we shall experience grace, mercy and peace from Father and Son only if we remain in truth and love, or that grace, mercy and peace from Father and Son will express themselves, work themselves out, in truth and love. Whether truth and love are the conditions or the consequences, or merely the accompaniments, of our receiving grace, mercy and peace, they are clearly essential marks of the Christian life. They have already occurred in combination in verse 1, ‘whom I love in the truth’. Contrast Ephesians 4:15. The fellowship of the local church is created by truth and exhibited in love. Each qualifies the other. On the one hand, our love is not to be so blind as to ignore the views and conduct of others. Truth should make our love discriminating. John sees nothing inconsistent in adding to his command to love one another (2Jn 1:5) a clear instruction about the refusal of fellowship to false teachers, who are deceivers and antichrists (2Jn 1:7-11). Our love for others is not to undermine our loyalty to the truth. On the other hand, we must never champion the truth in a harsh or bitter spirit. Those who are ‘walking in the truth’ (2Jn 1:4) need to be exhorted to ‘love one another’ (2Jn 1:5). So the Christian fellowship should be marked equally by love and truth, and we are to avoid extremism which pursues either at the expense of the other. Our love grows soft if it is not strengthened by truth, and our truth hard if it is not softened by love. Scripture commands us both to love each other in the truth and to hold the truth in love.(BORROW The Epistles of John)

Utley "Son of the Father"  A continuing emphasis in 1 John is that one cannot have the Father without having the Son (cf. 1 John 2:23; 1 John 4:15; 1 John 5:10). The false teachers claimed a unique and special relationship with God, but theologically depreciated the person and work of the Son. John repeats again and again that Jesus is the (1) full revelation of the Father and (2) the only way (cf. John 14:6) to the Father.

Lehman Strauss - An important observation in this statement is that God is the source of grace, mercy, and peace. But more important than this, I believe, is the perfect equality between the Father and the Son. Both the Father and the Son are the immediate personal source, because both are coequal and coeternal. Any denial of the Son is a denial of the Father, and all such denials characterize antichrist (1 John 2:22–23; 4:2–3). Christianity is Christ, thus any attempt to disassociate the Son from the Father is a denial of the basic and essential fact of the historic Biblical position. Apart from the only begotten Son no man can know the Father (John 1:18; 14:6–11). On another occasion Jesus said, “And he that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me” (John 12:45). I believe that this is the idea in verse 9 of this Second Epistle of John: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”

Grace (favor) (5485charis from from chairo = to rejoice. English = charity. Beggars need "charity" even as sinners need grace, for we are all spiritual paupers outside of Christ, but "God gives where he finds empty hands"-Augustine [cp Mt 5:3+]) is a word which defies a simple definition but at its core conveys the sense of favor while the specific nuances of charis depend on the context in which it is used. Someone has written that the word grace is probably the greatest word in the Scriptures, even greater even than “love,” because grace is love in action, and therefore includes it. It is hardly too much to say that God has in no word uttered Himself and all that was in His heart more distinctly than in this word grace (charis)!

Grace is God's unmerited favor and supernatural enablement and empowerment for initial salvation (justification) and for daily sanctification. Grace is everything for nothing to those who don't deserve anything. 

"He gives more grace when the burdens grow greater.
He sends more strength when the labors increase,
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed 'ere the day is half done; 
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

Adrian Rogers says the best definition of grace that he has ever heard is that God's grace is "both the desire and the ability to do the will of God." It is striking that almost the same words occur in Php 2:13NLT+ "For (term of explanation - explains how it is possible to Work out our salvation - Php 2:12+) God is working in you, giving you the DESIRE and the POWER to do what pleases Him." When you have a godly desire, that desire is from God, because no good thing can come out of our old vile heart! And only God the Spirit in us can give the supernatural power necessary to accomplish that godly desire! So we could paraphrase Php 2:13, in simple words, by saying that God's Spirit is continually giving us the grace (desire and power) to do what pleases Him! This practical definition of grace ought to free many of us who are "trying to clean ourselves up!" It can't be done! We need His grace to give us the desire to "clean up" and the power to "clean up!" Are you resisting His grace? You can either receive it or resist it! The first way leaves us filled, while the second way leaves us empty, dry, and spiritually barren. O beloved, tell God you desperately need and want Him to pour out His grace on the situation you find yourself entwined. Do you have a root of bitterness? Then confess it (even that act is a reflection of His grace) and cry out for His grace to give you the desire and the ability to eradicate that deadly root and its caustic fruit. And keep crying out until He removes the root, for it is in His will that no child of His should ever have a root of bitterness! And when He removes it, celebrate with a praise and worship service!

Mercy (1656eleos is the outward manifestation of pity and assumes need on the part of those who are recipients of the mercy and sufficient resources to meet the need on the part of those who show it. The idea of mercy is to show kindness or concern for someone in serious need or to give help to the wretched, to relieve the miserable. Here the essential thought is that mercy gives attention to those in misery.

Wuest writes that eleos is "God’s “kindness and goodwill toward the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them” (Vincent). Grace meets man’s need in respect to his guilt and lost condition; mercy, with reference to his suffering as a result of that sin. (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans

Larry Richards - Originally (eleos) expressed only the emotion that was aroused by contact with a person who was suffering. By NT times, however, the concept incorporated compassionate response. A person who felt for and with a sufferer would be moved to help. This concept of mercy--as a concern for the afflicted that prompts giving help--is prominent in both the Gospels and the Epistles. (Richards, L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)

Peace (1515eirene from eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony is the opposite of war. Peace was used as a greeting or farewell corresponding to the Hebrew word shalom - "peace to you". The expression "having it all together" speaks of everything in place and as it ought to be. When things are disjointed, there is lack of harmony and well being. When they are joined together, there is both. 

Eirene can convey the sense of an inner rest, well being and harmony. The ultimate peace is the state of reconciliation with God, effected by placing one's faith in the gospel. In eschatology, peace is prophesied to be an essential characteristic of the Messianic kingdom (Acts 10:36).

James Smith - GRACE, MERCY, PEACE 2 Jn 3

This is a very unusual form of the apostolic salutation in the New Testament, only found in the Pastoral Epistles and here (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4). You will observe that “Mercy” is added to the usual salutation, “Grace—Peace.” What is the significance, and what is the teaching?

Well, read Luke 10:37 with Gen. 39:21. Who showed mercy? The Good Samaritan. What is showing mercy? Binding up wounds and bruises, etc. But what had “mercy” to do with Joseph in prison? Ah, there are more dangerous wounds than those of the body—there are wounds and bruises of the spirit. Joseph’s reputation had been challenged; he had been cast into prison on a false charge. His spirit was bruised and bleeding. But the Good Samaritan came when all doors were shut, barred, and bolted, and ministered comfort and consolation to the distressed one. The Lord’s servants frequently require the Lord’s gracious Good Samaritan ministry.

Octavius Winslow - Evening Thoughts

Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 2 John 3

THE spiritual mind will at once perceive, that our object in the preceding reflections has been to place the character of God, as the "Lord God, merciful and gracious," in its own proper light. It is possible that this truth may appear to the reader, as a newly-discovered planet in the firmament of revelation. It may be to him a new truth, presenting to his eye a fresh and a more kindly view of the paternal and gracious character of God. God, the original source of grace to sinners, has, perhaps, hitherto been but a timidly received doctrine, if received at all. In the first thirstings of your newly-quickened soul, you sought and found the gentle rivulet of grace issuing from some sequestered and shaded spot in your lone path, and you "tasted that the Lord was gracious." Grateful for its refreshing, but panting for larger draughts, you coursed the rivulet to the stream, and drank yet deeper of its fullness. Not satisfied with this, but longing to explore the glorious mystery of the supply, you traced the streamlet to the "broad river," transported with joy to find that "all fullness dwelt in Jesus," and into it you plunged. But here you have rested. Enamored of the beauty, and lost in wondering delight at the "breadth, and length, and depth, and height" of this river, you have reclined upon its green and sunny bank, forgetting that this river was but the introduction to an ocean, and that that ocean was nothing less than the heart of the Father, infinitely and eternally full of grace. Ah! little did you think, as you sipped from the rivulet, and drank from the stream, and bathed in the river of grace, that there was a depth still deeper, which, like Ezekiel's vision of the holy waters, was so deep that it "could not be passed over." 

"What!" exclaims some tried believer, "is the heart of Jesus a transcript of the heart of God? Is the Father as full of forgiveness, of love, of mercy, of compassion, of tenderness, as the Son? How different from all that I had conceived Him to be! I thought of God, and was troubled. His terrors made me afraid. His dealings with me have been severe. His way has been in the whirlwind and in the storm, and his 'path in the great waters.' His judgments have been 'a great deep.' He has set a hedge about me, that I cannot pass. He has spoken to me out of the thick cloud. He answered me by fire. He has spoiled my pleasant pictures, and dashed my cup with bitter. What! is this God all that you represent Him to be? Is He so full of grace and truth? Is He my God, my loving, reconciled Father?" Yes, even so! "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." 

Who can contemplate the work of Jesus, and not be convinced of the costliness and preciousness of this grace? How precious is the grace that pardons, that justifies, that adopts, that sanctifies, that comforts, the vilest who believe in Jesus! And yet all this Jesus does. He died for sinners. He receives sinners. He saves sinners to the uttermost. Oh, precious grace! that has opened a fountain which cleanses every stain; that has provided a robe which covers every spot; that "reigns through righteousness unto eternal life" in the soul it has renewed! Reader, have you felt the power, and tasted the sweetness, of this grace? If so, you will feel that no imagination can conceive its beauty, and that no words can express its preciousness. You will regard it as worthy of your warmest love and your highest praise. You will aim to live upon it constantly, to draw from it largely, and to magnify it holily. Nothing this side of glory will be so lovely in your eyes, or so dear to your heart, as the grace of Jesus. Ah yes! inestimably precious is it! There is more of God and of heaven, more of holiness and of happiness, unfolded and experienced in one drop of this grace, than in ten thousand worlds like this. Let others toil for wealth, or pant for glory, or plume themselves with gifts; Lord, give me your grace; this is all my salvation, and all my desire! 

The Flip Side of Love

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. 2 John 1:3

Today's Scripture & Insight : 2 John 1:1–11

The Roman inns during the time of Christ had a reputation so bad that rabbis wouldn’t even permit cattle to be left at them. Faced with such bad conditions, traveling Christians usually sought out other believers for hospitality.

Among those early travelers were false teachers who denied that Jesus was the Messiah. This is why the letter of 2 John tells its readers there is a time to refuse to extend hospitality. John had said in a previous letter that these false teachers were “antichrist—denying the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). In 2 John he elaborated on this, telling his readers that whoever believes Jesus is the Messiah “has both the Father and the Son” (v. 9).

Then he warned, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them” (v. 10). To extend hospitality to someone preaching a false gospel would actually help keep people separated from God.

John’s second letter shows us a “flip side” of God’s love. We serve a God who welcomes everyone with open arms. But genuine love won’t enable those who deceitfully harm themselves and others. God wraps His arms around those who come to Him in repentance, but He never embraces a lie. By:  Tim Gustafson (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

How can you reflect God’s love in your relationships today? What issues might you need to confront in your own life or in the lives of others?

Father, You love us in Your truth. Help us extend that love to others with the unwavering grace that comes only from Your Spirit.

2 John 1:4  I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father.

KJV  2 John 1:4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

BGT  2 John 1:4 Ἐχάρην λίαν ὅτι εὕρηκα ἐκ τῶν τέκνων σου περιπατοῦντας ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καθὼς ἐντολὴν ἐλάβομεν παρὰ τοῦ πατρός.

NET  2 John 1:4 I rejoiced greatly because I have found some of your children living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded us.

CSB  2 John 1:4 I was very glad to find some of your children walking in the truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father.

ESV  2 John 1:4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father.

NIV  2 John 1:4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.

NLT  2 John 1:4 How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.

NRS  2 John 1:4 I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father.

NJB  2 John 1:4 It has given me great joy to find that children of yours have been living the life of truth as we were commanded by the Father.

NAB  2 John 1:4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth just as we were commanded by the Father.

YLT  2 John 1:4 I rejoiced exceedingly that I have found of thy children walking in truth, even as a command we did receive from the Father;

MIT  2 John 1:4 I am especially glad I have found your children living in truth, according to the father's received command.

  • I was very glad: Php 4:10 1Th 2:19,20 3:6-10 3Jn 1:3-4 
  • walking: Ho 14:9 Mal 2:6 Ga 2:14 Eph 5:2,8 1Jn 1:6,7 1Jn 2:6 
  • 2 John Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

Ephesians 5:2; and walk (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. 

Ephesians 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light

1 John 1:6-7  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness (WATCH OUT FOR SELF-DECEPTION!), we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but (A CRITICAL TERM OF CONTRAST ~ MARKS A DIFFERENT DIRECTION) if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses (present tense - continually) us from all sin.

1 John 2:6  the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (See The Holy Spirit-Walking Like Jesus Walked! - Don't say you believe in Jesus and you are going to heaven if your walk does not synch with your words! You could be deceiving yourself and when you discover you have been self-deceived, it may be too late! See Mt 7:21-23+)

3 Jn 1:3 For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.

3 Jn 1:4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. 

1 Timothy 6:14  that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Psalm 19:8  The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 


I was very (lian) glad (chairo) to find (heurisko) some of your children (teknon) walking (peripateo) in truth (aletheia)  (NEB - "living by the truth") - I like the KJV "I rejoiced greatly!" Note John was not just "glad" but was "very glad," emphasizing how such good news was like soothing waters to his heart. The occasion of John's joy is encountering the worthy walks of her children. One wishes John had said "all of your children," not just "some." The idea of walking is clearly figurative in this context and speaks of one's habitual way of living, as emphasized by the use of the present tense. Believing the truth (in context of the letter especially the truth of the incarnation) and enabled by the Spirit of truth to obey the truth. In 2Jn 1:2 we learned the truth is IN us, and now we see we are to walk IN that same truth. Some are continuing to walk in the path of truth  but there is at least a hint that some have begun to walk in error (other writers disagree with that suggestion because he would hardly be expressing great gladness if some had walked into error).

Warren Wiersbe - Note the repetition of the word “walk.” The truth is not something we simply study or believe; it is a motivating force in our lives. It is not enough to know the truth; we must show it through our actions wherever we are. John rejoiced because he was certain this lady’s children were walking in the truth—the equivalent of “walking in the light,” which the apostle discussed in 1 John 1.(BORROW Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

Donald Burdick notes some of your children “does not necessarily mean that her children were not all faithful. It may mean that John had come in contact with some, but not all, who were ‘walking in truth.’ ” (BORROW Letters of John go to page 422)

Paul began many of his letters with a similar expression of appreciation for his readers - Romans 1:8; 1 Corinthians 1:4–8; Philippians 1:3–5; Colossians 1:3–7; 1 Thessalonians 1:2–4; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Philemon 4–5.

In view of the possibility that not all of the children were walking in the truth, Swindoll has a practical thought - This highlights an important principle of spiritual nurturing and discipleship. Both our physical families and our spiritual families will have members who deviate from the teaching of parents or mentors. I’ve experienced this firsthand and have seen it in countless families throughout my ministry. It breaks our hearts when it happens. It drives us to prayer in the hopes that those children will one day return. However, when some go astray, we shouldn’t lose sight of those who remain on the “truth walk.” John didn’t dwell on those who had taken a spiritual detour but on those who had received the commandment to walk in the truth (2Jn 1:4). (See Insights on 1, 2 & 3 John)

What is truth (see "Related Passages" above)? Jesus is truth. The Word is truth. The Gospel is truth. This is the truth by which we should order our steps (and confess/correct/repent of our missteps).

Warren Wiersbe - “Truth is not something we simply study or believe; it is a motivating force in our lives!”

Phillips Brooks said, “Truth is always strong, no matter how weak it looks, and Falsehood is always weak, no matter how strong it looks.”

Do you entertain truth in your heart as a guest or as a Master?
-- Brian Bell 

In truth (en aletheia) is a locative of sphere which speaks of the "sphere" in which believers are to live/walk/conduct/behave. Truth is analogous to water in a "fish bowl, this "sphere" enabling the fish to live!  A fish out of water is in trouble! In the same manner our life is to be lived in the sphere of God's truth and when we step out of truth, we step into trouble! 

Hiebert on in truth - This is the fifth occurrence of the term (TRUTH) in the first four verses of the letter. Used without the article, the term characterizes their habitual course of life as committed to the truths and the moral standards embodied in the orthodox Christian faith. Their lives reveal the reality of their living union with Jesus Christ. (Ibid)

James Smith - TRUTH Is given to walk in (verse 4), not merely to admire. This is one proof of our love to God (verse 6), for love manifests itself in ready obedience.

F F Bruce - "Where 'truth and love' coexist harmoniously, we have a well-balanced Christian character (cf. Eph. 4.15)."

And if indeed these were the lady's actual physical children, imagine the joy that must have flooded her heart at this news. All of us who have children can easily identify (especially when we have seen some of our children walk some undesirable detours!) 

THOUGHT - As one who has discipled a number of young men, I can testify that when I hear a report of them walking in truth, my old heart rejoices, giving glory to God Whose Spirit and Word has enabled them to persevere in the faith. John echoes this joy in his third epistle writing "For I was very glad (chairo)when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth." (3Jn 1:3-4) (Note 2-3 John are only 3 uses of that phrase "walking in [the] truth.")

Warren Wiersbe on 2Jn 1:4-6 - To "walk in the truth" means to obey it, to permit it to control every area of our lives. This paragraph opens and closes with an emphasis on obedience, walking in the truth. It is much easier to study the truth, or even argue about the truth, than it is to practice it! In fact, sometimes zealous Christians disobey the truth in the very way they try to defend it. (Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament)

Just as we have received (lambano) commandment (entole) to do from the Father - Note commandment while singular here is repeated in 2Jn 1:5 and 2Jn 1:6. Note also that the origin of the commandment is the Father. John links the reception of commandment with walking in truth just mentioned. This speaks of obedience to God's truth (commandment). In other words God's commandment provided the boundaries in which they were walking (enabled by the Spirit not a spirit of legalism). As one writer said they were "Walking according to the Father's commandments, their habitual way of living was doing the Father's will."

Hiebert - John explicitly underlines the faithful nature of their conduct by his assertion that they walked “as we have received a commandment from the Father” (kathōs entolēn elabomen para tou patros, more literally, “even as commandment we received from alongside the Father”). John’s expression makes clear that for the believer such conduct is not an option but a divine commandment. The adverb “as” (kathōs, “just as”) marks the close conformity of their conduct to the commandment received “from the Father” as stressing the ultimate source of the command. God the Father is the true source of the revelation brought by the incarnate Son. Their daily conduct revealed their love-prompted obedience to the commandment they had received. (Ibid)

John Stott adds that "God has not revealed His truth in such a way as to leave us free at our pleasure to believe or disbelieve it, to obey or disobey it. Revelation carries with it responsibility, and the clearer the revelation, the greater the responsibility to believe and obey it. (cf Amos 3:2)" (BORROW The Epistles of John)

John MacArthur adds that "This brief letter opens with a ringing call for Christians to live consistently with the truth they believe. The only true basis for unity in the church is the truth of God's Word that indwells, blesses, and controls the lives of individual believers. And it is only those Christians and churches who are firmly planted on the solid foundation of the truth who will be able to withstand the storms of persecution, temptation, and false doctrine that constantly assail them." (See The MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Warren Wiersbe on commandment...from the Father - Each commandment is an expression of love and not simply law. The will of God is the revelation of God's heart (Ps. 33:11), not just His mind. Consequently, obedience to His Word should be a revelation of our love, not an expression of fear. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3). The false teachers try to make God's commandments appear harsh and difficult and then they offer their converts "true" freedom (2 Peter 2:19). But the greatest freedom is in obedience to God's perfect will (Jas 1:25). No believer who loves God would ever consider His commandments to be harsh and unbearable. (Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament)

Lehman Strauss - In an age marked by perilous times, which times are characterized, among other things, by disobedience to parents (2 Timothy 3:2), it is refreshing to hear of one’s children living for God. John’s heart was made to rejoice in this. Here was a Christian home in the midst of paganism and ungodliness. Of his own spiritual children, John wrote later, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). We are sometimes disappointed in the kind of lives some young people in our churches are living, but it is most refreshing indeed to meet those whose words and deeds are circumscribed by the Word of God. Very often our behavior reflects upon our home training [or lack of it], or upon our obedience or disobedience to the instructions we received from our parents.

ILLUSTRATION - It certainly brings great joy to the Father when He sees His children obeying His Word. I know personally what it means to the pastor when the church family is submissive to the Word and doing the will of God. Few things break the heart of a pastor like a disobedient and rebellious member who will not submit to the authority of God's Word.

When the great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon was a lad, he lived with his grandfather who pastored a church in Stambourne, England. A church member named Roads used to sit in the local pub and drink beer and smoke, and this practice grieved the pastor very much. One day young Charles said to his grandfather, "I'll kill old Roads, that I will! I shall not do anything bad, but I'll kill him though, that I will!" What did young Spurgeon do? He confronted Roads in the pub with these words: "What doest thou here, Elijah? Sitting with the ungodly, and you a member of a church and breaking your pastor's heart. I'm ashamed of you! I wouldn't break my pastor's heart, I'm sure!" It was not long before Roads showed up at the pastor's home, confessing his sins and apologizing for his behavior. Young Spurgeon had "killed him" indeed!. (Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament)

Walking in truth is reflected in multiple passages describing the believer's walk...

  • walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4),
  • walk by faith, not by sigh" (2 Cor. 5:7),
  • walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25),
  • walk in" good works (Eph. 2:10),
  • walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which [they] have been called (Eph. 4:1),
  • walk in love (Eph. 5:2),
  • walk as children of Light (Eph. 5:8),
  • walk circumspectly (in wisdom) (Eph. 5:15KJV),
  • walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects (Col. 1:10),
  • walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls [them] into His own kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2:12),
  • walk in the light (1 John 1:7).
  • walk in the same manner as [Jesus] walked (1 John 2:6),
  • walk according to His commandments (2 John 6).

Very (3029)(lian) is an adverb that means much, very, exceedingly, greatly, quite, extremely, to a high degree. This adverb adds a force of too much or very much to terms it qualifies. E.g., in 2Ti 4:15 Paul writes Alexander the coppersmith "vigorously opposed our teaching." 

Gilbrant Lian, an adverb appearing from Homer (spelled liēn) on and often in the Septuagint and Josephus, is used to intensify the verb, adjective, or adverb that it modifies. It is used with a verb in such places as 2 Timothy 4:15, “greatly withstood,” Matthew 2:16, “was exceeding wroth,” and Matthew 27:14, “marveled greatly.” Lian is also used to modify adjectives (“exceeding white,” Mark 9:3; “exceeding high,” Matthew 4:8; “exceeding fierce,” Matthew 8:28) and adverbs (“great while,” Mark 1:35; “very early,” Mark 16:2). Sometimes lian is further intensified by being compounded with the preposition huper (5065) (cf. huperlian [5082B]). It appears in this compound form in 2 Corinthians 11:5 and 12:11, “very chiefest” (“superlative,” RSV). (Complete Biblical Library)

Lian - 12x in 12v - exceedingly(1), extremely(1), quite(1), still(1), utterly*(1), very(6), vigorously(1). Matt. 2:16; Matt. 4:8; Matt. 8:28; Matt. 27:14; Mk. 1:35; Mk. 6:51; Mk. 9:3; Mk. 16:2; Lk. 23:8; 2 Tim. 4:15; 2 Jn. 1:4; 3 Jn. 1:3

Lian in the SeptuagintGen. 1:31; Gen. 4:5; 1 Sam. 11:15; 2 Sam. 2:17; Job 29:5; Job 31:31; Ps. 139:17; Jer. 24:3; Jer. 48:29; Jer. 49:30; Dan. 11:25; 

Glad (rejoiced) (5463chairo means to be "cheer" full, calmly happy or well-off. Chairo implies and imparts joy. Chairo is used in a whole range of situations in which the emotion of joy is evoked. To be in a state of happiness and well being (often independent of what is happening when the Source is the Spirit!). Chairo means to enjoy a state of gladness, to be delighted.

Commandment (instruction, order, requirement)(1785entole from en = in, upon + téllo = accomplish, charge, command) - Entole refers to some type of demand or requirement. A general injunction, charge, precept of moral and religious nature. Of the 67 uses, all but three (Lk 15:29; Col 4:10; Titus 1:14) refer specifically to divine commandments, stressing the authority of the one commanding.

Entole in the plural usually refers to God's commandments (Mt 5:19 and most of the uses in the Gospels - see below) but, as determined by the context, singular usages can also refer to a divine directive. Keeping God's commandments is the way we show that we love Him (we can say it, but our actions need to authenticate our words. (Jn 14:15, 21, 1Jn 2:3).

Entole is found 14x in the same passage as agape, love. (e.g., love one another is a repeated commandment - Jn 13:34 = described as a "new commandment", Jn 15:12, 1Jn 3:23, 2Jn 1:5). God's commandments "flush out" sin so to speak, showing the heinous, destructive nature of sin (See Ro 7:8, 9, 11, 13) Entole sometimes refers to commandments from men (not God) (Titus 1:14) Entole can sometimes mean an order authorizing a specific action (Jn 11:57).

A W Pink - Best of all is it when we are found "walking in the Truth" (2 John 4), for it is then God is most glorified. His Word is given to us for this very purpose—to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path—to direct our conduct and regulate our deportment. In proportion as our daily life is ordered by the Word—do we evince the sincerity and reality of our profession. The extent to which we actually walk in the Truth—will determine the measure of our enjoyment of God's approbation, "If a man loves me, he will keep My words—and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him" (John 14:23). "His Truth shall be your shield and buckler" (Psalm 91:4), our defense and protection—panoplied in "the whole armor of God" the Christian is safe in the day of battle. By walking in the Truth—we find rest unto our souls (Jer 6:16).(from "The Word of Truth")

2 John 1:5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

KJV  2 John 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

BGT  2 John 1:5 καὶ νῦν ἐρωτῶ σε, κυρία, οὐχ ὡς ἐντολὴν καινὴν γράφων σοι ἀλλὰ ἣν εἴχομεν ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς, ἵνα ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους.

NET  2 John 1:5 But now I ask you, lady (not as if I were writing a new commandment to you, but the one we have had from the beginning), that we love one another.

CSB  2 John 1:5 So now I urge you, dear lady-- not as if I were writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning-- that we love one another.

ESV  2 John 1:5 And now I ask you, dear lady-- not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning-- that we love one another.

NIV  2 John 1:5 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.

NLT  2 John 1:5 I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning.

NRS  2 John 1:5 But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another.

NJB  2 John 1:5 And now I am asking you -- dear lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but only the one which we have had from the beginning -- that we should love one another.

NAB  2 John 1:5 But now, Lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing a new commandment but the one we have had from the beginning: let us love one another.

YLT  2 John 1:5 and now I beseech thee, Kyria, not as writing to thee a new command, but which we had from the beginning, that we may love one another,

MIT  2 John 1:5 Now I have a request to make of you, lady. I am not writing a new directive to you, but the one we have had right along from the beginning: We should love one another.

  • not: 1Jn 2:7,8 1Jn 3:11 
  • that we: Joh 13:34,35 15:12 Ga 5:22 Eph 5:2 1Th 4:9 Heb 13:1 1Pe 1:22,23 4:8 2Pe 1:7 1Jn 3:14-18,23 4:7-12,2
  • 2 John Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

1 John 2:7-11+ Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. (8) On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.  9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 

1 John 3:11  For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;

John 15:12, 17 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. (15:17) “This I command you, that you love one another.


Now - John wants to change the direction to practical exhortations because of circumstances of which he is aware (specifically the circulation of false teachers in the lady's neighborhood).

I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new (kainos) commandment (entole), but the one which we (all believers) have had from the beginning - This is not a new commandment which John is setting forth under his own authority. In the beginning John had received this commandment from Jesus Himself in Jn 13:34 when He declared "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."  And so this commandment had characterized the Christian life from the beginning

Hiebert on "new" - In placing the term “new” at the end of his negation, he insists that he is not like the heretics who customarily insisted on offering something new. (Ibid)

Hindson points out that "What John is writing is not a new commandment in the sense that it is different from that apostolic message. This was an important point to make, since the message of the false teachers was new and different rather than being part of the original message. Love, and walking according to God’s commandments are the same message as was given all along." (KJV Bible Commentary online)

Utley "have had from the beginning"  This is an imperfect active indicative which refers to the beginning of Jesus' teaching (cf. 1 John 2:7, 1 John 2:24; 1 John 3:11). 

That (hina) is a term of purpose, and in context expresses the purpose of the commandment, which was not just to be believed (which is true) but which was to be obeyed. 

We love (agapao - present tense) one another (allelon and see list below) - Note John includes himself ("we") in this commandmentLove (agapao - present tense) one another calling for this quality of selfless love which seeks the welfare of others above one's own desires and is to be their (our) habitual practice (present tense), an action/attitude that is not possible naturally but can only be practiced supernaturally. In other words, we must jettison self reliance and seek to rely wholly on the Holy Spirit to love one another with this god-like quality of love. One another speaks of the mutual or "reciprocal" practice of this love.

Kenneth S. Wuest points out that the words “one another” are a reciprocal pronoun in the Greek text. That is, there must be reciprocity among the saints as to this love. A saint must reciprocate the love shown him by a fellow saint.

Hiebert on one another - Each believer must express as well as be the recipient of such love. The mutual practice of this love among believers “offers the clearest test of the truthfulness of the confession and the sincerity of the obedience given to God’s commands.”26 It produces the soil in which false teaching cannot grow. (Ibid)

William MacDonald - In verses 5 through 9, the apostle seems to give a short summary of his First Epistle. There he listed the tests of life. Now in these verses, he repeats at least three of them—the test of love (v. 5), the test of obedience (v. 6), and the test of doctrine (vv. 7-9). (BORROW Believer's Bible Commentary

Warren Wiersbe on new commandment - John wanted the elect lady and her family to love one another and this appeal applies to us as well. "A new commandment I give unto you, 'That ye love one another'" (John 13:34). But John wrote that it was not a new commandment (see 1 John 2:7-11). Is this a contradiction? The commandment "Love one another" is certainly not new in time, because even Old Testament Jews were instructed to love their neighbors (Lev. 19:18, 34) and the strangers within their gates (Deut. 10:19). But with the coming of God's Son to earth, this commandment is new in emphasis and in example. Jesus Christ gave new emphasis to brotherly love, and He exemplified it in His own life. It is also new in experience, for we have the Holy Spirit of God living within, enabling us to obey. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love" (Gal. 5:22; cf. Ro 5:5). Is it possible to command love? Yes, when you understand what Christian love really is (ED: AND YOU UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE THE SPIRIT TO GIVE YOU THE DESIRE AND THE POWER TO OBEY - Php 2:13NLT+). Many people have the mistaken idea that Christian love is a feeling, a special kind of "religious emotion" that makes us reach out and accept others. (ED: AND IN CONTEXT OF THIS LETTER JOHN WILL INSTRUCT THE LADY TO NOT "REACH OUT AND ACCEPT" CERTAIN MEN!) Certainly emotion is involved, but basically, Christian love is an act of the will (ED: YES, BUT EVEN THAT IS ENABLED BY THE SPIRIT AS NOTED ABOVE. OF COURSE, WE STILL HAVE TO MAKE THE CHOICE - I CALL THIS THE RULE OF 100/100 - 100% DEPENDENT ON GOD AND 100% RESPONSIBLE TO CARRY IT OUT! SEE "Paradoxical Principle of 100% Dependent and 100% Responsible"). It simply means treating other people the same way God treats you! In fact, it is possible to love people that we really do not "like."(Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament)

Warren Wiersbe - Christian love is not an emotion that we work up; it is simple obedience to the Word of God. Children love their parents by obeying them. Children love their parents by obeying them. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15, NKJV). How sad it is when Christians claim to love the Bible but hate the brethren. While saints may differ in their interpretations of certain passages in the Word, they must all agree on loving one another. Where there is a sincere love for the Bible, there will be a love for God’s people. Loving the truth and loving the brethren cannot be separated. (BORROW Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

Glenn Barker - "It is not that love precedes truth or belief but that love offers the clearest test of the truthfulness of the confession and the sincerity of the obedience given to God's commands. Belief may be feigned and confession only of the lips, but love is harder to counterfeit." (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

Utley "that we love one another" This is a present active subjunctive (as is the last verb in this verse, walk). It was characteristic of the heretics to be exclusivistic and unloving. This forms the first of John's three tests for how one knows he is a Christian. In the book of 1 John these three tests are: love, lifestyle, and doctrine. These three tests are repeated in 2 John.

1. love (cf. 2 John 1:5; 1 John 2:7-11; 1 John 3:11-18; 1 John 4:7-12, 1 John 4:16-21; 1 John 5:1-2)

2. obedience (cf. 2 John 1:6; 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:1-10; 1 John 5:2-3)

3. doctrinal content (cf. 2 John 1:7; 1 John 1:1ff; 1 John 2:18-25; 1 John 4:1-6, 1 John 4:14-16; 1 John 5:1, 1 John 5:5, 1 John 5:10)

One another (240allelon is a reciprocal (= shared, felt, done by each to the other) pronoun which means each other, reciprocally or mutually (Negative sense Mt 24:10).

Vine writes that allelon is "a reciprocal pronoun in the genitive plural, signifying of, or from, one another (akin to allos, another [of the same kind in contrast to heteros]) e.g., Mt. 25:32; Jn 13:22; Acts 15:39; 19:38; 1Co 7:5; Gal 5:17; the accusative allēlous (Same root pronoun allelon - the "-ous" identifies it as in the accusative case) denotes “one another,” e.g., Acts 7:26, lit., ‘why do you wrong one another?’; 2Th 1:3; in Ep 4:32 Col. 3:13, e.g., “each other;” in 1Th. 5:15, “one (toward) another”; the dative allēlois denotes “one to another,” e.g., Lk 7:32 (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)

Balz and Schneider add that…

The understanding of allelon in the NT is unproblematic; the translation each other or mutually is sufficient for every instance. Rarely are two individual persons meant (Lk 23:12; 24:14, 17, 32; Acts 15:39; 1Cor 7:5). Mt 25:32 speaks of the separation of all people from each other into two groups. A personalization is present in Ro 2:15 (literally: the thoughts accuse or defend among themselves), as in Gal 5:17 (flesh and Spirit “are opposed to each other”).

Otherwise allelon is used in connection with groups of persons who are in some way peers and with reference to relationships within a homogeneous group in order to express communication with or, sometimes, negative conduct toward, each other. (It never refers to the relationship of Jesus to His disciples or of Christ to His people; on the other hand, and significantly, it is used with reference to Paul and the Church in Ro 1:12.)

Of theological relevance here is the use of allelon primarily in the description of the (obligatory) conduct of Christians in the community toward each other, with emphasis on mutuality and culminating in the love commandment… (1Th 3:12; 2Th 1:3) or… (John 13:35). The addition of kai eis pantas (1Th 3:12; cf. 5:15) shows that by his use of allelon Paul makes the love which members of the Church are to have among themselves the top priority (cf. also Gal 6:10). But neither there nor in the Johannine texts (esp. Jn 13:34, 35.; 15:12, 17; 1Jn 3:23; 4:7, 11, 12) is the comprehensive commandment to love one’s neighbor made more narrow by the qualifying allelon. (Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament)

Pictures of Love

Read: 2 John 1:1–6

I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 2 John 1:5

My children and I have started a new daily practice. Every night at bedtime, we gather colored pencils and light a candle. Asking God to light our way, we get out our journals and draw or write answers to two questions: When did I show love today? and When did I withhold love today?

Loving our neighbors has been an important part of the Christian life “from the beginning” (2 John 1:5). That’s what John writes in his second letter to his congregation, asking them to love one another in obedience to God (2 John 1:5–6). Love is one of John’s favorite topics throughout his letters. He says that practicing real love is one way to know that we “belong to the truth,” that we’re living in God’s presence (1 John 3:18–19). When my kids and I reflect, we find that in our lives love takes shape in simple actions: sharing an umbrella, encouraging someone who is sad, or cooking a favorite meal. The moments when we’re withholding love are equally practical: we gossip, refuse to share, or satisfy our own desires without thinking of others’ needs.

Paying attention each night helps us be more aware each day, more tuned in to what the Spirit might be showing us as we walk through our lives. With the Spirit’s help, we’re learning to walk in love (2 John 1:6).

Lord, let us not love just in words, but in actions and in truth. Teach us to be obedient to Your call to love.

How can I show love today? (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) By Amy Peterson 

INSIGHT - Love is a prominent theme in the apostle John’s writings. In today’s reading (2 John 1:1–6) John writes: “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us” (v. 4). Just as caring parents delight in the development of the gifts and character of their children, John had a father’s pride in those who walked in love. It is interesting to contemplate what John means by “walk in love” (v. 6). The Greek word translated “walk” can also mean a consistency one exhibits in speech, attitudes, and behavior. It’s clear that we’re being told to make sure the words we say, the attitudes we have toward others, and our general behavior be characterized by sensitivity and generosity. Of course, the ultimate example of love is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (1 John 4:10). We love others because Christ first loved us. - Dennis Fisher

2 John 1-6 Not Boredom But Freedom

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart. —Matthew 11:29

During World War II, a fellow soldier said to me, “Herb, you seem to be happy. But if I had to live the way you do, I’d just as soon be dead.” He was implying that my life was so moral that it had to be boring. But I had never thought of it that way. In fact, I often felt guilty because of my many failings.

I grew up in a Christian home where I was taught that I was a sinner in need of salvation. But I also learned that God in the person of Jesus Christ had paid the price for my sins.

Then, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, I recognized the truth of this teaching. And as a child, I placed my trust in Jesus and committed my life to Him. From that day on, I tried to live out the command to love God and my neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40). My obedience to God was a natural response for one who had truly believed.

In 2 John the word commandment is used four times to remind us that we are to walk the path of truth and to love one another (vv.4-6). Christians who do this will find joy and freedom, not boredom and bondage, as some people mistakenly think.

I love the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:30, “My yoke is good to bear, My load is light” (NEB). By Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Happy are they who love the Lord,
Whose hearts have Christ confessed,
Who by His cross have found their life,
Beneath His yoke their rest.

Joy is the result of walking with God.

In the New Testament

This is a good checklist for every church member to look over from time to time to see how they are doing! And by the way, remember that you cannot keep even ONE of these commands in your OWN strength, relying on your old self (which is not selfless, but selfish!). We can only obey these commands as we depend on the Holy Spirit to give us the desire and the power to obey (Php 2:13+). When Life Action Revival teams go into churches they find that  #13 is one of the most common sins that is smoldering in the church or in the home! How are you doing beloved?


  1. Love one another (John 13:34 - commanded at least 16 times)
  2. Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
  3. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)
  4. Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)
  5. Build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  6. Be likeminded towards one another (Romans 15:5)
  7. Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
  8. Admonish one another (Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16)
  9. Greet one another (Romans 16:16)
  10. Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
  11. Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
  12. Bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2)
  13. Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:2, 32; Colossians 3:13)
  14. Be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13)
  15. Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15, 25)
  16. Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
  17. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19)
  18. Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21, 1 Peter 5:5)
  19. Consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3)
  20. Look to the interests of one another (Philippians 2:4)
  21. Bear with one another (Colossians 3:13)
  22. Teach one another (Colossians 3:16)
  23. Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
  24. Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  25. Exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13)
  26. Stir up [provoke, stimulate] one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24)
  27. Show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
  28. Employ the gifts that God has given us for the benefit of one another (1 Peter 4:10)
  29. Clothe yourselves with humility towards one another (1 Peter 5:5)
  30. Pray for one another (James 5:16)
  31. Confess your faults to one another (James 5:16)

NEGATIVE COMMANDS (how not to treat one another)

  1. Do not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9)
  2. Stop passing judgment on one another (Romans 14:13)
  3. If you keep on biting and devouring each other...you'll be destroyed by each other (Galatians 5:15)
  4. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other (Galatians 5:26)
  5. Do not slander one another (James 4:11)
  6. Don't grumble against each other (James 5:9)

2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.  

KJV  2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

BGT  2 John 1:6 καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ ἀγάπη, ἵνα περιπατῶμεν κατὰ τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ· αὕτη ἡ ἐντολή ἐστιν, καθὼς ἠκούσατε ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς, ἵνα ἐν αὐτῇ περιπατῆτε.

NET  2 John 1:6 (Now this is love: that we walk according to his commandments.) This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning; thus you should walk in it.

CSB  2 John 1:6 And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love.

ESV  2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.

NIV  2 John 1:6 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.

NLT  2 John 1:6 Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.

NRS  2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning-- you must walk in it.

NJB  2 John 1:6 To love is to live according to his commandments: this is the commandment which you have heard since the beginning, to live a life of love.

NAB  2 John 1:6 For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk.

YLT  2 John 1:6 and this is the love, that we may walk according to His commands; this is the command, even as ye did hear from the beginning, that in it ye may walk,

MIT  2 John 1:6 This is what love means—that we live in conformity to his commands. His command is this: Live according to what you heard from the beginning

  • this is love, that we walk according to His commandments: John 14:15,21 15:10,14 Ro 13:8,9 Ga 5:13,14 1Jn 5:3,15 
  • This is the commandment: 2Jn 1:5 1Jn 2:24 
  • 2 John Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

1 John 4:20 (CHRISTIAN LOVE AND OBEDIENCE GO TOGETHER) If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.


And this is love (agape), that we walk (peripateo - present tense - habitually, lifestyle, direction not perfection) according to His commandments (entole) - John's "descriptive definition" of love is far different than most of society's mushy emotionally laden tabloidish definitions. Love and obedience go together. In other words, John is saying this love is expressed in obedience, a truth which recalls Jesus' words in Jn 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (cf Jn 14:21, Jn 15:10, 1Jn 5:2-3). If there is no obedience to God, there is no love for God. Love that God loves is a love of His Word that seeks (enabled by continually relying on the Holy Spirit , NOT on a legalistic adherence to a set of rules) to follow His Word. Biblical love is an action, not an emotion (although of course that action can also express emotion, but not at the expense of truth and a willingness to obey). 

Plummer asserts: “Love divorced from duty will run riot; and duty divorced from love will starve

Brian Bell on love and commandments – “True love never compromises its standards. It never consents to sin.”

This is the commandment (entole), just as you have heard from the beginning (arche) - The readers had heard this call to god-like love from the beginning of their Christian lives. "John feels no hesitancy in repeating this fact; he is well aware of the truth of the old maxim, “Repetition is the mother of learning.” When confronted with new and strange ideas, we are often prone to forget those fundamental truths which wrought a fundamental change in our lives when first we heard and accepted them." (Hiebert)

That (hina) is a term of purpose in this case emphasizing John's purpose of repeating the old truths. The purpose is not just to hear it, but to heed it. 

You should walk (peripateo - present tensein it  (In what? "in love" or in "the commandment") - And so John reminds his readers they should daily, continually walk (peripateo in the present tense), walking like Jesus walked (1Jn 2:6+), in dependence on the enabling power of the Holy Spirit

Arthur Gooding has an interesting comment on vv 5-6 writing "Having expressed his joy relative to the walk of her children, he now expresses his anxiety with regard to those who may visit her home. The verb "beseech" (erōtaō) suggests that he begs an equal or superior. "Not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee ... that we love one another" (1 John 2:5) reminds us again of the words of the Lord Jesus "That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (John 13:34). John recognised that this is what this lady had been expressing in her kindness and care of the saints, and for that he would commend her and indeed impress upon her the commandment. There were however dangers about which he would warn her. She must realise that there was one commandment: "that we love one another", but there were also other commandments. Obedience to the one must not violate the others. Her love must "abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment" (Phil 1:9 RV). "Love that is genuine reveals itself in obedience. If we love one another we will treat one another in accordance with God's commands" (Burdick). "Obedience prompts love, love prompts obedience. Love divorced from duty will run riot, duty divorced from love will starve" (Plummer). "Christian love is not an involuntary, uncontrollable passion, but an unselfish service undertaken by deliberate choice (faith and love are both commandments, 1 John 3:28). Christian love belongs rather to the sphere of action, than to the emotions" (Stott). Experimental knowledge and moral discernment must be exercised by this lady if she were not to be found showing christian kindness to those who were false and undeserving." (What the Bible Teaches – 1 Peter through Jude)

Unconditional love must be balanced by discerning truth.
-- Charles Swindoll

Warren Wiersbe - As you review this paragraph, you note three themes that blend: truth, love, and obedience. It is by believing the truth—in Christ and in the Word—that we are saved. The evidence of that salvation is love and obedience, but love and obedience are strengthened as we grow in our knowledge of truth. We speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15+) and we obey God's commandments because we love Him. Obedience enables us to learn more truth (John 7:17+), and the more truth we learn, the more we love Jesus Christ who is truth! Instead of living in a "vicious circle," we live in a "victorious circle" of love, truth, and obedience! (Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament)

Love (26agape Unconditional, sacrificial love which is the love that that God is and so describes a divine love, a love which is (1) commanded by God, (2) empowered by His Spirit, (3a) activated by personal choice of our will, (3b) not based on our feelings toward the object of our love and manifested by specific actions (e.g., 1 Co 13:4-8) (4) Seeks recipient's highest good

Agape is unconquerable benevolence = nothing the other person can do will make us seek anything but their highest good. Though he injure us and insult us, we will never feel anything but kindness towards him. That quite clearly means that this Christian love is not an emotional thing.  Agape is not only not of the emotions, but it is of the will. It is the ability to retain unconquerable goodwill to the unlovely and the unlovable, towards those who do not love us, and even towards those whom we do not like. Agape is that quality of mind and heart which compels a Christian never to feel any bitterness, never to feel any desire for revenge, but always to seek the highest good of every man no matter what he may be.(Barclay)

This love is not sentimental or emotional but is obedient, being an manifestation of the act of one's will that desires another's hightest good. It is unconditional so that if given and not returned then you don't stop giving it. Agape gives & gives & gives. Agape takes slaps in the face and still gives even as Jesus did saying Father forgive them. Agape is not withheld. 

"LOVE" (agape) is the badge of discipleship, the landmark of heaven.  "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love (agape) one for another." John 13:35. Tertullian the early disciple wrote, "It is our care for the helpless, our practice of lovingkindness, that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents. 'Look!' they say, 'How they love one another!' Look how they are prepared to die for one another."' People do not care how much we know until they know how much we care.

Walk (Behave, Conduct) (4043peripateo from peri = about, around + pateo = walk, tread) means literally to walk around (walk around in a complete circuit or full circle), to go here and there walking, to tread all around. The 39 uses in the Gospels always refer to literal, physical walking. Seven of the 8 uses in Acts are also in the literal sense (except Acts 21:21+). (See Spurgeon's comments on what it means to walk) Figuratively as in John's usage, peripateo means to live or pass one’s life (by far most common NT use) walking about in the sphere of the truth (the alternative being to walk in darkness, the sphere of EVERY unbeliever!) In other words peripateo refers to an habitual way or bent of life, to a life-style.  Luke describes Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, as being “righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord” (Lu1:6). Paul counseled the Ephesian believers to “walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind” (Ep 4:17). John declares that, “if we walk in the light as [God] Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1Jn 1:7).

Ray Stedman commenting on [Col 3:1-17] writes the following on "walk": "That (referring to Col 3:1-4) is the true basis for living a Christian life. Scripture calls it "walking with the Lord." I like that figure because a walk, of course, merely consists of two simple steps, repeated over and over again. It is not a complicated thing. In the same way, the Christian life is a matter of taking two steps, one step after another. Then you are beginning to walk. Those two steps follow in this passage. Paul describes them as, "Put off the old man," and "put on the new." Then repeat them. That is all. Keep walking through every day like that. That is how Scripture exhorts us to live."

Spurgeon - This is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. 2 John 1:6NIV

Love is the spring of true obedience. “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” Now a man who is not obedient to God’s commandments is evidently not a true believer; for although good works do not save us, yet, being saved, believers are sure to produce good works.
Though the fruit is not the root of the tree, yet a well-rooted tree will, in its season, bring forth its fruits. So, though the keeping of the commandments does not make me a child of God, yet, being a child of God, I shall be obedient to my heavenly Father. But this I cannot be unless I love God.
A mere external obedience, a decent formal recognition of the laws of God, is not obedience in God’s sight. He abhors the sacrifice where the heart is not found. I must obey because I love, or else I have not in spirit and in truth obeyed at all. See then, that to produce the indispensable fruits of saving faith, there must be love for God; for without it, they would be unreal and indeed impossible. (from Strengthen My Spirit) 

2 John 6 This is love, that we should walk after his commandments. (r.v.) (F B Meyer)

Here is a solution to many difficulties, and given so easily and naturally by this beloved elder to the elect lady and her children. He had been laying much emphasis on truth, and combining truth and love in an exquisite unity. Probably we can never love perfectly, till we are perfectly true. If you examine yourself in the feelings of distance and dislike which you have towards some individual, it is almost certain that you will come on some want of transparency and sincerity in your dealings with him. It is also the case that if we put away all insincerity, and want of consecration, as between us and God, we shall come to love God more perfectly.

What deep, sweet rhythm of meaning there is in the first three verses of this letter! One reads them over and over again. Oh that that grace, mercy, and peace, may be with us, from God the Father, and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

The difficulty that you feel is that you do not love enough. You would like to love with a strong, undying flame, burning steadily towards Jesus Christ, cleansing you with its heat, constraining you with its love. But perhaps you fail to distinguish between love and the emotion of love. They are not the same. We may love without being directly conscious of love, or being able to estimate its strength and passion. Here is the solution to many of our questionings They love who obey.

It is recorded of Dr. Chalmers that when a Scotch girl applied to be admitted to the sacrament, her testimony was so halting that it seemed as though she must stand back; but as she was leaving his room she turned back and said, “I canna speak for the Lord Jesus, but I could dee for Him.” (Our Daily Homily)

Don’t Go Down There - 2 John 1:6

In his book Lessons Learned Early, Jerry Jenkins tells a story about his freshman year in college. It was 1968, a year of tremendous political and social upheaval in the US.

Riots had broken out in many major cities. From the rooftop of his dorm in Chicago, Jerry heard sirens and saw fires burning. Students had been told to stay on campus, but Jerry wanted to see what was happening.

As he ran toward a store that was blazing a few blocks away, a police car pulled up beside him. “Don’t go down there,” the officer warned.

Jerry waited till the car pulled away and then kept walking. The officer returned. This time he made it more clear as he repeated, “Don’t go down there”—and leveled a shotgun out the window.

Our rebellious or willful streaks often lead to unhappy outcomes. In anger, Moses struck the rock to get water rather than just speak to it as God had commanded. He forfeited the privilege of entering the Promised Land with his people (Nu. 20:7, 8, 9, 10, 1112). Jonah disobeyed an order to go to Nineveh and was given 3 days to think about his choice—inside a big fish (Jonah 1).

What does it take for us to obey Him? Will we obey simply because we love Him? (John 14:15,21).— Cindy Hess Kasper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Nothing between, like worldly pleasure:
Habits of life, though harmless they seem,
Must not my heart from Him ever sever—
He is my all! There’s nothing between.
—Tindley © 1968 by Singspiration, Inc.

Obedience is another word for love and loyalty.

Figurative (spiritual) walking...

Mk 7:5 "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?" 
Jn 6:66  As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore. 
Jn 8:12 ...he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, 
Jn 11:10 "But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." 
Ro 6:4...so we too might walk in newness of life. 
Ro 8:4 do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 
Ro 13:13  Let us behave properly as in the day, 
Ro 14:15 you are no longer walking according to love. 
1Co 3:3 are you not walking like mere men? 
1Co 7:17 one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. 
2Co 4:2 not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, 
2Co 5:7  for we walk by faith, not by sight-- 
2Co 10:3  we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 
2Co 12:18 Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit 
Gal 5:16  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 
Ep 2:2 you formerly walked according to the course of this world, 
Ep 2:10 beforehand, that we should walk in them. 
Ep 4:1 entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling 
Ep 4:17 that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 
Ep 5:2  and walk in love, 
Ep 5:8 walk as children of light 
Ep 5:15  be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, 
Phil 3:17 observe those who walk according to the pattern you have  Phil3:18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, 
Col 1:10 , 2:6 have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 
Col 3:7  in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. Col4:5  Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders,
1Th 2:12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 
1Th 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.
1 Jn 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 Jn 2:6 walk in the same manner as He walked.
2 Jn 1:6 you should walk in it
3 Jn 1:3 For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.
3 Jn 1:4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. 

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

KJV  2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

BGT  2 John 1:7 Ὅτι πολλοὶ πλάνοι ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸν κόσμον, οἱ μὴ ὁμολογοῦντες Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐρχόμενον ἐν σαρκί· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ πλάνος καὶ ὁ ἀντίχριστος.

NET  2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, people who do not confess Jesus as Christ coming in the flesh. This person is the deceiver and the antichrist!

CSB  2 John 1:7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

ESV  2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

NIV  2 John 1:7 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.

NLT  2 John 1:7 I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist.

NRS  2 John 1:7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist!

NJB  2 John 1:7 There are many deceivers at large in the world, refusing to acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in human nature. They are the Deceiver; they are the Antichrist.

NAB  2 John 1:7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.

YLT  2 John 1:7 because many leading astray did enter into the world, who are not confessing Jesus Christ coming in flesh; this one is he who is leading astray, and the antichrist.

MIT  2 John 1:7 because many deceivers are out there in the world. They do not acknowledge Jesus Christ came as a human being. Such a one is a deceiver, an anti-Christ.

  • For many deceivers: 2Pe 2:1-3 1Jn 2:18-22 4:1 
  • those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh: Joh 1:14 1Ti 3:16 1Jn 4:2 Rev 12:9 13:14 
  • This is the deceiver and the antichrist: 1Jn 2:22 1Jn 4:3 

Related Passages:

1 John 2:22+ Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

1 Timothy 4:1+  But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful (planos) spirits and doctrines of demons,

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;


Charles Swindoll entitles 2Jn 1:7-11 "A First-Century Handbook on Discernment." Love is like a hinge on which the door of generous hospitality turns. But doors also have locks and peepholes . . . and some even have alarms. So it is with authentic Christian love. Think about your own home. An open-door policy of hospitality toward friends and neighbors doesn’t mean you leave the front door unlocked at night. Nor does a generally welcoming attitude toward strangers mean you’ll fling open the door to a home invader bent on harming your family. True love never opens the door to a predator. This is the thrust of John’s instruction in 1:7-11. (See Insights on 1, 2 & 3 John)

Brian Bell says "RESEARCH, ROVING REVERENDS! (2Jn 1:7-11) Note the good guidelines we have when someone comes knocking on your door selling their “stuff”! Recognize 1st that false teaching concerns the doctrine of Christ. a) 1st, share in love not rudeness; 2nd, be assertive & direct (no compromise of doctrinal position should be made); 3rd no assistance or encouragement should be given in the spread of such false teachings. (1) Love points people to Christ, not away from Him!

For many deceivers (planos) have gone out into the world (kosmos) - For (hoti) explains the reason for the call to loving one another. John is explaining why they must walk in the truth and love (2Jn 1:6). John warns there are many (not a few) deceivers, false teachers who intentionally seek to deceive the sheep in their demonically inspired mission to seek, kill and destroy. 

Smalley remarks "“Whereas the orthodox followers of Jesus are sent out into the world to preach the truth, the heretics went out, as itinerant emissaries of the devil, to teach error and gain converts for their own cause.” (BORROW Epistles of John)

In his first epistle John further identified those who were deceivers writing that "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us." (1Jn 2:19)

Utley "For many deceivers" The word "deceivers" comes from the Greek word planç, from which we get the English term "planet." In the ancient world the movement of the heavenly bodies was mapped and studied (zodiak). The stars fit into stable patterns, but some stars (i.e., planets) moved irregularly. The ancients called them "wanderers." This developed metaphorically into those who wander from the truth. These false teachers are not just sincerely wrong or misled persons who are ignorant of the gospel. In John's writings both the Pharisees and the false teachers rebel against the clear light they have received. This is why their rebellion is characterized as "the unpardonable sin" or "the sin unto death" (see notes at 1 John 5:16). The tragedy is that they also caused others to follow them to destruction. The NT clearly reveals that false teachers will appear and cause great problems (cf. Matthew 7:15; Matthew 24:11, Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; 1 John 2:26; 1 John 3:7; 1 John 4:1).

Those who do not acknowledge (homologeo - confess) Jesus Christ (Christos) as coming (present tense) in the flesh - John applies the "Christological Test" which demonstrates that these deceivers are those who in effect promote a "different Jesus," not the Jesus of the Bible. Specifically they deceive others by claiming Jesus Christ was not God in the flesh ("Christ con carne" as the Spanish might say). Virtually every cult will direct their primary attack at some aspect of the Person of Christ, for if they can get their followers to believe in another Jesus, they know they will follow the leaders straight to Hell (eternal punishment)! 

John had given the same Christological test in his first epistle writing...

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses (homologeo) that Jesus Christ has come (perfect tense - past completed action with enduring result/effect) in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (1 John 4:2-3+)

Brian Bell - Without Incarnation there could be no fellowship with God, and of course, no salvation!  "A Savior not quite God is a bridge broken at the further end." (Bishop Moule) Note contrasts: some (2Jn 1:4) vs. many (2Jn 1:7). Note contrasts: children of the church (2Jn 1:1) vs. deceivers of the church (2Jn 1:7). 

Utley These deceivers continue in their false teachings about the person of Christ. This verse repeats the admonition to "test the spirits" of 1 John 4:1-6, especially as they relate to Jesus' full humanity (cf. John 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:16). Gnosticism affirmed an eternal dualism between "spirit" (God) and "matter" (flesh). To them, Jesus could not be fully God and fully man. There seems to have been at least two theological streams within early Gnostic thought. (1) denial of Jesus' humanity (Docetic); He appeared to be human, but was a spirit and (2) denial that Christ died on the cross; this group (Cerinthian) asserted that the "Christ spirit" came on the man Jesus at his baptism and left Him before He died on the cross. It is possible that the present tense, "coming in the flesh," is John's way of rejecting Cerinthian Gnosticism and 1 John 4:1-6 is his way of rejecting Docetic Gnosticism.

Warren Wiersbe - Here John is referring to the false teachers mentioned in his first epistle. He reminds us that the test of a teacher is what he or she believes about Jesus Christ. If this teacher denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, then he or she is false and from the Antichrist. While the one great “Man of Sin” (or Antichrist) will be revealed at the end of the age (1 Thes. 2), the spirit of Antichrist is already in the world (1 John 4:3). . (BORROW Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

This is the deceiver (planosand the antichrist  (antichristos) - Deceiver emphasizes these men sought to lead others astray, whereas antichrist emphasizes they themselves were opposed to the truth of Christ and wanted to replace Him with their false Christ. The result of belief in such a false Christ is that such a person cannot be saved! So John sees the fate of the destiny of souls at stake. While John does not mention names, he clearly identifies these deceivers by their false teaching concerning Christ. He lumps them into the abominable category of antichrist which speaks of their dual deception of being opposed to Christ and offering another Christ as substitute. 

Plummer notes that the portrayal of these deceivers “completes the series of condemnatory names which S. John uses in speaking of these false teachers; liars (1 John 2:22), seducers (1 John 2:26), false prophets (1 John 4:1), deceivers (2 John 7), antichrists (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7).” (2 John Commentary)

Second Peter is another letter that deals with false teachers and it strikes me that Peter's command at the end of his letter is calculated to promote in believers a full knowledge of Christ because the better one knows Christ, the quicker one can discern false teaching about Christ (cf "solid food" in Hebrews 5:14+). And so Peter commands his readers (and all of us) to continually "grow (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) in the grace and knowledge (gnosis - gives us Gnosticism)  of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." (2Pe 3:18+). 

Hiebert - To have said that Christ “came into flesh” would have opened the door to Cerinthian Gnosticism. Cerinthus, a late contemporary of John at Ephesus (See Cerenthus Opponent of St John), taught that Jesus was a mere man but that the divine Christ came upon Him at His baptism and empowered His ministry but left Him before His death on the cross. Such teaching blatantly denies the reality of the incarnation and dissolves the doctrine of the atonement. Here the use of the present tense (coming in present tense) to deny the possibility of the incarnation may imply a repudiation of Docetic Gnosticism. Because they held that “flesh” was inherently evil, Docetic Gnostics claimed that Christ only seemed to have a human body and that such a union of the divine and the human was inherently impossible. They insisted that the divine Christ never became incarnate in human flesh. They held that the apostolic teaching concerning the incarnate Christ was a misapprehension of His real nature. (Ibid)

Related Resources:

Deceivers...deceiver (4108planos wandering, leading astray (adj.), a deceiver (subst.). It is used metaphorically for deliberately and deceptively leading people away from the right path, lying to people about God or about the reality of life and thus getting them off course. Used in 1 Ti 4:1 as an adjective and in the other 3 NT uses (Mt. 27:63 "that Deceiver" referring to Jesus Who is The Truth!; 2 Co. 6:8 = "deceivers"; 1 2 Jn. 1:7 = "deceivers...deceiver") as a noun.  Septuagint = Job 19:4 and Jeremiah 23:32 ('led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting;") where Jeremiah denounces prophets who led Israel astray. Planos is in a family of words that means “wander off” or “lead astray.” In classical Greek the verb planaō (3966) means “to wander about” or “to lead (someone) astray.” planētēs, is used in combination with astēr, “star,” to designate a star that has no fixed position but “wanders,” that is, a planet.

Planos - 5x in 4v - deceitful(1), deceiver(2), deceivers(2). Matt. 27:63; 2 Co. 6:8; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Jn. 1:7

Acknowledge (confess, profess, admit) (3670homologeo from homos = one and the same or together with+ lego = to say; confess from con = together, fateor = to say.) literally means to say the same thing as another and so to agree in one's statements with, to acknowledge, to admit the truth of (an accusation).

Vincent writes that…The fundamental idea of confess is that of saying the same thing as another; while profess (pro = forth, fateor = to say) is to declare openly. Hence, to profess Christ is to declare Him publicly as our Lord: to confess Christ is to declare agreement with all that He says. When Christ confesses His followers before the world, He makes a declaration in agreement with what is in His heart concerning them. Similarly, when He declares to the wicked “I never knew you” (“then will I profess”), a similar agreement between His thought and His declaration is implied. The two ideas run into each other, and the Rev. is right in the few cases in which it retains profess, since confess would be ambiguous. See, for example, Titus 1:16.

Homologeo - 26x in 23v - acknowledge(2), admit(1), assured(1), confess(6), confessed(4), confesses(6), confessing(1), declare(1), give thanks(1), made(1), profess(1), promised(1). Matt. 7:23; Matt. 10:32; Matt. 14:7; Lk. 12:8; Jn. 1:20; Jn. 9:22; Jn. 12:42; Acts 7:17; Acts 23:8; Acts 24:14; Rom. 10:9; Rom. 10:10; 1 Tim. 6:12; Tit. 1:16; Heb. 11:13; Heb. 13:15; 1 Jn. 1:9; 1 Jn. 2:23; 1 Jn. 4:2; 1 Jn. 4:3; 1 Jn. 4:15; 2 Jn. 1:7; Rev. 3:5

Antichrist (500) antichristos from anti = instead of or against + Christos = anointed) conveys one of two main meanings depending on how one interprets the prefix "anti." Anti can mean in lieu of, in place of, over against, opposite, instead of, and in comparisons it denotes contrast, substitution.

Complete Biblical Library Commentary - The spirit of Antichrist includes all false teachers and enemies of the truth. This opposition to God may be expected to increase and intensify as time goes on, culminating in the person and activities of one who will gather together under his banner all the anti-God forces in a final attempt to dethrone God. The Book of Revelation depicts his activities and defeat.

Marvin Vincent explains the difference between a false Christ and the antichrist - Antichrist. Peculiar to John in the NT. The absence of the article shows its currency as a proper name. It may mean one who stands against Christ, or one who stands instead of Christ; just as antistrategos may mean either one who stands in the place of a strategosPraetor, a Propraetor (see Intro to Luke, and note on Acts 16:20), or an opposing general. John never uses the word pseudochristos false Christ (Mt. 24:24; Mk 13:22). While the false Christ is merely a pretender to the Messianic office, the Antichrist “assails Christ by proposing to do or to preserve what he did, while denying Him.” Antichrist, then, is one who opposes Christ in the guise of Christ. Westcott’s remark is very important, that John’s sense of Antichrist is determined by the full Christian conception of Christ, and not by the Jewish conception of the promised Saviour.

John MacArthur has a fairly detailed discussion of the Antichrist - "The Bible is clear that one man will be the final, most complete and powerful Antichrist. He will appear in the future history of the world in a time which is called the time of the Tribulation. This is a time that will end man's day. It is a time, a seven-year period of time divided into two three-and-half year sections in which Satan releases his power in the world, at the same time God releases judgment in the world. And there will be in that day a world ruler who is identified as the Antichrist. He is the culminating and final one, that's why we have here the singular "Antichrist is coming."" (See more discussion of Antichrist in Christians and Antichrists, Part 1)

James Smith-  THE TEST OF TRUTH 2 Jn 7, 11

False teachers were travelling (verses 7 to 11) amongst the churches, and John warns this lady against even entertaining them (verses 10 to 11), much less their false doctrines. Then the aged Apostle gives an infallible test of truth.

1. The reality of the humanity of our Lord in His earthly life. “That Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.”
2. The reality of the humanity of our Lord in His second advent. “Cometh in the flesh” (R.V.).

Apply this test to some popular religious movements of our day, and the result is startling. Christian Science, Spiritism, Russellism, and other similar movements are unmasked, and shown to be against Christ, and utterly wrong—of the Devil.

F F Bruce - Who Are the Heretics?

We live in an age in which all sorts of people call themselves Christian, even if their continuity with historic Christianity is tenuous at best. This is not a new problem. All three of the Johannine letters deal with problems with schismatic groups, and in 1 and 2 John one of the characteristics of these groups is that they are heretical. But what are we to make of the heresy described in 2 John 7? In what way might a group call itself Christian and still “not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh”? Even the vast majority of our semi-Christian heresies acknowledge Jesus. What does it mean to “come in the flesh” anyway?

As I have noted, the Johannine community was struggling with heretical teaching. In 1 John 4:1 we read that “many” false prophets have left the church community for the world. In 2 John 4 we read that “some” of the Christians are walking in the truth, while in 2 John 7 we learn that there are “many deceivers.” The impression is that the majority of the church is defecting and going “out into the world,” probably to form their own groups based on their own doctrines.

The root of the heresy in both 1 John 4:2–3 and 2 John 7 is the denial of “Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.” There is a grammatical difference between the two passages that may indicate a shift in emphasis, but the root concept is the same in both. In Johannine terminology to confess something is not simply to agree that it is correct, but to acknowledge one’s allegiance to it. So to confess Jesus Christ would be to state that one is committed to him as Lord. But why does John use the double title “Jesus Christ” and “in the flesh”?

This phrase in 2 John is designed to rule out christological heresy. Two types of heresy appeared in the second century, arising out of roots already apparent in the Johannine writings in the first century. The docetic heresy, on the one hand, argued that Jesus was not a real human being (not truly “in the flesh”), but only appeared to be human. He was truly Christ; the Christ was a spirit that appeared to materialize. Being a spirit, of course, he did not die on the cross, but in one way or another only appeared to suffer and die. (The term docetic comes from the Greek word meaning “to seem or appear.”) The Cerinthian heresy, on the other hand, argued that Jesus was really a human being, but that at his baptism the Christ spirit came upon him, forsaking him at the crucifixion. Therefore the Christ did not die, although Jesus did. Although we do not know exactly what the heretics John is fighting believed (and some of them may have believed an early form of both of these heresies), the phrase in 2 John guards against both of them. According to John, a true Christian pledges allegiance to Jesus Christ, not just the Christ. And the believer acknowledges that this whole entity, “Jesus Christ,” has come from God and is really human. The form of the phraseology in 1 John 4:2–3 stresses Jesus’ having come from God and becoming truly incarnate. The form here in 2 John 7 stresses that Jesus remains incarnate and did not in some way “split apart” at death or the ascension. In John’s view, an incarnate, truly human, truly divine Jesus Christ presently exists.

In 1 John 4 the heretics claim to be inspired by the Holy Spirit when they teach what they do about Jesus. This does not mean that they were under direct Spirit-control at the time of their speaking, but that they were claiming that this was what the Spirit had taught them. John says that one can tell the true Spirit of God by the doctrine he teaches. The true Spirit has the right doctrine; the spirit that does not lead people to pledge their allegiance to the orthodox Christ is in fact not the Holy Spirit, but the spirit of antichrist. This statement is not grounds for calling up spirits and trying to get them to speak through people and making them affirm or deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, but it is grounds for examining the doctrine of the person who claims prophetic inspiration and seeing if it corresponds with the orthodox confession.

In 2 John we do not hear of the spirit-inspiration of the heretics, but they are themselves called deceivers and antichrist. It appears that they were trying to infiltrate the orthodox house churches and were actively recruiting people to their way of thinking. That is why they are deceivers and why the people need to “watch out” that they do not lose what they have in Christ (2 Jn 8).

The Christian church finds its unity not around this or that doctrine, but around Jesus Christ. To reject the real Jesus, either by denying his true humanity (being “in the flesh”) or by denying his divinity (by denying that Jesus was really the Christ), is to break with the faith and to split from the church community. It is not that doctrine is the key issue, but that it expresses the distinguishing characteristics of the person to whom one is committed. The one not committed to the real Jesus Christ does not know either the Father or the Son, according to John. Unfortunately the church often has not kept this fact central. On the one hand, it has been willing to accept some who do deny its Lord, and, on the other hand, it has been willing to split over doctrinal differences that do not call into question real commitment to the true Jesus Christ. This letter reminds us of what is really central. It is Christ who unifies his church. Without him we have no unity. With him we have a unity that no human being dare try to destroy. (Online Hard Sayings of the Bible)

2 John 1:8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.

KJV  2 John 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

BGT  2 John 1:8 βλέπετε ἑαυτούς, ἵνα μὴ ἀπολέσητε ἃ εἰργασάμεθα ἀλλὰ μισθὸν πλήρη ἀπολάβητε.

NET  2 John 1:8 Watch out, so that you do not lose the things we have worked for, but receive a full reward.

CSB  2 John 1:8 Watch yourselves so you don't lose what we have worked for, but that you may receive a full reward.

ESV  2 John 1:8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.

NIV  2 John 1:8 Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.

NLT  2 John 1:8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward.

NRS  2 John 1:8 Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward.

NJB  2 John 1:8 Watch yourselves, or all our work will be lost and you will forfeit your full reward.

NAB  2 John 1:8 Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense.

YLT  2 John 1:8 See to yourselves that ye may not lose the things that we wrought, but a full reward may receive;

MIT  2 John 1:8 Watch out for yourselves lest you lose what we worked to see you have. But watch that you might receive a full reward.

  • Watch yourselves: Mt 24:4,24,25 Mk 13:5,6,9,23 Lu 21:8 Heb 12:15 Rev 3:11 
  • hat you do not lose : Ga 3:4 4:11 Php 2:15,16 3:16 Heb 10:32,35 Rev 3:11 
  • that you may receive a full reward: Da 12:3  John 4:36 1Co 3:8,14 1Co 15:8 
  • 2 John Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

Daniel 12:3+  “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

1 Corinthians 3:8; 14+   Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. (14) If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.

Matthew 5:12+ "Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward (misthos) in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Luke 6:35+ "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward (misthos) will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Revelation 22:12+ "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward (misthos) is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.


Watch (blepopresent imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obeyyourselves - In 2Jn 1:4 John was rejoicing over their walk, but now he warns them to take care where they walk because of the deceivers. I like this picture of a personal warning. Keep your eyes first on yourselves. The present imperative calls for them to be like sentries who are always on guard duty, ever watchful, lest they allow themselves to be duped. 

"Beware of pickpockets."

Utley adds that Watch "is a Present active imperative. It is the term "see" (blepô), used metaphorically for a warning against evil (cf. Matthew 24:4; Mark 13:5; Luke 21:8; Acts 13:40; 1 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Corinthians 10:12; Galatians 5:12; Hebrews 12:25). Believers are responsible for discerning error because (1) they know the gospel, (2) they have the Spirit and (3) they have ongoing fellowship with Christ. 

John's command reminds me of Pr 4:23+ where Solomon commands something he himself did not obey! "Watch over your heart with all diligence, (WHY?) for from it flow the springs of life." The point of watch yourselves is that you and I have enough to take care of with ourselves (every morning the mirror reminds me of my fallen flesh)! This command calls for believers to continually keep an eye out (and an ear tuned) to error concerning Jesus Christ. And don't expect the deceiver to walk in wearing a red suit with horns and a pitchfork! Remember that we learn in Genesis 3:1+ Satan "was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made." And so these deceivers follow the pattern of like father, like son (cf Jn 8:44+).

It’s easy to lose what you have gained by making friends w/the wrong people.”
-- Brian Bell

Utley There is a Greek manuscript variation in this verse related to the first pronoun: should it be "you" (NASB, NRSV, TEV) or "we" (NKJV)? The UBS4 text supports "you," meaning the believers addressed might not accomplish the goals of the gospel given them by the Apostolic witness.

That (hina) you do not lose (apollumi) what we have accomplished (ergazomai) - That (hina) is a strategic term of purpose, first giving the negative (not lose) and then the positive (full reward). I think the CSB rendering is more accurate than accomplished, for it reads "what we have worked for." What had John worked for? First and foremost he desired that those who heard his teaching would become true believers and then that they would not be swayed by deceptive teachings about Jesus Christ. 

Jesus used this same verb (apollumi)  declaring "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose (apollumi) his reward (misthos).” (Matthew 10:42+)

NET Note on what we have accomplished  - The things we have worked for probably refers to the pastoral and missionary efforts undertaken by the recipients of the letter in their own community and surrounding communities. This work would be "lost" if the opponents with their false teaching are allowed to proselytize unopposed.

Hiebert explains that there are 2 possible interpretations based on how one interprets the pronouns you and we  If the reading “which you have wrought” is accepted, then John is warning his readers that they must be on guard lest they destroy their own accomplishments; if they yield to these false teachers they will thereby destroy the spiritual growth they have experienced through their acceptance of the true apostolic message. (The NIV uses “you” with all three verbs). If “you” is accepted as the subject for the first and third verbs and “we” as the original subject of the middle verb (so the NASB), John’s appeal is twofold. He first of all makes a delicate and touching appeal to their personal affection for the Elder himself; if they fall prey to the false teachers John reminds them that they will be destroying “what we have accomplished,” namely, the spiritual results of the missionary workers in bringing the gospel to them. But more probably this “we” is intended to be more inclusive, uniting the efforts of the readers with those of the apostolic messengers. (Ibid)

Warren Wiersbe - Here John warns us not to destroy the things that have been wrought in Christ. The easiest way to get detoured from your Christian walk and to lose all the spiritual ground you have gained is to get involved with false doctrine. Satan is a destroyer, and he uses lies to rob saints of their blessings. (BORROW Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

Warren Wiersbe - This is the danger of losing what has already been gained. Look to yourselves means “Beware! Take heed!” The false teachers offer something you do not have, when in reality they take away what you already have! Satan is a thief and so are his helpers. John wanted his readers to receive “a full reward,” which is his equivalent of 2 Peter 1:11, an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom. What a tragedy it is when God’s servants labor faithfully to build up a church, and then the work is destroyed by false teaching. No wonder Paul wrote to the Galatian assemblies, “I am afraid of [for] you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain” (Gal. 4:11). “Do not lose the things we accomplished” is the way Kenneth Wuest translates 2 John 8. Church members need to respect the work of faithful pastors and teachers and do everything to protect it and extend it. God’s servants must one day give an account of their ministries, and they want to do it “with joy and not with grief” (Heb. 13:17). When the church goes backward, losing what it has gained, then it also will lose part of the reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is essential that we hold fast to the truth of the Word of God! (Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament)

But (term of contrast) that you may receive (apolambano) a full (pleres) reward (misthos) - But calls our attention to a "change of direction" (an "about face") from a tragic loss (that would forever impact your enjoyment of eternity!) to a wonderful gain (that would remain "functional" forever!) The idea of full (pleres) is abounding! 

Hiebert - John further makes an eschatological appeal: if they remain true to the apostolic message, the contrasted result will be “that we receive a full reward” (alla misthon plērē apolabēte). The adversative “but” (alla) points to the resultant contrast in that future day. If they prove themselves faithful laborers who faithfully stay with the task until the end, assuredly they will not experience loss but rather “we”—understood in an inclusive sense—will receive a “full reward.”.... The expression “a full reward” (misthon plērē, “a reward in full” or “a reward that attains the full possibility”) looks forward to the final outcome for the faithful believer (Rev. 3:11+). In view is that future day when “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10+). Their full reward will be affected in that day if they yield to these deceivers and antichrists (cf. 1 Cor. 3:11–15+). In that future day, as a further expression of His grace, God will reward present faithfulness and obedience to His commands. It is another instance of John’s appeal to the hope of the future to stimulate present faithfulness (cf. 1 John 2:28+).(Ibid)

NET Note - The idea of a reward for Christians who serve faithfully is not common in the Johannine writings, but can be found in Rev 11:18 and Rev 22:12. 

Paul expresses a similar desire (for full reward for his hearers) in Colossians 3:23-24+ writing "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive (apolambano) the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ Whom you serve."

THOUGHT - Will you receive a full reward at the Bema Seat of Christ (See 50 page discussion of the Bema Seat - sadly many Christians are largely ignorant of this future judgment which every believer must face individually before Jesus - this is truth "you can't NOT know beloved!" Learn how you can make sure you will receive a full reward, one that endures for eternity! Watch my youtube discussion on the Bema Seat of Christ)? While believers will not be judged for sins committed during their life (because Jesus cried "It is finished" or "Paid in Full" in Jn 19:30+), sins we commit on earth sadly will have an impact on the fullness of our reward at the Bema Seat. This explains Paul's warning regarding rewards in 1Co 3:11-15+

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire

A J Gordon - Look to yourselves. “I cannot sweep the darkness out, but I can shine it out,” said John Newton. We cannot scourge dead works out of the church, but we can live them out. If we accuse the church with having the pneumonia, let us who are individual air-cells in that church breathe deeply and wait patiently and pray believingly, and one after another of the obstructed cells will open to the Spirit till convalescence is reëstablished in every part.

Warren Wiersbe - A Christian who meddles with these deceivers is in danger of losing his full reward (2 John 8). You should not even say “good-bye” (which literally means “God be with you”). You are not to be rude or unkind, because that would not be Christian; but you are not to let them into your home to explain their views. Why? Because if you let them in, two consequences may follow: First, they will plant the seeds of false teaching in your mind, and Satan can water and nourish these seeds to produce bitter fruit. But even if this does not happen, by entertaining false teachers in your home you are giving them entrance into other homes! The deceiver will say to your neighbor down the street, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith let me into their home, and you know what good Christians they are!”

Watch (see, look, beware, take care, take heed) (991blepo basically means to have sight, to see, to look at, then to observe, to discern, to perceive with the eye, and frequently implies special contemplation (e.g., often in the sense of “keep your eyes open,” or “beware”. BDAG adds that one of the senses of blepo is to "be ready to learn about something that is needed or is hazardous, watch, look to, beware of, Mk 13:9; Phil 3:2." 

Blepo was used commonly of bringing a ship to land...think of our life as a "ship of faith" moving through the fog, avoiding the dangerous reefs by keeping our focus on the Lighthouse on the shore.

Friberg's summary of blepo - see, look at; (1) of sense perception see (Mt 7.3); (2) in contrast to being blind be able to see (Lk 7.21); figuratively, of spiritual perception see, understand, be aware of (Jn 9.39; Ro 11.8); (3) of careful observing look at, regard (Mt 5.28; Jn 13.22); (4) of mental functions; (a) as directing one's attention take notice of, regard, consider (1Co 1.26); (b) as taking warning watch, beware, take heed (Mk 13.9); (c) as mentally perceiving discover, find, become aware of (Ro 7.23) (BORROW Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament)

Blepo indicates greater vividness than horao, a similar verb meaning "to see", for according to W E Vine blepo expresses "a more intentional, earnest contemplation. in Luke 6:41, of beholding the mote in a brother’s eye; Luke 24:12, of beholding the linen clothes in the empty tomb; Acts 1:9, of the gaze of the disciples when the Lord ascended. The greater earnestness is sometimes brought out by the rendering “regardest,” Mt. 22:16. (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)

Lose (perish) (622apollumi from apo = away from or wholly + olethros = state of utter ruin <> ollumi = to destroy) means to destroy utterly or fully. LIke "poof" and it's gone or disintegrated. In the context of rewards apollumi describes them as gone forever. However when this word is used of souls in the lake of fire (eternal punishment), it does no imply they are annihilated, but that they have forever lost their capability of doing anything of worthwhile value.

Accomplish (Do, Perform, Produce) (2038ergazomai from ergon = work) means to engage in an activity involving considerable expenditure of effort. To work effectively. The NT uses ergazomai in a literal (to do manual labor) and figurative sense especially a spiritual sense as in 2Jn 1:8. 

Accomplish - to bring about (a result) by effort. Accomplish stresses the successful completion of a process rather than the means of carrying it out. This is the sense of ergazomai in 2Cor 7:10 and James 1:20.

Wuest - Ergazomai "emphasizes the process of an action, carrying with this the ideas of continuity and repetition. It means “to labor, to be active, to perform,” with the idea of continued exertion being included."

Receive (back) (618apolambano from apo = from + lambáno = to receive, take) means to receive fully, receive in full what is one’s due, get back, recover fully what is promised or even to receive by way of retribution. This receipt can thus be good or bad news, depending upon how we live our Christian lives. But to the first-century Christian slave this was largely good news, because under Roman law a slave could inherit nothing. Apolambano - (1) Receive in full what is due (Lk 16:25) (2) Receive back or obtain again (money - Lk 6:34, 15:27), reward. (3) To take to oneself as in Mk 7:33. Used twice in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Nu 34:1, Isa 5:17.

Full (abounding) (4134pleres from pleos = full, pletho = to fill) means filled up as opposed to empty (as of a hollow vessel - Mt 14:20, 15:37, Mk 6:43). Of a surface, covering every part (leprosy in Lk 5:12). Figuratively, of one full of, filled with, abounding in, thoroughly endowed with (Lk 4:1 full of the Holy Spirit, Acts 9:36 abounding in deeds, Stephen full of grace and power Acts 6:8). Pleres pertains to containing within itself all that it will hold - apply this to your rewards/awards at the Bema seat. Pleres includes the ideas of complete and filled up. 

Reward (wage) (3408misthos literally refers to pay which is due for labor performed or dues paid for work. Misthos is used in two general senses in the NT, either to refer to wages or to reward, recognition or recompense. In this latter figurative usage, misthos refers to rewards which God bestows for the moral quality of an action, such rewards most often to be bestowed in eternity future.

Warren Wiersbe - Every ministry and home needs gatekeepers and guards, for after a work is finished, it must be protected from the enemy (2 John 8). We also need leaders with courage and integrity. After all, there is a battle going on! 

Because of Saul’s sins, he first lost his dynasty (13:11–14) and then his kingdom (15:24–31), and finally he lost his crown. The warning of our Lord in Revelation 3:11 is applicable at this point: “Behold, I come quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (NKJV). “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward” (2 John 8, NKJV).

Octavius Winslow - Evening Thoughts

"Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a reward. Whoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son." 2 John 8, 9

Dear reader, in whose righteousness do you at this moment stand? Is it all profession merely? Startle not at the question—turn not from it; it is for your life we ask it. Do you wonder that such a scrutiny into the ground of your hope should be made? Are you astonished at the solemn fact implied in this question? Do not be so. Many have lived in the outward profession—have put on Christ in the external garb—have talked well of Him—have been baptized in His name—given liberally for His cause, and, after all, have gone into eternity holding up the empty lamp! Oh, marvel not, then, that we repeat the question—in whose righteousness do you at this moment stand? Mere profession will not save your soul; your being found mingling among the wise virgins will not secure you an admittance with them into heaven; your talking respectfully of Jesus will avail you nothing; your church membership, your liberality, your spotless morality, your regular attendance on the sanctuary, all, all are in vain, without the justifying righteousness of the God-man upon you. What do you know of the broken heart and the contrite spirit? What do you know of the healing blood of Jesus? What do you know of a sense of pardon and acceptance? What do you know of the witness of the Spirit? What do you know of a humble, low, abasing view of yourself? What do you know of a holy and a close walk with God? What do you know of communion and fellowship with the Father and His dear Son? In a word, what do you know of yourself as a helpless, ruined sinner; and of Jesus, as a rich, able, and present Savior? Ponder these solemn questions. The hand that pens them trembles with awe as it traces this page. This is a day of great profession—a day of great ingathering into the church—a day when much chaff must necessarily be gathered with the wheat. It solemnly behooves, then, each professing member of Christ's church, of every name and denomination, narrowly to scrutinize his motives, deeply to prove his heart, and closely and habitually to examine the foundation on which he is building for eternity. Thus shall he walk, if he be an adopted child, in the sweet and holy realization of his pardon and acceptance; thus shall he experience the blessedness of "the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered;" and thus, too, shall he constantly be "a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work."


"Look unto Me, and be ye saved" (Isa. 45:22).

"Look to yourselves, that we lose not" (2 John 8).

A lady journalist in America consulted an oculist with regard to a trouble in her eyes. After a careful examination the specialist said: "Your eyes are tired; you must rest them. Have you any wide views from your house?" "Oh, yes," she replied. "From the front porch I can see the noble peaks of the Blue Ridge, and from the rear windows I can look out upon the glorious Allegheny Foot Hills." "Very well," said he, "that is just what you need. When your eyes feel tired, look steadily at your mountains for ten minutes—twenty minutes would be better; the far away look will rest them."

Just so. And there is a deep spiritual lesson here. For this is a world with weary, tired eyes. Oh, how weary is the world! But there is a cure. There is a glorious far away look that rests and refreshes, a look nor merely to the hills, but away and beyond to the God of the hills.

"Shall I lift up mine eyes to the hills? Whence should my help come? My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth" (see margin of Psalm 121:1-2). This is the look that brings rest and refreshment to mind and heart when burdened by work or distracted with care. And this faraway look also brings comfort to sad and sorrowful souls. But the pity is that so few have learned its value and tasted of its joys. Friend, try the far-away look!

"Look unto Me, and be ye saved." This is a message direct from the Lord Himself. And important are its issues. Salvation is dependent upon it. The look that saves is a look backward—a look to the Cross. Such a look brings rest to the weary soul and to the troubled conscience. There is life for such a look. The look that saves is also a look upward. Note the Psalmist's determination in Psalm 5:3. Look and live was the first message we needed; live looking is the second. "Looking unto Jesus." The look that saves is also a look into. Scholars tell us that in the Greek the word translated "unto" means not only "at," but "into." Thus the verse could read, "looking into Jesus." Not only looking at His works, His miracles, His beautiful life, but looking right into Him and reading His heart. The look that saves is also a look forward. "Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Thus is readily seen how important is looking to the Lord. According to a famous preacher, in Isaiah 45:22, we have the greatest possible blessing—"salvation"—offered to the largest possible number—"all the ends of the earth"—on the simplest possible terms— "Look unto me"—on the highest possible security—"for I am God."

But there are some who object to the simplicity of these conditions. "How paltry and mean to make my salvation and happiness dependent upon a look," they say. But really, looking is not the vain and useless thing that it might appear to be. As has well been said: "Almost all knowledge comes from looking. We look at the physical world, and are taught what nature has to teach us. We look at books, and we learn what printing has to teach us. We look at men—their faces, their acts, their characters— and we discover what mankind has to teach us. Not to look is to shut ourselves off from almost all sources of information. Our eyes are more than organs of discernment; they are channels of reception. Our visions become our possessions."

How blessedly simple is all this. Why, looking is the simplest thing in the world, something even weak invalids and weak wailing bairns can do! How good of our God to make salvation dependent upon something we all can do. But possibly there may be some who are saying: "I cannot really do even this, for mine iniquities have taken hold of me, so that I am not able to look up" (Psa. 40:12). The publican was like this, yet he cried to the Lord for His forgiveness, and he went down to his house justified.

"Look unto Me," "Look to yourselves."

What is the meaning of these two apparently contradictory Scriptures? Just this: whilst the first is necessary for our salvation, the second is essential for the reception of a full reward, and is only another way of saying, "Beware of pickpockets." It is a solemn fact that many of God's dear children will not receive a reward. Saved souls, but lost lives. This is the teaching of 1 Cor. 3:14, 15. Beware! Look to yourself. Don't let the enemy rob you of the fruits of your walk and service. A careful examination of 2 John 8 shows that what was in the mind of John was loss through the reception of false teaching. How applicable this is to our own times, for error is to be met with on every hand. Be on your guard! But don't forget that for every look to yourself let there be ten looks to thy Lord. "Ten to one," let that be your motto.

H A Ironside - Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 2 John 8

We should be careful to distinguish between reward for service and salvation by grace. All who trust in the Lord Jesus are saved, and this completely apart from human merit. But all who profess to believe in Him are responsible to serve Him and to use whatever gift, ability, or means they have for His glory and to further His interests in this world. There are those who profess to be servants who are not even born of the Spirit. But God holds men accountable for what they know and profess. It is incumbent on all who believe His Word to serve whole-heartedly in view of the day when every one of us shall give an account. In that solemn hour no one will regret having been overly concerned about living for Him, but many will regret the hours spent in selfishness and folly which might have been used for His glory. Many will regret talents wasted or hidden away that, if properly invested in the light of eternity, would have earned Christ’s “Well done.” He will reward all that is in accordance with His Word (1 Corinthians 3:13).

         A group of boys and girls may be
         My God-appointed task;
         Help me to lead each one to Thee—
         What greater could I ask?
         I ask no place of prominence
         Where all the world can see,
         But in some needy corner, Lord,
         There let me work for Thee.
         No task too great, no task too small,
         Sufficient is Thy grace;
         The darkened heart, my mission field,
         My light, the Saviour’s face.

2 JOHN 8

The infamous criminal Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks. His reply? “Because that’s where the money is.”

A parallel reasoning motivates our enemy. Why does Satan work so hard at deceiving believers in Jesus? Why, in every generation, does he continually unleash legions of false teachers on the church? Answer: Because that’s where the worship is. The devil hates to see God honored. He will do anything to stop this. In fact, he would really like to steal this affection for himself.

Like so many of the New Testament letters, 2 John warns believers to “watch out.” We need to pay attention and be on our guard. Without vigilance and diligence, we can easily get off track and shift our focus and affection to unworthy things. Suddenly we find ourselves valuing that which is not God.

A fully devoted life of worship encompasses more than just attending praise services. Worship is more than singing exuberantly and praying fervently. Worship involves watching. We must be alert to the schemes of the enemy. Like a cosmic terrorist, he is always looking for an opening. Therefore, we cannot afford to be careless. Worship involves watching, and watching requires work. Guard the treasure of worship that God has given you.

Lord God, make me watchful and give me a diligent heart …

James Smith - REWARDS
What manner of love is this? that God should so love us as to give up His Son to die for us, and then reward us for every little thing done for Him. Oh, the grace of God—it is grace upon grace. Look at—

I. THE REWARDER.—Rewards are usually given according to the dignity of the rewarder.

1. THINK OF HIS GREATNESS (Col. 3:24). The Lord Himself is the rewarder. The world was made by Him and for Him. He inhabiteth eternity. He speaks and it is done.

2. THINK OF HIS RICHES (Gen. 15:1). Is it earthly blessing? The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof. Is it spiritual gifts? The fulness of the Godhead dwelleth in Him. He who was rich became poor, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich.

3. THINK OF HIS GOODNESS (Matt. 6:4). How sweet are these words: "Thy Father Himself." The Father who gave His Son, how will He not, with Him, freely give us all things. O how great is Thy goodness!

4. THINK OF HIS FAITHFULNESS (Phil 2:8-10). The One who, for God, became a worm and no man, is exalted by God with a name above every name. We see Him enduring the cross, and we see Him crowned with glory and honour (Heb. 2:9). Having been faithful to His only Son, He will be faithful to His every son.

II. THE REWARDED.—Not everyone will have their works rewarded. The wood, hay, and stubble will be burned. If any man's work abide, he shall receive a reward (1 Cor. 3:12-15). Rewards are given to—

1. THE EARNEST SEEKER (Heb. 11:6). Not those who seek rewards merely, but Him—"My soul thirsteth for the living God."

2. THE CAREFUL WORKER (1 Cor. 3:13-14). Take heed how and what ye build. Remember the testing fire. Be diligent in this business; be fervent in spirit—red hot.

3. THE CHEERFUL GIVER (Matt. 10:42). The Lord loveth a cheerful giver. Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily. The least thing done in Christ's Name will be rewarded.

4. THE RIGHTEOUS SOWER (Prov. 11, 18). Jesus Christ was the righteous Sower. What a reward He has received! (Heb. 2:9). Let us follow His example (Ps. 126:6).

5. THE UPRIGHT DEALER (2 Sam. 22:21). The Christian ought to do his business as in the sight of God, with an equal balance and with clean hands.

6. THE HUMBLE WALKER (Prov. 22:4). The reward of humility is riches and honour. Christ humbled Himself, wherefore God highly exalted Him (v. 29).

7. THE STEADFAST BELIEVER (Heb. 10:25). Whatever hinders your confidence in God is robbing you of a great recompense of reward. Listen not to the tempting devil. This is the victory—even our faith.

8. THE GODLY SUFFERER (Matt. 5:11-12). Jesus Himself, as our Captain, was consecrated through suffering. We suffer with Him that we may be also glorified together.

9. THE FAITHFUL WARRIOR (2 Tim. 4:8). On God's side the battle is the Lord's; on our side it is the fight of faith. Be faithful unto death and gain the crown of life.


1. THEY ARE GREAT (Gen. 15:1). Will be according to the greatness of the Giver. To have Himself is to have an exceeding great reward. "If He is mine, then all is mine."

2. THEY ARE SURE (Col. 3:24). Because they are of the Lord. He is faithful that hath promised.

3. THEY ARE VARIED. Every man shall receive according to his own labour (1 Cor. 3:8). In this case it will not be "every man his penny." The penitent thief cannot expect the reward of the laborious Paul.

4. THEY ARE SUFFICIENT (Matt. 25:21). Doubtless everyone will be abundantly satisfied with their own reward. His "well done" will be enough for this. But what is meant by "the joy of the Lord?"

5. THEY ARE ETERNAL (2 Cor. 4:17). These are laurels which never wither; blessings which perish not with the using. Who can count the value of "an eternal weight of glory?"

6. THEY ARE TO BE COVETED (2 John 8). Men will beguile us of our reward if they succeed in beguiling us away from lovingly serving the Lord. Press on toward the mark for the prize.


1. WILL BE ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS (1 Cor. 3:13). He shall reward every man according to his works (Matt. 16:27), not according to his profession.

2. WILL BE OPENLY (Matt. 6:4). Secret acts for Christ are not to be only secretly rewarded, although the faithful worker gets many a secret reward.

3. WILL BE IN THIS PRESENT TIME (Luke 18:29-30). The rewards are not all reserved for us in heaven. Daniel's self-denial was rewarded with heavenly wisdom (chap. 1).

4. WILL BE IN THE LIFE TO COME (Rev. 22:12). When clothed upon with our house which is from heaven, we will be the more able to receive and enjoy heavenly blessings.

5. WILL BE WHEN HE COMES (Matt. 16:27) The great rewards are bestowed when the Rewarder Himself appears. When He comes for His saints they shall receive the new body—the eternal fitness. When He comes with His saints they shall be rewarded with honours.

6. WILL BE DURING HIS REIGN (Rev. 20:4). Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?

7. WILL BE THROUGH ALL ETERNITY (2 Cor. 4:17). Where I am there shall ye be also—" For ever with the Lord." Hallelujah

James Butler - Sermon Starters - 2 John 1:8 "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought but that we receive a full reward" (II John 1:8).

This text is a warning of the loss that can come if people are not careful about their spiritual life.


"Look to yourselves." We note two things about this investigation.

• The diligence of the investigation. "Look." This word look means to perceive, not just to see. Therefore we are to investigate our life in an earnest way so as to perceive any problems which error has gotten in and cause in our spiritual life. It might be very humbling to examine ourselves so thoroughly, but the peril is great enough that we must be diligence in the investigation. This is not a casual examination but is one like my skin doctor gave me when I told him my brother died of melanoma. He was thorough and informed me my brother's children needed to examine themselves thoroughly, too. He was not talking about a casual examination but a very thorough examination for evidently melanoma can be rather sneaky.

• The direction of the investigation. "Yourselves." Believers are to examine themselves, not someone else. The flesh is very good at examining others and ignoring one's own problems. I like the story of the lady who came to her pastor with a fried egg on her head and a bacon strip over each ear. He asked her what was wrong. She said, 'Its my brother, he is acting strange.' That illustrates hypocrisy about as well as any illustration. Examine yourself earnestly. You may have more spiritual problems than you are aware of. John says you need to deal with them, but if you are unaware of your problems you cannot correct them.

• The devil in the investigation. The call for the investigation disclosed the work of Satan. If he cannot keep you from salvation he will try to ruin you so you are of no use to the Lord. Getting saved made you of no use to the devil, so he would response by trying to make you of no use to God.


"That we lose not those things which we have wrought but that we receive a full reward"

This text reminds us of Colossians 1:18 which says, "Let no man beguile you of your reward." The inspiration for the examination/investigation is to keep believers from losing their reward and according to our text to keep those who have brought the Gospel to the area from seeing their labor go for naught. Satan cannot unsave us, but he can get us so messed up that we do not receive any rewards for our Christian life and service. John would try to help the believers so they do not become taken up and conquered by error that would lead them astray spiritually. There are some believers, who have been so beguiled by false doctrine that they will not receive any rewards for their godly life and faithful service to Christ. John would prevent this.

Rod Mattoon - Losses at the Judgment Seat of Christ

A. Lost Opportunities

Opportunities to serve the Lord and make your life count for Him will be gone. It will be too late to tell others about Christ and do the will of God. (ED: See my videos - Redeem the Time and the Bema Seat of Christ. See also articles on Redeem the Time and 50 page article on The Bema Seat of Christ)

B. Lost Honor and Glory From Christ

C. Lost Reward

* 2 John 1:8—Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

D. Lost Joy

Many believers will be heartbroken when they realized they have wasted their lives. Thank God, the Lord will wipe away all our tears one day.

E. A Loss of Excuses

At the Judgment Seat you will have no more excuses for unfaithfulness and sinful living.

F. Lost Labor

Work that was like wood, hay, and stubble will go up in smoke. It will not endure. Such living was a waste of time and a waste of your life. Don't throw your life away. Make your life count for Christ and use what He has given to you for His glory.

J. Allen Blair pointed out that in 1874, Frances Ridley Havergal wrote her famous hymn of consecration to Christ, "Take My Life and Let it Be Consecrated Lord to Thee." It was not until 1878 that the lines of the song were put into print. When Frances read the third stanza, "Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold," she was suddenly convicted of her failure to do just that. Frances had a fine collection of exquisite jewelry, most of which had come by gift or by inheritance. She had a beautiful fine jewel cabinet, too. Immediately Miss Havergal packed the jewel box full, except for a half a dozen pieces which were special memorials of her parents and relatives. She sent the jewels to her church mission society. She then included a check to cover the monetary value of the jewels that she had chosen to keep. Frances said, "I don't need to tell you that I have never packed a box with such pleasure." Frances sent her treasure ahead of her where moth and rust would not corrupt it. (Mt 6:20) Her investment would help in the work of reaching people for Christ. She was faithful to the Lord.

Those who suffer loss, will suffer a loss of rewards. As we mentioned earlier, they will not lose their salvation. We as Baptists are scalded for believing the Bible doctrine of "eternal security" because our critics maintain that it promotes a sinful lifestyle. Critics claim that since the believer is born again and destined for Heaven, he can live any old way he wants to and still gets to go to Heaven. He has nothing to worry about at all. This argument is absolutely absurd. This would be like saying that because we have Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance, we can now chew on razor blades, slit our wrist for excitement, and gulp down hydrochloric acid. Listen folks, our health insurance gives us security, but it doesn't make us want to go out and hurt ourselves. Being born again does not inspire the true believer to do something that would grieve the Lord he loves. On the contrary, the believer that loves Christ wants to please Him. He does not want to see what he can get away with and see how wild he can be. If a person professed to be a Christian, but does not care about hurting the Lord, it is very possible he has never been born again at all. Your salvation is not a ticket to live wickedly. God is omniscient, but that does not give you a license to ignore praying to Him. God is sovereign, that does not give you the freedom to not witness to the lost. Eternal security does not give you the license to live like the Devil. The purpose and effect of salvation is to free men from sin, not free them to do it.
* Jude 1:24—Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.

Lehman Strauss - 2 John 1:8 - Here they are called upon to consider what losses would be suffered by permitting themselves to become sidetracked from the truth. When John says, “Look to yourselves,” he is not suggesting that the members of this family be self-dependent and thereby independent of God. He merely warns them that they must ever be watchful, keeping an eye upon themselves. I have felt at times that we Christians have been guilty of failing to exercise the proper care over ourselves. The Scriptures exhort us to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5), to build up ourselves in our most holy faith (Jude 20), to keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21), to keep ourselves from idols (1 John 5:21). There is no thought in John’s words of the Christian’s losing the salvation which God has bestowed upon each believing sinner freely by His grace. The loss here has to do with rewards, not salvation. We are warned against forfeiting the reward of our labor. Paul wrote, “Let no man beguile you of your reward” (Colossians 2:18).

2 John 1:9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

KJV  2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

BGT  2 John 1:9 Πᾶς ὁ προάγων καὶ μὴ μένων ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ θεὸν οὐκ ἔχει· ὁ μένων ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ, οὗτος καὶ τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὸν υἱὸν ἔχει.

NET  2 John 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God. The one who remains in this teaching has both the Father and the Son.

CSB  2 John 1:9 Anyone who does not remain in Christ's teaching but goes beyond it, does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son.

ESV  2 John 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

NIV  2 John 1:9 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.

NLT  2 John 1:9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.

NRS  2 John 1:9 Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

NJB  2 John 1:9 If anybody does not remain in the teaching of Christ but goes beyond it, he does not have God with him: only those who remain in what he taught can have the Father and the Son with them.

NAB  2 John 1:9 Anyone who is so "progressive" as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.

YLT  2 John 1:9 every one who is transgressing, and is not remaining in the teaching of the Christ, hath not God; he who is remaining in the teaching of the Christ, this one hath both the Father and the Son;

MIT  2 John 1:9 Everyone who leads on his own and does not remain in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. The one who remains in the teaching has the father and his son.

  • Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ: Joh 15:6 1Jn 2:22-24 
  • the teaching of Christ: Joh 7:16,17 Ac 2:42 Col 3:16 Tit 2:10 Heb 6:1 
  • does not have God: Mt 11:27 Lu 10:22  Joh 5:23 14:6 
  • The one who abides in the teaching: Heb 3:14 
  • he has both the Father and the Son 1Jn 1:3 
  • 2 John Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

John 5:23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 

John 15:23 “He who hates Me hates My Father also.


Anyone who goes too far (proago - present tense) and does not abide (meno - present tense) in the teaching (didache) of Christ (Christos) - And what does John mean by goes too far? He has already warned us of the "red flag" of calling Jesus Christ a natural man, but not a supernatural (God) man. 

Warren Wiersbe on goes too far (transgress) - The word "transgress" here means "go beyond." That is, these false teachers are not content to stay within the limits of the Word of God. They are "progressive" and "modern," preferring to go beyond the Bible and "improve on" what God has written. This is the wrong kind of progress! While Christians are to progress in their walk, they must never go beyond the limits of the Bible. We are to "abide" in the doctrine, affirming the fundamentals of the Word of God. (BORROW Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

NET renders "goes too far" as "Everyone who goes on ahead" -  Barclay translates it "everyone who goes too far," commenting "The Greek is proagon. The verb means to go on ahead. The false teachers claimed that they were the progressives, the advanced thinkers, the men of the open and adventurous mind. John himself was one of the most adventurous thinkers of the New Testament. But he insists that, however far a man may advance, he must abide in the teaching of Jesus Christ or he loses touch with God. Here, then, is the great truth. John is not condemning advanced thinking; but he is saying that Jesus Christ must be the touchstone of all thinking and that whatever is out of touch with him can never be right. John would say, "Think--but take your thinking to the touchstone of Jesus Christ and the New Testament picture of him." Christianity is not a nebulous, uncontrolled theosophy; it is anchored to the historical figure of Jesus Christ."

Brian Bell adds goes too far can mean "go beyond" and then cautions - (1) Beware of anybody who has something to add to your Bible. (2) Beware of anyone who has just discovered something new, that no theologian has been able to, in the last 2000 years! (a) Mormonism falls over flat, like the idol Dagon did, on just this one verse! (3) Divine truth is both sweet food for babes AND is in the highest sense strong meat for men!…When should we ever look beyond that?

Does not have God (theos) - This is an idiomatic way of saying he is not born again. This is the danger of not watching one's self and not abiding in the truth. The upshot is that such a person is not even a genuine believer, because if he or she does not have the Son (as shown by holding to a false teaching regarding Jesus), he or she does not have (possess) the Father, for as Jesus taught the Jews "I and the Father are One." (John 10:30). You cannot say you believe in God, if you do not believe in the truth about the Son. 

In his first epistle John wrote "Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father (pater); the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father." (1Jn 2:23-24)

John Stott - “To deny the Son is to forfeit the Father. This is as true today of all non-Christian religions as it was of Cerinthian Gnosticism in the first century.” (BORROW The Epistles of John)

Utley on of Christ - The genitive phrase "of Christ" could refer to 1. teachings of Christ 2. teachings about Christ 3. John's common double meanings

The one who abides  (meno - present tense) in the teaching (didache), he has (present tenseboth the Father (paterand the Son - Now John contrasts the fundamental difference of heretics versus believers in belief (denying versus abiding) and the diametrically different spiritual results (does not have God versus has both the Father and the Son, which equates respectively to those who are lost and those who are saved).

John's statement recalls Jesus' words in John 8:31+ "If you continue (meno - present tense) in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine." The corollary is failure to continue in Jesus' Word is evidence that such a person is not a genuine believer (disciple means believer in sad contrast to what some evangelical writers teach saying disciples are "believers on steroids" so to speak, a more elite class of believer but such teaching is no Scripturally sound and might mislead a professing person into thinking they were a possessing person, a genuine believer. Beware of this genre of teaching!)

Lehman Strauss - Twice in this one verse we read the phrase “the doctrine of Christ.” The word doctrine (Greek, didache) means “teaching.” John is not referring here merely to those doctrines which Christ taught, but rather teaching with reference to Christ, teaching which recognizes Jesus as the Messiah and Saviour. The word transgresseth (Greek, parabaino) means “to go beyond.” Here we have the key to the understanding of the sin with which John is dealing. In John’s day, as in our own, there were those men who boasted their intellectual progress and went beyond the revelation of God. Almost all of the better known modern cults profess to have some new thought which the rest of us have missed. But God condemns the proud claims of all who go beyond that which He has written. Let the “advanced thinkers” and “intellectuals” of our day take heed lest, in their boasted progress, they drift away from Christ instead of progressing toward Him. One mark of the true believer in Christ is the fact that he clings to Christ and to the Word of God. Let us not be sidetracked by modern intellectualism and the new thought of our day which goes beyond what God has written.

Swindoll on the teaching of these men - Most likely, John had in mind a heretical movement that was still in its incubation stages in the first century but would break out in full infection by the second century. This heresy, often called Gnosticism, based its teachings on the Greek dualistic notion that spirit was good and matter was evil. The Gnostics believed that Christ could not have actually come in the flesh, otherwise He would have been tainted with evil. Instead, they argued that Christ only appeared to take on human form....What is the content of this basic Christian “teaching” to which John refers? Though this list is not exhaustive, the following fundamentals of our faith form a good checklist by which we can test the teachers who knock on our doors or come into our homes through TV, radio, print, or the Internet:

  • the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21)
  • the Triunity of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—Creator of all things (Gen. 1–2; Matt. 28:19)
  • the fallen condition of humanity and the need for God’s grace (Gen. 3; Rom. 3:23)
  • the Virgin Birth, the full deity and the full humanity of Christ, and His sinless life (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; John 1:1, 14; 8:53-58; Col. 1:15-20; Heb. 1:3, 8; 4:15)
  • the substitutionary death of Christ for our sins, and his miraculous, bodily resurrection (Rom. 5:6-8; 1 Cor. 15:1-11; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:22, 26; 1 Jn. 1:7, 9)
  • the ascension of Christ and His present ministry to the believer through the Holy Spirit (John 14:12-21; Acts 1:6-9; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 4:7-10)
  • the literal, future return of Christ to the earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:13-18) (See Insights on 1, 2 & 3)

Teaching (instruction) (1322didache  from didasko = to give instruction in a formal or informal setting with the highest possible development of the pupil as the goal; English = didactic = intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive) is a noun which describes the activity of teaching (instruction). Didache is same as didaskalía (G1319), sometimes meaning manner of teaching and sometimes content of teaching. Both are used in the act. and pass. senses, i.e., act of teaching and the content of what is taught. The pass. sense dominates in DIDACHE & active sense in didaskalía. In didache, we have incorporated the authority of that which is taught, and didaskalía predominates in the act or art of teaching. 

Didache or "the teaching" was that instruction which elucidated the meaning of the facts which were proclaimed. The idea of didache then is to impart knowledge to or instruct someone, for example in how to do something, etc. Teaching or doctrine is that which communicates to another the knowledge of that which heretofore that person was ignorant or ill informed.

2 John 9 Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God.-2 John 9.

Dr. Findlay has pointed out in his wonderful volume on the letters of John, that both the second and the third have to do with the subject of Christian hospitality. In this one, addressed to "the elect lady," perhaps a church, and perhaps a person, the persons to whom no Christian hospitality is to be extended are dealt with. These are described as "deceivers . even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh." It is with reference to such that this declaration is made. They were persons who claimed to be leaders; they were advanced thinkers, they were progressive. The Gnostic teachers of the time were claiming that while the Gospel of the historic Jesus might be all very well for unenlightened people, they had a profounder knowledge. Such were to receive no hospitality. In this warning, we find a principle of perpetual application. There is always room for advanced thinking, for progressive interpretation, for the things of Christ are as profound as God and life. We never ought to be content to tarry with the first principles of truth. We should in know-ledge go on unto perfection. But there is one infallible test for such advanced thinking, for such progressive interpretation. It is that the advanced thinking do not contradict the first principles, or deny the fundamental facts of our faith —those of the historic Jesus, that of the fact that He came in the flesh. Such advanced thinking as denies these things, is not progress, but retrogression and apostasy. (G Campbell Morgan)

ILLUSTRATION - Fifty years ago, the American press was filled with news about “the fundamentalist-modernist controversy.” Those who were true to the faith were opposing “modernism” in the mainline denominations and seeking to bring the schools and the leadership of these denominations back to historic Christianity. The “progressive” group called themselves “modernists,” when actually there was nothing “modern” about their denials of Christian doctrine. (See How Should a Christian View Modernism?) These denials are as old as the church itself! One of their leaders, Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, said in one of his sermons, “Fundamentalism is still with us but mostly in the backwaters.” If he were alive today, he would not make that statement; today the largest Sunday Schools, churches, seminaries, and missionary agencies are fundamental in doctrine.

If a person does not abide in the true doctrine, then he does not have either the Father or the Son. It is impossible to honor the Father and ignore the Son (or call Him a mere man) at the same time. “That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent Him” (John 5:23). “Progressive theology” that denies Christ is not progressive at all; it is regressive—all the way back to Genesis 3:1, “Yea, hath God said?”

In giving this warning, however, John was not condemning “progress” as such. “The Lord has yet more light to shine forth from His Word.” God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us and to lead us into new understanding and application of the truth (John 16:12–16), and we must constantly grow (2 Peter 3:18).

But if our “learning” leads us away from the fundamental doctrines of the person and work of Jesus Christ, then we are on dangerous ground. (Warren Wiersbe Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament)

2 John 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting;

KJV  2 John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

BGT  2 John 1:10 εἴ τις ἔρχεται πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ ταύτην τὴν διδαχὴν οὐ φέρει, μὴ λαμβάνετε αὐτὸν εἰς οἰκίαν καὶ χαίρειν αὐτῷ μὴ λέγετε·

NET  2 John 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house and do not give him any greeting,

CSB  2 John 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home, and don't say, "Welcome," to him;

ESV  2 John 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,

NIV  2 John 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him.

NLT  2 John 1:10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don't invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement.

NRS  2 John 1:10 Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching;

NJB  2 John 1:10 If anyone comes to you bringing a different doctrine, you must not receive him into your house or even give him a greeting.

NAB  2 John 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him;

YLT  2 John 1:10 if any one doth come unto you, and this teaching doth not bear, receive him not into the house, and say not to him, 'Hail!'

MIT  2 John 1:10 If anyone comes your way and does not bring this doctrine, neither receive him into your home, nor greet him cordially.

  • If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching: 2Jn 1:11 Ro 16:17,18 1Co 5:11 16:22 Ga 1:8,9 2Ti 3:5,6 Tit 3:10 
  • and do not give him a greeting: Ge 24:12 Ps 129:8 
  • 2 John Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Hiebert - Highly appreciative of this matron’s practice of hospitality, John feels constrained explicitly to prohibit such hospitality when the false teachers come to her home; he directs her not to receive them into her home nor to give them encouragement in their work  (Ibid)

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive (present imperative with a negative) him into your house - "IF" is not "iffy!" IF introduces a first class conditional sentence. The upshot is that these imposters are already coming (comes is in the present tense). John has apparently received information to this effect that these masquerading missionaries were already making their (false) "evangelistic" tour in the are where the chosen lady lived! You is plural but undoubtedly the chosen lady is also intended. He knew that she was known as "Miss Hospitality"! Do not receive in the present imperative with a negative could mean either stop receiving them (as some may have already done) or do not begin receiving them. Note that John is not prohibiting demonstration of Christian hospitality to some random traveler, for motels were not known in the ancient world.

Hiebert - The Third Epistle of John makes it clear that it was an accepted duty of believers to welcome and aid missionaries of the Christian gospel. But that obligation did not apply to the propagator of a heretical, Christ-rejecting message. (Ibid)

John has reminded his readers of the importance of loving one another as a foremost commandment (2Jn 1:5-6), but emphasizes here that their love must be discerning, and not a naive, unthinking and "open to anyone and anything," kind of love. To the contrary, here he flatly states that Biblical love "slams the door" in the face of those men "who do not have God" (2Jn 1:9 unregenerate men), and who try to enter and introduce false teaching, especially false teaching that Jesus is not fully God, fully Man.

Utley on house - The "house" could refer to Christian hospitality (cf. Matthew 25:35; Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9 or 3 John 1:5-6), but in context it probably refers to inviting a traveling minister to speak to the house church (cf. Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2).

Brian Bell There were 3 different kinds of ministries in the early church (prior to the completion of the N.T.) 1. [1] Apostles – John at this time, being the only one left. 2. [2] Prophets – Wandering preachers not attached to a congregation. (they had the right of entry into all the churches) 3. [3] Elders – Were raised up in the local body. They were attached to a specific congregation & didn’t wander. So, not all “Roving Reverends” were worthy of such warm hospitality. Even secular writers wrote about their abuses: Lucian, the Greek writer, in his work called the Peregrinus, draws the picture of a man who had found the easiest possible way of making a living without working. He was an itinerant charlatan who lived on the fat of the land by traveling round the various communities of the Christians, and settling down wherever he like, and living luxuriously at their expense. (from William Barclay)

And do not give him a greeting (present imperative with a negative) - CSB = "don't say, "Welcome," to him." KJV - "neither bid him God speed" The present imperative calls for his readers (and the elect lady) to be on high alert at all times. At first hearing, this sounds like a harsh instruction, but John knows the danger and subtlety of false teachers. They may have the skin of truth, but the substance of their message is damning error. They are like wolves in sheep's skins. And in context John clearly explains the danger in 2Jn 1:11. 

Barclay on not even give him a greeting - This would be to indicate that to some extent you had sympathy with them. It must be made quite clear to the world that the church has no tolerance for those whose teaching destroys the faith.

Wilkinson rightly states "It is false charity to open the door to false teaching." (BORROW Talk Thur the Bible)

Utley "and do not give him a greeting" This is another present active imperative with the negative particle. Do not identify yourself with this "so-called Christian." Any hint of fellowship might be misunderstood as approval (cf. 2 John 1:11). This statement is very hard to apply to today. So many claim to be Christians. Yet in an attempt to share with them we must be cordial and engaging in conversation. Still, Christian leaders must beware of any identification with heresy. (ED: I KNOW OF CHURCHES WHERE MATURE SAINTS IN THE CONGREGATION HAVE WARNED THE LEADERSHIP ABOUT POSSIBLE FALSE TEACHING ENTERING INTO THE FLOCK AND SADLY THE LEADERSHIP, EITHER BECAUSE OF HUBRIS OR A TENDENCY TO DISCOUNT A NON-SEMINARIAN'S OPINION, IGNORED THE WARNING AND TOOK NO ACTION.)

Hiebert warns that "In a day when there is a diminishing sense of the danger of open heresy, the tendency is to tolerate known heresy for the sake of unity." (Ibid)

Warren Wiersbe gives good advice -  Find out what people believe before you let them in your home or give them donations. Check with your pastor if you have any questions. (BORROW Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

Brian Bell adds Know what people believe & teach, before you support them! 1. It’s a “support issue” not a hospitality or politeness issue. 2. Some have used this verse to justify the most “unloving behavior” 3. Telling someone the truth may be difficult, but, in the long run, it is the most loving thing to do. 4. Society today is riding the high horse of…Tolerance! 5. Tolerance = “If we really love people, we’ll accept them regardless of their beliefs.” a) Yet, what kind of love lets someone believe a lie that eventually destroys them? (1) That’s not love, that’s indifference…the opposite of love! b) To really love someone is to tell them the truth! John Stott explains this well (Pg.104 Swindoll) “Our love is not so blind as to ignore the views & conduct of others. Truth should make our love discriminating...On the other hand, we must never champion the truth in a harsh or bitter spirit...So the Christian fellowship should be marked equally by love & truth, & we are to avoid the dangerous tendency to extremism, pursuing either at the expense of the other. Our love grows soft if it is not strengthened by truth, & our truth grows hard if it is not softened by love. We need to live according to Scripture which commands us both to love each other in the truth & to hold the truth in love.”

Warren Wiersbe - John warned the family (and the church in their house) not to accept false teachers who visited them, wanting to fellowship with them or perhaps enjoy hospitality. Hospitality was a very important Christian ministry in that day, because there were very few inns where travelers could safely stay, especially Christians who wanted to keep away from the evil influences of the world. Christians were admonished to open their homes to visitors (Rom. 12:13; 1 Tim. 3:2; 5:3–10; Heb. 13:2; 1 Peter 4:8–10). It was also true that traveling pastors and teachers needed homes to stay in (3 John 5–8). Believers who showed hospitality to these servants of God were “fellow helpers to the truth,” but believers who assisted false teachers were only sharing in their evil works. The doctrine of Jesus Christ is a test of truth, a basis for fellowship, and a bond for mutual cooperation.
Certainly this principle applies today. Often professed Christians come to our doors, wanting to play cassettes for us or offering us magazines or books. We must exercise discernment. If they do not agree with the true doctrine of Christ, not only must we not let them in, but we must not even say “good-bye,” which means “God be with you.” Why was John so adamant about this? Because he did not want any of God’s children to: (1) give a false teacher the impression that his heretical doctrine was acceptable; (2) become infected because of association and possible friendship; and (3) give the false teacher ammunition to use at the next place he stopped. If I entertain a cultist, for example, he will only say to the neighbors, “There’s no reason why you shouldn’t let me in. After all, Pastor Wiersbe let me in and we had a wonderful talk!” My disobedience could very well lead to somebody else’s destruction. Let me make it clear that John was not saying only born-again people should enter our houses! Friendship evangelism” around the table is a wonderful way to win people to Christ. Christians need to be neighborly and hospitable. The apostle is admonishing us not to receive or encourage false teachers who represent anti-christian groups, people who have left the church and are now trying to seduce others away from the truth. You can be sure that apostates use every opportunity they can to secure the endorsement of true Christians. There is a tradition about the Apostle John that illustrates his position concerning false doctrine. When he was living in Ephesus, one day he went to the public baths, and there he saw Cerinthus, the leader of a heretical sect. John ran from the buildings lest they should fall down as a judgment from God! Cerinthus taught that Jesus was the natural son of Joseph and Mary, not God come in the flesh.  (Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament)

Lehman Strauss - In view here are the false teachers who come with false teachings. They do not believe nor teach the true doctrine, namely, that Christ is God manifest in flesh. These teachers are not Christians at all. They are not true witnesses of Jehovah; they are actually the devil’s witnesses. Satan is quite clever. When he comes he does so “transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14–15). He brainwashes his victims so that falsehood appears to them as truth. Through his subtle wiles he deceived Eve and dragged the whole human race into sin (Genesis 3:1–7). Now there are many such teachers in the world today, some of whom are quite zealous to spread their pernicious doctrine. Christians are not to welcome them nor bid them Godspeed in their departure. We are forbidden to show hospitality to the enemies of the faith, for in so doing we become partners with them in the disseminating of heresy. The apostle is not condoning any act of impoliteness on the part of the Christian, but he does condemn any fraternizing with any and all who oppose the truth. Early in the Church’s history local assemblies met in homes (Romans 16:5; Colossians 4:15), therefore those traveling teachers needed watching lest they creep in unawares.


If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him. — 2 John 1:10

Today's Scripture : 2 John 1:1-11

In 1962, John Glenn made history as the first American to orbit the Earth. As the rocket ascended, ground control said, “Godspeed, John Glenn.” “Godspeed” comes from the expression, “May God prosper you.”

Though we don’t often hear this word today, the apostle John used it in his second epistle: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed” (2 John 1:10 kjv).

John has been referred to as “the apostle of love,” so why would he warn believers against pronouncing a blessing on others? Traveling evangelists were dependent on the hospitality of Christians to provide them with room and board. John was telling the believers that biblical truth is important. If itinerant missionaries were not preaching doctrine consistent with apostolic teaching, believers were not to bless their work by providing lodging or financial assistance.

This is also true for believers today. We are to treat everyone with kindness because God is kind to us. But when asked to financially support an endeavor, it’s important to always ask Him for wisdom. The Spirit who guides us into truth (John 16:13) will show us when it is appropriate to bid Godspeed to those we encounter. By:  Dennis Fisher (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Dear Lord, You know my heart. I love You and want Your kingdom to prosper. Give me Your wisdom to know where You want me to take part and how. Thank You.

God’s Spirit through His Word gives wisdom to discern truth from error.

John Bennett - 2 John 10–11 RECEIVE HIM NOT INTO YOUR HOUSE

‘If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not’, v. 10. Christian consideration and love only goes so far. It extends only so far as truth allows, and then it must stop. Any man has the right to my sympathetic ear and warm handshake so long as he doesn’t bring a doctrine that denies my Lord to my doorstep! John is blunt and specific; if anyone comes with a Christ-belittling teaching making Him less than fully God, deny him access to your house, and refuse to give him a farewell wave! Make him feel like the religious pariah he is, and let him know he is viewed in your house as a peddler of evil, disseminating hell-deserving error!

Let us be clear at this point; we are not dealing with the ordinary unsaved neighbour or friend, or someone influenced by religious error whom we may be seeking to help. Not at all, but with those emissaries of Satan who have already imbibed antichrist doctrines and who come trying to get a foot in your door to make your home a stepping stone to reach still others!

There is much at stake! These deceivers, v. 7, deny ‘that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh’; that is, they deny His real humanity and His full deity. This, then, is a denial of the all-sufficiency of His atonement. If He is not really man He cannot be the substitute for guilty men, and if He is not fully God then His sacrifice is not sufficient for a world of lost sinners. There is the real danger too of wasted labour and loss of a full reward, v. 8. In verse 7 such deceivers have detracted from the full truth as to Christ, now in verse 9 they add to the truth and claim they possess light others do not have. ‘Whosoever transgresseth (or advances)’ meaning whoever goes beyond revealed truth and professes to have new light beyond scripture. Such are the deceivers and frauds who come in the name of Christ, but are aliens to Him and His word. Further, to then bid ‘God speed’ to such is to be identified with their error, v. 11, and, it may be, to become a stumbling block to others in our Christian fellowship. What the apostle John is here solemnly emphasising is the necessity for strictness in light of the eternal consequences of heresy.

F F Bruce - Do Not Practice Hospitality?

Schismatic or heretical teaching poses a big problem for any church. People begin to listen to the deceptive teaching and may soon end up slipping away to join the sectarian group. Yet 2 John 10 poses a problem for Scripture readers in that it appears to contradict an important Christian virtue, that of hospitality, not to mention the virtue of love. Is it love not to welcome a person into your house, even if you do not agree with his or her beliefs? Does not hospitality extend even to non-Christians, rather than just the Christians with whom we happen to agree? Furthermore, Christians struggle with knowing how far to take this verse. Does it mean that one may not invite inside the Jehovah’s Witness (or the Mormon) who just knocked at the door? Does it mean that it was wrong to say a polite “good morning” to that person?

It is clear that 2 John is dealing with a serious problem in the church, not simply minor doctrinal differences or even significant differences over noncentral issues. A group of teachers who had left John’s church did not “confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” By this John probably means that these teachers argued that God was too holy to have become truly human, so Jesus only appeared to be a man. In fact, in one way or another his humanity was an illusion. This is a problem combated by the Gospel of John (Jn 1:14, “The Word became flesh,” as well as many references to Jesus’ emotions) and two of the three Johannine epistles. In other words, these heretics were denying a central part of the gospel rather than arguing over peripheral doctrines, important as some of these doctrines may be.

Second, we noted in a previous chapter that 2 John is addressed to a church (referred to as “the elect lady”). We need to understand what this church was like. It was normal until the mid-third century for Christians to meet in houses. (It was not until the mid-fourth century that house churches were outlawed and church buildings became the only legitimate place to gather as Christians.) Given the size of rooms in even a large house in those days (due to the limitations of building materials), it is unlikely that a house church would grow beyond about sixty people. In fact, there were many reasons to keep them smaller. Since most people had only their feet for transportation, several small groups conveniently located would be more accessible than a single large group. This also tended to make the churches take on the character of the neighborhood in which they were located. Furthermore, given that the meeting involved a meal (which developed into the symbolic meal presently celebrated in the Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper), one would not want to crowd the room too much, for space was needed for tables and dishes of food. Finally, smaller groups enabled the church to attract less attention and thus avoid persecution as much as possible. Most house churches, then, probably served twenty to forty people.

Therefore we need to view the early church as a series of small house churches. While Paul, for example, might write a letter to the church in Rome or Corinth, that single church would in fact be made up of a group of such cells. For example, in Romans 16 Paul greets several house church leaders and their groups by name.

Third, hospitality was important to the early church. Christians would travel from place to place and need safe and wholesome places to stay. Some of these travelers were apostles, prophets or teachers. When such a person came to a church, they not only brought news of the situation of the church in other places, but they also brought a fresh stream of ministry. Lacking our easy access to books and other media, this was an important way for a congregation to increase its knowledge of the faith as it received insights and graces that initially had been given to another congregation and were now shared. We see the synagogue practice, which the early church copied, in Acts 13:15: “Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.” Furthermore, the house-church services were relatively informal, so discussion and questions gave many people an opportunity to share their ideas.

Therefore what 2 John is referring to is the need to recognize that not every traveling Christian is to be received with such warmth. If in fact it was discovered that the visitor was carrying the serious christological heresy that John describes, the person was not to be greeted as a brother or sister in Christ (as would have been customary, often including in those days a kiss on both cheeks). Nor should the person be received into the house church and allowed to spread false teaching there. Otherwise the whole “cell” might become infected with the distorted ideas, and they might later spread them to other house churches, making the whole city church sick (or else splitting the church into two alternative structures, both of which claimed to be the true church).

This verse, then, is not intended to apply to individual Christians greeting people at the doors of their homes, but to churches and house groups. In such contexts it is wise for leaders to be assured of the orthodoxy of visitors before giving them a platform from which they can spread their views, even the platform of an official welcome as a visiting Christian leader. Christian hospitality stops where danger to the well-being of the church begins; love does not go to the extent of endangering one’s fellow Christians nor of allowing those who deny the Lord one loves to peddle their wares in that Lord’s church. (Online Hard Sayings of the Bible)

Norman Geisler - When Critics Ask online -  2 JOHN 10—Why does this verse tell us not to receive certain people when Jesus told us to love our enemies?

PROBLEM: According to Jesus, we are supposed to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, and do good to those who hate us (Matt. 5:44). However, according to John, we are not to receive into our house or even greet anyone who comes to us and does not believe that Christ is come in the flesh. Which are we supposed to do?

SOLUTION: We are supposed to follow both instructions. The apparent discrepancy between these directives arises from the fact that they are talking about two totally different situations.

  In the passage in Matthew, Jesus is contrasting His own teaching to that of the Pharisees. The divine principle of love should be the guiding principle of one’s life. Even though some people are the enemies of God, He still allows the rain to fall upon their crops and causes the sun to shine on them. God treats the wicked with loving kindness. However, He never condones their wickedness. As Paul points out in Romans, the goodness of God is not a sign of His approval of their actions. Rather, the goodness of God is designed to lead to repentance (Rom. 2:4).

  The passage in 2 John is not talking about someone who simply comes to visit. Rather, John is talking about false teachers who are deceivers (v. 7) and who come to present their doctrines.

  First, John is instructing the local church, and the individuals of the local church, not to extend hospitality to these persons, because that would imply that the church accepted or approved of their teaching. The people of the local church were directed not even to give a Christian greeting to them, lest this be misconstrued as an attitude of tolerance of their false doctrines. This was by no means a command not to love one’s enemy. In fact, following John’s directives would be the supreme act of love for one’s enemy. By clearly demonstrating an intolerance for false doctrine, it would be possible to communicate to false teachers that they needed to repent. On the contrary, if the church or individual were to extend hospitality to a false teacher, he would be encouraged in his position and take this action as an acceptance of his doctrine, or as a covering of his unrighteousness.

  Second, it must be remembered that, in the early church, the evangelistic and pastoral ministry of the church was conducted primarily by individuals who traveled from location to location. These itinerant pastors depended on the hospitality of the people of a local congregation. John is directing the church not to extend this kind of hospitality to teachers of false doctrine. This is not contradictory to Jesus’ teaching. We are to love our enemies, but not encourage them in their evil deeds. We are to do good to them that hate us, but not to condone their wickedness. As Jesus said, we are to show ourselves to be children of our Father. In the very same Sermon on the Mount, Jesus went on to warn His disciples to beware of false prophets “who come … in sheep’s clothing” (Matt. 7:15). John gave practical application to this warning, and thereby encouraged the local church to maintain its purity and devotion to Christ.

Norman Geisler - When Cultists Ask online -  2 JOHN 10—Does this verse mean we shouldn’t allow cultists into our house?

MISINTERPRETATION: According to John, we are not to receive into our house or even greet anyone who comes to us and does not believe that Christ is come in the flesh. How does this apply to cultists? Should we turn them away?

CORRECTING THE MISINTERPRETATION: Second John 10 does not prohibit Christians from allowing cultists into their home in order to witness to them. Rather it is a prohibition against giving cultists a platform from which to teach false doctrine.

The backdrop to this is that in the early days of Christianity, there was no central church building where believers could congregate. Rather, small house-churches were scattered throughout the city.

After Pentecost early Christians are seen “breaking bread from house to house” (Acts 2:46; 5:42) and gathering to pray in the house of Mary, the mother of Mark (Acts 12:12). Churches often met in houses (see Rom. 16:15; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Philem. 2). The use of specific church buildings did not appear before the end of the second century.

John is here warning leaders of these house churches not to allow a false teacher into the church, or give a false teacher a platform from which to teach. Seen in this way, this prohibition guards the purity of the church. To extend hospitality to a false teacher would imply that the church accepted or approved of their teaching. The false teacher would be encouraged in the error.

For similar reasons, John also may be forbidding Christians to allow false teachers to stay in their houses. In the early church, the evangelistic and pastoral ministry of the church was conducted primarily by itinerant individuals who traveled from house-church to house-church, depending on the hospitality of the people. John is directing the church not to extend this kind of hospitality to teachers of false doctrine. Christians are not to let cultists use their homes as a base of operations from which to spread their poison.

In any case, this verse does not prohibit Christians from allowing cultists into the home for evangelistic purposes. When a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon shows up on the doorstep the Christian should feel free to invite him or her into the living room in order to witness to that person.

2 John 1:11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.  

KJV  2 John 1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

BGT  2 John 1:11 ὁ λέγων γὰρ αὐτῷ χαίρειν κοινωνεῖ τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ τοῖς πονηροῖς.

NET  2 John 1:11 because the person who gives him a greeting shares in his evil deeds.

CSB  2 John 1:11 for the one who says, "Welcome," to him shares in his evil works.

ESV  2 John 1:11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

NIV  2 John 1:11 Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.

NLT  2 John 1:11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.

NRS  2 John 1:11 for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.

NJB  2 John 1:11 Whoever greets him has a share in his wicked activities.

NAB  2 John 1:11 for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.

YLT  2 John 1:11 for he who is saying to him, 'Hail,' hath fellowship with his evil works.

MIT  2 John 1:11 The one who says to him, "Have a good day!" shares in his evil projects.

  • participates in his evil deeds: Ps 50:18 Eph 5:11 1Ti 5:22 Rev 18:4 
  • 2 John Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


For - Term of explanation. John not explains why he issued the forgoing prohibitive commandments.

The one who gives him a greeting participates (koinoneo - present tense) in his evil (poneros) deeds - Christians are called into fellowship with God and should fellowship with one another, but are not to fellowship with false teachers. To welcome them would be in sense to encourage them or embolden them in the deceptive teaching. It is notable that John does not advise entering into an apologetic discussion or theological rebuttal with these false teachers, probably because they might be easily deceived by the false teacher's crafty use of words. 

I am reminded of Peter's warning "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce (pareisago - bring in truth alongside error) destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves." (2Pe 2:1+)

John Trapp says  by disregarding the Elder’s prohibition, the believer becomes a partaker in the heretic’s evil deeds in three ways: “(1) By his sinful silence and dissimulation. (2) Next, by confirming the sinner in his evil way. (3) Lastly, by offence given to others."

Hiebert -  The noun rendered “deeds,” or “works,” includes not only what the heretic teaches but also what he achieves through his efforts. John stresses the “evil,” or vicious, nature of those deeds by placing the adjective with the repeated article at the very end of his sentence. This adjective (tois ponērois) is the term John uses in designating the Devil as “the wicked one” (1 John 2:13–14; 3:12; 5:18–19) (Ibid)

Participates (2841koinoneo from koinos = common, shared by all) means literally to share one's possessions with the implication of some kind of joint participation and mutual interest. This Greek word was used in a marriage contract where the husband and wife agree to a joint-participation in the necessaries of life.

The things that are "shared" in the NT include needs of other believers (Ro 12:13-note), spiritual things (Romans 15:27-note), good things with one's teacher (Ga 6:6), giving to the work of missions (Php 4:15), responsibility in another's sins (! 1Ti 5:22), of Christ participating (sharing or taking part) in our humanity (He 2:14-note), of believers who experience the suffering for the sake of Christ (1Peter 4:13-note), in evil deeds (2Jn 1:11).

The key idea in the word is that of a partnership, a possessing things in common, a belonging in common to. The saints at Philippi were in a glorious spiritual partnership with the great apostle Paul in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Believers have the same opportunity today as they pray for and give generously to missionaries taking the gospel to the thousands of hidden people groups. Are you sharing in the eternal endeavor? Don't pass up the once in a lifetime opportunity!

2 John 1:12 Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.  

KJV  2 John 1:12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

BGT  2 John 1:12 Πολλὰ ἔχων ὑμῖν γράφειν οὐκ ἐβουλήθην διὰ χάρτου καὶ μέλανος, ἀλλὰ ἐλπίζω γενέσθαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ στόμα πρὸς στόμα λαλῆσαι, ἵνα ἡ χαρὰ ἡμῶν πεπληρωμένη ᾖ.

NET  2 John 1:12 Though I have many other things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink, but I hope to come visit you and speak face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

CSB  2 John 1:12 Though I have many things to write to you, I don't want to do so with paper and ink. Instead, I hope to be with you and talk face to face so that our joy may be complete.

ESV  2 John 1:12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

NIV  2 John 1:12 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.

NLT  2 John 1:12 I have much more to say to you, but I don't want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.

NRS  2 John 1:12 Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

NJB  2 John 1:12 There are several things I have to tell you, but I have thought it best not to trust them to paper and ink. I hope instead to visit you and talk to you in person, so that our joy may be complete.

NAB  2 John 1:12 Although I have much to write to you, I do not intend to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and to speak face to face so that our joy may be complete.

YLT  2 John 1:12 Many things having to write to you, I did not intend through paper and ink, but I hope to come unto you, and speak mouth to mouth, that our joy may be full;

MIT  2 John 1:12 Although having many things to write to you, I do not think it best to do so with papyrus and ink. But I hope to be with you and speak face to face in order that our joy might be full.

  • I have many things to write to you: Joh 16:12 3Jn 1:13 
  • I hope to come to you: Ro 15:24 1Co 16:5-7 Phm 1:22 Heb 13:19,23 
  • and speak face to face: Gr. mouth to mouth, Nu 12:8 
  • so that your joy may be made full: John 15:11 16:24 17:13 2Ti 1:4 1Jn 1:4 
  • 2 John Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Though I have many things to write (grapho) to you - I can really identify with John. Every time I teach, I usually have several pages of additional passages that I want to share with the disciples, but before I know it our two hour zoom sessions have come to an end. 

THOUGHT - Can I ask you a question dear older saint, one who is more mature, having following the Master for a number of years? Are you obeying the last command of the Master to His disciples? You may be asking "What command?" Glad you asked! In giving the "Great Commission" to His disciples, Jesus gave one specific command and that was to make disciples (Mt 28:19+). Do you want to hear "Well done, my good and faithful servant?" I know you do, for all God's children desire to hear those beautiful words at the Bema Seat of Christ. Then go forth and make disciples. God has placed some young believer in your path or on your heart and you need to engage them in the God glorifying discipline of making disciples of the Master. If you don't have anyone, then ask God to bring one into your life, a young Timothy or Timothea. Your reward at the Bema will be great! 

I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope (elpizo) to come to you and speak face (stoma - mouth) to face (stoma - mouth) - Not by text or facetime but literally mouth to mouth. Today, John might consider Zoom teaching, a vehicle I use to considerable effectiveness in discipling young men from other parts of the country (Here is an example of zoom teaching in Zimbabwe). "Mouth to mouth" is how God spoke with Moses (Nu 12:8+). 

Barclay adds a good word to face to face - John was wise and he knew that letters can often only bedevil a situation and that five minutes heart to heart talk can do what a whole file of letters is powerless to achieve. In many a church and in many a personal relationship, letters have merely succeeded in exacerbating a situation; for the most carefully written letter can be misinterpreted, when a little speech together might have mended matters. Cromwell never understood John Fox, the Quaker, and much disliked him. Then he met him, and after he had spoken to him, he said, "If you and I had but an hour together, we would be better friends than we are." Church courts and Christian people would do well to make a resolution never to write when they could speak.

Brian Bell - Face to face is always best...not text’s(SMS MMS), email, letters, facebook…

So that (hina) your joy (chara) may be made full (pleroo) - Always be alert for the phrase "so that" (sometimes only one word "that") which is used to express purpose or result. When you encounter a "so that" (there are 991 occurrences in the NAS95) ask yourself what purpose or result is the Spirit expressing in context. You will be surprised at how pausing to ponder will add understanding to a given text. In this context, the purpose is that his readers would experience full joy and the means of achieving that purpose would be a face to face discipling session. Made full is in the perfect tense expressing a lasting effect -- their joy would endure.

THOUGHT - I can vouch for the dual benefit (making joy full to the recipients and fullness of joy to the one who disciples) of discipling as every time I finish a zoom session, I am filled with joy and a sense of satisfaction with the thought that I have been pleasing to my Father in Heaven. 

Lehman Strauss - John had written all that the Holy Spirit told him to write. Here is sufficient warning against the heretics. In his heart there were some more thoughts he would have liked to convey to “the elect lady and her children” on these very matters. These things John felt would contribute to their maintaining their present state of the fullness of joy; however, they must wait until such time as they can speak face to face.

Joy (5479chara  (and rejoice) is a feeling of great pleasure, of inner gladness, or of delight. Joy is an emotion evoked by a sense of well-being. It is a deep feeling of happiness and contentment. Joy in the NT is virtually always used to signify a feeling of "happiness" that is based on spiritual realities (independent of what "happens"). Joy is a depth of assurance and confidence that ignites a cheerful heart. It is a cheerful heart that leads to cheerful behavior. Joy is not necessarily an experience that comes from favorable circumstances, but is God’s gift from His Spirit to believers. Joy is a part of God’s very essence and as discussed below His Spirit manifests this supernatural joy in His children (Galatians 5:22+, Acts 13:52, 1 Th 1:6+).In sum, Joy is the deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of the person who is filled with the Spirit and knows all is well between himself and the Lord. There is a chorus from an old spiritual song that is apropos…Happiness happens But joy abides

Made full (complete) (4137pleroo  means to be filled (passive voice = saints acted on by outside force = "Divine Passive") to the brim (a net, Mt 13:48, a building, Jn 12:3, Acts 2:2+, a city, Acts 5:28+, needs Phil 4:19+), to make complete in every particular, to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally, to flood, to diffuse throughout, to pervade, to take possession of and so to ultimately to control.

Pleroo connotes more than filling something up, as when someone pours water in a glass up the rim. 
First, it was often used of the wind filling a sail and thereby carrying the ship along. To be filled with the Spirit is to be moved along in our Christian life by God Himself, by the same dynamic by which the writers of Scripture were “moved by the Holy Spirit” (2Pe 1:21).
Second, pleroo carries the idea of permeation, and was used of salt’s permeating meat in order to flavor and preserve it. God wants His Holy Spirit to so permeate the lives of His children that everything they think, say, and do will reflect His divine presence. 
Third, pleroo has connotation of total control. The person who is filled with sorrow (see Jn16:6) is no longer under his own control but is totally under the control of that emotion. In the same way, someone who is filled with fear (Lu 5:26), anger (Lu 6:11), faith (Acts 6:5), or even Satan (Acts 5:3) is no longer under his own control but under the total control of that which dominates him. To be filled in this sense is to be totally dominated and controlled, and it is the most important sense for believers. To be filled with the Spirit (Ep 5:18) is not to have Him somehow progressively added to our life until we are full of Him. It is to be under His total domination and control. This is in direct contrast to the uncontrolled drunkenness and dissipation in the worship of Dionysius that was alluded to in the first half of (Ep5:18).

2 John 1:13 The children of your chosen sister greet you.

KJV  2 John 1:13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

BGT  2 John 1:13 Ἀσπάζεταί σε τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἀδελφῆς σου τῆς ἐκλεκτῆς.

NET  2 John 1:13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

CSB  2 John 1:13 The children of your elect sister send you greetings.

ESV  2 John 1:13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

NIV  2 John 1:13 The children of your chosen sister send their greetings.

NLT  2 John 1:13 Greetings from the children of your sister, chosen by God.

NRS  2 John 1:13 The children of your elect sister send you their greetings.

NJB  2 John 1:13 Greetings to you from the children of your sister, the chosen one.

NAB  2 John 1:13 The children of your chosen sister send you greetings.

YLT  2 John 1:13 salute thee do the children of thy choice sister. Amen.

MIT  2 John 1:13 The children of your chosen sister greet you.

The children (teknonof your chosen (eklektos) sister greet (aspazomai) you - John began and ends with chosen sister. 

Greet (salute, embrace, take leave, pay respects) (782aspazomai from a + spao = draw out as a sword, pull, breathe) means to enfold in arms, to welcome, to embrace. To salute one (not in a military sense), greet, bid, wish well to. In classical literature aspazomai can also be used of physical expressions of welcome, such as “embrace” and “kiss.” It is spoken of those who meet (Mt. 10:12; Mk 9:15; Lk 1:40; 10:4; Acts 21:19; Lxx = Ex. 18:7) or separate (Acts 20:1; 21:6). This is one final expression of Paul's paternal love. A salutation on meeting; an expression of good wishes at the opening (or in Hellenistic times times also the close) of a letter. Aspazomai is constantly used in the papyri for conveying the greetings at the end of a letter (Ro 16:3, 5–16, 21–23; 1Cor. 16:19, 20; 2Cor. 13:12; Phil. 4:21, 22; Col. 4:10, 12, 14, 15; 1Th. 5:26; 2Ti 4:19, 21; Titus 3:15; Philemon 1:23; Heb. 13:24; 1Pet. 5:13; 2 John 1:13; 3 John 1:14).