Treasures From the Original

2nd John: Truth In Love Under Christ Without Compromise

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
John's second epistle is a very personal letter, but it speaks essential and far-reaching truth to the entire body of Christ in all centuries.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part one of a five-part series.

John's second epistle is a very personal letter, but it speaks essential and far-reaching truth to the entire body of Christ in all centuries.

The Elder,

To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:

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

I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father.

And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.

This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

The children of your elect sister greet you. Amen.

A Powerful, Transcendent Message

The Second Epistle of John is the second-shortest book in the Bible - just 298 words in the King James Version and 249 words in the Greek Received Text. But contained in these few words is a powerful message which can be summed up thus: Truth in love under Christ without compromise.

That message is as relevant to the church in our time as it was when written over 1,900 years ago. The postmodern evangelical church says much about love, but knows little about truth. It often preaches a "Christ" who is but a caricature of the Biblical Jesus. Increasingly it worships at the altar of compromise rooted in pragmatism.

Far too often the "love" that is prized in today's church is not the agape love that John defines for us in this letter. The truth which has largely departed from today's church is the only truth that saves sinners. The authentic Christ who is largely missing from the postmodern church's watered-down message is the very embodiment of that truth. Having lost such love and having abandoned such truth, it is as natural as the law of gravity for the church to embrace "another Jesus" and to fall into compromise with the world, the flesh, and the Devil.

What is the love that the church must regain? What is the truth upon which it must once again stand? Who is the Christ to whom it must once again bow the knee? What is the essence of compromise, and what does it mean to forsake it? In this brief series of studies we shall mine the treasures of this short epistle and related Scriptures for the answers.


This letter was written by the Apostle John, who calls himself in this book and also in 3rd John simply, "the Elder." It was probably written between 80 and 90 AD, near the end of John's life. Although he is not mentioned by name, it was attributed to the Apostle John by men in the church who were actually alive in the time of John.

John and his brother James had once asked Jesus, through their mother, for the positions of preeminence at Jesus' side in His kingdom (Matthew 20:20-28). But in his old age this now-humbled apostle refers to himself only indirectly. He does this even in the Gospel of John (e.g., John 21:7 and 20). In fact, the Book of Revelation is the only one of the five New Testament books written by the Apostle John in which he names himself as the writer.

Second John is one of the most intimate of the epistles. It is one of six New Testament books (along with 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and 3 John) that are addressed to individuals. John's second epistle is addressed to one un-named woman and her children. It is a very personal letter. But at the same time, as we shall see, it speaks essential and far-reaching truth to the entire body of Christ in all centuries.

Next: Walking in the Truth


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