Bible Commentary for 2 John thru Jude
The Second Letter of John
This short letter, addressed to ‘the chosen lady and to her children,’ is probably meant for a particular congregation and its members. Some believe that this letter carries this veiled address to keep hostile governmental official from knowing the identity of the congregation that John was writing to if they intercepted this letter. His purpose was to warn the brothers against false brothers who were teaching that Jesus had not come in the flesh and they were spreading this teaching from congregation to congregation.
John states that he holds the highest regard for the members of this congregation. They are also held in high regard by other congregations who have come to know the truth because the truth is what unifies them forever. He encourages them to continue to observe the command to love one another. Real love means obeying God’s commandments and walking in them. This is what they have been taught from the very beginning. There were many deceivers going about teaching that Jesus had not come in the flesh and these are the ones that he identifies as the antichrist. They needed to be careful that they not allow anyone to mislead them from the truth but that they would remain firm and gain the full reward.
Those who do not remain in the teachings of Christ will lose his unity with God. If anyone comes to them trying to influence them to accept teachings in opposition to what Christ taught, they should not show hospitality to them by receiving them into their homes nor should they say a greeting to them. The word for ‘greeting’ used in this verse is ‘Chairo’ or ‘Khairo’ and means, according to Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, ‘to rejoice’ or celebrate with. It is not a simple greeting or salutation. For additional information, see the book entitled “The Report,” Volume I, pages 273- 276. The reason that such harsh advice is given is because they would not want to become sharers with such persons in their wicked works.
He concludes his letter saying that he hopes to be able to visit with them soon and sends greeting to them from their sister congregation.
The Third Letter of John
This letter is addressed to Gaius, a beloved friend of John’s and he prays that his friend is prospering and in good health. He had heard how well Gaius was doing in a spiritual sense when he was visited by some of the brothers from his congregation and this news gave him cause for thankfulness that he stands firm in the truth. John commends him for the faithful work that he is doing in extending hospitality to the brothers who visit his congregation even though they are strangers to him. These brothers may have been traveling from congregation to congregation and did not have much in the way of possessions and Gaius would supply their needs. By sharing in this manner, John says that Gaius has become a fellow worker in the truth, which all Christians are under obligation to do.
He had previously written to the congregation but because Diotrephes refuses to show any respect for what John writes, he may even have destroyed this letter that John makes reference to. John is also aware that Diotrephes speaks unkind words about him and he refuses to be hospitable to the traveling brothers but he also wants to stop any of the other brothers from being hospitable. When he visits this congregation John intends to confront him concerning his activities.
John encourages Gaius to imitate what is good because the person that does good originates with God. Others, possibly Diotrephes, whose actions are bad, do not even know God. He cites Demetrius as an example of one whose good works have been well spoken of by others and even he bears witness to this and his witness is true. In closing, John tells him that he is hoping to see him face to face soon and he sends greetings from the members of his congregation and tells him to give his greetings to the friends there.
The Letter of Jude
Jude identifies himself as a slave of Jesus and a brother of James. Scholars believe that this James referred to here was the half-brother of Jesus making Jude also a half-brother of Jesus. Scholars also believe that Jude may have written this letter before Peter wrote his second letter and that Peter may have used some of the material in his letter that came from Jude’s writings. They therefore date this letter as being written between 60 and 65 CE before Peter’s death. In his letter, Jude is primarily focused on identifying false teachers so that they would not lead the brothers astray.
Jude directed his letter to the called ones, those that are loved by Jehovah and kept safe for Jesus indicating that it may have been a letter to be circulated to all congregations. He states that he had intended to write them concerning the salvation that they shared. But because ungodly men had slyly worked their way into the congregations whose aim was to turn the undeserved kindness of God into reasons for engaging in loose conduct, and to deny Jesus Christ as their owner. The brothers have been warned many times that this would occur so they needed to put up a hard fight for the faith.
They are well aware of what Jehovah will do to those who are disobedient because of the many examples they’ve read about in the scriptures. Although He saved Israel out of Egypt, yet He destroyed these same people because of not showing faith in Him. The angels who were disobedient in the days of Noah have been held in spiritual darkness waiting for their judgment. Those of Sodom and Gomorrah who committed fornication excessively are also a warning example that these false teachers will receive their judicial punishment.
These false teachers show disregard for all that is sacred, indulging in dreams, defiling the flesh, and disregarding the appointed leaders of the congregation by speaking abusively of them. Even Michael, who disputed with Satan over the body of Moses, did not condemn him in abusive terms but said, ‘May Jehovah rebuke you.’ Unlike Michael, these men have no respect even for Jehovah. They mock and curse anything that they do not know nor understand but the things that they do understand, things that are instinctive for them, will cause their downfall.
These men have followed the path of Cain who hated his brother; they are like Balaam who took a wrong path just for the reward and they have engaged in the rebellious talk of Korah. They are like hidden rocks that cause shipwrecks, shepherds that do not care for the sheep but that feed only themselves, clouds that promise rain but are blown away by the wind, or like waves that churn up foam or scum that is left on the shore. Enoch, who is spoken of as the seventh in line of descent from Adam, prophesied concerning these ones when he spoke of Jehovah coming with his angels to execute judgment against the ungodly concerning their ungodly deeds and all of the shocking things that they have said against Him. Since the Bible does not record this quote of Jude, scholars believe that it is from a non-canonical book called ‘Enoch,’ that many Jews accept as reliable.
Jude tells the brothers to keep in mind that the apostles of Jesus warned them to expect ridiculers who would mock truth and would prefer to live ungodly lives. These men will cause divisions among the brothers because they have no spirituality. The brothers are to fortify themselves in the holy faith, praying with holy spirit, keeping themselves in God’s love while they wait for the mercy of Jesus who will give them everlasting life. They are to show mercy themselves by helping those who may have doubts to regain their faith. Jude closes his letter by giving praise to the God to whom all glory, majesty, power and authority belongs from eternity to eternity.
***©2006 by YORWW Congregation
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