2 John 1 (English Standard Version)
1 The elder to the elect lady and her children,
Perhaps this was an individual Christian woman John wanted to warn and encourage by this letter. Or, the term might be a symbolic way of addressing this particular congregation.
John probably did not name himself, the elect lady or her children by name because this was written during a time of persecution. Perhaps John didn’t want to implicate anyone by name in a written letter. If the letter was intercepted and the authorities knew who it was written to by name, it might mean death for those persons.
whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:
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.
John 14:6 (New Living Translation)
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
Walking in Truth and Love
4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5And 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. 6And 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.
Mark 12:28-33 (New Living Translation)
One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”
7For 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. 8Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9Everyone 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. 10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
In the early church of John’s day, teachers traveled from place to place and Christians were expected to open their homes to them in kind hospitality. John instructs first century Christians to judge the veracity of the various teachers before welcoming them in. In our day, we can open our homes and our minds to all kinds of false teaching in many ways, including via televisions and computers. Beware, John says, that you are learning the truth about God from these teachers. Chose thoughtfully your books, movies, and TV entertainment. Know what is being taught in your own congregation, your children’s public schools, your church colleges and seminaries. Stand up for the truth of Christ! Do not be led astray and in so doing, lose your reward.
12Though 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.
13The children of your elect sister greet you.
Here is an instrumental version of the hymn “I Would Be True,” something the Apostle John certainly demonstrated for us all! May we be imitators of John, as he was of Christ!
The composer of the tune is Joseph Y. Peek; the arrangement is by David H. Hegarty.
The text for “I Would Be True,” was written by a young man in his early twenties in a poem that he titled “My Creed.” After graduating with honors from Princeton University in 1905, Howard Arnold Walter spent a year teaching the English language in Japan. While there he sent a copy of his “creed” to his mother back home in Connecticut. Mrs. Walter sent the poem to Harper’s Magazine, where it appeared in the May, 1907 issue.
Returning to the United States, Howard Walter entered Hartford Seminary and upon graduation served as an assistant minister at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut. One day he showed his poem to an itinerant Methodist lay preacher, Joseph Peek. Although Peek had no technical knowledge of music, he immediately whistled a tune suited to Walter’s words.
Several years later, Howard Walter left for India to teach and minister. He died there in 1918, during an influenza epidemic.
- I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
- I would be friend of all—the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift;
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift.
- I would be faithful through each passing moment;
I would be constantly in touch with God;
I would be strong to follow where He leads me;
I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod.
- Who is so low that I am not his brother?
Who is so high that I’ve no path to him?
Who is so poor I may not feel his hunger?
Who is so rich I may not pity him?
- Who is so hurt I may not know his heartache?
Who sings for joy my heart may never share?
Who in God’s heav’n has passed beyond my vision?
Who to hell’s depths where I may never fare.
- May none, then, call on me for understanding,
May none, then, turn to me for help in pain,
And drain alone his bitter cup of sorrow,
Or find he knocks upon my heart in vain.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.