2 John (NLT)
As we enter the New Year, we are looking at the five books in the Bible that have only one chapter.
1This 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—2 because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.
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.
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.
Grace takes away guilt; mercy, misery: peace implies the abiding in grace and mercy. It includes the testimony of God’s Spirit, both that we are his children, and that all our ways are acceptable to him. This is the very foretaste of heaven itself, where it is perfected.
Now these are good gifts from God, for which we should daily give thanks! — grace, mercy, peace, truth, love!
Live in the Truth
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. 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.
If we love God, we will obey His commandments. We do this not as if His commandments are heavy burdens, but because we see that they are best for us. They are guides and gifts to us from God.
Mark 12:28-33 (NLT)
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.”
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.
Wesley explains that “antichrist” here is anyone who is fighting against Christ and His ways.
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. 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.
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. 11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.
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. Choose thoughtfully your books, movies, and TV entertainment. Know what is being taught in your own congregation, your children’s 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.
12I 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. 13 Greetings from the children of your sister, chosen by God.
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.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.