I’m grouping the books of 2 John and 3 John together into one post. This is due to the fact that both 2 and 3 John are incredibly short. The thing I love about the bible is the knowledge that if something’s in there, it’s in there for good reason. God wouldn’t have anything in there that wasn’t supposed to be there, and as I read these two books I found a few things that really spoke to me.
Book of 2 John
Written around 90 ad by John the apostle, this tiny book of the bible mostly deals with the need to shun false teachers.
Verses that jumped
2 John may be short, but it’s definitely in the bible for good reason. It’s a quick and to the point reminder to be careful that we follow God and keep ourselves from falling under the spell of false teachers.
2 John 1:8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.
Walking the Godly path isn’t always easy. I love this encouragement in verse 8, as John cautions us to be on the lookout, to stay alert, so that we may not lose what we have worked for. I’m guilty of letting my guard down sometimes, of just cruising along. John’s reminder hits home for me, as I certainly want that full reward he mentions! To get it, I need to stay on my toes when it comes to the influence of those who would lead myself and other believers astray.
It may not be completely in line with the above verse, but I wanted to share something that happened to me recently. A teaching at my church by a guest speaker confused me a bit a month or so ago. It was in regards to who the bible was written to. The whole thing fell from my mind, but I heard another teaching that danced around the same idea recently and it got me wondering, am I interpreting the bible incorrectly?
This is a massive thought, and one that really bothered me. I conferred with a trusted friend, studied up on the subject, and then prayed about it. And yes, I realize that I should’ve done the last thing first. I keep telling you guys I’m a work in progress! The fact is, all my searchings on the subject led me to the same conclusion, that my studies and readings of the bible are fine. I’ve never felt anything but blessings and confirmations from God about my interpretations of His word, and in this very moment that I’m typing this I feel the Holy Spirit just confirming that within me. But the whole point I’m trying to make is, it wasn’t some false prophet or evil teacher who tripped me up, it was just my own mind. I interpreted a comment a bit strangely, then I allowed it to stick in my brain. This verse I shared above warns us to watch ourselves, stay on guard! I know that John was being specific regarding false prophets and teachers, but that doesn’t prevent us from taking his wisdom deeper and saying to stay on guard anytime a teaching or our interpretation of a teaching feels off to us. If something strikes you as off or strange, don’t let it fester and grow into a doubt. Confront it! Pray about it, talk about it with spiritual authorities in your life, and study about it. We’re imperfect, so not only do we need to watch out for false teachers leading us astray, we need to stay mindful that we never allow ourselves to get something twisted up in our own thoughts that might slant our beliefs incorrectly.
Before this short book ends, John gives us another important instruction. Not only are we to stay on our guard against believing false teachers, but he even tells us to avoid these false teachers.
2 John 1:9-11 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. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
What a strong instruction this is. If we encounter someone who is teaching contrary to the teachings of God, we’re not to have them in our house or even to greet them! It’s not just bad to do it, but it’s as if we’re taking part in their wicked works! Man, when the bible needs to make a point it really makes a point, doesn’t it? False prophets and false teachers are a huge issue for the church, both in the time of John the apostle and in the modern age. Here in 2 John he’s telling us to be extremely wary of these people, and if they’re known to us, for us to not even have them in our homes.
Book of 3 John
Written around the same time as 2 John, this very short letter offers some criticism and a little praise for different leaders of the early church.
Verses that jumped
The verse that really caught my eye as I read this brief book of the bible was one about missionaries and believers that are setting out to spread the good news of Jesus.
3 John 1:8 Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.
My church sponsors many missionaries around the world, and two of them run an orphanage in India. The two were home for a short time and spoke at the church. After the service, the pastor asked them to come down front so people could come give them words of encouragement and, if people wanted, some monetary gifts to help their continuing efforts in India. As I watched the church pour down to the front to bless those people, I found tears streaming down my face. Something about the sight was deeply moving to me.
Now that I’ve read 3 John, I think I understand that feeling I was having a little better. Not only did our church members bless our missionaries, but the church members who were supporting them were getting blessed themselves. John tells us that as we support those who set out to spread the good news, we are fellow workers for the truth. It’s one of those funny and wondrous ways in which God works. The fact that it’s better to give than to receive. He set those missionaries up at our church to be blessed, but He also set up a situation in which all those who gave to them could be blessed as well.
I have a friend who recently got asked for some money by someone close to him. This friend had the money to give, and was so excited to get a chance to help someone out. The person who needed the money got blessed, but my friend also got blessed by the act of giving with a glad heart. It’s such a beautiful system, and when you operate within that system with the right heart I find it to be such a moving and amazing thing.
closing and prayer
We’ve got just one more book to go as we finish off the writings of John the apostle and that’s the book of Revelation. If you’ve been following this blog you know that the end times is a subject that hasn’t always been easy for me to handle. So reading Revelation for the first time was a bit of a journey for me, and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts and feelings on it with you on Thursday.
For prayers today, let’s pray for God to stoke the fire inside of us. I want this to be the time I’m burning brighter than ever before. I want to be a beacon of Jesus’ love that can be seen from miles away. So I’d just ask that you join me and pray for that holy fire inside of us. Maybe yours has gone down over the years and you want to pray for God to relight it. Or maybe you just want to ask Him to pour fuel all over it and set your life ablaze like never before. Either way, let’s just join together and ask God to light us up like never before. If you prayed that prayer, know that I prayed it in agreement with you as your brother in Christ.
I love you guys and I hope you all have a blessed Wednesday. Never forget that God loves you deeply and dearly. He spoke the world into creation, He knows the beginning and the end of all things, and yet He thinks of you. He loves you, exactly as you are this very moment.