Jude

Reading Plan for 2 John Day 2

Read 2 John Again

Love and Truth

Sometimes it’s helpful to pay attention to the words in scripture—specific words repeated over and over again. If you’re a note taker or an underliner, you can even go back over the passage and put a heart around the word love and a circle around the word truth in your Bible. How many times does John use the word love and how many times does he use the word truth?

John is letting his readers know that he loves them. But he also wants his readers to know that love and truth have a deep relationship with each other. In Ephesians 4:15 Paul says, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Paul links truth and love to spiritual growth. Earlier in the same passage, he indicates that true unity is an activity Holy Spirit working in our lives. He then says that this gets lived out as we speak the truth in love, we grow more mature. This is one of the reasons we should spend time listening to God as He speaks through His word. But it’s also something we do in each other’s lives. We speak the truth, in love, to each other. This isn’t about speaking our personal opinion. It is about speaking “Jesus” and his ways, and his love to each other.

Later in the passage, John tells his readers that “his command is that you walk in love” (v.6). This isn’t love the emotion. It is an active—moving toward one another, praying for one another, reminding each other of Jesus’s words—kind of love.

John readers would have immediately connected John’s words to Jesus words found in the Gospel of John. In John 13:34-35 John quotes Jesus saying, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Remember that Jesus said these words in the context of being betrayed by Judas. Matthew tells us that when Judas came with the authorities to arrest Jesus, that Judas kissed Jesus (It’s common even today in Middle Eastern culture to kiss on the side of the cheeks). Jesus loved Judas enough to say, “Do what you came for, friend” (Matthew 26:50). Friend, in the original language, carries no hint of sarcasm. It literally means, “my good friend.[1]” Jesus, while being betrayed by a friend, is telling his followers to love one another and to know that the distinction between them and others will be love.

The Definition and Source of Truth

For John truth isn’t just intellectual fact. He tells us that “the truth lives in us and will be with us forever” (verse 2). When John says truth, he is talking about “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus is the source and essence of truth. Everything that is good, and right, and beautiful, and true finds its source in him. So how do truth and love interact? John makes a chain of grace, mercy, and peace and truth and love (2 John 3). The first three are from God the Father and from Jesus Christ and will be with us in truth and love. I know, it sounds confusing but John links the grace, mercy, and peace, each of which are from God, and says these three are manifest in truth and love. You might have to read the 3rd verse several times to really get the full impact of what John us saying.

Love and truth, truth and love are always walking with each other in the lives of Christians. Both find their deepest meaning in Jesus and what he has done for us. John’s harsh words about the false teachers, deceivers, are in part coming from their denial of truth and love. Wow!

Application:

  1. 2 JohnIn what ways can truth and love be more deeply embedded in your life, particularly toward other believers regardless of how broken you are or they are?
  2. In what ways are the church or even you personally susceptible to being deceived?
  3. What are things in the Bible that you struggle to believe, or wish weren’t in the Bible? Could those be weak points of vulnerability as you wrestle with truth and love?
  4. Who can you encourage today by speaking truth and love? Remember truth doesn’t always confront. Often it reminds of God’s great love, his promises, and his presence.

God loves you so much that he sent Jesus for you. Jesus is truth and love in a body—he stepped out of heaven for you. He left everything for you. He became weak for you. He came for you. He is a perfect example of love and truth for you!

Consider writing down a key verse or verses from today on an index card or small piece of paper and carry it with you today. Look at it as often as you can as a reminder of what we learned today.

Possible Verse: 2 John 4-5

[1] Grimm, Carl Ludwig Wilibald, et al. The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm’s Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testamenti. Christian Copyrights, 1983.