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2 John - The 2nd Epistle of John

By Vexen Crabtree 2012

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Included as holy:

Protestant Bibles
Title: 2 John
Section: New Testament

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Next: 3 John

Catholic Bible
Title: 2 John
Section: New Testament

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Next: 3 John

Eastern Orthodox Bibles
Title: 2 John
Section: New Testament

Prev: 1 John
Next: 3 John

Rejected by:
Jewish Tanakh

Chapters in 2 John:
1 
Total verses: 13

The three theological letters (epistles) of John are commonly called 1 John, 2 John and 3 John. They were written by Christians living quite a while after the Gospel of John was written, by a different author, and they use arguments and terminology that developed as a result of that Gospel (which was itself written a long time after the rest of the canonical gospels), and address theological problems which arose during their own community's time1. No early Christians quote from these epistles, and, later on, most who heard of them were dubious about their authenticity. Nonetheless, rising Pauline Christians found these letters very useful in arguing their case, and when the official New Testament was established in the later half of the 4th century, they had the 3 epistles of John included in the canon.

The Second Epistle of John (2 John) is very short, just 13 verses. The author writes using the name of a well respected Christian in order to convince others that a particular belief is wrong. The entire epistle is about this one point. He writes against the belief that Jesus' body was spiritual in nature, and not fleshy; a belief known as docetism. 2 John says that if you don't have the right beliefs about the relationship between Jesus-as-god and Jesus-as-man then you are godless (2 John 1:7-9), and Christians can't greet you politely nor welcome you in to church or home (2 John 1:10-11). Just to greet people with wrong beliefs, says 2 John, is to be in league with evil! This has no doubt helped encourage the intolerant and fundamentalist streams in Christian history. 2 John does contradict a few other verses in the Bible that say Christians should debate doctrine patiently and respectfully (1 Peter 3:15-16, 2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 3:2 and Colossians 4:6).

Docetism, an Ancient Form of Christianity:

Docetism and its various branches held that Christ's human body was merely a phantom, and that his suffering and death were but appearance. If he suffered, he was not God, they argued, if he was God, he did not suffer: a most reasonable conclusion.

"Jesus Versus Christianity" by Alfred Reynolds (1993)2

Some of the earliest groups of Christians were docetist but after the rise of Cappadocian and Pauline Christianity they were forcibly silenced and mostly eradicated. They believed that Jesus was a purely spiritual projection, sent by God to inform and lead. Joseph didn't impregnate Mary because Jesus didn't come from any physical seed; Mary conceived him to fulfil prophecy. Jesus couldn't have been physical because the physical world was fallen, imperfect and separate from god - in this docetist and gnostic Christians agreed. The reason Jesus didn't write anything himself or baptise anyone (John 4:1-2) is because he was a phantasm and could not. St Paul wrote that the Son came "in the likeness of flesh" (Romans 8:3).

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2 John 1:1-13

KJVYLTNotes
1The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;The Elder to the choice Kyria, and to her children, whom I love in truth, and not I only, but also all those having known the truth,

2 John 1:7-9: Pascal's Wager is Safer in Reverse: Picking a Religion is Dangerous Business: 3.3. The Christian Bible - Believing the Wrong Things is a Ticket to Hell

2 John 1:7-9: See Christian Moral Theory and Morality in Action: Biblical Morals and Social Disaster

Some comments on 2 John 1:7-9 are on Instruct with Great Patience: How Christians Should Preach and Debate, According to the Bible

2 John 1:7-9 is referenced on Scriptural Debating Style: Christians and Muslims Must be Patient and Courteous: 1. Christianity: With Patience, Gentleness and Respect

2 John 1:7-9 is referenced on Christian Extremism, Intolerance and Resurgent Fundamentalism

2 John 1:7-9: Christian Extremism, Intolerance and Resurgent Fundamentalism: 6. The Basis for Intolerance in the New Testament

2 John 1:7-9: See Religious Extremism

2 John 1:7-9 commentary above: 2 John - The 2nd Epistle of John

For more on 2 John 1:10-11 see Pascal's Wager is Safer in Reverse: Picking a Religion is Dangerous Business: 3.3. The Christian Bible - Believing the Wrong Things is a Ticket to Hell

2 John 1:10-11 is referenced on Christian Moral Theory and Morality in Action: Biblical Morals and Social Disaster

2 John 1:10-11 is referenced on Instruct with Great Patience: How Christians Should Preach and Debate, According to the Bible

2 John 1:10-11 is mentioned on Scriptural Debating Style: Christians and Muslims Must be Patient and Courteous: 1. Christianity: With Patience, Gentleness and Respect

2 John 1:10-11 comments: Christian Extremism, Intolerance and Resurgent Fundamentalism

2 John 1:10-11 is referenced on Christian Extremism, Intolerance and Resurgent Fundamentalism: 6. The Basis for Intolerance in the New Testament

2 John 1:10-11 is referenced on Religious Extremism

2 John 1:10-11 commentary above: 2 John - The 2nd Epistle of John

2For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.because of the truth that is remaining in us, and with us shall be to the age,
3Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.there shall be with you grace, kindness, peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
4I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.I rejoiced exceedingly that I have found of thy children walking in truth, even as a command we did receive from the Father;
5And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.and now I beseech thee, Kyria, not as writing to thee a new command, but which we had from the beginning, that we may love one another,
6And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.and this is the love, that we may walk according to His commands; this is the command, even as ye did hear from the beginning, that in it ye may walk,
7For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.because many leading astray did enter into the world, who are not confessing Jesus Christ coming in flesh; this one is he who is leading astray, and the antichrist.
8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.See to yourselves that ye may not lose the things that we wrought, but a full reward may receive;
9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.every one who is transgressing, and is not remaining in the teaching of the Christ, hath not God; he who is remaining in the teaching of the Christ, this one hath both the Father and the Son;
10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:if any one doth come unto you, and this teaching doth not bear, receive him not into the house, and say not to him, `Hail!'
11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.for he who is saying to him, `Hail,' hath fellowship with his evil works.
12Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.Many things having to write to you, I did not intend through paper and ink, but I hope to come unto you, and speak mouth to mouth, that our joy may be full;
13The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.salute thee do the children of thy choice sister. Amen.

Current edition: 2012 Aug 16
Last Modified: 2015 May 31
http://www.holybooks.info/2_john.html
Parent page: Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Holy Bibles Across Different Traditions

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References: (What's this?)

The Bible (NIV). The NIV is the best translation for accuracy whilst maintaining readability. Multiple authors, a compendium of multiple previously published books. I prefer to take quotes from the NIV but where I quote the Bible en masse I must quote from the KJV because it is not copyrighted, whilst the NIV is. Book Review.

Ehrman, Bart
(2011) Forged. Hardback book. Subtitled: "Writing in the Name of God - Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are". Published by HarperCollins, New York, USA.

Reynolds, Alfred
(1993) Jesus Versus Christianity. Paperback book. Originally published 1988. Current version published by Cambridge International Publishers, London UK.

Footnotes

  1. Ehrman (2011) p229.^
  2. Reynolds (1993) p81-3.^

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