Walking In Truth – Walking Through 2 John Pt. 1

The following are my notes for a bible study I am currently teaching through 2 John.

Introduction

I have three goals for this bible study:

(1) I want us to study in great depth just a few verses of 2 John.

(2) I want us to learn basic bible study principles so that you can learn how to study on your own and how to teach others how to study God’s word.

(3) I want us to spend some time prayerfully meditating on these truths from 2 John.

A Couple Questions Before We Begin

Can you think of any benefits of studying the bible with this kind of depth and specificity? Are their dangers of studying the bible this way?

In sum, we want to try and exhaust and squeeze all that we can out of these verses, but without losing the context.

2 John 1-2

1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

The first rule of bible study is to start with what is clear and easy. Then we will slowly work our way to what is more difficult and less clear. So in the first verse we quickly learn the genre of this book. It is an epistle or more simply put it is a letter. We know this because the author identifies himself and says who he is writing to.

How does the author identify himself in verse 1? The Elder. Who does he say he is writing to? The Elect Lady & Her Children

What are some things we can know for sure about the elect lady and her children?

1) The elder loves them in the truth.
2) All who know the truth love them in truth.
3) They love them because of the truth that abides in them forever

Asking Good Questions

One of the biggest keys to good bible studying is asking good questions. This takes lots of practice, but start with simple questions and keep asking more and more questions until you are stuck. Once your are stuck, then work on answering those questions the best you can without getting any help from outside sources.

Here are a few questions I came up with:

1) Who is writing this letter and why does he identify himself as the elder?

2) Who is the elder writing this letter to? Why is she called elect?

3) The author uses the word “truth” 3 times in 2 verses and will use it several more times in the next few verses. What does this word mean and how is it being used in these sentences?

4) What does it mean to abide? How does truth abide in you?

Answering The Questions

1) Who is writing this letter and why does he identify himself as an elder?

* How do you think we would go about finding out who this elder is or even what the word means?

– First, we can find out who specifically the author is by comparing this book with other books of the bible? Are their similarities in their writing?

“The 3 letters of John and the gospel of John are so closely connected in diction, style, and their general outlook that the burden of proof lies with the person who would deny their common authorship.” (B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels (rev. ed.; London: Macmillan, 1930), 460.)

– Second, we could use a bible dictionary and it would tell us that elder could mean “old man, an older person who is deserving respect, an officer in the local church.”

– Third, we can read church history and see who the early church fathers identified as the author?

In sum, we look at internal evidence of the text and external evidence of church history.

2) Who is he writing this letter to? Why is she called elect?

Two options here as to who she is:

a) This is a specific lady that John knows personally and those would be her biological children.

b) This is a general phrase of personification, John is really talking about a church and its members.

Are there any clues in the letter that would make you think one option is better than the other?

* The letter sounds like it is talking more to a church community than one specific lady. Especially, verse 5 “love one another and verses 10-11 “receiving a false teacher into your house”

* If we looked at the original language we would see in verses 8,10, & 12 the words “you” or “yourselves” are in the plural form.

* If John also wrote 3 John, then why does he use specific names there and not in this letter? Unless, that is her specific name.

* What about verse 13? This use of “elect” in verse 13 would help us to see that the woman’s name is not “Eklekta.”

Why is she called elect?

The word mean “chosen.” It comes from a verb that means to choose or elect.

If we take the church and members route then we would understand him to refer to this church as being people whom God has chosen out of humanity to in order to give them salvation in Christ.

If we take the specific lady route, then it is possible to understand this phrase “elect lady” as a designation of honor or excellence like we might use the word “choice” to describe something of value.

3) The author uses truth 3 times in 2 verses and will use it several more times in the next few verses. What does this word mean and how is it being used in these sentences?

Why such an emphasis on this word truth?

* Look at verses 7-8 and it helps us know why he is writing this letter.

“In truth” – could mean “I really/truly love you” or it could mean those who continue in the truth about Jesus Christ

4) What does it mean to abide? How does truth abide in you?

Two options here as well:

a) The truth is so internalized that it is in them and creates a community of love;

b) Maybe he is more specifically alluding to the person of Christ as being them in who is the embodiment of truth. He is the way and the truth.

As Paul says, “Christ in you is the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27)

Either way it boils down to the same thing because the truth that they would be so internalizing in them would be the truth of Christ.

Meditating On This Text

1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: 

How can we meditate in a devotional way on these verses? How can we use these verses to guide our prayers?

If you want to learn more about Christian meditation, then I would recommend by way of introduction this iTunes podcast given by Timothy Keller in a series of lectures he gave on preaching. The lecture I’m referring to is # 34 and called “Adoring Christ: Communion with God.”

Click HERE for the link to the podcast:

After listening to this lecture a few years ago I have decided to break my prayers and meditations into 4 categories. So for the remainder of our bible study lets pray over the truths from this text and meditate on their truths.

Meditation Part 1 – Prayers of Praise

– Praise God for elder qualified men like John whom God has used to communicate truth to you? Isn’t amazing that God designed to communicate his word through sinful men and women like us?
– Do you know God’ electing love? Do you believe the bible teaches that you love God not because of something great in you but because of something great in him? You love God because he first loved you!
– Can you praise God for truth? Praise God that it does exist! There is such a thing as absolute truths. Christ is the definition of that truth. We can know it, believe it, and abide in it forever.
– Have you ever experienced the sweetness of christian fellowship and Christ’s love displayed through believers? Isn’t it awesome that people who shouldn’t not really like each other or would probably never hang out together show great amounts of love for each other because we so love and cherish the truth that we both share?

Meditation Part 2 – Prayers of Confession

– Have you submitted yourself to an elder? Are you a member of a local church?
– Do you believe the truth? What lies are you currently believing? What anxious thoughts are you giving yourself over to?
– Do you love the truth? Is the truth currently abiding in you? Is it a vibrant part of your life?
– Do you love others who love the truth? Are their Christians in your life who are annoying you to easily?

Meditation Part 3 – Prayer of Petition

– Help us submit to our elders.

– Help us in our unbelief. Give us faith in Christ.

– Let the truth of Christ abide in our hearts.

– Help us to love those in the church and particularly love the fact that they love Christ.

– Give us hope in the unchanging truths of God’s word and not the things of this world that come and go.

Meditation Part 4 – Christ & the Cross

– Christ is the true and better elder. We can submit to him because he submitted himself to the father.

– Christ is the ultimate display of love members of the church. We can love the members of our church because he loved us even when we were his enemies. We can love each other in this room because he loved you even while you were still a sinner.

– Christ is the embodiment and the essence of truth. He is the definition of truth. We can believe the truth because it is not merely a set of doctrines to understand, but a person to trust. We can trust him.

– Christ elected all those whom he died to save. At the end of the day the only reason we really do believe in the truth and trust in Christ is because he chose us. He elected us. Why are you in this room right now? Why were you not born in India among a people group of over 1 billion people who currently have little to no access to a church, the bible, or the gospel?

– Christ is the keeper of his elect. He lets no sheep get out of his fold. He will keep you to the end. Put your hope in Christ that he will keep you in his truth forever.

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Filed under 2 John, Bible Studies, Christian Meditation, Scripture

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