2 John: The Case Study of the Elect Lady
The book of 1 John does not exhaust everything John has to teach us about Christian discipleship. The letter certainly functions as a foundational handbook for learning Christian discipleship—as we have seen so far in our study—but John also wrote two additional letters called 2 John and 3 John that build on what he wrote in 1 John.
To understand how 2 and 3 John fit together with 1 John, it is helpful to think of them as case studies where John’s discipleship training is put into practice. So, in 1 John, the apostle had written a general letter without any specific context, making it easily shared among a broad variety of Christians—even those of us who are living two thousand years after he wrote it. But in 2 and 3 John, we will now see John writing to specific groups of people who lived in specific places and who faced specific challenges in ministry and life. This specificity doesn’t mean that 2 and 3 John are irrelevant to those of us living in different contexts—in fact, it is quite the opposite. Instead, 2 and 3 John provide real, concrete situations to help us understand what it looks like to follow Jesus in the midst of theological controversies (2 John) and personality conflicts (3 John).
So now, as we study these letters together, may God give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand all that is contained in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1. When you think about God, do you imagine that he prioritizes love or truth?
2. What is a specific situation in your life where your truth needs to be tamed by love, or where your love needs to be guided by truth? What would it look like to strike a balance in that situation?