[CF Devotionals] 2013-04-03 - Loving in Truth

2 John ~ Part 2

Opening Greetings: John introduces himself, not by his name, but by his position. He calls himself the Elder. He writes from a position of authority. It is also obvious that his readers know from whom the letter comes. Stott notes:

"He had no doubt that they (his readers) would immediately identify him by this title, which bears witness to his recognized authority." 1

But there's a problem with reading somebody's personal letters. When we write to friends, or acquaintances, because of the relationship a lot of things are left unsaid. Reading an individual letter is like overhearing part of one side of a telephone conversation. And as we saw last time, we sometimes come up against something in scripture that is specifically cultural and familiar to the recipient, but we have no way of understanding the intent. Baker says:

"While a strict interpretation of the text supports an individual person as the addressee, the context supports an enigmatic reference to a community. Such a veiled allusion may have been, as Dodd suggests, a device for shielding the identity of the community from adverse action by public officials who opposed the Christian community. If the letter fell into unfriendly hands, it would seem to be nothing more than a private message to a friend. The reference to the elder's children would be a veiled way of referring to the members of the community; and the greetings extended to her from the children of her "chosen sister" (v.13) would be understood as being from the members of the community of the elder. The statement "whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth" seems more appropriate as a reference to a church than to an individual. No dogmatic conclusion about the addressee is possible, however, because of the ambiguity of the text." 2

John states that he loves this local body. And apparently this group was known to other believers, who also loved it. The foundation of this love was truth. John loved in truth. Others loved in truth. The truth was present in all, John, others and those in the body. What is this truth? The truth of God, salvation, what it means to be a believer, the incarnation. These are all included. The truth is all that is consistent with theological orthodoxy.

To be continued.

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