2 John 1

Greeting the Elect Lady

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,

Elect: no. 1. Chosen by God, also in v.13. Love: no. 1. Truth: nos. 1, 2.

Some say that John was writing to a church and calls her "the elect lady" in some sort of code, and that "her children" were the members of that church.

2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

Truth: no. 3. Used with the definite article, "the truth" is used three times in this letter. Is this an allusion to The Trinity? It may refer to the actual person of Jesus who called himself "the truth" in John 14:6.

The truth that abides in us: could be interpreted at "the truth that remains in us" - a doctrinal statement; or "the truth that lives in our lives" - a reference to our obedience to God; or even "Christ or the Holy Spirit who lives inside us". If the latter, then this is saying that He remains in us forever i.e. Christ who is in us can't be lost. Even if "us" means the church, then this would mean Christ will remain with His church forever, but not necessarily with each individual within his church. If so, then we have to turn to other Bible passages that show that individual salvation can't be lost.

3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love.

Truth: no. 4. Love: no. 2

Walking in Truth and Love

4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father.

Walk: no. 1. To walk is clearly a reference to obedience to God's command.
Truth: no. 5. Clearly, the concept of truth is very important in this letter.
Command: no. 1.

5 And now I ask you, dear lady - not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning - that we love one another.

Command: no. 2. Love: no. 3

6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.

Love: no. 4. Love is important in this letter.
Walk: no. 2 in obedience.
Command: nos. 3, 4. Command is important.
Walk: no. 3 i.e. obey the commandment. We Christians shouldn't just talk the talk, but we must walk the talk as well.

Beware of Antichrist Deceivers

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

i.e. They deny that Jesus was the Messiah as taught by the prophets in Scripture - either that Jesus was not the Messiah, or that he was not really in the flesh, but was only a spirit or something.

False teachers are from the devil and are antichrists. Anyone who teaches anything false about God, even if unwittingly, is helping to spread Satan's lies. All false things ultimately come from Satan, for God is truth and there is no lie in Him. Even if people teach falsehoods unwittingly, they are nevertheless spreading lies, and God will judge them more strictly (James 3:1). Should anyone deny being be a teacher, let's be clear - anyone who causes another person to believe in a false notion is the false teacher of that false notion.

8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.

Some translations: you may not lose what you have worked for

9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not abide in God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

Abide: remain, lives in. Doctrine: nos. 1, 2
Doctrine: G1322 διδαχῇ didachē teaching

This is a bold and exclusive claim. It's stating that anyone who isn't a Christian doesn't have God - at all! The second part supports the first, but with "the Son" for added emphasis. This couldn't be clearer. Anyone who believes in and teaches false doctrine has neither God nor Christ. Let that be a serious warning to us.

10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,

Doctrine: no. 3. Doctrine is important.
Doctrine: G1322 διδαχὴν didachēn teaching

11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

In John's day, Christians gathered in each other's homes, so "house" here includes our places of worship i.e. our churches. Many churches allow people to preach falsehoods from their pulpits in the name of tolerance. This is terribly misguided. According to the Apostle John such churches are partaking in the sin of deceivers and antichrists.

If we help others who believe in false doctrine then we are sharing in evil. This flies in the face of those who say we must get along with everyone and anyone who claims to be "Christian". Here, John commands us not to accept, at face value, those who make such claims, but to check the doctrine behind their claims, and if their doctrine is false then we must have absolutely nothing to do with them. Even to turn a blind eye is passively supporting evil. We Christians can't hide behind our cowardice in the name of charity.

Final Greetings

12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

Elect: no. 3. Chosen by God, also in v.1.

Summary of repeated words: truth=5, love=4, command=4, doctrine=3, walk (i.e. obey)=3