Truth or Consequences: 2 John 1-13 -- By: Daniel L. Akin

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 23:1 (Fall 2005)
Article: Truth or Consequences: 2 John 1-13
Author: Daniel L. Akin

Truth or Consequences: 2 John 1-13

Daniel L. Akin

Professor of Preaching and Theology
Southeastern Baptists Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587


The Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga has well said, “The contemporary intellectual world is a battle or arena in which rages a battle for our souls.”1 James Dobson of “Focus on the Family” wisely adds, “The heated dispute over values in Western nations is simply a continuation of the age-old struggle between the principles of righteousness and the kingdom of darkness.”2

There is indeed a titanic battle that rages between two irreconcilable forces in the spiritual realm. There is a struggle, a battle for our souls. There is a struggle for our hearts and our minds, a battle over what we will love and what we will believe.

There is a clash of worldviews and a “culture war” taking place and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is in danger of losing the battle. Paul said in 2 Thess. 2:10 that the lost “perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Truth is, without question, an endangered species in our secular, relativistic culture. Love, likewise, is in grave danger of devolving into nothing more than shallow sentimentalism.

In such a serious situation the tiny and neglected letter of 2 John has words of wisdom and insight, words that address both the heart and the mind, words that address both love and truth. The book is striking in its completeness and also in its balance. This letter is only 245 words long (it is the second shortest book of both the New Testament and the Bible; 3 John is the shortest at 219 words) and was penned by the Apostle John, probably between A.D. 80-95 from Ephesus. The early church historian Eusebius suggests that 2 John and its sister epistle, 3 John, were written after John was released from the island of Patmos. If so, this would make them the last of the New Testament books to be written. Making his epistle short and to the point, John delivers four words of instruction and encouragement for those who would be guardians of God’s eternal truth.

I. Love the Truth (Verses 1-3).

The author is simply identified as the elder (πρεσβύτερος), an introduction unique to 2 and 3 John. It emphasizes the position and personal relationship he has with the recipients of the letter. “Elder” carries the idea of his being not only an aged man, but al...

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