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2 John 1:7-9

Context
1:7 For 1  many deceivers have gone out into the world, people who do not confess Jesus as 2  Christ 3  coming in the flesh. 4  This person is the deceiver and the antichrist! 5  1:8 Watch out, so that you do not lose the things we have worked for, 6  but receive a full reward. 7 

1:9 Everyone 8  who goes on ahead and does not remain 9  in the teaching of Christ 10  does not have God. 11  The one who remains in this teaching has both the Father and the Son.

1 tn Technically this ὅτι (Joti) clause is subordinate to the verb περιπατῆτε (peripathte) at the end of v. 6, giving the reason why the readers should walk in the commandment to love one another. But BDF §456.1 notes that subordination “is often very loose” in such cases and can be translated “for.” Thus the ὅτι assumes something of an inferential sense, drawing an inference based on what has preceded.

2 tn “As” is not in the Greek text. It is supplied for clarity in English, since (like in the same confession in 1 John 4:2) ᾿Ιησοῦν (Ihsoun) should be understood as object and Χριστόν (Criston) as complement of an object-complement double accusative construction.

3 tn Or “Messiah.”

4 tn This is the same confession as in 1 John 4:2 except the perfect participle used there is replaced by a present participle (ἐρχόμενον, ercomenon) here. It is not clear why the author changed from a perfect participle in 1 John 4:2 to a present participle here. The perfect participle suggests a reference to the incarnation (past). The present participle could suggest a reference to the (future) second advent, but based on the similarity to 1 John 4:2 it is probably best to take it as referring to the incarnation.

5 sn The statement This person is the Deceiver and the Antichrist! is a metaphor (metonymy). The author does not mean that each individual is to be identified as the Antichrist. The opponents are compared to the Deceiver (Satan) and the Antichrist since they are accomplishing Satan’s work and preparing the way for the Antichrist.

6 sn The things we have worked for probably refers to the pastoral and missionary efforts undertaken by the recipients of the letter in their own community and surrounding communities. This work would be “lost” if the opponents with their false teaching are allowed to proselytize unopposed.

7 sn The idea of a reward for Christians who serve faithfully is not common in the Johannine writings, but can be found in Rev 11:18 and 22:12.

8 tn The construction πᾶς ὁ (pas Jo) + participle occur frequently in 1 John (13 times) where it is used by the author to divide people into categories: “everyone who does this” as opposed to “everyone who does the opposite.”

9 tn Here μένω (menw) has been translated “remain” rather than “reside” since a change in status or position is present in the context: The opponents did not “remain” but “ran on ahead.” The verb μένω is used only here (twice in this verse) in the Johannine letters in connection with “teaching” but in the Gospel of John it is used three times with reference to the teaching of Jesus himself (7:16, 17; 18:19).

10 tn The genitive τοῦ Χριστοῦ (tou Cristou, “of Christ”) is difficult because it may be understood as objective (the teaching about Christ), subjective (Christ’s own teaching), or both (M. Zerwick’s “general” genitive [Biblical Greek §§36-39]; D. B. Wallace’s “plenary” genitive [ExSyn 119-21]). An objective genitive (with Christ as the object of the “apostolic” teaching) might seem to be the obvious reading in context, especially since verse 7 makes reference to what a person “confesses” about Jesus Christ. A good case can also be made for a subjective genitive, however, since other Johannine uses of the genitive following the noun διδαχή (didach, “teaching”) favor a subjective sense here. In John 7:16, 17 Jesus himself refers to “my teaching” and “teaching from me,” and 18:19 refers to “his (Jesus’) teaching.” Rev 2:14, 15 refers to the “teaching of Balaam” and “the teaching of the Nicolaitans,” both of which are clearly subjective in context. In the present context, to speak of “Christ's teaching” as a subjective genitive would make Christ himself (in the person of the indwelling Spirit) the teacher, and this is consistent with the author’s position in 1 John 2:27 that the community does not need other teachers. In 1 John 2:27 it is the Paraclete, referred to as “his anointing,” who does the teaching. Since the dispute with the opponents concerns the salvific significance of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, the “teaching” here would refer to Jesus’ own teaching (reflected in the Gospel of John) concerning his person and work. Since this is ultimately one with the apostolic eyewitness testimony about Jesus, it is perhaps best to view the genitive here as both objective and subjective (perhaps the author deliberately intended not to be specific).

11 sn The idiom translated have God means to have a relationship to God as a genuine believer. The phrase has both the Father and the Son later in this verse should be understood the same way.



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