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2 John 1:9-11


1:9 Everyone 1  who goes on ahead and does not remain 2  in the teaching of Christ 3  does not have God. 4  The one who remains in this teaching has both the Father and the Son. 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house and do not give him any greeting, 5  1:11 because the person who gives him a greeting shares in his evil deeds. 6 

1 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.”

2 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).

3 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).

4 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.

5 sn Do not give him any greeting does not mean to insult the person. It means “do not greet the person as a fellow Christian” (which is impossible anyway since the opponents are not genuine believers in the author’s opinion).

6 sn Shares in his evil deeds. Giving a public greeting could be understood by an onlooker to suggest agreement with the (false) teaching of the opponents and is thus prohibited by John.

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