The Apostle John warned the Saints about people who deceive and preach that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh. He also praised Gaius, a Church member, for his faithfulness.
John warns about people who teach false doctrine
Think of a well-known athlete. What might this athlete do to stay in the best health in order to perform well?
What could happen if this athlete, after working hard to get in shape, stopped working out and began eating junk food, watching a lot of TV, playing a lot of video games, and using substances that are harmful to the body?
Consider how the work that successful athletes must do to preserve their best physical condition can be compared to the work that Church members must do to preserve the blessings they have obtained through the gospel. As you study 2 John, look for a principle that can help you preserve the blessings you have obtained as a Church member.
As recorded in 2 John 1:1–4, the Apostle John began this epistle by addressing “the elect lady and her children,” which may have been either a direct address to a female Church member and her children or symbolic language to describe a Church congregation.
Read 2 John 1:5–6, looking for the commandment that John reminded the Saints about.
What were the deceivers and antichrists teaching?
When John wrote this epistle, a philosophy known as Docetism was gaining popularity. Docetists believed that God was so exalted that He was above suffering, death, or any other mortal experience. Therefore, they concluded that Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, did not actually come in the flesh but that His spirit only seemed (the meaning of a Greek word from which docetism is taken) to do things that a mortal would do or experience.
What are some examples of false teachings in our day that contradict the truths of the gospel? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Why are these teachings spiritually dangerous? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Read 2 John 1:8, looking for what John counseled Church members to do because of these false teachings. To “look to yourselves” means to be watchful or careful not to adopt false teachings. Wrought means performed (see 2 John 1:8, footnote a), or worked for and received.
One principle we can learn from 2 John 1:6–8 is that as we keep God’s commandments and are watchful, we can continue to enjoy the gospel blessings we have received.
Respond to the following in your scripture study journal:
List gospel blessings you have received and hope to receive.
Why must we continue to keep God’s commandments and live the gospel in order to obtain and continue to enjoy the gospel blessings we have received?
Read 2 John 1:9, looking for what John taught would happen to those who abide, or stay, in the doctrine of Christ. The doctrine of Christ is to have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by one with proper priesthood authority, and endure to the end (see 2 Nephi 31:15–21).
One truth we can learn from 2 John 1:9 is that if we abide in the doctrine of Christ, we will have the Father and the Son with us.
One way we have the Father and Son with us is through the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Ponder the two truths identified in this lesson. How are you doing in your efforts to keep God’s commandments, to be watchful, and to abide in the gospel? What gospel blessings do you want to enjoy now and in the future? What will you do today to more faithfully keep the commandments and abide in the doctrine of Christ?
As recorded in 2 John 1:10–13, John encouraged the Saints to avoid people who spread false doctrine. He also expressed his desire to personally visit the Saints he was writing to.
John praises Gaius for his faithfulness
What happens to the surface of water when something touches it? Is it possible to touch a body of water without affecting it? How might touching the surface of water be like living the gospel?
In 3 John, the Apostle John addressed a faithful member of the Church named Gaius. Read 3 John 1:1–4, looking for how John was affected by Gaius’s faithfulness in living the gospel. The word children in verse 4 may refer to Church members whom John had helped convert to the gospel.
Based on how Gaius’s faithfulness affected John, what truth can we identify from 3 John 1:1–4 about how living the gospel can affect ourselves and others? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Think about when you have felt joy because you have seen someone else’s efforts to live the gospel. In your scripture study journal or on a separate piece of paper, write a letter thanking that person for his or her efforts to live the gospel, and explain how his or her faithfulness has affected you. If you write the letter on a separate piece of paper, write a brief summary of the letter in your scripture study journal. Consider giving the letter to the person you wrote to.
Think of a time when you heard a Church leader or missionary you did not know speak in a Church meeting or during general conference. We may at times be tempted to give less consideration or respect to some Church leaders or teachers if we are not familiar with them.
Read 3 John 1:5–8, looking for what Gaius was doing that pleased John. The reference to brethren and strangers in verse 5 refers to traveling teachers or missionaries whom Gaius was not familiar with.
John also wrote about a local Church leader named Diotrephes, whom John was not pleased with. Read 3 John 1:9–10, looking for why John was not pleased with him.
Diotrephes had become rebellious and committed personal apostasy. One truth we can learn from the good example of Gaius and the poor example of Diotrephes is the following: Church members ought to receive and sustain all servants of the Lord.
In your scripture study journal, write some ways we can “receive” (3 John 1:8) servants of the Lord.
Look for opportunities to apply the preceding truth by receiving and sustaining local and general Church leaders.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 John–3 John and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: