It has been said that the most dangerous way to get off course is one inch at a time. The story of Korean Airlines Flight 007 exemplifies this point. Have you experienced the danger of getting off course one inch at a time in your own life (physically, mentally, relationally, or spiritually)? What makes getting off course once inch at a time so dangerous?
Most scholars believe that 1, 2, and 3 John were written around the same time in order to address the same general crisis in the 1st century church in modern-day Turkey. Some people of influence within the churches had gone off track theologically, begun to oppose John’s apostolic teaching, and were threatening the purity of the Gospel. In short, these false teachers denied Jesus’ humanity and deemed physical life and morality unimportant to the spiritual life of faith. John wrote these letters to oppose this group’s teaching and to encourage faithful believers to stay course.
Read 2 John and 3 John. As you read, make mental note of all the places you see the words “truth” and “love.”
Q1) Based on what you’ve just read, how would you say John defines truth?
Q2) How would you say he defines love?
Q3) What are some of the different, competing definitions of both truth and love that we find in our society today?
Q4) In what ways do you think these competing definitions of truth and love could “blow us off course” either personally or as a church?
The two strategies John gives for staying the course of truth and love in a windy world are: 1) Walking in the Truth, 2) Watching Yourself.
Q5) What does it look like, practically speaking, to walk in the truth? How do we do that?
Q6) How are you doing, personally, at walking in the truth right now?
Q7) When John commands the church to watch themselves, he’s asking them to consider who they are giving influence in their lives. He wants them to make sure it is the right people. What are some ways we commonly invite people to influence us, either consciously or subconsciously?
Q8) What are some ways we make sure that we are being influenced first by God and His Word and secondly by other people who are committed to walking in truth and love?
Q9) How do we take seriously John’s commands to “walk in the truth” and “watch ourselves” without becoming fearful of the world or uncharitable toward other believers who might have different convictions on secondary matters?