Walk as Fellow Workers in the Truth
Highlights From Second and Third John
KNOWLEDGE of the truth is an identifying mark of Jehovah’s worshipers. (John 8:31, 32; 17:17) Walking in divine truth is essential for salvation. And God’s servants must be fellow workers in the truth.
The apostle John’s second and third inspired letters speak of “walking in the truth.” (2 John 4; 3 John 3, 4) Third John also encourages cooperation as “fellow workers in the truth.” (3 John 5-8) Likely, both letters were penned in or near Ephesus about 98 C.E. But what they say can benefit Jehovah’s people today.
Second John Stresses Truth
Second John first emphasized truth and love and warned against “the antichrist.” (Verses 1-7) The letter was addressed to “the chosen lady,” perhaps an individual. But if it was sent to a congregation, her “children” were spirit-begotten Christians “chosen” by God for heavenly life. (Romans 8:16, 17; Philippians 3:12-14) John rejoiced that certain ones were “walking in the truth” and thus resisting apostasy. Yet, they needed to guard against “the antichrist,” who denies that Jesus came in the flesh. Jehovah’s Witnesses today heed such warnings against apostasy.
John next gave counsel on dealing with apostates and then concluded with a personal wish and greetings. (Verses 8-13) By such labors as preaching, he and others had produced fruitage resulting in the conversion of those to whom he sent his letter. Only by ‘looking out’ for themselves spiritually would they “obtain a full reward,” evidently including the heavenly “crown” reserved for faithful anointed ones. (2 Timothy 4:7, 8) If anyone ‘not remaining in the teaching of the Christ’ came to them, they should ‘never receive him into their homes nor say a greeting to him’ so as to avoid being accomplices in his “wicked works.” After expressing the hope that he would come and speak with those fellow believers face-to-face, John closed with greetings.
Third John Emphasizes Cooperation
Third John was directed to Gaius and first took note of what he was doing for fellow believers. (3Jo Verses 1-8) Gaius was “walking in the truth” by adhering to the entire body of Christian teachings. He was also “doing a faithful work” in assisting visiting brothers. John wrote: “We . . . are under obligation to receive such persons hospitably, that we may become fellow workers in the truth.” Jehovah’s Witnesses extend similar hospitality to traveling overseers today.
After contrasting the bad conduct of Diotrephes with that of Demetrius, John concluded his letter. (Verses 9-14) Glory-seeking Diotrephes showed no respect for John and even tried to oust from the congregation those receiving the brothers hospitably. A certain Demetrius was cited as a fine example, though. John hoped to see Gaius soon and concluded with greetings and a wish that Gaius enjoy peace.
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With Paper, Pen, and Ink: John desired to visit “the chosen lady” and her “children” instead of writing many things to them “with paper and ink.” Rather than continuing to write to Gaius “with ink and pen,” the apostle also hoped to see him soon. (2 John 1, 12; 3 John 1, 13, 14) The Greek word translated “pen” (kaʹla·mos) refers to a cane or reed and can be rendered “writing-reed.” Among the Greeks and the Romans, a reed pen was pointed and slit like quill pens of later times. The Greek word meʹlan, rendered “ink,” is the neuter form of the masculine adjective meʹlas, meaning “black.” In the oldest inks, the pigment was a carbonaceous black—either a form of soot obtained from burning oil or wood, or a crystalline charcoal from vegetable or animal sources. Usually, inks were stored as dried bars or cakes, which were moistened by the scribe and applied with his brush or reed. The paper of those days was a thin material made into sheets from strips obtained from the papyrus plant. Early Christians used such paper for letters, scrolls, and codices.