Observation, Interpretation, Application

Three basic steps in studying the Bible – 1) Observation – seeing what the text says; 2) Interpretation – understanding what the text means; 3) Application – learning to apply the text to life today.

I’m thinking of buying some new glasses for observing.  One of our basic courses at Toronto Baptist Seminary designed for first year students is Principles of Bible Study.  It is a great course and walks through basic lessons in reading, studying, and applying God’s word.

Over the next few weeks, I am meeting with a few students to help sharpen them in these skills.  We’ll look at different passages, but I wanted to challenge the readers of this blog with some observations, interpretations and applications of 2 John.

2 John 1

The elder – Who is he? Though not identified by name, John is considered the author of this short epistle.  He is the ‘elder’ – not a novice but a seasoned follower of Jesus Christ who has learned many doctrines and duties in the Christian life.  Now, led by the Spirit, he pens this short letter of instruction.

To the chosen lady and her children – John’s endearing term to a local congregation, a group of believers who love Jesus Christ and His people, and are seeking to represent him locally.

whom I love in the truth – and not I only, but also all who know the truth

How easy to ‘fall off’ the balance on either side of love and truth!  Some are so passionate for love and call the church to be more marked by this fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).  Others speak truth and affirm the requirement of fidelity to “The TRUTH” in doctrine and practice.  How challenging to blend love and truth together! The balance is perfectly seen in Jesus Christ, the Master LOVER and TRUTH-teller.

In 2014, so many have their ‘version’ of the truth, their ‘take’ on what truth is.  Look at the divided body of Christ – surely truth is not unifying – but is it really truth, Gospel truth, that has divided God’s people?  In courts of law, people swear “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth….” and then lie under oath.  Leaders in God’s kingdom, who claim to know the truth, have a huge responsibility to live out, model and teach the truth as it is in God’s word.

Whom do you “love in the truth?”  What believers in Jesus Christ are you committed to as you live the Christian life? How committed are you to the local expression of Christ’s body on earth?

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