Monday, August 30, 2010

359: Three Books in One

2 John 1
"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work." - 2 John 1:10-11

This is the shortest book of the bible by verse and word count in the NIV. If my googling is correct, 3 John has the honor of being the lowest word count in the KJV.

That being said, I don't have a whole lot to say about his one. John says (to whoever he's writing to) that he's overjoyed at her children's finding Jesus. He then tells her to love everyone and follow "his [God's?] commands". Again, I'm not sure what he means by "commands". Old Testament commands? Commands of Jesus?

John goes on to say that if anyone comes to them and does not bring the teaching of Jesus that they should not let them into their house. This person is doing "wicked work".

John ends this letter by saying that he's saving the majority of his teachings for when he visits this woman in person. Hopefully we didn't miss any life changing revelations on account of John's brevity.

3 John 1
"Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God." - 3 John 1:11

As if it weren't bad enough that 2 and 3 John are competing for the title of shortest book of the bible, they are also almost exactly the same.

John again starts out by saying that he is grateful that the children are "walking in the truth" with Jesus. And he again ends by saying that he's got a lot more to say in person.

John complains to whoever he's writing to that he wrote to the church, but the leader will have nothing to do with him. He says that this church leader will not even accept the brothers into the church.

John ends by telling his friend to imitate what is good, not what is evil. He also says that anyone who does evil has not seen God. Wait a minute. Just yesterday he said that no one had "seen" God.

Jude 1
"But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!' " - Jude 1:9

Jude starts out by saying that he was originally going to write about shared salvation, but decided it was more important to write about all the false teachers among them. These people, Jude says, are like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. And he says they serve as an example of the people that will "suffer the punishment of eternal fire".

Jude says that these people even slander celestial beings (angels). To show how bad this is, Jude tells the people about the time when the archangel Michael was arguing with the devil about the body of Moses. You know, that time. Oh, right, the bible has never actually mentioned that incident before. Way to make that one up Jude.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that even the archangel didn't slander the devil. Therefore it's unfathomable that a mere human would slander a celestial being.

Jude ends by telling the people to persevere through all these false teachers.

Onward to Revelations!

You know you're crazy when an organization calling themselves a "Christian militia" says "whoa, that's over the line":
An armed Christian organization which had pledged to protect a Florida church as it holds "International Burn a Quran Day" withdrew its support from the event Wednesday, saying it "does not glorify God," according to a posting on its website.
It gets better:
Right Wing Extreme founder Shannon Carson told CNN. "We don't want to be a part of inciting violence and racism anymore."
Is this the twilight zone? Is it possible that they could have empathy for Muslims?

Maybe they just realized that "International Burn a Quran Day" is the dumbest idea ever. What is this event accomplishing? First of all, how about reading the Quran instead of burning it. I'd venture to say the vast majority of Christians (including the ones who plan on burning Qurans) have never read a word out of the Quran. Shouldn't you at least fix your ignorance before you show the world your idiocy?

Second, I can't even begin to imagine the repercussions if someone created "International Burn a Bible Day". More than just insulting the religion, it seems like a militant act.

In the end it's only going to piss people off. I'm not saying we should be stepping on eggshells so that we don't upset the Islamic world. But blatant provocation is probably a bad idea too.

(via CNN)


  1. 2 & 3 John

    These 2 letters were written by the same person (The Elder) as 1 John, although there's no indication that his name was John, let alone that he was one of Jesus' disciples.

    These 2 letters (actual letters this time) were written to 2 people in churches that he leads: 3 John to Gaius and 2 John to Kuria (the name "Kuria" means "lady," but it is a real, proper name, so there's no reason to translate it as "lady"). The topic is again the doectists and gnostics in their churches, who apparently are even ex-communicating orthodox Xians now.

    It is unclear whether these 2 letters were written before or after 1 John. The Elder indicates that he already wrote to "the church" in 3 John, which may be the basis for thinking 1 John was first, but it doesn't seem that the letter he sent could've been the first epistle, as in 2 & 3 John he is still investigating this problem and informing others, seemingly for the first time, about what he's learned, whereas in 1 John he's already telling the members of his church his decision. When he says that we wants to write more but would prefer to say more in person, perhaps he changed his mind and decided to write (1 John) after all.

    2 John

    This letter to Kuriai and her children just warns them about the same kind of people in 1 John, namely, those who do not think of Jesus Christ as "coming in the flesh."

    2 John 1. Here you see him call himself "The Elder." Also, the word "lady" in the verse should read "Kuria."

    2 John 4-6. The Elder says the same sort of thing as in 1 John about him having a "new" command that is not new. Again, he attributes the command to God, not Jesus.

    2 John 7. The "antichrists" are either docetists or gnostics who believe in only a Christ existing in the spiritual realm. Note that they do not acknowledge Jesus "coming" (present tense) not that he has come.

    3 John

    This letter to Gaius concerns some brothers from The Elder's church whom Gaius welcomed recently, even though they had been rejected from a church run by Diotrephes (which may be the same as the church Gaius attends, but if so, then he hasn't been there recently). Diotrephes apparently has cut off all association with the brothers from The Elder's church. This may be because Diotrephes has different beliefs, such as those The Elder argues against in 1 John, but it is not certain from 3 John. Demetrius might be the person who delivers the letter to Gaius, but that is just conjecture.

    3 John 12. How does "the truth" speak about someone? Is he referring to Paul Pierce?

  2. Jude

    The epistle of Jude was purportedly written by someone named Judas who is the brother of James. He doesn't further identify who either of them are, so they could be any random pair of brothers, considering that Judas and James were 2 of the most common Jewish names at that time. But most likely the name was chosen to suggest Jude, the brother of James, who was the brother of Jesus, making Jude the brother of Jesus as well, since the whole point of writing as if one is a famous person from the past is to use that person's fame to win acceptance for your ideas. Certainly it was under the assumption that this was written by a brother of Jesus that it included in the canon, even though some Xians, such as Eusebius, had doubts. But modern scholars are in almost agreement that this wasn't written by a brother of Jesus, considering that it contains no personal information about him or even mentions that the author is his brother, it reflects disagreements that are known to have occurred much later than the time of the first apostles, and it looks back on that earlier apostolic period as from somewhat of a distance. OTOH, as I said about James, it is very odd that anyone would pretend to be the brother of Jesus named Jude but not allude to this in any way, if the early apostle Jude really was known to be his blood brother.

  3. I'm almost excited -- oh, the fun you will have with Revelations!

    "Shouldn't you at least fix your ignorance before you show the world your idiocy?"
    - It may be amazingly slow-going, but the world is taking your advice. I love how the quote ends: "We don't want to be a part of inciting violence and racism anymore."


    There is hope yet. Change is happening, and we have to celebrate it. It's just going to take a lot of patience.

    As far as Burn a Bible Day goes-- well, that has happened, and it was organized by Christians too. []



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