|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:7-11 The deceiver and his deceit are described: he brings some error concerning the person or office of the Lord Jesus. Such a one is a deceiver and an antichrist; he deludes souls, and undermines the glory and kingdom of the Lord Christ. Let us not think it strange, that there are deceivers and opposers of the Lord Christ's name and dignity now, for there were such, even in the apostles' times. The more deceivers and deceits abound, the more watchful the disciples must be. Sad it is, that splendid attainments in the school of Christ, should ever be lost. The way to gain the full reward is, to abide true to Christ, and constant in religion to the end. Firm cleaving to Christian truth unites us to Christ, and thereby to the Father also; for they are one. Let us equally disregard such as abide not in the doctrine of Christ, and those who transgress his commands. Any who did not profess and preach the doctrine of Christ, respecting him as the Son of God, and salvation by him from guilt and sin, were not to be noticed and countenanced. Yet in obeying this command, we must show kindness and a good spirit to those who differ from us in lesser matters, but hold firmly the all-important doctrines of Christ's person, atonement, and holy salvation.
Verse 10. - If any one cometh unto you. As in 1 John 5:9, the Greek construction (indicative with εἰ, not conjunctive with ἐάν shows that the case is stated as a fact, and not as a mere supposition. "If people of this kind come - and it is well known that they do - do not receive them or give them a welcome." It is of the utmost importance to remember that St. John is here giving a rule for a special case, not laying down a general principle. His words give no sanction to the view that no hospitality is to be shown to heretics, still less to the monstrous mediaeval doctrine that no faith need be kept with them. The apostle is giving directions to a particular Christian household during a particular crisis in the history of the Christian faith. It by no means follows that he would have given the same directions to every household during that crisis, or to any household under totally different circumstances. We may well believe that he would not have followed them himself, but would have endeavoured "to convince the gainsayers." His charity towards them would not have been misunderstood, and his faith would not have been in danger of being subverted. It was otherwise with her and her children, as experience had proved. And before we take this verse as a rule for our own guidance, we must consider the difference, which may well constitute an essential difference, between a time in which those who confessed Jesus Christ coming in the flesh were a despised and persecuted handful, and one in which some courage is required to avow that one denies him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
If there come any unto you,.... Under the character of a preacher;
and bring not this doctrine; or does not preach the doctrine of Christ, as before explained, but despises it, and preaches a contrary one:
receive him not into your house; neither into the house of God, suffer him not to preach there; nor into your own house, give him no entertainment there: false teachers always tried to creep into houses, where they served their own turn every way, both by feeding their bellies, and spreading their pernicious doctrines; and therefore such should: be avoided, both publicly and privately; their ministry should not be attended on in the church, or house of God; and they should not be entertained in private houses, and much less caressed:
neither bid him God speed; or give him the usual civil form of salutation, as a good day to you, all hail, all health and prosperity attend you, the Lord be with you, and the like. The word used by the Jews was which signifies "happiness"; so it is said (i), what do they salute with? "God speed"; which was forbidden to say to one that was ploughing in the seventh year. The meaning is, that with such no familiar conversation should be had, lest any encouragement should be given them; or it should induce a suspicion in the minds of other saints, that they are in the same sentiments; or it should tend to make others think favourably of them, and be a snare and a stumblingblock to weak Christians.
(i) T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 35. 2. Vid. Taanith. fol. 64. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. If there come any—as a teacher or brother. The Greek is indicative, not subjunctive; implying that such persons do actually come, and are sure to come; when any comes, as there will. True love is combined with hearty renunciation and separation from all that is false, whether persons or doctrines.
receive him not … neither bid him God speed—This is not said of those who were always aliens from the Church, but of those who wish to be esteemed brethren, and subvert the true doctrine [Grotius]. The greeting salutation forbidden in the case of such a one is that usual among Christian brethren in those days, not a mere formality, but a token of Christian brotherhood.
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