2 John 1:11
For he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.For he that biddeth him God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds - Shows that he countenances and approves of the doctrine which is taught. Compare the notes at 1 Timothy 5:22. 11. By wishing a false brother or teacher "God (or 'good') speed," you imply that he is capable as such of good speed and joy (the literal meaning of the Greek), and that you wish him it while opposing Christ; so you identify yourself with "his evil deeds." The Greek of "partaker" is "having communion with." We cannot have communion with saints and with Antichrist at the same time. Here we see John's naturally fiery zeal directed to a right end. Polycarp, the disciple of John, told contemporaries of Irenæus, who narrates the story on their authority, that on one occasion when John was about to bathe, and heard that Cerinthus, the heretic, was within, he retired with abhorrence, exclaiming, Surely the house will fall in ruins since the enemy of the truth is there. See Poole on "2Jo 1:10" For he that biddeth him God speed,.... Wishes him well, and success in his ministry, or in a friendly and familiar way converses with him:

is partaker of his evil deeds; he has fellowship with him, instead of reproving or shunning him, as he ought; he is an abettor of him in his principles, and so far joins in the propagation of them, and helps to spread them, and gives too much reason to think he is one with him in them.

For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 John 1:11. Confirmation of the preceding prohibition.

ὁ λέγων γὰρ αὐτῷ χαίρειν] The apostle mentions only this one thing, because what he says about it is self-evident in regard to the rest also.

κοινωνεῖ τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ τοῖς πονηροῖς] i.e. inasmuch as the χαίρειν λέγειν is not merely an outward display of politeness, but an expression of an intimate relation of fellowship.

By τὰ ἔργα τὰ πονηρά we are to understand, of course, the false doctrine, but, at the same time, along with this the whole evil character of the false teachers, which was very closely connected with their doctrine.[14]

[14] De Wette’s remark, justly rejected by Brückner, is utterly erroneous: “This prohibition finds its justification in polemic zeal, and the necessity for defence against what seemed fatal to the maintenance of the Church. We, with the sure foundation of the Christian Church, and in accordance with the higher view, then perhaps impossible, that man even in his errors still remains man, and an object of esteem and love, see in it impatience.”—Difficult though it may be under present circumstances, considering the development which doctrine has taken, in many particular cases rightly to apply what is here said by John, yet it must still be regarded as a valid maxim, not only that the Christian should remain conscious of the antithesis between anti-Christianity and Christianity, but also that he should not deny this consciousness in his conduct towards his neighbour.—Besser unjustifiably seeks to make use of the expression of the apostle as a weapon against union.2 John 1:11. κοινωνεῖ, cf. 1 John 1:3. An unholy κοινωνία. τοῖς ἔργ. αὐτ. τοῖς πον., cf. 1 John 1:2 : τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον. The adjective is an emphatic afterthought.

This counsel recalls the story of St. John’s behaviour to Cerinthus (see Introd. p. 157), and it was cited by Irenæus (i. ix. 3) as inculcating intolerance of heretics. If so, it is certainly an unChristian counsel, contrary to the spirit and teaching of our Lord (cf. Mark 9:38-39; Luke 9:51-56; Matthew 13:28-29). Heretics are our fellow-creatures; Jesus died for them also, and our office is to win them. If we close our doors and our hearts against them, we lose our opportunity of winning them and harden them in their opposition. There are two thoughts which may well teach us forbearance and humility: (1) The patience of the Lord. A Jewish fable tells how Abraham thrust an aged wayfarer from his tent because he asked no blessing on his food and avowed himself a fire-worshipper. And the Lord said: “I have suffered him these hundred years, although he dishonoured Me; and couldst not thou endure him for one night?” (2) The mystery of the things of God and the blindness of our intellects. “Illi,” says St. Augustine (Contra Epistolam Manichcæi, 2), “in vos sæviant, qui neseiunt cum quo labore verum inveniatur, et quam difficile caveantur errores”. This counsel of the Apostle must be read in the light of local circumstances. There was need of caution and discrimination in receiving the itinerant “apostles and prophets” who went from church to church, lest they should prove “false apostles” (ψευδαπόστολοι) and “false prophets” (ψευδοπροφῆται). See Didache, xi.–xii., where the test is given: οὐ πᾶς ὁ λαλῶν ἐν πνεύματι προφήτης ἐστίν, ἀλλʼ ἐὰν ἔχῃ τοὺς τπρόπους Κυρίου. It is not until the second century that there is any appearance of buildings set apart for worship. The primitive ἐκκλησίαι met in private houses (cf. Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2); and when St. John warns Kyria against “receiving into her house” a heretical teacher, it is not showing him hospitality that he forbids, but affording him an opportunity to unsettle the faith of the brethren. She must neither let him pervert “the church in her house” nor send him on his way to a neighbouring church with the recommendation of her confidence and goodwill. This is expressed, though somewhat vaguely, by Clem. Alex.: “Hoc in hujusmodi non est inhumanum, sed nec conquirere vel condisputare cum talibus admonet qui non valent intelligibiliter divina tractare, ne per eos traducantur a doctrina veritatis, verisimilibus inducti rationibus. Arbitror autem, quia et orare cum talibus non oportet, quoniam in oratione quæ fit in domo, postquam ab orando surgitur, salutatio gaudii est et pacis indicium.”11. For he that biddeth him God speed] Much more, therefore, he that by receiving him into his house affords a home and head-quarters for false teaching.

is partaker of his evil deeds] More accurately, as R. V., partaketh in his evil works: literally, with much emphasis on ‘evil’, partaketh in his works, his evil (works). The word for ‘partake’ (κοινωνεῖν) occurs nowhere else in S. John, but is cognate with the word for ‘fellowship’ (κοινωνία), 1 John 1:3; 1 John 1:6-7. The word for ‘evil’ (πονηρός) is the same as that used of ‘the evil one’, 1 John 2:13-14; 1 John 3:12; 1 John 5:18-19. What is involved, therefore, in having fellowship with such men is obvious. At a Council of Carthage (a.d. 256), when Cyprian uttered his famous invective against Stephen, Bishop of Rome,—Aurelius, Bishop of Chullabi, quoted this passage with the introductory remark, “John the Apostle laid it down in his Epistle”: and Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria (c. a.d. 315), quotes the passage as an injunction of “the blessed John” (Socrates H.E. I. vi.). The change from ‘deeds’ to ‘works’ may seem frivolous and vexatious, but it is not unimportant. ‘Works’ is a wider word and better represents ἔργα: words no less than deeds are included, and here it is specially the words of these deceivers that is meant. Moreover in 1 John 3:12 the same word is rendered ‘works’ of the ‘evil works’ of Cain. See on John 5:20; John 6:27; John 6:29. Wiclif and the Rhemish have ‘works’ here.

At the end of this verse some Latin versions insert, ‘Lo I have told you beforehand, that ye be not confounded (or, condemned) in the day of the Lord (or, of our Lord Jesus Christ)’. Wiclif admits the insertion, but the Rhemish does not: Cranmer puts it in italics and in brackets. It has no authority.2 John 1:11. Γὰρ, for) Severity in love.—κοινωνεῖ, he partakes) For he declares him to be capable of joy and salvation, even in that antichristian state. [The bearings and relations of purer doctrine are of the nicest kind.—V. g.]—ἔργοις) his works: opposed to faith and love.—τοῖς πονηροῖς, evil) On the contrary, the partaking in good works brings a blessing.Verse 11. - To give countenance and sanction to false doctrine is to share in the responsibility for all the harm which such false doctrine does. With which solemn warning the main portion of the Epistle ends. Is partaker (κοινωνεῖ)

The verb occurs nowhere else in John's writings. The kindred noun κοινωνία fellowship, is peculiar to the First Epistle. See on 1 John 1:3; also on partners (Luke 5:10); fellowship (Acts 2:42); partaker (1 Peter 5:1).

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