There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what does the epistle of 2 & 3 John say about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.
What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the epistle of 2 & 3 John? We find that there is precious little reference to the Spirit of God in Titus! But here’s the one reference that we do have —
2 John —
Again we have a greeting from the Father and the Son (with the Spirit being omitted) (1:3). I refer to these omissions of the Spirit as “binitarian” texts, i.e., the Spirit is omitted. Why? Perhaps to emphasize His behind-the-scenes work?
We have a similar binitarian reference in verse 9 where we read, “anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”
3 John —
In the one chapter third letter of John we have no overt references to the Spirit of God. There is a fascinating statement in verse 11 – “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.” Has anyone “seen” God? Certainly John means this metaphorically.
The Challenge today: Show others that you have “seen” God by not doing evil and by doing good!