Conrad Gempf: 5th Sparrow

November 2002
So simple, it's simple
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Comment on this column THE LETTERS OF JOHN are often used to teach Greek because the Greek is fairly straightforward. The teaching is also fairly basic.

Much of the first letter is filled with advice for how you can tell good from bad, right from wrong. In the sixth verse of the second letter, there's some teaching adapted from Jesus' own that is circular, but lovely in its simplicity.

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love" (2 John 6).

If you love him, you'll keep his commandments. And how do we do that; what is his commandment? That you love him. That's it. It's not complicated. If you love him, then love him.

Augustine had this great sentence that Luther loved too: "Love God and do as you then please." It would be a vastly different sentence without the word "then". Make that love the centre and things flow.

Love God and live that way. That's all he asks.

Dr Conrad Gempf is a lecturer in New Testament at London Bible College. He also writes for and edits the monthly webzine there.

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