ESV 3 John 1:13-14 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
ESV 2 John 1:12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
Communication is the basic building block of meaningful relationships. As we strive to be Christ-centered and people of the Word in all things, it is important to develop a theology of communication from Scripture. Without thinking through how to communicate in a God honoring way, we can destroy relationships, damage our reputation, and dishonor God. Fortunately, the Bible gives us principles to help form healthy relationships with our neighbors.
In 3 John 1:13-14 (and 2 John 1:12), the apostle John has to choose between two forms of communication. This passage is not a command, but gives us an example of using various communication methods. We often discover godliness in certain situations by observing examples of mature Christians. In this passage, we can observe three choices every person has to make in personal communication:
- Public or private communication
- Instant or delayed communication
- Incomplete (textual) or complete (face-to-face) communication
God exemplifies complete communication with us, sending His son to dwell among us. Further He has left His Spirit to dwell in us and has given us direct access to Him through prayer. God speaks to us today through textual communication, but desires to have more than a text based relationship with us. God promises complete communication in heaven: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12).