The author identifies himself simply as “the elder,” but the style and teachings of this epistle link it (and the third epistle) closely to John’s first epistle (see Introduction to 1 John). An apostle could refer to himself as an elder, for Peter did so (1 Peter 5:1). Irenaeus (d. AD 202) quotes 2 John and ascribes it to John, the disciple of the Lord. Thus we may conclude that it was written by the apostle John.
Uncertain. This epistle appears to address the same crisis as 1 John (v. 7; 1 John 2:18-27) and thus may have been written around the same time, perhaps AD 85-95.
The importance of love and truth for the church of the elect.
To lovingly exhort a church and its members to watch that they continue in love and the truth of Christ though false teachers have appeared.
The Contribution of 2 John to Redemptive Revelation
John’s second letter addresses “the elect lady and her children,” which, given that Israel (Isa. 52:2), the church (Rev. 21:9), and ancient cities (Isa. 47:1) were often addressed as women, likely refers to a church and its members. He shows them that the Christian life consists of both truth and love (2 John 3). God’s truth commands us to love one another (2 John 5), and enters the soul to produce that love (2 John 1). Love makes Christian leaders rejoice to hear that people are faithfully living in submission to the truth (2 John 4). Love especially moves Christians to rejoice in being together with other faithful people (2 John 12). Yet, John warns, love does not encourage us to welcome every teacher, but to remain faithful to the ancient truth revealed by God (2 John 6). Churches must discern those who fundamentally reject God’s truth about Christ (2 John 7), staying alert for they threaten their eternal well-being (2 John 8). Teachers who do not receive the truth of Christ are outsiders to God and His church, and should receive no welcome or encouragement from the people of God (2 John 10-11).
- Greetings in Truth and Love (2 John 1-3)
- Commendation for Walking in Love (2 John 4-6)
- Warning against False Teachers (2 John 7-11)
- Conclusion and Greetings (2 John 12-13)
Extracted from: Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible Notes(Beeke, Joel R. 2015. Reformation Heritage Books).
See Today’s Bible Reading and Bible Study challenges below, which include the Book of Psalms and build on this overview with a chapter-by-chapter Bible reading plan and Bible study insights.