2 John

Authorship and Audience

The text refers to the sender as "the elder" (vs. 1) and to the recipient as the "chosen lady and her children". Based on the testimony of tradition and the similarities between this letter and 1 John, it is very likely that the author is the Apostle John. There is some debate about the identity of this "chosen lady". Some argue she is likely a reference to the church, others argue she was a literal woman. Both of these views are possible so, until proven otherwise, I choose to hold the most simple, literal view that the lady is referring to a literal woman.

Date and Context

According to tradition, the Apostle John served and died in Ephesus toward the later part of his life. It is likely that this letter was written from Ephesus sometime around 90 AD.


  • Discerning Love Rejects False Teachers. If we are commanded to love one another, does this love manifest itself in the same way toward those who deny that Christ came in the flesh and those who accept the truth of Christ? John's answer is emphatically "No!". The love between believers is different because both parties acknowledge God's commands (see verse 6). A right, loving response to those teaching a false gospel is to not support him/her in any way which would make you participant "in his evil deeds" (11).


0. Introduction [1-3]

I. Love One Another [4-6]

II. Identifying and Relating to False Teachers [7-11]

III. Conclusion [12-13]


  • This is a short book. In verse 12, John mentions that he does not want to write them with "paper and ink" possibly because he was running low on resources and hoped to see them in person soon. He closes 3 John with a similar phrase (3 John 13).
  • This book is reminiscent of 1 John as it contains many of the same phrases in the first six verses.
  • "Truth" is a word that is commonly used throughout this book as well as 3 John. The Apostle John is glad to see believers walking in the truth and responding appropriately to the truth in obedience.
  • Like 3 John, this book emphasizes the importance and significance of service rendered to those who are proclaiming the truth (or a false 'truth'). It is very important who you support financially, in prayer, and in hospitality. You have the choice of being "fellow workers with the truth" (3 John 8) or being one who "participates in his evil deeds" (2 John 11). Discernment is an essential attribute of true, God honoring love.

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