2 John: “Information”

I’m not sure if you know this or not, but 1, 2, and 3 John are the least read books of the entire bible! Here’s the thing; there in the book for a reason, so rather than do what everyone else does with these books, let’s take a deeper dive into what exactly is going on in these letters.

Orienting Data for 2 John

Content: “the elder” warns against false teachers who deny the incarnation of Christ

Author: The author of 1, 2, and 3 John, is John the son of Zebedee. John was an apostle, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, and the author of the Gospel of John and Revelation. John was one of three disciples in Jesus’ inner circle, and was called the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13: 23). In 2 and 3 John, he calls himself “the elder” (2 John 1: 1; 3 John 1). Although some scholars think the name refers to a different John, the title of “elder” was common in the early church, even for the apostles (see 1 Peter 5: 1 “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder”).

Date: Most scholars agree that 1, 2, and 3 John were written at the same time as the Gospel of John, from AD 85 to 95. The late date is based on evidence from early church witnesses (Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria), and the early stage of the Gnostic heresy.

Recipients: the “lady chosen by God”

The following information is from the book “Bible Overview” by Rose Publishing. 

Overview of 2 John

2 John: Since false teachers were corrupting the gospel, John warned believers to use discernment when welcoming teachers into their homes. John also encouraged believers to seek love, hospitality, unity, and recognize the truth that Jesus came “in the flesh” (1: 7).

The following information is from the book “How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth” by Fee and Stuart.

Specific Advice for Reading 2 John

Second and 3 John are both the size of ordinary letters in the Greco-Roman world, written on a single sheet of papyrus. Note how both letters close with a notice about John’s wanting to talk with the recipients “face to face” (which probably indicates that he was running out of space on his piece of paper).

Given its brevity, you should especially note significant repeated words, both where they occur and how often. In fact, you may wish to do this for yourself before you read further, using different colored pens for the different words.

Did you note in verses 1–6 the repetition of truth (5x), its companion walk (3x), the associated word love (5x), and love’s companion command (ment) (4x)? In verses 7–11, “the truth” is now the teaching (3x), which has to do with “Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” and thus with his being the true Son of the Father. Several words refer to those who reject this teaching:deceivers (2x), antichrist, anyone, them, etc. This exercise pretty well tells the story about this letter.