Book of 2 John
Author: The Book of 2 John does not directly name its author. The tradition from the earliest days of the church states that the author was the apostle John. There have been various conjectures over the years that another disciple of Christ named John may have been responsible for this letter. However, all the evidence points to the author as John the beloved disciple who also wrote the Gospel of John.
Date of Writing: The Book of 2 John would most likely have been written at about the same time as John's other letters, 1 and 3 John, between A.D. 85-95.
Purpose of Writing: The Book of 2 John is an urgent plea that the readers of John's letter should show their love for God and His son Jesus by obeying the commandment to love each other and live their lives in obedience to the Scriptures. The Book of 2 John is also a strong warning to be on the lookout for deceivers who were going about saying that Christ had not actually risen in the flesh.
Key Verses: 2 John 6: "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 8-9: "Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son."
Brief Summary: The Book of 2 John is addressed to "the chosen lady and her children." This could either have been a lady of important standing in the church or a code which refers to the local church and its congregation. In those days when Christians were being persecuted such coded salutations were often used.
The Book of 2 John is largely concerned with an urgent warning concerning deceivers who were not teaching the exact doctrine of Christ and who maintained that Jesus did not actually rise in the flesh but only spiritually. John is very anxious that true believers should be aware of these false teachers and have nothing to do with them.
Connections: John describes love not as an emotion or feeling, but as obedience to the commandments of God. Jesus reiterated the importance of the commandments, especially the “first and greatest commandment,” love for God (Deuteronomy 6:5), and the second, love for one another (Matthew 22:37-40; Leviticus 19:18). Far from abolishing the Old Testament law of God, Jesus came to fulfill it by providing the means of its fulfillment in Himself.
Practical Application: It is extremely important that we check everything we see, hear, and read that claims to be “Christian” with the Scriptures. This cannot be too strongly emphasized because one of Satan’s greatest weapons is deceit. It is very easy to be taken in by a new and exciting doctrine that appears to be based on Scripture but which, if examined closely, is in fact a departure from the Word of God. If what appears to be happening does not line up explicitly with Scripture, then this is false and not of the Spirit, and we should have nothing to do with it.
Recommended Resource: 1 & 2 Peter through Jude: Holman New Testament Commentary by David Walls.
The Letters of John, NIV Application Commentary by Gary Burge.
The Epistles of John, New International Commentary on the New Testament by I. Howard Marshall