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Introduction to 2 John


Summary of the Book of 2 John

This summary of the book of 2 John provides information about the title, author(s), date of writing, chronology, theme, theology, outline, a brief overview, and the chapters of the Book of 2 John.


The author is John the apostle. Obvious similarities to 1 John and the Gospel of John suggest that the same person wrote all three books. Compare the following:

See Introductions to 1 John and the Gospel of John: Author.


The letter was probably written about the same time as 1 John (a.d. 85-95), as the above comparisons suggest (see Introduction to 1 John: Date).

Occasion and Purpose

During the first two centuries the gospel was taken from place to place by traveling evangelists and teachers. Believers customarily took these missionaries into their homes and gave them provisions for their journey when they left. Since Gnostic teachers also relied on this practice (see note on 3Jn 1-5), 2 John was written to urge discernment in supporting traveling teachers; otherwise, someone might unintentionally contribute to the propagation of heresy rather than truth.


I.           Greetings (1-3)

  1. Commendation (4)
  2. Exhortation and Warning (5-11)
  3. Conclusion and Final Greetings (12-13)

──New International Version


Introduction to 2 John

This epistle is like an abridgement of the first; it touches, in few words, on the same points. The Lady Electa is commended for her virtuous and religious education of her children; is exhorted to abide in the doctrine of Christ, to persevere in the truth, and carefully to avoid the delusions of false teachers. But chiefly the apostle beseeches her to practise the great commandment of Christian love and charity.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 2 John

2 John General Review
1. In the First Century A.D., the early church enjoyed remarkable 
   growth and spread throughout the world at that time - cf. Ac 8:5; 
   Ro 10:14-18; Co 1:5-6,23
2. What accounted for this spread of the gospel?  There were likely 
   several factors, but one was certainly the "hospitality" of the 
   early Christians...
   a. Paul was able to travel and depend upon Christians opening their
      homes to him - cf. Philemon 22
   b. He encouraged Christians to support those who were teachers of 
      good things - Ga 6:6
   c. John commended and encouraged those who provided lodging and 
      support for traveling missionaries - 3 Jn 5-8
3. But showing such "hospitality" was not without its potential for 
   supporting the spread of false teachers and their doctrines...
   a. It would be easy for teachers of error to take advantage of the
      Christians' natural propensity to be hospitable to strangers
   b. Thus it was necessary to counsel Christians to use proper 
      discernment in sending traveling teachers on their way
4. The Second Epistle of John, consisting of just one chapter,
   addresses this very problem
   a. Written to "the elect lady and her children" (see comments on 
      recipients below)
   b. In which warning is given against showing hospitality to certain
      teachers - cf. 2 Jn 10-11
[In this study, the first of three lessons on Second John, we shall 
consider some background information of the epistle and then John's 
salutation as found in verses 1-3...]
      1. Believed by most conservative scholars to be the apostle John
      2. The INTERNAL evidence...
         a. The three epistles of John utilize much the same language 
            and ideas
         b. All bear similarity to concepts and language to the Gospel
            of John
         c. The term "elder" would be a fitting description of John as
            the author, writing in his old age
      3. The EXTERNAL evidence...
         a. Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp (who in turn was an 
            associate of John), quotes from it and mentions the apostle
            John by name
         b. Both Clement of Alexandria and Dionysius, living in the 
            third century A.D., credit John with being the author
      1. Taken literally, the epistle is written to a particular woman
         and her children
         a. Many scholars understand this to be the case; e.g., 
            Plummer, Ross, Ryrie
         b. Some have even supposed the Greek words for "elect lady" 
            may refer to given names:
            1) Electa the Lady
            2) The chosen Kyria
            3) Electa Kyria
      2. Taken figuratively, it could refer to a local church
         a. Scholars who hold to this view include Brooke, Bruce, 
            Marshall, Stott, Westcott
         b. They understand that "elect lady and her children" (1) and
            "children of your elect sister" (13) refer to particular 
      3. Desiring to allow the most obvious meaning of Scripture to be
         the most correct meaning, I am willing to accept the literal
      1. Ephesus is usually suggested as the location from which John 
         wrote this epistle, as he was known to live there in the later
         years of his life
      2. Estimation of the date of writing varies widely, some placing
         it before the destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.), most however
         placing it around 90-95 A.D.
      1. To encourage brotherly love, and keeping the commandments of
         God - 2 Jn 5-6
      2. To warn against supporting or encouraging false teachers - 
         2 Jn 10-11
      1. Greetings (1-3)
      2. Exhortation to walk in truth and love (4-6)
      3. Warning not to receive false teachers (7-11)
      4. Concluding remarks (12-13)
[With this brief background to the epistle, let's take a closer look 


--《Executable Outlines