The Second Epistle of John


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This epistle is very similar to the third epistle of John. They were personal short letters to

friends, which were preserved for the church.

Undoubtedly written on the standard papyrus sheet of that day, each of them would have been

one page in length. Both of these short letters were written about the same time and almost

certainly were written in Ephesus.

The purpose of this second epistle was to worn against heresy and having fellowship with false

teachers. At this particular time in the history of the church, there were many itinerant

preachers. These men traveled from church to church living at the expense of the local

congregations. Many times they were false teachers who sought to undermine the foundation

doctrines. It was against these false teachers that John warned.


The author of this epistle called himself “the elder.” Certainly he was none other than the

Apostle John who wrote the gospel, the epistles of John and the book of Revelation.

Elders were church officials who were ordained to minister within a local congregation. The

term is not used with this meaning here. The word does not refer to an official but rather to the

meaning of the term in the natural sense. The word “elder” here could be translated “the

ancient” or “the aged.” It is from his position of age and experience that John wrote this epistle.

Here we have John, an aged saint, one of the last of the first century Christians. He was one of

the last disciples of Christ in the flesh and therein lay his authority to speak.


John addressed this letter to the “elect lady and her children.”

Bible scholars have never been able to settle regarding the identity of this elect lady. There are

two interpretations, either one of which may be correct. Both of these are given here although

the writer believes that the second one is probably correct.


It is concluded that the elect lady is a church for she is loved by all that have known the

truth. This would hardly be true if she were an individual. Also she is addressed in this

epistle in the plural.

If she is a church, then her children would be the Christians who worship in the local


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