An Introduction to the Bible: 2 John

2 John tells us to love one another

What is in 2 John?
2 John is the 63rd book in the Bible and the 24th book in the New Testament. It is only 13 verses long (8 for the actual body of the letter).

John urges the recipients to love one another, fulfilling a commandment that existed from the beginning. Love involves walking in Jesus’s commandments. Some do not confess that Jesus will someday come back in the flesh, and they are deceivers. The recipients are to guard themselves against these falsehoods, abiding in God’s teachings.

Who wrote it?
2 John is identified as being written by someone named John, and there is support for the view that this was indeed the apostle John who wrote the Gospel of John.

Who was it written to?
The audience of this letter is quite local: it is addressed to ‘the elect lady and her children’. Many of the ‘you’s are plural, though, so there may be an entire congregation in mind.

When was it written?
1 John, 2 John, and 3 John were most likely written towards the end of the 1st century A.D. 1 John is mentioned in a few early church writings from the early 2nd century. Near the end of his life, John was reportedly ministering near Ephesus, perhaps when he wrote these letters.

Why was it written?
2 John was written to remind a particular congregation of the commandment to love and stay true to God’s word.

How does 2 John apply to me?
The message of love is integral to 2 John. Love, however, also involves keeping to God’s commandments and not deceiving others. As put forth in Philippians 1:27, the church should be of one mind. Those who insist on false teachings should not be allowed to present them in the church as if they were true.

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Recommended resources:

As for all posts in this series, a book introduction in a good study Bible will provide more information than listed here. The ESV Study Bible is one recommendation.
The Bible Project video on 2 John (covers 1, 2, and 3 John)

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Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA. Copyright 1984. Released under new license, CC-BY-SA 3.0

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