In 2 John, John puts a similar focus on truth as he does in the first letter. This letter was written between 85-95 A.D. This is a very quick but important letter from John. It is best to decide upon whom John is addressing. John speaks of “the elect lady and her children.” This could mean a local church and its congregation, or it could mean an unknown widowed woman. Nevertheless, John places a warning on the “elect lady” about giving hospitality and support to traveling ministers (missionaries) who have departed from the apostolic truth and have migrated toward false teachings.
John once again warns against false teaching as he did in 1 John. We learn also in this letter that truth and love are inseparable. We should walk in truth, not just admire it. We should also love one another, a genuine love. Therefore, John starts the letter with his greeting before talking about walking in truth, and that we had a commandment from the beginning to love one another. The love we have, we should walk in it.
Next, John talks about the deceivers who have entered the world who do not confess Jesus as Christ. These deceivers are an antichrist. John warns next that those who transgress and abide not in the doctrine of Christ do not have God. However, those that do abide in His doctrine do have both the Father and the Son. The warning right after that is if these deceivers come to your house with this kind of (false) doctrine, do not receive him or help him out. That is how this second letter ended.
False teaching is a major problem in the body of Christ today, because people are focused on their own will, instead of humbling to God’s Will. John points out that even in his day, false teaching is prevalent. He also speaks to keep an eye out for those that practice unrighteousness and do not hold true to the apostolic truth. This can be reflected to a contemporary principle of watching out for false teachers (and prophets), especially in the last days before the Lord’s coming.
John seemed to have some kind of apostolic love toward the “elect lady,” as he spoke that he loved in truth. John seemed to end the letter early, because he expected to see the “elect lady” soon. So, John’s letter, in a quick summary, went like this: He encourages the people to persevere in love and belief in God, to have nothing to do with false teachers – not even to support or give them hospitality, and then a hope to see them soon.
It also seems that John has a strong will against those who deny Christ, as in verse 9, we also see this in 1 John 2:23. This is to be expected by someone who loves Christ so much. John was a very faithful disciple, so seeing his love manifest into feelings of discontentment against those who do evil, speak falsely, and deny Christ. John is a good example of a disciple who was well trained in the beautiful teachings of Jesus Christ. John teaches this audience these things, because he is setting the example that the Lord crafted in him to make other people more like disciples of Jesus.
Lessons & other notes from John
This epistle is unique, because it is the only book in the New Testament that is addressed to a lady. Some believe the elect lady is a title for a woman in the higher social realm or official/dignitary – or married to such. Many traditions teach that the person addressed is Martha of Bethany. Others believe that it is the Church he is referring to, but nonetheless, there are many beliefs on who it might be.
Trinity: As for the personage of the Trinity, it seems that each member of the Godhead has a particular personality. The Father is the creator and Law Giver, Jesus the Son of God is the Savior, Baptizer, Healer, and Soon Coming King, and the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth, the Convictor, the Comforter, and the Illuminator. However, each possesses all these things.
They are always working together no matter what, for Jesus was Baptized by John, a Spirit like a dove descended upon Him – and then a voice came from Heaven (from God) that said “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus, as we see in John 17, wants the same unity for the believers that exists between the Father and the Son, so that through them, others would believe as well. He hopes that they share in the love that the Father has for the Son. He desires that they give themselves to God for the task of spreading the Gospel. Overall, He is telling them to have unity just as the Father and the Son have unity.
Being unified: Being in unity in the Body of Christ is highly important, and it tells us to love one another, walk in truth, and follow His commands – for He is looking after us and hopes that we keep our joy and peace. Practicing love and unity on a normal basis is the key to living more successfully with others.
What he appears to mention the most is that we love one another (we see in 2 John 5, John 13:34, John 15:12, 1 John 2:7, 1 John 3:23, and 1 John 4:21). He speaks of the Great Commandment in many verses, because Jesus had spoken of it, and then John repeats Jesus and keeps reassuring the people that if they love one another, they are doing the Will of the Father.
John is so glad to be united with this lady and her children, and hopes that they continue doing the good work they have done, especially in hospitality – for hospitality is important in the Body of Christ, because this world does not show mercy, so His People must show mercy to give people hope. The hope we have is of the Lord, and He hopes that we all will love each other and be in unity just as the Father is to the Son, because we need to spread around His Message much! False teachers have come, but we need to spread around the actual truth to hopefully blot those false ones out.
John rejoices when his teachings have done well to success, and is thankful that the people he is addressing have maintained their loyalty to the Gospel, and hopes for them to continue. We must look to ourselves and know what we have and have not done – make the change – and then we will receive a full reward, as he encourages. Truth and love are inseparable from the Gospel, and we are saved by this Gospel.
What he wishes most though is the love that we must share and in unity. He is glad that so many are united in love, and he is trying to be tolerant of the false teachers and false teachings of the day – so he gives us warnings and hopes that we will understand how to identify those who are false. We can also look back at the other tips, which are helpful to identify false teachers and doctrines. He loves those whom he teaches, and hopes that they will always be united!