Overview of the Book of 2 John


Overview of the Book of 2 John

Author: The author is the Apostle John.


To warn against the false teaching that Christ had not actually come in the flesh and to encourage hospitality toward preachers of the true Gospel.

Date: A.D. 85-95

Key Truths:

  • Love among Christians is a central moral concern for followers of Christ.
  • Denying the full incarnation of Christ leads to the judgment of God.


The style, diction and content of 2 John strongly suggest that the letter was written by the same person who wrote 1 John and the Gospel of John. This author has been traditionally identified as the apostle John, the son of Zebedee, and no more plausible ascription has been proposed. See "Introduction to John: Author."

Time and Place of Writing:

Several parallels between passages in this letter and verses in both 1 John and the Gospel of John (e.g. 2 John 1:7 with 1 John 4:2-3; 2 John 1:5 with John 13:34 and 1 John 2:7) hint that all these works may have been written at approximately the same time: A.D. 85-95.

Original Audience:

John wrote to a Christian woman and her family - either her natural family or the fellowship of believers associated with her.

Purpose and Distinctives:

Second John was written to warn against the same strain of false teaching that 1 John opposed (see "Introduction to 1 John: Purpose and Distinctives"). It was probably written at about the same time, in the last two decades of the first century (c. A.D. 85-95). While it repeats ideas from 1 John, it does not presuppose that its readers had prior knowledge of 1 John or its contents.

Second John has the typical characteristics of a letter: a salutation, introductory greeting and final greeting. Like the early epistles of Paul, it is a letter of encouragement and warning to a specific fellowship for which the author felt pastoral responsibility.

Notes from the NIV Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, Dr. Richard Pratt, ed. (Zondervan, 2003).

Introduction Material:

The Epistles of the New Testament


Copyright, Authors, and Theological Editors of the SORSB

Answer by Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr.

Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr. is Co-Founder and President of Third Millennium Ministries who served as Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary and has authored numerous books.