Dec. 24. John’s Second Letter Warns Against False Teachers

II Jn. 1-13

Most scholars agree that even though not identified by name, the author of this letter is the apostle John. It was probably written about A. D. 90 from Ephesus to further warn of the false teachers of that time and to give instructions for dealing with them. The location of the recipient is not known.

The writer identified himself as the elder probably in reference to his old age.

Some scholars suggest that the elect lady was a Christian woman to whom John was writing to encourage. Others indicate that the term “elect lady” was a figurative description of the church, the bride of Christ. The application to Christians today is the same whether written to a woman and her children or to a congregation of the church and its children (Christians).

John expressed his love for the lady and her children. It was not a worldly love, but a Christian love that Christians have for one another even though they may have never met. This love is present because of their mutual love of the truth.

Some of this lady’s children had been seen by John and he was happy to see them continuing to walk in the truth as commanded by God. He urged her to continue in love for one another as had been commanded from the beginning. This love is shown by obedience to God’s commandments. Christians are expected to remain faithful to the truth whether at home or traveling.

After having warmly greeted the elect lady, John proceeded to issue a warning to her regarding rejection of those who denied the fleshly existence of Christ. He pointed out the tragedy of a Christian losing his reward for which he had worked so hard by turning his back on Christ. One may conclude that excessive attention was given to false teaching. It was necessary because to deny that Christ lived in the flesh completely refutes God’s plan to save man from his sins.

John further warned that receiving any doctrine that went beyond the teachings of Christ would cause one to lose his relationship with God—a bond that exists with both God and Christ; either all or none. He pointed out that giving hospitality to such a teacher or wishing him well (Godspeed) would indicate acceptance of his doctrine. One may minister to his humanitarian needs as long as error is neither taught nor encouraged.

This brief message contained only a portion of the things that John wanted to convey. He desired and had plans to continue his thoughts in person at a later date.