Authorship and Background Second John is an intimate note written to an unidentified, godly mother and her children. Some scholars maintain that the “elect lady” is a local church and her “children” are the believers. While the truths contained in the epistle are applicable to a local church, the general style of the letter points to it being written to an individual.
Purpose The Apostle John wrote to warn “the elect lady” against false teachers. If she entertained such instructors into her home, she would be identifying herself with their heresies.
Outline I. INTRODUCTION (II John 1-4) II. EXHORTATION (II John 5-11) Ill. CONCLUSION (II John 12-13)
I. IntroductionII John 1-4 From John’s opening remarks and salutation, it is obvious that to him truth was not a mere opinion or a theory about God, however accurate. Truth was God Himself, who had become a man that believers might know Him and be partakers of His life. Truth was the principle of their life and thereby life itself. He rejoiced because he found the elect lady’s children walking in truth.
II. ExhortationII John 5-11 Love and obedience must be combined to fulfill the will of God (5-6). Verse 6 clarifies that true love consists of active and unremitting obedience. John warned against false doctrine (7-9). Obedience motivated by love will keep a Christian from being led astray. “Look to yourselves” commands an alertness of the heart against losing what one has gained. The full reward of verse 8 is nothing less than God Himself.
Verse 9 says that those who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ do not have God. Whoever goes beyond revealed truth, claiming to teach something “deeper” or more profound is going beyond God and thereby losing Him.
Having a false charity for evildoers or promoters of false doctrines is dangerous (10-11). These verses do not suggest that a child of God should be rude or inhospitable to anyone. They do teach, however, that he should not sanction or countenance false doctrine in any manner. To do so is to share in the responsibility for teaching it.
IIl. ConclusionII John 12-13 John planned to see the elect lady and her children in order that he could share his thoughts on other things as well.