The Second and Third Epistles of John - Lesson 1

                                             2 John                                         Introduction

  1. THE STATISTICS
    1. 1 Chapter, 13 Verses, 298 Words
    2. 63rd Book in the Bible, 24th Book in the New Testament
    3. Other Statistics
      1. Shortest book in the Bible by number of verses with 13
      2. Shortest book in the Bible by letter count with 1,204
      3. Next to shortest book in the Bible by word count with 298
  2. THE HUMAN AUTHOR
    1. Still Unnamed
      1. Never named in the Gospel of John
        1. The disciple who leaned on Jesus’ breast (John 21:20-24)
        2. The disciple whom Jesus loved; often called the beloved disciple
          1. At the Lord’s Supper (John 13:23-26)
          2. At the cross (John 19:26-27)
          3. At the tomb (John 20:1-8)
          4. On the fishing boat (John 21:3-7)
      2. Never named in the Epistles of John
        1. Paul’s epistles all begin with his name except Hebrews.
          1. It is interesting to note that Paul did not begin with his name in his epistle to the Hebrews.
          2. Remember when Moses did not want to go deliver the children of Israel in his own name (Exodus 3:11-14).
        2. James’ epistle begins with his name.
        3. Peter’s epistles begin with his name.
        4. Jude’s epistle begins with his name.
    2. His Life
      1. His name John corresponds to the Old Testament name Jonah and means a dove.
      2. His parents were Zebedee and Salome (Luke 5:10; cp. Matthew 27:56 with Mark 15:40)
      3. He was brother to James (Mark 1:19) who died as a martyr early (Acts 12:1-2).
      4. He was a fisherman (Mark 1:19).
      5. Jesus named James and John “Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17).
      6. He had been a disciple of John the Baptist (Acts 1:22-23).
      7. He was one of the inner circle of three (with James and Peter).
        1. As a witness of the raising of the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:37)
        2. As a witness of the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9)
        3. As an inquirer of the things to come (Mark 13:3-4)
        4. As a witness to the agonies of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-34)
      8. He was considered a pillar of the early church (Galatians 2:9).
    3. Connecting Words and Phrases
      1. Truth
        1. Found 27 times in the Gospel of John
        2. Found 5 times in the Gospel of Luke
        3. Found 3 times in Matthew and Mark
        4. Found 5 times in 2 John (one of which is truth’s)
        5. Found 6 times in 3 John
      2. Commandment
        1. Found 7 times in the Gospel of John
        2. Found 2 times in the Gospel of Luke
        3. Found 5 times in Matthew and Mark
        4. Found 3 times in 2 John
      3. Love
        1. Found 22 times in the Gospel of John
        2. Found 11 times in Matthew
        3. Found 6 times in Mark
        4. Found 12 times in Luke
        5. Found 4 times in 2 John
        6. Found 1 time in 3 John
      4. Love one another
        1. Found 5 times in the Gospel of John
        2. Found 0 times in Matthew, Mark and Luke
        3. Found 1 time in 2 John
      5. Father and Son connected in a single verse
        1. Found 13 times in the Gospel of John
        2. Found 3 times in Matthew
        3. Found 2 times in Mark and Luke
        4. Found 2 times in 2 John
      6. Joy may be full
        1. Found only in John’s writings
        2. Joy might be full is found in John 15:11.
        3. Joy may be full is found in John 16:24; 1 John 1:4; 2 John 1:12.
      7. Connection between 2 John 1:2 and John 14:17
    4. His Writings in the New Testament – compared to other human authors
      1. In number
        1. Paul – 100 chapters (38.5%) –this includes the 13 chapters of Hebrews
        2. Luke – 52 chapters (20.0%) –Luke, Acts
        3. John – 50 chapters (19.2%) –John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation
        4. Matthew – 28 chapters (10.8%)
        5. Mark – 16 chapters (6.2%)
        6. Peter – 8 chapters (3.1%)
        7. James – 5 chapters (1.9%)
        8. Jude – 1 chapter (0.4%)
      2. In classifications
        1. John wrote of the Holy Ghost’s provision for three categories of New Testament writings.
          1. He will “bring all things to your remembrance” (John 14:26).
          2. He will “teach you all things” (John 14:26) and will “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
          3. He will “shew you things to come” (John 16:13).
        2. This corresponds to the three major categories of writing in the New Testament:
          1. Things brought to remembrance are books of History (Matthew through Acts).
          2. The teaching of all things and guidance into all truth are the books called the Epistles (Romans through Jude).
          3. The things to come would refer to the New Testament book of Prophecy (Revelation).
        3. Of the New Testament authors, only John wrote major books in all three categories.
          1. History – the Gospel of John
          2. Teaching – the Epistles of John
          3. Prophecy – the Book of Revelation
  3. THE TIME OF AUTHORSHIP
    1. Demonstrated by the Age of the Apostle
      1. The age of the apostle during the ministry of our Lord
        1. Though we are not given the specifics of the age of John, there are a few things that lead you to believe he was a young man.
        2. When running to the tomb to see the absence of the body of Christ, John outran Simon Peter (John 20:4).
      2. The age of the apostle in the epistles of John
        1. 2 John 1:1 – the elder
        2. 3 John 1:1 – the elder
    2. Demonstrated by the Doctrines
      1. Early false teachers
        1. Cerinthus
          1. Appeared towards the end of the first century
          2. A Gnostic teacher of Asia Minor
          3. Separated the physical Jesus from the spiritual Christ.  Said Christ came upon Jesus at his baptism and left at his crucifixion.  Therefore, the spiritual Christ was not born and did not die.  John’s writings had much that fought this teaching (see 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7,9).
        2. Basilides
          1. A Gnostic who taught in Alexandria in the early second century
          2. He also separated the physical Jesus from the divine Christ.
      2. An early false doctrine - Docetism
        1. Denied the humanity of Christ
        2. Since the flesh is evil, Christ only appeared to have a human body.
        3. Scripture references:  1 John 1:1-2; 1 John 4:2-3; 2 John 1:7
  4. THE DIVISIONS OF THE BOOK
    1. Introduction (2 John 1:1-3)
    2. Our Walk (2 John 1:4-6)
    3. The Problem of Balance (2 John 1:7-11)
    4. The Desire for Fellowship (2 John 1:12-13)
  5. THE THEME OF THE BOOK
  • 2 John deals with maintaining the proper balance between truth and love in the ministry.
  • The word truth in this exact form is mentioned four times in the epistle (2 John 1:1, 2, 3, 4). The word love is also mentioned four times (2 John 1:1, 3, 5, 6).  The number four is connected to stability or balance in the scriptures.
  • Most people tend to lean too far in one direction or the other.
  • Truth without love becomes harsh and full of pride. “Knowledge puffeth up” (1 Corinthians 8:1).
  • However, love without truth quickly conforms to the world and soon believes nothing.
  • John reminds the elect lady that true love is to walk in God’s commandments (verse 6).
  • If we deny the teachings of the word of God, we lose everything.
  • The theme of 2 John: keep the proper balance between truth and love in your service to Him.
Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 20:17

Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.