By Joseph Ametepe
The epistle of second John is canonical letter by Apostle John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. It is the second shortest book in the New Testament and the entire Bible. It contains 244 words and thirteen verse in the original. In fact, it is just long enough to fit a single sheet of papyrus (10 inches by 8 inches), conforming to the pattern of letters of that period. It is a personal letter written by "the elder to the chosen lady and her children" (v. 1). It is the fifth of seven general epistles in the New Testament, all of which are titled according to their author (namely Jame, 1st and 2nd Peter, 1st, 2nd, 3rd John, and Jude). The Letter of second John mentions both "God the Father" and "Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father" (v. 3). However, it does not mention the Holy Spirit. A contributor to the Life Application Bible writes this challenging comment about Second John: "Second John will take just a few minutes to read, but its message should last a lifetime. As you reflect on these few paragraphs penned by the wise and aged follower of Christ, recommit yourself to being a person of truth, of love, and of obedience." Bible Teacher, Author and Pastor Chuck Swindoll also shares this poignant insight about Second John: "This letter issues a call for a much-needed balance between truth and love in an of undiscriminating love and undiscerning tolerance. John urged the letter's recipient, most likely a woman in the early church to know the truth of God and to walk in this truth without wavering. She and her children were challenged to hold on to God's truth without compromise and to stand firm against error and false teaching. There were many deceivers in those days seeking to infiltrate the church with a false gospel. John urged Christians to use discretion in testing a visitor's message and to "watch out" for those who would lead believers astray."
The point of these quotes is clear and concise. Indeed, Second John is a brief, to be specific, the second shortest book in the entire Bible, yet it contains a blessed message for the church of all ages. As such, its message is extremely relevant for our times. Just as "the chosen lady and her children" (v. 1) were urged to know the truth and to walk in this truth without wavering, so also must present day Christians seek to know the truth and walk in this truth. Just as the recipients of Second John were exhorted to love one another, so also must Christians living in this present generation do. Just as the elect lady and her believing family were challenged to hold on to the truth without compromise and to stand firm against error and false teaching in the first century, so also must Christians living in the twenty-first century do. Just as the "chosen lady and her children" (v. 1) were warned of many deceivers, so also must Christians today "watch out" for those who will beguile them with their smooth, sleek, and sweet talk. If the "chosen lady and her children" (v. 1) needed to be discerning in the first century, much more must believers of the twenty-first century be in this present age of deception.
The prominent doctrines preserved in Second John include the person of God, the people of God, the peace of God, the practice of the truth, the presence of deceivers, the promise of God, and participation in the evil deeds of false teachers. Though Second John is only a brief book, yet God in His sovereign wisdom chose to preserve it for us. His desire in preserving such a tiny book is for it to instruct us in His ways and wisdom. It is therefore our prayer that the Holy Spirit will enable us, not only to hear its message, but more importantly to heed it. And that He will teach, train, and transform us more and more into the blessed image of our Lord Jesus Christ, and take us to new heights of living fully for Him who died for our sins and rose again. May the Lord of all the earth richly bless you as you listen to the verse by verse exposition of the second smallest book of the Bible!
Second John, like Third John, was composed by the apostle John, probably at Ephesus, in the latter part of his life and ministry. It was probably sent to a place near Ephesus in the map below. Ephesus was in the Roman province of Asia Minor, which is today western modern Turkey.