Survey of the Bible - II John

Text: II John 5-11


I.         This short letter is to encourage Christians to stand firm in God’s commandments and not to follow after false teachers

            A.        The letter did not circulate as widely as other New Testament books at the beginning

                        1.         The shortness meant that it wasn’t quoted heavily in early Christian writings

                        2.         Yet there were no controversies over the book until later, when people forgot the origins of the letters.

            B.        Author

                        1.         Both II John and III John are similar in style and are considered to have the same author

                                    a.         The style of II John is similar to I John and John

                        2.         The author calls himself “the Elder.”

                                    a.         His authority is greater than an elder in a local church

                                    b.         He gives commands to those in other churches.

                                    c.         Peter was an elder - I Peter 5:1

                                    d.         Since he calls himself “the Elder” he might be referring to himself as the aged apostle who outlived the others.

                        3.         Though the author does not name himself, that is how many of the apostles wrote

                        4.         Early Christian writers, such as Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria, attribute the book to John

                        5.         The harshness of his comment in II John 10, recall that John and his brother James were nicknamed Sons of Thunder - Mark 3:17

                                    a.         They were the ones who wanted to have a village destroyed - Luke 9:54

            C.        Date

                        1.         Usually placed between A.D. 85 and 95, usually about A.D. 90

            D.        Audience

                        1.         Either a specific, unnamed woman and her children or a church and its members.

                        2.         It is possible, instead of “lady” that John is naming the woman - Cyria. Early Syriac and Arabic translations treat this Greek word as a name.

                        3.         The phrasing of II John 13 seems to lean toward the church view.

II.        Outline

            A.        Walk in God’s Commands

                        1.         Salutation, truth abides in us - II John 1-3

                                    a.         This woman was well-known and well-loved, as were her children.

                                    b.         There was a commonality in the truth

                        2.         Walking in truth - II John 4

                                    a.         John was pleasantly surprised to run into some of her sons and found them walking the path of truth

                        3.         Love is walking according to the commandments - II John 5-6

                                    a.         Commanded from the beginning - John 13:35; 15:12, 17; I John 2:7

                                    b.         Notice that it isn’t a feeling. It is something chosen to do - John 14:15

                                    c.         Love is expressed by following God’s commands - I John 2:3-6; 5:2-3

            B.        Warnings against false teachers

                        1.         What to watch out for - II John 7-9

                                    a.         People teaching that Jesus hasn’t come in the flesh - I John 4:1-3

                                    b.         A characteristic of Gnosticism. This teaching is a lie and it is against Christ

                                    c.         First make sure of your own salvation - Philippians 2:12

                                    d.         A person who does not stay in Christ’s teachings does not have God - John 14:23-24

                        2.         What not to do - II John 10-11

                                    a.         Anyone teaching that you don’t have to keep Christ’s commands is not to be welcomed - II Timothy 3:5

                                    b.         You don’t give encouragement to someone who is not teaching the truth

                                    c.         To do so would be to share in what he is doing

            C.        Benediction - II John 12-13

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