Book of the Week 63: II John

Greek Name: IOANNOU  B

Human Author: John (the Apostle)                                    

OT or NT: New Testament

Number of Chapters: 1

Basic Facts

  1. II John is the sixty-third book of the Bible.

  2. In terms of literary genre, II John is classified as an epistle, or letter.

  3. The Greek name for the book of II John is IOANNOU B, which means, “of John – two.”

  4. II John is the shortest book of the New Testament.

  5. The book of II John is addressed to an unnamed elect lady and her children.

Story of the Book

The author, presumably the Apostle John, identifies himself simply as “the elder” and addresses his letter to an elect lady in Christ and her children (II John 1:1). John greets his audience and declares that he loves his audience because the truth of Christ and of God the Father abides in him (II John 1:2-3). John rejoices when he learns that some of the lady’s children are walking in the truth by following Christ (II John 1:4). He asks the elect lady to follow the ancient Biblical commandment to love one another (II John 1:5). This love is defined by John as keeping the commandments of God, which God has commanded His people to obey since the beginning (II John 1:6). John warns that many false teachers have emerged who do not confess the coming of Christ in the flesh, and that such people are against Christ (II John 1:7). Therefore, John warns his audience to keep watch so as not to lose their heavenly reward in Christ (II John 1:8). John teaches that anyone who fails to profess Christ as having come in the flesh does not have God, but whoever confesses Christ as having come in the flesh has both the Father and the Son (II John 1:9). John warns his audience against anyone who does not bring this teaching, and to refuse to greet or show hospitality to anyone who denies it (II John 1:10). Anyone who denies Christ in the flesh is participating in the wicked works of those who deny Christ (II John 1:11). John expresses that he has much to write but insists that he would rather meet with his audience in person and speak face to face, which he hopes to do in the near future (II John 1:12). The letter concludes as John tells the elect lady that the children of her elect sister send their greetings (II John 1:13). 

Jesus Revealed in II John

In II John, Jesus is revealed as the Christ who has come in the flesh. John insists that anyone who does not bring this teaching is not only against Christ but is also not to receive a greeting or any form of hospitality from believers (II John 1:7-10). For those who do believe that Christ has come in the flesh, John declares that they have both the Father and the Son. These believers, who accept that truth of Christ come in the flesh, are to obey the commands of God by loving God and loving one another (II John 1:5-6). John also reveals Jesus as the one who elects those who believe in Him by Faith. By referring to his main audience as the elect lady and her children, John affirms the faith of his audience, assuring them that their faith in Christ demonstrates that God has chosen them as His elect children (II John 1:1, 13). In the same way, those of us who demonstrate faith in Christ by abiding in Him and by loving one another have assurance that we are part of God’s elect children. At believers, we too must affirm that Jesus has indeed come in the flesh. In so doing, we avoid the heresy of Gnosticism and affirm the true nature of Jesus as the Christ who has indeed come in the flesh, and who is also the savior of the world.