Archaeology 2 John  


 


AUTHOR, PLACE, AND DATE OF WRITING

Ancient tradition holds that this letter was written by the apostle John. Second John identifies its author only as the “elder,” but the letter has clear affinities with the Gospel of John, as well as with 1 John (e.g., cf 2Jn 14:23 with 1Jn 5:3) All in all, there is no reason to doubt John’s authorship.

The date of composition is unknown, but short letter was probably written in the late first century A.D. Ephesus has been suggested as the place of writing.



AUDIENCE

This letter is addressed to “the chosen lady” (v.5). This address may be a reference to a particular Christian woman and her family of to an individual, female leader of a house church (see Col 4:15). In the Greek text of verse 8, however, the author referred to the addressee using a masculine plural pronoun, which strongly suggests that the “chosen lady” of verse 1 may be a metaphorical reference to a sister church in a nearby town. In this case, the “children of your chosen sister” (v.13) would refer to the members of another local church.      



CULTURAL FACTS AND HIGHLIGHTS   

During the first centuries the gospel was spread by travelling evangelists and teachers. Since inns were not readily available, believers customarily took these missionaries into their homes and supplied them with provisions for their journey when they were about to leave.  John asked his readers to refuse hospitality to false teachers moving among the churches who did not “acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” (v.7). This may refer to a very early form of Gnostic teaching.



AS YOU READ  

Pay attention to John’s emphasis on truth and love, and note his warning against false teaching and deceivers.     



DID YOU KNOW?  

  • In his later years the apostle John functioned as an elder, perhaps of the Ephesian church (v.1)

  • The paper of John’s day was made from papyrus reeds, which were readily available and inexpensive (v.12)

  • Ink (the Greek term comes from a word that means “black”) was made by mixing carbon, water and gum or oil (v.12).



THEMES

Second John includes the following themes:

  1. Warning against false teaching. This epistle cautions Christians against the same false teaching John opposed in his first letter.

  2. Truth. Truth is an important theme in the writings of John - mentioned 52 times in his Gospel and 22 times in three short epistles.  

  3. Love. Like 1 John, this letter emphasizes the command to love one another - the test of a true believer. John command to love does not contradict his directive to refuse hospitality to false teachers. Issues of truth are too important to compromise.   



OUTLINE
      I. Greeting (1-3)
     II. Commendation (4)
    III. Counsel and Warning (5-11)
    IV. Conclusión (12/13)




CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL NOTES


House Churches and Early Church Buildings


2 JOHN The earliest Christians gathered for worship and fellowship in private homes. Affluent Christians with more spacious homes generally opened them to their brothers and sisters in Christ. In a context in which Christians frequently faced persecution, there were obvious advantages to meeting in a private setting) This practice is also consistent with kinship language found in the Bible.2 The New Testament letters mention several of the house churches in which believers congregated:

  • Romans 16:5 speaks of several house churches in Rome, and the households mentioned in Romans 16:10-11, as well as the groups in 16:14-15, might indicate the identities of the various homeowners.

  • First Corinthians 16:19 tells of a church that met in the house of Aquila and Priscilla. +

  • Colossians 4:15 reveals that a church gathered in Nympha's home.

  • Philemon 2 contains Paul's greetings to the church that met in the home of Philemon, Apphia or Archippus.

  • Second John 10-11 warned its readers against bringing false teachers into their houses.This warning may have been a more comprehensive admonition to be cautious not to accept false teachers into the church.