The Second Epistle of John was a personal letter. One gets the impression that John wrote other similar letters which we do not possess (1Jn.2v14; 3Jn.9). Second John was just long enough to fit on a standard-sized sheet of papyrus (10" x 8"), conforming to the pattern of letters in that period. It was addressed from "the elder" to "the elect lady and her children," which could symbolically mean a congregation. It may have been so stated in order to confuse any enemy who might intercept the epistle in dangerous times.

The occasion of this letter is similar to that of 1 John--false teachers were traveling from congregation to congregation formally denying that the Jesus, Son of God, had really come in the flesh. This was perhaps the beginning of the powerful Gnostic heresy. John cautioned his friends not to extend even normal hospitality to such people. To do so would imply endorsement (2Jn.10-11). Loving others (2Jn.5-6) must not be construed as encouraging false doctrine!

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