II John - Wise Preparation For Woeful Problems

Clarence Bishop

II John Vs. 1-13


The first Epistle of John was written to present a know-so salvation to people who needed that truth. This second epistle is written to a lady who had no doubt about her salvation but who might have been troubled about the rules of hospitality pertaining to false teachers.

We can surmise that this elect lady must have been a lady of means and it is very likely that travelers of the church frequented her home most of the time. It is likely that the carriers of false doctrine tried to utilize the hospitality of this dear lady and this promoted the second epistle.

There are some who believe that the lady wrote to John about this question and John answered her letter. This may have been. It is also possible that John himself heard of the abuse of believers by false teachers and was so inspired to correct the error.

This is a short epistle (the shortest in the New Testament) but I found it necessary to divide it into five points.


It is assumed that this "elect lady" was a widow. A letter would have been addressed to the man had the man been alive - The decisions regarding hospitality would have been the man's had he been living. So If eel that it is safe to assume the lady was a widow and her problem was welcome to John and he sets out to handle forthwith.

A. The Greeting- v.1

John calls himself "the elder" which was a position of respect within the church, and the addressee as the "elect lady." She was evidently a special lady perhaps of class, finances and prestige. The greeting embraces the children of the "elect lady" and John declares that he loves them all in the truth, and all others love them also who have known the truth. So this lady's name and family was well known.

B. The Glory - v.2

The glory, if there be any, is for the truth and to the truth. Man is not to receive glory here on earth - Truth is to be magnified. John writes the "elect lady" for the truth's sake - Let us treat the following verses with the utmost respect.

C. The Grace - v.3

This is a normal apostolic greeting - with the exception of the last two phrases.

1. The writers usual salutation - phrases "a-e"

Nearly all the apostles use language of this nature. Grace, mercy and peace are all the gifts from God. Grace and mercy are extended to us at salvation and salvation is the means for peace. These come from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. The worker's unique solution - phrases "f-g"

The Holy Spirit interjects a statement verifying the person of Jesus Christ and declaring His deity - This doesn't happen in any other apostolic greeting to my knowledge.


Since John is going to caution this "elect lady" about hospitality, he prefaces this truth by an admonition to continue on in the ministry of love.

A. The Walk Of Truth - v.4

John rejoices over the fact that the elect lady's children are walking in truth. This is the result of a right home, Prov. 22:6. Not many of us can claim the promise of Prov. 22:6 but it is there and it works when the conditions are met.

B. The Way Of Triumph - v.5

This is love one to another. Don't be led astray at what I'm going to tell you for the only way a Christian can triumph in this world is by love one to another. John emphasizes that this is not a new commandment but one the church had from the beginning.

C. The Work Of Trust - v.6

What is love? - Many are ignorant on this point. Love is dedication to His commandments. A great emotional outburst of phrase while ignoring His commandments is not love. Love is doing what God commands - and one of His commandments is hospitality.


Now we are getting to the heart of this brief epistle.

A. The Problem Declared - v.7

John is about to give this elect lady the answer to her question of how she should treat false teachers.

1. The Danger - phrase "a"

Many deceivers are here in the world. They have always been here, they will always be here.

2. The Defiance - phrase "b"

They deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Oh, they will admit that there was a Jew named Jesus but they will not admit that this Jew was the Christ.

3. The Deceit - phrase "c"

This is the spirit of anti-christ - I John 2:18-22

B. The Principle Defined - v.8

Be careful of what you do, John advises, or you will lose the reward that is laid up for you. How strange to think that improper hospitality toward unworthy recipients will cause a believer to lose his or her rewards.


This is the heart of the epistle. What is said in these verses must be studied over very carefully.

A. The Condition Of Faith - v.9

Here is the foundation of Christian faith. The person who abides (lives) in the doctrine of Christ is one who can and should be ministered unto. Some will claim to believe the Bible while peddling other trash, but do they live in the doctrines of Christ.

B. The Conduct Of Fear - v.10

What are believers to do regarding hospitality?

1. The person of error - phrases "a-b"

That is the person who comes to your house and brings not this doctrine of Christ. Is the book of Mormon the doctrine of Christ? Is the Watch Tower and Awake magazines the doctrine of Christ? How about the doctrine of the Seventh Day Adventists, salvation by works, abstinence from meats, no eternal hell except for Satan, etc., etc?

2. The position of emphasis - phrases "c-d"

Do not invite them into your house and do not bless them in their work - Just because they appear to be preachers doesn't mean that they are spreading truth.

C. The Consequences Of Fate - v.11

If we wish them "God's speed," (Good Bye), we become partakers in their evil - God forbid!


John finishes his letter with a little personal note.

A. The Restrained Desire - v.12a-b

There were other things John wanted to say but he chose not to say them with ink on paper.

B. The Reasonable Decision - v.12c-e

John says, I will share these things with you face to face.

C. The Recorded Delight - v.13

John uses the word "elect" again. As the addressee was the "elect lady" now the sister in question is the "elect sister." I think she is a special sister known to this "elect lady" and her children send greetings.