2 John 1-5
2 John follows the same basic teachings of 1 John. It was written between 80-95 A.D. This small epistle has some basic differences because it seemed the church members were experiencing some serious problems with false teachers and their false doctrine. The churches which John wrote to were in Asia Minor. The central theme was that the Christians should be walking in truth and not giving any heed to the false teachings of the false teachers. They were to discern the difference between the deceivers and the truth tellers. Just as today, heresy was a major problem in the early church. The epistle centers around sound doctrine and Christians adhering to that sound doctrine.
2 John 1:1 (KJB)
The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
This epistle seems to be written to an influential Christian woman and her entire family. It may be addressed to her but it also may be coded language for an entire church. At this time in history there were major persecutions of the Christians going on and maybe this letter was written to a single person but later to be read to the entire congregation. Whether it was to an entire church or to a lady and her family, they had a good Christian reputation because John was not the only one commending her but those with whom he was acquainted stated that she had a good testimony. John calls himself an elder which may be because of being an Apostle or the fact of his age. If the elect lady was a church it would fit in with 1 John where John uses terms like “my little children” but uses the phrase “her children” in the opening. John speaks of loving them in the truth and the other ones who love her are also in the truth, which means he is speaking about Christian love.
2 John 1:2 (KJB)
For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
John states that he loves this lady for the fact that the truth dwells in her and also in all the Christians. That truth will not be something temporal but will be of an eternal nature. Truth is the driving force in the life of a Christian. This is why when they are confronted with false doctrine, they would rather lose their life than adhere to it. In the words of Martin Luther, “Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen." The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is an eternal gift to the believer as He will never leave us.
2 John 1:3 (KJB)
Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
Here John gives a real Christian greeting. He wants them to enjoy the grace of God, that is, His unmerited favor. Then mercy as God helps those who are helpless and unable to help themselves. Then he desires the peace of God which creates an enduring inward peace which springs from it. He then goes on to extend the greeting that it also comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. John then makes a specific statement that Christ is the Son of the Father. The Gnostics disbelieved that Jesus was the true Son of God and here John is confronting that lie that Jesus is the Son of the Father. John brings this greeting in truth and love. The truth that Jesus is the Son of God and in love which permeates the God head and is directed toward all the redeemed Children of God.
2 John 1:4 (KJB)
I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
Walking - Living or conducting oneself
John rejoiced that her children had been conducting their lives in the truth of God and did not fall prey to the false teachings. The key to identifying the false teachings is to know the truth and if you know the truth, you will recognize the false teachings immediately. The commandment is that the believers are to be walking in the truth because if we walk in any false teachings, we will be violating the Scriptures thus violating God’s commandments which are found in the Scriptures.
2 John 1:5 (KJB)
And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
Beseech - Ask or request
John turns to the reason that he has written this epistle and that is to give a balance view between truth and love. Sometimes we can love someone and fail to warn them about something. That is not real love because real love always has a mixture of truth in it or else it would be empty love which so many try to build relationships on and then soon the relationship comes apart because it is not built on truth. The Lord Jesus gave the command in John 13:34-35 that we are to love one another. (John 13:34-35 KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. {35} By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. True love of a Christian is the outward manifestation of the true conversion taking place in the heart. Love always comes with profitable disciplines. Love without disciplines is a godless love.