Second Epistle of John

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The Second Epistle of John is a letter that was canonized into the vast majority of Christian bibles. Even though the author does not identify himself, most Christians believe the letter was written by John the Evangelist. This is primarily based on a supposed similar writing style to the other two epistles and the Gospel of John--which is also anonymously written--and many scholars have demonstrated stark contrasts between the writing styles. The letter is dated by scholars to around 95-110 CE, though John the Evangelist died in 100 CE.

Like the First Epistle of John, the letter disavows docetism, the belief that Jesus was not a real man, but a spirit. The letter is addressed "to the chosen lady and her children," but her identity is never revealed.

The "lady" in question could be a unknown woman, but it might also be a metaphor for a church.

Status

I have several translations of this book from various bibles, and have read it.

Review

  • There isn't much to say about such a short letter other than it's not applicable to anyone except the long dead lady and her children. It uses the same oddly-phrased rhetoric as First John and carries a similar message.
  • The author pays the woman lip-service saying that everyone who, "knows the truth," loves the recipient and her children. Either the membership is very small, she is very lovable, or this is a technicality (only those who love everyone know the truth), in which case, it's meaningless.
  • From growing up in the church, I had always assumed the antichrist was a single person who would rise to power and bring about the end of times, but the author says that anyone who doesn't believe that Jesus was a flesh-and-blood human, even if they still believe in the message and spirit of Jesus, is an antichrist (1:7)!

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