These small group studies of 2 John contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Overview of 2 John Bible Study

Overview of 2 John

Love Filtered By Truth


  1. Introduction (vv 1-3)

1.      Greetings in truth (vv 1-2)

2.      Blessings in truth and love (v 3)

  1. Obedience in Love (vv 4-6)

1.      Rejoice in obedient children (v 4)

2.      Plea for love (v 5)

3.      Definition of love (v 6)

  1. Guard Against Deceivers (vv 7-9)

1.      Mark of a deceiver (v 7)

2.      Protect the truth (v 8)

3.      Second mark of a deceiver (vv 9a)

4.      Mark of a believer (v 9b)

  1. Wisely Exercised Hospitality (vv 10-11)

1.      Boundaries of hospitality (v 10)

2.      Reason for caution (v 11)

  1. Closing (vv 12-13)

1.      Hope of future meeting (v 12)

2.      Friend’s greetings (v 13)

Author: the Apostle John

Date: Opinions on this are varied. The two most likely possibilities are in the early 60s or 85-95. Because John refers to himself as “the elder,” and because the style and wording of the epistle are so similar to 1 John (where he refers to his “little children”) it is my opinion that he was an old man by this time, and it was most likely written between A.D. 90 and 95.

Background/History: While it seems clear that this book was addressed to a specific local group or house-church, it is unclear whether it was written to a particular individual within that church or not. Some commentators think that “the chosen lady” is a literary way of saying a particular church, and “her children” speaks of its members. This theory is supported by the fact that, in the Greek, the book only uses singular pronouns from verses 1-3 and again in verse 13. Others say that it makes sense within the context of the passage to suppose that this lady was well-known enough in the church to remain unnamed.

In either case, the surrounding circumstances remain the same. During that time, there were many traveling preachers who relied on the hospitality and gifts of the local church to carry on their ministry. Some of them were false prophets, who were possibly taking advantage of the love and hospitality of the church. John warned them not to open their homes to such deceivers, who would destroy the very foundation of their faith.

General Theme: Similar in many ways to 1 John, 2 John focuses on the importance of the fundamentals of the faith- truth, love, and obedience. It makes a point, however, of noting how those should be exercised with discernment within the church. Love does not blindly offer hospitality to anyone claiming to be a Christian, but filters each teacher through the truth and only helps those who are handling the Word accurately. If Christians are not careful, they could inadvertently help the very ones  desiring to tear down their faith.

Key Verses: 10-11

Important Verses: 3, 5, 6, 8, 9

General Impressions-

Truth is mentioned directly 5 times.

Love is mentioned 4 times.

Love is not indiscriminate. Just as John exercised “love in truth” towards “the elect lady” and “her children,” so we should love others in truth. We are not to blindly love, despite wrong doctrine or evidence of unbelief. Love purifies, and thus strains out or trains out the undesirable element.

Truth and love aren’t things that Christians exercise without precedence. The very grace, mercy and peace which we rely upon from our heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ were given to us out of truth and love. God does not blindly give His good spiritual gifts to those who do not know Him.

Truth is not something we only apply to other people. We must first walk in it ourselves.

Everything we have worked for and our eternal reward is bound up in truth. If we do not guard against the deceivers’ false teaching, we will lose it.

As Christians, we are commanded to be hospitable.  However, we are not to blindly exercise hospitality to all, lest in our attempt at kindness we end up sharing in the evil deeds of an antichrist.

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