Sunday School Bible Survey:      II JOHN

Theme: Truth

Key verse:
"I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father" (II John 4).

From the Scofield Study Bible:

WRITER: The Apostle John.

DATE: Probably A.D. 90.

THEME: Second John gives the essentials of the personal walk of the believer in a day when "many deceivers are entered into the world" (vs. 7). The key phrase is "the truth," by which John means the body of revealed truth, the Scriptures. The Bible as the only authority for doctrine and life, is the believer's resource in a time of declension and apostasy.

The Epistle in three divisions:

  1. The pathway of truth and love (vs. 1-6)
  2. The peril of unscriptural ways (vs. 7-11)
  3. Superscription (vs. 12, 13)


  1. Second John is the smallest book in the Bible.
  2. The key word is truth. The word is found five times in the first four verses. Truth is contrasted with error (cf. vss. 7-11).
  3. W. Graham Scroggie said, "To walk only in love would make us soft; to walk only in truth would make us hard; but walking in truth and love we become strong" (cf. vss. 4, 5).
  4. Second John is addressed to "the elect lady and her children" (vs. 1). Some interpret this as a reference to a church, but more likely John was simply writing to an unknown woman.
  5. It is the only book in the Bible addressed to a lady.

  1. John identifies himself as an "elder" (vs. 1; cf. III John 1). In the New Testament, the word "elder" usually refers to a pastor (cf. Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5-7; I Peter 5:1-3).
  2. Both I & II John indicate the importance of Christian hospitality (II John 6; III John 5-8).
  3. But John also warns about the wrong kind of hospitality, which aids and advances false teachers (II John 10, 11).
  4. Love is expressed in obedience (vs. 6). Our Lord said in John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
  1. There is a contrast here: "children walking in truth" (vs. 4), and "many deceivers are entered into the world" (vs. 7).
  2. John does not merely say that Christ was born. He says He "is come in the flesh" (vs. 7). The Gnostics (referred to as deceivers and antichrist) denied the incarnation, that God was manifest in the flesh.
  3. The Gnostics denied the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. John affirms Christ's pre-existence, incarnation, humanity, and deity.
  4. Some Christians are in danger of losing their reward at the judgment seat of Christ (vs. 8; cf. I John 2:28).
  1. THE JOY OF FELLOWSHIP (vss. 12, 13).
    The conclusion to II John is similar III John 13, 14.

ANALYSIS OF II JOHN by Albert Barnes
The points embraced in this epistle are these:

  1. A salutation to the female to whom it is addressed, and an expression of warm attachment to her family (vss. 1-3).
  2. An expression of joy and gratitude that he had been permitted to learn that her children had embraced the truth, and were walking in it (vs. 4).
  3. An exhortation to live in the exercise of mutual love, in obedience to the great commandment of the Saviour (vss. 5, 6).
  4. The fact that many deceivers had gone out into the world, and an exhortation to be on their guard against their arts (vss. 7, 8).
  5. A test by which they might be known, and their true character ascertained (vs. 9).
  6. An exhortation to show them no countenance whatever; not to treat them in any such way, even in the rites of hospitality, as to give occasion to the charge that she was friendly to their doctrines (vss. 10, 11).
  7. A statement that, as he hoped to see her soon, he would not write more to her (vs. 12).
  8. And the salutation of the children of some one who is spoken of as her elect sister (vs. 13).

These are simple Sunday School survey notes. They are not for sale. The author used many outlines from popular Bible teachers such as C.I. Scofield and J. Vernon McGee, and he has tried to give credit when using their material.

—  Pastor James J. Barker  —