The writer of this Epistle was the beloved Apostle, John, a fisherman from Kahpehrnah-oúm and the brother of James, the son of Zebedee. He was the youngest disciple, who later owned his own house in Jerusalem (John 19:27) and was an eye witness to Jesus. He also wrote the Gospel bearing his name, two other Epistles also bearing his name, and Revelation. Only Paul wrote more New Testament Books than John, but Luke wrote greater volume than both.
Since there is no indication of the writer in the text, Internal evidence to John's authorship is dependent upon the accepted title that bears his name which was placed at ‘the head of the scroll' of the circulated copies; and upon links of the Second Epistle to the First (please refer to Internal Evidence in the Introductory Notes of First John for the link to John's Gospel); and it is also dependent upon a comparison of the First and Second Epistles of John. Such a comparison reveals that eight of the thirteen verses of Second John contain similar language to First John.
External evidence comes from the Muratorian Canon (A.D. 160-200): ‘‘The Epistle of . . . and two bearing the name of John, are accepted in the Catholic Church (universally received churches).'' Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 155-216), and Irenaeus (c. A.D. 185), disciple of Polycarp, disciple of John, all quoted from it as St. John's Epistle. Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria (A.D. 200-265) ascribes both First and Second Epistle and the Gospel to John and indicated that it was not John's practice to give his name (The Ante-Nicene Father's, vol. 6, p. 83).
Dating of this Epistle is difficult because precise information is lacking. Since this Epistle was successive to First John and John's Gospel (A.D. 90-94) and prior to his banishment to the Isle of Patmos (A.D. 96), the date would be A. D. 94-95. Since John's ministry in his later years was at Ephesus, it was likely written from there.
There are two approaches to The destination of this Epistle: a person or a church. Plain literal interpretation requires an unnamed elderly woman of nobility to be the recipient of this Epistle. Figurative literal and allegorical interpretation (a popular viewpoint) calls for the recipient to be a local church with the sister (v. 13) being another local church. Nowhere else in Scripture is this termed used, therefore establishment of such conclusion has no Scriptural foundation.
The Purpose of John in this Epistle is fourfold: that the reader:
(1) remember to ‘‘love one another'' (v. 5);
(2) and ‘‘continually walk according to His commandments'' (v. 6);
(3) to beware of ‘‘many deceivers'' in ‘‘the world'' (v. 8);
(4) to discern between those who have God and those who do not have God
(v. 9); and
(5) to avoid being hospitable to those who have not God (v. 10).
Characteristics include: exhortative, encouraging, warning, and personal conduct in everyday life of a first century Christian home.
The Book may be outlined as follows:
I. Salutation (1-3).
II. Thanksgiving and Exhortation (4-6).
III. Warning (7-11).
IV. Closing and Salutation (12,13).