2 John

Continue in the True Teaching

The Author

The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth (2 John 1).

John has traditionally been identified as the author of this epistle, even though he does not identify himself by name in the document. Note that Peter also called himself an “elder” (1 Peter 5:1), which suggests that the apostles considered themselves to be elders as well. This mosaic, from the Holy Cave of the Apocalypse chapel on the Isle of Patmos, depicts John in the act of dictating.

Truth Personified

For the sake of the truth that lives in us and will be with us forever (2 John 2).

Apollo was the Greek deity of truth and prophecy, among other things. This picture shows a statue of Apollo playing a lute. This statute is considered to be a Roman interpretation of a 5th-century BC original. It was photographed at the Vatican Museums.

Walking in the Way

And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments (2 John 6).

John the Baptist referred to the ways of the Messiah as “straight” (Matt 3:3), and Jesus described the way that leads to life as “narrow” (Matt 7:14). John likely refers to this same idea when he urges his audience to walk according to the commands of Jesus. This path is located near the Hagar Qim temple on the island of Malta.


But that you may receive the full reward (2 John 8).

The word “reward” (Gk. misthos) is used in many contexts to refer to pay or wages, remuneration for work done (e.g., Luke 10:7; Jas 5:4); in this context, it likely refers to recognition or recompense (by God) for the moral quality of an action (cf. Matt 5:12; 6:2). John uses the same word elsewhere in connection with eternal life (John 4:36). This concept is similar to Paul’s reference to the “prize” (Gk. brabeion) of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14; cf. 1 Cor 9:23-27). The idea is illustrated here by a prize amphora. Every four years in Athens, the Panathenaic games would be held in honor of Athena. The prize amphorae like the one shown here would be filled with 42 quarts (40 L) of olive oil from sacred groves of Athena. On one side would be pictured the event for which the prize was awarded. The other side would have a depiction of Athena.


If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house (2 John 10).

The reference in this verse may be to traveling teachers who were seeking hospitality (free lodging and meals). The house shown here is one of a series of six luxurious residences located on terraces on the side of the hill south of the Library of Celsus at Ephesus. The oldest building dates to the 1st century BC and continued in use as a residence until the 7th century AD. It is unknown whether John ever entered these houses, but their owners may have known of him and his work, particularly if, as tradition holds, he lived in Ephesus for many years.

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