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Dr. Grant C. Richison


I. AUTHORJohn, one of the twelve apostles.

A. The writer identifies himself as an elder (verse 1).

B. A disputed canonical book.

C. Evidences:

1. External:

· Muratorian Canon

· Irenaeus (175)

· Clement of Alexandria (195)

· Origen (230)

2. Internal: Not strong (too little content)

II. DATE: between A.D. 90 and 95

III. OCCASION: False teachers were introducing heresy to John’s congregation in Asia Minor [Turkey today]. A predicament in offering hospitality occurred. It was customary to lodge teachers until they went to their next destination (Ro 12:13; He 13:2; 3 Jn 5-8) but this created a crisis because some itinerate false teachers presented false credentials to John’s readers.

One of the contributions of the Roman Empire in spreading the gospel was the excellent road system that spanned the Empire from one end to another. Portions of two of those roads are still visible today.

1. The Appian Way is still in use near Rome.

2. The Egnatian Way may still be observed today in the vicinity of Kavalla (New Testament name: Neapolis), Philippi and Thessalonica, (Acts 13-21; Ro 15:23-29; 16:1-2; 1 Th 3:1-2,5; Ti 3:12-13).

IV. SITUATION: Introduction of and incipient Gnosticism into the church.

It is difficult to define clearly the exact nature of this Gnosticism.

V. STYLE: A private, personal letter, not an epistle like 1 John.

VI. ARGUMENT: Abiding in the truth is crucial to brotherly love.


Key verse: verse 6

Key words: love” and “truth

Key phrase: abide in the doctrine

Key thought: walk in the truth or love in the truth

VIII. CHARACTER: General epistle

Emphasis on the combination of truth with love Only book of the 5 that John wrote that contains the word “mercy.

This is the shortest book in the Bible. [3 John contains 13 verses and 2 John 12 verses] 303 words in King James

Written to a lady and thus is a personal letter Symmetry: introduction, body and conclusion

IX. THEME: do not entertain false teachers.

X. IDENTITY OF READERS: to a “lady” and her children who offered hospitality to itinerate ministers in Ephesus.


Greeting, 1-3

Implementing the truth, 4-6

Occasion, 4

Exhortation to love based on truth, 5,6

Defending the truth, 7-11

Warning against false doctrine, 7-9

Warning against false love, 10,11

Conclusion, 12-13