2 John - Introduction
There has always been a difference of opinion and discussion concerning the Second and Third Epistles ascribed to John, the apostle. Neither the ancient church nor the modern critics have been entirely agreed concerning the writer, the persons addressed, or even concerning their title to a place in the Canon. The limited space to which I am confined will not allow me to enter at length into these controversies, further than to say that every hypothesis which refers to the authorship to any one else than John, the apostle, rests upon filmy foundations. The conjecture that they were written by a "Presbyter John," who was a contemporary of the apostle, and also lived at Ephesus, is based upon a fragment preserved from Papias, a Father in the second century, who mentions what he had learned from "the elders," or ancients, and among them names "the Elder John," who was a personal disciple of Christ. Since in the very same sentence he names seven apostles and calls them not apostles, but "elders," or "ancients," those are hard pressed who assume that he meant by the "Elder John," some other personal disciple of Christ than the son of Zebedee. There is no evidence that any "John the elder" lived in the apostolic age, a separate life from John the apostle. In addition, the language, doctrine and style of the two epistles point to the author of the fourth gospel, and especially to the writer of the First Epistle of John.