Author: The writer of 2 John identifies himself as “the elder.” By the time of this writing John was likely an elder in the Ephesian church. He is likely the only apostle still living at this time as well which would make him a special kind of elder too.
While John does not identify himself by name, this letter bears striking similarities to the gospel of John and 1 John.
Recipients: 2 John 1 addresses “the chosen lady and her children.” It is unknown whether this was a particular woman and her family or whether it was a metaphor for the church. Regardless of the initial recipients, this letter was circulated throughout the early church as a circuit letter and the advice was applicable to all Christians and not just one family or church.
Date: 2 John logically follows the writing of 1 John. More to the point though, this letter was almost certainly written when John was an older man and toward the end of his life. 1 John appears to have been written after John penned his gospel so logically 2 John was also written after this time. This places the writing of the letter some time between 85-95 AD.
Message: While 1 John discusses the heresies of an early form of Gnosticism, 2 John is a short reminder that people should not even associate with the heretics who spread the Gnostic message. Must like the early church evangelists, the Gnostic evangelists went from town to town and stayed with those who would have them.
John urges discernment to whom Christians should give lodging. If they aid a Gnostic by offering lodging, they may inadvertently help spread heresy among the church.
Trivial fact: 2 John is the shortest book of the Bible with only 13 verses. Other one chapter books of the Bible are Obadiah, Philemon, 3 John, and Jude.