Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

2 John

- 2 John

by Joseph Sutcliffe

THE SECOND EPISTLE OF JOHN.

CAVEATS with regard to the purity and authenticity of the sacred text have always been heard with attention. Some of the ancients thought, says Du Pin, that it was at least, probable, that the second and the third epistles were not written by John the apostle, but by another John, bishop of the circumcision, or jewish christians in Ephesus, because the name and the title of John do not appear in the beginning. But why this partiality to another John, without some better reasons? Why make him a plagiarist by quoting in this short private letter, eight passages or phrases from the first epistle?

The style is evidently that of John. St. Dennis of Alexandria assures us, that the first epistle is the production of John, and remarks, that two other epistles are attributed to him, and lets the opinion pass undisputed. Eusebius in reciting Dennis’s opinion, leaves it as he found it.

Irenæus, in his first book against heresies, cites the second epistle under the name of John, disciple of the Lord. This does not agree with the John named by Papias, who was only a disciple of the apostles. St. Clement of Alexandria, who cites a passage from the greatest or largest epistle of John, leaves the clear impression, that John had written other epistles.

We thus find the three epistles admitted into the ancient canon of the new testament, and quoted as inspired by the fathers of subsequent ages. As to the criticisms of Grotius, they are of course in unison with his other Arian efforts to reduce all the sacred books to a level with compositions which make no claims to divine inspiration.