2 John and 3 John are both short enough to fit on one sheet of papyrus, in the form of a letter. Their content is unremarkable. Therefore their survival and inclusion in the Canon points to early belief that their author the elder was prominent.[1 p.26] The author was able to instruct the churches because he embodied Christian tradition, and was well known, so no name need be mentioned.[1 p.29] But the absence of any personal name from the letter implies that it was written in a time of persecution, when the believers operated in secret.
One would not expect a short private letter to be written in the same style as a Gospel that is seventy times as long.[1 p.32], but the letters of John address children and friends, as Jesus does John's Gospel.[1 p.35]
It is tempting to speculate that the "chosen lady" might be Mary the mother of Jesus.
© David Billin 2002–2021