One of the most important keys to understanding Scripture is recognizing to whom they are written and to whom they are not. That’s not to say that any part of the Bible is to be avoided; it’s all for us and is profitable (2 Tim. 3:16); it just simply isn’t all to us. As one of the twelve apostles to Israel, John’s writings concerned the fulfillment of prophecy to Israel and were not to churches started by the apostle Paul (cf. Jas. 1:1; 1 Pet. 2:12; 4:3; 3 John 1:7).
The three epistles of John and the other so-called “General Epistles” were written for those who, in the last days (1 John 2:18), will face the Tribulation, which is why they teach a future salvation conditional on faith and works (1 John 2:3; 3:24; Jas. 2:14,24), and why the emphasis is on acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God, instead of believing in the death, burial, and resurrection (cf. 1 John 2:2; 4:2,3,15; 5:13,20). As far as to whom they were given upon completion, we are left to a certain amount of speculation.
In the case of the three epistles of John, he addresses the second to an “elect lady” (2 John 1:1) and the third to a man by the name of Gaius (3 John 1:1), and so we would conclude these letters were given to these individuals apart from any church.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.