The first epistle is anonymous, but as early as the late second century it was attributed to John the apostle. This tradition has significant support; it stands today as a solid attribution, even if not universally accepted. The second and third Johannine letters have been less clearly identified with this John. The author of the two shorter letters refers to himself as “the presbyter” or “the elder” and many, both ancient and modern, have thought this suggests a different person from the apostle.
But 1 John and 2 John appear to address the same set of problems and thus to originate at about the same time.