希拉波利斯主教帕皮亞在西元二世紀時，寫作了《解釋主所說的話》（κυριακῶν λογίων ἐξηγήσις，Kyriakôn logiôn exêgêsis，英语：Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord），共五卷。在其中提到了一位約翰長老。雖然這本書已經佚失了，但是在愛任紐及優西比烏的著作中，保存了部份內容。
- But I shall not be unwilling to put down, along with my interpretations, whatsoever instructions I received with care at any time from the elders, and stored up with care in my memory, assuring you at the same time of their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those who spoke much, but in those who taught the truth; nor in those who related strange commandments, but in those who rehearsed the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and proceeding from truth itself. If, then, any one who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings,--what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lord's disciples: which things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice.