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The Letters of John

BC Weekly Digest
Monday, February 8 1999

In this issue:

	2 John 1-13
	2 John 1-13
	2 John 1
	2 John 3,4
	2 John 1
	2 John 1,2
	2 John 3

2 John 1-13

John's Second Letter

  The letter of 2 John was just about the size of a 
postcard with its thirteen verses. 
  It is written by "the elder." Because of the similar 
style and because of the letter's acceptance by early 
churches, it is commonly agreed that "the elder" was the 
apostle John.
  After considering objections made by Moffatt, Dodd and 
others, I find no valid reason to doubt this. When the 
apostles were chosen, John was probably the youngest. Some 
think the other apostles had all died by the time he wrote 
this letter. If so, as the last surviving apostle, John 
would have been "the" elder (eldest) of the apostles.

  I do not even know the approximate year 2 John was 
written. It is difficult to suggest even a probable date. 
As a matter of fact, I have had a great amount of 
difficulty establishing a date for John's other writings 
as well. Some NT books are perplexing as to date, but 
John's are next to impossible. I do not even know the 
chronological sequence of his books. I suppose Cerinthus, 
Basilides or someone like them is referred to, but I have 
been unable to pin down the dates of their sinister 

  There is uncertainty about who is addressed because the 
"chosen lady" or "elect lady" may be taken literally or 
figuratively (see extensive note under "To the elect lady" 
(verse 1). We are at least sure the letter was written to 

  The short letter is cordial and personal but contains 
sharp warnings about erroneous teachings. The same or 
similar false teachers alluded to in 1 John are again 
countered in this letter. They did not believe that Christ 
came in the flesh. Instead, they taught that "Christ" came 
upon Jesus at His baptism and left Him before He died on 
the cross.
Charles Hess


2 John 1-13

1. To the elect lady and her children (verses 1-4).
2. Love one another (verses 5, 6).
3. Many deceivers have gone out into the world 
   (verses 7-11).
4. Conclusion (verses 12, 13).

1.  To the elect lady and her children (verses 1-4).
    a. Whom I love in truth.
    b. Because of the truth.
    c. In truth and love.
    d. I rejoice greatly that I have met [some] of your 
       children who are walking in truth.
2.  Love one another (verses 5, 6).
    a. And this is love: that we walk according to His 
3.  Many deceivers have gone out into the world 
    (verses 7-11).
    a. Who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in 
       the flesh.
    b. Watch out for yourselves, that you do not lose what 
       you have worked for.
    c. Anyone going beyond -- and not remaining in -- the 
       teaching of Christ, does not have God.
    d. If anyone does not bring this teaching, do not 
       receive him.
4.  Conclusion (verses 12, 13).
    a. Hope to come to you, and to speak face to face.
    b. Children of your elect sister greet you.
Charles Hess


2 John 1

2 John 1
1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I 
love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the 
1 The elder
  At the time of writing, John was HO PRESBUTEROS, the 
elder. He was a senior citizen, a member of the older 
generation (compare 1Ti 5:1, 2; 1Pe 5:5, Phm 9). Was he 
also an elder of the church? Would it not seem odd that he 
would call himself "the" elder if he was only one of many 
older men? We know the apostle Peter was an elder of the 
church (1Pe 5:1, 2). Some think John also was an elder in 
this sense. As an apostle, John was also a PRESBEUO, an 
ambassador of Christ (see 2Co 5:20; Eph 6:20), a position 
usually held by older men. If the other apostles had gone 
on to be with the Lord, he might refer to himself as "the 
elder" because he was the only apostle still on earth.
Charles Hess


2 John 3,4

2 John 3
"Grace, mercy [and] peace will be with us from God the 
Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, in truth 
and love"(OPV).
  It is with this form of salutation that each Christian 
should greet his fellow travelers in the Spirit. There are 
three distinct but overlapping benedictions communicated 
here by John.
  1. GRACE This is the unmerited favor of God that He has 
always shown to His children (John 3:16). God has given us 
so much that it is not possible to repay Him. This should 
be our feelings toward God as well as to our fellow saints 
who are in need. Graciousness is the aura of a Christian.
  2. MERCY Mercy is a difficult word to define but it 
includes the clemency of God (1 Peter 2:10).
  The following extensive definition of God's mercy is 
given by W.L.Walker in "The Classic Bible Dictionary" 
(Sovereign Grace Trust Fund, 1988).
  3. PEACE Peace is the characteristic that identifies 
each Christian as a child of God (Matthew 5:9). Without 
peace, one cannot have mercy and without peace one cannot 
have grace. Each of these three characteristics are 
dependent upon the other two.

2 John 4
"I rejoice greatly that I have met [some] of your children 
who are walking in truth, according to the commandment we 
received from the Father."(OPV)
  Each of us should always rejoice in the salvation of 
each other. And we should be warm and hospitable to all 
who have claimed Christ as their Lord. 
  Whether these are indeed the actual children of a 
particular woman, or members of a certain congregation, no 
one knows.
  Whomever they might have been, they were walking in the 
light of God delivered by the Holy Spirit to all the 
writers of the New Testament. There can be no doubt that 
the Bible is the inspired word of our Heavenly Father 
(2 Timothy 3:16)
Howard Justice


2 John 1

2 John 1
1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I 
love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the 
"To the elect lady"
  The Greek KURIA (lady) is thought by some to have been 
a personal name. If so, we might anglicize it as Kyria, 
Kuria, Cyria or Curia. The Greek EKLEKTEE (elect or 
chosen) is generally taken as an adjective modifying 
KURIA. Thus the letter was addressed to the chosen lady 
or the elect Cyria. 
  Some take EKLEKTEE as a proper name but I doubt that. 
Would her "elect" sister have a name so much like hers? 
Does it not seem odd that the sister of the EKLEKTEE KURIA 
(elect lady) would be named ADELPHEES EKLEKTEES (elect or 
chosen sister) (verse 13)? Some have postulated that the 
"elect lady" was a certain Christian woman whom John 
appreciated for her works' sake. The identity of the woman 
has never been confirmed. Was the letter "catholic" and 
addressed to the universal church termed the "elect lady"? 
I doubt that also. If that were the case, who was her 
chosen sister? 
  "Elect" is an adjective applied appropriately to all 
Christians (see 1Pe 5:13). Was the "elect" lady one local 
church and her sister another congregation of the churches 
of Christ? The use of HUMAS and HUMIN, plurals of "you" 
and "to you" (verses 10, 12) does not help much in this 
matter since the letter was addressed to more than one 
person -- to the elect lady and her children. One rule of 
biblical interpretation is to take a passage literally 
unless there is a good reason to understand it 
  Applying this rule with some caution, one may say the 
book was personal, that it was addressed to a certain 
unidentified lady with lessons that apply to other 
individuals and to local congregations as well. The 
lessons apply with just as much force to churches today. 
Charles Hess


2 John 1,2

2 John 1,2 (OPV)
1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I 
love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the 
2 because of the truth abiding in us. And with us it will 
be for ever.

"And her children"
  This may be explained as the literal offspring of the 
"elect lady" or, possibly, her converts. If the elect lady 
is a congregation, then her children might have been the 
members of the congregation or other congregations begun 
by that local church. Her sister could then be the 
congregation where John was when he wrote (verse 13). 
Since John sent greetings from the sister's children, we 
may infer that they were with him when he wrote.

  The word "whom" includes the elect lady and her 

"I love"
  John uses the word AGAPOO, a word for love that 
signifies the kind of unselfish love God has for man and 
which Christians have for each other. The Greek present 
tense suggests John had a continuing love for them. 

"In truth"
  John sincerely loved the "elect lady" and her children. 
His love was profound because of the common bond due to 
their obedience to the truth of the gospel (see 1Pe 1:22). 

"And not only I, but also all who know the truth"
  When one comprehends the great love of God he begins to 
return that love. He cannot love Him without obeying His 
commandments. When one loves God, he also loves God's 
children (see 1Jo 4:20, 21; 5:1, 2). John's love for the 
elect lady and her children was shared by all Christians.
  The truth is knowable (see Joh 8:32). In the sense in 
which John uses the term, knowing the truth means becoming 
a Christian. The truth cannot really abide in one who does 
not respond to it in obedience. 

"Because of the truth"
  The truth is according to "the commandment from the 
Father" (verse 4) and "His commandments" (verse 5). It is 
identical to "the teaching of Christ" (verse 9). It is the 
same truth in which Peter's readers were "established" 
(2Pe 1:12).

"Abiding in us"
  The truth is the gospel seed that abides within the 
heart of faithful Christians (see 1Jo 3:9; compare Lu 

"And with us it will be"
  In Greek "And with us" is in the emphatic position at 
the beginning of the phrase. Unlike the seed on the path 
that was removed by birds (Satan), the seed on the good 
ground will germinate and produce. It will spring up to 
eternal life (compare Mt 13:4, 8; Lu 8:12, 15; Joh 4:14). 

"For ever"
  The word of God is permanent (Mt 24:35; Lu 21:33; 
compare Ps 119:89, 152; Isa 40:8; Mt 5:18; 1Pe 1:25). 
Charles Hess


2 John 3

2 John 3 (OPV)
3 Grace, mercy [and] peace will be with us from God the 
Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, in truth 
and love.
"Grace, mercy [and] peace"
  Our loving God extends grace that takes the form of 
mercy which, when properly received by man, relieves guilt 
and misery and brings life and peace (Joh 3:16; Ro 5:1).
  In six other passages, John uses the same Greek word 
[charis] for grace (Joh 1:14, 16,17; 3Jo 4; Re 1:4; Re 
"Will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus 
  Grace, mercy and peace are blessings from both God the 
Father and from Jesus Christ. Though not conclusive, this 
is strongly indicative of the deity of Christ.
"The Son of the Father"
  John also wrote, "No man has seen God at any time; the 
only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He 
has declared Him" (Joh 1:18). John wrote in his first 
epistle, "And our fellowship is with the Father and with 
His Son, Jesus Christ" (1Jo 1:3; compare 2:22, 23). 
"In truth and love"
  The truth is sincerity (verses 1a, 3). It is also the 
gospel truth in which Christians walk (verses 1b, 4). 
Charles Hess