2 John 1:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
The elder, To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth--and not I only, but also all who know the truth--

New Living Translation
This letter is from John, the elder. I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth--as does everyone else who knows the truth--

English Standard Version
The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth,

New American Standard Bible
The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth,

King James Bible
The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The Elder: To the elect lady and her children: I love all of you in the truth--and not only I, but also all who have come to know the truth--

International Standard Version
From: The Elder To: The chosen lady and her children, whom I genuinely love, and not only I but also all who know the truth,

NET Bible
From the elder, to an elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth (and not I alone, but also all those who know the truth),

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
The Elder to The Elect lady and her children, those whom I love in the truth, but it is not I only, but also all those who know the truth,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
From the church leader. To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love because we share the truth. I'm not the only one who loves you. Everyone who knows the truth also loves you.

Jubilee Bible 2000
The elder unto the chosen lady and her sons, whom I love in the truth, and not I only, but also all those that have known the truth,

King James 2000 Bible
The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

American King James Version
The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

American Standard Version
The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not I only, but also all they that know the truth;

Douay-Rheims Bible
The ancient to the lady Elect, and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth,

Darby Bible Translation
The elder to [the] elect lady and her children, whom *I* love in truth, and not *I* only but also all who have known the truth,

English Revised Version
The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not I only, but also all they that know the truth;

Webster's Bible Translation
The elder to the elect lady, and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

Weymouth New Testament
The Elder to the elect lady and her children. Truly I love you all, and not I alone, but also all who know the truth,

World English Bible
The elder, to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not I only, but also all those who know the truth;

Young's Literal Translation
The Elder to the choice Kyria, and to her children, whom I love in truth, and not I only, but also all those having known the truth,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

1:1-3 Religion turns compliments into real expressions of respect and love. And old disciple is honourable; an old apostle and leader of disciples is more so. The letter is to a noble Christian matron, and her children; it is well that the gospel should get among such: some noble persons are called. Families are to be encouraged and directed in their love and duties at home. Those who love truth and piety in themselves, should love it in others; and the Christians loved this lady, not for her rank, but for her holiness. And where religion truly dwells, it will abide for ever. From the Divine Persons of the Godhead, the apostle craves grace, Divine favour, and good-will, the spring of all good things. It is grace indeed that any spiritual blessing should be given to sinful mortals. Mercy, free pardon, and forgiveness; for those already rich in grace, need continual forgiveness. Peace, quietness of spirit, and a clear conscience, in assured reconciliation with God, together with all outward prosperity that is really for good: these are desired in truth and love.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 1. - The elder. Not an unlikely appellation to have been given to the last surviving apostle. Other apostles had been called elders; their successors also were called elders; but St. John was "the elder." That there was a second John at Ephesus, who was known as "the elder," to distinguish him from the apostle and evangelist, is a theory of Eusebius, based upon a doubtful interpretation of an awkwardly worded passage in Papias. But it is by no means certain that any such person ever existed. Irenaeus, who had read Papias, and been intimate with Polycarp, the disciple of St. John, seems to know nothing of any such person. Even if he existed, there is little reason for attributing this Epistle to him; it is too like the First Epistle to be by a different author. Unto the elect lady. This rendering of ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ should be retained: ἐκλεκτή cannot be a proper name, on account of verse 13; κυρία need not be one. We commit ourselves to nothing that is disputable if we render κυρία "lady;" whereas if we render it "Kyria" it is open to any one to object that perhaps the lady's name was not Kyria, and that perhaps she is not an individual at all, but a Church. She is elect, as being chosen out of the dominion of the evil one (1 John 5:19) into the Christian family. She is thus reminded at the outset of the relationship between them; she is a member of that elect company of believers of which he is the elder. It is futile to ask who this lady is. There have been various conjectures, some of them absurd; but we know no more than the letter itself tells us. Evidently the lady and her children were not among the great ones of the earth; they have made no name in the world. And herein lies one of the chief lessons of the Epistle. Those mentioned in it were ordinary people, such as any Church in any generation might produce. But because they were faithful, and endeavoured to live up to their calling, the apostle loved them, and all true Christians loved them, and he dared to assure them that "grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Son of the Father" should be their portion. Any Christian minister may give the same assurance to faithful Christians, however humble and inconspicuous, still. They may win no place in the history of the world that is passing away; but they have a place in the heart of him who abideth for ever. Note the characteristic repetition of the characteristic word "truth," which occurs five times in the first four verses. All words respecting truth and bearing witness to it are characteristic of St. John. In two of the five cases "truth" has the article; "all they that know the truth; for the truth's sake which abideth in us." It is not impossible that "the truth" here means him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Christ is the Revelation of Divine truth to man. All who know him love all faithful Christians for his sake. To the apostle truth was not a mere notion, "or a set of notions, however large and accurate; it was no theory about God, but God himself, and God manifest in the flesh in order that we might know him and partake his life."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

The elder unto the elect lady and her children,.... By the "elder" is meant the writer of this epistle, the Apostle John, who so calls himself either on account of his age, he being now near an hundred years of age, having outlived all the apostles: or on account of his office, being a bishop or overseer, not only of the church at Ephesus, but of all the Asiatic churches, which is the same with an elder; nor is this incompatible with his being an apostle; see 1 Peter 5:1, the elect lady is the person he writes unto; by whom is designed not the church of Christ, since such a way of speaking is unusual; and besides, he speaks of coming to see her face to face, and of the children of her elect sister: but some particular person, some rich, as well as gracious woman of John's acquaintance; and these words, "elect lady", are neither of them proper names of the person: some think that the word "Kyria", rendered "lady", was the name of the person, as "Domina" with the Romans, and answers to the Hebrew word "Martha"; for as "Mar", signifies lord, so "Martha, lady"; and then the inscription runs, "to the choice" or "excellent Martha"; and the Syriac and Arabic versions read, "to the elect Kyria": and others think that the word rendered elect is a proper name, and that this person's name was "Electa", as "Electus" (d) is a man's name; and then it must read thus, "to the lady Electa"; but her sister also is so called, and it can hardly be thought that two sisters should be both of a name; neither of them are proper names, but characters and titles of respect and honour: she is called a "lady", because she was a person of distinction and substance, which shows that God sometimes calls by his grace some that are rich and noble; and also that titles of respect and honour, where flattery is avoided, may be lawfully given to persons of dignity and wealth; so Nazianzen (e) calls his own mother by the same title; and it was usual to call women by this name from fourteen years of age (f): and this person also is said to be "elect"; either because she was a choice, famous, and excellent person, not only for her birth, nobility, and riches, but for her virtue, grace, and good works; or because she was chosen unto eternal life and salvation; and which the apostle might know without a special and divine revelation, by the Gospel coming with power to her; by the grace that was wrought in her; by the faith of God's elect, which she appeared to have, seeing it worked by love; and which may be, and ought to be concluded in a judgment of charity, of everyone that professes faith in Christ, and walks according to it; and this also makes it appear that election is of particular persons, and not of nations, communities, and churches, as such; nor is it unusual to salute single persons under this character; see Romans 16:13, this epistle is inscribed not only to this lady, but also to "her children"; who were not infants, but grown up, and had made a profession of the truth, and walked in it, 2 John 1:4, and both the mother and the children the apostle represents as the objects of his love:

whom I love in the truth; either as being in the truth and faith of the Gospel; for though all men are to be loved as men, and to be done well to, yet they that are of the household of faith, or are in the faith, are in and especial manner to be loved and respected; see Galatians 6:10; or the sense is, that the apostle loved this lady and her children sincerely and heartily, without dissimulation; not in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth, 1 John 3:18,

and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; either the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the truth; not with a notional knowledge, but with the knowledge of approbation and affection; with a fiducial and appropriating one: or the Gospel, the word of truth; not with a speculative, but with a spiritual and experimental knowledge of it: and this is not to be understood of every individual person then living, which had such a knowledge of the truth; for it cannot be reasonably thought that every individual person should know this lady and her children; but of all such persons who had any knowledge of them; for such who are born again by the word of truth, love not only him that begot them, but all those who are begotten of him: this shows in what sense the word "all" is sometimes taken.

(d) Herodian. Hist. l. 1. c. 51, 52, 53, 54. (e) Epist. ad Basil. 4. p. 769. vol. 1.((f) Epictet. Enchirid. c. 62.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

THE SECOND AND THIRD EPISTLES GENERAL OF JOHN Commentary by A. R. Faussett

INTRODUCTION

Authenticity.—That these two Epistles were written by the same author appears from their similarity of tone, style, and sentiments. That John, the beloved disciple, was the author of the Second and Third Epistles, as of the First Epistle, appears from Irenæus [Against Heresies, 1.16.3], who quotes 2Jo 10, 11; and in [3.16.8], he quotes 2Jo 7, mistaking it, however, as if occurring in First John. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 192) [Miscellanies, 2.66], implies his knowledge of other Epistles of John besides the First Epistle; and in fragments of his Adumbrations [p. 1011], he says, "John's Second Epistle which was written to the virgins (Greek, "parthenous"; perhaps Parthos is what was meant) is the simplest; but it was written to a certain Babylonian named the Elect lady." Dionysius of Alexandria (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 7.25]) observes that John never names himself in his Epistles, "not even in the Second and Third Epistles, although they are short Epistles, but simply calls himself the presbyter, a confutation of those who think John the apostle distinct from John the presbyter. Alexander of Alexandria cites 2Jo 10, 11, as John's [Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, 1.6]. Cyprian [Concerning the Baptism of Heretics], in referring to the bishops at the Council of Carthage, says, "John the apostle, in His Epistle, has said, if any come to you" (2Jo 10); so that this Epistle, and therefore its twin sister, Third John, was recognized as apostolic in the North African Church. The Muratori fragment is ambiguous. The Second and Third Epistles were not in the Peschito or old Syriac version; and Cosmas Indicopleustes in the sixth century says that in his time the Syriac Church only acknowledged three of the Catholic Epistles, First Peter, First John, and James. But Ephrem the Syrian quotes the Second Epistle of John. Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History,] reckons both Epistles among the Antilegomena or controverted Scriptures, as distinguished from the Homologoumena or universally acknowledged from the first. Still his own opinion was that the two minor Epistles were genuine, remarking, as he does in Demonstration of the Gospel [3.5], that in John's "Epistles" he does not mention his own name, nor call himself an apostle or evangelist, but an "elder" (2Jo 1; 3Jo 1). Origen (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 6.25]) mentions the Second and Third Epistles, but adds, "not all admit (implying that most authorities do) their genuineness." Jerome [On Illustrious Men, 9] mentions the two latter Epistles as attributed to John the presbyter, whose sepulcher was shown among the Ephesians in his day. But the designation "elder" was used of the apostles by others (for example, Papias, in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 3.39]), and is used by Peter, an apostle, of himself (1Pe 5:1). Why, then, should not John also use this designation of himself, in consonance with the humility which leads him not to name himself or his apostleship even in the First Epistle? The Antilegomena were generally recognized as canonical soon after the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325). Thus Cyril of Jerusalem, A.D. 349, enumerates fourteen Epistles of Paul, and seven Catholic Epistles. So Gregory Nazianzen, in A.D. 389. The Councils of Hippo, 393, and Carthage, 397, adopted a catalogue of New Testament books exactly agreeing with our canon. So our oldest extant Greek manuscripts. The Second and Third Epistles of John, from their brevity (which Origen notices), and the private nature of their contents, were less generally read in the earliest Christian assemblies and were also less quoted by the Fathers; hence arose their non-universal recognition at the first. Their private nature makes them the less likely to be spurious, for there seems no purpose in their forgery. The style and coloring too accord with the style of the First Epistle.

To whom addressed.—The Third Epistle is directed to Gaius or Caius; whether Gaius of Macedonia (Ac 19:20), or Gaius of Corinth (Ro 16:23; 1Co 1:14), or Gaius of Derbe (Ac 20:4), it is hard to decide. Mill believes Gaius, bishop of Pergamos [Apostolic Constitutions, 7.40], to be the person addressed in 3Jo 1.

The address of the Second Epistle is more disputed. It opens, "The elder unto the Elect lady" (2Jo 1). And it closes, "The children of thy elect sister greet thee" (2Jo 13). Now, 1Pe 1:1, 2, addresses the elect in Asia, &c., and closes (1Pe 5:13), "The Church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you." Putting together these facts, with the quotations (above) from Clement of Alexandria, and the fact that the word "Church" comes from a Greek word (kyriake) cognate to the Greek for "lady" (kyria; "belonging to the Lord," kyrios); Wordsworth's view is probable. As Peter in Babylon had sent the salutations of the elect Church in the then Parthian (see above on Clement of Alexandria) Babylon to her elect sister in Asia, so John, the metropolitan president of the elect Church in Asia, writes to the elect lady, that is, Church, in Babylon. Neander, Alford, and others, think the Greek "kyria" not to mean "lady," but to be her proper name; and that she had a "sister, a Christian matron," then with John.

Date and place of writing.—Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 3.25] relates that John, after the death of Domitian, returned from his exile in Patmos to Ephesus, and went on missionary tours into the heathen regions around, and also made visitations of the churches around, and ordained bishops and clergy. Such journeys are mentioned, 2Jo 12; 3Jo 10, 14. If Eusebius be right, both Epistles must have been written after the Apocalypse, in his old age, which harmonizes with the tone of the Epistles, and in or near Ephesus. It was on one of his visitation tours that he designed to rebuke Diotrephes (3Jo 9, 10).

2Jo 1-13. Address: Greeting: Thanksgiving for the Elect Lady's Faithfulness in the Truth: Enjoins Love: Warns against Deceivers, Lest We Lose Our Reward: Conclusion.

1. The elder—In a familiar letter John gives himself a less authoritative designation than "apostle"; so 1Pe 5:1.

lady—Bengel takes the Greek as a proper name Kyria, answering to the Hebrew "Martha." Being a person of influence, "deceivers" (2Jo 7) were insinuating themselves into her family to seduce her and her children from the faith [Tirinus], whence John felt it necessary to write a warning to her. (But see my Introduction and 1Pe 5:13). A particular Church, probably that at Babylon, was intended. "Church" is derived from Greek "Kuriake," akin to Kuria, or Kyria here; the latter word among the Romans and Athenians means the same as ecclesia, the term appropriated to designate the Church assembly.

love in the truth—Christian love rests on the Christian truth (2Jo 3, end). Not merely "I love in truth," but "I love in THE truth."

all—All Christians form one fellowship, rejoicing in the spiritual prosperity of one another. "The communion of love is as wide as the communion of faith" [Alford].

2 John 1:1 Additional Commentaries
Context
Greeting from the Elder
1The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:…
Cross References
John 8:32
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Acts 11:30
This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

Romans 16:13
Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.

1 Timothy 2:4
who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

1 Peter 5:1
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ's sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed:

1 Peter 5:13
She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark.

1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

2 John 1:3
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love.

2 John 1:5
And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.

2 John 1:13
The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings.

3 John 1:1
The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
Treasury of Scripture

The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

A. D.

1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and …

3 John 1:1 The elder to the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

the elect lady.

2 John 1:5,13 And now I beseech you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment …

Luke 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all …

Ephesians 1:4,5 According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the …

1 Thessalonians 1:3,4 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, …

2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved …

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification …

whom.

2 John 1:2,3 For the truth's sake, which dwells in us, and shall be with us for ever…

1 Peter 1:22,23 Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through …

1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but …

3 John 1:1 The elder to the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

known.

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Galatians 2:5,14 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the …

Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey …

Galatians 5:7 You did run well; who did hinder you that you should not obey the truth?

Colossians 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof you heard …

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved …

1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge …

1 John 2:21 I have not written to you because you know not the truth, but because …

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