"THE SECOND EPISTLE OF JOHN"
A Letter To A Lady And Her Children 2 Jn 1:1-3
1. In the First Century A.D., the early church enjoyed remarkable
growth and spread throughout the world at that time - cf. Ac 8:5;
Ro 10:14-18; Col 1:5-6; Col 1:23
2. What accounted for this spread of the gospel? There were likely
several factors, but one was certainly the "hospitality" of the
a. Paul was able to travel and depend upon Christians opening their
homes to him - cf. Philemon 22
b. He encouraged Christians to support those who were teachers of
good things - Ga 6:6
c. John commended and encouraged those who provided lodging and
support for traveling missionaries - 3 Jn 1:5
3. But showing such "hospitality" was not without its potential for
supporting the spread of false teachers and their doctrines...
a. It would be easy for teachers of error to take advantage of the
Christians' natural propensity to be hospitable to strangers
b. Thus it was necessary to counsel Christians to use proper
discernment in sending traveling teachers on their way
4. The Second Epistle of John, consisting of just one chapter,
addresses this very problem
a. Written to "the elect lady and her children" (see comments on
b. In which warning is given against showing hospitality to certain
teachers - cf. 2 Jn 1:10-11
[In this study, the first of three lessons on Second John, we shall
consider some background information of the epistle and then John's
salutation as found in verses 1-3...]
I. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
A. THE AUTHOR - "THE ELDER"
1. Believed by most conservative scholars to be the apostle John
2. The INTERNAL evidence...
a. The three epistles of John utilize much the same language
b. All bear similarity to concepts and language to the Gospel
c. The term "elder" would be a fitting description of John as
the author, writing in his old age
3. The EXTERNAL evidence...
a. Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp (who in turn was an
associate of John), quotes from it and mentions the apostle
John by name
b. Both Clement of Alexandria and Dionysius, living in the
third century A.D., credit John with being the author
B. RECIPIENTS - "THE ELECT LADY AND HER CHILDREN"
1. Taken literally, the epistle is written to a particular woman
and her children
a. Many scholars understand this to be the case; e.g.,
Plummer, Ross, Ryrie
b. Some have even supposed the Greek words for "elect lady"
may refer to given names:
1) Electa the Lady
2) The chosen Kyria
3) Electa Kyria
2. Taken figuratively, it could refer to a local church
a. Scholars who hold to this view include Brooke, Bruce,
Marshall, Stott, Westcott
b. They understand that "elect lady and her children" 2 Jn 1:1 and
"children of your elect sister" 2 Jn 1:13 refer to particular
3. Desiring to allow the most obvious meaning of Scripture to be
the most correct meaning, I am willing to accept the literal
C. PLACE AND DATE OF WRITING
1. Ephesus is usually suggested as the location from which John
wrote this epistle, as he was known to live there in the later
years of his life
2. Estimation of the date of writing varies widely, some placing
it before the destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.), most however
placing it around 90-95 A.D.
D. PURPOSE OF THE EPISTLE
1. To encourage brotherly love, and keeping the commandments of
God - 2 Jn 1:5-6
2. To warn against supporting or encouraging false teachers -
2 Jn 1:10-11
E. BRIEF OUTLINE
1. Greetings (2 Jn 1:1-3)
2. Exhortation to walk in truth and love 2 Jn 1:4-6
3. Warning not to receive false teachers 2 Jn 1:7-11
4. Concluding remarks 2 Jn 1:12-13
[With this brief background to the epistle, let's take a closer look
II. THE SALUTATION 2 Jn 1:1-3
A. "THE ELDER, TO THE ELECT LADY AND HER CHILDREN..." 2 Jn 1:1-2
1. As discussed in the previous section, I understand John to
address a particular lady and her children
2. Concerning this lady and her children, John writes of...
a. His love for them: "whom I love in truth" (that is, whom
he truly loves)
b. The love held for them by others who are Christians ("those
who have known the truth")
3. The basis for this love?
a. Not for any personal charm or unusual attractiveness
b. But because of "the truth which abides in us"
1) This "truth" may summarize all that is contained in
Jesus Christ and His gospel
2) Sharing in this "truth" naturally engenders love for one
3) Especially the sort of "true love" or "sincere love"
made possible by our obedience to the truth - cf. 1 Pe 1:22-23
B. "GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE WILL BE WITH YOU..." 2 Jn 1:3
1. Not so much a prayer (as usually found elsewhere), but a
2. These three words refer to wonderful blessings from God
a. "grace" - unmerited favor, which God bestows on the
b. "mercy" - compassion, shown toward the guilty and helpless
c. "peace" - tranquility, which is the result of receiving
God's grace and mercy
3. The SOURCE of these blessings
a. "from God the Father"
b. "from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father"
-- together with verse 9, John makes it clear the Father and
the Son are two distinct personalities in the Godhead
4. The SPHERE in which these blessings are to be found: "in
truth and love"
a. Grace, mercy, and peace are realized only when truth is
honored and held
b. They are experienced only when the command to love is kept
(e.g., there is no mercy shown to the unloving and
1. With the words "in truth and love", John sets the tone for what is
to follow in his letter...
a. An exhortation to keep the commandment to love one another
b. A warning against supporting those who would deny the truth
2. With this introduction to "A Letter To A Lady And Her Children", I
hope that I have set the tone for what should always be true in our
relationship as Christians...
a. A true love for one another because of the truth that we all
b. A desire to walk in truth and love, for only then can we truly
receive grace, mercy, and peace
Have you received the grace, mercy, and peace that comes only from God
the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father?
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