The Book of 2nd John

James Deering -

The Second Epistle of John

The second and third Epistles of John present us with the closest approximations in the New Testament to the conventional letter-form of the contemporary Greco-Roman world. The second epistle, which deals with the same general problem as the first epistle, but apparently in reference to the particular situation of one local group or house-church.



2 John 1:1

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,



                for the sake of the truth

                        which abides in us and

                        will be with us forever:


The Elder – Commonly used in the early church of one who either personally knew Jesus Christ (and apostle), or was someone who was one generation away; i.e., someone who was someone who would have upheld the teachings of the apostles as a leader. This person certainly would not hold himself up as “The” elder who represents the entire “church.”


Chosen Lady – It is possible that this well known figure’s actual name could be “Kyria” (feminine of “call or called one”) or even “Electa” (feminine of elect or elect one). Regardless of this woman’s name her reputation is of renown. Many scholars think that John is writing of this lady as an euphemism for a particular local assembly or local church that, like the church at Rome when Paul wrote Romans, was in high esteem because of her dedication and evangelical work for Christ. Wherever the truth lies as to these names continues to be an open question.


Her Children – Either her children or new converts to Christianity through this local assembly, depending upon your interpretation of “Chosen Lady.”



The Truth – To John, those who are “of the truth,” those “who know the truth,” is a knowledge of the one who is the truth (John 1The Truth – To John, those who are “of the truth,” those “who know the truth,” is a knowledge of the one who is the truth (John 14:6) and they share that love of the truth with John.


The Truth which abides in us – Similar in structure to John’s statement in John 14:17, “he abide in you and is in you.” No surprise here that Truth can be spoken in the same terms as God’s Holy Spirit, for it is through the “Spirit of Truth” that He who is Truth incarnate dwells perpetually in and with His people.




mercy and


        will be with us,

        from God the Father and

        from Jesus Christ,

                the Son of the Father,

in truth and love.


Grace, Mercy, and Peace - a common salutation of John, Paul, and Jude.


The Son of the Father – used only once in the Scriptures it gives yet another perspective of the relationship of the members of the Trinity and the special relationship of the Son to the Father.


In Truth and Love – Where “Truth and Love” coexist harmoniously, we have e well-balanced Christian character (Eph. 4:15, [as little children that should not be thrown about by every strange doctrine, “but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”



I was very glad

        to find some of your children

                walking in truth,

                        just as we have received the commandment:

                                to do from the Father.


I was very glad – John writes of his thankfulness that SOME of her (person or church) children continue to walk in truth (remembering that John is writing in all three epistles about false teachers and teachings). It is also possible that John is speaking about only those, out of all her children, that he has recently met (may not be implying that only some have continued in truth). It is his joy after meeting them that has caused the writing of this letter.


Just as – It is always a joy to meet those we knew in the faith after many years, and find them still laboring for our Lord. John is thankful and joyful that those he has met have not wandered away from the original truths of the Gospel of God.



And now I ask you, lady,

        (not as writing to you a new commandment, but

        the one which we have had from the beginning,)

                   that we love one another.


And now – John now changes the direction of the conversation around from praise to the reinforcement of the New Commandments of Jesus, “To Love God with all our hearts, and to love each other as ourselves.”


From the beginning – this beginning is from the time Jesus spoke these commandments to them (Matthew 1:22).


Love One Another – The word “propitious” keeps coming up in John’s writings. It is our job to love each other – as He has first loved us. It was He who first loved, it was He who reconciled the whole world on the issue of sin, it was He who paid the price through the sacrifice of His Son. So that He could righteously stand in the doorway with His arms wide open to sinful man – that is the manner in which He calls us to love each other. There should be no offence taken as the result of any action from a brother or sister in Christ – He calls us to be “propitious,” to stand ready to reconcile, at any cost, where a brother or sister is concerned.



And this is love,

        that we walk

                according to His commandments.


This is the commandment,

        (just as you have heard from the beginning,)

        that you should walk in it.


And this is Love – In case they missed it, John is saying it all over again. You have been given a commandment, and this is it, “that you should walk in propitious Love toward one another.”



For many deceivers

        have gone out into the world,

        those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ

                as coming in the flesh.

                        This is the deceiver and the antichrist.


Many deceivers – there are those, some originally from inside the church, who preach another gospel. The Gnostic lie is a hateful lie. It teaches that the human side of life is corrupt and evil, it cannot find or is worthy of salvation. They taught that Jesus could not have come in the flesh and still be deity, for the flesh is evil and corrupt. Their followers were allowed to pursue sinful lusts and acts. They were allowed to hate and kill, because the body was evil. Not so the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


He did come in the flesh, but He came as God in the flesh. One being, both God and man, eternally bound together. And the end result of that binding was that human flesh was now under obligation to Jesus Christ and under the obligation to act toward one another, “in the bonds of love,” having been totally reconciled to each other as the Father is reconciled to each of us, because He is propitious.



Watch yourselves,

        that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but

        that you may receive a full reward.


Watch yourselves - John now turns to stern exhortations. This would indicate that there were many who were possible apostates among the local church – Those who sit upon the fence, as it were. It is possible for members of a local assembly to be deceived. Spiritual deception leads to spiritual darkness when you buy into it. John is not only saying that those who are deceived will loose their opportunity for rewards, but that those who fall away also take something from the assembly and the various ministries of that assembly, even if it is just the good name of the group, they stand to loose much when fellow worshipers fall away.



        Anyone who

                goes too far and

                does not abide in the teaching of Christ,

                does not have God;

                (the one who abides in the teaching,

                he has both the Father and the Son.)


Does not abide – Abiding is the key to understanding being In-Christ. It is not just the momentary experience, but the long term service and faith that indicates the believer. Many are a “flash in the pan,” some even “flash” for years before demonstrating that the are in fact apostate.


Anyone … does not abide in the teaching of Christ … does not have God – This is a very serious statement. Check your FAITH, is it centered in Jesus Christ? Is your life driven by His teachings – do you live for His word? If not – you do not have God, If you don’t have Jesus, you don’t have the Father.



        If anyone

                comes to you and

                does not bring this teaching,

                        do not receive him into your house, and

                        do not give him a greeting;

                                11  for the one who gives him a greeting

                                        participates in his evil deeds.


Anyone – John is using hyperbole here (exaggeration to prove a point). His meaning is that if, as the local assembly you invite a speaker, teacher, preacher, etc., and he does not bring the message of Christ and His gospel, you are to show him the door, and then have nothing to do with him. John is not saying that you should abandon evangelism when it becomes obvious that the person you’re evangelizing is not a Christian – Duh! By all means do what every you can in the process of introducing others to Christ – have them in your home, love them, care for them, but If they come PREACHING another gospel – depart from them and their endeavors so that you will no be associated with them and their gospel.



Having many things to write to you,

        I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but

                I hope to come to you and speak face to face,

                        that your joy may be made full.


Your Joy… - The full joy is in the message that John wants to deliver, not that his presence will make them joyful. The Joy is in the Lord, and the fullness there of.



The children of your chosen sister greets you.


Your chosen sister - As we mentioned at the beginning, this can be a message between two sisters greeting each other, or two churches. I lean toward the church interpretation, but only because I want to see it that way.


But either way, the message is the same – the relationship is a fruitful one and there are children of the faith, there would be no continuing assembly or faith, without the spiritual children of evangelism and ministry.