Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 2 John 1:1-4

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The chosen lady and her children - 2 John 1:1

elder, chosen lady, children. The title elder is also how John identifies himself in 3 John 1. Jewish people used the title elder to show respect to those who supervised and cared for their community. Christians adopted this as well (see notes on Acts 11:30; 15:6, 22; 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Pet. 5:1). This word, along with the word "overseer" was used in the New Testament and other early Christian literature to talk about a specific office of church leader (see notes on 1 Tim 3:1 and Titus 1:5, 7). It is possible that John is being humble not to take the title, apostle, but emphasizing his pastoral relationship more with this designation (see note on 1 Pet. 5:1). The chosen lady or spiritual mother could be a prophetess or patroness who hosted a house church (see notes on 3 Jn. 4; Rev. 2:23). This could also refer to a local congregation, since both the church and Israel were referred to as the Lord's bride. The word for children here is the same one John used in 1 John to refer to the whole congregation (see notes on 1 Jn. 3:1-2, 10; 5:2). Also, John starts by talking about some of your (singular) children who walk in the truth (v. 4). But in the rest of the letter, he talks to all the readers in the second person plural (you all). This suggests the chosen lady and her children is a way of talking about all the members of a local church

The truth that remains in us - 2 John 1:2

the truth that remains in us. Truth is a significant theme in John's writings (see Key Themes above). Truth is possessed and given by the Holy Spirit (see note on 1 Jn. 2:20), who is the truth himself (see notes on 1 Jn. 4:6; 5:6; 3 Jn. 12; Jn. 14:17; 15:26; 16:13) and 'lives or remains in us.'Truth is also something to be practiced, God's standards or will embodied in community (see notes on 1 Jn. 1:6; 2:21; 3:18; 2 Jn. 4; 3 Jn. 3-4; Jn. 3:21; 8:32; 14:15, 23; 15:10, 14). Truth is also God's presence, which enables a Christian to become like God (see notes on 1 Jn. 1:8; 2:4, 21; Jn. 1:14, 17; 4:23-24; 8:32; 16:7; 17:17, 19). Truth can also refer to how things are when things line up with God's wisdom (see notes on 1 Jn. 2:8; Jn. 5:33; 8:40, 44-46). And, truth can refer to the gospel and the eternal life it brings to those who believe it (see notes on 1 Jn. 3:19; 2 Jn. 1-3; 3 Jn. 1, 8; Jn. 14:6; 16:13; 17:17; 18:37).

Grace, mercy, and peace - 2 John 1:3

grace, mercy, and peace. The phrase "mercy and peace" was a Jewish blessing (see note on Gal. 6:16), but Christians added the Greek greeting "grace" expressing both God grace in the gospel and its extension to the nations (see notes on 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Jude 2). John's identification of Jesus as "the Father's Son" is a distinct emphasis of his Christology.

Walking in truth - 2 John 1:4

walking in truth. See WLC 144. John says he rejoiced greatly, a rare word in the NT (used only twelve times, see note on 3 Jn. 3). Paul talks about his joy in the same way eight times (see notes on Rom. 16:19; 1 Cor. 16:17; 2 Cor. 7:9, 16; Phil. 1:18; 2:17; 4:10; Col. 1:24). The phrase "walking in truth" is a biblical phrase describing true wisdom, that is, "walking in the ways of the LORD" (see notes on 2 Kgs. 20:3). The point is that knowing the truth always goes with doing the truth. One cannot have one without the other (see notes on 1 Jn. 1:6-7; 2:6, 11). People who have the truth, as John understands "the truth," have Christ and, therefore, belong to God (see note on 1 Jn. 2:4).

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