Bible Commentaries
2 John 1

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Verse 1


From the Elder. Elder was often used as a title of respect, and it is the aged John the apostle who so speaks of himself here. To the dear Lady. Women played a larger part in the first century church than they often are given credit for. See Lydia (Acts 16:40), Nymphia (Colossians 4:15), etc. [No one knows for sure whether Lady (Kyria) is a title or a name, or whether this is a real woman, or whether John speaks of the church as a dear Lady. The Expositor’s Greek Testament takes Kyria as a real woman.] Who know the truth. John’s love for this Lady and her children is in their common fellowship in the Truth of Christ!

Verse 2


Because the truth. Compare John 15:16-17. John is confident that the truth will be with us forever, that is available forever, and he is confident that the truth will remain in all who love the truth for what it is.

Verse 3


May God. This is John’s word of blessing, from both God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. May they be ours. See 1 John 2:24.

Verse 4


How happy. “I talked with some of your children, and I was happy to find they live in the truth of love!” John writes to warn the Lady about false teachers. It would be a pleasant surprise for him to meet faithful Christians, after battling with the other kind. The Father commanded. “The commandment is Love; Love is living according to His commandments; His commandments are summed up in Love!”

Verse 5


And so I ask you. John speaks in a personal way. Let us all love. Love forms the basis of the Good News, because it was love which caused God to act in Christ to set men free. See note on 1 John 2:7.

Verse 6


Means that we must live. Christian love is not an “ooey-gooey feeling in the tummy,” but a very practical way of living in truth. [The other forms of love are valid in their sphere.] Compare 1 John 5:3; John 14:15; John 14:23. Christian love imitates the life of Christ (1 John 2:7 and note).

Verse 7


Many deceivers. “The truth is that Jesus is The Christ, the Logos in human form. Those who live in truth believe this and love one another. Many follow the spirit of the Enemy of Christ, and deny this is true. I warn you against such people.” The Enemy of Christ. Note that each person who denies that Jesus Christ came as a human being is The Enemy of Christ (The Antichrist). John speaks of not one, but many, who by their failure to love truth, oppose Christ and the Good News.

Verse 8


Watch yourselves. “Do not let anyone fool you and steal away your promise!” Although we do not earn our salvation, still there is a human response that is necessary. Compare what John said in John 4:36; John 6:27. Your reward in full. Eternal life. See 1 John 2:25.

Verse 9


Anyone who does not stay. “Some say that being put right with God through Christ is all right to begin with, but that you must progress on to ‘higher things.’ But do not be fooled by such talk! Anyone who progresses away from the teaching of Christ does not have God!” Whoever does stay. “If you remain faithful to the teaching of Christ and his apostles, you have both the Father and the Son!” See 1 John 5:12.

Verse 10


Who does not bring this teaching. “If someone comes who claims to be a brother, but does not bring this teaching that Jesus Christ came as a human being to be the means of our salvation, then have nothing to do with him!” John connects love with truth and the commandment. One who purposely denies the basic fact of the Logos in human form, and so destroys the “act of God in Christ,” cannot be allowed to continue as part of the messianic community (church). Compare Romans 16:17; Philippians 3:17.

Verse 11


For anyone. “This is not a simple misunderstanding, but a deliberate attempt to destroy Christ’s church! Since these people have made themselves the Enemies of Christ, you must treat them as such!” This does not conflict with Mark 9:38-39 (see notes there) or with Philippians 1:15-18 (see notes there). What John says here must be viewed in the seriousness of the circumstances. She must not do anything that might give this false teacher any hint of help in his work of destroying the faith!!!

Verse 12


So much to tell you. John may have more to say about the false teachers. Perhaps he does not want to write any more harsh things, which could be taken the wrong way. And it would be much better if he were there personally, to see firsthand what was necessary. The aged John looks forward to seeing this dear Lady.

Verse 13


The children. If the Lady is a real woman, then these would be the children of her sister, who were with John. They are Christians also. Note: Christian love is an act of will. It is treating others as God has treated us in Christ. Then, it is something that anyone and everyone has the ability to learn as a Christians Christian love also involves doing God’s will. By imitating God’s character (He is love), we make our lives a living sacrifice to praise and honor Him! See 1 John 3:16-17; 1 John 5:2.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 John 1". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.