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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
2 John 1



Verse 1

And her children (και τοις τεκνοις αυτηςkai tois teknois autēs). As with εκλεκτη κυριαeklektē kuria so here τεκναtekna may be understood either literally as in 1 Timothy 3:4, or spiritually, as in Galatians 4:19, Galatians 4:25; 1 Timothy 1:2. For the spiritual sense in τεκνιαteknia see 1 John 2:1, 1 John 2:12.

Whom (ουςhous). Masculine accusative plural, though τεκνοιςteknois is neuter plural (dative), construction according to sense, not according to grammatical gender, “embracing the mother and the children of both sexes” (Vincent). See thus ουςhous in Galatians 4:19.

I (ΕγωEgō). Though ο πρεσβυτεροςho presbuteros is third person, he passes at once after the Greek idiom to the first and there is also special emphasis here in the use of αγαπωagapō with the addition of εν αλητειαιen alētheiāi (in truth, in the highest sphere, as in John 17:19; 3 John 1:1) and ουκ εγω μονοςouk egō monos (not I only, “not I alone”). Brooke argues that this language is unsuitable if to a single family and not to a church. But Paul employs this very phrase in sending greetings to Prisca and Aquila (Romans 16:4).

That know (οι εγνωκοτεςhoi egnōkotes). Perfect active articular participle of γινωσκωginōskō “those that have come to know and still know.”

Verse 2

For the truth‘s sake (δια την αλητειανdia tēn alētheian). Repetition of the word, one of which John is very fond (1 John 1:6, “the truth, as revealed by the Christ, and gradually unfolded by the Spirit, who is truth” (Brooke).

Which abideth in us (την μενουσαν εν ημινtēn menousan en hēmin). See John 17:19 for “sanctified in truth” and 1 John 2:6 for abiding in Christ, and so it includes all who are in Christ.

It shall be with us (μετ ημων εσταιmeth' hēmōn estai). Confident assertion, not a mere wish. Note the order of the words, “With us it shall be” (εσταιestai future middle of ειμιeimi).

Verse 3

Shall be with us (εσται μετ ημωνestai meth' hēmōn). He picks up the words before in reverse order. Future indicative here, not a wish with the optative (ειεeie) as we have in 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2. The salutation is like that in the Pastoral Epistles: “ΧαριςCharis the wellspring in the heart of God; ελεοςeleos its outpourings; ειρηνηeirēnē its blessed effect” (David Smith).

And from Jesus Christ (και παρα Ιησου Χριστουkai para Iēsou Christou). The repetition of παραpara (with the ablative) is unique. “It serves to bring out distinctly the twofold personal relation of man to the Father and to the Son” (Westcott). “The Fatherhood of God, as revealed by one who being His Son can reveal the Father, and who as man (ΙησουIēsou) can make him known to men” (Brooke).

Verse 4

I rejoice (εχαρηνecharēn). Second aorist passive of χαιρωchairō as in 3 John 1:3, “of a glad surprise” (D. Smith), as in Mark 14:11, over the discovery about the blessing of their godly home on these lads.

Greatly (λιανlian). Only here and 3 John 1:3 in John‘s writings.

I have found (ευρηκαheurēka). Perfect active indicative of ευρισκωheuriskō as in John 1:41, our “eureka,” here with its usual force, a continued discovery. “He sits down at once and writes to Kyria. How glad she would be that her lads, far away in the great city, were true to their early faith” (David Smith).

Certain of thy children (εκ των τεκνωνek tōn teknōn). No τιναςtinas as one would expect before εκek a not infrequent idiom in the N.T. (John 16:17).

Walking (περιπατουνταςperipatountas). Present active accusative supplementary participle agreeing with τιναςtinas understood. Probably members of the church off here in Ephesus.

In truth (εν αλητειαιen alētheiāi). As in 2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:4.

We received (ελαβομενelabomen). Second aorist active (possibly, though not certainly, literary plural) of λαμβανωlambanō This very idiom (εντολην λαμβανωentolēn lambanō) in John 10:18; Acts 17:15; Colossians 4:10. Perhaps the reference here is to 1 John 2:7.; 1 John 3:23.

Verse 5

Beseech (ερωτωerōtō). For pray as in 1 John 5:16.

Lady (κυριαkuria). Vocative case and in the same sense as in 2 John 1:1.

As though I wrote (ως γραπωνhōs graphōn). Common idiom ωςhōs with the participle (present active) for the alleged reason.

New (καινηνkainēn). As in 1 John 2:7., which see.

We had (ειχαμενeichamen). Imperfect active (late α̇a form like ειχανeichan in Mark 8:7) of εχωechō and note ειχετεeichete with απ αρχηςap' archēs in 1 John 2:7. Not literary plural, John identifying all Christians with himself in this blessing.

That we love one another (ινα αγαπωμεν αλληλουςhina agapōmen allēlous). Either a final clause after ερωτωerōtō as in John 17:15 or an object clause in apposition with εντοληνentolēn like 1 John 2:27; 1 John 3:23 and like 2 John 1:6.

Verse 6

Love (η αγαπηhē agapē). The love just mentioned.

That we should walk (ινα περιπατωμενhina peripatōmen). Object clause in nominative case in apposition with αγαπηagapē with ιναhina and the present active subjunctive of περιπατεωperipateō “that we keep on walking.”

The commandment (η εντοληhē entolē). The one just mentioned with the same construction with ιναhina as in 1 John 3:23. John changes from the first person plural to the second (ηκουσατεēkousate as in 1 John 2:7, περιπατητεperipatēte) as in 1 John 2:5, 1 John 2:7.

In it (εν αυτηιen autēi). Either to αλητειαιalētheiāi (truth) of 2 John 1:4, αγαπηagapē of this verse, or εντοληentolē of this verse. Either makes good sense, probably “in love.” With περιπατεωperipateō (walk) we have often ενen (1 John 1:7; 1 John 2:11, etc.) or καταkata (according to) as in Mark 7:5; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 10:2, etc.

Verse 7

Deceivers (πλανοιplanoi). Late adjective (Diodorus, Josephus) meaning wandering, roving (1 Timothy 4:1). As a substantive in N.T. of Jesus (Matthew 27:63), of Paul (2 Corinthians 6:8), and here. See the verb (των πλανοντων υμαςtōn planontōn humās) in 1 John 2:26 of the Gnostic deceivers as here and also of Jesus (John 7:12). Cf. 1 John 1:8.

Are gone forth (εχηλτανexēlthan alpha ending). Second aorist active indicative of εχερχομαιexerchomai perhaps an allusion to the crisis when they left the churches (1 John 2:19, same form).

Even they that confess not (οι μη ομολογουντεςhoi mē homologountes). “The ones not confessing” (μηmē regular negative with the participle). The articular participle describes the deceivers (πλανοιplanoi).

That Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh (Ιησουν Χριστον ερχομενον εν σαρκιIēsoun Christon erchomenon en sarki). “Jesus Christ coming in the flesh.” Present middle participle of ερχομαιerchomai treating the Incarnation as a continuing fact which the Docetic Gnostics flatly denied. In 1 John 4:2 we have εληλυτοταelēluthota (perfect active participle) in this same construction with ομολογεωhomologeō because there the reference is to the definite historical fact of the Incarnation. There is no allusion here to the second coming of Christ.

This (ουτοςhoutos). See 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22; 1 John 5:6, 1 John 5:20.

The deceiver and the antichrist (ο πλανος και ο αντιχριστοςho planos kai ho antichristos). Article with each word, as in Revelation 1:17, to bring out sharply each separate phrase, though one individual is referred to. The one par excellence in popular expectation (1 John 2:22), though many in reality (1 John 2:18; 3 John 1:7).

Verse 8

Look to yourselves (βλεπετε εαυτουςblepete heautous). Imperative active with reflexive pronoun as in Mark 13:9. The verb often used absolutely (Philemon 3:2) like our “look out.”

That ye lose not (ινα μη απολεσητεhina mē apolesēte). Negative purpose with ινα μηhina mē and first aorist active subjunctive of απολλυμιapollumi This is the correct text (B), not απολεσωμενapolesōmen (we). Likewise απολαβητεapolabēte (that ye receive), not απολαβωμενapolabōmen (we).

Which we have wrought (α ηργασαμεταha ērgasametha). This is also correct, first aorist middle indicative of εργαζομαιergazomai to work (John 6:27.). John does not wish his labour to be lost. See Romans 1:27 for this use of απολαμβανωapolambanō for receiving. See John 4:36 for μιστοςmisthos in the harvest. The “full reward” (μιστον πληρηmisthon plērē) is the full day‘s wages which each worker will get (1 Corinthians 3:8). John is anxious that they shall hold on with him to the finish.

Verse 9

Whosoever goeth onward (πας ο προαγωνpās ho proagōn). “Every one who goes ahead”. ΠροαγωProagō literally means to go on before (Mark 11:9). That in itself is often the thing to do, but here the bad sense comes out by the parallel clause.

And abideth not in the teaching of Christ (και μη μενων εν τηι διδαχηι του Χριστουkai mē menōn en tēi didachēi tou Christou). Not the teaching about Christ, but that of Christ which is the standard of Christian teaching as the walk of Christ is the standard for the Christian‘s walk (1 John 2:6). See John 7:16; John 18:19. These Gnostics claimed to be the progressives, the advanced thinkers, and were anxious to relegate Christ to the past in their onward march. This struggle goes on always among those who approach the study of Christ. Is he a “landmark” merely or is he our goal and pattern? Progress we all desire, but progress toward Christ, not away from him. Reactionary obscurantists wish no progress toward Christ, but desire to stop and camp where they are. “True progress includes the past” (Westcott). Jesus Christ is still ahead of us all calling us to come on to him.

Verse 10

If any one cometh and bringeth not (ει τις ερχεται και ου περειei tis erchetai kai ou pherei). Condition of first class with ειei and two present indicatives (ερχεται περειerchetaiταυτην την διδαχηνpherei).

This teaching (μη λαμβανετε αυτονtautēn tēn didachēn). This teaching of Christ of 2 John 1:9, which is the standard by which to test Gnostic deceivers (2 John 1:7). John does not refer to entertaining strangers (Hebrews 13:2; 1 Timothy 5:10), but to the deceiving propagandists who were carrying dissension and danger with them.

Receive him not (μηmē lambanete auton). Present active imperative with λαμβανωmē For εις οικιανlambanō in this sense see John 1:12; John 6:21; John 13:20.

Into your house (χαιρειν αυτωι μη λεγετεeis oikian). Definite without the article like our at home, to town.

Give him no greeting (χαιρεινchairein autōi mē legete). “Say not farewell to him.” Apparently λεγετεchairein here (present active infinitive, object of μηlegete present active imperative with negative χαιρεινmē) is used of farewell as in 2 Corinthians 13:11, though usually in the N.T. (Acts 15:23; Acts 23:26; James 1:1) of the salutation. But here the point turns on the stranger bringing into the house (or trying to do so) his heretical and harmful teaching which seems to be after the salutation is over. The usual greeting to a house is given in Luke 10:5. On the other hand, if chairein means greeting, not farewell, here, it can very well be understood of the peril of allowing these Gnostic propagandists to spread their pernicious teachings (cf. Mormons or Bolshevists) in home and church (usually meeting in the home). This is assuming that the men were known and not mere strangers.

Verse 11

Partaketh in his evil works (κοινωνει τοις εργοις αυτου τοις πονηροιςkoinōnei tois ergois autou tois ponērois). Associative instrumental case with κοινωνειkoinōnei as in 1 Timothy 5:22, common verb from κοινωνοςkoinōnos (partner). It is to be borne in mind that the churches often met in private homes (Romans 16:5; Colossians 4:15), and if these travelling deceivers were allowed to spread their doctrines in these homes and then sent on with endorsement as Apollos was from Ephesus to Corinth (Acts 18:27), there was no way of escaping responsibility for the harm wrought by these propagandists of evil. It is not a case of mere hospitality to strangers.

Verse 12

I would not (ουκ εβουλητηνouk eboulēthēn). Epistolary aorist (first passive indicative).

With paper and ink (δια χαρτου και μελανοςdia chartou kai melanos). The χαρτηςchartēs was a leaf of papyrus prepared for writing by cutting the pith into strips and pasting together, old word, here only in N.T. ΜελαςMelas is old adjective for black (Matthew 5:36; Revelation 6:5, Revelation 6:12), and for black ink here, 3 John 1:13; 2 Corinthians 3:3. Apparently John wrote this little letter with his own hand.

To come (γενεσταιgenesthai). Second aorist middle infinitive of γινομαιginomai after ελπιζωelpizō I hope.

Face to face (στομα προς στομαstoma pros stoma). “Mouth to mouth.” So in 3 John 1:14; Numbers 12:8. “Face to face” (προσωπον προς προσωπονprosōpon pros prosōpon) we have in 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Your (υμωνhumōn). Or “our” (ημωνhēmōn). Both true.

That may be fulfilled (ινα πεπληρωμενη ηιhina peplērōmenē ēi). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the periphrastic perfect passive subjunctive of πληροωplēroō as in 1 John 1:4, which see.

Verse 13

Of thine elect sister (της αδελπης σου της εκλεκτηςtēs adelphēs sou tēs eklektēs). Same word εκλεκτηeklektē as in 2 John 1:1; Revelation 17:4. Apparently children of a deceased sister of the lady of 2 John 1:1 who lived in Ephesus and whom John knew as members of his church there.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 John 1:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, January 20th, 2020
the Second Week after Epiphany
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