The Word This Week

2 John 1...

Now we come to the personal letters of John, which have the same Holy Spirit authority as his other writings.

Personal letters are not unusual. Paul wrote to Timothy and to Titus and Philemon. His personal letters had broad application for everyone and became very important establishing essential doctrine in the Church, and exposing false apostles, teachers, and those who came in opposition to Paul personally, and to the fledgling institution of Church.

John may have known of Paul’s letters, since they were written about 30 years earlier. He may have read Paul’s letter to Timothy, since John essentially took over as pastor of the church at Ephesus, succeeding Timothy who had been martyred.

The difference in John’s first personal letter, (John 2,) and Paul’s personal letters is we do not know to whom this letter was written.

It is addressed to “the elect lady,” from the Elder, who is identified as John by early Church fathers. Who is the “the elect lady?”

Could she be The Church, which is referred to as “the Bride of Christ?” Would then, “her children,” be those of us in the Church? Is she an anonymous born-again friend or relative of John? Some have even speculated “the elect lady” is in fact Jesus’ mother Mary, whom John cared for the rest of her life at Jesus’ instruction from the cross.

The addressee of this letter is almost as fascinating as its content, which is a very strong repetition of 1 John. Many of the same exact exhortations are found in this brief letter that John had covered in greater depth in his letter to the Church writ large.

So, we have a broad cast in 1 John, followed by a very personal cast in 2 John. But thematically they are basically identical. By the love of God we keep His commandments - chief among them to love God in return, and to love His children as evidence of the love of God alive in us.

As previously stated, and reiterated here, this is what it means to abide in Christ, no matter who you are.

Pastor Bill