UNTO THE ELECT LADY
2 John 1-3 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; for the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
In all of the Holy Spirit-inspired scripture writings of John, he never speaks of himself as an apostle of Christ. And here, in the lesson text of his second epistle, he introduces himself as the elder. As it is used here, it is probably not the designation ascribed to "elder," as a church overseer or leader. The term used to identify himself more than likely refers to his great age. According to many bible scholars, John, at this time, was probably the only surviving apostle remaining from those originally chosen by Christ to establish His church and preach His gospel message of salvation throughout the world.
This short epistle is addressed unto the elect lady and her children. There are two main schools of thought as to who, or what, is referred to by this feminine title. Some think the elect lady was a matronly sister, in the body of Christ, and her children. Others think that the title refers to a specific church of Christ; one that possibly met in the house of a saintly Christian woman. I prefer to let the "bible scholars" argue their individual cases as to who, or what, is meant in this salutation from the apostle John. To whom it was addressed is of little consequence; it is the message that is relevant to all Christians today, that is of greater value. This we are assured: it is God's word, that was penned by John, as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit, that was promised, and sent by Jesus Christ - a message that was to be witnessed unto the uttermost part of the earth (See Acts 1:8).
Whether a particular Christian household or a specific congregation of Christians is addressed, it is apparent that John, and all other Christians had a deep, mutual affection for all they that have known the truth. Those that embrace God's holy word and, through the necessary acts of obedience, were added to His Christian family, must of necessity truly love, and demonstrate that love, toward every family member. This is exactly the meaning found in Peter's first epistle. Concerning Christians, he told them, as well as us today,Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever (1 Peter 1:22-23). John not only recognized the truth and faithfulness of the Christians he addresses in this epistle, but he openly commends them for the love and devotion to one another, and to the cause of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful characteristic for Christians everywhere to emulate.
The bible is God's inspired word; it contains His gift of eternal salvation to the world; it is God's spiritual truth (John 17:17). It was this truth that bound God with Jesus, His Son, and with His apostles - they were bound together as one (John 17:18-23). It is the New Testament gospel message of Jesus Christ that is specifically referred to, in the lesson text, as the truth. It was also referred to by the apostle Paul as the truth (Gal. 2:5). Jesus told His disciples, which, believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32). It is obedience to this gospel message of truth, which purifies the soul of every believer (1 Peter 1:22). It is the truth of God's word that causes Christians to become established; to grow strong in the faith that will cause one to recognize, and avoid, the deception of false teachers (See Eph. 4:14-15).
This is the truth; God's holy word; the message of eternal salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, that John says, dwelt in himself, was found in these Christians, and sustains all children of God throughout all ages. It is this strong, established truth that shall be with us forever. Once given, God's truth will never change. Once heard, believed, accepted, and obeyed, God's truth must find a permanent dwelling place in the heart and mind of every man and woman that is earnestly seeking eternal life in heaven. It is this truthful gospel message of salvation, which the apostle John commends to the elect lady and her children. It was given to them, and it was given to Christians throughout all ages, by John in truth and love.