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Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, [1886], at

2 John Chapter 1

2 John 1:1

jo2 1:1

The elder (ὁ πρεσβύτερος)

The word is used originally of seniority in age. So Luk 15:25. Afterward as a term of rank or office. Applied to members of the Sanhedrim (Mat 16:21; Act 6:12). Those who presided over the Christian assemblies or churches (Act 11:30; Ti1 5:17, Ti1 5:19). The twenty-four members of the heavenly court in John's vision (Rev 4:4, Rev 4:10; Rev 5:5, Rev 5:6, Rev 5:8, Rev 5:11, Rev 5:14). Here, with reference to official position, coupled, presumably, with age.

Unto the elect lady (ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ)

An expression which baffles all the commentators. It is supposed by some that the title describes a person, by others, a society. The views of the former class as to the person designated, are (1.) That the letter was addressed to a certain Babylonian named Electa. (2.) To a person named Kyria. (3.) To Electa Kyria, a compound proper name. Those who regard the phrase as describing a society, divide on the question whether a particular Christian society or the whole Church is intended. It is impossible to settle the question satisfactorily.

Children (τέκνοις)

May be taken either in a literal or in a spiritual sense. For the later, see 1 Timothy 1, Ti1 2:1-15; Gal 4:25; Jo3 1:4. Compare also Jo2 1:4, Jo2 1:13. The explanation turns on the meaning of ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ. If it mean the Church, children will have the spiritual sense. If it be a proper name, the literal.

Whom (οὓς)

Comprehensive, embracing the mother and the children of both sexes.

I love (ἀγαπῶ)

See on Joh 5:20.

In the truth (ἐν ἀληθείᾳ)

Omit the. The expression in truth marks the atmosphere or element of truth in which something is said, or felt, or done. See Joh 17:17. In truth is equivalent to truly, really. Compare Col 1:6; Joh 17:19.

That have known (οἱ ἐγνωκότες)

Either have come to know, or as Rev., know. The perfect tense of γινώσκω, to learn to know, is rendered as a present: I have learned to know, therefore I know. See on Jo1 2:3.

2 John 1:2

jo2 1:2

Which dwelleth (τὴν μένουσαν)

Rev., abideth. Enlarging on the idea of the truth: that which abideth. See on Jo1 4:9, on the phrase to abide in, see on Jo1 2:6.

Shall be with us (μεθ' ἡμῶν ἔσται)

With us has the emphatic position in the sentence: and with us it shall be. Note the change from abideth in to shall be with, and see on Joh 14:16, Joh 14:17.

2 John 1:3

jo2 1:3

Grace be with you, mercy and peace (ἔσται μεθ ἡμῶν χάρις ἔλεος εἰρήνη)

The verb is in the future tense: shall be. In the Pauline Epistles the salutations contain no verb. In 1 and 2 Peter and Jude, πληθυνθείη be multiplied, is used. Grace (χάρις) is of rare occurrence in John's writings (Joh 1:14, Joh 1:16, Joh 1:17; Rev 1:4; Rev 22:21); and the kindred χαρίζομαι to favor, be kind, forgive, and χάρισμα gift, are not found at all. See on Luk 1:30. Mercy (ἔλεος), only here in John. See on Luk 1:50. The pre-Christian definitions of the word include the element of grief experienced on account of the unworthy suffering of another. So Aristotle. The Latin misericordia (miser "wretched," cor "the heart") carries the same idea. So Cicero defines it, the sorrow arising from the wretchedness of another suffering wrongfully. Strictly speaking, the word as applied to God, cannot include either of these elements, since grief cannot be ascribed to Him, and suffering is the legitimate result of sin. The sentiment in God assumes the character of pitying love. Mercy is kindness and goodwill toward the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them. Trench observes: "In the Divine mind, and in the order of our salvation as conceived therein, the mercy precedes the grace. God so loved the world with a pitying love (herein was the mercy), that He gave His only-begotten Son (herein the grace), that the world through Him might be saved. But in the order of the manifestation of God's purposes of salvation, the grace must go before the mercy and make way for it. It is true that the same persons are the subjects of both, being at once the guilty and the miserable; yet the righteousness of God, which it is quite as necessary should be maintained as His love, demands that the guilt should be done away before the misery can be assuaged; only the forgiven may be blessed. He must pardon before He can heal.... From this it follows that in each of the apostolic salutations where these words occur, grace precedes mercy" ("Synonyms of the New Testament").

With you

The best texts read with us.

From God - from Jesus Christ (παρὰ Θεοῦ - παρὰ Ἱησοῦ Χριστοῦ)

Note the repeated preposition, bringing out the twofold relation to the Father and Son. In the Pauline salutations ἀπό from, is invariably used with God, and never repeated with Jesus Christ. On the use of παρά from, see on Joh 6:46; see on Jo1 1:5.

God the Father

The more common expression is "God our Father."

The Son of the Father

The phrase occurs nowhere else. Compare Joh 1:18; Jo1 2:22, Jo1 2:23; Jo1 1:3.

In truth and in love

The combination is not found elsewhere. The words indicate the contents of the whole Epistle.

2 John 1:4

jo2 1:4

I rejoiced

Expressions of thankful joy are common in the Pauline salutations. See Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Philemon.

Greatly (λίαν)

The word is found in John's writings only here and Jo3 1:3.

I found (εὕρηκα)

See on Joh 1:41. Rev., I have found.

Of thy children (ἐκ τῶν τέκνων)

The rendering is obscure. Rev., rightly, supplies certain. Compare Joh 16:17.

In truth (ἐν ἀληθείᾳ)

Compare Jo3 1:3. See on Jo1 1:8.

2 John 1:5

jo2 1:5

New (καινὴν)

See on Mat 26:29.

We had (εἴχαμεν)

The apostle identifies himself with his readers.

2 John 1:6

jo2 1:6

Love (ἡ ἀγάπη)

The love just mentioned in the verb we love.

That (ἵνα)

See on Joh 15:13.

After His commandments (κατὰ τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ)

For walk, with κατά after, according to, see Mar 7:5; Rom 8:4; Rom 14:15; Co1 3:3; Co2 10:2. Very often with ἐν in. See Joh 8:12; Joh 11:9, Joh 11:10; Co2 4:2; Jo1 1:7, Jo1 1:10. Both constructions are found Co2 10:2, Co2 10:3.

From the beginning (ἀπ' ἀρχῆς)

See on Joh 1:1.

In it (ἐν αὐτῇ)

In love: not the commandment.

2 John 1:7

jo2 1:7

Deceivers (πλάνοι)

See on we deceive ourselves, Jo1 1:8.

Are entered into (ἐξῆλθαν εἰς)

Rev., are gone forth into. The A.V. follows the reading εἰσῆλθον entered into. The tense is the aorist, strictly rendered, went forth. It may indicate a particular crisis, at which they went forth from the Christian society.

Who confess not (οἱ μὴ ὁμολογοῦντες)

The article with the participle describes the character of this class of deceivers, and does not merely assert a definite fact concerning them. Compare Mar 15:41, "other women which came up with Him" (αἱ συνσνσβᾶσαι). Confess. See on Mat 7:23; see on Mat 10:32.

Is come (ἐρχόμενον)

Wrong. The verb is in the present participle, coming, which describes the manhood of Christ as still being manifested. See on Jo1 3:5. In Jo1 4:2 we have the manifestation treated as a past fact by the perfect tense, ἐληλυθο.τα has come. Rev., that Jesus Christ cometh. So in Th1 1:10, τῆς ὀργῆς τῆς ἐρχομένης is the wrath which is coming; which has already begun its movement and is advancing: not merely, as A.V., the wrath to come, which makes it wholly a future event. See on lingereth, Pe2 2:3.

An antichrist (ὁ ἀντίχριστος)

Rev, rendering the definite article, the antichrist. See on Jo1 2:18.

2 John 1:8

jo2 1:8

Look to yourselves that (βλέπετε ἑαυτούς ἵνα)

Ἵνα in order that, marks the intent of the caution. See on Joh 15:13.

We lose (ἀπολέσωμεν)

The best texts read ἀπολέσητε, ye lose. So Rev, with destroy in margin. For the meanings of the verb see on Luk 9:25.

We receive (ἀπολάβωμεν)

The best texts read ἀπολάβητε ye receive. The compounded preposition ἀπό, has the force of back: receive back from God.

Reward (μισθὸν)

See on Pe2 2:13, and compare Mat 5:12; Joh 4:36; Co1 3:8; Rev 11:18; Rev 22:12.

2 John 1:9

jo2 1:9

Whosoever transgresseth (πᾶς ὁ παραβαίνων)

The best texts read προάγων goeth onward. So Rev., with taketh the lead in margin. The meaning is, whosoever advances beyond the limits of Christian doctrine. Others explain of those who would set themselves up as teachers, or take the lead. Such false progress is contrasted with abiding in the teaching. On the construction, πᾶς every one, with the article and participle, see on Jo1 3:3.

Abideth - in (μένων ἐν)

See on Jo1 2:6.

Doctrine (διδαχῇ)

Better, as Rev., teaching.

Of Christ

Not the teaching concerning Christ, but the teaching of Christ Himself and of His apostles. See Heb 2:3. So according to New Testament usage. See Joh 18:19; Act 2:12; Rev 2:14, Rev 2:15.

In the doctrine of Christ

Omit of Christ. Διδαχή teaching, is used thus absolutely, Rom 16:17; Tit 1:9.

2 John 1:10

jo2 1:10

If there come any (εἴ τις ἔρχεται)

Better, Rev., if anyone cometh. The indicative mood assumes the fact: if anyone comes, as there are those that come. Cometh is used in an official sense as of a teacher. See on Jo1 3:5.

Bring (φέρει)

For the use of the verb see Joh 18:29; Act 25:18; Pe2 2:11; Pe2 1:17, Pe2 1:18; Pe1 1:13.

Neither bid him God speed (καὶ χαίρειν αὐτῷ μὴ λέγετε)

Lit., and say not unto him "greeting!" Χαίρειν rejoice, hail, was the customary form of salutation. It was also used in bidding farewell; but in the New Testament always of greeting (Act 15:23; Act 23:26; Jam 1:1). "Now whoever cometh and teacheth you all these things, before spoken, receive him; but if the teacher himself turn aside and teach another teaching, so as to overthrow this, do not hear him" ("Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," ch. xi. See on Mat 10:10).

2 John 1:11

jo2 1:11

Is partaker (κοινωνεῖ)

The verb occurs nowhere else in John's writings. The kindred noun κοινωνία fellowship, is peculiar to the First Epistle. See on Jo1 1:3; also on partners (Luk 5:10); fellowship (Act 2:42); partaker (Pe1 5:1).

2 John 1:12

jo2 1:12

I would not (οὐκ ἐβουλήθην)

See on Mat 1:19.

Paper (χάρτου)

Only here in the New Testament. The Egyptian papyrus or byblus, Cyperus papyrus, anciently very common, but not now found within the limits of the country. It is a tall, smooth flag or reed, with a large triangular stalk, containing the pith which furnished the paper. The paper was manufactured by cutting the pith into strips, arranging them horizontally, and then placing across them another layer of strips, uniting the two layers by a paste, and subjecting the whole to a heavy pressure. The upper and middle portions of the reed were used for this purpose. The fact that the plant is no longer found is significant in connection with Isaiah's prophecy that "the flags (Hebrews suph, papyrus) shall waste away" (Isa 19:6). The plant grew in shallow water or in marshes, and is accordingly represented on the monuments as at the side of a stream or in irrigated lands. The Jews wrote on various materials, such as the leaves of the olive and palm, the rind of the pomegranate, and the skins of animals. The tablet (πινακίδιον, Luk 1:63) was in very common use. It consisted of thin pieces of wood, strung together, and either plain, or covered with papyrus or with wax.

Ink (μέλανος)

Lit., that which is black. The word occurs only once outside of John's Epistles (Co2 3:3), and only three times in all (Jo2 1:12; Jo3 1:13). Ink was prepared of soot or of vegetable or mineral substances. Gum and vitriol were also used. Colored inks, red and gold, were also employed.

To come unto you (γενέσθαι πρὸς ὑμὰς)

Or, to be present with you. For the phrase, see Co1 2:3; Co1 16:10.

Face to face (στόμα πρὸς στόμα)

Lit, mouth to mouth. Compare πρόσωπον προς πρόσωπον, face to face, Co1 8:12.

Full (πεπληρωμένη)

Rev., rightly, fulfilled.

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