The People's Bible by Joseph Parker
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;[Note.—"This Epistle is addressed έκλεκτή κυρία. This expression cannot mean the Church (Jerome), nor a particular Church (Cassiodorus), nor the elect Church which comes together on Sundays (Michaelis), nor the Church of Philadelphia (Whiston), nor the Church of Jerusalem (Whitby). An individual woman, who had children, and a sister and nieces, is clearly indicated. Whether her name is given, and if so, what it is, has been doubted. According to one interpretation she is 'the Lady Electa,' to another, 'the elect Kyria,' to a third, 'the elect Lady.'
"The object of St. John in writing the Second Epistle was to warn the lady, to whom he wrote, against abetting the teaching known as that of Basilides and his followers, by perhaps an undue kindness displayed by her, towards the preachers of the false doctrine. After the introductory salutation, the Apostle at once urges on his correspondent the great principle of Love, which with him means right affection springing from right faith and issuing in right conduct. The immediate consequence of the possession of this Love is the abhorrence of heretical misbelief, because the latter, being incompatible with right faith, is destructive of the producing cause of Love, and therefore of Love itself. This is the secret of St. John's strong denunciation of the 'deceiver' whom he designates as 'anti-Christ.' Love is, with him, the essence of Christianity; but love can spring only from right faith. Wrong belief therefore destroys Love and with it Christianity. Therefore says he, 'If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed, for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds' (2John 1:10-11)."—Smith's Dictionary of the Bible.]
1. The elder [signifies no official position, but is used to indicate one who belongs to the first generation of Christian believers] unto the elect lady [an individual Christian woman, Kyria] and her children, whom I love in the truth [with true love]; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth ["Truth" is used five times in this Epistle, six times in 3 John. The best way of loving in Truth is to love for Truth];
2. For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever [an instance of the oratic variata],
3. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace [a reference possibly to St. Paul's Apostolic salutation in two Epistles only (1Timothy 1:2; 2Timothy 1:2)], from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ [omit the word God], the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
4. I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children [some of the number of thy children] walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
5. And now I beseech thee, lady [I beseech thee, Kyria! 2John 1:5 and 2John 1:6 carry with them irresistible evidence of coming from the heart and pen of St. John], not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
6. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
7. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. [The incarnation is here viewed as a present living principle.] This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
8. Look to yourselves [the emphatic to yourselves implies St. John's absence very strongly. Cf. Philippians 2:12] that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
9. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed [and good speed him not The liturgical practice of repeating "the Lord be with you" after the Creed, as "a symbol and bond of peace" has been traced to this verse]:
12. Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust [hope] to come unto you, and speak face to face [lit. "mouth to mouth," Cf. Galatians 4:19-20] that our joy may be full.
13. The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.
Note.—The annotations in this and in the following chapter are taken from The Speaker's Commentary. (London: John Murray.) Strongly recommended as a guide in verbal criticism.