Second Epistle of John

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The Second Epistle of John (often simply called 2nd John or II John) is a book of the New Testament attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John. It is the 63rd of 66 books in the Bible, located near the end of the New Testament. The epistle is the shortest book in the Bible, comprising a mere thirteen verses.



There is a clear warning against paying heed to those who say that Jesus was not a flesh-and-blood figure: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” This establishes that, from the time the epistle was first written, there were those who had docetic Christologies, believing that the human person of Jesus was merely an illusion and he was actually pure spirit. I.e. this establishes the possibility of the presence of gnosticism at the dawn of Christianity. Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, amongst others, contend that the epistle's content indicates that Jesus was a purely mythical figure from the start.

Interpretation of “The Lady”

The text is addressed to “the elect lady and her children,” and closes with the words, “The children of thy elect sister greet thee.” However, some translators prefer to transliterate the Greek word for "lady" with the proper name Kyria. The person addressed is commended for her piety, and is warned against false teachers.

Some consider that another interpretation is possible. In the 12th chapter of the Book of Revelation, the writer speaks of a woman and a dragon. The dragon plots maliciously against the woman and one of her children, but is frustrated in his attempts to do them harm. In anger he then pursues the rest of her children. Verse four of 2nd John reads, “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth.” Some claim may be the woman of portent from Revelation to which this epistle is addressed, but this is highly dubious.

Another dubious interpretation is that it is Mary. There are two prominent Johns in the bible. John the Baptist, who is a second cousin to Jesus (that is the son of Mary's cousin; Elizabeth. See Luke 1:36) and John the Apostle, who was Jesus’ first cousin, his mother Salome being Mary's sister (c.f. Matthew 27:56, Mark 16:1, and John 19:25). Based on this there is another, more intriguing, view, which is that the Elect Lady (a woman chosen by God) is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Certainly she was chosen of God. James and Jude (half brothers of Jesus) did not believe Jesus was the Messiah until after the resurrection. In light of this fact, verse 4 is John telling Mary he is happy her other children (James and Jude) have come to understand the truth about Jesus. The ending of 2 John could have been the apostle sending a family greeting at the end (2 John 13).

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