Paul used the same word in Romans 16 to describe Rufus as a “choice man in die Lord.” Jesus used this word when he said, “Many are called but few are chosen.” In Colossians 3:12, this word is used to describe believers as “those who have been chosen by God.” It can be used in the sense of “respected” or “honorable.” Here in 2 John, the word probably should be taken in the sense of “elect” or “chosen.” Certainly, she was chosen in the Ephesians 1 sense of being “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world,” but she was also chosen in the sense of having been either appointed by the apostle John or chosen by the church to a place of leadership. You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.. We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless! Philip’s four daughters, who were single women, were ministers of the Gospel in New Testament times. I might very well put the elect lady of 2 John very high on the list of biblical women who are evidence that God empowers women for ministry leadership, up with Junia, Lydia, Phoebe, Deborah, etc. If you are not paying close attention, you might miss a surprising detail at the very start of the letter, the address from the author to the recipient of the letter. Prudentiana and Praexedis in Rome honors four women, one of whom is identified as Theodora Episcopa—Episcopa is the feminine form of episkopos, the word translated “bishop” or “overseer.” Although the hands of ancient misogynists tried to scratch out the feminine endings on “Theodora” and “Episcopa,” the old inscription remains a legible witness to one who was both a woman and a bishop. Thank you for taking the time to look and ponder this verse. Her public ministry may have been a long-deferred desire of her heart. The lady greeted in 2 John is also, most likely, a high-status woman and a householder. Some interpreters see the lady not as an individual but as a symbol of the church as a whole or of a local body of believers. John described the chosen lady as one who was known and loved by all who know the truth. Had the letter fallen into hostile hands, they would have had no idea who the chosen lady was, regardless of whether the chosen lady was an individual or a church. Do I want the blog to fail? However, it is a great leap of logic to say that we must take the woman to be a metaphor. Other examples abound in early Christian writings. For example, the use of … If the church met in her home, she would have been the one to say who was or was not welcome there. The elect lady and her children refers to a particular local church at some distance from the community where the author is living at the time. Secondly, commentators point out that most of the pronouns referring to the recipients of the letter are plural. While I would not build my whole case upon the brevity of the letter, that along with the other factors considered strengthens the case for viewing 2 John as a personal letter from one minister of the Gospel to another. Your voice is missing! First of all, the Greek words are eklecte kuria, which we will examine in a bit. However, the most reasonable conclusion from the limited data in 2 John is that she was a prominent leader in the Christian church. Before 1936 few English-speaking scholars doubted the traditional view that the author of the three letters ascribed to John were written by the same man who authored the Fourth Gospel. There are three ways that we can use the word ‘*elder’. In spite of the remaining ambiguity, I believe that we can reasonably conclude that 2 John is written to a different church in which the chosen lady was a prominent leader, possibly its pastor. 2 John 1:1 Context. The word translated “chosen” is a common New Testament word—our English word “elect” comes from it. Like letters from the attic of the old family home, our New Testament letters mention many people of whom we know little or nothing. Faith is often characterized as a walk. The Lady and Her Children; Read 2 John 1:1-2. If you have ever felt that you have shortcomings that keep your steps from being perfect, this blog is for you. Secondly, if this is the case and all the letters went to the same church, why might 3 John be addressed to Gaius under his proper name, and 2 John be to someone cryptically called the chosen lady? Israel and the church are often portrayed metaphorically as a woman. It makes no sense for John to have written this letter to a church that had already read 1 John. 1 a The elder to the elect lady and her children, b whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who c know d the truth, 2 e because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: 3 f Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in … The wording differs little from the address of 3 John “to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.” Smalley notes nothing unusual about John’s description of Gaius as one “Whom I love in the truth,” He views it as a rather conventional greeting in his comments on 3 John 1,5 which is precisely what it is. Some were prominent leaders in the Christian communities of the First Century AD. THE ELECT LADY. The chosen lady was well-known in the Christian community, and anyone who loved the Lord could not help but love her. Thank you! While English does not distinguish between you (singular) and you (plural)—except in my native deep South where we have the singular “you,” the plural “y’all,” and the emphatic plural “all of y’all”—if we examine personal letters we have written and received, we would find places where the writer was addressing only the individual recipient and also places where the writer was addressing the whole family. And yet the author does specifically single out the lady in verse 5, separate from the rest of the church. Perhaps your 90-year-old aunt could tell you about some of them, but you never would be able to identify some of the people mentioned in those old letters. Initially, however, two "signs" are seen—a "woman" and an "enormous red dragon"—indicating that they are not literal but, rather, are symbolic of other things, which were present in the world long ago. Metaphors abound in Scripture, but common sense and context usually tell us if the writer is speaking metaphorically. Thank you for chiming in, Phyllis! Barker, Brooke, Bruce, Marshall, McDowell, Smalley, Stott, and Westcott are representative of many who view the chosen lady as a metaphor for a church, and her children as members of the church. John’s second letter is missed frequently due to its brevity (a painfully slow read will only take 2 minutes) and lack of unique content from 1 John. Smalley does not suggest that we take “the beloved Gaius” as a metaphor for a church! Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: The Elect Lady—2 John ← Back to Mary Elizabeth Baxter's Bio & Resources. Everything in 2 John is found in fuller form in 1 John. The Second Epistle of John, often referred to as Second John and often written 2 John or II John, is a book of the New Testament attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the other two epistles of John, and the Gospel of John (though this is disputed). Significantly, he takes both the woman “in Babylon” and the chosen lady of 2 John to be actual women. In Galatians 4:1, Paul uses kurios to speak of someone who is not under the authority of a guardian or trustee. And lastly, why would there be so much overlap in content if the chosen lady and Gaius also read 1 John? She was well-known among the churches to which 1 John was written. In 1 and 3 John, we have good precedent for a church leader addressing those in his care as his children. It is also the word used for a master over a slave or servant (for example, Luke 12:42). The context suggests that "the elect lady" is not a single person but a group of people. **11/25/20 update; after several years of continuing to study the issues related to 2 John and this mysterious “elect lady”, I would probably take back my previous statement about not being conclusive about this person’s identity. All of her children may have been grown, giving her more time and energy to devote to public ministry than she had when her children were younger. 3 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. Just as in the Gospel of John the author does not explicitly identify himself with the Apostle John, so here he prefers the designation the elder. John is the "Elder." I believe this is the strongest objection to the metaphorical view. It could mean that the people respected him as amature man. The identity of the “children” in 1 John and 3 John is obvious. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 192) [Miscellanies, 2.66], implies his knowledge of other Epistles of John besides the First Epistle; and in fragments of his Adumbrations [p. 1011], he says, "John's Second Epistle which was written to the virgins (Greek, "parthenous"; perhaps Parthos is what was meant) is the simplest; but it was written to a certain Babylonian named the Elect lady." 2 John 1:1-13 This letter is from John, the elder. He loved her in the same way and for the same reason he loved Gaius. All of the language seems to resemble a letter written to a church congregation (with 1 and 3 John providing clear parallels) rather than just a family, and so the most literal reading of option one is unlikely. 2 John is short enough to fit on one side of a sheet of parchment—typical of the length of many Greek personal letters that exist from the New Testament period. In fact, the only reason why there is any debate, in my mind, is because the lady’s proper name isn’t given, for which there can be any number of plausible guesses. The evidence strongly indicated she was at least a diakonos, a deacon like Phoebe in Romans 16—one who gave pastoral leadership to a house church, if not an episcopos, an overseer—one who had the oversight of a number of house churches. But if John was so concerned about protecting the identity of the recipients), then why is Gaius clearly identified as the addressee of 3 John? Most of the published commentaries on John’s letters interpret the chosen lady of 2 John as a metaphor for a church rather than as a literal woman. Perhaps she was the wife or daughter of a Roman official (compare Philippians 4:22 where Paul sends greetings from the saints who are of Caesar’s household). It could be argued that this is a similar metaphor to calling the church the bride of Christ (as in Ephesians 5:22). We do not know, but we may be sure that she struggled to balance public ministry with many other responsibilities, just as female and male ministers do today. Just how important might she have been? Israel is portrayed as a woman— the sometimes unfaithful wife of Yahweh. While we do not have a flow chart showing the organizational structure of first century churches (which probably varied somewhat depending on the place and whether the church was predominately Jewish or Gentile), we should probably take “pastor/shepherd” as an umbrella term including both overseers and deacons. For example, Romans 16 lists a number of leaders well-known to the early church but unknown to us—including two otherwise-unknown apostles, a man named Andronicus and a woman named Junia. Then, in Romans 16, Paul sends greeting to Rufus and his mother. Then, as now, most women give birth to children at some time in their lives. The chosen lady may have been a leader in the church for many years, balancing her public ministry with work, home, marriage, and parenting. The word is kuria, the feminine form of kurios, a common New Testament word translated “Lord” or “master.” The masculine form kurios is used to denote the head of a household or the master of a slave. The verb has, perhaps, a tinge of peremptoriness about it ἐρωτῶ: "This is a request which I have a right to make." A third argument for taking the chosen lady as a metaphor for a church is that Israel and the church are frequently portrayed with feminine metaphors. 5. This is supported by 1 Timothy 3:13, which implies that overseers were chosen from among those who had served well as deacons. Interesting. Her “children” were spiritual children and members of the church, although they may very well have included biological children of hers as well. Some of the elect lady’s children may have been her sons and daughters and/or people she had personally led to the Lord. 2 John 1 reads: To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth,”, Back up. This is clear from 2 John 2, which speaks of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever, an obvious allusion to the promises of Jesus concerning the Holy Spirit as recorded in John 14. Have we not all received and written personal letters that were addressed primarily to one member of the household but meant to be shared with the whole family? No evidence suggests that the recipients of 2 John would have understood the term metaphorically. When we read the letters that make up the greater part of our New Testament, we are reading someone else’s mail. A. T. Robertson, citing the reference in 1 Corinthians 9:5 to Peter’s wife who traveled with him, made the plausible suggestion that the woman “in Babylon” may have been Peter’s wife.3 Robertson tends to interpret the text literally unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise. That includes faithfulness in marriage and family responsibilities. It makes sense that he would refer to those led by his colleagues (the chosen lady and her chosen sister) as their children. Revelation consistently uses the “Babylon” metaphor for Rome. This is in accord with II John 1, 13. Paul clearly teaches us in 1 Timothy 5:1-2 that men and women can work together as colleagues in ministry without any hint of impropriety. Very few scholars take either Greek word to be a proper name. The brevity of the letter argues against it being primarily a letter to a church. Her ministry kept on walking in truth obscure word not both 53 then each of them went,... 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