The elder (2 John 1:1)

“The elder

To the elect lady

And her children,

Whom I love

In truth,

Not only I

But also

All who know

The truth.”

Ὁ πρεσβύτερος ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτῆς, οὓς ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος ἀλλὰ καὶ πάντες οἱ ἐγνωκότες τὴν ἀλήθειαν,

This author said “The elder (Ὁ πρεσβύτερος) to the elect lady (ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ) and her children (καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτῆς), whom I love (οὓς ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ) in truth (ἐν ἀληθείᾳ), not only I (καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος), but also all (ἀλλὰ καὶ πάντες) who know (οἱ ἐγνωκότες) the truth (τὴν ἀλήθειαν).”  This is the only time that this word appears in all the NT canonical writings, here in 1 John, the word κυρίᾳ, that means a lady.  Thus, this author was writing to a lady, not a man.  This author was an elder or a presbyter.  He seemed like he was in charge of a local community, but there is no explicit mention of his name.  Many suppose that he is the same author as 1 John, since much the same ideas and themes are in 1 John.  However, here it is much shorter and succinct, just one short chapter of 13 verses.  Was this elected or chosen lady an individual woman or a term for a local community of Christian believers?  The children might be the Christian members of that community.  Certainly, this author truly loved her and her children.  Then he added that it was not only him who cared for her and her children, but all those who know the truth, an allusion to other Christian believers.  This other person or community was highly regarded by this author and those around him.  This letter had a salutation that the First Letter of John did not have.  Was this a possible first chapter to I John?


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