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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

2 John 1

Verse 1

And her children (κα τοις τεκνοις αυτης). As with εκλεκτη κυρια, so here τεκνα may be understood either literally as in 1 Timothy 3:4, or spiritually, as in Galatians 4:19; Galatians 4:25; 1 Timothy 1:2. For the spiritual sense in τεκνια see 1 John 2:1; 1 John 2:12.

Whom (ους). Masculine accusative plural, though τεκνοις is neuter plural (dative), construction according to sense, not according to grammatical gender, "embracing the mother and the children of both sexes" (Vincent). See thus ους in Galatians 4:19.

I (Εγω). Though ο πρεσβυτερος is third person, he passes at once after the Greek idiom to the first and there is also special emphasis here in the use of αγαπω with the addition of εν αληθεια (in truth, in the highest sphere, as in John 17:19; 3 John 1:1) and ουκ εγω μονος (not I only, "not I alone"). Brooke argues that this language is unsuitable if to a single family and not to a church. But Paul employs this very phrase in sending greetings to Prisca and Aquila (Romans 16:4).

That know (ο εγνωκοτες). Perfect active articular participle of γινωσκω, "those that have come to know and still know."

Verse 2

For the truth's sake (δια την αληθειαν). Repetition of the word, one of which John is very fond (1 John 1:6, "the truth, as revealed by the Christ, and gradually unfolded by the Spirit, who is truth" (Brooke).

Which abideth in us (την μενουσαν εν ημιν). See John 17:19 for "sanctified in truth" and 1 John 2:6 for abiding in Christ, and so it includes all who are in Christ.

It shall be with us (μεθ' ημων εστα). Confident assertion, not a mere wish. Note the order of the words, "With us it shall be" (εστα future middle of ειμ).

Verse 3

Shall be with us (εστα μεθ' ημων). He picks up the words before in reverse order. Future indicative here, not a wish with the optative (ειε) as we have in 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2. The salutation is like that in the Pastoral Epistles: "Χαρις, the wellspring in the heart of God; ελεος, its outpourings; ειρηνη, its blessed effect" (David Smith).

And from Jesus Christ (κα παρα Ιησου Χριστου). The repetition of παρα (with the ablative) is unique. "It serves to bring out distinctly the twofold personal relation of man to the Father and to the Son" (Westcott). "The Fatherhood of God, as revealed by one who being His Son can reveal the Father, and who as man (Ιησου) can make him known to men" (Brooke).

Verse 4

I rejoice (εχαρην). Second aorist passive of χαιρω as in 3 John 1:3, "of a glad surprise" (D. Smith), as in Mark 14:11, over the discovery about the blessing of their godly home on these lads.

Greatly (λιαν). Only here and 3 John 1:3 in John's writings.

I have found (ευρηκα). Perfect active indicative of ευρισκω as in John 1:41, our "eureka," here with its usual force, a continued discovery. "He sits down at once and writes to Kyria. How glad she would be that her lads, far away in the great city, were true to their early faith" (David Smith).

Certain of thy children (εκ των τεκνων). No τινας as one would expect before εκ, a not infrequent idiom in the N.T. (John 16:17).

Walking (περιπατουντας). Present active accusative supplementary participle agreeing with τινας understood. Probably members of the church off here in Ephesus.

In truth (εν αληθεια). As in verse 2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:4.

We received (ελαβομεν). Second aorist active (possibly, though not certainly, literary plural) of λαμβανω. This very idiom (εντολην λαμβανω) in John 10:18; Acts 17:15; Colossians 4:10. Perhaps the reference here is to 1 John 2:7; 1 John 3:23.

Verse 5

Beseech (ερωτω). For pray as in 1 John 5:16.

Lady (κυρια). Vocative case and in the same sense as in 2 John 1:1.

As though I wrote (ως γραφων). Common idiom ως with the participle (present active) for the alleged reason.

New (καινην). As in 1 John 2:7, which see.

We had (ειχαμεν). Imperfect active (late form like ειχαν in Mark 8:7) of εχω and note ειχετε with απ' αρχης in 1 John 2:7. Not literary plural, John identifying all Christians with himself in this blessing.

That we love one another (ινα αγαπωμεν αλληλους). Either a final clause after ερωτω as in John 17:15 or an object clause in apposition with εντολην, like 1 John 2:27; 1 John 3:23 and like verse 2 John 1:6.

Verse 6

Love (η αγαπη). The love just mentioned.

That we should walk (ινα περιπατωμεν). Object clause in nominative case in apposition with αγαπη, with ινα and the present active subjunctive of περιπατεω, "that we keep on walking."

The commandment (η εντολη). The one just mentioned with the same construction with ινα as in 1 John 3:23. John changes from the first person plural to the second (ηκουσατε as in 1 John 2:7, περιπατητε) as in 1 John 2:5; 1 John 2:7.

In it (εν αυτη). Either to αληθεια (truth) of verse 2 John 1:4, αγαπη of this verse, or εντολη of this verse. Either makes good sense, probably "in love." With περιπατεω (walk) we have often εν (1 John 1:7; 1 John 1:11, etc.) or κατα (according to) as in Mark 7:5; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 10:2, etc.

Verse 7

Deceivers (πλανο). Late adjective (Diodorus, Josephus) meaning wandering, roving (1 Timothy 4:1). As a substantive in N.T. of Jesus (Matthew 27:63), of Paul (2 Corinthians 6:8), and here. See the verb (των πλανοντων υμας) in 1 John 2:26 of the Gnostic deceivers as here and also of Jesus (John 7:12). Cf. 1 John 1:8.

Are gone forth (εξηλθαν, alpha ending). Second aorist active indicative of εξερχομα, perhaps an allusion to the crisis when they left the churches (1 John 2:19, same form).

Even they that confess not (ο μη ομολογουντες). "The ones not confessing" (μη regular negative with the participle). The articular participle describes the deceivers (πλανο).

That Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh (Ιησουν Χριστον ερχομενον εν σαρκ). "Jesus Christ coming in the flesh." Present middle participle of ερχομα treating the Incarnation as a continuing fact which the Docetic Gnostics flatly denied. In 1 John 4:2 we have εληλυθοτα (perfect active participle) in this same construction with ομολογεω, because there the reference is to the definite historical fact of the Incarnation. There is no allusion here to the second coming of Christ.

This (ουτος). See 1 John 2:18; 1 John 2:22; 1 John 5:6; 1 John 5:20.

The deceiver and the antichrist (ο πλανος κα ο αντιχριστος). Article with each word, as in Revelation 1:17, to bring out sharply each separate phrase, though one individual is referred to. The one par excellence in popular expectation (1 John 2:22), though many in reality (1 John 2:18; 3 John 1:7).

Verse 8

Look to yourselves (βλεπετε εαυτους). Imperative active with reflexive pronoun as in Mark 13:9. The verb often used absolutely (Philippians 3:2) like our "look out."

That ye lose not (ινα μη απολεσητε). Negative purpose with ινα μη and first aorist active subjunctive of απολλυμ. This is the correct text (B), not απολεσωμεν (we). Likewise απολαβητε (that ye receive), not απολαβωμεν (we).

Which we have wrought (α ηργασαμεθα). This is also correct, first aorist middle indicative of εργαζομα, to work (John 6:27). John does not wish his labour to be lost. See Romans 1:27 for this use of απολαμβανω for receiving. See John 4:36 for μισθος in the harvest. The "full reward" (μισθον πληρη) is the full day's wages which each worker will get (1 Corinthians 3:8). John is anxious that they shall hold on with him to the finish.

Verse 9

Whosoever goeth onward (πας ο προαγων). "Every one who goes ahead. Προαγω literally means to go on before (Mark 11:9). That in itself is often the thing to do, but here the bad sense comes out by the parallel clause.

And abideth not in the teaching of Christ (κα μη μενων εν τη διδαχη του Χριστου). Not the teaching about Christ, but that of Christ which is the standard of Christian teaching as the walk of Christ is the standard for the Christian's walk (1 John 2:6). See John 7:16; John 18:19. These Gnostics claimed to be the progressives, the advanced thinkers, and were anxious to relegate Christ to the past in their onward march. This struggle goes on always among those who approach the study of Christ. Is he a "landmark" merely or is he our goal and pattern? Progress we all desire, but progress toward Christ, not away from him. Reactionary obscurantists wish no progress toward Christ, but desire to stop and camp where they are. "True progress includes the past" (Westcott). Jesus Christ is still ahead of us all calling us to come on to him.

Verse 10

If any one cometh and bringeth not (ε τις ερχετα κα ου φερε). Condition of first class with ε and two present indicatives (ερχεται, φερε).

This teaching (ταυτην την διδαχην). This teaching of Christ of verse 2 John 1:9, which is the standard by which to test Gnostic deceivers (verse 2 John 1:7). John does not refer to entertaining strangers (Hebrews 13:2; 1 Timothy 5:10), but to the deceiving propagandists who were carrying dissension and danger with them.

Receive him not (μη λαμβανετε αυτον). Present active imperative with μη. For λαμβανω in this sense see John 1:12; John 6:21; John 13:20.

Into your house (εις οικιαν). Definite without the article like our at home, to town.

Give him no greeting (χαιρειν αυτω μη λεγετε). "Say not farewell to him." Apparently χαιρειν here (present active infinitive, object of λεγετε present active imperative with negative μη) is used of farewell as in 2 Corinthians 13:11, though usually in the N.T. (Acts 15:23; Acts 23:26; James 1:1) of the salutation. But here the point turns on the stranger bringing into the house (or trying to do so) his heretical and harmful teaching which seems to be after the salutation is over. The usual greeting to a house is given in Luke 10:5. On the other hand, if χαιρειν means greeting, not farewell, here, it can very well be understood of the peril of allowing these Gnostic propagandists to spread their pernicious teachings (cf. Mormons or Bolshevists) in home and church (usually meeting in the home). This is assuming that the men were known and not mere strangers.

Verse 11

Partaketh in his evil works (κοινωνε τοις εργοις αυτου τοις πονηροις). Associative instrumental case with κοινωνε as in 1 Timothy 5:22, common verb from κοινωνος (partner). It is to be borne in mind that the churches often met in private homes (Romans 16:5; Colossians 4:15), and if these travelling deceivers were allowed to spread their doctrines in these homes and then sent on with endorsement as Apollos was from Ephesus to Corinth (Acts 18:27), there was no way of escaping responsibility for the harm wrought by these propagandists of evil. It is not a case of mere hospitality to strangers.

Verse 12

I would not (ουκ εβουληθην). Epistolary aorist (first passive indicative).

With paper and ink (δια χαρτου κα μελανος). The χαρτης was a leaf of papyrus prepared for writing by cutting the pith into strips and pasting together, old word (Jeremiah 43:23), here only in N.T. Μελας is old adjective for black (Matthew 5:36; Revelation 6:5; Revelation 6:12), and for black ink here, 3 John 1:13; 2 Corinthians 3:3. Apparently John wrote this little letter with his own hand.

To come (γενεσθα). Second aorist middle infinitive of γινομα after ελπιζω, I hope.

Face to face (στομα προς στομα). "Mouth to mouth." So in 3 John 1:14; Numbers 12:8. "Face to face" (προσωπον προς προσωπον) we have in 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Your (υμων). Or "our" (ημων). Both true.

That may be fulfilled (ινα πεπληρωμενη η). Purpose clause with ινα and the periphrastic perfect passive subjunctive of πληροω, as in 1 John 1:4, which see.

Verse 13

Of thine elect sister (της αδελφης σου της εκλεκτης). Same word εκλεκτη as in verse 2 John 1:1; Revelation 17:4. Apparently children of a deceased sister of the lady of verse 2 John 1:1 who lived in Ephesus and whom John knew as members of his church there.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 John 1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.