the Fourth Week of Lent
Whedon's Commentary on the Bible Whedon's Commentary
- 2 John
by Daniel Whedon
THIS epistle seems to have been written by John to a Christian matron residing in Asia Minor, within the circuit of the apostle’s visitations, who had been accustomed to entertain Christian evangelists on their tours at her hospitable home. From the main point this letter puts, we might suppose it to have been a sort of pendant to his First Epistle; in fact, accompanying the copy of that epistle sent to her Church. It is intended to warn the elect Kyria against the Nicolaitans, whom he brands as antichrist, and against whom the main epistle was directed. Mutual love among Christians, in common love to Christ, must firmly consolidate the Christian body with a most rigid avoidance of the truthless and sensualistic errorists. Kyria is warned to reject these dangerous emissaries of a licentious religionism from her hospitalities, lest she become involved in a supposed sympathy with their heresies and immoralities. John hopes soon to make his visitation at her Church and home, where the subject may receive a fuller discussion. He is joyous at the hearty adherence of her children to apostolic Christianity, and sends the greeting of the children of an elect sister to the elect Kyria.
A large number of able commentators have maintained that this Kyria was not an individual female, but in truth a Christian Church. And if we read it with an allegorical presupposition, the entire epistle will construe very easily in accordance with it. But the whole reads, in every word, naturally and plainly, as a private letter, and as such needs no presupposition. On the contrary, to suppose St. John wrote a letter to a Church, pastor, official board, and people elaborately addressing them as a lady, and studiously maintaining the double meaning throughout, seems not only artificial, but nearly absurd. Suppose such a performance in real life at the present day, and it is difficult to avoid a sense of the ludicrous. The writer would be reprehended as guilty, to say the least, of bad taste, in such a display of fancy. And the bad taste would be just as evident in an ancient apostle as in a modern bishop.
Kyria, in Greek, signifies lady, and yet was sometimes used as a proper name. The adjective elect was also sometimes a proper name, Electa, and at first it seems doubtful which of these two words was the proper name of the lady here addressed. But that question is decided by the use of the adjective elect in verse 13.