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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

The Best Commentary On The Bible Is The Bible Itself
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
The Reflections Newsletter

Thursday, February 14, 2008

**In This Issue**

  1. The Mystery Woman
  2. What Does the Bible Say About...?

Welcome to the Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory.  RHG is a co-ministry with Creation Science Ministries.  Feel free to send this to your relatives and friends.

The Mystery Woman

The Second Epistle of John is among the some of the more neglected books of the New Testament.  It, like John's third epistle, is simply a short personal letter from the Apostle.  There is little doubt that the Apostle John was the author.  However, there are a number of conjectures as to whom it was written: someone called "the Elect Lady."

This article contains a conjecture that would seem to have no support from the extensive list of commentaries which have been consulted; however, bear with me, read it, check out Scripture, and then judge for yourself.


The Recipient

The letter is addressed eklekte kuria, "the Elect Lady," and her children.  Kuria is a feminine proper name; but eklekte is a strange construction, never assigned to any other individual in the New Testament as a single predicate.  There are two prevailing views among the abundance of expositors:

(1) To the Church at large

Most commentators regard this as simply an idiom for the Church in a collective sense.  But, in Scripture, the Church is never pictured as having children.  In fact, the Church is always presented as a virgin and as a bride.

The view of kuria taken as a symbolic description of the Christian Church has been the dominant view as early as Jerome.  The view of believers as "children of the church" may have been comfortable for Jerome, and others, for ecclesiastical reasons, but it flies in the face of Scriptural usage: we are "children of God," not "children of the church."  It is also significant that this word does not appear elsewhere with this signification.

The further allusion to the recipient's sister and her children (v.13) would also seem fatal to this view but for the prevalence of the expositional history which has attended this epistle.

(2) To a prominent individual within the church

A straightforward reading of the letter would seem to indicate that the letter is addressed to some prominent member of the local church, and this has also been a common alternative interpretation.  The writer knows her sister and her sister's children (v.13).  This view would make this the only book in the Bible specifically addressed to a woman.

A Challenging Conjecture

Who would be the most "Elect Lady" in the entire Bible?  To me, the most likely suggestion, which is not even discussed among most commentators, would be that the recipient of this intimate letter is the most "elect" of all women, the very one that Jesus Himself entrusted to John's personal care: Mary, the mother of Jesus!

In fact, it is surprising that Jesus didn't consign her to one of her other four sons.  Jesus was raised among a family of at least seven; five brothers and two sisters.  James and Jude became believers after the resurrection, and each wrote the books in the New Testament that bear their names.  Jesus appeared to James after His resurrection.  If my assumption is correct, and it is only an assumption,  the others probably became believers as well.

Now, Mary did have a sister as alluded to in verse 13.  We know so little of her subsequent history from the Scriptures; there are only minimal allusions in the Book of Acts.  She apparently remained in the care of John in his retirement in Ephesus.

Obviously, most of what is commonly published by the Roman Catholic Church has been contrived to promote a number of doctrinal heresies.  Most Biblical believers, from their disgust of the tragic and heretical deification of Mary, tend to disregard her altogether and ignore her situation and predicament.

The "Elect Lady" is loved "by all they that have known the Truth" (v.1).  Who else would be loved by all other believers?  To whom else could this refer?  This, too, seems to point to far more than simply a prominent personage within their local church.

Clearly, the prominence of "truth," in concert with "love," is the keynote of this letter.  John uses the word "Truth" five times in the first four verses.  He uses the word "love" four times.  However, in this letter, we learn that Truth "dwells in us and shall be with us forever" (v. 2). "The Truth" may be intended as a more personal title.

Even Pilate's cynical question still echoes in our ears, "What is Truth?"  For believers, Jesus' declaration is conclusive and comprehensive: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

 It would seem that, here, John is using Truth as a title of Jesus Christ, just as he so often uses the Logos, the Word.  The recipient of John's letter also was not a latecomer: she was there "from the beginning."  If my conjecture is correct, it would place a unique complexion on the entire letter, and it would also yield a number of other significant insights. 

We should not presume that any of us is beyond the need for encouragement or exhortation.  Why would Mary, a blessed but human believer, be any exception?  Especially during a time when widespread attacks on the deity of Christ Jesus was the topic of the day!  Mary was subject to the same frailties as we; pride, doubts, a need of frequent encouragement, counsel, and, perhaps, exhortation.  A tendency toward pride could certainly have been her most serious challenge.  After all, she was the most blessed of all women who had ever walked the earth!  And yet, she had to live with the clouds of legitimacy, and other doctrinal issues, over her firstborn.

Read through the Second Epistle of John from Mary's perspective, and see what the Spirit says to you.

The Key Lesson

In any case, John's letters focus on our walking in love, in truth, and in the intimate knowledge of God.  In a sense, they deal with a challenge similar to the indictment by the Prophet Hosea: "Hear the word of the LORD, you children of Israel: for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land." - Hosea 4:1

The issue in all three letters is that love and truth must be practiced, or "walked."  "To walk in the truth" means to obey it.  It is easier to study the truth, or even argue about the truth, than it is to obey it.  Knowing the truth is more than giving assent to a series of doctrines; it means that the believer's life is controlled by a love for the truth and a desire to magnify the truth.


Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

What Does the Bible Say About...?


In this section of the Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.  If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to send your question in an email to me at  Of course, you may call me anytime by phone at 801.302-1111.

The question for this issue is, "What is the meaning of the word 'Selah' that appears in many of the Psalms?"

The word "Selah" first appears in Psalm 3:2.  In its note for that verse, the New Schofield Reference Bible says the following:

"The frequent use in the Psalms of the Hebrew word, Selah, possibly marks those places where a musical rest in the chanting or a change of instrumental accompaniment stressed the shift of mood."

Remembering that the Psalms were the "hymn book" of ancient Israel, this explanation makes sense.  However, it is expanded upon by Davis' Dictionary of the Bible, which provides six different reasons for the appearance of the word "Selah."  This explanation is more detailed, and may be especially appreciated by those who have had training in music:

  1. A Pause

  2. A repetition, like da capo

  3. The end of a strophe (ancient Greek for "a turning"

  4. A playing with full power (fortissimo)

  5. A bending of the body, an obeisance (bow: bending the head or body or knee as a sign of reverence or submission or shame)

  6. A short recurring symphony (ritornello).

It probably means an orchestral interlude.  Or it may be as simple as taking a breath.


Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory



And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28  KJV ER

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

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"Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him,
If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free

John 8:31-32

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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory