Thursday, February 14, 2008
**In This Issue**
- The Mystery
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
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
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 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
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
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
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.
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
email@example.com. 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
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:
A repetition, like da
The end of a strophe (ancient
Greek for "a turning"
A playing with full power (fortissimo)
A bending of the body, an
obeisance (bow: bending the head or body
or knee as a sign of reverence or submission or
short recurring symphony (ritornello).
It probably means an orchestral
interlude. Or it may be as simple as taking a
**MEMORY VERSE OF THE
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.
We solicit your prayers and support of this ministry. God Bless.
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