Exploring the biblical theology of Christian egalitarianism

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John’s second letter in the New Testament is addressed “to the chosen (or elect) lady and to her children” (eklektē kyria kai tois teknois autēs). In this short letter, John warns the lady and her children about false teachers “who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” (verse 7), and he instructs them not to offer hospitality to the false teachers (verse 10–11). As in his Gospel and other letters, John emphasises the themes of truth (verses 1–4) and love (verses 5–6).[1]

There has been much speculation as to who the original recipients of 2 John were. In particular, who the “chosen lady” was? Was her name Electa, Kyria, or Martha? Was she a mother, a house church leader, or a congregation?

What was the Chosen Lady’s Name?


Εklektē means “chosen” or “elect.” This woman addressed in 2 John was a Christian chosen by God, as all Christians are. While it is more likely that the word “elect” is simply used to describe the lady, Clement of Alexandria believed that eklektē was this woman’s name, a name we would transliterate into English as “Electa.” If so, eklektē kyria in 2 John 1:1 could be translated as “to Lady Electa.” However, the sister mentioned in the last verse of 2 John is also given the description as being “elect.” While it is not improbable that two women, somehow related, would have the same name, it is more likely that the chosen lady and the chosen sister are individuals like Rufus, a man described as “chosen” or “elect” in Romans 16:13.

She who is in Babylon” mentioned in 1 Peter 5:13 is also described as “elect.” Clement of Alexandria presumed that “she who is in Babylon” was one and the same as the “chosen lady” in 2 John. [See footnote 14 for a discussion on this.] In his notes about 2 John, Clement wrote: “The second Epistle of John, which is written to Virgins, is very simple. It was written to a Babylonian lady, by name Electa . . .”

It is unlikely the chosen lady’s name was Electa. Furthermore, if her church was comprised of virgins, as Clement claims, it is important to note that the congregation was not just of virgin women, as we will see below.


If her name was not Electa, could 2 John have been addressed to a woman called Kyria?

Kyria is the feminine equivalent of kyrios, a common word in the New Testament. BDAG gives two definitions for kyrios: (1) “one who is in charge by virtue of possession”, and (2) “one who is in a position of authority.”[2] Corresponding with these definitions, kyrios is usually translated into English as “lord,” “master,” or “sir.”[3] The feminine kyria is usually translated as “lady” or “mistress” in texts outside of the New Testament.

While the word only occurs in 2 John 1:1 and 5 in the New Testament, kyria occurs several times in the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament.) It is used of Sarah as the mistress of Hagar the slave girl (Gen. 16:4, 8, 9); it is used of the widow of Zarephath who was mistress of her own household (1 Kings 17:17); it is used of Naaman’s wife (2 Kings 5:3); it is used metaphorically of God as mistress (Psalm 123:2); and it occurs in sayings that figuratively contrast a mistress with her slave girl (Prov. 30:23; Isa. 24:2).

Furthermore, I’ve come across the word in several Jewish and early Christian non-biblical Greek texts. For example, kyria is used in direct address by Isaac to his mother Sarah in The Testament of Abraham (3.10 recension A) (circa 100 AD); it is used by Hermas about his former owner Rhoda in the Shepherd of Hermas 1:5) (circa 100 AD); it is used by Perpetua’s brother and father to their sister and daughter, respectively, in the account of Perpetua’s martyrdom (para. 4 & 5) (202 or 203 AD). Thecla is also referred to as a kyria in The Acts of Paul and Thecla (para. 10)  (circa 150 AD).

Moreover, kyria occurs in hundreds of surviving papyrus letters addressed to women,[4] and is used by pagan writers. For example, in The Enchiridion (para. 40), Epictetus, a Stoic philosopher who lived circa 50–135 AD, wrote that kyria was used by men to flatter young women.

Kyria is not an obscure word. Considering how the word is used, it is apparent that kyria was a term of respect and used for a woman in elevated social positions. Nevertheless, some believe kyria may have been the chosen lady’s name.

Athanasius was possibly among the first to propose that Kyria was actually the woman’s name.[5] John Wesley (who did not have access to many of the ancient Greek documents that are now available, such as the papyrus letters) also believed that Kyria was the woman’s name. In his explanatory notes on John’s second letter,[6] Wesley claims that “Kyria is undoubtedly a proper name, both here [in 2 John 1:1] and in 2 John 1:5; for it was not then usual to apply the title of lady to any but the Roman empress.” BDAG, however, claims it was rare for kyria to be used as a proper name and that its rare use as a proper name was late; (i.e. at a later time than the time of the writing of the New Testament). It is unlikely that the recipient of 2 John was a woman named Kyria.


It has been suggested that the chosen lady may have been Martha of Bethany, a friend of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels of Luke and John (Luke 10:38–41; John 11; 12:1–3).[7] Kyria is a Greek equivalent of “Martha,” “Martha” being the feminine form of an Aramaic word meaning “lord” or “master.”

Martha was a woman of tremendous faith and spiritual insight (John 11:22, 24, 27). She was also the mistress of an affluent home that was spacious enough to accommodate Jesus and others (John 12:1-5). Martha may well have hosted and led a church in her home after Pentecost. Was “the chosen sister” (mentioned in 2 John 1:13) Mary of Bethany, Martha’s sister? As appealing as this idea may be, there is no evidence in this letter, or from early Christian writings, that “the chosen lady” was Martha.

Other Speculations

Some people believe that the chosen lady was Mary the mother of Jesus. Certainly, Mary would have been worthy of the title “lady.” However, she would most likely have been deceased by the time John wrote this letter (circa AD 90–100). Also, it seems unlikely that John would have had to write a letter to Mary, of all people, to warn her about being deceived by false teachers. Moreover, Mary and the apostle John may have shared the same home after Jesus’ crucifixion (John 19:26–27). Presuming that John the apostle is the author of 2 John, he would not have written a letter to a housemate if she was still alive.[8] So for various reasons, Mary the mother of Jesus could not have been the chosen lady.

Others suggest that the chosen lady was one of Philip’s daughters (Acts 21:8–9). Early church writings inform us that Philip’s daughters were held in high esteem by the early church. Perhaps the chosen lady was one of Philip’s daughters, and the “chosen sister” another daughter. Some of Philip’s daughters went to live in Asia Minor, and it is commonly believed that the “chosen lady” was in Asia Minor.

What was the Chosen Lady’s Role?

While we do not know this woman’s name, some details in John’s second letter indicate her role. This becomes clearer when we compare 2 John with John’s other two New Testament letters, especially 3 John, as there are several similarities between 2 John and 3 John.

A Mother?

Some people who take the word “children” (tekna) literally believe that this letter was written to a mother with believing children (cf. 2 John 1:1, 4 & 13).[9] What these people fail to take into account is that, in each of his three letters, John frequently uses the word “children” (tekna and teknia) as a term to refer to Christians, to “spiritual children.”[10]

In 3 John 1:4, John writes to a man called Gaius[11] saying, “I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”[12] Compare this with what John writes to the chosen lady in 2 John 1:4: “I rejoiced greatly having found out from [some of] your children that they are walking in the truth.” (Italics added in both verses.)

The children of 1, 2 and 3 John are “spiritual children,” not natural biological children. The children of the chosen lady were her “spiritual children,” Christians she personally cared about, her congregation.

A Church?

Some Christians who are reluctant to accept the possibility that a first-century woman could have been a house church leader believe 2 John was addressed to a Christian community which John metaphorically referred to as “the chosen lady.”[13] They also believe that the “chosen sister” in 2 John 1:13 refers to another Christian community.

The shortcoming of this view is that nowhere else in the New Testament (or in later writings) is a Christian community referred to as a “lady” kyria (or a “sister” adelphē).[14] John uses the word “church” (ekklēsia) three times in his third letter: in 3 John 1:6, 9, 10. Why would John use the word “church” plainly in 3 John, but supposedly refer to the church metaphorically as a “lady” in 2 John?

Furthermore, John addressed his second letter to “the chosen lady” and to “her children.” If the “chosen lady” represents a church, who then are her children? If the “chosen lady” is a congregation and the children are a congregation, then John is addressing the same group twice. This simply doesn’t make any sense.

John used singular pronouns (in the Greek) when addressing the lady directly (in 2 John 1:4, 5 twice, 13 twice). For instance, in verse 5, John speaks directly to the woman and says, “Now I ask you (sg) lady . . .” This does not sound as though John was addressing a congregation. However, at other times in this letter, John used plural pronouns when referring to the lady and to her “children.”[15] The children were the church. The “lady” is not a metaphor for a church; she was the church’s host and leader.

A Leader of Women?

Still another speculation is that the woman was indeed a leader but that her congregation consisted only of women. This speculation, however, does not stand up to the Greek grammar of the text. When John speaks about the children as those “whom” he loved in verse 1, the relative pronoun translated as “whom” is grammatically masculine. The participle for “walking” in verse 4, referring to the “children,” and the reflexive pronoun “yourselves” in verse 8 are also grammatically masculine.

The masculine gender is the “default” grammatical gender in Greek and is often used for groups that include both men and women.[16] If the church of 2 John was only comprised of women, we would expect feminine relative pronouns and participles, etc. The Greek grammar rules out the possibility that the chosen lady was the leader of an all-female congregation.

A House Church Leader?

For the first couple of hundred years following the day of Pentecost, most Christian churches were house churches. We have ample and, I believe, irrefutable evidence that some of these churches were hosted and were cared for, materially and spiritually, by women. In the New Testament, there are several women mentioned who were hosts and leaders of house church leaders.[17] It seems that John’s second letter was written to such a woman.

The simplest and most straightforward explanation of who the “chosen lady” in 2 John 1:1 and 5 was, is that she was a host and leader of a Christian house church whom John addressed directly at times in his second letter. The most straightforward explanation of who her “children” were, is that they are members of her household and congregation. It is unlikely that the chosen lady was simply a mother. It is also unlikely that she symbolised a church. I believe that the chosen lady was a female house church leader.

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[1] Some Bible scholars believe that 2 John was written by a well-known elder named John (mentioned by Papias and others), and was not written by John the apostle. Others believe it was written by a Johannine Christian community, that is, a church with strong ties to the apostle John.

[2] BDAG refers to A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition, by Walter Bauer, revised and edited by F.W Danker (University of Chicago Press, 2000).

[3] In the Gospels, the owner of a vineyard is called a kyrios, that is, he was the owner of the vineyard and the master of those who worked there (Matt. 20:8; 21:40; Mark 12:9; Luke 20:13, 15). Jesus is often referred to as Kyrios (“Lord”) in the New Testament.

[4] In the late 1800s and early 1900s huge amounts of ancient papyrus documents were discovered in Egypt. Some of these papyri were letters addressed to women using the term kyria in a way that denotes both respect and affection. (Similarly, some men are addressed as kyrios.) Kyria can be translated as “dear madam” in this context. (And kyrios as “dear sir.”) These papyrus letters date from the first few centuries of the common era.  I’ve written more about these letters, here.

[5] Others, such as James Strong (who collated Strong’s concordance), also believe that Kyria was a proper name.

[6] John Wesley’s notes on 2 John can be read on the Bible Study Tools website.

[7] One such person is German theologian, Johann Benedict Carpzov II (1639–1699).

Carpzov would identify Kyria (Martha) with the sister of Lazarus and Mary. The family of Bethany disappear from the Gospel-story after the feast in Levi’s house at the beginning of the Passion-week. They probably fled to escape the fury of the rulers, and it is just possible that they had found a home in Asia Minor like so many other refugees from Palestine. And now Martha is living in one of the cities of St. John’s diocese, a widow with a grown-up family; and it is natural that she should be dear to the Apostle and honoured by the whole Church. This is a pleasant fancy, but it is nothing more.

From footnote 359 in volume 5 of the Expositor’s Greek New Testament, William Roberton Nicoll (general editor)(New York: George H. Doran Company, 1897). (Source: Bible Hub)

[8] One church tradition is that Mary the mother of Jesus spent her last years at Ephesus with John the apostle. It is believed that John wrote his Gospel and his letters from Ephesus.

[9] Matthew Henry, who refers to the chosen lady as Lady Electa, believes she was a mother, a “noble Christian matron,” rather than a church leader.

[10] In his first letter, John used the word “children” (tekna and teknia) numerous times  (e.g., 1 John 2:1, 28; 3:1–2, 7, 10, 18; 4:4; 5:2, 21). These verses are not referring to his natural children, but to “children of God” or “Christian disciples.”

[11] Gaius was a common Roman name. There are possibly four men named Gaius in the New Testament: a Macedonian who was Paul’s travelling companion and who was seized at Ephesus (Acts 19:29); a man of Derbe who accompanied Paul from Corinth to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4); a Corinthian who was baptised by Paul (Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 1:14;); the man who was the recipient of 3 John.

[12] Paul also used the word “children” or “child” for Christian converts at Corinth and Galatia, and also for Onesimus and Timothy, etc (1 Cor. 4:14–15; Gal. 4:19; Phlm. 1:10; cf. Phil. 2:22).

[13] Jerome (ep. xi. ad Ageruchiam) believed that the word “lady” (kuria) was used symbolically for a church (i.e. a Christian community).

[14] God’s people in the Old Testament and the Church in the New Testament are often referred to in feminine terms. The Greek word for “congregation” or “church,” ekklēsia, is grammatically feminine. But a congregation is never referred to as a “lady” or a “sister,” or anything even remotely similar, in the New Testament. In the Shepherd of Hermas, an elderly woman speaks to Hermas in visions. This woman represents the church and Hermas calls her kyria when speaking to her. However, this lady appears to Hermas as an actual woman, not as a congregation.

In 1 Peter 5:13, Peter writes, “She who is in Babylon, chosen together (or  co-elect) with you sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark.” As mentioned in the article, Clement of Alexandria believed that “she” in Babylon was the same person as the chosen lady in 2 John. It is improbable that the two women are one and the same, however. I am strongly inclined to believe that the chosen lady and the chosen sister are individuals, like Rufus who is described as chosen/elect in Romans 16:13. I’ve written about the “co-elect” woman in 1 Peter 5:13 here.

[15] The dated English of the King James Version makes it fairly easy to distinguish between the singular (sg) “you” (i.e. “thee/ thy”) and the plural (pl) “you” (i.e. “ye/ you”). Here is the King James Version of 2 John in its entirety with pertinent words highlighted to indicate that they are singular or plural in the Greek:

1 The elder unto the elect Lady and her (sg) children, whom (pl) I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever.
3 Grace be with you (pl), mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy (sg) children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
5 And now I beseech thee (sg), Lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee (sg), but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard (pl) from the beginning, ye should walk (pl) in it.
7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
8 Look to yourselves (pl), that we [you (pl)] lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we [you (pl)] receive a full reward. [Translation in square brackets is from better Greek manuscripts.]
9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.  He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10 If there come any unto you (pl), and bring not this doctrine, receive (pl) him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
12 Having many things to write unto you (pl), I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you (pl), and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
13 The children of thy (sg) elect sister greet thee (sg). Amen.

[16] It is important to note that many grammatically masculine participles and other words used in the New Testament apply equally to men and women believers. Many verses about salvation, for instance, are written using the default masculine gender (e.g. John 3:16).

[17] Priscilla (with her husband Aquila) (Acts 18:26; Rom. 16:3–5, etc), Nympha (Col. 4:15), as well as “the chosen lady” (2 John 1:1, 5) and “the chosen sister” (2 John 1:13), may have been house church leaders. Apphia (with Philemon and Archippus) (Phlm. 1:2) and possibly Chloe (1 Cor. 1:11) may also have been house church leaders,

Philip’s daughters (Acts 21:9), Phoebe (Rom. 16:1–2), Junia (Rom. 16:7), Euodia and Syntyche (Phil. 4:2–3) and probably Lydia (Acts 16:40), plus others, were New Testament women with significant Christian ministries which may have included being leaders of house churches. Just as there have been good and bad male leaders, there were good and bad female leaders. Sadly, the church in Thyatira was being corrupted by the teachings and false prophecies of a wicked and immoral female leader (Rev. 2:20–24), as was the church in Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3–4 cf. 2:12).

© Margaret Mowczko 2011
All Rights Reserved

Postscript 1:  May 30, 2021
The Chosen Sister

“The children of your elect sister send you greetings” 2 John 1:13

Ancient letters often end with the letter-writer passing on greetings from the people they are currently with. At the end of 2 John, the letter-writer, traditionally thought to be the apostle John, sends greetings from a church (“the children”) that is cared for by a woman known to the elect lady.

Some think this woman may be biologically related to the lady. This is possible, but “sister” may simply mean a fellow female believer. Phoebe and Apphia, for example, are called “sisters” by Paul, but they weren’t his blood relatives. Phoebe cared for a congregation at Cenchrea (Rom. 16:1–2 NIV). Apphia was a prominent member of the church in Colossae, perhaps its patron (Phlm. 1:1-2).

I know some people have difficulty with the phrase about the elect sister in 2 John 1:13. This is not unlike the difficulty some have with the greeting from “she who is in Babylon” (1 Peter 5:13). I doubt there would be any problem, however, if “brother” was the word instead of “sister” in 2 John 1:13 (“The children of your elect brother send you greetings”).

The real issue seems to be that many people do not realise that it was not uncommon for churches in the first century to be hosted and managed by a woman. Though it may seem coincidental that we have a chosen lady and a chosen sister mentioned in one short letter, these references may reflect the relatively high incidence of women house church leaders in Asia Minor.

Postscript 2: January 17, 2023
The Chosen Lady in the 1611 King James Bible

Someone pointed out to me today that a note in the first edition of the KJV (1611) says that the lady was an actual woman, “a certaine honourable matrone” to be precise. I checked this for myself and you can check it too at King James Bible Online.

Explore more

The Elder and the Lady: A look at the language of Second John
Kyria “Lady” in Papyrus Letters
The First Century Church and the Ministry of Women
New Testament Women Church Leaders
My articles on Junia are here.
Did Priscilla Teach Apollos?
Euodia and Syntyche: Women Church Leaders at Philippi
Who is “She” who is in Babylon? (1 Peter 5:13)
Paul’s Qualifications for Church Leaders
My articles on 1 Timothy 2:12 are here.
Paul’s Theology of Ministry
Old Testament Priests and New Covenant Ministers

artigos em portugues sobre igualdade entre homens e mulheres no lar e na igreja

21 thoughts on “Who was the Chosen Lady in 2 John?

  1. I wanted to comment that I have some relative’s with the last name, Kyriazakos. I remember while taking a ferry in Greece years ago some crew members asked about the name, and they said it meant “God” the first part at least. I was looking at your article for another reason today. It’s very well done and informative. Thank you for your research. I hope to study this out more deeply. Blessings in Messiah!

  2. Hi Linda, Thanks for your comment.

    Here’s a bit more info.

    The word kyrios means “lord” and often refers to God; however the Greek word for “God”, strictly speaking, is theos.

    Sunday is called kyriakē in Greece, which is an adjective meaning “the Lord’s” as in “the Lord’s Day”.

    Kyria is not an uncommon name among Greek women nowadays.

    I wonder what Kyriazakos means?

  3. An interesting article but I am worried you miss represent the more modern view of church recipience.
    I want to take issue with just a few points you raise.
    Firstly you say few commentators and scholars believe the lady to be a church. In the contrary, most modern scholars believe the lady to be a church addressed by John around 90AD from Ephesus. The sister being the church that the letter is penned from.
    The children of said lady are the congregation of that church, a point you seem to jump over maybe in an effort to belittle the contrary evidence to your view?
    The view of church recipience is not, as you state, advanced by those hostile to female church leadership. In fact the view is supported by many women in leadership and, as stated earlier, most modern scholars irrespective of sex.
    You make no reference to the Greek grammar used in the original text which differs largely from that of 3 John which is a personal letter (an AV would highlight this by the switching from ye and thee to your and you throughout 2 John). A modern commentary would highlight this in a more literarly appealing way than I can.
    The personal exhortations to love, most notably as a commandment from the beginning, would be amiss if indeed delivered to a single lady.
    The letter is a direct answer to the Gnostic preachers that were spreading false teachings around the churches. They are rightly called anti-christs and John is warning churches about welcoming them to preach at meetings (which were held in homes) less they drive any from the truth. To miss the overall aim of this letter is to miss the intention John desired, the guarding of churches against false teachings, not the well being of one single lady.
    Sadly, I’m afraid your personal motif and bias toward the issue of gender discrimination has clouded your intake of evidence on the contrary side of the argument. Indeed I agree gender equality is something shown throughout the Bible and Jesus taught clearly on the equality of women. However I’m afraid 2 John is not one of these places and to state so misuses the text.
    But it is amazing God gives us the ability and humbleness to debate such issues openly and in love.

  4. Hi Tom,

    The letter is addressed to the chosen lady and to her children. I haven’t skipped over this. I’ve stated it explicitly. However the point of my article is to try and identify the chosen lady, and so I have concentrated on her.

    I have also made a few speculations about the sister, but since so few words are given about her I have not written much about it. However I have not ignored her.

    I make several references to the Greek. In fact my views on the topic have been formed by reading the Greek, including the Greek of John’s other letters. Moreover by reading other ancient Greek papyri, I have come to the conclusion that kyria was indeed a lady, as there are many papyrus letters addressed to other kyriai.

    Kyria was a term of respect frequently used in letters written to Christian women in early church times, much like “sir” and “madam” is used today for men and and women. In my reading of ancient papyri and ancient church documents however, I have never come across a congregation called kyria.

    In case you’re interested: https://margmowczko.com/kuria-lady-in-papyrus-letters/

    It is the Greek grammar which shows that the children (the congregation) and the lady are not one and the same.

    I have included the King James translation in the footnotes. I’ve even made bold the singular and underlined the plural pronouns and verbs to highlight the switches from singular to plural. In the body of the article, I mentioned the singular and plural words to make the point about kyria, addressed in the singular, being a person.

    How can it be wrong for John to remind kyria, his sister in Christ, of the command that we are to love one another? You, a man, mentioned “love” to me, a woman, in your final sentence – it was literally your last word – and I didn’t take it amiss. Love is what is supposed to characterise us.

    I completely agree with you that the letter was written with concern about Gnostic false teachers. John tells the congregation not to admit such people into the house. As you know, most congregations met in homes in the early days of Christianity. And some of these homes were owned and managed by women.

    I would be very interested in evidence (from the text, grammar, or historical context) that is contrary to what I have written, as I am always trying to hone my knowledge. However, I ask that you to read my footnotes before replying as I think, judging by some of your comments (especially about the AV and Greek grammar), that you may have skipped over them.

    Finally, nowhere do I say “few commentators and scholars believe the lady to be a church” or anything like this. And so I can’t help wondering if you left your comment without reading the article carefully.

  5. This is an interesting article. I personally believe the lady and sister may have been real female leaders or they may have been metaphors for two churchs. Not the congregation, but the church itself, and the children are the congregation.

    1. In the New Testament, a church is a congregation; a congregation is a church. There is no difference. That is to say, a church is a group or assembly of followers of Jesus.

  6. Hey Marg,

    I stumbled upon your blog today while doing some research on 1 John 5. I really appreciate your analytical approach to the questionable religious traditions about women’s roles in the Body of Christ. I will come back to read more later. I will also forward your blog to my daughter who also serves the Lord in South Africa. Because of her father’s influence, she often has to confront religious traditions that are contrary to Scripture.

    One thing did bother me in your writing however. The use of the term “leader” is inappropriate as used by the religious industry. The only legitimate leadership in the Body of Christ is to set the example of a bond slave and lead by the example of service.

    Jesus did not give any authority to any class or office of Believers over their Brothers and Sisters. Jesus did make some servants responsible for their Brothers and Sisters, and we will have to give an account to God of our stewardship! But rather, all authority is invested in God’s Word. And, since Jesus is the Word made flesh, the Word is Jesus dictated in written form. As such, our submission to Jesus as Lord is only as complete and sincere as our submission to God’s Word. And rightly dividing God’s Word gets more difficult with every religious generation.

    My point would be, the use of the word “leader” assumes the world’s definition of leader as having authority over others. It should be avoided. Instead, when translating the Greek, we should use service-related definitions of the word: steward, responsible for, oversight, care of, servant, minister to their needs. These accurate translations actually represent the Spirit of Jesus as servant we are to imitate. They also express the selfless love of God that is supposed to poured into our hearts to overflowing.

    Just sayin’,

    1. Hi Will,

      Some people do function as leaders within the body, but this doesn’t mean we adopt the world’s definition or the world’s methods of leadership.

      The authorisation to minister which comes from God is not an authority over a fellow brother or sister in Christ.

      I’ve written about this here:

      And here:

  7. Hi Marg, I came across your article while reading 2 John 1:1-6. God bless you for your work.

    1. Thanks, Eric.

  8. Would you share your source for Carpzov’s view that the chosen lady “may have been Martha of Bethany?” Thanks!

    1. Hi Keith, The source is volume 5 of the Expositor’s Greek New Testament, William Roberton Nicoll (general editor), published in New York in 1897 by George H. Doran Company.

      An online source is here: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/egt/2_john/

      Here is note 359 within that source.

      Carpzov would identify Kyria (Martha) with the sister of Lazarus and Mary. The family of Bethany disappear from the Gospel-story after the feast in Levi’s house at the beginning of the Passion-week. They probably fled to escape the fury of the rulers, and it is just possible that they had found a home in Asia Minor like so many other refugees from Palestine. And now Martha is living in one of the cities of St. John’s diocese, a widow with a grown-up family; and it is natural that she should be dear to the Apostle and honoured by the whole Church. This is a pleasant fancy, but it is nothing more.

      A shorter note mentioning Carpzov and his idea is in Alford’s Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. See section II.4 here: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hac/2-john.html

      1. Thank you so much!

  9. I am wondering if it could be Euodia or Syntyche? It sounds to me as if John is trying to remind her of the importance of unity and walking in love. I’m not very well-studied on this, it just sort of got stuck in my head!

    1. Hi Vicki, Unity is a key theme in Paul’s letter to the Philippians and is mentioned in 2 John. However, I doubt the Chosen Lady in one of the Philippian ladies.

      Euodia and Syntyche were in Philippi, Macedonia, in the 50s. They may have been deceased when the elder, thought to be the apostle John, wrote to the Chosen Lady sometime between AD 85 and 100. And it is commonly believed that the Chosen Lady lived in Asia Minor.

  10. […] Other New Testament women who hosted church meetings in their homes include Mary of Jerusalem (Acts 12:12), Lydia (Acts 16:40), the Chosen Lady (2 John 1), probably Phoebe of Cenchrea, and perhaps Chloe of Corinth (1 Cor. 1:11). […]

  11. […] John used the word “children” (tekna and teknia) numerous times in his three letters (e.g., 1 John 2:1, 28; 3:1-2, 7, 10, 18; 4:4; 5:2, 21; 2 John 1, 4, 13; 3 John 4.) These verses are not referring to natural children, but to “spiritual” children or disciples. [More on this in my article on The Chosen Lady in 2 John here.] John is traditionally thought to have been the author of Revelation as well as the three letters that bear his name. […]

  12. […] I have more about the chosen lady in 2 John, here.
    A Christian Lady Teacher in Egypt in the 300s AD
    I have more women church leaders in the New Testament, here. […]

  13. […] However, those are not well known names at that time, so one cannot say for certain (see Marg Mowczko for more on the […]

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