2 John 1


David O. McKay
John's second Epistle should be of special interest to the young. From it we infer that there were two Christian homes, in each of which John took delight. The mothers were sisters. His letter is addressed to "The Elect Lady" or, as she is sometimes called, the Lady Electa and her children. John tells of his love and that of others for them-mother and children-because of their Christian character. He tells of his great joy because of the children walking in the truth, living as children should live who have learned of the teachings of Christ.
It is said that when he became so old and feeble that he could not walk to church, nor preach to his people, his loving friends would carry him to the place of meeting. On these occasions, he would repeat again and again, "My dear children, love one another." One day some asked him, "Master, why doest thou always say this?" He answered. "This is what the Lord commands you; and this, if you do it, is sufficient."
It is said that he lived to be over one hundred years of age, but of his last days there is nothing definite of record. We do know, however, that he survived most bitter persecution, outlived his wicked persecutors, instructed by his life and teachings thousands in the Way of life, and is blessing many thousands in the world today, by his lofty and childlike Christian spirit. (Ancient Apostles [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 139.)

2 John 1:1 the elder unto the elect lady and her children

1 John is titled, "The First Epistle General of John." The 2nd and 3rd epistles were not general epistles but epistles to individuals obviously very close to John.
Chieko N. Okazaki
Out of the many beautiful scriptures that the tenderhearted apostle John wrote, I think one that shows his personal love is in his epistle to a nameless woman and her children. Notice how closely truth and love are interwoven in this salutation:
The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
(2 John 1:1-3)
I pray the same blessings upon us all as we trust in the Lord, approach him with pure hearts, speak the truth in love, and devote our efforts to creating islands of honesty from which we can build bridges of honest communication to others. May our hearts trust in him, and may we have his perfect peace as we live in truth and in love. (Sanctuary [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 27.)

2 John 1:5 love one another

Brigham Young
It should be satisfactory evidence that you are in the path of life, if you love God and your brethren with all your hearts. You may see, or think you see, a thousand faults in your brethren; yet they are organized as you are; they are flesh of your flesh, bone of your bone; they are of your Father who is in heaven; we are all His children, and should be satisfied with each other as far as possible...
We should commence our labors of love and kindness with the family to which we belong; and then extend them to others...
A man or woman who has embraced, and who enjoys, the principles of this Church, ought to live like an angel. They ought never to be angry with each other, but live in the light of the truth continually, and every man be kind to his neighbor. (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 271.)

2 John 1:6 this is love, that we walk after his commandments

Ezra Taft Benson
To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of our very being-physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually-to a love of the Lord.
The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet of one's life. Our desires, be they spiritual or temporal, should be rooted in a love of the Lord. Our thoughts and affections should be centered on the Lord. "Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord forever" (Alma 37:36).
Why did God put the first commandment first? Because He knew that if we truly loved Him we would want to keep all of His other commandments. "For this is the love of God," says John, "that we keep his commandments" (1 John 5:3; see 2 John 1:6).
We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives. He must come first, just as He declares in the first of His Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3).
When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims of our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities. (CR April 1988, Ensign 18 [May 1988]: 4.) (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 349 - 350.)

2 John 1:7 deceivers... confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh

"Apparently John's readers had been influenced by docetism, a doctrine that denied that Christ had come in the flesh. Docetism, from the Greek verb dokéo, 'to seem,' held that Christ had not really come in the flesh, but only appeared to do so. This belief was based on the Gnostic view that matter was evil, and that it would be impossible for a divine being such as Christ to be associated with it.
"Docetism denied, therefore, the humanity of Christ, his physical suffering, his physical death, and his physical resurrection; he only seemed to have a physical body." (John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., By Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday, 27 March 1990, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1990], 1: 111.)
"Some of the Gnostics, known as Docetists (from a Greek word meaning 'appears' or 'seems'), went so far as to claim that Jesus did not really come to earth with a corporeal body, but-since the body was something to be shunned and overcome-it only appeared that he had a physical tabernacle. (It is interesting, therefore, to consider the significance of John's teachings in 1 John 4:1-3 and 2 John 1:7.) We have heard much over the years about the impact of Roman persecution on the early Christian Church, but in reality the death knell for Christianity came through hellenization-the mingling of Greek philosophy with the scriptures and teachings of the earliest Christian Church. There was lost in and through the perpetuation of this hybrid heresy the true knowledge of God, of man, and of the purpose of life. The great apostasy followed." (Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 378 - 379.)

2 John 1:9 Whosoever... abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God

John Taylor
"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." (2 John 9.) I will tell you what Joseph Smith told me personally. Said he: "You are going out to preach the gospel, and if you can find a people anywhere as you wander through the world . . . . having the doctrines of Christ, you need not baptize them.". . . . But I never found anywhere, wherever I went, any persons holding the doctrines of Christ as taught by him, with apostles and prophets and inspired men under the influence of the Holy Ghost, and with an organization similar to that which was introuduced by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore I had to call upon all men everywhere to repent, for I could not find the kind of people Joseph said I need not baptize. (The Gospel Kingdom: Selections from the Writings and Discourses of John Taylor, selected, arranged, and edited, with an introduction by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1941], 125 - 126.)

2 John 1:10-11 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not

James E. Talmage
The intent of John's words of counsel to the elect lady has been perverted, and his teachings have been made a cover of refuge for persecutors and bigots. Warning her of the ministers of Antichrist who were industriously disseminating their heresies, the apostle wrote: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." By no rightful interpretation can these words be made to sanction intolerance, persecution, and hatred.
The apostle's true meaning has been set forth with clearness and force by a renowned Christian writer of the current day, who, after deploring the "narrow intolerance of an ignorant dogmatism," says: "The Apostle of Love would have belied all that is best in his own teaching if he had consciously given an absolution, nay, an incentive, to furious intolerance... Meanwhile, this incidental expression of St. John's brief letter will not lend itself to these gross perversions. What St. John really says and really means, is something wholly different. False teachers were rife, who, professing to be Christians, robbed the nature of Christ of all which gave its efficacy to the atonement, and its significance to the incarnation. These teachers, like other Christian missionaries, traveled from city to city, and in the absence of public inns were received into the houses of Christian converts. The Christian lady to whom St. John writes is warned that if she offers her hospitality to these dangerous emissaries, who were subverting the central truths of Christianity, she is expressing a public sanction of them; and by doing this, and offering them her best wishes, she is taking a direct share in the harm they do. This is common sense, nor is there anything uncharitable in it. No one is bound to help forward the dissemination of teaching what he regards as erroneous respecting the most essential doctrines of his own faith. Still less would it have been right to do this in the days when Christian communities were so small and weak. But, to interpret this as it has in all ages been practically interpreted-to pervert it into a sort of command to exaggerate the minor variations between religious opinions, and to persecute those whose views differ from our own-to make our own opinions the conclusive test of heresy, and to say with Cornelius-a-Lapide, that this verse reprobates 'all conversations, all intercourse, all dealings with heretics'-is to interpret scripture by the glare of partisanship and spiritual self-satisfaction, not to read it under the light of holy love." (Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 364.)

2 John 1:12 I would not write with paper and ink

"How were the sacred words recorded? It appears that anciently two main substances were used in writing. Papyrus was made from the inner bark of a reed plant that grew beside rivers and marshes... The second material on which writing was done was parchment. Parchment was formed through shaving and scraping clean the skins of sheep, goats, antelope, and other animals in order to produce a material for writing which was more durable than papyrus... Pen and ink were used to write on papyrus or parchment. The pen was a reed 'fashioned from rushes about 6-16 in. long, the end being cut to a flat chisel-shape to enable thick and thin strokes to be made with the broad or narrow sides.' The ink was made of charcoal, gum, and water. Note the scriptural reference to 'paper and ink' in 2 John 1:12 (see also 3 John 1:13)." (Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 4 - 5.)