2nd John begins like this:

The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth — 2nd John 1, ESV

Is this a letter to Mary? Or does this address suggest anything about allowing women to be elders in a church?

  • 1
    "would this also be used for example as to allowing women to be Elders in a church?" I don't see why. It doesn't say the "elect lady" (Ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ) is an elder (πρεσβύτερος), but rather, the author is. In case you are interested, see p. 181 (in the book). simply-a-christian.com/texts/Henry_Alford/…
    – user862
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 18:32
  • Who is the “elect lady” of Second John?
    – Susan
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 17:17
  • Is it really constructive to migrate a question just so that it can immediately be marked as a duplicate?
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


The author identified himself as “the elder”

"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;" (2 John 1:1)

Since the epistle addresses a group of people, many commentators conclude that “the elect lady” actually refers to a Christian congregation, which is evidenced by the last verse of the same chapter:

"The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen." (2 John 1:13)

The Greek term for church is feminine, and it was common to personify the Church as a woman (see Ephesians 5:25–27, 32; Revelation 12:1–4, 17; 19:7–8). Another possibility is that “the elect lady and her children” were John’s wife and family.

Chapter 52: 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude. New Testament Student Manual, 2014

  • That is what I thought, but after I read Romans 16 with Phoebe being in the ministry I thought I might have over looked something.
    – Tonya
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 21:49
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    Phebe is considered to be the messenger that carried the Epistle to the Romans. Women have a very important role in the church, as "succourers" as Paul described Phebe. Feminist movements of today are pushing for equality in the ministry, but they don't realize that men and women cannot replace one another, they complete each other. They are not unequal, together they are one flesh, they have different, yet vital roles. Men are the ministers, women are the succourers. Paul commended Phebe of being a succourer of many, including himself.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 22:05
  • I did not think she was a preacher but a deacon. It is not my belief for women to be preachers. Even the bible shows aquilla and priscilla pulling Apollos aside to tell him about Christ.
    – Tonya
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 22:19