Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


2 John 1:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

That I found of thy children walking in truth - I have already supposed this Christian matron to be mother of a family, probably a widow, for no mention is made of her husband; and that she was also a deaconess in the church, and one in those house the traveling evangelists preached, and there they were entertained. The children mentioned here may either be her own children, or those members of the Church which were under her care, or some of both. The apostle was glad to find, probably by an epistle sent from herself to him, or from the information of some of the itinerant evangelists, that the work of God was prospering in the place where she lived, and also in her own household. He does not say that all were walking in the truth, but εκ των τεκνων, some of her children; there was a growing and spreading work, and there were many adversaries who strove to pervert them who had already believed, and perhaps were successful in drawing several away from their simplicity.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I rejoiced greatly that I found … - That I learned this fact respecting some of thy children. The apostle does not say how he had learned this. It may have been that he had become personally acquainted with them when they were away from their home, or that he had learned it from others. The word used εὕρηκα heurēkawould apply to either method. Grotius supposed that some of the sons had come to Ephesus on business, and that John had become acquainted with them there.

Of thy children walking in truth - That is, true Christians; living in accordance with the truth, for this constitutes the essence of religion. The expression used here, “of thy children,” ( ἐκ τῶν τέκνων ek tōn teknōnmeans some of thy children; implying that he knew of a part of them who were true Christians. This is clear from the Greek construction, because:

(a)if he had meant to say that he had found them all to be of this description, the sentiment would have been directly expressed, “thy children;” but as it is, some word is necessary to be understood to complete the sense; and,

(b)the same thing is demanded by the fact that the participle used (“walking” - περιπατοῦντας peripatountas) is in the accusative case.

If he had referred to them all, the participle would have been in the genitive, agreeing with the word “children,” ( τῶν περιπατοῦντων tōn peripatountōn) - Lucke. Whether the apostle means to say that only a part of them had in fact embraced the gospel, or that he had only known that a part of them had done it, though the others might have done it without his knowledge, is not quite clear, though the former supposition appears to be the correct one, for if they had all become Christians it is to be presumed that he would have been informed of it. The probability seems to be that a part of her children only were truly pious, though there is no evidence that the others were otherwise than correct in their moral conduct. If there had been improper conduct in any of her other children, John was too courteous, and too delicate in his feelings, to allude to so disagreeable a circumstance. But “if that pious lady,” to use the language of Benson, “had some wicked children, her lot was not unique. Her consolation was that she had some who were truly good. John commended those who were good, in order to excite them in the most agreeable manner to persevere.”

As we have received a commandment from the Father - That is, as he has commanded us to live; in accordance with the truth which he has revealed. The “Father,” in the Scripture, is everywhere represented as the Source of law.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is good to be trained to early religion; and children may be beloved for their parents' sake. It gave great joy to the apostle to see children treading in their parents' steps, and likely in their turn to support the gospel. May God bless such families more and more, and raise up many to copy their example. How pleasing the contrast to numbers who spread irreligion, infidelity, and vice, among their children! Our walk is true, our converse right, when according to the word of God. This commandment of mutual Christian love, may be said to be a new one, in respect of its being declared by the Lord Christ; yet, as to the matter, it is old. And this is love to our own souls, that we obey the Divine commands. The foresight of the decay of this love, as well as of other apostacies, or fallings away, might engage the apostle to urge this duty, and this command, frequently and earnestly.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 241-2

After the descent of the Holy Spirit the disciples went forth to proclaim a risen Saviour, their one desire the salvation of souls. They rejoiced in the sweetness of the communion with saints. They were tender, thoughtful, self-denying, willing to make any sacrifice for the truth's sake. In their daily association with one another they revealed the love that Christ had commanded them to reveal. By unselfish words and deeds they strove to kindle this love in other hearts. 8T 241.1

The believers were ever to cherish the love that filled the hearts of the apostles after the descent of the Holy Spirit. They were to go forward in willing obedience to the new commandment: “As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34. So closely were they to be united to Christ that they would be enabled to fulfill His requirements. The power of a Saviour who could justify them by His righteousness was to be magnified. 8T 241.2

But the early Christians began to look for defects in one another. Dwelling upon mistakes, giving place to unkind criticism, they lost sight of the Saviour and of the great love He had revealed for sinners. They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory of the faith, more severe in their criticisms. In their zeal to condemn others they forgot their own errors. They forgot the lesson of brotherly love that Christ had taught. And, saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. They did not realize that happiness and joy were going out of their lives, and that soon they would walk in darkness, having shut the love of God out of their hearts. 8T 241.3

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