Who Was The “Chosen Lady” Of 2 John? -- By: Lamar Wadsworth

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 12:1 (Winter 1998)
Article: Who Was The “Chosen Lady” Of 2 John?
Author: Lamar Wadsworth

Who Was The “Chosen Lady” Of 2 John?

Lamar Wadsworth

CBE Member Lamar Wadsworth is Pastor of the Woolford Memorial Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD. Priscilla Papers 10:3, Summer 1996.

When we read the letters that make up the greater part of our New Testament, we are reading someone else’s mail. Suppose that you found a box of letters dating from the 1890’s in the attic of the old family home. These letters might mention the names of many people well-known to both the writer and the recipient but unknown to you. Perhaps your 90-year-old aunt could tell you about some of them, but you never would be able to identify some of the people mentioned in those old letters.

Like letters from the attic of the old family home, our New Testament letters mention many people of whom we know little or nothing. Some were prominent leaders in the Christian communities of the First Century AD. For example, Romans 16 lists a number of leaders well-known to the early church but unknown to us—including two otherwise-unknown apostles, a man named Andronicus and a woman named Junia. Romans 16:7, the only place they are mentioned, is the kind of reference that makes us wish we knew more. They are on my growing list of people to look up when I get to heaven!

Those century-old letters from the attic might also mention “your dear cousin,” “the pastor,” “our neighbors across the road,” or some other designation instead of a name. The original recipient knew to whom the writer was referring, but you have no idea. Similarly with various references to people in the New Testament: In Acts 16, we read of the jailer at Philippi who was converted. He may well have been alive when Acts was written. Certainly, there were people still living in Philippi who knew him by name, but Luke does not tell us that name. Then, in Romans 16, Paul sends greeting to Rufus and his mother. Paul does not mention her name; he simply refers to her as Rufus’ mother. She and her son were well-known to the church in Rome, but they are obscure figures for us. We know little about Rufus and less about his mother, not even her name. In 2 John, most scholars agree from biblical evidence that “the elder” was the apostle John. The original recipients knew who “the elder” was, and they all knew who the “chosen lady” was—but we do not know who she was. However, I believe we can know some things about her if we continue to examine the biblical evidence.

The Meaning Of Kuria

The word translated “Lady” occurs nowhere in the New Testament outside of 2 John. The word is kuria, the feminine form of kurios,...

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