The Meaning of 2 John 1:3 Explained

2 John 1:3

KJV: 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.

YLT: there shall be with you grace, kindness, peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Darby: Grace shall be with you, mercy, peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

ASV: Grace, mercy, peace shall be with us, from God the Father, and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

What does 2 John 1:3 Mean?

Verse Meaning

John wanted his readers to appreciate the importance of guarding God"s truth and practicing love for one another. These two things are the basis for grace, mercy, and peace. "Grace" is God"s unmerited favor, "mercy" is compassion, and "peace" is harmony and inner tranquillity.
"The succession "grace, mercy, peace" marks the order from the first notion of God to the final satisfaction of man." [1]
These qualities flourish where truth and love prevail.
"When divorced from truth, love is little more than sentimentality or humanism. If I truly care about my brothers, then I will want them to know, and live according to, God"s truth." [2]
"Where "truth and love" coexist harmoniously, we have a well-balanced Christian character (cf. Ephesians 4:15)." [3]
John"s description of Jesus Christ as the Son of God the Father is reminiscent of his emphasis on Jesus" full deity both in his first epistle and in his Gospel.

Context Summary

2 John 1:1-13 - Walking In Truth
This exquisite letter, a model of old-world correspondence, was probably written when the Apostle was the guest of the nephews of the lady addressed. The Epistle revolves around the two words, love and truth, which were the poles of his life. When Christ is in us, not only are we true in judgment and speech, but we recognize truth wherever it is to be found. No horizon bounds the vision of the true and truth-loving soul. Be true and loving, and you will have a rich heritage of grace, mercy, and peace. Love is best shown by obedience. 2 John 1:8 shows a pastor's anxiety. Don't go on without Christ or you will lose God, 2 John 1:9. Remember that love can be stern, 2 John 1:10.
The letter reveals the strength, purity, and love of the primitive Church. Let us put into our letters thoughts which will make them worth receiving and keeping. [source]

Chapter Summary: 2 John 1

1  He exhorts a certain honorable matron, with her children, to persevere in Christian love and belief,
8  lest they lose the reward of their former profession;
10  and to have nothing to do with those seducers that bring not the true doctrine of Christ Jesus

Greek Commentary for 2 John 1:3

Shall be with us [εσται μετ ημων]
He picks up the words before in reverse order. Future indicative here, not a wish with the optative (ειε — eie) as we have in 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2. The salutation is like that in the Pastoral Epistles: “Χαρις — Charis the wellspring in the heart of God; ελεος — eleos its outpourings; ειρηνη — eirēnē its blessed effect” (David Smith). [source]
And from Jesus Christ [και παρα Ιησου Χριστου]
The repetition of παρα — para (with the ablative) is unique. “It serves to bring out distinctly the twofold personal relation of man to the Father and to the Son” (Westcott). “The Fatherhood of God, as revealed by one who being His Son can reveal the Father, and who as man (Ιησου — Iēsou) can make him known to men” (Brooke). [source]
Grace be with you, mercy and peace [ἔσται μεθ ἡμῶν χάρις ἔλεος εἰρήνη]
The verb is in the future tense: shall be. In the Pauline Epistles the salutations contain no verb. In 1 and 2Peter and Jude, πληθυνθείη bemultiplied, is used. Grace ( χάρις ) is of rare occurrence in John's writings (John 1:14, John 1:16, John 1:17; Revelation 1:4; Revelation 22:21); and the kindred χαρίζομαι tofavor, be kind, forgive, and χάρισμα giftare not found at all. See on Luke 1:30. Mercy ( ἔλεος ), only here in John. See on Luke 1:50. The pre-Christian definitions of the word include the element of grief experienced on account of the unworthy suffering of another. So Aristotle. The Latin misericordia (miser “wretched,” cor “the heart”) carries the same idea. So Cicero defines it, the sorrow arising from the wretchedness of another suffering wrongfully. Strictly speaking, the word as applied to God, cannot include either of these elements, since grief cannot be ascribed to Him, and suffering is the legitimate result of sin. The sentiment in God assumes the character of pitying love. Mercy is kindness and goodwill toward the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them. Trench observes: “In the Divine mind, and in the order of our salvation as conceived therein, the mercy precedes the grace. God so loved the world with a pitying love (herein was the mercy ), that He gave His only-begotten Son (herein the grace ), that the world through Him might be saved. But in the order of the manifestation of God's purposes of salvation, the grace must go before the mercy and make way for it. It is true that the same persons are the subjects of both, being at once the guilty and the miserable; yet the righteousness of God, which it is quite as necessary should be maintained as His love, demands that the guilt should be done away before the misery can be assuaged; only the forgiven may be blessed. He must pardon before He can heal … . From this it follows that in each of the apostolic salutations where these words occur, grace precedes mercy” (“Synonyms of the New Testament”). [source]
With you []
The best texts read with us. [source]
From God - from Jesus Christ [παρὰ Θεοῦ - παρὰ Ἱησοῦ Χριστοῦ]
Note the repeated preposition, bringing out the twofold relation to the Father and Son. In the Pauline salutations ἀπό fromis invariably used with God, and never repeated with Jesus Christ. On the use of παρά fromsee on John 6:46; see on 1 John 1:5. [source]
God the Father []
The more common expression is “God our Father.” [source]
The Son of the Father []
The phrase occurs nowhere else. Compare John 1:18; 1 John 2:22, 1 John 2:23; 1 John 1:3. [source]
In truth and in love []
The combination is not found elsewhere. The words indicate the contents of the whole Epistle. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 2 John 1:3

John 1:17 Grace and truth came [ἐγένετο]
Came into being as the development of the divine plan inaugurated in the law, and unfolding the significance of the gift of the law. They came into being not absolutely, but in relation to mankind. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:30, where it is said of Christ, He was made (properly, became, εγενήθη ) unto us wisdom and righteousness, etc. Note the article with grace and truth; the grace and the truth; that which in the full sense is grace and truth. Grace occurs nowhere else in John, except in salutations (2 John 1:3; Revelation 1:4; Revelation 22:21). [source]
John 14:27 My peace [ειρηνην την εμην]
This is Christ‘s bequest to the disciples before he goes, the μεδη δειλιατω — shalom of the orient for greeting and parting, used by Jesus in his appearances after the resurrection (John 20:19, John 20:21, John 20:26) as in 2 John 1:3; 3 John 1:14, but here and in John 16:33 in the sense of spiritual peace such as only Christ can give and which his Incarnation offers to men (Luke 2:14). Neither let it be fearful Added to the prohibition in John 14:1, only N.T. example of δειλος — deiliaō (rare word in Aristotle, in a papyrus of one condemned to death), common in lxx, like palpitating of the heart (from deilos). [source]
Romans 9:15 I will have mercy - compassion [ἐλεήσω - οἰκτειρήσω]
See Exodus 33:19. For mercy see on 2 John 1:3; see on Luke 1:50. The former verb emphasizes the sense of human wretchedness in its active manifestation; the latter the inward feeling expressing itself in sighs and tears. Have mercy therefore contemplates, not merely the sentiment in itself, but the determination of those who should be its objects. The words were spoken to Moses in connection with his prayer for a general forgiveness of the people, which was refused, and his request to behold God's glory, which was granted. With reference to the latter, God asserts that His gift is of His own free grace, without any recognition of Moses' right to claim it on the ground of merit or service. [source]
Galatians 6:16 Mercy [ἔλεος]
In the opening salutations of the Pastoral Epistles with grace and peace; also in 2 John 1:3. In Judges 1:2with peace and love. [source]
1 John 4:17 Our love [ἡ ἀγάπη μεθ ' ἡμῶν]
The A.V. construes μεθ ' ἡμῶν withus, with love, making with us equivalent to our. In that case it might mean either the love which is between Christians, or the love which is between God and Christians. The Rev. construes with us with the verb: love is made perfect with us. The latter is preferable. I do not think it would be easy to point out a parallel in the New Testament to the expression ἀγάπη μεθ ' love that with us = our love. The true idea is that love is perfected in fellowship. The love of God is perfected with us, in communion with us, through our abiding in Him and He in us. “Love is not simply perfected in man, but in fulfilling this issue God works with man” (Westcott). Compare 2 John 1:3, “grace shall be with us ” (true reading); and Acts 25:4, “what things God had done with them.” See also Matthew 1:23; 1 Corinthians 16:24; Galatians 6:18. Μετά withis used constantly in the New Testament of ethical relations. See Matthew 20:2; Matthew 2:3; Luke 23:12; Acts 7:9; Romans 12:15; 1 John 1:6. [source]
1 John 1:7 Of Jesus Christ His Son []
Omit Christ. The human name, Jesus, shows that His blood is available for man. The divine name, His Son, shows that it is efficacious. I shall be rendering a service to students of John's Epistles by giving, in a condensed form, Canon Westcott's note, classifying the several names of our Lord and their uses in the Epistles. The name in John, as in the Bible elsewhere, has two distinct, but closely connected meanings. -DIVIDER-
1. The Revelation of the Divine Being by a special title. -DIVIDER-
2. The whole sum of the manifold revelations gathered up so as to form one supreme revelation. -DIVIDER-
The latter sense is illustrated in 3 John 1:7, where “the name” absolutely includes the essential elements of the Christian creed, the complete revelation of Christ's work in relation to God and man. Compare John 20:31; Acts 5:41. -DIVIDER-
In 1 John 2:12, the term is more limited, referring to Christ as He lived on earth and gave Himself for “the brethren.” In 1 John 3:23; 1 John 5:13, the exact sense is defined by what follows. -DIVIDER-
Actual Names Used. -DIVIDER-
(I.) His Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3; 1 John 3:23; 1 John 5:20. The divine antecedent is differently described in each case, and the difference colors the phrase. In 1 John 1:2-3, the Father (compare 1John href="/desk/?q=1jo+3:23&sr=1">1 John 3:23, God. In 1 John 5:20, He that is true. Thus the sonship of Christ is regarded in relation to God as Father, as God, and as satisfying the divine ideal which man is able to form. The whole phrase, His Son Jesus Christ, includes the two elements of the confessions which John makes prominent. -DIVIDER-
1. Jesus is the Son of God (John 4:15; John 5:5). -DIVIDER-
2. Jesus is the Christ (John 2:22; John 5:1). -DIVIDER-
The constituents of the compressed phrase are all used separately by John. -DIVIDER-
(1.) Jesus. 1 John 2:22; 1 John 5:1; 1 John 4:3(where the correct reading omits Christ). The thought is that of the Lord in His perfect historic humanity. -DIVIDER-
(2.) Christ. 2 John 1:9. Pointing to the preparation made under the old covenant. -DIVIDER-
(3). Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:1; 1 John 5:6; 2 John 1:7. Combining the ideas of true humanity and messianic position. -DIVIDER-
In 1 John 4:15, the reading is doubtful: Jesus or Jesus Christ. -DIVIDER-
On 1 John 4:2, see note. -DIVIDER-
(4.) The Son. 1 John 2:22, 1 John 2:23, 1 John 2:24; 1 John 4:14; 1 John 5:12. The absolute relation of Sonship to Fatherhood. -DIVIDER-
(5.) The Son of God. 1 John 3:8; 1 John 5:10, 1 John 5:12, 1 John 5:13, 1 John 5:20. Compare His Son (1 John 4:10; 1 John 5:9), where the immediate antecedent is ὁ Θεός Godand 1 John 5:18, He that was begotten of God. Combination of the ideas of Christ's divine dignity and divine sonship. -DIVIDER-
(6.) Jesus His (God's) Son. 1 John 1:7. Two truths. The blood of Christ is available and efficacious. -DIVIDER-
(7). His (God's) Son, His only Son. 1 John 4:9. The uniqueness of the gift is the manifestation of love. -DIVIDER-
The Son in various forms is eminently characteristic of the First and Second Epistles, in which it occurs more times than in all Paul's Epistles. -DIVIDER-
Κύριος Lordis not found in the Epistles (omit from 2 John 1:3), but occurs in the Gospel, and often in Revelation. -DIVIDER-
The expression, the blood of Jesus His Son, is chosen with a profound insight. Though Ignatius uses the phrase blood of God yet the word blood is inappropriate to the Son conceived in His divine nature. The word Jesus brings out His human nature, in which He assumed a real body of flesh and blood, which blood was shed for us.Cleanseth ( καθαρίζει )See on Mark 7:19. Not only forgives but removes. Compare Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:13sq.; Hebrews 9:22sq.; Ephesians 5:26sq.; Matthew 5:8; 1 John 3:3. Compare also 1 John 1:9, where, forgive ( ἀφῇ ) and cleanse ( καθαρίσῃ ) occur, with an obvious difference of meaning. Note the present tense cleanseth. The cleansing is present and continuous. Alexander (Bishop of Derry) cites a striking passage from Victor Hugo (“Le Parricide”). The usurper Canute, who has had a share in his father's death, expiring after a virtuous and glorious reign, walks towards the light of heaven. But first he cuts with his sword a shroud of snow from the top of Mt. Savo. As he advances towards heaven, a cloud forms, and drop by drop his shroud is soaked with a rain of blood.All sin ( πάσης ἁμαρτίας )The principle of sin in all its forms and manifestations; not the separate manifestations. Compare all joy (James 1:2); all patience (2 Corinthians 7:12); all wisdom (Ephesians 1:8); all diligence (2 Peter 1:5). [source]

3 John 1:4 Joy [χαρὰν]
The texts vary; some reading χάριν graceor favor from God, on which see 2 John 1:3. Note the Greek order: greater joy than this have I not. [source]

What do the individual words in 2 John 1:3 mean?

Will be with us grace mercy [and] peace from God [the] Father and Jesus Christ the Son of the Father in truth love
Ἔσται μεθ’ ἡμῶν χάρις ἔλεος εἰρήνη παρὰ Θεοῦ Πατρός καὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Πατρός ἐν ἀληθείᾳ ἀγάπῃ

Ἔσται  Will  be 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
ἡμῶν  us 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 1st Person Plural
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
χάρις  grace 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: χάρις  
Sense: grace.
ἔλεος  mercy 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: ἔλεος  
Sense: mercy: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them.
εἰρήνη  [and]  peace 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: εἰρήνη  
Sense: a state of national tranquillity.
Θεοῦ  God 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
Πατρός  [the]  Father 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: προπάτωρ 
Sense: generator or male ancestor.
Ἰησοῦ  Jesus 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: Ἰησοῦς  
Sense: Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses’ successor.
Χριστοῦ  Christ 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: Χριστός  
Sense: Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God.
Υἱοῦ  Son 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: υἱός  
Sense: a son.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Πατρός  Father 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: προπάτωρ 
Sense: generator or male ancestor.
ἀληθείᾳ  truth 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: ἀλήθεια  
Sense: objectively.
ἀγάπῃ  love 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: ἀγάπη  
Sense: brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence.