The Elect Lady
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.
"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)
The Greek word for "lady" (kuria) is used only two times in the Bible, and both of these occurrences are here in the one-chapter epistle of 2 John. It is also fascinating to note that kuria is the feminine form of kurios, which is the Greek word for "Lord."
Evidently this "elect lady" was a special woman, very highly esteemed by the apostle John as a capable and conscientious mother to her children.
It is uncertain however, whether this distinguished lady was a literal mother in the church with literal children or possibly a metaphor for the church itself, with the "children" its individual members. Good reasons can be given for both interpretations, and it may even be that John wrote his letter with this dual meaning in mind under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
In either case, it is significant that this mother is called "lady" instead of the much more frequently used "woman" (Greek gune), or even "mother" (Greek meter). The Greek kuria was evidently used to stress deep respect and honor to such a mother in the church. She clearly was training her children in "the truth," much as Timothy's mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, had brought him up to have "unfeigned faith" in "the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15).
In addition to faith in God's truth, of course, there should be genuine love. The second use of kuria is in verse 5: "And now I beseech thee lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another" (2 John 5). HMM