1 elect lady. Although a number of modern writers believe John was writing to a particular woman leader of one of the churches, it seems more likely that he was personifying the church under the figure of a gracious lady (compare II Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27,32). No other canonical epistle is addressed to an individual, unless that individual is addressed by name (e.g., III John 1). Some have suggested that “lady” is actually a proper name (Greek kuria), but the adjective “elect” is never elsewhere used as an individual appellation (e.g., “the wellbeloved Gaius,” III John 1). Another obvious problem is that this lady was assumed to have considerable authority in the church, whereas the Apostle Paul had made it plain that, in the church, no woman was “to usurp authority over the man” (I Timothy 2:12).
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