Observe here, 1. The person writing and directing this epistle, St. John, styling himself The Elder, partly with respect to his age, he being, as it is thought, the only person at that time living upon the earth who bore the name of an apostle; and partly with respect to his office in the church: the word elder being a name of honour and dignity, we find both St. Peter elsewhere, and St. John here, making use of it.
Observe, 2. The person to whom the epistle is directed, The elect Lady and her children; either some particular church, with its religious members according to some; or some honourable person of eminent piety and usefulness in the church, according to others; and to her children, who had been religiously educated by her.
Observe, 3. The solemn profession which he makes of the sincerity of his love to herself and her children, together with the ground and attractive cause of that his cordial affection to her and her's. Whom I love in the truth, and for the truth's sake.
Mark, St. John here loved the lady for the truth's sake; but how many in our days love the truth for the lady's sake; I mean for sinister ends, and by-respects. It is a blessed thing when religion, and the grace of God shining in the lives of Christians, is the special loadstone of our love and affection toward them. The elder to the Elect Lady, whom I love in the truth. She had embraced the truth of the gospel, and he was confidently persuaded that she would continue in the profession and practice of it for ever.
Observe, 4. The salutation sent to her and her children; namely, increase of grace, and an abundance of mercy and peace from God the Father, and Christ the Redeemer; earnestly wishing that they may continue steadfast in the profession of the truth, and in the exercise of love one to another: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father in truth and love.