I thought with the current discussion about how to approach the Scripture by first determining who was writing and to whom were they writing to, etc.; that maybe we could discuss the second epistle of John.

2 John (as Trump would say ) is a short epistle. We'll keep this simple.

2 John 1:1-2 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; For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

First, the salutation does not identify the writer as the Apostle John, but rather "The elder". I think we can all agree that we can let the Canon stand and trust that this epistle is penned by John the Gospel writer. It isn't a slam dunk though and requires, as I have pointed out in other posts, a little bit of trust in the tradition of the early Church. If you want to jump in on this point, it is an interesting topic.

Second, the letter is addressed to "the elect lady" and "her children".

Verse 13, the conclusion, makes another reference for clues:

13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

What is apparent is that John was residing in proximity to the children of "thy elect sister", as they send their greetings to "the elect lady".

For me, I have always read the epistle as addressed to a church, perhaps the Church in Jerusalem, and the children as those of that church. The Elect Sister as yet a second church, most likely Ephesus where John presumably was when he wrote the epistle.

The epistle, while short, offers valuable content to any individual or church. So ultimately, we don't have to crack the case to apply the verses.

However, there are many who believe the epistle is addressed to a particular woman, and that the name of that woman is given in the salutation. Additionally, there are many who believe the epistle is addressed to a particular woman while addressing her anonymously. In both these cases, the verse 13 reference then would mean the sister of the one addressed in verse 1, but referencing only the children which would be the elect lady's nieces and nephews (the elect sister either having passed on or not present for some reason). And there is the one I already offered, there are many who believe the epistle is addressed to a church, making a metaphorical reference to the church as "the elect lady" and the church where John resided as "thy elect sister".

So how do you read the epistle? Does it matter about knowing exactly who was referenced in order to understand and apply the content as worthy of the Canon of the New Testament?