Bible Study

2 John Bible Study, Day 31: Grace, Mercy, and Peace

Today’s passage: 2 John 1:1–3

Focus verse: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. (2 John 1:3)

John opens his letter calling himself simply “the elder.” Though he could have used more prestigious labels, such as “one of Jesus’s twelve disciples” or “the one Jesus loved,” he chooses the humbler label of “elder.” 

After his concise two-word phrase to describe himself, he launches into a wordy greeting—one consistent with his poetic style—to his recipients: the chosen lady and her children, loved in truth. (We’ll cover John’s use of truth in tomorrow’s reading.)

His salutation takes up two verses.

Addressing his audience, he goes on to declare a blessing for them—and himself. This blessing proclaims grace, mercy, and peace from Father God and his Son, Jesus the Christ.

Many people struggle to discern between grace and mercy. Some dictionaries even use one word to describe the other, yet we’ll make a distinction between them.


As it relates to God and us, we understand grace as a divine favor extended by him—our Sovereign Lord—to us as his chosen people. He offers grace to us and extends grace to us. 

A simple, yet helpful, understanding is that God’s grace toward us gives us good things that we don’t deserve.

The word grace appears throughout the Bible but most often in the New Testament. In this way we see God’s grace coming to us through Jesus.


In contrast to grace, mercy is a compassionate treatment from someone in authority—with God as our supreme ruler—to a lesser person. Other examples of mercy include being kind, forgiving, and providing relief from distress.

Our simple understanding of mercy is that God’s mercy to us removes the bad things we deserve. Though our sins call for punishment, through God’s mercy, given by Jesus, we receive forgiveness. 

Mercy is both an Old Testament and a New Testament idea, appearing in over half of the books in the Bible.


The third element of our blessing is peace. The word peace appears in most books of the Bible, showing up around as often as grace and mercy combined.

We often think of peace as an absence of conflict or a freedom from strife. Peace can also be an inner serenity or contentment. 

We can embrace John’s blessing of peace to address both these understandings. The first peace is physical and applies to our time on earth. The second peace is spiritual, starting now and extending into eternity.

In this way we can receive God’s grace and mercy as ushering in an everlasting peace.


  1. What does grace mean to you?
  2. What does mercy mean to you?
  3. What does peace mean to you?
  4. How well do we do at receiving grace, mercy, and peace from God? 
  5. How can we better show grace, mercy, and peace to others?

Discover another biblical writer who proclaims grace, mercy, and peace in 1 Timothy 1:2 and 2 Timothy 1:2.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.

Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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