3 John

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The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.

Observation

  • John refers to himself as the elder.
  • The letter is written to Gaius.
  • John loves Gaius in the truth.
  • John referred to Gaius as beloved.
  • John prays that all will go well with Gaius.
  • John prays that Gaius may be in good health.
  • Gaius is a follower of Christ
  • John prayed that Gaius physical health would be as good as Gaius soul.
  • John had received reports about Gaius from some Christian brothers
  • The Christian brothers told John how Gaius walked in the truth.
  • John considered Gaius as one of his children.
  • John’s greatest joy was hearing that his children were walking in the truth.
  • Gaius was doing something for other Christian brothers
  • The Christian brothers were strangers to Gaius.
  • What Gaius was doing was a good thing.
  • The strangers and brothers in Christ testified to Gaius’ love for the church.
  • Gaius was to send the brothers in Christ on their way in a manner worthy of God.
  • The brothers in Christ had gone out for Christ
  • The brothers had accepted nothing from the Gentiles.
  • We are to support people that go in the name of Christ and do not accept support from those who do not believe in Christ.
  • Supporting workers in Christ makes us workers in Christ.
  • John had written something to the church but Diotrephes did not accept John’s authority.
  • Diotrephes put himself first.
  • When John physically comes, he will bring up what Diotrephes is doing.
  • Diotrephes was talking wicked non-sense against John.
  • Diotrephes refused to welcome the brothers that Gaius welcomed
  • Diotrephes put the brothers out of the church.
  • John encourages Gaius to not imitate evil i.e. Diotrephes but to imitate good..
  • Whoever does good is from God.
  • Whoever does evil has not seen God.
  • Demetrius had received a good testimony from everyone.
  • Demetrius had received a good testimony from Christ.
  • John added to the testimony of Demetrius.
  • Gaius knew that John’s testimony about Demetrius was true.
  • John had a lot to write to Gauis.
  • John would rather talk face to face than write.
  • John concludes his letter by proclaiming peace to Gaius.
  • The friends greet Gaius.
  • Gaius was to greet each of the friends by name.

Interpretation

Gaius was walking correctly with Christ and John made no effort to correct Gaius. In fact, John commends Gaius for his support of the brothers, who were probably traveling missionaries. The traveling missionaries were sent out to combat false teachers. And they accepted nothing from non-Christians. These missionaries’ mission was not evangelism but rather correction of false doctrine.

John uses the first person plural to indicate that John, Gaius and all of believers in Christ ought to support these efforts. In doing so, we become participants in their work. This is of particular noteworthy when understood in light of 2 John where John says to provide even the smallest amount of support to the false teacher we participate in their evil. We when support either the false teachers or the teachers of truth we participate with them.

What Diotrephes was doing, was not doing right. Because of the context Diotrephes probably did not support the traveling missionaries and perhaps he even accused John of misconduct in making the request to support them. John says he will confront Diotrephes when he comes. John then goes no to say not to imitate evil but imitate good. This is clearly a reference Diotrephes’ conduct. By implication, at least, the author calls into question the genuineness of Diotrephes’ faith (whoever does evil has not seen God).

Application

What is referred to as the great commandment in Matthew 28:19-20 may not be something everyone has the opportunity to participate in directly.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul says we are not all teachers. We do not all have the same gifts. However, John says here, we can participate with the missionaries and teachers by supporting their ministries. When we support them we participate with them.

However, care must be given that support is not given to those how teach falsely, not even the smallest most insignificant support. (2 John)

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