3 John

THE APOSTLE JOHN addressed this letter to ‘the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth’ (verse 1). It may be that John had originally taught him “the truth” (that is, the Gospel), as verse 4 perhaps indicates. However, all John’s fellow believers were also “beloved”, having all received God’s love, shown to them in Jesus Christ.

John wrote asking Gaius to look after the preachers of the Gospel who were currently in his area, and to attend to their needs. His letter was written under inspiration of God and so has a message for us too. Because of its personal tone and the warm love shown by John to Gaius, this letter may remind us of Paul’s personal and affectionate letter to Philemon.

A Good Report

Gaius was already known for his kindness. Some of the believers had reported this to the Apostle. They had confirmed also that he was following “the truth” (v. 3). Another faithful believer mentioned in this epistle is Demetrius (v. 12). John wrote that he too had a good report from all men. For us the message is clear: what we believe and how we live are both vital. If we are faithful to God’s Word we too can obtain ‘a good testimony’ (v. 12)—from God Himself (see Hebrews 11:39–40).

John had previously written to the believers where Gaius lived (v. 9). However, a member of the congregation there was being troublesome. His name was Diotrephes. He was a domineering man, full of his own importance. The letter shows the Divine estimate of such pride.

John rejoiced to know that most of the members of the congregation walked faithfully in truth and love. If we try to live according to God’s word, this will bring joy, both to Him and to us (v. 4). There is no greater joy!

Both the second and third letters of John are short. John ends each one by explaining: ‘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’ (vs. 13–14).

Norman Owen

By kind permission of ‘The Christadelphian’

Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible:

  • 3 John verse 4—see 1 Corinthians 4:15; Philemon verse 10.
  • 3 John verse 11—see Psalm 37:27; Amos 5:15; 1 Peter 3:11.
  • 3 John verse 12—see Genesis 39:3; Daniel 1:9; Luke 2:52.

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