3 John Bible study

Living Word Magazine

1. Introduction and a Prayer 1 - 3.

 

 

3 John 1:1  From the elder, to Gaius my dear brother, whom I love in truth.

 

This again is a personal letter from John to a brother in the Lord named Gaius. Although we cannot be absolutely certain he is most probably the same Gaius who was at Ephesus at the time of the riot stirred up by Demetrius the silversmith against Paul's preaching of Christ (Acts 19:29). The mob caught him with Aristarchus and took them to the theater. He would have received the full force of the fury of this demonstration but it did not deter him from following Christ for in Acts 20: 4 we read that he accompanied Paul into Asia. While Paul was in Corinth it was this brother who gave him a home and looked after him (Rom.16:23)   Apart from Crispus, Gaius was the only other believer that Paul said he baptised in water at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:14).  So by the time of this letter he was a well-seasoned and proven disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. John certainly had no doubts for he addresses him as beloved from the Greek word agapao the same word used of Christ as loved of God. As with the lady in 2 John it is an earnest and sincere love that John has for this man.  

 

3 John 1:2 - 3  Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, just as you are living according to the truth.

 

This brother may have been suffering from some illness or other trials as John's prayer for him is that he may prosper. There are two extreme opposite views in Christian circles concerning prosperity. The one is that believers should live hand to mouth, that is, needs barely met. The other being the so called prosperity gospel, which says if you do so and so or give so and so you can have whatever you want. What do the scriptures say:-  He who heeds and keeps the words of God (Deut. 29:9, 1 Chr. 22:13)   He who seeks after God ( 2 Chr. 26:5) Doing service to God with all the heart ( 2 Chr. 31:21) He that delights himself in God (Psalm 1: 2-3) he shall prosper.   It is not asking and getting but  living a Godly life and thus receiving (1 Tim. 4:8, 6:6) He prays that he might have good health which is promised to all who are obedient in the Old Testament (Ex. 15:26). If any are sick then we know that by the stripes that was laid on Christ we are healed (1 Pet. 2: 24). Of his spiritual prosperity John was fully assured for he had heard from other brethren that Gaius was walking, embracing and living the true life in Christ.  

 

2. A Commendation 4 - 8.

 

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are living according to the truth.

 

The apostolic and pastoral heart of John rejoiced greatly to see spiritual growth in the children of God.  

 

3 John 1:5 Dear friend, you demonstrate faithfulness by whatever you do for the brothers (even though they are strangers).

 

As we saw in Romans 16: 23 Gaius had been host to Paul at Corinth and here we see that it was a part of his ministry to care for and house the people of God (Rom. 12:13). Those he knew and those who were complete strangers to him (Heb 13: 1 - 2). He never failed in this ministry no matter what his own circumstances were - he did it faithfully.  

 

3 John 1:6  They have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.

 

The people who had received his hospitality, whom he had also given something to help them in their work for Christ bore witness before all the believers, he was well spoken of.  

 

3 John 1:7 - 8 For they have gone forth on behalf of "The Name," accepting nothing from the pagans. Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we become co-workers in co-operation with the truth.

 

These itinerant teachers and preachers of the gospel did this work as unto the Lord (Col. 3: 17, 23) because of what He had done and given to them freely. They could have asked for support for in Luke 10: 7 Jesus said in referring to these people that, the labourer is worthy of his hire (1 Cor. 9: 13 - 18) but they along with Paul asked for nothing. In receiving and giving to these people for their ministry we are partners with them and shall share in the rewards from the Lord.

 

3. A Troublemaker 9 - 11.

 

 

 

3 John 1:9 - 10 I wrote something to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not acknowledge us. Therefore, if I come, I will call attention to the deeds he is doing — the bringing of unjustified charges against us with evil words! And not being content with that, he not only refuses to welcome the brothers himself, but hinders the people who want to do so and throws them out of the church!

 

In contrast to Gaius there was one who attended the same church called Diotrephes who was very ambitious and who had exalted himself up to a place of authority. He had become puffed up with his own importance and pride thinking that he knew more than the brethren that John had sent, even more than John himself. These he slandered saying all manner of things about them in order to undermine the authority of those whom the Lord had set in position within His church. He did not receive, help or encourage the itinerant teachers and preachers and he threw out those who did and who opposed him. John would remember his deeds and deal with him should he be able to visit them .  

 

3 John 1:11  Dear friend, do not imitate what is bad but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does what is bad has not seen God.

 

His instructions to Gaius and those with him was not to be overcome by this evil or to follow after it but to continue in the good works of God, that it may be seen that they are of God (Rom. 12: 21).  

 

4. A Worthy Brother and Conclusion 12 - 14.

 

3 John 1:12  Demetrius has been testified to by all, even by the truth itself. We also testify to him, and you know that our testimony is true.

 

John is sending his letter by a fellow believer named Demetrius. This powerful testimony to his Christian consistency combines general respect and esteem, the evidence of the power of the gospel truth in the life, and the inspired apostle's own commendation. (Annotated Paragraph Bible).  

 

3 John 1:13 - 14  I have many things to write to you, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink. But I hope to see you right away, and we will speak face to face. Peace be with you. The friends here greet you. Greet the friends there by name.

 

John closes his letter as he did in 2 John stating that there many other things he had to say but he would not write them but would give to them when he visited which he hoped to do soon.

Further Reading Resources for you - John

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