The book of 3 John (3 John 1)

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This brief letter, which is quite similar to 2 John, has traditionally been understood as the work of the apostle John, and there is no reason to doubt the validity of this tradition. Like 1 and 2 John, it was probably written in the late first century from Ephesus.

John addressed this letter to his friend Gaius. Gaius was a common Roman name, and it is not known whether the Gaius addressed here is to be identified with any other New Testament individual bearing the name (see Acts 19:29, 20:4, Romans 16:23, 1 Corinthians 1:14).

Some of John’s aides had been commissioned by him to go out and teach in various churches, and they required lodging from the believers in the places where they ministered. Demetrius (3 John 1:12), evidently one of those itinerant ministers, may have been the bearer of John’s letter.

In one church, however, a local leader named Diotrephes had refused to admit John’s emissaries. John was writing to Gaius, a believer whose loyalty he trusted, to contend that he expected better treatment of his disciples. If Gaius was part of the same congregation as Diotrephes, he was to speak up and put a halt to Diotrephes’ domination of the church . If, however, Gaius belonged to another congregation, he was to see to see to it that Diotrephes’ attitude did not gain a foothold in his own church. There is an implied warning that John might come and comfort Diotrephes himself – no doubt a potential source of embarrassment to the church.

As you read, look for John’s commendation of Gaius for his past hospitality and his condemnation of Diotrephes for his mistreatment of fellow believers.

Did you know that modern orthodox Jews often addressed God by the title Ha-Shem, meaning “The Name” (1:7)?


 

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