Summary: John has written a personal letter to Gaius, telling him he is praying for Gaius’s prosperity, to go ahead and help certain brothers who are going out to preach to the Gentiles, and that John will deal with exposing a troublemaker named Diotrephes when John comes to visit soon. Read from the World English Bible.
Transcript for comments on 3 John:
Here is another personal letter from John. He refers to Gaius as the Beloved, and refers to him thus two more times (correction from audio, three more times after verse 1, so in verse 1, 2, 5, and 11). This is similar to him referring to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved in the gospel of John, where he’s obviously not claiming he’s the only one loved. Much like Paul is not claiming he’s the only one saved in Galatians 2:20. But John is humbly not naming himself while highlighting the love of Christ. Here he is highlighting how much Gaius is loved.
Verse 2 tells us that that John prayed for prosperity in all things for Gaius, clarifying that it includes health and is not limited to affairs of the soul. It seems to be that he specifically prays for this for Gaius because he has already heard that Gaius is walking, habitually, in the truth, which is the most important thing. And this is also connected to the rest of the letter, where John is encouraging Gaius to continue in supporting certain brothers who are sharing the name, THE name, of Jesus with the Gentiles.
This is like when Paul tells both the Corinthians and the Thessalonians that he took nothing from them while sharing the gospel. This reference in John indicates this was a regular way of going things to avoid putting a burden on these new churches OR of avoiding giving any idea that the gospel was something that could be purchased. You can read those other references from Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:12, 1 Thessalonians 2:9 (I transposed the verse and chapter numbers when speaking in the recording!), and 2 Thessalonians 3:8.
It seems the particular brothers mentioned here were coming as strangers to Gaius, which could be why John is supporting their position. But also, part of the problem seems to be this man, whose name is hard for me to say (Diotrephes in versus 9), who is claiming authority in this particular group of Christians even to the point of accusing John the Apostle of wicked words. And basically excommunicating true brothers.
It doesn’t say where this is, but John says it is not good, which makes it evil by default; and not of God. What an infamy for this man, to have his name personally mentioned this horrible way in the holy scriptures. John will openly point out the wrong he has done when he comes. He doesn’t say he will throw him out, but it is more in line with the idea of showing others they should not follow this man’s teachings or actions. And really should stand up against him.
Gaius is told he can find truth, and so mutual support, in Demetrius. And John also reaffirms the truth of his testimony.
This letter is a letter of contrast. It shows who we should support and believe in and those we shouldn’t. We are not obligated to financially support or follow the decrees of someone just because they claim authority in God’s or Jesus’s name. But we need to evaluate and support those who are sticking to the truth in word and deed. Those who are faithful to the priorities of the gospel.
I find myself at the end here wishing John wasn’t planning on seeing everyone so soon, so more could have been recorded for us. But, certainly, I remind myself God’s word has been preserved as it should be and with all that we need.
These letters also remind me how important personal encourgment is.
I read from the 2016 edition, linked to by the image below:
There is also a 2019 edition: