Bible Study, Ecclesial Studies

Bible Study: 3rd John

This is the last epistle of John in the bible. It is a short letter to Gaius. It was traditionally delivered to Ephasis however, there is no proof of this. It was penned near the end of the century. Near the end of John’s life as well. We do however know that Gaius was an elder of the church. It was a private letter for his personal strengthening. So lets have a look at John’s personal letter to a fellow Christian. It is short so we can finish this “book” in one session.

The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

3rd John 1:1 KJV

Here we have a standard greeting. We can see here that Gaius is an elder, where once again we don’t know. It is a term of rank rather than age. For a Jew this would be a judge. So he has been given some authority in the body of Christ. He is also beloved and loved by John. In here you can see the genuine affection a Christian should hold for his brothers and sisters in Christ. This should not be glossed over but rather highlighted.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

3rd John 1:2 KJV

There are three things here. He wishes for him to prosper socially, physically, and mentally. To prosper socially and to flourish among people means his ministry shall be heard by many. Physical health because one indeed needs to be physically healthy. Then we have spiritually, which it is of course of most importance.

We often neglect these things. We think we can rest when we are dead. We tend to strive for far more and in the end are far less effective. We end up burning out in a blast instead of being a slow burning flame. Proper balance is required to have a good mission.

For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.

3rd John 1:3 KJV

Gaius apparently testified to John of Jesus. Whatever that testimony was we are not privileged to know. That however is not the important part. This is for all you people sitting in church or reading this. We also walks in the truth. That does not mean to know the truth. That is not to have heard it. That is to do it. The truth is the only way you are gonna get off this planet alive is by Christ alone. In him we have eternal life. He taunt us to tell the world about what he is offering. If only you believe in him and obey his commands, then you will have eternal life. That is what it means to walk in the truth. Walk in the truth.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

3rd John 1:4 KJV

Now we can see that John was not one of those preachers that would “save” people and then go on his way. He checked in on them from time to time and saw what they were doing. He was a responsible brother. He looked after his siblings. He truly loved them.

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:

Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.

3rd John 1:5-7 KJV

Do unto others as you would have done unto you. He is living out this. Clearly John is pointing towards that as being an example to him. He is point to Gaius’s works to encourage him. Not only should that encourage him but God’s blessings will be upon him because God promises he will provide for those that loves others.

He also mentions taking nothing from the Gentiles. Why is that? Well it is because the “unsaved” are “unsaved” and they should not be solicited for help under any circumstance. They are in fact need of help. You should only ask for help from your brothers and sisters in Christ. It is not good to be in debt to someone who is an unbeliever. Do not unequally yoke yourself with the unbelievers. That is not to say dont love them. They can be great friends. That is not to say dont accept there help, but dont ask for it either.

We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

3rd John 1:8 KJV

This might be a little concealed in the language here, so, John is pointing out that not only is service to others an opportunity but rather its obligatory for the believer. Today’s Church teachers everything with a lens of selfishness, coated in selflessness. I have a major problem with the idea that everything you do for God is extra; that you have no obligation to him and that anything goes. This is wrong and a teaching to tickle your ears. You are in fact obligated to be kind to others. It is his command. Not only that but you are to be generous in our friendliness to others. If we are not of that spirit than we are not of God.

I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

3rd John 1:9 KJV

Now this is one thing all of you should note, John is not speaking highly of a church member. “But that is speaking ill of someone in the church. Isn’t this telling us to be kind.” Sometimes it is kind to call out someone when they are not following Christ. It is kind to tell someone when they are doing wrong. Not only are you warning others of their evil deeds, but you are also warning them. To be complacent with those that are against God, regardless of their title in the church, means nothing to God.

You should in fact call out those who are acting in the ways of the world. If they are contradicting scripture they are contradicting the gospel they claim saved them. It cannot exist among those who are of God. If people take their own opinions above that of the word that they claim that saved them, they are not saved.

10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

3rd John 1:10 KJV

So apparently this guy, Diotrephes, developed his own doctrine. He was refusing to listen to the apostles of Jesus, who apparently were actively rebuking him. He used slanderous words against the apostles but apparently there was some sort of affinity for Christ. We can today and look at this as speaking in general of a Christian who is spouting off false hoods about Jesus or anything really to do with Christianity. Even in the early Church there were foul doctrines already being spread. The body was sickly from the start. Though at its core, and remains at its core, to be very strong. Do not be discouraged by false preachers, be emboldened by them.

11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

3rd John 1:11 KJV

You can see John is trying to reassure Gaius of his certainty of what is from God and what is not. We often hear false doctrines, especially now, from the pulpits of the church. We are to always challenge everything we hear with the scriptures themselves. If someone is saying something that does not sound right listen with an open mind. There is no harm in doing that, but search the scriptures daily to see if the things you heard were true. Only what you know to be true should you hold to and trust.

There are people today who accept child sacrifice as Godly. I know of a woman in my area who openly supports a practice and yet she hold church in her house! There is no end to their heresy.

12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.

3rd John 1:12 KJV

And always like John, if you get an example of something wrong, he likes to end it with something good. We get a man that would have been known at the time. Demetrius, sounds like he too walks with the truth. He is a figure we know nothing about. However, we do know he was good. This can be an example of people that reach out and touch our lives. I often wonder if I too will be remembered with such fondness. I personally look up to Phil Robertson. Do you have anyone you look up to like that? I would love to hear it.

13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:

14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

3rd John 1:13-14 KJV

As you can see in the closing that John plans on seeing Gaius. It is rather a nice ending to a letter and in a way lets you remember these church figures were just like us. Granted we have emails now but they were writing letters and going to see each other. Its hard to imagine. These were real people. Not just old dusty stories. When I think about it, I am inspired. Well I hope you enjoyed our time together, I also want to thank you for reading to the end. Have a blessed and wonderful day. Love you all.

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