Introduction. This short epistle is a companion book to 2 John. In 2 John, the Elder, John, had warned against entertaining false teachers. In this short personal letter he applauds a man named Gaius for warmly welcoming genuine Christian leaders. These Christian acts had been criticized by a man named Diotrephes who was also gossiping against John. These two letters 2 John and 3 John deal with heresy and church splits. This has proven to be a recurring problem in every generation. Though small, these two books are important in teaching believers how to deal with these two factions of error that arise in any church. John gives the remedy for these dangers. He urges love and discernment. Believers must know whom to accept and whom to reject. Welcome true believers with open arms and hospitality. Close the door of welcome and fellowship to all who deny Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh.
Author: John the Apostle
1.1 wellbeloved. What an honor to be called wellbeloved by John. Gaius must have been extraordinary or have earned this level of honor and respect. John had known all the members of the early church. To receive this moniker speaks multitudes of Gaius. John loves him in the truth. John again sets the criteria for fellowship and hospitality. Gaius has been faithful to the truth. The truth was too valuable to John to trust it to unfaithful men.
1.2 health. John wishes for Gaius’ health to be as whole as his spiritual health. John is showing the Christian love he teaches others to have. The greatest teachers are those who live their creeds.
1.3 truth. John rejoices in things that are eternal. Truth never dies. When John received the news of Gaius love for truth it caused him to rejoice. True leaders value their disciples maintaining truth above all other characteristics.
1.4 joy. The joy John experienced was to know that truth was being passed on to the next generation. Rejoiced here means to be full of cheer. There must have been a big smile that crossed John’s face when informed of Gaius’ love for the truth.
1.5 faithfully. John’s commendation means Gaius was trustworthy. Gaius had not just been faithful to the brethren, but also to strangers or guests. The issue in this letter is the same as 2 John. The issue is when and how to entertain people who claim to be New Testament believers. In this Gaius had excelled.
1.6 charity. Gaius charity (love) had been witnessed by those who had been the beneficiary of his love. Gaius was a living example of John’s life long sermon about love one another. Gaius charity had now been spoken of in the church.
1.7 gain. The name of Jesus had provided a fellowship of believers so that the travelers did not have to receive anything from Gentiles who were not part of the church.
1.8 receive. John is encouraging the church and Gaius to receive these believers and assist them in the love of Jesus Christ. To help these travelers was to help the truth. This reflects back to when Jesus told his disciples when you do this unto the least of these you do it unto me, Mt 25.40.
1.9-10 Diotrephes. Diotrephes was a gentile whose name means brought up by Jupiter. This man loved the preeminence (being first). John had written unto the church but Diotrephes must have not received John’s communique. It must have gone so far as prating (babbler) speaking malicious (hurtful) words against John. Diotrephes was not content (to raise a barrier). This dissenter was creating division in the church. He was not receiving the brethren and was forbidding those that would. This is an egregious affront to the truth John is teaching and advocating about love. Diotrephes had actually cast people from the church when they followed the teaching of John.
1.11 evil. John plainly says these kind of acts by Diotrephes are evil (worthless, depraved). John is using his Apostolic position to plainly say do not follow this kind of division in the church. He that doeth good is of God, he that doeth evil hath not seen God, is a strong indictment against Diotrephes.
1.12 Demetrius. John now directs the church to follow Demetrius who has a good report of all men, but more importantly of the truth itself. John gives his endorsement of Demetrius and appeals to his own reputation as being true.
1.13-14 John concludes by letting them know he has more to say, but chooses not to write these things down but will speak when they are together. John encourages Gaius to greet the friends by name. The family of believers were dear to each other and John sends his greetings. This letter and the epistle of James are the only epistles to conclude without amen.
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