Expositional Commentary on Third John

 

 

Submitted in partial fulfillment

of the requirements

of the course

 

 

Hermeneutics II PRTH 173 B01 L22866872

 

Professor Rick Buck

 

By

 

Scott Rowe

 

Willmington School of the Bible

Date of Submission 5/15/2011

* Hermeneutics II PRTH 173 B01

 

Foreword

 

               The author and perfected of our faith is none other than Jesus Christ himself (Hebrews 12:2). He has a great resume it extends from being the creator (Pro. 3:19) of the world and saving all who will accept him as Lord and Savior. He seeks the top position in our hearts. Therefore, he wrote us a love letter and entitled it the Holy Bible. Some have treated it like their own build a bear workshop and turned it into build a God. Anyone can take scripture and twist it so it can mean anything they want it to. Satan did it in the story of Adam and Eve, to the temptation of Jesus, and still does it to this very day by cults that use it to prove their doctrine.  Our job is to interpret it in the light of its context using rhetorical literary devices and following the voice of the Holy Spirit who will illuminate our path of understanding under a sound mind being justified with God and having peace with God. For no one who is unspiritual can discern spiritual things. The cross is foolishness to those who do not believe. The inerrancy of scripture is hot topic today among theologians and scholars. With so many translations and so many ways people come up with to interpret it. How can we know it’s true? One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 4:12 it describes God’s Word as powerful and cutting the hearts of man and finding out their true motives. The greatest evidence of the inerrancy and truth of scriptures is the changed lives of those who obeyed the scriptures.

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

1. Forward                                                      ii                                 

 

2. Table of Contents                                                         iii              

 

3. Orientation to Epistle of 3 John                              5-13     

 

4. Master Outline                                14-18                            

 

5. Commentary                                   19-45

 

 6. Bibliography                                  46-48

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third John

An Expositional Commentary

by

                                                   Scott Rowe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orientation to III John

Scott Rowe

 

[1]The authorship of the Johannine works includes a Gospel, three epistles & the book of revelation. Traditionally said all four books have been written by the same person. That is the Apostle John.

 

 

  1. INTRODUCTORY ELEMENTS:
  2. AUTHORSHIP:

The Apostle John wrote the third book of John in the later stages of his life. More than likely it was written from Ephesus to a dear friend who he referred to as “beloved” named Gaius.[2]

 

 

 

 

  1. Internal evidence

 

The name of the author is not named in the content of the book but is labeled as an elder.

 

  1. External evidence

 

Second century witnesses such as Papias, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria confirm that John the Apostle one of the twelve original disciples of Jesus did indeed write this epistle which was a real letter. It also gives a clear picture of the early church.

 

B.RECIPIENTS

To the beloved Gaius,” 3 John 1

     Gaius was most likely a member of one of the church’s somewhere in the area of Ephesus and Asia Minor. Nothing more is known of him other than what is stated about him in the letter itself. He was a church member who was holding to the truth of Christ and the Christian faith. He was also actively assisting the Christian missionaries on their journey. For his doing so, he may have been unjustly mistreated by a prominent leader of his congregation named Diotrephes. It was written as a personal letter to Gaius as a commendation to him of his faithfulness & hospitality to traveling ministers.

 

 

(1)   Place and Date of Writing

The same times that the other letter’s of John were written. This epistle is the shortest book in the bible. While II John has the fewest verses & was written from the city of Ephesus in Asia Minor.

(2)   Occasion

John wrote this letter to his beloved friend Gaius to commend him who was showing hospitality to traveling brothers in the faith. John wrote this to strengthen the church spiritual and to protect and warn it from false teachings.

(3)   Purpose

The purpose of this epistle by John is to also commend Gaius on his faithfulness of showing hospitality & to warn him and the church of leaders like Diotrephes who but themselves first & feed their own belly (Rom. 16:8) He also wrote this epistle to Gaius and the church to prepare for a visit from him.[3]

                 E.Synopsis

The book of 3rd John is a general epistle it was written to Apostle John around 90 A.D. The key characters in this book are the elder (Apostle John), Gaius, Diotrephes & Demetrius. This is the shortest book in the New Testament and was written to praise Gaius and Demetrius for their faithful service. In versus 1-12 John praises two teachers for walking truth. He wrote nothing gave him more joy then to see his children walking in truth and acting faithfully. In verse 11 he says “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.” Then he condemned a false teacher named Diotrephes who rejected a previous letter John sent to them and he also discouraged people from showing hospitality and disciplined those who did show it by excommunicating them out of the church. In verses 13-14 he brings his epistle to a close with intentions on making a visit and speaking face to face.

 

G.  Genre

III John is a Johannine epistle & is a real, personal letter.

H. Structure of the book[i]

 

            1:1-1:4             Greetings

            1:5-1:8             Commendation to Gaius for his hospitality

            1:9-1:11           warning of Diotrephes & his bad example

            1:11-1:12         the good example of Demetrius

            1:13-1:14         John plans to see Gaius

 

 

 

 

I. Theological Contribution    

How do you spell truth? C-H-R-I-S-T. The word truth is mentioned five times in the book of third John. It is apparent that the truth John talks about in his epistles is Christ. We are in Christ, therefore we are in truth. The epistle mentions walking, witnessing, working & loving in the truth. The apostle John mentions the term truth 41 times in the books he has written.

 

J. Christological focus

 

Christ is seen in this epistle as truth (v. 1, 3, 4, 8, and 12)

Christ is also seen in the authority of John’s ministry as an apostle (v. 10)

 

K. Theme

 

The main theme of this book is truth. It appears five times in the first eight verses of the book. It was a favorite term of the apostle as it was common in his writings.

 

 

 

 

 

Themes

Hospitality

Faithfulness

Pride

Truth

Reference

1-8

6-8

9-11

1-12

Authorship

Apostle John

The author of the Third Letter of John is the same as that of the Second Letter of John, the apostle John. He introduced himself with the same title “the elder”. He also closed his third letter like he closed his second letter, stating that he had much more to say than he cared to say in writing and therefore intended to make a personal visit to say those things face to face. Probably around 90 B.C toward the end of his life.

Geographical

Written from the city of Ephesus

 

Recipients of the Epistle

“To the beloved Gaius,” 3 John 1

     Gaius was most likely a member of one of the church’s somewhere in the area of Ephesus and Asia Minor. Nothing more is known of him other than what is stated about him in the letter itself. He was a church member who was holding to the truth of Christ and the Christian faith. He was also actively assisting the Christian missionaries on their journey. For his doing so, he may have been unjustly mistreated by a prominent leader of his congregation named Diotrephes.

Statistics

King James Version

Number of chapters

 

 

Number of Verses

 

 

Number of words

1

 

 

14

294

Genre

Epistle

Main Characters

The Elder

Gaius

Diotrephes

Demetrius

                 

 

 

  1. John’s relation to the church

He became Pastor at the church of Ephesus which is was located in the west coast of Asia Minor and is present day Turkey, that is where at the close of his life he wrote his three epistles. He was an overseer & elder in age & church authority as he was the last surviving Apostle of Jesus Christ. (v. 1)

 

  1. Living according to the truth (1:1-1:11)

 

1.) Setting a good example

      a.) praying for your brothers in Christ (v. 2)

      b.) showing hospitality to faithful workers (v. 5)

      c.)being a friend (v 6)

      d.)support teachers of the Word (v.8)

 

2.)Discerning a bad example

      a.) Refuses hospitality

      b.) Condemns other’s who show hospitality

c.) Only looks out for himself

d.) Gossips about the leaders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MASTER OUTLINE

 

I. The rejoicing of faithfulness 1:1-4

      A.  An Elder’s care 1:1-1:4

            1. The elder’s devotion to Gaius 1:1-1:2

                  a. The greeting of his epistle 1:1

                             (1) The writer identified-1:1a-The elder

                             (2) The recipient- 1:1b- to the beloved Gaius

                             (3)His love (agapao)-1:1c- whom I love in the truth…      

                  b. John’s prayer 1:2-4

                             a. The elder’s desire of the prayer-1:2a- …Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers…

                                    (1.) Occasion of rejoicing 1:3-1:4

                            

                                                (2.) Their identity-1:3a-…For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth…

                                   (3.) Their service -1:3b-… that is, how you are walking in truth…

                                     (4.) The Joy of John-1:4-…I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

II. The faithfulness of Gaius

                        A.  Encouragement of workers for truth 1:5-1:8

                                    1.  John’s praise 1:5-1:6

A .the faithful work of Gaius 1:5

                                                            (1) Their identity-1:5a-…Beloved

                                                            (2) Their service-1:5b-…thou doest a                                                              faithful work in whatsoever thou doest

                                                            (3) Recepients-1:5c-… toward them that are                                                              brethren and strangers withal

                        B. The instruction for Gaius concerning believers 1:6

(1) Identity-1:6a-…who bare witness to thy love before the                                                   church

(2) Their travel-1:6b-…whom thou wilt do well to set                                                             forward on their journey

                                    (3) Their authority-1:6c-…worthily of God

                       

C. The responsibility of the church concerning missionaries 1:7-8

(1) Sending missionary’s-1:7a-…Because that for his name’s sake they went forth,

(2) Meeting the needs of missionary’s-1:7b- …Taking nothing from the Gentiles

(3.) Receiving missionary’s- 1:8a-…We therefore out to receive such…That we may be fellow helpers to the truth

III. Counsel to Gaius 1:9-12

                        A. Examples of leadership-(1:9a)

                                    (1) Their identity-1:9a-..I have written something to the

church, but Diotrephes,

                                     (2) His pride-1:9b-…who likes to put himself first, does not

acknowledge our authority.

(3) His gossip-1:10a- Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us

 

(4.) His condemnation-1:10b- 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.

                        B. Exhortation (1:11)

                                    (1) Godly instruction-1:11a… Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate

                                    good.

                                    (2) The contrast-1:11b…. Whoever does good is from God;

                        whoever does evil has not seen God.

                        C. Example to follow (1:12)

                                                (1) Their identity-1:12a…Demetrius

                                                (2)His reputation-1:12b…hath good report of all men, and

                                    of the truth itself

                                                (3) His witness-1:12c…yea, and we also bear record, and

                                    ye know that our record is true

 

 

 

IIII. Conclusion 1:13-14

            A.  The Apostle’s hope 1; 13-14

(1.) The Apostle’s desire-1:13a-…I had much to write to you, but I would rather not                                                             write with pen and ink.

(2) The Apostle’s plans-1:13b-…I hope to see you soon, and we will

                                                talk face to face.

 

            B.  The salutation 1:14

                                               

(1.) Their greeting-1:14a-… Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, every one of them

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expositional Commentary on the Epistle of Third John

 

By

 

Scott Rowe

 

Willmington School of the Bible

 

Introduction: This is the third epistle written by the apostle John. In the first epistle he discusses fellowship with God, in the second he gives a warning to not fellowship with false teachers and here in his third and final epistle he encourages fellowship with fellow believers. This letter gives us a glimpse of how life was in the early church & behind the scenes of the ecclesiastical leadership.

 

The apostle John shows his affectionate love for Gaius, commends his faithfulness, tells his frustration of Diotrephes, as he rejected John’s authority and hindered the work of God with his treatment of traveling missionaries. He leaves us to open speculation to the content of everything he wanted to say as he confirms in his letter that he had much more to write but, would wait until he was face to face. Was there more that Diotrephes did to slow down the work of God? How would the Apostle John handle this corrupt and carnal leader of God? What does walking in truth look for us today? We need to take the message that the author intended and look in a mirror and make it transparent for us today and allow that light of Christ to reflect off of us into a world that is deceived with darkness.

 

 

 Outline of the Epistle

 

  1. I.                   John’s introduction of Gaius (1:1-4)

 

  1. II.                John’s instruction of Gaius (1:5-12)

 

  1. III.             John’s exhortation – (1:13-14)

 

 

 

Expositional commentary on Third John

 

  1. 1.      The rejoicing of faithfulness (1:1-4)
    1. The writer identified-1:1a-The elder…

Structure: The structure of this letter is written in an epistolary format and as most letters in biblical literature have it also have an introduction, body, and conclusion.

 

Word Study:  The elder which in Greek is presbyteros[ii][4] it represents authority, an office in the church and sometimes as in the occasion that the author used it in third John it means someone who is mature in the faith. A seasoned veteran the apostle John being the last of the original twelve still living was certainly that. He had seen and experienced just about everything. He was even entrusted with the apocalyptic visions recorded in the book of revelation. Next to Paul he is the author of the majority of the New Testament text.  He has earned his respect from his co-workers in the faith and was high in statue in the community of believers and the church. Elder has a two-fold meaning. It could mean of age or the office of a specific leadership position. In this instance it means both of age and his spiritual oversight because John the author is the last surviving Apostle of Jesus Christ. One of the requirements of this office is to see the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore that’s why we have no apostles today. He was nearly ninety years old when he wrote this epistle. Apostle John is the Elder mentioned in this verse and some believe because of the title of Elder that John the Presbyter was the author but, this is of the minority and doesn’t supply much backing

In the Old Testament specifically the book of Exodus leaders associated with Moses with the governing of Israel were considered Elders. Elders eventually ruled and were responsible for legal, political, and military guidance & supervision. During Israel’s captivity in Babylon and years following a council of elders appeared known as the Sanhedrin with the High Priest as their chairman. It consisted of seventy members.

 

  • The first mention in the bible of elders in the early church is mentioned in Acts 11:30. Approximately it is now A.D 44

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The recipient (1:1b) to the beloved Gaius…

The one the letter was written for.  This letter is addressed to Gaius and was written on Papyrus paper as was common for documents in the Old and New Testament times.[5] According to Baker’s Encyclopedia of the Bible papyrus can be described as “Ancient Egyptian writing material derived from the papyrus plant and is written in a 1st century letter style.  The plant’s inner part comes from the Greek word biblio and that is how we come up with the English term bible in comparison we get our word paper from papyrus. It also required a dry climate to keep it in tact that’s why the deserts of Egypt were a great place for them. So you can imagine the delicacy that they were to be handled with. It was a handle with care package. It took a while to get to the recipient, because unlike today they don’t have a postal service. Their version of the postal service was a messenger with his own two feet or a camel back!

           

           

 

 

 

 

Name

Reference mentioned

Occasion used

Gaius

1: Corinthians 1:14

Paul led him to Christ and baptized him in Corinth

Gaius

Romans 16:23

Paul stayed in the home of Gaius and wrote his epistle to the Romans

Gaius

3rd John 1-2

The addressee for John’s third epistle.

 

 

  1. His love (agapao)-1:1c- whom I love in the truth…

John’s affection

The apostle of love lives up to his name as he describes his affection for the faithful saint Gaius. He show’s appreciation for how Gaius has been faithful. Notice the form of love he uses in the context. He uses agapao which is used as one of four Greek verbs meaning to love. It is a human love and here it is used as a verb to describe what kind of love it is. It’s the love of another brother and in this instance it is in a moral or social sense.[6]

 

 

 

 

THE WORD “TRUTH USED IN THE EPISTLES OF APOSTLE JOHN

1st Epistle of John

2nd Epistle of John

3rd Epistle of John

(1 John 1:6)  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

 

(2 John 1:1)  The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

 

(3 John 1:1)  The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

 

(1 John 1:8)  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

 

 

(2 John 1:2)  For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

 

(3 John 1:3)  For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.

 

(1 John 2:4)  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

 

(2 John 1:3)  Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

 

(3 John 1:4)  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

 

(1 John 2:21)  I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

 

(2 John 1:4)  I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

 

 

(3 John 1:8)  We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

 

(1 John 2:27)  But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

 

 

(3 John 1:12)  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.

 

(1 John 3:18)  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

 

 

 

(1 John 3:19)  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

 

 

(1 John 4:6)  We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

 

 

 

(1 John 5:6)  This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D. John’s prayer 1:2-4

 

(1)The elder’s desire of the prayer-1:2-…Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health even as thy soul prospereth.

 

John’s passion-John writes this as a real letter to his real friend Gaius. The traditional word “greeting which is “chairin” in Greek is not present here.[7] John is praying a prayer from his heart and you can see his emotions and heart for Gaius in the words he chooses. The elder wishes the best in everything his dear friend does.[8] I picture the apostle having a new tear formed with every stroke that the scribe takes to write down this short but, powerful and heartfelt epistle.

John’s twofold request- John wishes the best for his friend Gaius. He prays for his spiritual and physical well being. [9]We see a simile when the author is comparing the prosperity of Gaius from the inside out and to wish him well in not only his spiritual matters but, also his physical health.

Word study-prosper {μαρτυρέω martureō mar-too-reh’-o}

We see the words prosper and prospereth both in verse two. Prosper in the text is [10]EUODOO in Greek and according to VINE’S means to help on one who is on the way and is also used in a passive voice such as it is used when it says in the text “prospereth” metaphorically speaking of how John prays for the prosperity of Gaius both physically and spiritually. Something we should do for all our friends.

 

(2)Occasion for rejoicing-1:3-4-For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee,

The testimony of Gaius The apostle John who is the last apostle left and who was the only one to die a natural death was revered, honored and loved both in the community and the church. So his rejoicing over the reports he heard concerning the testimony of Gaius would be a real encouragement to Gaius and the church. [11]These brethren we can accurate assume are the same ones that Gaius entertained hospitality to as we can see in the proceeding verses of 5-8.  We can see that the conjunction “For” at the beginning of verse three attracts us to the reason of John’s mentioning of the soul of Gaius being in a prosperous spiritual state. Gaius had a testimony of truth that is the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Truth was a common term in the epistles of John as we have seen in the chart listed above.

Devotional: Just picture yourself arriving at your office or coming home from a hard day’s work and getting an email addressed to you from your boss. If you are like me you would be terrified to open it and would have a “what did I do now?” attitude. Instead Gaius opens up the letter to receive a commendation on his faithful service and I can see a big smile and a sigh of relief come across his face as his heartbeat begins to slow down to a normal pace. The apostle of love tells of the good news he is hearing about him from his co-workers in Christ and is encouraged to keep on keeping on. What is your testimony to others? Are people seeing Christ in you? This is a prayer that I say often. “Dear father, I pray that people can see past me and see the Christ in me.

                                                (3.) Their service -1:3b-… that is, how you are walking in truth…

 

The service of Gaius The life of Gaius was evident that he was “walking in truth” according to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here the image of walking it referring to metaphorically to daily conduct. He was doing so by providing hospitality to traveling missionaries. John’s rejoicing was not merely over the fact that he was in the truth but, by his works the truth was alive and active in his life and Gaius was walking in it.

(4) The Joy of John-1:4-…I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

John’s joy Word study  joy [chara] [12]refers to happiness and gladness and is one of the fruits of the Spirit(Galatians 5:22) The apostle John declares that nothing causes him more joy then hearing a report of someone prospering spiritually. John here denotes that he considers himself a spiritual father to Gaius which could lead us to assume that he was a convert of John or what I believe is that he was referring to him as a younger believer since the apostle here is near the end of his life. John shares his heart here showing his desire for people to walk in the truth as it is what brings him joy and happiness.

 

Joy [chara] mentioned in Johns epistles

Epistle

Reference

1 John

1:4

2 John

1:12

3 John

1:4

 

 

  1. II.                The faithfulness of Gaius (1:5-8)
    1. Faithful work of Gaius( 1:5a)

 

 

(1)The identity- Beloved…

 

John’s affection The apostle John shows his deep love for his brother Gaius in referring to him as “beloved” (agapētos) this is the third time in the first five verses of this brief epistle that he uses this term when describing Gaius. There are four types of love found in the bible. These are Eros, Storge, Philia, and Agape. [13]Eros- The word Eros, translated in English relates to “erotic”. This form of love presents itself as an attraction to each other based on sexual feelings. The Greek term is not found in the bible this was defiantly not the kind of love John was showing Gaius!

Storge- the Greek term for Storge is also not found in the bible and denotes a family love and the bond between parents and their children. This also is not the type of love that the Apostle John was talking about. Even though it would seem to fit, there are many other parts of the bible that denote a family love throughout scripture.

Philia- Philia means close friendship or brotherly love in Greek and is found throughout the New Testament. Christians are frequently exhorted to love their fellow Christians. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10) this also was not the type of Love that John had for Gaius. His love was much deeper and stronger than this.

Agape- This is a Greek term which is translated to charity.[14] Agape is generally understood to be divine, unconditional love, the purest form of love, the kind of love God has for his people. Agape is used in John’s first epistle in 1 John 4:7 where John said “love is from God,” and in 1 John 4:8 where John said, “God is love.” Then the verb form agapo appears again in the same context, 1 John 4:10, where John said, “He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation tor our sins.” Since the same Greek root word is used in all these scriptures we know that the same kind of love is meant. We are to love each other with the same kind of love that God has for us, the same kind of love which is an attribute of God, and the kind of love which is from God. The apostle John sets a great example for us today. This is the love that was shown from John through the Holy Spirit to Gaius. If you want to contrast Philia love with Agape then you can say Philia is an emotion of the soul and Agape is the love that comes from God through the Holy Spirit.

(2)The service-1:5b-…thou doest a faithful work in whatsoever thou doest

The commendation of Gaius

[15]We see here a commendation of the work of Gaius and the reports of those who have been partakers of the ministry of hospitality that Gaius has show the missionaries. According to tradition the Jews held the belief that God sometimes sent angels in disguise to test people’s hospitality. [16]It is more than just eating. Hospitality in Greek is philoxenia and means “a love for others”.  In the old testament hospitality was held to so high regard that in Job 31:17 it refers to eating alone as a sin for not sharing what the protection and what God has given you, that you should give to others in return. Faithful in Greek is pistos. As an adjective as placed here in the text it means trustworthy, reliable and dependable.  He met the needs of the traveling missionaries of whatever they needed. That could be anything such as food, shelter and whatever else they needed and he was faithful in doing so.

 

(3) Recepients-1:5c-… toward them that are brethren and strangers withal

This denotes to groups of people. The brethren (adelphos Gk.) and the strangers (xenos gk) were all missionaries but, some were well known to Gaius and the church and others were not. Those who were not more than likely went through a strict observation. Consider the exhortation John left in his second epistle warning us about false teachers. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:  (2 Jn 1:10) But, nevertheless after they met the credentials of a worker of the gospel they were shown the hospitality Gaius was known for.

 

                                    B. The instruction for Gaius concerning believers 1:6                       

                                               

(1.) Identity-1:6a-…who bare witness to thy love before the church

Word of encouragement: The traveling missionaries spoke well of Gaius and gave witness [17](Gk. Martureō) which is to testify, give record of or have an honest report of something based on experience. The missionaries couldn’t stop talking about the kindness and hospitality shown by Gaius. They even spoke about it before the church at Ephesus. This must have been a great encouragement to Gaius to continue on his faithful work.

(2.) Their travel-1:6b-…whom thou wilt do well to set forward on their journey

Accounted trustworthy: After showing appreciation of the work and ministry of Gaius John then his desire to see Gaius continue to show hospitality to the ministers of God. The apostle shows trust in the faithful Gaius and expects nothing less then what Gaius has been doing. He was denoting a thank you to Gaius in advance for his service.

(3.) Their authority-1:6c-…worthily of God

Walk worthy: The apostle of love encourages Gaius to continue walking in love daily and not to relent on the quality of his work but, to walk worthy in the manner of his calling.

                        C. The responsibility of the church concerning missionaries                          1:7-8

(1.) Sending missionaries-1:7a- Because that for his name’s sake they went forth,

The called out- [18]The term church[Greek Ekklesia] means to summon or call out and we as God’s people are to be set apart from the world for his service and God has delegated us the responsibility of equipping saints for service. One of the main tasks of the leadership of any local church is that of equipping the saints for the work of ministering to others.  The apostle Paul declared this in Ephesians 4:11-12: “He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastor-teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”[19] The Greek word Paul uses for equipping is katartizo, which means, “to furnish completely; complete; prepare” His “name’s sake” refers to Jesus Christ. This brief epistle is the only book in the New Testament that doesn’t mention Jesus Christ.

(2) Meeting the needs of missionaries-1:7b-taking nothing of the Gentiles.

The called in: Some are called to financially support missionaries. Nevertheless we are all called to be missionary’s right where we are. There is no doubt that the missionaries that are spoken of as taken nothing were doing so because the Gentiles were the same people they were trying to reach with the gospel of Christ and didn’t want to give them the impression that God was not providing.

Word study-Gentiles: [20]Gk. Ethnos can be translated into the English term heathen and is a multitude of people. Sometimes referred to as a nation or unbelievers.  As in the instance in our text it refers to the unbelieving when missionaries refused to accept anything from them for the sake of the name of Jesus Christ in order to reach people with the gospel of Christ.

 

(3.) Receiving missionaries-1:8- We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

Doing our part: [21]With the conjunction “therefore” calls to the believers that it is our obligation as partakers in the faith the help support missionaries. The word used for fellowhelpers is sunergos the same term that Paul described Apollos his co-worker in Christ (1 Cor. 3:9)

                        III. Counsel to Gaius (1:9-12)

                                    A. Examples of leadership (1:9a)

(1) His identity-1:9a-..I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes,

Diotrephes [Diotrephēs] was a believer who didn’t like to honor authority who was a prominent church leader & rejected John and his followers. John had written a letter to Gaius before but, it was either lost or intercepted and destroyed by Diotrephes. We know that it could not be the epistle of second John since that letter does not address an individual but, “the elect lady”

(2 Jn. 1:1) and it could not be the letter of first John either since the content of does not address the information we find in third John.

Culturally: We conclude that the church the apostle is talking about is one in the Asia Minor region. Below is a map of Ephesus and the surrounding cities. Ephesus is known as the city where Apostle John wrote the epistle of third John. In 67 B.C the Romans conquered over the Greeks. The known world, now known as the Roman Empire Rome, as the now seat of power was no different. The Romans spoke Greek, carried the philosophy of the Greeks, and believed in many gods; however, they had different names for their gods. Thus, new names for the same gods came into being. Their hundreds, maybe even thousands of gods were the same – they just had Roman names instead of Greek. Thus began the Greco/Roman culture. [22]In about 53 A.D the population of Asia Minor was about 250,000 people where Paul did his 2nd and 3rd missionary journeys. The culture was of ethnic people. Most were Gentiles of various cultures having a Greek heritage, ruled under Roman power. Ephesus was a rich, city rooted in Greek culture. Mystic worship of the gods, especially women goddesses and magic infiltrated the Province of Asia. Each city, particularly the large cities, generally had their own deity of gods. Ephesus had two main marketplaces which were called Agora which was divided into two parts.

The Island of Patmos, where the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation, was only 60 miles west of Ephesus, out in the Aegean Sea. Patmos was a desolate rock island filled with rock quarries that was meant for exiled (and often abandoned) rebellious slaves. It was also a place for punishment for Christians who refused to bow down to the emperor, acknowledging him as a god. The Apostle John ended up on this rock island for one year around the year 90 A.D. for not bowing down to the emperor as a god. It wasn’t until a new emperor came into power was he released to go back home to Ephesus. The ritual of the temple services consisted of sacrifices and ceremonial prostitution which was a practice which was common to many religions of ancient Asia. Ceremonial prostitution was common in the temple as young maidens were required to sell their virginity and give the profits to the temple. In addition, temple prostitutes were seen throughout whom supplied sex to whoever paid the money to give to the temple. It was believed that the gods required their sacrifices of sex and other observances; otherwise, they would be angry and take their wrath out on the people as a whole. It was also believed that their sacrifices to this goddess Diana would bring fertility and what they considered would develop into “good sex.”

 

 

 

 

            (2) His pride-1:9b-…who likes to put himself first, does not

acknowledge our authority.

Word study: Preeminence[Gk. Philoprōteuō] The King James version renders this term as “put himself first” which is a correct interpretation of the term. If we were to break it up philos in the Greek means actively fond and friendly. Protos is Greek means before, beginning chief.  So if we analysis it we come up with that Preeminence is the desire to be first. But, Jesus said in Mat 20:26 KJV “But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant” Diotrephes was anything but, that. He refused to show hospitality to traveling missionaries and abused his power by excommunicating those in the church on basis that they did not agree with him. He was not acknowledging the apostolic authority held by the chief elder, the apostle of love, the apostle John.

 

(3.) His gossip-1:10a- Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us

Gossip Is derived from the idea of “whispering.” According to Webster’s dictionary, gossip” means “To indulge in idle talk or rumors about others; spreading of sensational stories.” Funk and Wagnals dictionary defines it as “Idle, or malicious talk about others.” Gossip causes division and breaks unity. Diotrephes had gossiped about John slandering him at every corner. [23]The author uses a preposition in “Wherefore” following it with the plan of action in accordance to the action of the gossip of Diotrephes. [24]He had planned to expose Diotrephes for false accusations and defend his own apostolic authority if needed. The word “prating” in Greek phuareo means to talk nonsense and this is what he was doing to Apostle John and the traveling missionaries.

(4.) His condemnation-1:10b- 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.

 

The sin against Apostle John: [25]This evil leader who had forced his way into power of the church and did not respect the apostolic authority of the final apostle left had sinned not just against God but, his fellow man Apostle John. Our text describes his words as malicious [26][Gk. Ponēros] a term that means hurtful, pain, laborious and evil.  Some commentators such as Clark suggest that he was an unconverted Jew who refused to allow Gentiles into the church or he was attached to Judaism who tried to mix the law with the gospel.  You can see some similarities in Galatians 2:11-21 when Paul rebuked Peter for false teaching about justification. But, Peter took that rebuke fairly well as you can see later on he defended Paul in the Jerusalem council found in Acts 15.

The sin against God’s people: He refused to show hospitality to the traveling missionaries of God. Not just that but, whoever showed support to them would be excommunicated from the fellowship of the church.

                                    B. Exhortation (1:11)

(1.) Godly Instruction-1:11a-…Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good.

The love continues: This is the third time the apostle addresses Gaius as “Beloved”. He does so this time abruptly and right before giving him some Godly instruction. He tells him not to follow [Greek mimeomai] the example set forth by Diotrephes. He is not insulating that Gaius has already been but, simply reinforcing that fact that this was not conduct to follow. We see this by the strong statements made by John earlier regarding Gaius as walking in the truth (v.3). 

            (2.) The contrast-1:11b…. Whoever does good is from God;

Whoever does evil has not seen God.

The source of the actions: What John was saying here is that the people of God who do good are Godly but, whoever does evil sins and therefore are sinners. This is not to say that the people of God never sin because they do. This is not implying that Diotrephes was not saved but, that he had a blurred vision of God. He tells him that whoever does evil[27] [Greek Kakos] and is used in our text as an adjective and it means worthless, depraved or injurious is not from him but, is from the evil one. It also stands for anything evil in character and is morally or ethically in flesh or spirit.

                                    C. Example to follow (1:12)

                                                (1.) His identity-1:12-a…Demetrius…

Demetrius [Gk. Dēmētrios]-[iii]Means “Belonging to Demeter” He is mentioned three times in scripture. As a silversmith at Ephesus, whose chief occupation was to make “silver shrines for Diana” (Acts 19:24; 38 KJV). As a Christian who is spoken of as having “a good report of all men, and of the truth itself” (3rd John 1:12 KJV) He is also the possible bearer of John’s epistle to Gaius. Diotrephes was an example to be avoided but, we see here in Demetrius an example to be followed. John personified truth as a witness to the conduct of Demetrius. It seems as Gaius has never met Demetrius before and the Apostle is encouraging Gaius to show him hospitality. So he must be a traveling missionary that John is sending to the church that Gaius is at. In 1 Corinthians 16:3 the Apostle Paul describes the sending out of approved men by the church to deliver introductory letters. These men were to be faithful, of honest report, integrity and of good reputation.

                                                (2) His reputation-1:12b…hath good report of all men, and

Of the truth itself

Testimony-Here is a twofold expression of the reputation of Demetrius. The first is he has a good report of his fellow man. Report in Greek is martureō which means [28]“to testify, to bear witness” and the second is “of the truth itself” The pronoun here “itself” makes it into a personification in which itself refers to the truth that is found in Jesus Christ. He is a popular and Godly guy in the Christian community who held the trust and confidence of Apostle John. He held a Godly reputation from both man and God so both inside and out, his actions and his heart were aligned with God.

(3.) His Witness -1:12c…yea, and we also bear record, and

ye know that our record is true

Character witness:  [29]The Apostle John adds on to the twofold expression of the reputation of Demetrius. His implication is that he is a personal witness of the reputation that says that Demetrius is of the Godly sort. That his character is trustworthy and then implies to Gaius that he is fully aware of his own testimony and that he knows John and his followers in the surrounding area of Ephesus are a testimony of the that same truth which is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

IIII. Conclusion (1:13-14)

                                    A. (The apostle’s hope 1:13-14)

(1.) Apostle’s desire-1:13-I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:

The Apostle’s plan of communication: The apostle John has a lot more to say then what is just included in this letter. It seems if he planning a trip to the church shortly. Compare the end of this epistle to his last in 2 John and you can see it pales in comparison. What were the many things on the mind of the Apostle and why did he choose not to write them? It could be because he wanted to make sure Gaius was the only one to know of what he wished to communicate. The omission of his words could indicate that he was being protective of information that he did not want Diotrephes to get a hold of. But, that is just plain assumption and an interesting idea to entertain. It could be that he didn’t want to use another sheet of papyrus paper which was very expensive back in the New Testament times.

Comparison of the second and third epistles of John

 

2 Jn 1:12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

 

 

 

3 Jn 1:13  I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:

 

 

 

2 Jn 1:13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

 

 

3 Jn 1:14 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.

 

 

 

 

(2.) Apostle’s plan-1:14a-But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face.

The Apostle plan of visit: The author indicates that he has much more to say then what is written in the epistle and uses the clause “but I trust I shall shortly see thee” which indicates his desire for a visit in which he will share his heart and his burdens with his dear friend. This verse parallels with 2 John 12 as you can see in the chart above.  He indicates that it would be face to face indicating a time of fellowship with one another.

B. The salutation 1:14

(1.) Final greeting-1:14b-… Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, every one of them.

Word study-Peace: [Greek-eirēnē] [30]this term appears once in every one of the New Testament books in the form of a noun describing relationships between mankind, nations and government and relations between man and God. It denotes a harmonious relationship.[31] This was a common salutation between Jews in the time of the New Testament which was usually said in the form of a prayer. The Greek term for friends is philos which denotes a fondness and a type of love that is friendly. The apostle ends the epistle with sharing the greeting of mutual friends that Gaius and he himself shared.

 

Applications: The principle of truth stands out in this brief epistle. We as followers of Christ are to walk in the truth. That is not limited to a couple hours on Sunday but, throughout the whole week. Our lives should be living breathing epistles of his Word. We should be generous with what God gave us and show hospitality to the workers of the gospel because if we do not who will? Gaius and Demetrius are great examples and role models to follow. We must be cautious not to fall in the sin of pride such as did Diotrephes who followed the greatest example of evil in Satan himself.  There is a danger if all men speak well of us because that may indicate that we are without conviction. If people speak well of our integrity and do not approve of our viewpoints.  It is our stand on integrity that makes a good testimony. When our action matches our words we are seen as person of integrity. We are more than our reputation. Our reputation is what others see us to be. Our character is what we are. Our character commends us to others. 

 

 

                                                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Word Studies

William D. Mounce. “Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words”. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 2006. Zondervan publishers.

 

Vine W.E “Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” Mclean, Virginia. MacDonald Publishing Company.

 

Young Robert. “Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible” (Peabody, Ma. 2008. Hendrickson Publishers.

 

George Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, 3rd edition, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1968.

 

Cornwall Dr. Judson. “The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names” Gainsville, Florida. 1998. Bridge-Logos Publishers.

 

Commentaries

 

KJV Life in the Spirit Study Bible.Zondervan Publishers.  Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1992.

 

 

 

Hiebert D. Edmond. “The Epistles of John An Expositional Commentary.” Greenville, South Carolina. 1991. Bob Jones University Press.

 

Amos N. Wilder and Paul W. Hoon, “The Interpreter’s Bible (New York: Macmillan. 1957. Abingdon Press.

 

Lenski R.C.H. “The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude”        Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1945. Augsburg Publishing House.

 

 MacArthur John. “The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Moody Publishers, Chicago 2007.

 

Bruce F.F. “The Epistles of John”. Eeerdman’s B. William Publishing Company. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1970.

 

 

Other helpful resources

 

Flowers Ron and Karen “Celebrate Marriage “Silver Spring, MD 2004.A Department of Family Ministries.

 

Saucy L. Robert. “The church in God’s Program” Chicago, Illinois. Moody Press. 1972.

 

Charity.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011. Web. 10 May. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/106513/charity>

 

Wilson S. Neil, Taylor K. Linda. “Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts & Maps. Wheaton, Illinois. Tyndale House Publishers. 2001.

 

Tenney, Merrill C. New Testament Survey Revised. Grand Rapids, Mich: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1985

 

 Wilmington, Harold. “Wilmington’s Complete Guide to Bible Knowledge” Wheaton, Illinois. 1990. Tyndale House Publisher.

 

Youngblood F. Ronald, Bruce F.F, Harrison K. R. “Nelson’s Student Bible Dictionary” Nashville, Tennessee. Nelson Publishing. 2005.

 

Barnes Albert “Notes on the New Testament” Grand Rapids, Michigan. Baker Book House. Pg. 369.

 

Hailey H. H. “Halley’s Bible Handbook”. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1962. Zondervan publisher.

 

Gower, Ralph The New Manners & Customs of Bible Times. (Chicago, Ill, Moody Press, 1987.


[1] Lockyer, Sr. Herbert. “Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Carmel, New York 1986. Pg. 583-584.

 

[2] MacArthur John. “The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Moody Publishers, Chicago 2007. Pg 240

 

[3] KJV Life in the Spirit Study Bible.Zondervan Publishers.  Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1992. Pg. 2037

 

[4]  William D. Mounce. “Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words”. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 2006. Zondervan publishers. Pg. 208.

 

[5] Hiebert D. Edmond. “The Epistles of John An Expositional Commentary.” Greenville, South Carolina. 1991. Bob Jones University Press. Pg. 318

 

[6] Hiebert D. Edmond. “The Epistles of John an Expositional Commentary.” Greenville, South Carolina. 1991. Bob Jones University Press. Pg. 2169

 

 

[7] William D. Mounce. “Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words”. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 2006. Zondervan publishers. Pg. 427.

 

 

[8] Hailey H. H. “Halley’s Bible Handbook”. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1962. Zondervan publisher. Pg.678.

[9] Amos N. Wilder and Paul W. Hoon, “The Interpreter’s Bible (New York: Macmillan. 1957. Abingdon Press. Pg.308.

 

[10] Vine W.E “Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” Mclean, Virginia. MacDonald Publishing Company. Pg. 907.

 

[11] Barnes Albert “Notes on the New Testament” Grand Rapids, Michigan. Baker Book House. Pg. 369.

[12] Young Robert. “Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible” (Peabody, Ma. 2008. Hendrickson Publishers. Pg. 552

 

[13] Flowers Ron and Karen “Celebrate Marriage “Silver Spring, MD 2004.A Department of Family Ministries.Pg. 94

 

[14]  “Charity.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011. Web. 10 May. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/106513/charity>

 

[15] Wilson S. Neil, Taylor K. Linda. “Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts & Maps. Wheaton, Illinois. Tyndale House Publishers. 2001. Pg. 563.

[16] Gower, Ralph The New Manners & Customs of Bible Times. (Chicago, Ill, Moody Press, 1987. Pg. 241.

 

[17] William D. Mounce. “Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words”. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 2006. Zondervan publishers. Pg. 233.

 

[18] Saucy L. Robert. “The church in God’s Program” Chicago, Illinois. Moody Press. 1972. Pg. 12.

[19] William D. Mounce. “Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words”. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 2006. Zondervan publishers. Pg. 796.

 

[20] Vine W.E “Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” Mclean, Virginia. MacDonald Publishing Company. Pg. 484.

 

[21] George Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, 3rd edition, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1968, p. 238

 

[22] Tenney, Merrill C. New Testament Survey Revised. Grand Rapids, Mich: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1985

 

[23] MacArthur John. “The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Moody Publishers, Chicago 2007. Pg 256

 

[24] Bruce F.F. “The Epistles of John”. Eeerdman’s B. William Publishing Company. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1970. Pg. 153.

 

[25] Willmington, Harold. “Wilmington’s Complete Guide to Bible Knowledge” Wheaton, Illinois. 1990. Tyndale House Publisher. Pg. 13.

 

[26] Young Robert. “Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible” (Peabody, Ma. 2008. Hendrickson Publishers. Pg. 633

 

[27] Vine W.E “Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” Mclean, Virginia. MacDonald Publishing Company. Pg. 390.

 

[28] Cornwall Dr. Judson. “The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names” Gainesville, Florida. 1998. Bridge-Logos Publishers. Pg. 59.

 

[29] Young Robert. “Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible” (Peabody, Ma. 2008. Hendrickson Publishers. Pg. 808.

 

[30] Vine W.E “Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” Mclean, Virginia. MacDonald Publishing Company. Pg. 907.

 

 

[31] Youngblood F. Ronald, Bruce F.F, Harrison K. R. “Nelson’s Student Bible Dictionary” Nashville, Tennessee. Nelson Publishing. 2005. Pg. 190.


 

 

 

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