Short Study on 3 John - by Jeff Byerley

Another short letter by john who apparently was well known as "The elder."


Verses 1-4:  Greeting.
A greeting to his dear friend Gaius "whom I love in the truth".
As in John's other letters he frequently refers to "love" and "truth" inseparably.
We agreed that by the truth he means the gospel truth.
This precious truth binds all Christians in his love as they work for his glory.
John has no greater joy than to see his loved ones walking in the truth (V.4).
Certainly Gaius' qualities stand out in this letter.
Barclay records that tradition holds that Gaius became Bishop of Pergamum.

Verses 5-8 Importance of supporting gospel workers.
Gaius had an excellent reputation for looking after travelling gospel workers.
John exhorts Gaius to do this again for these highly regarded travellers.
We were reminded by this how much we also should care for the needs of missionaries etc.

Verses 9-10.  Highly motivated for one's own glory.
John spelt out his difficulties with the local leader Diotrephes.
However, there is no suggestion that Diotrephes was giving false teaching.
It is just that his actions were the opposite of the gospel truth.
John indicated that he would himself deal with Diotrephes.

Verse 11-12Highly motivated for Christ's glory.
John highly commends Demetrius and adds "even by the truth itself".
Commentators have various suggestions what this means.
It may mean simply that his life in Christ speaks for itself.
Certainly there is a stark difference between the deeds of Demetrius and those of Diotrephes.
Thus John comes to the key verse and message in verse 11.
"Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good.
Anyone who does what is good is from God.
Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God."
The evil deeds of Diotrephes are the very reason John had to write this letter.
We were reminded that the best person's good to imitate was Jesus'.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me". (John 14:6).

Verses 13-14. Face to Face is better than Twitter.
John again points this out as in 2 John.
He prays for "Shallom" peace for Gaius.
Final thought from my church's recent study on this letter:

So this week, let us remember where we stand.
We stand on ground that has been given to us by Christ,
nothing that we deserve ourselves or can earn.  
Therefore as we maintain the ground given to us through living by truth and love,
we bring joy to others, and to our Father in heaven.  

As John writes in 3 John 1:11...remember that those who do good prove that they are God's children.