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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

3 John

- 3 John

by Donald C. Fleming

3 John

BACKGROUND

In the letter known as 1 John, the apostle John opposed a kind of false teaching that seems to have been centred in Ephesus (1 John 2:26; 1 John 4:1). In 2 John he warned against travelling preachers who were spreading this teaching around other churches of the Ephesus region (2 John 1:7,2 John 1:10). However, not all travelling preachers were trouble-makers. Some were preachers of the true gospel, and 3 John was written to a church leader named Gaius, to encourage him to keep supporting such people, in spite of the difficulties he faced.

The letter does not state which church Gaius belonged to, but his difficulties were chiefly concerned with a man named Diotrephes who had worked himself into a position of power in the church. Diotrephes refused to receive the travelling preachers, claiming that they were representatives of the apostle John, whom he opposed. John’s letter, therefore, in addition to giving encouragement to Gaius, gave advice concerning how to deal with Diotrephes (3 John 1:9-10).