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Bible Commentaries
3 John 1

Parker's The People's BibleParker's The People's Bible

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Verse 1

[Note. "This Epistle is addressed to Gaius or Caius. We have no reason for identifying him with Caius of Macedonia ( Act 19:29 ), or with Caius of Derbe ( Act 20:4 ), or with Caius of Corinth (Romans 16:23 ; 1Co 1:14 ), or with Caius Bishop of Ephesus, or with Caius Bishop of Thessalonica, or with Caius Bishop of Pergamos. He was probably a convert of St. John ( 3Jn 1:4 ), and a layman of wealth and distinction ( 3Jn 1:5 ) in some city near Ephesus.

"The Third Epistle was written for the purpose of commending to the kindness and hospitality of Caius some Christians who were strangers in the place where he lived. It is probable that these Christians carried this letter with them to Caius as their introduction. It would appear that the object of the travellers was to preach the gospel to the Gentiles without money and without price ( 3Jn 1:7 ). St. John had already written to the ecclesiastical authorities of the place ( έγραψα , 3 John 1:9 , not 'scripsissem,' Vulg. ); but they, at the instigation of Diotrephes, had refused to receive the missionary brethren, and therefore the Apostle now commends them to the care of a layman. It is probable that Diotrephes was a leading presbyter who held Judaising views, and would not give assistance to men who were going about with the purpose of preaching solely to the Gentiles. Whether Demetrius ( 3Jn 1:12 ) was a tolerant presbyter of the same community, whose example St. John holds up as worthy of commendation in contradistinction to that of Diotrephes, or whether he was one of the strangers who bore the letter, we are now unable to determine. The latter supposition is the more probable." Smith's Dictionary of the Bible.]

1. The elder unto the wellbeloved [beloved, as in 3 John 1:2-5 , 3 John 1:11 . The word occurs four times in this short letter. It is characteristic of St. John (1 John 2:7 , 1 John 3:21 , 1 John 4:1 , 1 John 4:7 , 1 John 4:11 .)] Gaius, whom I love in the truth [ or truly].

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

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.

4. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. ["Greater joy than these (joys) I have [not], viz., that I should hear of my children walking truly," i.e., sincerely, as at the close of the last verse each child so walking is a separate joy.]

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

6. Which have borne witness of thy charity before the Church [ i.e., the Church from which they had been sent forth the Ephesian Church to which they had now returned]: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:

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

8. We [the pronoun here standing markedly at the beginning of the sentence is full of significance. It is beautifully like St. John's humility to include himself in a confession of sinfulness] therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow-helpers [may become fellow-workers] to [for] the truth.

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

10. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember [bring to remembrance. The same word in John 14:26 . To bring "evil deeds to remembrance" is practically to reproach, bring to shame] his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious [wicked] words: and not content therewith [contented hereupon], neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

11. Beloved, follow [imitate] 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.

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

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 [I am hoping straightway to see thee], and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name. [May we not see a beautiful allusion to the Good Shepherd "calling his own Sheep by name?" (John 10:8 .) These simple words are the last which we can trace up to the heart and pen of St John. Their quiet tender individualism form a fitting transition from the superhuman dignity of the Apostolate, to the more ordinary pastoral office.... A hush as of evening rests upon the close of the note].

Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on 3 John 1". Parker's The People's Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jpb/3-john-1.html. 1885-95.
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