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- 3 John
by Editor - Joseph S. Exell
The Preacher’s Complete Homiletic
ON THE GENERAL EPISTLES
I-II Peter, I-II-III John, Jude
OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE
By the REV. ROBERT TUCK, B.A.
Author of the Commentaries on Hebrews and James
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY
LONDON AND TORONTO
ON THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
WITH CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES,
INDEXES, ETC., BY VARIOUS AUTHORS
PREACHER’S HOMILETICAL COMMENTARY
HOMILIES FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS
Church Seasons: Advent, 1 Peter 4:7; 2 Peter 3:1-7; Revelation 1:9; Revelation 22:20-21. St. Thomas’s Day, 1 Peter 1:8. Christmas, 1 John 4:9; 1 John 5:20. Lent, 1 John 3:3; Revelation 2:7. Good Friday, 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 4:1; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10; Revelation 1:5; Revelation 5:12. Easter, Revelation 1:17-18. Ascension Day, 1 Peter 1:3. Whit Sunday, 1 John 2:20. All Saints’ Day, Revelation 7:9-10.
Holy Communion: 2 Peter 3:11; 2 Peter 3:18; 1 John 1:3; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 3:13-17; 1 John 3:24; Jude 1:21.
Missions to Heathen: Revelation 11:15; Revelation 14:6-7; Revelation 22:17. Bible Society, 2 Peter 1:16-21; Revelation 1:1-3; Revelation 14:6-7.
Special: Ordination, 1 Peter 5:1-4. Workers, 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 4:1-2. Baptism, 1 Peter 3:21. Confirmation, Revelation 2:4. Marriage, 1 Peter 3:1-6. Women, 1 Peter 3:1-6. Harvest, Revelation 14:13-16; Revelation 15:0; Revelation 17:0 -
20. Death, 2 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 1:14-15; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 21:7. Close of year, Revelation 21:5.
THE THIRD EPISTLE OF JOHN
THERE is little to be added to what has been said concerning the second epistle. There can be no doubt that both were written by the same person; and every argument for the Johannine authorship drawn from the contents of the second epistle can be fully supported by the contents of the third. But no positive knowledge of the person addressed can be obtained.
The contents may be thus summarised: “The writer recounts how some missionaries had been badly received by Diotrephes, who had ambitiously obtained for himself the chief influence in a certain Church, but, notwithstanding, Gaius had been courageous and kind enough to entertain them hospitably. Gaius is exhorted to help them still further. The letter gives us an idea of the high importance of hospitality at the time as a Christian virtue, and brings out the fact that St. John’s authority was no less disputed in certain cases than St. Paul’s. It is probable that the Church of Diotrephes had not been founded by St. John.”
Gaius was an exceedingly common name. A person named Gaius is referred to in Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14; Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4. A Gaius is also mentioned in the Apos. Constit., vii. 40, as bishop of Pergamos.
What can be assured is that, whether St. John was the writer of the epistle or not, the writer occupied a position of authority in the Church of which Gaius was a member; but at the time of writing he was away from the Church, and had received reports which had filled him with anxiety. The letter contains three things, affixed to three names, which may be regarded as types.
I. Encouragement.—Offered to Gaius. The writer recognises soul-prosperity, and wishes it matched with worldly success and bodily health. And there is a natural and necessary connection between soul and bodily prosperity, which would be much more constantly realised and recognised but for the disturbing influences of what is called “civilisation.” The soul-prosperity of Gaius is seen—
1. In his piety—“walkest in the truth.”
2. In his hospitality—practical goodness.
II. Censure.—Of Diotrephes. Human nature has the same weaknesses in every age. In this man—
3. Inconsiderateness. Shown in dealing with strangers visiting the Church.
III. Commendation.—Of Demetrius. He was possibly the man rejected and unworthily treated by Diotrephes. The man who has won a good name may properly expect to use his good name.
The one thing impressed in this brief epistle is the importance of Christian character, and the sadness of falling from its high standard of excellence. It is intimated that Christian character always materially helps in securing kind and gracious relations.
the Fourth Week after Epiphany