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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
3 John 1

 

 

Verse 1

The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. I - I personally, for my part. On Gaius, or Caius, see 'Introduction.' Love in the truth - (2 John.) "Beloved" is repeated often, indicating strong affection (3 John 1:1-2; 3 John 1:5; 3 John 1:11).


Verse 2

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. Above all things , [ peri (Greek #4012)] - 'concerning all things.' Alford, in all respects. Wahl justifies the English version (cf. 1 Peter 4:8). Since his soul's prosperity is presupposed, "above all things" does not imply that John wishes Gaius' bodily prosperity above that of his soul, but as the first object to be desired next after spiritual health. I know you are prospering in your soul. I wish you similar prosperity in your body. Perhaps John had heard from the brethren (3 John 1:3) that Gains was in bad health, and was tried in other ways (3 John

10), to which the wish refers. Prosper - in general. Be in health - in particular.


Verse 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. Testified of the truth that is in thee - `to thy truth:' thy share of that truth in which thou walkest (Alford). Even as thou - in contrast to Diotrephes (3 John 1:9).


Verse 4

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. My children - members of the Church: confirming the view that the elect lady (2 John) is a church.


Verse 5

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Faithfully - an act becoming a faithful man.

Whatsoever thou doest , [ ergazee (Greek #2038)] - distinct from the former [ poieis (Greek #4160)] "doest." Translate, 'workest:' whatsoever work of love thou dust perform. So Matthew 26:10.

And to strangers. A 'Aleph (') B C have [ touto (Greek #5124) for eis (Greek #1519) tous (Greek #3588)], 'and that (i:e., and those brethren) strangers.' The fact of the brethren whom thou didst entertain being "strangers" enhances the love manifested in the act. This favours Gaius of Corinth (Romans 16:23) being the Gaius of this letter.


Verse 6

Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: Borne witness of thy charity before (in the presence of) the church - to stimulate others by the good example. The brethren so entertained by Caius were missionary evangelists (3 John 1:7). Probably, in narrating their missionary labours "before the church" where John was, they incidentally mentioned the loving hospitality, of Caius.

Bring forward on their journey - `if thou (continue to) forward on their journey,' by giving them provisions for the way.

After a godly sort , [ axios (Greek #514) Theou (Greek #2316)] - 'in a manner worthy of God,' whose ambassadors they are, and whose servant thou art. He who honours God's missionaries (3 John 1:7), honours God.


Verse 7

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

Went forth - as missionaries. Taking nothing - refusing to receive anything as pay, or maintenance, though justly entitled to it: as Paul at Corinth and at Thessalonica (1 Corinthians 9:12; 1 Corinthians 9:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:9).

Gentiles. As Caius was a Gentile convert, "the Gentiles" must mean the converts just made from the pagan, the Gentiles to whom they had gone forth. It would have been inexpedient to have taken anything [ meeden (Greek #3367) implies, not that they got nothing, though they desired it; but, of their own choice, they took nothing from the infant Gentile churches]: the case was different in receiving hospitality from Caius.


Verse 8

We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth. We - in contradistinction to "the Gentiles" (3 John 1:7).

Therefore - as they take nothing from the Gentiles. Receive. 'Aleph (') A B C read, 'take up.' As they take nothing from the Gentiles, we ought to take up their support.

Fellow-helpers - with them. To the truth - i:e., to promote the truth.


Verse 9

I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. I wrote. 'Aleph (') A B add [ ti (Greek #5100)], 'something:' a communication, probably as to receiving the brethren with brotherly love (3 John 1:8; 3 John 1:10). That letter was not designed by the Spirit for the universal Church, else it would have been preserved.

Unto the church - to which Caius belongs. Loveth ... pre-eminence - through ambition. Evidently occupying a high place in that church: a Judaizer, and so opposed to the missionaries who preached the doctrines of grace to the Gentiles (3 John 1:10). Among them - over the members.

Receiveth us not - virtually, by not receiving with love the brethren whom we recommended (cf. Matthew 10:40).


Verse 10

Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us 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.

If I come - (3 John 1:14.) I will remember , [ hupomneesoo (Greek #5279)] - 'I will bring to mind' before all, by stigmatizing and punishing.

Prating - with silly tattle. Neither doth he himself receive the brethren - with hospitality: the missionaries. Forbiddeth them that would - receive them.

Casteth them - those that would receive the brethren, by excommunication from the Church, which his influence (3 John 1:9) in it enabled him to do. Neander thinks that the missionaries were JEWS whence it is said in their praise they took Nothing from THE GENTILES: in contrast to other Jewish missionaries who abused ministers' rights of maintenance elsewhere (2 Corinthians 11:22; Philippians 3:2; Philippians 3:5; Philippians 3:19). In the Gentile churches there existed an ultra-Pauline party of anti-Jewish tendency, forerunners of Marcion. Diotrephes stood at the head of this party, which, as well as his domineering spirit, may account for his hostility to the missionaries, and to the apostle John, who had, by love, tried to harmonize the various elements in the Asiatic churches. At a later period Marcion, we know, attached himself to Paul alone, and paid no deference to John's authority.


Verse 11

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.

Follow not that which is evil - as Diotrephes. But ... good - as Demetrius (3 John 1:12). Is of God - born of God, who is good. Hath not seen God - spiritually.


Verse 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.

Demetrius - a hospitable presbyter in the place; or else one of the missionary strangers who bore the letter. Of all men - who have opportunity of knowing his character.

Of the truth itself. The Gospel standard of truth witnesses that he walks conformably to it, in real love, hospitality to the brethren (in contrast to Diotrephes), etc. Compare John 3:21.

We also - besides the testimony of "all men," and of "the truth itself." Ye know. 'Aleph (') A B C d, Vulgate, read, 'thou knowest.'


Verse 13

I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: I will not , [ theloo (Greek #2309)] - 'I wish not ... to write' more.


Verse 14

But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Face to face - `mouth to mouth.'

Peace - inward of conscience; fraternal of friendship; supernal of glory (Lyra). Friends. Seldom in the New Testament, as it is absorbed in the higher title, 'brother, brethren.' Still, Christ recognizes the relation of friend (John 15:13-15; James 2:23), based on the highest grounds-obedience from love, entailing the highest privileges-admission to the intimacy of the holy God and sympathizing Saviour: so Christians have "friends" in Christ. In a friendly letter, mention of "friends" appropriately occurs.

By name - no less than if their names were written (Bengel).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 3 John 1:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/3-john-1.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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