Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

3 John 1:1

The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
New American Standard Version
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Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ambition;   Blessing;   Blindness;   Church;   Commandments;   Demetrius;   Diotrephes;   Elder;   Example;   Gaius;   Holiness;   Hospitality;   Ink;   John;   Malice;   Minister, Christian;   Pen;   Presumption;   Righteousness;   Salutations;   Self-Denial;   Zeal, Religious;   Scofield Reference Index - Churches;   John;   Thompson Chain Reference - Evil;   Gaius;   Good;   Ink;   Name;   Silence-Speech;   Truth;   Walk;   Walking;   Words;   The Topic Concordance - Evil;   Following;   Goodness;   Seeing;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Ambition;   Books;   Faithfulness;   Heathen, the;   Hospitality;   Joy;   Malice;   Missionaries, All Christians Should Be as;   Missionary Work by Ministers;   Presumption;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Demetrius;   Diotrephes;   Pen;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gaius;   John the apostle;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Obedience;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Demetrius;   Diotrephes;   Gaius;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Boanerges;   Demetrius;   Diotrephes;   Excommunication;   Gaius;   John the Apostle;   John, the Epistles of;   New Testament;   Timothy, the First Epistle to;   Writing;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Benediction;   Demetrius;   Diotrephes;   Friend, Friendship;   Gaius;   Greeting;   Healing, Divine;   Health;   Imitate;   Ink;   John;   John, the Letters of;   Letter Form and Function;   Logos;   Love;   Plants in the Bible;   Truth;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Brotherly Love;   Demetrius;   Diotrephes;   Excommunication;   Gaius;   Health;   Ink;   Malice;   Prayer;   Writing;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Beloved ;   Benediction ;   Demetrius;   Diotrephes;   Education;   Example;   Excommunication;   Family;   Fellowship;   Fellowship (2);   Friends Friendship;   Gaius ;   Goodness (Human);   Heathen;   Home;   Hospitality ;   Inn;   Joy;   Laodicea;   Martha ;   Name ;   Name (2);   Peace;   Reed (2);   Salutations;   Soul ;   Stranger, Alien, Foreigner;   Synagogue;   Tattlers;   Urbanus ;   Walk (2);   Wicked;   Wicked (2);   Worldliness;   Writing;   Zeal;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gaius ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Gaius;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Deme'trius;   Diot'rephes;   John, the Second and Third Epistles of;   New Testament;   Writing;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Calamus;   John the Baptist;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bring;   Charity;   Church Government;   Demetrius (2);   Excommunication;   Follow;   Forward;   Gaius;   Grace;   Greeting;   Health;   Ink;   Inn;   Malice;   Name;   Pen;   Preeminence;   Reed;   Truth;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The elder - See on the first verse of the preceding epistle ( 2 John 1:1; (note), and also the preface.

The well-beloved Gaius - Γαιος Gaius, is the Greek mode of writing the Roman name Caius; and thus it should be rendered in European languages.

Several persons of the name of Caius occur in the New Testament.

  1. In the Epistle to the Romans, Romans 16:23, St. Paul mentions a Caius who lived at Corinth, whom he calls his host, and the host of the whole Church.
  • In 1 Corinthians 1:14, St. Paul mentions a Caius who lived at Corinth, whom he had baptized; but this is probably the same with the above.
  • In Acts 19:29, mention is made of a Caius who was a native of Macedonia, who accompanied St. Paul, and spent some time with him at Ephesus. This is probably a different person from the preceding; for the description given of the Caius who lived at Corinth, and was the host of the whole Church there, does not accord with the description of the Macedonian Caius, who, in the very same year, traveled with St. Paul, and was with him at Ephesus.
  • In Acts 20:4, we meet a Caius of Derbe, who was likewise a fellow traveler of St. Paul. This person cannot be the Corinthian Caius, for the host of the Church at Corinth would hardly leave that city to travel into Asia: and he is clearly distinguishable from the Macedonian Caius by the epithet Δερβαιος, of Derbe.
  • And lastly, there is the Caius who is mentioned here, and who is thought by some critics to be different from all the above; for, in writing to him, St. John ranks him among his children, which seems, according to them, to intimate that he was converted by this apostle.
  • Now, whether this Caius was one of the persons just mentioned, or whether he was different from them all, is difficult to determine; because Caius was a very common name. Yet if we may judge from the similarity of character, it is not improbable that he was the Caius who lived at Corinth, and who is styled by St. Paul the host of the whole Church; for hospitality to his Christian brethren was the leading feature in the character of this Caius to whom St. John wrote, and it is on this very account that he is commended by the apostle. Besides, St. John's friend lived in a place where this apostle had in Diotrephes a very ambitious and tyrannical adversary; and that there were men of this description at Corinth is evident enough from the two epistles to the Corinthians, though St. Paul has not mentioned their names. See Michaelis.

    The probability of this Caius being the same with the Corinthian Caius has suggested the thought that this epistle was sent to Corinth; and consequently that the second epistle was sent to some place in the neighborhood of that city. But I think the distance between Ephesus, where St. John resided, and Corinth, was too considerable for such an aged man as St. John is represented to be to travel, whether by land or water. If he went by land, he must traverse a great part of Asia, go through Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and down through Greece, to the Morea, a most tedious and difficult journey. If he went by water, he must cross the Aegean Sea, and navigate among the Cyclades Islands, which was always a dangerous voyage. Now as the apostle promises, both in the second and in this epistle, to see the persons shortly to whom he wrote, I take it for granted that they could not have lived at Corinth, or anywhere in the vicinity of that city. That St. John took such a voyage Michaelis thinks probable; "for since Corinth lay almost opposite to Ephesus, and St. John, from his former occupation, before he became an apostle, was accustomed to the sea, it is not improbable that the journey or voyage which he proposed to make was from Ephesus to Corinth."

    In answer to this I would just observe,

    1. That the voyage was too long and dangerous for a man at John's advanced age to think of taking.
    2. That John had never been accustomed to any such sea as the Aegean, for the sea of Galilee, or sea of Tiberias, on which, as a fisherman, he got his bread, was only an inconsiderable fresh water lake; and his acquaintance with it could give him very few advantages for the navigation of the Aegean Sea, and the danger of coasting the numerous islands dispersed through it.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/3-john-1.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    This brief Epistle, written to a Christian whose name was Gaius, of whom nothing more is known (compare the notes at 3 John 1:1), and in respect to which the time and place of writing it are equally unknown, embraces the following subjects:

    I. The address, with an expression of tender attachment, and an earnest wish for his welfare and happiness, 3 John 1:1-2.

    II. A commendation of his character and doings, as the writer had learned it from some brethren who had visited him particularly;

    (a)for his attachment to the truth, and,

    (b)for his kindness shown to the members of his own church, and to strangers who had gone forth to some work of charity, 3 John 1:3-8.

    III. The writer then adverts to the fact that he had written upon this subject to the church, commending these strangers to their attention, but that Diotrephes would not acknowledge his authority, or receive those whom he introduced to them. This conduct, he said, demanded rebuke; and he says that when he himself came, he would take proper measures to assert his own authority, and show to him and to the church the duty of receiving Christian brethren commended to them from abroad, 3 John 1:9-10.

    IV. He exhorts Gaius to persevere in that which was good - in a life of love and kindness, in an imitation of the benevolent God, 3 John 1:11.

    V. Of another person - Demetrius - who, it would seem, had been associated with Gaius in the honorable course which he had pursued, in opposition to what the church had done, he also speaks in terms of commendation, and says that the same honorable testimony had been borne of him which had been of Gaius, 3 John 1:12.

    VI. As in the second Epistle, he says, in the close, that there were many things which he would be glad to say to him, but there were reasons why they should not be set down “with ink and pen,” but he hoped soon to confer with him freely on those subjects face to face, and the Epistle is closed by kind salutations, 3 John 1:13-14.

    The occasion upon which the Epistle was written is no further known than appears from the Epistle itself. From this, the following facts are all that can now be ascertained:

    (1) That Gaius was a Christian man, and evidently a member of the church, but of what church is unknown.

    (2) that there were certain persons known to the writer of the Epistle, and who either lived where he did, or who had been commended to him by others who proposed to travel to the place where Gaius lived. Their particular object is not known, further than that it is said 3 John 1:7 that they “went for his name‘s sake;” that is, in the cause of religion. It further appears that they had resolved not to be dependent upon the pagan for their support, but wished the favor and friendship of the church - perhaps designing to preach to the pagan, and yet apprehending that if they desired their maintenance from them, it would be charged on them that they were mercenary in their ends.

    (3) in these circumstances, and with this view, the author of this Epistle wrote to the church, commending these brethren to their kind and fraternal regards.

    (4) this recommendation, so far as appears, would have been successful, had it not been for one man, Diotrephes, who had so much influence, and who made such violent opposition, that the church refused to receive them, and they became dependent upon private charity. The ground of the opposition of Diotrephes is not fully stated, but it seems to have arisen from two sources:

    (a)adesire to rule in the church; and,

    (b)aparticular opposition to the writer of this Epistle, and a denial of any obligation to recognize his instructions or commendations as binding. The idea seems to have been that the church was entirely independent, and might receive or reject any whom it pleased, though they were commended to them by an apostle.

    (5) in these circumstances, Gaius, as an individual, and against the action of the church, received and hospitably entertained these strangers, and aided them in the prosecution of their work. In this office of hospitality another member of the church, Demetrius, also shared; and to commend them for this work, particularly Gaius, at whose house probably they were entertained, is the design of this Epistle.

    (6) after having returned to the writer of this Epistle, who had formerly commended them to the church, and having borne honorable testimony to the hospitality of Gaius, it would seem that they resolved to repeat their journey for the same purpose, and that the writer of the Epistle commended them now to the renewed hospitality of Gaius. On this occasion, probably, they bore this Epistle to him. See the notes at 3 John 1:6-7. Nothing more is known of Diotrephes than is here specified. Erasmus and Bede supposed that he was the author of a new sect; but of this there is no evidence, and if he had been, it is probable that John would have cautioned Gaius against his influence. Many have supposed that he was a self-appointed “Bishop” or “Pastor” in the church where he resided; but there is no evidence of this, and, since John wrote to “the church,” commending the strangers to “them,” this would seem to be hardly probable. Compare Revelation 2:1, Revelation 2:8, Revelation 2:12, Revelation 2:18; Revelation 3:1, Revelation 3:7, Revelation 3:14. Others have supposed that he was a deacon, and had charge of the funds of the church, and that he refused to furnish to these strangers the aid out of the public treasury which they needed, and that by so doing he hindered them in the prosecution of their object. But all this is mere conjecture, and it is now impossible to ascertain what office he held, if he held any. That he was a man of influence is apparent; that he was proud, ambitious, and desirous of ruling, is equally clear; and that he prevailed upon the church not to receive the strangers commended to them by the apostle is equally manifest.

    Of the rank and standing of Demetrius nothing more is known. Benson supposes that he was the bearer of this letter, and that he had gone with the brethren referred to in order to preach to the Gentiles. But it seems more probable that he was a member of the church to which Gaius belonged, and that he had concurred with him in rendering aid to the strangers who had been rejected by the influence of Diotrephes. If he had gone with these strangers, and had carried this letter, it would have been noticed, and it would have been in accordance with the apostolic custom, that he should have been commended to the favorable attentions of Gaius. In regard to the authenticity and the canonical authority of this Epistle, see the introduction at the beginning of the Second Epistle.

    The elder - See the notes at 2 John 1:1.

    Unto the well-beloved Gaius - Three persons of this name are elsewhere mentioned in the New Testament - Gaius, whom Paul in Romans 16:23 calls “his host,” and whom he says 1 Corinthians 1:15 he baptized, residing at Corinth, (see the notes at Romans 16:23); Gaius of Macedonia, one of Paul‘s companions in travel, who was arrested by an excited mob at Ephesus, Acts 19:29; and Gaius of Derbe, who went with Paul and Timothy into Asia, Acts 20:4. Whether either of these persons is referred to here, cannot with certainty be determined. If it were any of them it was probably the last mentioned - Gaius of Derbe. There is no objection to the supposition that he was the one unless it is from the fact that this Epistle was probably written many years after the transaction mentioned in Acts 20:4, and the probability that Gaius might not have lived so long. The name was not an uncommon one, and it cannot be determined now who he was, or where he lived. Whether he had any office in the church is unknown, but he seems to have been a man of wealth and influence. The word translated “well-beloved,” means simply “beloved.” It shows that he was a personal friend of the writer of this Epistle.

    Whom I love in the truth - Margin, “or truly.” See the notes at 2 John 1:1.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/3-john-1.html. 1870.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    3 John 1:1

    The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius.

    Some first century Church members

    It has been said that in the drama of life the scenery shifts and the draperies change, but the plot is the same and the characters the same. This is true; and because of this the most ancient history is in its essentials the story of to-day. Gaius, Diotrephes, and Demetrius are ancient names, but modern characters; dead men, but living spirits.

    I. Gaius, or the Christian in complete armour. Of his position in the Church, of his personal history, we know nothing. The light falls on him only for a moment; but in that moment we can see clearly that he was a full-orbed, symmetrical Christian.

    1. His soul prospered--i.e., his inner life of prayer and fellowship with the Father was going on so well--the man was making such manifest progress in spiritual life--that St. John could form no higher wish for him than that he might prosper in all things and be in health, as his soul was prospering.

    2. But his spirituality did not evaporate in feeling. There was nothing flabby or weak about the man. He was strong in the Lord. “I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and bare witness to thy truth.” We do not know all that lies beneath this sentence. Evidently truth had been attacked, and Gaius had stood up in defence.

    3. And as he prayed and spoke, so he lived: “even as thou walkest in the truth.” The true defenders of the faith, the invincible champions of truth, are all the souls that do the truth. Holiness is an unanswerable argument.

    4. He was an active Christian (verses 5-7). Here we catch just a glimpse of the evangelising activity of the early Church. Error was busy. Many deceivers had gone forth into the world. But truth was busy also. She had taken the field. Christian men had “gone forth” “for the sake of the Name.” Gaius probably could not “go forth,” but he could help those who did. He could give them a home, could secure for them a favourable hearing, and send them on their way rejoicing. And he did so, thoroughly. He did this, as he did everything else, as unto the Lord. Gains did this, and so became “a fellow-worker with the truth.” People often speak of “the workers” in the Church as if they were a small and easily defined class. But who are the workers? Those who preach, and teach, and visit, and sing, and organise? Yes; but not these only. Those who can only give small gifts from their poverty those who pray for us in secret, who smile on our efforts, who wish us well, who love us--behold, these too are workers, fellow-workers with the truth! Thank God for quiet people, kind people, hopeful people! What could the “workers“ do without the fellow-workers?

    II. Diotrephes represents officialism out and out. I am sorry to say that there is little doubt that he was the minister of the Church in which Gaius was a member--a minister in name--in fact, a tyrant, a slanderer, a bad man.

    1. “He loveth to have the pre-eminence among them.” He did not call it by that name. He called it “principle,” or “conscience,” or “high sense of duty,” for if you want to find the worst things you must not look for them under the words “crime,” or “despotism,” or “sin,” but under “conscience,” “duty,” “patriotism,” and “principle.” But fine words notwithstanding, the core of this man’s character was love of power and pride of place.

    2. “If I come,” says the apostle, “I will bring to remembrance his works which he doeth, prating against us with wicked words.” Yes, “if I come,” Diotrephes will find that John was not called the son of thunder for nothing. It ought not to be left to St. John to bring Diotrephes to book. The Church ought to have done this, The Church was partly guilty of this tyrant. “I know mother’ll give it me if I scream,” said a child. Ay, ay, that is the policy of most agitators. “I believe in screaming” is the one article of Diotrephes’ creed in every age. Weak mothers, weak nations, weak Churches alike surrender to the scream. We owe it to Diotrephes to tell him the truth. Whether St. John come or not, slander should be condemned and tyranny opposed.

    3. But the real danger to the Church lay, not in this man’s despotic action, but in the infectious nature of his tyranny. There is a little Diotrephes in all men--all love to lead; and there was a danger lest this outside Diotrephes should stir up and call out the Diotrephes inside other members--lest opposing him they should still imitate him. Therefore St. John implores even Gaius, “Beloved, imitate not that which is evil, but that which is good.”

    4. “He that doeth good is of God: he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” Let who will be bad, be you good. Though the very angels fall, do you stand. “By Allah,” said Mahomet, when he was tempted, “if they placed the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left to persuade me, yet while God bids me I will go on.” Yes! heed not the sun or moon. Hear God. Though even Diotrephes turn tyrant, let Gaius be Gaius still. “A single man with God is the majority.”

    III. Demetrius stands for the inspiring Christian. He was a man whose life was such that John felt he had only to name him in order to inspire Gaius with courage. Yes, we all know names that for us are charged with inspiration. To see them or hear them makes us stronger, braver, better. We need not be rich, nor famous, nor learned in order to inspire men--only to be good, and honest, and loving, and pure. We too, by faith in Christ and by God’s grace, may live in such a way that even our names may be to some few souls words of inspiration and means of grace. (J. M. Gibbon.)

    The quietness of true religion

    I. Let us see whether, without passing over the bounds of historical probability, we can fill up this bare outline with some colouring of circumstance.

    1. Three persons of the name Gaius or Caius appear in the New Testament (Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14).

    2. Demetrius is, of course, a name redolent of the worship of Demeter, the Earth-Mother, and of Ephesian surroundings. No reader of the New Testament needs to be reminded of the riot at Ephesus, which is told at such length in Acts 19:1-41. The conjecture that the agitator of the turbulent guild of silver smiths who made silver shrines of Diana may have become the Demetrius, the object of St. John’s lofty commendation, is by no means improbable. The very words of Demetrius about Paul evince that uneasy sense of the powers of fascination possessed by the apostle which is often the first timid witness of reluctant conviction.

    II. We may now advert to the contents and general style of this letter.

    1. As to its contents.

    2. The style of the Epistle is certainly that of an old man. It is reserved in language and in doctrine. Religious language should be deep and real, rather than demonstrative. It is not safe to play with sacred names. To pronounce them at random for the purpose of being effective and impressive is to take them in vain. What a wealth of reverential love there is in that--“for the sake of the Name!” This letter says nothing of rapture, or prophecy, of miracle. It lies in the atmosphere of the Church, as we find it even now. It has a word for friendship. It seeks to individualise its benediction. A hush of evening rests upon the note. May such an evening close upon our old age! (Abp. Wm. Alexander.)

    Christian character

    I. The ideal Christian.

    1. A renewed heart.

    2. A loving deportment.

    II. The highest affinity. The Christian character draws to itself--

    1. Our esteem.

    2. Our kindness.

    3. Our fellowship. (The Weekly Pulpit.)

    The ideal Christian

    This is not a salutation in the sense of Christian greeting usual at the beginning of the Epistles of Paul and Peter, but a simple address, to point out the person for whom the Epistle was intended.

    I. The true characteristic of a believer in Jesus Christ--“Beloved.” This term is applied both to the Son of God and to the saints, and frequently used by the apostles. It is a term of endearment, and implies a relationship and an affinity of the highest order.

    1. Loved. One with a renewed heart, one of tenderness and sympathy instead of hardness, ill-feeling, and cruelty.

    2. Loving. The love of God in his heart was not a stagnant pool, but a running rill. Take the Christian life in its composite character, and it will be seen that love permeates the whole. As to the inner resources of thought and desire, there is in them a sweetness which reveals the well of love in the heart. In the life of Gaius, St. John saw the reflection of the greater love which laid down its life for its friends.

    3. Lovable. It is almost unnecessary to state that the object of God’s love will have attractions for all pure minds.

    II. The reciprocal affinity--“Whom I love in truth.” The remembrance of the beloved Gaius awakens the love of the beloved John.

    1. Whom I love by the power of truth. The gospel reveals in us the force of love, and in our fellow-Christians the worthy object of that force. The Christian character draws to itself our esteem.

    2. Whom I love for the sake of truth. No effect has a greater influence on the Christian heart than the saving influence of the gospel. A more effective spectacle to win the affection of an apostle could not be found.

    3. Whom I love in furtherance of truth. Tell the Christian worker that you honour him and love him for his work’s sake, and you will strengthen his hands and rejoice his heart. (T. Davies, M. A.)

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    Bibliographical Information
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "3 John 1:1". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/3-john-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    3 John 1:1

    The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius.

    Some first century Church members

    It has been said that in the drama of life the scenery shifts and the draperies change, but the plot is the same and the characters the same. This is true; and because of this the most ancient history is in its essentials the story of to-day. Gaius, Diotrephes, and Demetrius are ancient names, but modern characters; dead men, but living spirits.

    I. Gaius, or the Christian in complete armour. Of his position in the Church, of his personal history, we know nothing. The light falls on him only for a moment; but in that moment we can see clearly that he was a full-orbed, symmetrical Christian.

    1. His soul prospered--i.e., his inner life of prayer and fellowship with the Father was going on so well--the man was making such manifest progress in spiritual life--that St. John could form no higher wish for him than that he might prosper in all things and be in health, as his soul was prospering.

    2. But his spirituality did not evaporate in feeling. There was nothing flabby or weak about the man. He was strong in the Lord. “I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and bare witness to thy truth.” We do not know all that lies beneath this sentence. Evidently truth had been attacked, and Gaius had stood up in defence.

    3. And as he prayed and spoke, so he lived: “even as thou walkest in the truth.” The true defenders of the faith, the invincible champions of truth, are all the souls that do the truth. Holiness is an unanswerable argument.

    4. He was an active Christian (verses 5-7). Here we catch just a glimpse of the evangelising activity of the early Church. Error was busy. Many deceivers had gone forth into the world. But truth was busy also. She had taken the field. Christian men had “gone forth” “for the sake of the Name.” Gaius probably could not “go forth,” but he could help those who did. He could give them a home, could secure for them a favourable hearing, and send them on their way rejoicing. And he did so, thoroughly. He did this, as he did everything else, as unto the Lord. Gains did this, and so became “a fellow-worker with the truth.” People often speak of “the workers” in the Church as if they were a small and easily defined class. But who are the workers? Those who preach, and teach, and visit, and sing, and organise? Yes; but not these only. Those who can only give small gifts from their poverty those who pray for us in secret, who smile on our efforts, who wish us well, who love us--behold, these too are workers, fellow-workers with the truth! Thank God for quiet people, kind people, hopeful people! What could the “workers“ do without the fellow-workers?

    II. Diotrephes represents officialism out and out. I am sorry to say that there is little doubt that he was the minister of the Church in which Gaius was a member--a minister in name--in fact, a tyrant, a slanderer, a bad man.

    1. “He loveth to have the pre-eminence among them.” He did not call it by that name. He called it “principle,” or “conscience,” or “high sense of duty,” for if you want to find the worst things you must not look for them under the words “crime,” or “despotism,” or “sin,” but under “conscience,” “duty,” “patriotism,” and “principle.” But fine words notwithstanding, the core of this man’s character was love of power and pride of place.

    2. “If I come,” says the apostle, “I will bring to remembrance his works which he doeth, prating against us with wicked words.” Yes, “if I come,” Diotrephes will find that John was not called the son of thunder for nothing. It ought not to be left to St. John to bring Diotrephes to book. The Church ought to have done this, The Church was partly guilty of this tyrant. “I know mother’ll give it me if I scream,” said a child. Ay, ay, that is the policy of most agitators. “I believe in screaming” is the one article of Diotrephes’ creed in every age. Weak mothers, weak nations, weak Churches alike surrender to the scream. We owe it to Diotrephes to tell him the truth. Whether St. John come or not, slander should be condemned and tyranny opposed.

    3. But the real danger to the Church lay, not in this man’s despotic action, but in the infectious nature of his tyranny. There is a little Diotrephes in all men--all love to lead; and there was a danger lest this outside Diotrephes should stir up and call out the Diotrephes inside other members--lest opposing him they should still imitate him. Therefore St. John implores even Gaius, “Beloved, imitate not that which is evil, but that which is good.”

    4. “He that doeth good is of God: he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” Let who will be bad, be you good. Though the very angels fall, do you stand. “By Allah,” said Mahomet, when he was tempted, “if they placed the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left to persuade me, yet while God bids me I will go on.” Yes! heed not the sun or moon. Hear God. Though even Diotrephes turn tyrant, let Gaius be Gaius still. “A single man with God is the majority.”

    III. Demetrius stands for the inspiring Christian. He was a man whose life was such that John felt he had only to name him in order to inspire Gaius with courage. Yes, we all know names that for us are charged with inspiration. To see them or hear them makes us stronger, braver, better. We need not be rich, nor famous, nor learned in order to inspire men--only to be good, and honest, and loving, and pure. We too, by faith in Christ and by God’s grace, may live in such a way that even our names may be to some few souls words of inspiration and means of grace. (J. M. Gibbon.)

    The quietness of true religion

    I. Let us see whether, without passing over the bounds of historical probability, we can fill up this bare outline with some colouring of circumstance.

    1. Three persons of the name Gaius or Caius appear in the New Testament (Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14).

    2. Demetrius is, of course, a name redolent of the worship of Demeter, the Earth-Mother, and of Ephesian surroundings. No reader of the New Testament needs to be reminded of the riot at Ephesus, which is told at such length in Acts 19:1-41. The conjecture that the agitator of the turbulent guild of silver smiths who made silver shrines of Diana may have become the Demetrius, the object of St. John’s lofty commendation, is by no means improbable. The very words of Demetrius about Paul evince that uneasy sense of the powers of fascination possessed by the apostle which is often the first timid witness of reluctant conviction.

    II. We may now advert to the contents and general style of this letter.

    1. As to its contents.

    2. The style of the Epistle is certainly that of an old man. It is reserved in language and in doctrine. Religious language should be deep and real, rather than demonstrative. It is not safe to play with sacred names. To pronounce them at random for the purpose of being effective and impressive is to take them in vain. What a wealth of reverential love there is in that--“for the sake of the Name!” This letter says nothing of rapture, or prophecy, of miracle. It lies in the atmosphere of the Church, as we find it even now. It has a word for friendship. It seeks to individualise its benediction. A hush of evening rests upon the note. May such an evening close upon our old age! (Abp. Wm. Alexander.)

    Christian character

    I. The ideal Christian.

    1. A renewed heart.

    2. A loving deportment.

    II. The highest affinity. The Christian character draws to itself--

    1. Our esteem.

    2. Our kindness.

    3. Our fellowship. (The Weekly Pulpit.)

    The ideal Christian

    This is not a salutation in the sense of Christian greeting usual at the beginning of the Epistles of Paul and Peter, but a simple address, to point out the person for whom the Epistle was intended.

    I. The true characteristic of a believer in Jesus Christ--“Beloved.” This term is applied both to the Son of God and to the saints, and frequently used by the apostles. It is a term of endearment, and implies a relationship and an affinity of the highest order.

    1. Loved. One with a renewed heart, one of tenderness and sympathy instead of hardness, ill-feeling, and cruelty.

    2. Loving. The love of God in his heart was not a stagnant pool, but a running rill. Take the Christian life in its composite character, and it will be seen that love permeates the whole. As to the inner resources of thought and desire, there is in them a sweetness which reveals the well of love in the heart. In the life of Gaius, St. John saw the reflection of the greater love which laid down its life for its friends.

    3. Lovable. It is almost unnecessary to state that the object of God’s love will have attractions for all pure minds.

    II. The reciprocal affinity--“Whom I love in truth.” The remembrance of the beloved Gaius awakens the love of the beloved John.

    1. Whom I love by the power of truth. The gospel reveals in us the force of love, and in our fellow-Christians the worthy object of that force. The Christian character draws to itself our esteem.

    2. Whom I love for the sake of truth. No effect has a greater influence on the Christian heart than the saving influence of the gospel. A more effective spectacle to win the affection of an apostle could not be found.

    3. Whom I love in furtherance of truth. Tell the Christian worker that you honour him and love him for his work’s sake, and you will strengthen his hands and rejoice his heart. (T. Davies, M. A.)

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    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "3 John 1:1". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/3-john-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

    Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

    JOHN'S THIRD LETTER

    The elder unto Gaius the beloved, whom I love in truth.

    The elder ... For another comment on the apostle's use of this title, see under 2 John 1:1:1.

    Gaius ... It is impossible to make any positive identification of this man with any of the four other persons of the same name mentioned in the New Testament. See in introduction, above. Nothing whatever is known of this man, except that which may be supposed or surmised from what is written in this letter.

    The beloved ... This expression is personal and intimate, contrasting sharply with the far more general "whom I love in the truth" used in connection with it; and, significantly, it was the general expression only that John used in Second John, indicating that the 2nd epistle was actually addressed to a church, and not to an individual. "Whom I love in the truth" is a broad greeting, much like, "in Christian love," and carries nothing of the personal intensity conveyed by "the beloved."

    The truth ... Of this expression, Plummer noted:

    We have to notice the characteristic repetition of the word "truth," which occurs four times in the first four verses ... "To walk in the truth" is nothing less than to follow in the footsteps of the Lord.[7]

    It is this and other typical words which require the conclusion that the apostle John is indeed the author of all these letters ascribed to him.

    ENDNOTE:

    [7] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22,3John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 1.

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    Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
    Bibliographical Information
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/3-john-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    The elder unto the well beloved Gaius,.... The elder is the writer of the epistle, the Apostle John, who so styles himself on account of his age, and office, as in the preceding epistle. The person to whom he writes is "the well beloved Gaius"; not that Gaius, who was the Apostle Paul's host, Romans 16:23, for though their characters agree, being both hospitable men, yet neither the place nor time in which they lived. The Apostle Paul's Gaius lived at Corinth, this is in some place near to Ephesus, for the apostle in his old age purposed to come and see him shortly; the other was contemporary with Paul, this with John; there were thirty or forty years difference between them: besides, the Corinthian Gaius was baptized by Paul, and was doubtless one of his spiritual children, or converts, whereas this Gaius was one of the Apostle John's spiritual children, 3 John 1:4; nor does he seem to be the same with Gaius of Macedonia, Acts 19:29, or with Gaius of Derbe, Acts 20:4, who seem to be two different persons by their country, though both companions in travel of the Apostle Paul; for which reason, as well as the time of their living, neither of them can be this Gaius, who was a settled housekeeper, and resided at some certain place. His name is a Roman name, and the same with Caius, though he seems to have been a Jew, as he might, it being usual with the Jews in other countries to take Gentile names. His character is, that he was "well beloved"; that is, of God, as it appears he was from the grace bestowed on him, from the prosperous estate of his soul, and from the truth that was in him, and his walking in it; and of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the same reasons; and also of all the brethren and saints that knew him; he being a person not only truly gracious, and of faithfulness and integrity, but of great liberality and beneficence, which must gain him much love and esteem among them; and he was well beloved by the Apostle John; and so the Syriac version renders it, "to my beloved Gaius": though his love to him is expressed in the following clause,

    whom I love in the truth; as being in it, or for the sake of it, or truly and sincerely; See Gill on 2 John 1:1.

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    A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/3-john-1.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    The 1 elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

    (1) An example of a Christian greeting.
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    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/3-john-1.html. 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    3 John 1:1-14. Address: Wish for Gaius‘ prosperity: Joy at his walking in the truth. Hospitality to the brethren and strangers the fruit of love. Diotrephes‘ opposition and ambition. Praise of Demetrius. Conclusion.

    I — emphatical. I personally, for my part. On Gaius or Caius, see my Introduction before Second Epistle.

    love in the truth — (2 John 1:1). “Beloved” is repeated often in this Epistle, indicating strong affection (3 John 1:1, 3 John 1:2, 3 John 1:5, 3 John 1:11).

    Copyright Statement
    These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
    This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/3-john-1.html. 1871-8.

    The Pulpit Commentaries

    EXPOSITION

    FROM very early times some have held the opinion that the Second Epistle is addressed to a community, which is spoken of allegorically as "the elect lady," her "elect sister" being a sister community; but at no time does there seem to have been any doubt that the Third Epistle is addressed to an individual. It certainly would be an extravagant hypothesis that Gains symbolizes a Church.

    3 John 1:1-4

    INTRODUCTION. Address and occasion. Respecting the address and the title of" the elder," see note on 2 John 1:1.

    3 John 1:1

    To Gaius the beloved ( γαΐ́ῳ τῷ ἀγαπητῷ). This is additional reason for thinking that κυρία in the Second Epistle is not a proper name; if it were we should probably have the same formula as we have here, κυρίᾳ τῇ ἐκλεκτῇ. The name Gaius occurs elsewhere in the New Testament four times (Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14); as it was as common in the Roman Empire as John Smith is among ourselves, it would be rash to infer that the Gaius addressed here is the same as any of those mentioned elsewhere. In all probability there are at least four persons of this name in the New Testament. In the opening of this Epistle also we have to remark the characteristic repetition of the word "truth," which occurs four times in the first four verses. Deeds, in which Gaius and Demetrius were rich, not words, of which Diotrephes was so prodigal, are what win the approbation and love of the apostle. The thing which he hates is unreality; the object of his special adoration is "the truth;" "to walk in the truth" is nothing less than to follow in the footsteps of the Lord.

    3 John 1:2

    Beloved, I pray that in all respects (not "above all things"—St. John would surely never have said that) thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. The apostle wishes that his earthly career may be as bright as his spiritual career is; may he have a sound body for his sound mind, and may his fortunes be sound also. The Greek for "prosper" εὐοδοῦσθαι means exactly to "have a good career."

    3 John 1:3, 3 John 1:4

    For I rejoiced greatly. We must not lose sight of the "for," which is full of meaning. The elder has just expressed a wish that the external well-being of Gains may equal the well-being of his soul; and he is quite sure of the latter, for brethren keep coming and bearing witness to the fact. The good report of Gains is still greater joy to the apostle than the evil report of Diotrephes is a sorrow to him. The language in condemnation of Diotrephes, severe as it is, is not so strong as this in thankful delight respecting Gaius: Greater joy have I none than (to hear of) these things. "Greater" is made doubly emphatic, first by position at the beginning of the sentence, and secondly by the double comparative μειζοτέραν.

    3 John 1:5-12

    2. MAIN DIVISION. Exhortation. Having thus stated the circumstances which have led to his writing, the elder begins the main portion of the letter, which consists of three sections; the hospitality of Gaius, and its value (3 John 1:5-8); the arrogance of Diotrephes, and its results (3 John 1:9, 3 John 1:10); the moral (3 John 1:11, 3 John 1:12). The transition to this central portion of the Epistle is marked by a repetition of the loving address. In all three cases (3 John 1:2, 3 John 1:5, 3 John 1:11), the introductory "beloved" indicates the beginning of a section.

    3 John 1:5

    It is by no means easy to translate this verse satisfactorily, πιστὸν ποιεῖς ὅ ἐὰν ἐργάσῃ εἰς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς καὶ τοῦτο ξένους. Here we have three difficulties:

    The reading εἰς τοὺς (K, L) for τοῦτο ( א, A, B, C, and versions) has probably arisen from a wish to avoid this last difficulty. Thou doest a faithful act in all that thou workest towards the brethren, and that towards strangers, is a fairly literal and intelligible rendering. But "to do a faithful act" is somewhat obscure. Probably it means "to act as a faithful man would." All his conduct towards the brethren, even when they were not previously known to him, was such as became a faithful Christian. This was his special merit; he treated brethren who were entire strangers to him, not as strangers, but as brethren. He did not pick and choose, showing hospitality to those whom he liked and neglecting the rest. Every missionary was sure of a welcome from Gains.

    3 John 1:6

    Who bare witness to thy love before the Church. The thoroughly Greek word ἐκκλησία is used by St. John nowhere but in this Epistle. This witness of the brethren before the Church respecting the good deeds done to them is a type and earnest of the witness of Christ at the day of judgment: "I was a stranger, and ye took me in … Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me." Whom thou wilt do well to forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God. No higher standard could well be set. It reminds us of "perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" Gains is to treat them as remembering the Divine declaration, "He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me" (John 13:20). This coincidence, consciously or unconsciously made, between the Gospel and Third Epistle, is lost in the rather colourless rendering in the Authorized Version, "after a godly sort."

    3 John 1:7

    For the sake of THE NAME. Such is the exact rendering of the true text; the insertion of "his" before "Name" weakens the effect. There was no need to say more. Just as to a Jew "the Name" must mean "Jehovah," so to a Christian "the Name" must mean "Jesus Christ" (comp. Acts 5:41; James 2:7). St. Ignatius writes to the Ephesians, "I am in bonds for the Name's sake" (3); and "Some are wont of malicious guile to hawk about the Name" (7); and again to the Philadelphians, "It is becoming for you, as a Church of God, to appoint a deacon to go thither as God's ambassador, that he may congratulate them when they are assembled together, and may glorify the Name" (10.). Taking nothing of the Gentiles, lest the heathen should suspect their motives, and think, "Like all the quack priests and philosophers, you make a mere trade of your doctrine, and preach to fill your bellies." Nothing wins men over so much as clear proofs of disinterestedness. The missionary who is suspected of self-seeking will preach in vain. That οἱ ἐθνικοί here must mean "heathen" seems clear from Matthew 5:47; Matthew 6:7; Matthew 18:17, the only other places in the New Testament where the word is found; moreover, the context requires it. There is no need to ask whether the word may not mean "Gentile Christians." The missionary brethren would, therefore, have been in great straits but for the courage and generosity of Gains; Diotrephes turned them out of doors and forbade others to succour them; and they themselves made it a rule not to ask for help from Gentiles.

    3 John 1:8

    We, therefore, ought to support such. The pronoun is very emphatic. If no help comes from the heathen, we must give it; that we may become their fellow-workers for the truth. Just as the apostle warned the elect lady that to welcome and support preachers of false doctrine is to partake in their evils works (2 John 1:11), so he encourages Gains and his friends with the thought that to welcome and support preachers of the truth is to partake in their good works. It is the Master's teaching in another form, "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward" (Matthew 10:41).

    3 John 1:9

    I wrote somewhat to the Church

    . Just as the missionary brethren bore witness before the Church to the Christian love of Gains, so the elder will bear witness before the Church to the arrogant hostility of Diotrephes. Once more we see that words may be works. He who sanctions teachers of false doctrine shares in their "evil works" (2 John 1:11); and the "works" of Diotrephes partly consist in "prating against us with evil words." The same word for "evil" is used in both cases πονηρός—the word used to express "the evil one;" the coincidence is significant. The insolent opposition to the apostle on the part of Diotrephes, and the severe language used by St. John in condemning him, stand almost alone in the New Testament. For a parallel to the latter we must look to our Lord's denunciation of the arrogant and hypocritical Pharisees who opposed him. The Pharisees, like Diotrephes, not merely refused to walk in the right path themselves, but hindered those who were entering upon it (Luke 11:52). They also "cast out" those who presumed to take a less narrow view than themselves (John 9:34, John 9:35).

    3 John 1:11

    This is the moral to which St. John has been leading up. Diotrephes will at least serve as a warning. A Christian gentleman will note such behaviour in order to avoid it. Strengthened by his own previous walk in the truth (verse 3), and encouraged by the apostle (verses 5-8), with Diotrephes as a warning on the one hand, and Demetrius as an example on the other, he ought not to fail in proving his heavenly birth by doing good and avoiding evil (see on 1 John 3:6).

    3 John 1:12

    Respecting Demetrius we know no more than is told us here. All that we can safely infer from what is stated is that he is a person of whom Gaius has not hitherto known much; otherwise this elaborate commendation would scarcely be necessary. Conjectures about him are

    3 John 1:13, 3 John 1:14

    3. CONCLUSION (see notes on 2 John 1:12, 2 John 1:13). Here the pen or reed κάλαμος is mentioned instead of the paper, as a means of writing. The word is found nowhere else in the New Testament in this sense Note the ἀλλά and the δέ, each with its right force, the former expressing a strongcr opposition than the latter: "I had many things to write to thee; nevertheless, I do not care ἀλλ οὐ θέλω with ink and pen to write to thee: but I hope ἐλπίζω δέ straightway to see thee, and we shall speak mouth to mouth." "The friends" are perhaps so called in contrast to the hostility of Diotrephes and his party. Instead of warfare, "peace be to thee;" instead of the wicked prating of enemies, the salutations of friends. The elder concludes with his own personal salutation to all the members of his flock who reside near to Gaius (comp. John 10:3).

    HOMILETICS

    3 John 1:1-14

    An apostolic pastoral to a Christian man.

    We have here another price, less fragment, giving us a glimpse into the actual Church life of the first century, and of the Christian deeds and difficulties of one of its honoured members. We have no other inspired letter to a private Church member. This serves a double purpose. It enables us to picture, in outline, Gains, with his Christian work, his character, and his trials. It enables us also to picture a Church as to its fellowship, its constitution, and its work. Gains was a member of a Christian Church (3 John 1:9, τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ), though we do not know of which. He was, apparently, one of St. John's own spiritual children (verse 4, τὰ ἐμὰ τέκνα), who gave the apostle unfeigned joy (verse 3), as, beholding his steadfast grasp of the truth (verse 3) and his upright walk, he regarded this as the greatest gift of God's grace (verse 4) he could desire to receive. His reputation was so well maintained (verse 6) that the apostle felt sure enough of his true spiritual prosperity to warrant him in cherishing the wish that he might make as much progress and be in as good health in a worldly as he was in a religious point of view (verse 2). Gaius was not only a helper of his own Church, but a lover of the brethren, even though they might be strangers to him (verse 5, Greek); for when men had gone forth among the Gentiles, taking nothing from them, and had spread abroad the Name (verse 7), it was the delight of Gaius to help such forward on their journey (verse 6). Still, his work was not easy. Diotrephes, who loved office, was probably jealous of the influence which Gains had acquired by his unambitious service (verses 5-9); so that John takes occasion to assure Gaius that what he has done he has well done (verse 5), and that when he (the apostle) next visits the Church, he will put Diotrephes to shame (verse 10). It is interesting to note that here, as in his Second Epistle, he speaks of himself as "the elder" (verse 1). The various expressions in the letter which touch upon the Church life of those days, do, when gathered up and set in order, put before us a Church picture unique in the New Testament writings.

    I. THERE IS A DISTINCT CHURCH HERE SPECIFIED OVER WHICH THE APOSTLE JOHN HAD SOME OVERSIGHT. We have before remarked (homily on 2 John) that the apostles' range of superintendence was much wider than that of those who were only presbyters or bishops, or overseers (see Bishop Lightfoot, 'Ep. Philippians'). Yet in reference to specific Churches, or individuals in them, it is as presbyter that he writes (verse 1). That there is a distinct Church, to which Gaius belonged, is clear from verses 9 and 10. The conception of one vast territorial Church does not belong to the New Testament books—"the Churches of Galatia" (Galatians 1:1); "the Church at Ephesus" (Revelation 2:1), etc.

    II. THE MEMBERS OF THIS CHURCH WERE UNITED IN A HOLY FELLOWSHIP, AND RECEIVED EACH OTHER IN CHRIST'S NAME. (Verse 8; Romans 14:1.) They met together and received reports of faithful Christian service (verse 6), and were addressed as a community by the apostle (verse 9).

    III. THIS CHURCH HAD A SELF-ACTING CONSTITUTION. (Verses 9, 10.) This Diotrephes, who loved to have the pre-eminence, and to exercise the power of casting men out of the Church, is one whose lordly ambition is evidently overriding all, and even defying the apostle himself. Evidently this is abnormal. It will be brought to an end. Why? Because the authority of a Church can only be exercised by the Church itself, and cannot be delegated to or usurped by another without a gross invasion of the rights of the Christian priesthood. Of this, more further on. Just now let us observe that the precepts laid down to Churches are such that they cannot be carried out if the Church allows its authority to slip from itself (1 Corinthians 5:1-13), or if out of any temporal consideration whatever it allows its movements to be regulated by an outer and alien power.

    IV. THE OBJECTS SET BEFORE THIS CHURCH ARE CLEAR AND DEFINITE. (Verse 8.) "That we may be fellow-workers with the truth." It is assumed here that the Church is composed of such as believe and know and exemplify the truth as it is in Jesus. [Though there is no allusion in this letter either to Jesus Christ or to the gospel, yet the phrase, "the truth," bears no uncertain meaning when it comes from John's pen.] These, and these alone, can be fellow-workers therewith. The aim of a Church in its fellowship is not only mutual sympathy, common worship, or the building up of itself from the families of its members. All these are necessary, but these necessary things are not all. The Church is for the diffusion of the truth far and wide. It is bound to send forth men who shall go out among the Gentiles for the sake of the Name, like those to whom Gaius was so conspicuous a friend; yea, and to set forward such on their journey "worthily of God." We gather from the letter that Gains took such a task upon himself, because Diotrephes would not allow it to be done, but that properly the Church ought to have done it, and not have suffered the whole weight to rest on the shoulders of one man (cf. verses 5-10). They should have been sustained by the Church from which they went out ἐξῆλθον.

    V. THIS CHURCH HAD TO BEAR A SORE TRIAL THROUGH UNSANCTIFIED HUMAN AMBITION. In the preceding Epistle the "advance" man προάγων is the bane of the Church. Here the ambitious man φιλοπρωτεύων is such. This spirit showed itself very early among the disciples, and was severely rebuked by the Lord Jesus (Matthew 18:1-4). From no other external cause, perhaps, has the Church had to suffer so much as from this. Let the sad and sorry story of Church history be unfolded, and it will tell us a thousand times over that unholy ambition is the bane of the Church. The latest form of it is "papal infallibility." Priestly assumptions are crippling Churches and ruining souls. Lord-deacons and lordly pastors are a Church's bane. A true and healthy Church life is the analogue of a true and healthy bodily life, where every member fulfils its own functions, and no one interferes with that of another.

    VI. THOUGH SOME MEMBERS MAY HINDER AND DISCREDIT A CHURCH, YET THERE ARE OTHERS WHO TRULY HELP AND HONOUR IT. Men like Caius and Demetrius abound. They are a Church's honour and joy. It is very likely that, owing to their unambitious and unpretending worth, they seldom come to the front, unless compelled by circumstances so to do; but their loyalty to the truth, their holy lives, their kindliness and steadfastness, are the honour of the Churches, and the glory of Christ. Doubtless, the "world" will talk more about one Diotrephes than about twelve men like Caius, and be well pleased to do so. But "the Lord knoweth them that are his."

    VII. WHATEVER AND WHEREVER A CHURCH MAY BE, IT IS FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL TO BEAR IN MIND HIS OWN PERSONAL RELATIONS WITH GOD, AND TO ACT ACCORDINGLY. (Verses 11, 12.) Connection with the holiest Church in the world cannot save us.

    Association with the most imperfect Church in Christendom cannot hinder our salvation, unless we allow it to do so; in which case, the fault will be our own. Religion is a matter between the soul and God. Strictly so. The question is—Are we born of God? Are we in Christ? Is Christ in us, the Hope of glory? And the proof of this lies, not in Church membership, but in the life, and in the life alone. Church membership may be of great service. The fact that it may be made too much of is no argument against it. But ever, ever let us remember that we may be in a Church yet not in the Church. If we are not in Christ, we are not in the Church. If we are in Christ by a living faith, we are in his true Church, by a right which none can disprove, and which no one ought ever to dispute.

    HOMILIES BY W. JONES

    3 John 1:2

    Ideal prosperity.

    "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper," etc. The Authorized Version of this verse seems to carry the meaning that St. John valued physical health and secular prosperity above everything else. The original does not convey such a meaning. Revised Version, "Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."

    I. THE APOSTLE PRAYS THAT HIS FRIEND GAIUS MAY HAVE TEMPORAL PROSPERITY AND PHYSICAL HEALTH. From the expression of this desire in so brief a letter, we may infer that St. John regarded these things as of great importance.

    1. Secular prosperity is desirable. Non-success in business is to be deprecated. For our own sake, for the sake of our families, and for the sake of our usefulness, prosperity in temporal things is desirable. Wealth is a wonderful power; and in the hands of a wise man it is a great boon both to himself and to others.

    2. Physical health is desirable. Health of body, for many obvious reasons, is one of God's best gifts to man. It is important also for other reasons which are not obvious to all. The state of the body exercises a great influence upon the mind and soul. It is the organ and agent of both; and, if it be unhealthy, our impressions of the outward will be untrue, and our influence upon the outward will be limited and feeble. Our spiritual feelings and expressions are considerably toned and coloured by our physical condition.

    II. THE APOSTLE INDICATES THE REMARKABLE SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF HIS FRIEND CAIUS. This is clear from his making his spiritual prosperity the measure of the desired bodily health and temporal prosperity. The next verse also contributes evidence of this prosperity of soul. It was seen in his growing acquaintance with the truth and his growing conformity to the truth. "Brethren… bare witness unto thy truth, even as thou walkest in truth." Perhaps Gaius himself needed this assurance of his spiritual prosperity. "The words of the apostle seem to imply," says Dr. Binney," that the health of Gains was somewhat enfeebled. This might affect his feelings, and render the actual prosperity of his soul, while visible to others, unperceived by himself; his excellence was obvious to all who knew him, though bodily infirmity or mental depression concealed the truth from his own consciousness. On this account he was addressed by John in the words of encouragement—words delicately but strongly conveying the apostle's confidence in his spiritual state, and assuring him, at the same time, of his constantly sharing in his supplications and prayers." This spiritual prosperity is more important than material progress and success.

    III. THE APOSTLE MAKES THE PROSPERITY OF HIS SOUL THE MEASURE OF THE PHYSICAL HEALTH AND SECULAR PROSPERITY DESIRED FOR GAIUS. This is profoundly significant. Unless our spiritual prosperity be at least commensurate with our temporal prosperity, the latter ceases to be a blessing. All the worldly wealth which a man possesses which is more than proportionate to the wealth of his soul, he will do well to get rid of at once, or by Divine grace bring the wealth of his soul into proportion with it. Without this correspondence we cannot use wealth aright, riches will injure us, the material will crush the spiritual in us. When outward riches are more than proportionate to his godliness and grace, they are a curse to their possessor. But when there is a proportion between the two, wealth is a blessing worthy an apostle's prayer. What astounding revolutions would take place if this prayer were universally realized! What transformations in health! Many now hale and strong would become weak and sickly. Many now diseased and feeble would become sound and vigorous. What transformations in circumstances! Many pampered sons and daughters of riches and luxury would come to poverty and want. Many of the indigent would pass from the abode of penury to the palace of ease and plenty. "A terrible wish this," says Binney, "if it were offered for and were to take effect upon many a professor: it would blast them in body and ruin them in circumstances; it would render them, like the Church that thought itself rich and increased in goods, ' poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked.'" Shah I offer this prayer for you? If this prayer were realized, the physical would bear the true proportion to the spiritual, and the temporal to the eternal. Learn how far secular wealth is desirable.—W.J.

    3 John 1:3, 3 John 1:4

    Spiritual prosperity.

    "For I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee," etc. In these and some subsequent verses we have some aspects and evidences of the spiritual prosperity of Gaius.

    I. ASPECTS OF SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY. "Brethren came and bare witness unto thy truth, even as thou walkest in truth."

    1. Truth appropriated in mind and heart. Our interpretation of the words, "thy truth," would be superficial and inadequate if we simply said that they express the sincerity of Gaius. The expression involves this, that he was true in religion and in life; but it means that his religious beliefs were correct—that he held the truth concerning the Person and work of Jesus Christ. On these subjects pernicious errors had arisen in the Church. Some denied the Godhead of our Saviour; others denied the reality of his manhood. "The first stumbled at his pre-existence and incarnation, because he suffered indignity and anguish; the other, admitting his Divine nature, thought it beneath him actually to suffer, and therefore denied that his body or his sufferings were anything else but illusory appearances" (Binney). Against each of these errors St. John wrote. And by the expression, "the truth," he generally means the apostolic doctrine concerning the Person and work of Jesus Christ. "This truth Gaius held; held it as his life; it was 'in him,' as filling his intellect and affections; in his understanding as a source of light, in his heart as the object of love." The apostle, as we have learned from his former Epistles, attached the utmost importance to correct religious belief.

    2. Truth manifested in life and conduct. "Thou walkest in truth." His practical life was in harmony with his professed creed. The truth he held was not merely a form of sound words, but a living force in his character and conduct. His faith was not a mere speculation or opinion, but a thing of deep feeling and firm conviction. The faith that does not influence the life towards harmony with itself is not faith in the scriptural sense; it is assent, or opinion; but it is not Christian faith, or saving faith. Our real faith moulds the life into conformity with the truth believed. St. John quite as earnestly insisted upon practicing the truth as upon holding it. "He that doeth good is of God; he that doeth evil hath not seen God" (verse 11; and 1 John 3:7, 1 John 3:10). Let us, like Gaius, hold the truth, make it our own; and also live the truth, walk in it day by day. Cultivate a true faith and a holy life.

    II. TESTIMONY TO SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY. " Brethren came and bare witness unto thy truth," etc. These brethren were probably those who had been commended to the Church by the apostle, rejected through the influence of Diotrephes (verse 9), and then entertained by Gains. They probably presented this report on their return to the Church of which St. John was pastor, and from which they had been sent forth (verses 5, 6).

    1. It is a pleasure to good men to testify to the excellence of others.

    2. It is gratifying to a good man to,receive the commendation of good men. "A good name is better than precious ointment." "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches."

    III. THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY UPON THE GOOD. "Greater joy have I none than this, to hear of my children," etc.

    1. The tender relation here mentioned. "My children." It seems that Gains had been converted through the ministry of St. John. He was the spiritual child of the apostle; his "true child in faith;" his "beloved child," as St. Paul says of Timothy. This relationship is very close, tender, and sacred (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:14, 1 Corinthians 4:15).

    2. The great joy here spoken of. "Greater joy have I none than this," etc. Every genuine Christian rejoices to find men walking in the truth; but the apostle had the additional joy which arose from the dear and holy tie by which he and Gains were united. The success of a young man in temporal things is a great joy to his parents. To Christian parents it is a far greater joy when their children give their hearts to God, and walk in truth. And to the Christian minister, and the Sunday school teacher, the spiritual prosperity of those whom they have led to the Saviour is a source of deep and pure rejoicing. Such prosperity is a proof that we have not laboured in vain; it is a distinguished honour conferred upon us by God; and it gives a foretaste of the grand final reward, "Well done, good and faithful servant," etc. To hear of or to behold such fruits of our Christian work both humbles and rejoices us.

    Christian brethren, let us aim both to appropriate and to exemplify Christian truth.—W.J.

    3 John 1:5, 3 John 1:6

    Hospitality.

    "Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren," etc. We have here—

    I. HOSPITALITY EXERCISED. "Beloved, thou doest a faithful work in whatsoever thou doest toward them that are brethren and strangers withal."

    1. The persons towards whom it had been exercised.

    2. The person by whom it had been exercised. Gains. But St. John in the text sets forth the exercise of hospitality as specially becoming in Christians. He speaks of it as "a faithful work," i.e., a work worthy of a faithful man or a Christian. Hospitality is frequently in the sacred Scriptures enjoined upon Christians as a duty (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9). St. Paul mentions it as one of the duties of a Christian bishop (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8). At the last judgment, one reason for the reward of the good is that they exercised hospitality, and one of the charges upon which the wicked will be condemned is the neglect of hospitality (Matthew 25:34-46). Accordingly, we find that the "primitive Christians considered one principal part of their duty to consist in showing hospitality to strangers. They were, in fact, so ready in discharging this duty, that the very heathen admired them for it. They were hospitable to all strangers, but especially to those who were of the household of faith. Believers scarcely ever traveled without letters of communion, which testified the purity of their faith, and procured for them a favourable reception wherever the name of Jesus Christ was known" (Calmer). We also find that the hospitality of Gains was hearty; for the brethren whom he had entertained testified to his love (verse 6). "There is," says Washington Irving, "an emanation from the heart in genuine hospitality which cannot be described, but is immediately felt, and puts the stranger at once at his ease." As occasion requires it, hospitality is still a Christian duty.

    II. HOSPITALITY ACKNOWLEDGED. "Who bare witness to thy love before the Church." The evangelists, when they returned to the Church from which they had been sent forth on their work, gave an account of their mission, and in so doing testified to the hearty hospitality of Gains. This report of Gains differed from that of a minister of whom I have read. This minister "had traveled far to preach for a congregation at—. After the sermon, he waited, expecting some one would ask him to dinner. At length, the place becoming almost empty, he mustered courage, and walked up to an old gentleman, and said, 'Will you go home and dine with me today, brother?' 'Where do you live?' 'About twenty miles from here, sir.' 'No;' said the man, colouring, 'but you must go with me.' 'Thank you; I will, cheerfully.' After this the minister was never troubled about his dinner." Gratefully to testify to kindness like that of Gaius must be a delight to those who are worthy recipients of it.

    III. HOSPITALITY ENCOURAGED "Whom thou wilt do well to set forward on their journey worthily of God." This refers to a second visit to Gains, in which they probably brought this letter with them. To set them forward was to enable them to proceed onward by furnishing them with necessaries for the journey. Here is an admirable rule for regulating the exercise of our hospitality—"worthily of God;" Alford, "In a manner worthy of him whose messengers they are and whose servant thou art." We should show kindness as becometh the followers of him "who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not." "It would," says Barnes, "be particularly expected of Christians that they should show hospitality to the ministers of religion. They were commonly poor; they received no fixed salary; they traveled from place to place; and they would be dependent for support on the kindness of those who loved the Lord Jesus Christ" (cf. Matthew 10:9-15). The exercise of this duty is often richly rewarded in the present. Certain and splendid is its reward in the future (Matthew 10:40-42; Matthew 25:34-36).—W.J.

    3 John 1:7, 3 John 1:8

    Missionary workers and helpers.

    "Because that for his Name's sake they went forth," etc. The Bible is remarkable for its universality. Either directly or inferentially, it has something of importance and value to say on almost everything which affects human life and interests. It throws light on many modern questions; and in studying it we are often agreeably surprised to find directions and hints touching many things which we regard as quite modern, and concerning which we had not expected to find much suggestion or light in its pages. Thus in this short letter we have some apostolic notes on Christian missions, which are as applicable to missionary enterprise now as they were to the mission work of the Church eighteen hundred years ago. Here are notes on—

    I. MISSIONARY WORKERS. "For the sake of the Name they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles." Notice:

    1. The motive of these Christian missionaries. "For the sake of the Name they went forth." In all that we do we are actuated by some motive or motives. Christian work is no exception to this rule. In Christian propagandism there may be various motives; e.g., zeal for a cause or society, or for the spread of certain doctrines or forms of Church government, etc. Each of these is allowable in its place; but neither of them is the highest and best motive of Christian service. The most devoted workers in Christianity have a nobler motive than any one or all of these. "Go into a large manufacturing establishment. If you will notice carefully, you will perceive a large shaft running the whole length of the building. To this are attached wheels, and bands go from these wheels to other wheels, and in these is inserted short shafting, and to it are attached augers, saws, knives, and chisels; and by these an immense amount of mechanical work is done. But what is the cause of all this motion? Where is the secret power which makes all this machinery do the work of five hundred men? The answer is easily given. It is steam. Let the steam go down, and this whole machinery would become as still and silent as the grave" (C.M. Temple). And the grand motive power for working the machinery of Christianity is love to the Lord Jesus Christ; not zeal for doctrines, however sound, but love to a Person; not the desire to build up the Church, still less to extend a denomination or sect; but a passionate attachment to the living Lord of the Church. Christ himself is the life of Christianity. The great motive of the noblest Christian work is supreme love to him. "The love of Christ constraineth us" is the explanation of the best and bravest work which is done for men. There is no motive like love; and love to a person will always prove a stronger motive than love to a cause or a creed. When Christ is received into the heart he awakens its highest, holiest, intensest love. This love is the mightiest inspiration in Christian service. It can dare most, do most, endure most. The bravest workers go forth "for the sake of the Name" of Jesus Christ.

    2. The policy of these Christian missionaries. "Taking nothing of the Gentiles." The apostles held and repeatedly asserted the principle "that they which proclaim the gospel should live of the gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:14). Our Lord taught the same truth: "The labourer is worthy of his food" (Matthew 10:10). But there were cases in which it was not expedient to enforce this principle. The gospel should be proclaimed without charge to those who know it not; for they cannot be expected to prize it before they are acquainted with it. Therefore these early missionaries, by "their own deliberate purpose," took nothing of the Gentiles to whom they went. If they had done otherwise, they might have been suspected of mercenary motives. We should always be able to say to the heathen, both at home and abroad, "I seek not yours, but you." "I coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel." But when the heathen are heathen no longer, but have learned to appreciate the gospel, we may say unto them, "If we sowed unto you spiritual things," etc. (1 Corinthians 9:11, 1 Corinthians 9:13, 1 Corinthians 9:14). In these respects the apostles and the early missionaries are an example for succeeding ages.

    II. MISSIONARY HELPERS. "We therefore ought to welcome such, that we may be fellow-workers with the truth." This brings out the duty of the Church to missionary workers.

    1. To support the missionaries. "We ought to receive such;" Revised Version, "to welcome;" Alford, "to support." The word signifies not only "to welcome," but "to aid and strengthen." And this should be done in a worthy manner—"worthily of God." Workers for Jesus Christ should be treated with kindness, generously entertained, and encouraged in their work. They need this from the Church. Without it they may "wax weary, fainting in their souls;" and in that case the work will suffer.

    2. To cooperate with the missionaries. "That we might be fellow-helpers to the truth;" Revised Version, "that we may be fellow-workers with the truth;" Alford, "that we may become fellow-workers for the truth." The idea is that, by supporting the missionaries, Gains would become a fellow-worker with them in promoting the cause of the truth. This is stated as a reason why he should show kindness to them and help them. It is also clearly implied that it is the duty of the Christian to be a fellow-worker in the cause of the truth. Knowing the truth ourselves, we are morally bound to make it known to others. But there are many who cannot do this themselves by preaching or teaching. Then, according to St. John in our text, they should do it by encouraging and supporting those who can preach or teach. "In this way," says Binney, "Gains was enabled to do much; far more, in fact, in the way of preaching, than if he himself had been the most eloquent of preachers; for by aiding many, and helping them on their way and in their work, he was virtually speaking, at the same moment, by many mouths, and in the eye of God might be regarded as converting many souls in several places and at the same time, and when otherwise occupied himself—when he was engaged in his worldly business, at home in his family, asleep in his bed, at rest or on a journey, in sickness or in health, living or dead." Christians, behold your duty and privilege, to be either missionary workers or missionary helpers,—W.J.

    3 John 1:9, 3 John 1:10

    Diotrephes: a beacon.

    "I wrote unto the Church: but Diotrephes," etc.

    I. THE CHARACTER OF DIOTREPHES BRIEFLY STATED. "Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them." We do not know who or what this man was beyond what is stated in our text. Whether he was pastor, elder, deacon, or other office-bearer in the Church, we cannot tell. Whatever he was in other respects, we know that he was ambitious of the highest place and of the greatest power in the Church: he would be first and chief of all, or he would be nothing. An evil and dangerous character in any one. "Before honour is humility." "A man's pride shall bring him low; but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit." "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord." "Pride goeth before destruction," etc. "Whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister [or, 'servant']; and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant [or, 'bondservant']; even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto," etc. The chiefship is to be given, not to him who loveth to be first, but to him who most humbly and faithfully serves others. "For every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." "Humility is the surest path to exaltation." "The highest honour is won by the deepest humility." He who will be first of all, or nothing, will in the end be last and lowest of all.

    II. THE CHARACTER OF DIOTREPHES ILLUSTRATED IN HIS CONDUCT,

    1. He rejected the highest commendation. "I wrote somewhat unto the Church: but Diotrephes… receiveth us not." He would not recognize the authority of St. John, and rejected the letter of commendation which the apostle had sent to the Church. Neither would he receive the missionaries, and that probably because St. John commended them, and he would acknowledge no one to be greater than himself in the Church to which he belonged. He was determined "that not the apostle, but himself, should rule the Church."

    2. He defamed the fairest reputation. "Prating against us with wicked words." Here are two evils, and one worse than the other.

    "No might nor greatness in mortality

    Can censure 'scape; back-wounding calumny

    The whitest virtue strikes: what king so strong

    Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?"

    (Shakespeare.)

    "Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow,

    Thou shalt not escape calumny."

    (Ibid.)

    Be not dismayed if you are thus assailed. Loathe this sin.

    3. He prohibited the exercise of a sacred privilege and duty. "Neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and them that would he forbiddeth," etc. He would neither receive the missionaries himself nor allow others to do so. "The dog in the manger" is the best exponent of his spirit and conduct. He prevented some from doing two things which are at once duties and privileges:

    How terribly evil was the course he pursued! He injured the apostle, the missionaries, those who would have received them, those to whom they were sent, the whole Church, and the Church's Lord; and yet he was a member of the Church, and the chief man in it! He went so far as to expel from the Church those who would have entertained the evangelists. "And casteth them out of the Church."

    III. THE CHARACTER AND CONDUCT OF DIOTREPHES CONDEMNED. In this letter they are justly censured. And further rebuke is referred to: "If I come, I will bring to remembrance his works which he doeth," etc. There is nothing vindictive in this. The apostle would vindicate his own authority and the commission of the missionaries, enlighten the Church, and rebuke Diotrephes. "There are awkward men in the Church; men who, if they have any grace at all, have so much of the devil in them still that their grace has but little control over them. Good men should resist such persons. It may be very pleasant to talk of dealing with them in a spirit of charity, and being gentle with them, and forbearing and kind. Up to a certain point this is perfectly right. There is a work which compassion has to do; there is a sphere in which pity may be called into active exercise; at the same time, we are to mark those who cause divisions and offences, and to avoid them; and there is a certain class of men on whom pity has no effect, and compassion is lost; and the only thing which can be done is to 'deliver them over unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme'" (Dr. Joseph Parker).

    One masterful, power-loving man in a Church may work incalculable mischief and injury; therefore

    3 John 1:11, 3 John 1:12

    Imitating the good.

    "Beloved, follow not that which is evil," etc. This exhortation occurs here very naturally after the mention of Diotrephes. "Beloved, imitate not that which is evil;" do not copy Diotrephes; regard him not as an example, but as a beacon. But imitate the good; take Demetrius as a pattern; copy his conduct.

    I. MAN IMITATES. It is implied here that Gaius would imitate either the good or the evil—either Demetrius or Diotrephes. The propensity to imitation is one of the strongest in human nature. It is this which makes example so much mightier than precept. This propensity is one of the earliest to be called into exercise in human life. The tender infant is stirred by it almost before it knows anything. Very frequently we imitate others unconsciously. The extent of our conscious and intentional imitation is very small as compared with our unconscious and unintentional imitation. This tendency plays a most important part in human education. Without intentional imitation instruction would be impossible, as in reading, writing, etc. And unintentional imitation has great influence in the growth of habit and the formation of character. A very important thing is this tendency to imitation.

    II. MAN SHOULD IMITATE ONLY THE GOOD. "Beloved, imitate not that which is evil, but that which is good," etc. Many and forcible reasons may be assigned for this; e.g., that the opposite course must inevitably lead to ruin; that this course ennobles and blesses him who pursues it. But let us confine ourselves to the reasons assigned in the text.

    1. Because the good-doer is of God. "He that doeth good is of God;" i.e., he that doeth good truly and naturally, in whom well-doing is not the exception, but the rule of life, is of God. He is "begotten of God" (1 John 3:9). He proves that he is a child of God by his likeness to his Father in character and conduct. He is inspired by God both as to his inner life and as to his outward practice. Notice how practical is the apostle's idea of true personal religion. The godly man is the man who does good; his good works are the evidence of his godliness. We should imitate the good because of their intimate and blessed relation to God.

    2. Because the evil-doer has no true knowledge of God. "He that doeth evil hath not seen God," By doing evil we must understand not an occasional and exceptional action, but the general tenor of life and conduct. He that doeth evil is one the general characteristic of whose works is evil. Such a one has not seen God. The beholding of God is spiritual. And the vision of God and the doing of evil are incompatible; because:

    III. GOOD EXAMPLES ARE GENERALLY AVAILABLE. It is very seldom that we are unable to point to some known example well worthy of imitation. To such a one St. John calls attention. "Demetrius hath the witness of all, and of the truth itself; yea, we also bear witness; and thou knowest that our witness is true." Diotrephes was a beacon to be shunned; Demetrius, an example to be imitated. He was probably a member of the same Church as Gains, and well known to him; and therefore the apostle does not state what his chief excellences were, but from his being named here we infer that they were those which Diotrephes had not. Where the latter was wanting, Demetrius excelled. Good character is not always accompanied by good reputation, but in the case of Demetrius it was. He had a good reputation of:

    3 John 1:13, 3 John 1:14

    Valediction.

    £

    "I had many things to write," etc. What a precious boon communication by writing is when communication by speech is unattainable! How valuable is writing also when accuracy and permanence are desired! Yet writing has its disadvantages as compared with speech, as St. John found at this time.

    I. THE APOSTLE'S HOPE. "I hope shortly to see thee, and we shall speak face to face." He hoped for communication by speech, which, as compared with writing, is:

    1. More easy and rapid.

    2. More expressive.

    3. More pleasurable.

    The sainted apostle mentions this in closing his former private Epistle. "That your joy may be fulfilled."

    II. THE APOSTLE'S BENEDICTION. "Peace be unto thee." A very comprehensive benediction. It comprises:

    1. Peace in our relation to God. This peace is a consequence of the forgiveness of our sins and our reconciliation unto God. "Thy sins are forgiven … go in peace." "Being justified by faith, let us have peace with God," etc. The peace also which flows from confidence in God as regards the possibilities of the future (see Matthew 6:25-34). "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee."

    2. Peace in our relation to men. The absence of jealousy, revenge, bitterness of spirit, etc. The practical recognition of the claims of others upon us. And the exercise of good will, kindness, etc.

    3. Peace in our own being. The accusations of conscience silenced by the removal of our guilt through the mercy of God.

    "I feel within me

    A peace above all earthly dignities,

    A still and quiet conscience."

    (Shakespeare.)

    The conflict between the flesh and the spirit ended in the victory of the spirit. The rebellion of passion against principle, and of appetites against aspirations, quelled by the power of the Divine life in the soul. By his grace God establishes order in a man's own being, brings the faculties and propensities of his nature into harmony, and so gives to him inward peace. In this way the peace of the Christian soul is complete. Our Lord bequeathed this peace unto his disciples. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you," etc. (John 14:27; John 20:19, John 20:26).

    4. Perfect peace in heaven. Here our realization of this peace is variable. Doubts assail us; fears depress us; sickness and sorrow darken and disturb, if they do not distress us. Serenity of spirit is not always ours. But hereafter "God shall wipe away every tear from our eyes," etc. (Revelation 21:4).

    III. THE APOSTLE'S GREETING. "The friends salute thee. Salute the friends by name."—W.J.

    HOMILIES BY R. FINLAYSON

    3 John 1:1-14

    The aged presbyter's letter to a private Church-member.

    "The eider unto Gaius the beloved, whom I love in truth." As in the Second Epistle, John takes the familiar official designation of "the elder." The receiver of the Epistle was regarded by John with more than ordinary affection; for he at once designates Gaius "the beloved," and three times in the course of the short Epistle be addresses him by this designation. He was widely beloved; for the addition here, while emphasizing the apostle's own affection for Gains, widens the range of affection for him. "Whom I (for my part) love," he says; i.e., he along with many others, not he in opposition to some who withheld love or entertained hate. He loved Gaius as he loved "the elect lady and her children"—in truth. This Epistle contains no statement of the Incarnation; but we know that by the apostle the Incarnation was regarded as the vital part of the truth (1 John 4:1, 1 John 4:2). It was the highest revelation of Godhead, which bound hearts to God, and hearts to hearts in the Christian circle. Attached to the truth himself, he could not love every one alike; but he loved Gains as a friend of the truth.

    I. GAIUS.

    1. His well-being desired. "Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." This is the salutation thrown into an unusual form. As the foundation of the good wish, Gaius is congratulated on his soul-prosperity. This soul-prosperity is brought out, in what follows, in connection with a satisfactory relation to the truth, and specially the practice of hospitality. In the form given to the good wish, it is implied that there is a relation between soul-prosperity and other prosperity. To wish a man success in business and good bodily health is to wish him well so far; only the wish does not go far enough. For every man has an eternal interest as well as a temporal interest, has a soul as well as a body; and, if we are his true well-wishers, we shall wish him well in the whole, and not merely in part, of his well-being. To wish him success in business and good bodily health alone is as though a friend were traveling from Edinburgh to London, and we wished him well as far as York—not saying anything about the rest of the journey. The lower prosperity is not to be sought for a man apart from soul-prosperity. It might seem from the old translation that it is to be sought above all things; but there is a mistranslation, which has properly been corrected in the Revised translation. John expresses for Gains the wish that in all things relating to business and health it may be well with him; not, however, without regard to his spiritual condition. His soul was prospering; he was therefore a man for whom this might be safely sought. He was making a good use of his means in the interest of the truth, and so his health was precious. What, then, John wishes for Gains is in effect this—more means and better health, that he might have more to serve God with. The more that such a man as Gains had, the more good he would do. But we cannot safely wish for every man more means and better health. That might only mean more to serve the devil with. What some need is forget a severe check in business, to be laid down on a bed of sickness; and our wish for them may justly be that this should happen to them, rather than that they should lose their souls. From this it will be seen that a Christian may be justified in seeking the utmost success in business and the largest measure of health, provided his motive is to have more means and better health with which to serve God. This may be a greater spur to diligence than even the desire to amass wealth, being attended with the advantage that it leaves the mind free and buoyant. Let us learn the benefit of well-wishing. It was no small thing to have John as a well-wisher, both from the office which he held and his great spiritual experience; and the likelihood was that Caius would get more means and better health because of the aged apostle's wish. Let us, in our letters or otherwise, wish our friends well in their worldly affairs and in their health, not without regard to the degree in which their souls prosper, and God will see to our wishes taking effect.

    2. His relation to the truth rejoiced in.

    3. Practice of hospitality.

    II. DIOTREPHES.

    1. His resistance of John's authority. "I wrote somewhat unto the Church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not." The particular Church is not named; but we must understand it to be that to which Gaius belonged, so that we have a new element introduced. Gaius entertained the stranger missionaries in the face of opposition The opposition came from Diotrephes. The occasion was a letter from John. This letter has not been preserved; we must think of it as containing a request to the Church to give a favourable reception to the missionaries. The request was only reasonable; but Diotrephes opposed it, not because he disliked John's teaching, or the teaching of the missionaries, but simply because he wished to assert his personal authority. He belonged to the class of these who love to have the pre-eminence; who are bent, not on the peace and prosperity of the Church, but on their being first in the Church, even at the expense of its peace and prosperity. And this ambitious member or office-bearer of the Church succeeded for a time; he tasted the sweets of ecclesiastical power, in getting a majority to agree with him against the apostle. We come here upon the design of this letter to Gaius.

    2. His coming defeat, "Therefore, if I come, I will bring to remembrance his works which he doeth, prating against us with wicked words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and them that would he forbiddeth, and casteth them out of the Church." Diotrephes did not gain his victory without working for it. His works, however, were not such as could bear to be remembered. His punishment would be, on the coming of John, to have his works brought to remembrance. Their true valuation would be his dethronement from power. What he did was to speak against John and his friends. While his words were null, they were mischievous. Not content with speaking, he had recourse to action. He set the example of shutting his door against the missionaries; and when some (one being Gaius) chose to be guided rather by the apostle's letter, he at once vetoed them, and, on their non-submission to his authority, excommunicated them. But this working, meantime triumphant, would soon, and very simply, be put a stop to. "Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short?"

    III. DEMETRIUS.

    1. His unlikeness to Diotrephes. "Beloved, imitate not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: he that doeth evil hath not seen God." While there is evil working in Churches, there is also good working. The evil is there for us to avoid; the good is there for us to imitate. We need to learn to "discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." The Johannine principle of discrimination is simple. He that is associated with the working of good has his life derived from God; he that is associated with the working of evil (whatever his profession) is not in the way of receiving first impressions of God in his true nature, or is not placed so as to make a commencement in the Divine life.

    2. Threefold testimony to his excellence. "Demetrius hath the witness of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, we also bear witness; and thou knowest that our witness is true." Demetrius had the witness of all men. We are to regard the language as hyperbolical, not limiting the "all" to the Christian circle, nor to the few who in the strictest sense could be witnesses, but the many who spoke well of Demetrius are made" all," the more to impress us with their number. Demetrius had a witness greater than of numbers: he had the witness of the truth itself. Though there had been not a man to he a witness to him, the truth (to personify it) could have been produced as a witness. Though no man had owned him, the truth would have owned him. Apart from the personification, the idea is that there was a close correspondence between what Demetrius was and what the truth demanded. But to judge of this correspondence requires a competent witness, with opportunity and also with correct intuitions of the truth; and so, in the third place, John comes forward to vouch for Demetrius—a witness than whom none could be more satisfactory to Gaius. We are not told who this Demetrius was; but it is not an improbable conjecture that he was the bearer of the Epistle. If so, then it is to be noted how, by a happy turn, he supplies him with the necessary recommendation.

    Conclusion.

    1. Reason for not writing more. "I had many things to write unto thee, but I am unwilling to write them to thee with ink and pen: but I hope shortly to see thee, and we shall speak face to face." It is interesting to note how the writing materials are here, not "paper and ink" (2 John 1:12), but "ink and pen." He could have put his pen to the writing of many things; for Gaius and he had much in common in their sympathies. He had written meantime to counteract, so far as he could by writing, the dangerous influence of Diotrephes. He hoped soon to see Gaius. When he saw him, and they spoke face to face, he would have more opportunity and freedom to disburden himself.

    2. Salutations. "Peace be unto thee. The friends salute thee. Salute the friends by name." John was at peace with Gaius; he wished the whole world to be at peace with him. They had common friends. Friends with John (whom the bearer would name)saluted Gaius. Friends with Gaius, he (the receiver of the letter) was first to name singly, and then to salute in this form, "John sends his salutation to thee."—R.F.

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    Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/3-john-1.html. 1897.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    The beloved (τωι αγαπητωιtōi agapētōi). Four times in this short letter this verbal adjective is used of Gaius (here, 3 John 1:2, 3 John 1:5, 3 John 1:11). See 2 John 1:1 for the same phrase here, “whom I love in truth.”

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    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/3-john-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    The elder

    See on 2 John 1:1.

    Gaius

    The name occurs several times in the New Testament, as Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14. The person addressed here cannot be identified.

    The well-beloved

    Rev., the beloved. In the Greek order the name comes first. Gaius the beloved.

    In the truth ( ἐν αληθείᾳ )

    Rev., properly, omitting the article, in truth. See on 2 John 1:4.

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    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/3-john-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

    Caius was probably that Caius of Corinth whom St. Paul mentions, Romans 16:23. If so, either he was removed from Achaia into Asia, or St. John sent this letter to Corinth.

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    Wesley, John. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/3-john-1.html. 1765.

    Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

    Gaius. Several persons of the name of Gaius are mentioned--one of Macedonia, (Acts 19:29,) one of Derbe, (Acts 20:4,) and one of Corinth, (1 Corinthians 1:14,) which last is the same, probably, with the one whom Paul mentions as his host at Corinth. (Romans 16:23.) There is no evidence in respect to the identity of either of these with the one to whom this Epistle is addressed.

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    Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/3-john-1.html. 1878.

    Приветствие. Как и во Втором послании Иоанна, автор называет себя просто старец. Послание адресовано дорогому другу Гаию (буквально, «возлюбленному Гаию»; Браун утверждает, что «дорогой» слишком бесцветное обращение для agapetos - Brown, Epistles of John, p. 702). Это достаточно распространенное имя, оно несколько раз встречается в Новом Завете (напр.: Деян. 19:29; Рим. 16:23). Больше ничего не известно о Гаие, но из послания видно, что он занимал руководящее положение в местной церкви. Иоанн в своем послании четыре раза использует обращение «возлюбленный», и здесь он говорит: ’которого я люблю по истине. Очевидно, старец питал глубокую любовь к этому человеку. В послании особый акцент делается на слове истина, которое встречается здесь шесть раз. Как и в остальных посланиях это слово связано, скорее всего, с Евангельской истиной, истиной, которую мы видим во Христе (см.: ст. 8).

     

     

    Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament

    3 John Chapter 1

    The Third Epistle encourages the believer to the exercise of hospitality, whether towards the known brethren or strangers, and to all benevolent care in furthering their journey when departing, provided that they come with the truth and for the truth’s sake without salary or provision. Gaius received them as it appears. and was helpful to them both in his own house and on their journey. Diotrephes, on the contrary, did not love these strangers, who went about, it is said, without a formal mission and without any visible means of subsistence. They had gone forth for the Lord’s sake and had received nothing from the Gentiles. If they in reality came out of love to that name, one did well to receive them.

    Again the apostle insists on the truth, as characterising real love: “Whom I love in the truth,” he says to Gaius. He rejoiced when the brethren (those, I imagine, whom Gaius had received into his house and helped on their journey) testified of the truth that was in him, as in effect he walked in the truth. The apostle had no greater joy than that of hearing that his children walked in the truth. In receiving those who went forth to preach the truth, they helped the truth itself; they were co-workers with it. Diotrephes would have nothing to do with this; he not only refused to receive these itinerant preachers, but excommunicated those who did so. He claimed authority for himself. The apostle would remember it. It is their duty to do good. “He that doeth good is of God.”

    He goes so far, with regard to the truth, as to say, that the truth itself bore witness to Demetrius. I suppose that the latter had propagated it, and that the establishment and confirmation of the truth every where-at least where he had laboured-was a testimony with regard to himself.

    This insistence on the truth, as the test for the last days, is very remarkable; and so is this preaching itinerancy’ by persons who took nothing of the Gentiles when they came forth, leaving it to God to cause them to be received of those who had the truth at heart, the truth being their only passport among Christians, and the only means by which the apostle could guard the faithful. It appears that they were of the Jewish race, for he says, “receiving nothing of the Gentiles,” the apostle thus making the distinction. I notice this, because, if it be so, the force of the expression “and not for ours only” (l John 2:2) becomes simple and evident, which it is not to every one. The apostle, as Paul does, makes the difference of ‘us’, Jews, though one in Christ. We may also remark that the apostle addressed the assembly, and not Diotrephes, its head; and that it was this leader who loving preeminence, resisted the apostle’s words which the assembly, as it appears, were not inclined to do.

    Gaius persevered in his godly course, in spite of the ecclesiastical authority (whatever may have been its right or pretended right) which Diotrephes evidently exercised: for he cast persons out of the assembly.

    When the apostle came, he would (like Paul) manifest his real power. He did not own in himself an ecclesiastical authority to remedy these things by a command. These Epistles are very remarkable in this respect. With regard to those who went about preaching, the only means he had, even in the case of a woman, was to call her attention to the truth. The authority of the preacher lay altogether in that. His competency was another matter. The apostle knew no authority which sanctioned their mission, the absence of which would prove it to be false or unauthorised. The whole question of their reception lay in the doctrine which they brought. The apostle had no other way to judge of the authority of their mission: there was then no other; for, had there been any that authority would have flowed from him. He would have been able to say, “Where are the proofs of their mission?” He knew none but this-do they bring the truth? If not, do not salute them. If they bring the truth, you do well to receive them, in spite of all the Diotrephes in the world.

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    Darby, John. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "John Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsn/3-john-1.html. 1857-67.

    Scofield's Reference Notes

    Book Introduction - 3 John

    WRITER: The Apostle John.

    DATE: Probably about A.D. 90.

    THEME: The aged Apostle had written to a church which allowed one Diotrephes to exercise an authority common enough in later ages, but wholly new in the primitive churches. Diotrephes had rejected the apostolic letters and authority. It appears also that he had refused the ministry of the visiting brethren (3 John 1:10), and cast out those that had received them. Historically, this letter marks the beginning of that clerical and priestly assumption over the churches in which the primitive church order disappeared. This Epistle reveals, as well, the believer's resource in such a day. No longer writing as an apostle, but as an elder, John addresses this letter, not to the church as such, but to a faithful man in the church for the comfort and encouragement of those who were standing fast in the primitive simplicity. Second John conditions the personal walk of the Christian in a day of apostasy; Third John the personal responsibility in such a day of the believer as a member of the local church. The key-phrase is "the truth" (see 2 John, Introduction).

    There are three divisions:

    1. Personal greetings, 3 John 1:1-4

    2. Instructions concerning ministering brethren, 3 John 1:5-8

    3. The apostate leader and the good Demetrius, 3 John 1:9-14

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    Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on 3 John 1:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/3-john-1.html. 1917.

    James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

    RELIGION AND PROSPERITY

    ‘The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.’

    3 John 1:1

    Here we have sketched for us the character of a most remarkable man.

    I. His religious character.—‘Beloved,’ says St. John, ‘I wish concerning all things that thou mayest prosper, and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.’ The strength of his religious character, and the growing strength of that character—for the word ‘prosper’ means to advance—is the first point to be noticed. It was so sound and wholesome that his best friend, in his best wishes, could not wish anything better for him than that his outward life, and perhaps his physical health, might be up to the mark of, and correspond to, his religious condition. Do you think that anybody that wanted to invoke a very large measure of worldly prosperity on your head would say, ‘I wish your fortunes may prosper as your religion is prospering?’ Is it not far more often the case that Christian people have these two kinds of progress and prosperity in an inverse ratio?

    II. His outward life moulded by Christian truth.—St. John’s Epistle goes on to say, ‘I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified to the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.’ ‘The truth’ means here neither more nor less than the whole sum of the revelation of God, which St. John had had entrusted to him, and had given to Gaius. It is all gathered up in the one Person Who is Himself the Incarnate Truth; and to ‘walk in the truth’ means neither more nor less than that the outward life, that is, the walk, the external activity of a man, should be in the truth, as it were, the path that is traced out, ‘which God hath before ordained that we should walk in it.’

    III. His Christian service.—‘Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers.’ A handful of Christian messengers had come from the Apostle to the Church with which Gaius was connected. There was hesitation in that Church to receive them; some of the members would not have anything to say to them. Gaius took in the strangers because they were brethren, and received them ‘after a godly sort.’

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    Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/3-john-1.html. 1876.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

    Ver. 1. Unto the wellbeloved Gaius] A rich Corinthian, rich in this world and rich in good works; a rare bird, at Corinth especially, where St Paul found them the richer the harder, and far behind the poor Macedonians in works of charity, Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14.

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/3-john-1.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    3 John 1:1. The well-beloved Gaius, We read of one Gaius, of Corinth, Romans 16:23 who hospitably received St. Paul, when he went out to preach the gospel gratis; and if this were, as he seems to have been, the same, he was St. Paul's convert: nor is St. John's calling him his child, an argument to the contrary; since in the general he addresses all Christians in the same tender and affectionate style, agreeably to the sweetness of his temper, and suitably to his advanced years.

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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/3-john-1.html. 1801-1803.

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    Observe here, 1. The penman and writer of this epistle, St. John, who wrote the two former, as appears by agreement of them in words and phrases, which are peculiar to this apostle; he styles himself not an apostle, though he was so, but an elder: that word being a name of honour and dignity belonging to the chief of their tribes, agrees very well with the office of the apostles, set over the twelve tribes of the house of Israel.

    Observe, 2. The person to whom this epistle is directed, Gaius: we find three persons of this name in the New Testament, to wit, Gaius of Macedonia, Acts 19:29; Gaius of Derbe, Acts 20:4; and Gaius of Corinth, Romans 16:23 whom St. Paul calls his host, and of the whole church, who being eminent for his hospitality, especially to the ministers who went out to preach the gospel among the Gentiles, taking nothing of them; this man seems to be the person who had the honour of an epistle sent to him from the pen of an eminent apostle; such as do excel in their kindness to the faithful ministers of Jesus Christ, have oft-times in this life some special marks of honour and respect put upon them by God, as a token of his gracious acceptance of them.

    Observe, 3. The interest which Gaius had in St. John's affections, he styles him the well beloved Gaius; and shows also what was the motive and attractive of that his love, namely, the truth, that is, the gospel of Christ, called eminently the truth; he loved Gaius in the truth, that is, in great sincerity, and for the truth, for his sincere professing and practising the doctrine of the gospel. The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth: such as love the truth are and ought to be the special objects of our love.

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    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/3-john-1.html. 1700-1703.

    Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

    3 John 1:1. Superscription. On πρεσβύτερος, see the Introd. sec. 1. With regard to the person of Caius nothing particular is known; that he is identical with one of two (or three) Caiuses who are mentioned as friends and helpers of the Apostle Paul (comp. Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; 1 Corinthians 1:14; and Romans 16:23), is at least improbable.(16) It is also uncertain whether he is the same person as the Caius who, according to the Constitt. Apostol. vii. 46, is said to have been appointed by John as bishop in Pergamos (Mill., Whiston). That he was presbyter of the Church (Köstlin) does not follow from 3 John 1:8. The apostle expresses his love to Caius in the epithet τῷ ἀγαπητῷ; how sincere it was is shown by the fact that he not only adds: ὃν ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀγηθείᾳ (comp. with this 2 John 1:1), but also addresses him three times in the Epistle by ἀγαπητέ. On ἐν ἀλ. Oecumenius here well observes: ἐν ἀληθείᾳ ἀγαπᾷ κατὰ κύριον ἀγαπῶν ἐνδιαθέτῳ ἀγάπῃ.

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    Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/3-john-1.html. 1832.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    3 John 1:1. πρεσβύτερος, The Elder) An appropriate title for a familiar Epistle, such as this, and the one that follows. And indeed the gravity of the argument, and the familiarity of the little Epistle, are wonderfully combined and adjusted. The parts of the Epistle are three.

    I. THE INSCRIPTION, 3 John 1:1-3.

    II. AN EXHORTATION to perseverance in true love and faith, 3 John 1:4-11.

    III. THE CONCLUSION, 3 John 1:12-13.

    ἐκλεκτ, elect) He calls her elect, from her spiritual condition: for that this name is appellative, is plain from the circumstance of its being attributed to her sister also, 3 John 1:13; and if it had been a proper name, it would have been ἐκλέκτη, from ἔκλεκτος. They were either widows, or women of piety beyond their husbands. But κυρία [answering to the Hebrew Martha.—V. g.], as in other places, so here, is a proper name, as the Pæcile of Heuman teaches, T. 2, Book iii. art. 13, and T. 3, Book i. art. 2. Nor can any one doubt it, unless he is ignorant of the style of the ancients, or does not bear it in mind. The appellative κυρία, a mistress, independently of the relation to her slaves, could scarcely be given to a queen at that time without exciting envy. Proper names were usually employed of old,

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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/3-john-1.html. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    3 JOHN CHAPTER 1

    3 John 1:1-4 The apostle, after a kind salutation to Gaius,

    testifieth his joy in his piety,

    3 John 1:5-8 commending his hospitality towards the preachers of

    the gospel.

    3 John 1:9,10 He censureth Diotrephes, and threateneth him for his

    ambitious opposition.

    3 John 1:11 The ill example of such is not to be followed.

    3 John 1:12 He beareth testimony to the good character of Demetrius.

    3 John 1:13,14 He hopeth to see Gaius shortly, and concludeth with

    salutations.

    Ver. 1,2. This Gaius was well known by the apostle, not only to be a stedfast professor of the truly Christian, uncorrupted faith, (which is implied in his avowing his love to him in the truth, or upon the Christian account), but to be so improved and well-grown a Christian, that he reckons he might well make the prosperous state of his soul the measure of all the other prosperity he could wish unto him.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/3-john-1.html. 1685.

    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

    Старец Иоанн использует это слово также как и в 2Ин. 1. Слово относится к его возрасту, апостольскому свидетельству о жизни Иисуса, а также к его высокому положению в церкви.

    возлюбленному Слово «возлюбленный» в Новом Завете употребляется только по отношению к христианам (Кол. 3:12; Флп. 1; 2; 2Пет. 3:14; 1Ин. 4:1).

    Гаию О Гаии ничего не известно, кроме упоминания его имени в этом приветствии. Имя это одно из 18 широко распространенных имен, из которых римские родители обычно выбирали имя для одного из своих сыновей. Это делает сомнительным любое отождествление Гаия с каким-либо упоминавшимся другим конкретным человеком. Иоанн, члены его общины и странники, которым Гаий оказал гостеприимство, глубоко уважали его за хождение в истине и его поведение (ст. 1-6). Иоанн выразил свое личное отношение к Гаию, назвав его «возлюбленным» 4 раза в послании (ст. 1, 2, 5, 11). Вероятно, он был членом одной из церквей в Малой Азии, которая находилась под опекой Иоанна. Апостол намеревался посетить его в ближайшее время (ст. 13).

    которого я люблю по истине Так как христиане имели общее познание истины, они имели и общий источник любви (2Ин. 1). В то время как некоторые употребляли это слово в прямом смысле, т.е. «истинно» или «действительно» (Мк. 12:32; Ин. 1:47), Иоанн использовал это слово в своих посланиях, говоря об истине в ее самом глубоком значении. Автор ожидал такой любви, которая предполагала верность фундаментальным истинам веры (ср. ст. 4; 1Ин. 2:21; 3:19).

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    MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/3-john-1.html.

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    Gaius; a Christian whose piety and beneficence had greatly endeared him to the apostle.

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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/3-john-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

    John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

    1. Gaius] A Gains or Caius—the common Latin form of the name—is mentioned in four other places in the NT. (Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14). The trait of character indicated here is in line with the generous hospitality referred to in the third of these passages. It is hardly likely, however, that one who was sufficiently prominent in the Church of Corinth to be a general host about the year 50, would be still exercising the same function some thirty years later. The identification therefore of the Gaius to whom the Third Epistle is addressed, with St. Paul's host, or with any of the others mentioned, is more than doubtful. In the truth] see on 2 John 1:1.

    2. I wish] better, 'I pray.' This may imply that Gaius had been ill.

    3. Thou] In the Gk., emphatic; in contrast with others, like Diotrephes, of whom this could not be said.

    4. Greater] In the Gk., a double comparative, as in English 'betterer' would be. This may indicate that the author was not a classical Greek scholar, or the usage may be intentional, for emphasis, like the comparative formed on a superlative in Ephesians 3:8. Cp. also, 'How much more elder art thou than thy looks!' ('Merchant of Venice,' IV, i).

    5. Doest.. doest] The second verb is different in the Gk. from the first, and implies more of toilful labour. And to strangers] Much stronger in the best text—' and that too to strangers.' 'The duty of entertaining Christians on their travels was of peculiar importance in early times, (1) from the length of time which travelling required, (2) from the poverty of the Christians, (3) from the kind of society they would meet at public inns' (Sinclair).

    6. Bring forward] i.e. with practical assistance—money, provisions, escort, etc.

    7. Taking nothing of the Gentiles] The missionaries whom Gaius had entertained had not been willing to receive assistance from the non-Christians among whom they had been labouring. While they might properly receive from those who had long been Christians, it would be of great importance that there should be not the least suggestion of selling the truth.

    9. I wrote, etc.] The Gk. makes the statement more exact by inserting an object of the verb—'I wrote somewhat to the Church.' Of this letter we have no further knowledge. Possibly a part of the offence of Diotrephes had been its suppression; so that this may be a hint to Gaius that the contents of this letter at least should be made known to the Church.

    We know no more of Diotrephes. 3 John 1:10 may imply that he had the power of excommunication, and therefore was the official head of the Church to which Gaius belonged. It may, however, only imply that he had sufficient social influence to exclude the brethren from the Christian society of the place. His fondness for being preeminent had, at all events, brought him a certain local power.

    11. Hath not seen God] a truly Johannine thought: cp. 1 John 3:6.

    12. Nothing further is known certainly of Demetrius. But as both he and the mob-leader of the same name (Acts 19:24) lived apparently in or near Ephesus, there is nothing impossible in the suggestion that the agitator had become a disciple, and that both references, therefore, are to the same person. He may have been the bearer of this Epistle. The thought of a threefold witness—in this case, general report, the truth, and the Apostle himself—is characteristic of St. John: cp. 1 John 5:6-10.

    13, 14. The conclusion is the same as that of the Second Epistle. Possibly the journey contemplated in both is the same.

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    Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/3-john-1.html. 1909.

    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    ιωαννου γ

    ——————

    1.] ADDRESS. The elder (see prolegg. to the two Epistles) to Caius the beloved (on Caius, see prolegg. The epithet τῷ ἀγαπητῷ seems to be used this first time in a general sense: cf. ἐγώ below), whom I (for my own part: Caius was generally beloved, and the Apostle declares that he personally joins in the affection for him) love in (the) truth (see 2 John 1:1, note. ἐν ἀληθείᾳ ἀγαπᾷ ὁ κατὰ κύριον ἀγαπῶν ἐνδιαθέτῳ ἀγάπῃ, Œc.).

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    Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/3-john-1.html. 1863-1878.

    Expositor's Bible Commentary

    Chapter 21

    3 John

    THE QUIETNESS OF TRUE RELIGION

    3 John 1:11

    THE mere analysis of this note must necessarily present a meagre outline. There is a brief expression of pleasure at the tidings of the sweet and gracious hospitality of Gaius which was brought by certain missionary brethren to Ephesus, coupled with the assurance of the truth and consistency of his whole walk. The haughty rejection of Apostolic letters of communion by Diotrephes is mentioned with a burst of indignation. A contrast to Diotrephes is found in Demetrius, with the threefold witness to a life so worthy of imitation. A brief greeting-and we have done with the last written words of St. John which the Church possesses.

    I Let us first see whether, without passing over the bounds of historical probability, we can fill up this bare outline with some colouring of circumstance.

    To two of the three individuals named in this Epistle we seem to have some clue.

    The Gaius addressed is, of course, Caius in Latin, a very common praenomen, no doubt.

    Three persons of the name appear in the New Testament-unless we suppose St. John’s Caius to be a fourth. But the generous and beautiful hospitality adverted to in this note is entirely of a piece with the character of him of whom St. Paul had written, "Gaius, mine host, and of the whole Church." We know further, from one of the most ancient and authentic documents of Christian literature, that the Church of Corinth (to which this Caius belonged) was, just at the period when St. John wrote, in a lamentable state of schismatic confusion. Diotrephes may, at such a period, have been aspiring to put forward his claim at Corinth; and may, in his ambitious proceedings, have rejected from communion the brethren whom St. John had sent to Caius. A yet more interesting reflection is suggested by a writing of considerable authority. The writer of the "Synopsis of Holy Scripture," which stands amongst the Works of Athanasius, says-"the Gospel according to John was both dictated by John the Apostle and beloved when in exile at Patmos, and by him was published in Ephesus, through Caius the beloved and friend of the Apostles, of whom Paul also writing to the Romans saith, Caius mine host, and of the whole Church." This would give a very marked significance to one touch in this Third Epistle of St. John. The phrase here "and we bear witness also, and ye know that our witness is true"- clearly points back to the closing attestation of the Gospel-"and we know that his witness is true." He counts upon a quick recognition of a common memory. Demetrius is, of course, a name redolent of the worship of Demeter the Earth-Mother, and of Ephesian surroundings. No reader of the New Testament needs to be reminded of the riot at Ephesus, which is told at such length in the history of St. Paul’s voyages by St. Luke. The conjecture that the agitator of the turbulent guild of silversmiths who made silver shrines of Diana may have become the Demetrius, the object of St. John’s lofty commendation, is by no means improbable. There is a peculiar fulness, in the narrative of the Acts, and an amplitude and exactness in the reports of the speeches of Demetrius and of the town clerk which betray both unusually detailed information, and a feeling on the part of the writer that the subject was one of much interest for many readers, The very words of Demetrius about Paul evince that uneasy sense of the powers of fascination possessed by the Apostle which is often the first timid witness of reluctant conviction. The whole story would be of thrilling interest to those who, knowing well what Demetrius had become, were here told what he once had been. In a very ancient document (the so called "Apostolic Constitutions") (7:46) we read that "Demetrius was appointed Bishop of Philadelphia by me," i.e., by the Apostle John. To the Bishop of that city, so often shaken by the earthquakes of that volcanic city, came the commendation-"I know thy works that thou didst keep My word"; and the assuring promise that he should, when the victory was won, have the solidity and permanence of "a pillar" in a "temple" [Revelation 3:7-8; Revelation 3:12] that no convulsion could shake down. The witness, then, which stands on record for the Bishop of Philadelphia, is threefold; the threefold witness of the First Epistle on a reduced scale-the witness of the world; the witness of the Truth itself, even of Jesus; the witness of the Church-including John.

    II We may now advert to the contents and general style of this letter.

    1. As to its contents: It supplies us with a valuable test of Christian life, in what may be called the Christian instinct of missionary affection, possessed in such full measure by Caius. [3 John 1:5-7]

    This, indeed, is an ingredient of Christian character. Do we admire and feel attracted by missionaries? They are knight errants of the Faith; leaders of the "forlorn hope" of Christ’s cause; bearers of the flag of the cross through the storms of battle. Do we wish to honour and to help them, and feel ennobled by doing so? He who has no almost enthusiastic regard for missionaries has not the spirit of primitive Christianity within his breast.

    The Church is beset with different dangers from very different quarters. The Second Epistle of St. John has its bold unmistakable warning of danger from the philosophical atmosphere which is not only round the Church, but necessarily finds its way within. Those who assume to be leaders of intellectual and even of spiritual progress sometimes lead away from Christ. The test of scientific truth is accordance with the proposition which embodies the last discovery; the test of religious truth is accordance with the proposition which embodies the first discovery, i.e., " the doctrine of Christ." Progress outside this is regress; it is desertion first of Christ, ultimately of God. [2 John 1:9] As the Second Epistle warns the Church of peril from speculative ambition, so the third Epistle marks a danger from personal ambition, [3 John 1:9-10] arrogating to itself undue authority within the Church. Diotrephes in all probability was a bishop. At Rome there has been a permanent Diotrephes in the office of the Papacy; how much this has had to say to the dislocation of Christendom, God knows. But there are other smaller and more vulgar continuators of Diotrephes, who occupy no Vatican. Priests! But there are priests in different senses. The priest who stands to minister in holy things, the true Leitourgos, is rightly so called. But there is an arrogant priestship which would do violence to conscience, and interpose rudely between God and the soul. Priests in this sense are called by different names. They are clad in different dresses-some in chasubles, some in frock coats, some in petticoats. "Down with priestcraft," is even the cry of many of them. The priest who stands to offer sacrifice may or may not be a priest in the evil sense; the priest (who abjures the name) who is a master of religious small talk of the popular kind, and winds people to his own ends round his little finger by using them deftly, is often the modern edition of Diotrephes.

    This brief Epistle contains one of those apparently mere spiritual truisms, which make St. John the most powerful and comprehensive of all spiritual teachers. He had suggested a warning to Caius, which serves as the link to connect the example of Diotrephes which he has denounced, with that of Demetrius which he is about to commend. "Beloved!" he cries "imitate not that which is evil, but that which is good." A glorious little "Imitation of Christ," a compression of his own Gospel, the record of the Great Example in three words! Then follows this absolutely exhaustive division, which covers the whole moral and spiritual world. "He that doeth good" (the whole principle of whose moral life is this) "is of," has his origin from, "God"; "He that doeth evil hath not seen God," sees him not as a consequence of having spiritually looked upon Him. Here, at last, we have the flight of the eagle’s wing, the glance of the eagle’s eye. Especially valuable are these words, almost at the close of the Apostolic age and of the New Testament Scripture. They help us to keep the delicate balance of truth; they guard us against all abuse of the precious doctrines of grace. Several texts are mutilated; more are conveniently dropped out. How seldom does one see the whole context quoted, in tracts and sheets, of that most blessed passage-"if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin?" How often do we see these words at all-"he that doeth good is of God, but he that doeth evil hath not seen God?" Perhaps it may be a lingering suspicion that a text which comes out of a very short Epistle is worth very little. Perhaps doctrinalism an outrance considers that the sentiment "savours of works." But, at all events, there is terrible decisiveness about these antithetic propositions. For each life is described in section and in plan by one or other of the two. The whole complicated series of thought, actions, habits, purposes, summed up in the words life and character, is a continuous stream issuing from the man who does every moment of his existence. The stream is either pure, bright, cleansing, gladdening, capable of being tracked by a thread of emerald wherever it flows; or it carries with it on its course, blackness, bitterness, and barrenness. Men must be plainly dealt with. They may hold any creed, or follow any round of religious practices. There are creeds which are nobly true, others which are false and feeble- practices which are beautiful and elevating, others which are petty and unprofitable. They may repeat the shibboleth ever so accurately; and follow the observances ever so closely. They may sing hymns until their throats are hoarse, and beat drums until their wrists are sore.

    But St. John’s propositions ring out, loud and clear, and syllable themselves in questions, which one day or other the conscience will put to us with terrible distinctness. Are you one who is ever doing good; or one who is not doing good? "God be merciful to me a sinner!" may well rush to our lips. But that, when opportunity is given, must be followed by another prayer. Not only-"wash away my sins." Something more. "Fill and purify me with Thy Spirit, that, pardoned and renewed, I may become good, and be doing good." It is sometimes said that the Church is full of souls "dying of their morality." Is it not at least equally true to say that the Church is full of souls dying of their spirituality? That is-souls dying in one case of unreal morality; in the other of unreal spirituality, which juggles with spiritual words, making a sham out of them. Morality which is not spiritual is imperfect; spirituality which is not moralised through and through is of the spirit of evil.

    It is a great thing in these last sentences, written with a trembling hand, which shrank from the labour of pen and ink, the Apostle should have lifted a word (probably current in the social atmosphere of Ephesus among spiritualists and astrologers) from the low associations with which it was undeservedly associated; and should have rung out high and clear the Gospel’s everlasting justification, the final harmony of the teaching of grace - "he that doeth good is of God."

    2. The style of the Third Epistle of St. John is certainly that of an old man. It is reserved in language and in doctrine. God is thrice and thrice only mentioned. Jesus is not once expressly uttered. But

    "They are not empty-hearted whose low sound reverbs no hollowness."

    In religion, as in everything else, we are earnest, not by aiming at earnestness, but by aiming at an object. Religious language should be deep and real, rather than demonstrative. It is not safe to play with sacred names. To pronounce them at random for the purpose of being effective and impressive is to take them in vain. What a wealth of reverential love there is in that-"for the sake of the Name!" Old copyists some times thought to improve upon the impressiveness of Apostles by cramming in sacred names. They only maimed what they touched with clumsy hand. A deeper sense of the Sacramental Presence is in the hushed, awful, reverence of "not discerning the Body," than in the interpolated "not discerning of the Lord’s Body." Even so "The Name," perhaps, speaks more to the heart, and implies more than "His Name." It is, indeed, the "beautiful Name," by the which we are called. And sometimes in sermons, or in Eucharistic "Gloria in Excelsis," or in hymns that have come from such as St. Bernard, or in sick rooms, it shall go up with our sweetest music, and waken our tenderest thoughts, and be "as ointment poured forth." But what an underlying Gospel, what an intense suppressed flame there is behind these quiet words! This letter says nothing of rapture, of prophecy, of miracle. It lives in the atmosphere of the Church, as we find it even now. It has a word for friendship. It seeks to individualise its benediction. A hush of evening rests upon the note. May such an evening close upon our old age!

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    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/3-john-1.html.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘The elder to Gaius the beloved, whom I love in truth.’

    The writer again calls himself ‘the Elder’. As with 2 John the impression is given that all would know who was meant. He was not just one of many elders but seen as unique. There is no real reason for denying that it is the Apostle John, who as we know from John’s Gospel, preferred not to push his name forward. He was probably delighted with a term that, as used by his fellow-believers, indicated warm affection as well as respect.

    Gaius, to whom the letter is addressed, is a man of the truth, and John loves him truly because he is of the truth. He is indeed ‘beloved by’ John. Gaius is ‘loved in truth’. This can mean truly loved, or loved as one who is of the truth. Or perhaps John intended it to have the double meaning. A man of true faith loved in truth. Certainly the implication of both is there.

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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/3-john-1.html. 2013.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    I. INTRODUCTION V:1

    John identified himself and greeted the recipient of this shortest New Testament epistle to set the tone for what follows.

    As in2John, the Apostle identified himself as "the elder." We do not know exactly who Gaius was. Early church tradition did not identify him with Paul"s native Macedonian companion ( Acts 19:29), Paul"s companion from Derbe ( Acts 20:4), or the Corinthian Paul baptized who hosted the church in Corinth ( Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14).

    "It is generally agreed that the Gaius to whom the Elder wrote this letter is not to be identified with any of the men by that name who were associated with Paul." [Note: D. Edmond Hiebert, "Studies in3John," Bibliotheca Sacra144:573 (January-March1987):58.]

    The reason for this is that Gaius was a common name in Greek and Latin then, as the name John is in English now. [Note: J. H. Moulton and G. Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament Illustrated from the Papyri and Other Non-Literary Sources, p120.] This Gaius probably lived somewhere in the province of Asia. He was obviously someone whom John loved as a brother Christian.

    John"s concern for both love and truth is evident again in this epistle (cf2John). "In truth" means truly and in accord with God"s truth. Both John and Gaius held the truth as the apostles taught it.

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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/3-john-1.html. 2012.

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    I.—Address and Expression of Goodwill.

    3 John 1:1-2. Three men called Gaius, the Latin Caius, are mentioned by St. Paul, and one of them with the same acknowledgment of his large hospitality; but these lived in an earlier generation. Nothing is said as to his holding any office; he is beloved only, the ordinary term of Christian fellowship, though evidently used here in its strongest meaning, whom I love in truth, and emphatically repeated in several verses. Instead of the ordinary greeting we have an expression of goodwill, I wish, which however is really, as every Christian good wish must be, prayer to God (James 5:15).

    Concerning all things must be connected with the prosper, or make good advancement; and one particular is singled out—possibly because Gaius had been sick,—and be in health. The prosperity of the soul is the standard of all prosperity: even as thy soul prospereth, or makes good advancement.

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    Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/3-john-1.html. 1879-90.

    It is probable that the Gaius to whom this letter was sent is the Gaius of Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:14). Its subject is hospitality as revealing love, and the apostle uttered a warning against schism. As in the letter to the "elect lady," the keynote is Truth. In that John warned against false hospitality. Here he commands true hospitality. He charged Gaius to set forth certain evangelists "worthily of God." This is a remarkable phrase, and probably means, first, that Gaius was to see in these men the messengers of God, and, second, that he was to act as a child of God.

    In striking contrast to Gaius stands Diotrephes. The whole truth about him is revealed in the words "Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence." That is the essential violation of love. His heterodoxy was of spirit and temper rather than of intellect.

    Another character introduced in the letter is Demetrius. In all probability he was the bearer of the letter, and John quoted him in direct contrast to Diotrephes.

    The central statement of the epistle is in the words, "He that doeth good is of God: he that doeth evil hath not seen God." Doing good is to be interpreted by the subject of the letter, namely, hospitality. Those who thus act in love do so because they are of God, that is, related to Him in the fellowship of life. Such were Gaius and Demetrius. Those who act selfishly do so because they have no fellowship with God. The writer closes with words anticipatory of a meeting, and a message of peace.

    Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

    Wishing

    3 John 1:2

    "I wish above all things that...." I purposely leave the sentence unfinished, in the guise of a dim interrogation, in order that each of us may supply the missing piece. How do I finish the imperfect pile? The nature of the insertion will determine the quality of the contribution which I make to the common life. Let me give one or two suggestions of worthy ways in which perhaps we may complete the sentence, wishes that will be fruitful in moral and spiritual progress.

    I. Let us wish for a renewal of the secret intimacies of family worship.

    II. Let us wish for an enrichment of the fellowship of the Christian Church.

    III. And let us wish for the creation of a more fervent evangelisation.

    —J. H. Jowett, British Congregationalist, 11th July, 1907, p32.

    The Third Epistle of John

    3 John 1:2

    "I believe," wrote Edward Thring to R. L. Nettle-ship, "that one of the most obvious tests to a truth lover that he is really loving truth and not a sham, not a Duessa, is the perpetual growth of capacity. Every year has been to me a softening of the impressible nature, and a clearing of the eye in all fields of Divine goodness, quite irrespective of the hard, hot, choking work of the external world and its attacks. I feel more and more how all right spirit life is a gladness and glory increasing; how Divine goodness is speaking in all tones that reach the heart with joy or sorrow, awe or ecstasy, everywhere and in all things, if we can but hear it; how completely the spirit within can be in communion with light independent of external circumstances, and yet how external circumstances and creation are the medium through which God speaks."

    3 John 1:4

    All joy worth the name is in equal love between unequals.

    —Coventry Patmore.

    References.—I:2.—J. Caird, Sermons, p218. C. Perren, Revival Sermons in Outline, p189. J. G. Greaves, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlv. p394. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Epistles of John, p54. I:4.—A. P. Stanley, Sermons for Children, pp10, 76. T. H. Bell, Persuasions, p119. C. Bradley, The Christian Life, p269. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xix. No1148. Expositor (6th Series), vol. viii. p323.

    3 John 1:5-6

    There can be no true love without devotion; devotion is the exercise of love, by which it grows.

    —R. L.

    Stevenson.

    References.—I:5-8.—Expository Sermons on the New Testament, p276. J. Bunting, Sermons, vol. ii. p170.

    3 John 1:6

    I had expected to find in the Church the inexpugnable citadel of Faith; but I have found in it no less the home of Love.

    —Manning.

    References.—I:6-8.—H. Elvet Lewis, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lix. p4007. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture— 3 John, p61.

    3 John 1:9

    "He expects," said Bentham of James Mill, "to subdue everybody by his domineering tone, to convince everybody by his positiveness. His manner of speaking is offensive and overbearing."

    References.—I:11.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. xii. p50. I:12.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture— 3 John, p79.

    3 John 1:14

    No one would care to live without friends, though he had all other good things.... We need friends, when we are young, to keep us from error; we need them, when we are old, to tend to us and carry out the plans we are unable to execute ourselves; and we need them in the prime of life to keep us in noble deeds—"two together"—for thus are we more effective both in thought and in act.

    —Aristotle.

    3 John 1:14

    "I find all things on earth, even truth and joy, sooner than friendship."

    —Jean Paul.

    This for the motto—to examine and attest the fact, and then to explain the reason. First, then, there are the extraordinary qualifications demanded for true friendship, arising from the multitude of causes which make men delude themselves and attribute to friendship what is only a similarity of pursuit, or even a dislike of feeling oneself alone in anything. But, secondly, supposing the friendship to be as real as human nature ordinarily permits, yet how many causes are at constant war against it, whether in the shape of violent irruptions or unobserved yet constant wearing away by dyspathy, etc.

    —Coleridge.

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    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/edt/3-john-1.html. 1910.

    Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

    3 John 1:1. The elder. The Greek article prefixed here, and in the second epistle, indicates that the writer was more advanced in years, and higher in reputation, not to say office, than any other elder then living among the churches: otherwise the title had been too assuming. This little omicron looks towards St. John as the omega of his age.

    To the well-beloved Gaius, or Caius, as the Romans would say. We cannot affirm that this eminent man was the Gaius named by St. Paul, in Romans 16:23, 1 Corinthians 1:14; nor the Gaius mentioned by St. Luke. Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4. The first of these was of Corinth, and had been converted under the ministry of Paul. The second was of Derbe, and a disciple of Paul. But this Gaius, to whom John wrote, was one of his followers, and his son in Christ Jesus.

    There is a difficulty, as some critics state, in the Greek text, which says, 3 John 1:9, that he had written to the church of Gaius, or according to the Vulgate, to that church; but that Diotrephes, (a word equivalent to nourished by Jove) who loved to have the preëminence, would not receive those whom the apostle sent. In case John therefore should come he would remember his deeds, for the apostles bore their croziers in the churches, as the sons of Jacob had their shapat, or staff in their tribes. The fathers in the family of God have a due share of power, and are entitled to reverence and respect. Age, wisdom, and office claim a deference in all the circles of society.

    3 John 1:2. I wish that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. John’s beloved Gaius, like many others distinguished for piety, appears to have been of a sickly constitution; and whether affluent or not, he was in the habit of exercising hospitality towards the brethren, and towards strangers who visited him, and all bore witness of his charity before the church. He did nothing grudgingly; whatsoever he did was done “faithfully,” as to the Lord, and not to men. Whether possessed of little or much, he considered himself as a steward who must shortly give an account. He helped forward after a godly sort the missionaries who were sent into the neighbouring districts, after refreshing them by the way, and spared neither labour nor expense to promote the cause of Christ. Nor was this all: he did not expend the whole of his zeal on public objects as a substitute for personal religion, or to the neglect of private duties, but was careful to cultivate the religion of the heart, and exemplify the spirituality and the power of those principles he was anxious to see propagated. He “walked in the truth” with so much exemplariness, and such undeviating simplicity, that others testified of the truth that was in him, and commended him to the affection of the aged apostle.

    With such proofs of soul prosperity it is no wonder that John should express a wish so strongly, that he might prosper and be in health commensurably with his spiritual attainments. It is at all times desirable that truly good men should be blessed with outward prosperity, for the sake of the church of God, and general usefulness. We may therefore with great propriety join in the prayer of the psalmist, saying Do good, oh Lord, to them that be good, to them that are upright in their hearts. No one feels any interest in the success of a mercenary or selfish character, but in that of the pious and benevolent all are concerned; and the spirit of true religion especially is full of urbanity and goodwill towards others.

    3 John 1:8. We ought to be fellow-helpers to the truth. The apostle is here speaking of primitive missionaries, and the encouragement they should receive from their brethren. They are engaged in the arduous work of disseminating the gospel among the nations, have many sacrifices to make, many privations to endure, and need the sympathy and assistance of all who know and love the truth. These missionaries went forth, taking nothing of the gentiles to whom they were sent, lest their zeal should be suspected of being influenced by mercenary motives; and so defeat the object of their mission. Gaius is therefore commended for having entertained them at his house, and is encouraged to help them forward on their journey, that he might be a fellow-helper to the truth. Modern missionaries are placed in similar circumstances, and are entitled to the countenance and support of the christian world, provided only that their motives are equally pure and disinterested, and their object neither more nor less than the dissemination of the truth, or to show unto men the true way of salvation. We ought to become their fellow-helpers by prayer and supplication on their behalf, that they may be fitted and strengthened for their work, that they may be directed and supported under all their difficulties, and that their labours may be crowned with abundant success. This is the least we can do on their behalf, and it is what every one may do, if he can do no more. The great apostle of the gentiles, aided by all the powers of inspiration, felt nevertheless his need of the succours of a praying people. “I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together in your prayers to God for me.”

    Romans 15:30. Our assistance also is demanded on their behalf, by contributing liberally for their maintenance and support, while labouring in sultry climes, or in foreign lands. In this case we may say to all classes of christians what David said to the people when the temple was to be erected, Arise therefore, and be doing; let the gold, the silver, and the brass be without number; and the Lord be with you. 1 Chronicles 22:16.

    3 John 1:10. Neither doth he himself receive the brethren, the accredited ministers, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Here is the rise of antichrist, having affinity with the tyranny of the Roman pontiff. The cares of discipline are paternal and salutary. An elder in Christ should act with the spiritual family, as the head acts with all the members of the natural body. There probably was some disputes between the jewish and the gentile converts which Diotrephes might urge; but John imputes his conduct to the love of power. The Lord, says Eusebius, raised up a number of evangelical men, who imitated the apostles in their life and doctrine. By consequence, the rejection of such men, would be accounted in early days a very unbrotherly action, and a violation of the laws of custom founded upon apostolic example.

    3 John 1:14. Peace be to thee. This is the first and last of blessings which God pronounces on the church.

    REFLECTIONS.

    Here one loving christian writes to another: they were congenial souls. Gaius, a Roman by name, though living among the Greeks, was a man of eminent piety. His soul prospered in the Lord. Hence good men had communion together, and talked often of their spiritual concerns. So it will ever be among those whose hearts are set on the best things. Gaius’s piety was distinguished by hospitality. He received the persecuted saints into his house, and refreshed them on their journey. Yea, he brought them on their way sometimes to the next stage. How godlike is piety when adorned with charity. The fragrance spreads abroad as the breathing incense of the spring. The families that cherish ministers and oppressed saints, give the best proofs of discipleship to the Lord.

    The church prays for blessings on such men, that their temporal affairs may prosper, and that their health may continue in one tide of good, proportioned to the prosperity of their souls. So it has happened in a thousand cases since those of Gaius, and of Obed-edom.

    On the contrary, a proud unhappy temper spoils religion. Diotrephes loved to have the preëminence. When a man has embraced a new opinion, he will defend it more than all the other doctrines of the gospel. And when a dissatisfied man has fixed his eye on some office in the church, he will make his way to it by slandering the persons in office, and by forming petty factions in the church. That office is more to him than the visitations of God, for an infinitude of guilt and mischief. What does he care for driving away the best members of the church? They have no religion, he boldly avers, if they oppose his views. Now, it is best for the elders of the church to go in a body to that man, and let him know both his naughtiness and his place. When any help is wanted in the church, the elders look round for a man best approved, who will serve for love, as Jesus Christ served, and washed his church. Oh that we may hate all parties and schisms in the church, and be adorned with this charity, this simplicity and godly sincerity. Amen.

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    Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/3-john-1.html. 1835.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    3 John 1:1. The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius — Gaius, or, according to the Latin orthography, Caius, was a common name among the Romans. In the history of the Acts and in the epistles we meet with five persons of this name. 1st, One mentioned Acts 19:29, called a man of Macedonia, and Paul’s companion in travel. 2d, A Gaius of Derbe, a city of Lycaonia, mentioned Acts 20:4. Gaius with whom St. Paul lodged at Corinth, and called his host, Acts 16:23. ne of that name, whom the apostle had baptized at Corinth, mentioned 1 Corinthians 1:14, who probably was the same person with the Gaius last mentioned. 5th, A Gaius to whom John wrote this epistle, thought by Estius and Heuman to be a different person from all those above mentioned; because the apostle hath intimated, 3 John 1:4, that he was his convert, which they suppose he could not say of any of the Gaiuses mentioned above. Lardner supposes he was an eminent Christian, who lived in some city of Asia, not far from Ephesus, where St. John chiefly resided after his leaving Judea. For, 3 John 1:14, the apostle speaks of shortly coming to him, which he could not well have done if Gaius had lived at Corinth, or any other remote place. This Gaius being neither a bishop nor a deacon, but a private member of some church, (as appears by the contents of the epistle,) his hospitality to the brethren, who came to him, is a proof that he possessed some substance, and that he was of a very benevolent disposition. The design of St. John, in writing to him, was not to guard him against the attempts of the heretical teachers, who were gone abroad, or to condemn the errors which they were at great pains to propagate; but only, 1st, To praise Gaius for having showed kindness to some Christian strangers, who, in journeying among the Gentiles, had come to the place where Gaius resided; and to encourage him to show them the like kindness, when they should call upon him again, in the course of their second journey. 2d, For the purpose of rebuking and restraining one Diotrephes, who had arrogantly assumed to himself the chief direction of the affairs of the church, of which Gaius was a member, and who had both refused to assist the brethren above mentioned, and had even hindered those from receiving and entertaining them who were desirous to do it. 3d, The apostle wrote this letter to commend an excellent person named Demetrius, who, in disposition and behaviour, being the reverse of Diotrephes, the apostle proposed him as a pattern, whom Gaius and the rest were to imitate.

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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/3-john-1.html. 1857.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    unto = to.

    wellbeloved. App-135. Same as "beloved", 3 John 1:2, &c.

    Gaius. It is impossible to say whether this was the same as any one of the others of the same name mentioned Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4. Romans 16:23. 1 Corinthians 1:14.

    love. App-135.

    in. App-104.

    the. Omit.

    truth. See p. 1511.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/3-john-1.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    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).

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

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (1) The elder.—See the Introduction, and 2 John 1:1.

    Gaius.—The common Roman name Caius. A Caius is mentioned in Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14. The difference in date between these and St. John’s correspondent would alone be sufficient reason against any attempt at identification. There is nothing to show whether he was a presbyter or not.

    Whom I love in the truth.—Or, in truth. (See 2 John 1:1.)

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/3-john-1.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
    A. D. 90. A. M. 4094.* elder
    2 John 1:1
    the well-beloved
    Acts 19:29; 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14
    whom
    1 John 3:18; 2 John 1:1
    in the truth
    or, truly.
    Reciprocal: Matthew 10:2 - John;  Acts 1:13 - Peter;  Acts 14:23 - elders;  Acts 20:17 - the elders;  Romans 16:5 - my;  1 Timothy 5:1 - an elder;  Titus 3:15 - love;  1 Peter 5:1 - who

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/3-john-1.html.

    Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

    3 John 1:1. Salutation.—Gaius (or Caius) was a common Roman name, being applied elsewhere in the NT to men belonging to Macedonia (Acts 19:29), Derbe (Ac. 204) and Corinth (1 Cor. 114). The Gaius of 3 Jn. may have been distinct from all these, though early tradition says that Gaius of Corinth acted as John's scribe, and that the apostle appointed a Gaius as Bishop of Pergamum.

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    Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/3-john-1.html. 1919.

    Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

                  (Ἰωάννου γ in B. and Cod. Sinait. C. adds ἐπιστολὴ, G. τοῦ ἁγίου ἀποστόλου.)

    I. The Address

    3 John 1:1

    The elder unto the well beloved Gains, whom I love in the truth[FN1].

    EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

    3 John 1:1. On πρεσβύτερος see Introduction § 1. It can hardly be determined whether this Gaius is one of the two or three persons of that name, who are mentioned as friends and companions of Paul in Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14. Lücke thinks that our Gaius is identical with Gaius of Derbe mentioned Acts 20:4, Wolf, in his Curis ad. h. l., that the Gaius mentioned 1 Corinthians 1:14 is meant here. Others suppose that the Gaius, mentioned Constit. Ap7, 46, and appointed by John Bishop of Pergamus, is the one referred to here (Whiston); but this is also purely hypothetical. Nor can it be inferred from 3 John 1:8 of this Epistle that Gaius was a presbyter. As John adds to the address the term τῷ ἀγαπητῷ, so he also addresses him as ἀγαπητέ in 3 John 1:3; 3 John 1:5; 3 John 1:11, and superadds as in 2 John 1:1, the words: ὃν ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ (Oecumenius: κατὰ κύριον ἀγαπῶν ἐνδιαθέτῳ ἀγάπῃ).

    HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

    Starke: Those who wish to be loved of men, must be lovable and worthy of love; this is done, if they give up the love of the world, and love God only.—Truth and love are precious jewels of Christians, which must be linked together and are more ornamental than golden chains. The one cannot exist without the other; truth without love is dead, and love without truth is blind.

    Footnotes:

    FN#1 - German: The presbyter to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.—M.]

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    Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/3-john-1.html. 1857-84.

    E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

    The elder. This term is explained at verse1of2John. There are several persons named Gaius in the New Testament. Thayer notes them in connection with certain passaged, and at our verse he says the following: "An unknown Christian, to whom the third epistle of John is addressed." Robinson"s Lexicon, Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Bible Dictionary all favor the same identity. He was evidently John"s convert, for in 3 John 1:4 he is included in "my children." Whom I love in the truth is the same thing he says of the "lady" in the preceding book. It means his love for them is because of their devotion to the truth.

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    Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/3-john-1.html. 1952.

    The Great Biblical Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide

    THE THIRD EPISTLE OF

    S. JOHN.

    ——o——

    1. To Gaius, the Greek form of Caius. Who was this Caius? Lucius Dextor in his "Chronicle" thinks he was the son of Caius Oppius, the centurion. He thus writes concerning him:—"S. John the Theologian wrote from Ephesus to the Spaniard Caius, the son of Caius Malacitanus, the centurion, and brother of Demetrius, a hospitable man, whose father was afterwards Bishop of Milan. Now Diotrephes hindered the guests who were coming into the Spains for the sake of pilgrimage. This wicked bishop was afterwards deposed on account of his crimes and his pride. There was a pilgrimage from many other places to the holy places of Spain from the very times of the Apostles, when Caius Oppius the centurion supported the pilgrims. This Caius was domiciled at Corinth, but of Spanish descent. He also liberally entertained in his house the blessed Paul when he was returning from Spain, and he invited John when he was going redeuntim into Spain after his exile. He accompanied John, and was at Rome until the time of Hyginus. After that he went to Milan, and being made Bishop there died in the Lord." So also Onuphrius in his "Chronicle" makes Caius the third Bishop of Milan. But he says he was a Roman, not a Spaniard.

    2. Bede, the Gloss, Ambrosiaster, and many others think that this Caius was the Corinthian, of whom S. Paul, writing from Corinth to the Romans, says ( Romans 14:23), "Gaius, wine host and of the whole Church" (as Bede and the Greek read), "salutes you." This was because of his hospitality in receiving any members of the Church into his house. In like manner, S. John here warmly commends this Caius for his hospitality. S. Paul also says of Caius ( 1 Corinthians 1:14), "I baptized none of you save Crispus and Gaius." Moreover, S. Athanasius, in his Synopis, testifies that this Caius was an intimate friend of S. John"s, and that he wrote his Gospel at S. John"s dictation.

    Mariana and Serarius add that this Caius is the same as he to whom four Epistles of S. Dionysius the Areopagite are extant. They are inscribed to Caius the Therapeutes, i.e. the Essene, or monk. It is considered to favour this idea that S. John writes to his Caius in ver11, "He that doeth good is of God: he that doeth not good hath not seen God." For the Therapeut, giving themselves up continually to pious contemplation, by this means saw God. From hence they were called Seers, like the Prophets of old.

    Ver2.—Concerning all I make prayer that thou mayest prosper and be well, &c. The meanin is, I wish that thou in all things mayest be well and prosper, as now indeed thy soul, i.e. thou thyself, art well and dost prosper in all things. For God does prosper thee in all things both in mind and body. He blesses and enlarges thy family, thy servants, thy friends, thy riches, and all that thou hast, because thou expendest it in God"s service, and in providing for the ministers of the Church and the poor. Thus God blessed all good men, and made a hedge about His friends in the old time, as Abraham (Gen. xxii17), and many more.

    Ver3.—I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came and bore witness to thy truth. Vulgate. Truth here in the first place means the faith. "They testify that thou dost constantly persevere in Christian faith and doctrine through all persecutions." 2d This truth means moral conduct. "They testify that thou livest according to the faith and truth of the Gospel, that thy character is conformable to the Gospel which thou professest." 3d Truth in this place may be taken to mean charity and beneficence. For this is especially taught and sanctioned by the truth of the Gospel. 4th. Truth may be put for sincerity and candour as opposed to hypocrisy and dissimulation. "They testify that thou art in all things candid and sincere."

    Ver4.—Greater grace than these I have none. (Vulgate.) That is, nothing can be more grateful or pleasing to me than that they so act that I may hear they are walking in the truth that I have spoken of. Instead of χάζιν, grace, some Greek MSS. read χάζαν, joy. This is followed by the Syriac. S. Jerome on the5th chapter to the Ephesians mentions that celebrated axiom of Christ, "Never be joyful except when ye shall see a brother in charity."

    Ver5.—Dearly beloved, one thou doest faithfully, &c. Faithfully, i.e. thou actest in a Christian manner, thou doest that which becometh a believer, by showing hospitality towards and nourishing the faithful, especially pilgrims and strangers. For hospitality was of old most highly esteemed by Christians. It was a sure mark and sign of Christian faith, as the heathen Lucian testifies (in Peregrino).

    2d Faithfully in this place not only signifies the faith, but also the fidelity of Caius. Thou art faithful to Christ. Thou fulfillest indeed that which thou hast promised to Christ in thy baptism. Listen to Tertullian recounting hospitality amongst the notes of the faithful (de Prscrip. c20): "Amongst the many and notable marks of the Church there is one prime note handed down by the Apostles by which all the chief and Apostolic Churches prove their oneness and their unity. This mark is the communion of peace, the attestation of brotherhood, the mutual bond (contesserationem) of hospitality. And the one principle which governs these rules of hospitality is the one tradition of the same Sacrament." He makes use of the word contesseratio because of the tessera, or sign, which Christians were wont to exhibit to Christians to show that they were Christians, that so they might be received to brotherly hospitality. The heathen had similar tesser, or mutual tokens and pledges of hospitality. It was because the heathen discovered, and used these Christian tokens for purposes of deceit, as Lucian tells us Peregrinus did, that the Council of Mie substituted commendatory letters instead of tesser. On which see Baronius.

    And this to strangers, Greek καί είς τοὺς ξένους. The καί here means especially. Thus Christ says, "Tell the disciples, and, i.e. especially, Peter." ( Mark 16:17.)

    Moreover, by peregrini here we may understand with Bede apostolic men who went about spreading the Gospel. Also Christian exiles proscribed by the Gentiles.

    Ver6.—Who have borne testimony to thy charity in the face of the Church. For of old the bishops and presbyters used to invite guests who came to give a sermon or exhortation in the church. And when they did this they would praise the charity and hospitality of Caius, of which they had experienced elsewhere. This duty of allowing hospitality to guests is spoken of by S. Clement (lib2Constit62), and is sanctioned by the4th Council of Carthage, cap4.

    Whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort thou shall do well. (E. V.) To whom doing good thou shalt lead (deduces) worthily of God. The meaning is, To whom, if thou continuest to show kindness by receiving them to hospitality, thou wilt cause their journey to be easy, so that they will be able to reach the place whither they are going. This is a pious work and worthy of God. The word translated deduces in the Vulg. is πζοπέμψας in the Greek. It does not mean that S. John wished Caius personally to accompany his guests, but it refers to his affording them provisions for their journey, and other things, such as guides and letters of introduction.

    Worthily of God. As it is worthy of God that His worshippers should treat worthily other worshippers of Him, honouring them as ministers of God, and honouring God in them, by treating them charitably and reverently as befits servants and members of Christ. As Christ saith, Matthew 10:40, "He that receiveth you receiveth Me. He that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet"s reward."

    Moraliter: let every believer examine himself, and see whether his works be full, perfect, and of such excellence as to be worthy of God; whether his charity be like to the charity of God and Christ; whether he live and act worthily of Christ. The gift which thou presentest to a king must not be of some mean sort. It should be excellent and regal. What then does it become us to offer unto God, who is King of kings and Lord of lords? This is what S. Paul admonishes the Ephesians (iv1.), "I, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called."

    Ver7.—For they have gone forth on

    behalf of His name, viz., that they might preach the name of God and Christ, says Bede. Or else because for His name they have been driven into exile. The first of these is the more probable reason. And it is strengthened by what follows.

    Taking nothing of the Gentiles. Because without price they preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, that they may not seem to gain any profit by the Gospel.

    Ver8.—We therefore ought to receive such. The Greek for receive is κατα λάμβανίν. This means, not to wait until they come to us, but to prevent them, to invite them to our house, yea, to constrain them to come in. Œcumenius says, as the disciples constrained Christ at Emmaus ( Luke 24:29). Moreover to receive and reception means in Scripture every sort of kindness and protection, care and assistance.

    That we may be fellow-workers with the truth, by ministering necessary things to those who preach the truth or who suffer exile or tribulation for the truth"s sake.

    Observe: S. John by many arguments stirs up Caius to persevere in his liberality to pilgrims1st He praises his generosity because also his guests praised it before the whole Church. (Ver3.) 2d Because it was a work befitting a Christian believer. (Ver5.) 3d Because it was a work worthy of God. (Ver6.) 4th Because it was done to those who made known the name of God. (Ver7.) 5th Because it was done to those who were forsaken or despoiled by other Gentiles. (Ver7.) 6th Because by this means they became fellow-workers with the truth and the Gospel, and preached it themselves through the preachers and confessors whom they received and nourished.

    Moreover, when S. John exhorts Caius to persevere in hospitality he makes use of the first person, "we ought therefore," that his exhortation may be sweeter and more powerful. Certain it is that S. John was very hospitable to pilgrims. For he was the Bishop of Ephesus, and in that capacity was wont to dispense the goods of the Ephesian Church to the poor and strangers. Moreover, Bede says that S. John, like S. Paul, lived by the labour of his hands.

    9. I would have written, it may be, to the Church. The Greek is έγζαψα, i e. I have written. So Erasrnus, Cajetan, Vatablus, Clarius, who think the Vulg. of this passage is corrupt. But Gagneius, Serarius, &c. think the translator"s reading was έγζαψα άν, or at least that άν ought to be understood. They think this for three reasons: 1st Because it gives the better meaning. "I would have written, but I have not written, because that proud Diotrephes receives neither us, nor our letters." 2d Because there is no extant letter of S. John to a church3d Because the Syriac version entirely supports this reading. It is, I was seeking, or desiring to write to the Church, but he who loves to be first among you, Diotrephes, receives us not.

    But he who loves to bear the primacy among them, i.e. in the Church. This Greek is φιλοπζωτέυων, ambitious of the primacy. Wherefore Diotrephes seems to have been either a bishop, or else some powerful and arrogant man, who was fond of domineering in the Church, and arrogated to himself episcopal rank. Bede adds that he was a heresiarch. But S. John intimates nothing of the kind; indeed rather the contrary. For had he been a heresiarch S. John would have dealt much more severely with him, and have excommunicated him, as S. Paul did Hymenæus and Alexander. ( 1 Timothy 20.) Diotrephes then hated S. John, not because he was heretic, but because he was ambitious. For he saw that S. John resisted the pre-eminence which he coveted.

    Diotrephes: Vatablus thinks this was an appellative name, meaning full of boasting and arrogance. For of old those who were puffed up by the nobility of their extraction were accustomed to be called διοτζεφει̃ς, i.e. nourished by Jupiter. But L. Dexter, with more reason, thinks that it was a proper name, or rather one given him. For he, boasting of his riches and birth among the heathen, colled himself by a heathen name, Diotrephes, or a son of Jove.

    Moraliter: they imitate Diotrephes who covet benefices and prelacies, and assert that they are their due because of their nobility and their wealth, whereas Christ chose for His Apostles the ignoble and the poor. Again, those temporal princes and nobles imitate Diotrephes who having no rights of patronage in conferring benefices usurp and invade them, or abuse them by domineering over the clergy.

    Receives us not: i.e. our apostleship and authority, our letters and our precepts. For it was part of the bishop"s office to receive the letters addressed to his Church, and to read them publicly to the faithful. For he was, as it were, the head and primate of the Church.

    Ver10.—I will remember his works. Some read, though incorrectly, I will remove his works. Others read, I will mark his works; others, I will judge. Observe S. John"s gentleness in rebuking and correcting.

    Prating against us with malicious wards, i.e. raising calumnies against, detracting and maligning me. The Greek is φλυαζω̃ν, to trifle, babble, prate.

    Neither doth he himself receive the brethren, i.e. orthodox Christians. He receives none but the pseudo-Christians of his own party.

    And those who do receive them he casts out of the Church, both from the place and assembly of the Church, especially the agape and feast after the Eucharist, and also from the company of the faithful by excommunicating them.

    Ver11.—Do not imitate the evil: do not imitate the proud, impious, and inhospitable Diotrephes, even though he does occupy the chief place in the Church, but rather imitate the humble, pious, and hospitable Demetrius, of whom in ver12.

    He who does good is of God, &c. This is especially applicable to the good of kindness and beneficence. And this is the chief meaning of the Greek α̉γαθοποιει̃ν, which is to benefit, or do a kindness to any one. For S. John is here treating of kindness and hospitality. For this he praises Caius, whilst he condemns the unkindness of Diotrephes. He is alluding to what he says in his first Epist. iii6. The meaning is, He who does to them that need—as, for instance, by receiving guests and pilgrims, as thou doest, 0 Caius—is of God. He knows, loves, and worships Him. But he who does ill to his neighbour, as Diotrephes does, is not of God: he neither sees, nor hath seen Him: that is, practically, he does not know God, because he does not love, imitate, or worship Him. Although indeed every virtue is of God, the words especially apply to charity and beneficence. For it is an attribute of God that He communicates Himself and His good things, and doeth good.

    The reason is, because it is a property of God so to abound in all good that He overflows, and pours out his goodness by bestowing it upon others. He therefore that shows kindness is a child and an imitator of the good and kind God.

    He that doeth evil hath nor seen God. The direct antithesis would have been, is not of God, but S. John amplifies, saying, so much is he not of God, that he does not see, i.e. practically know God. He who is unkind, and does evil to his neighbour, does not truly see, i.e. know God practically, because he does not acknowledge God"s infinite and unceasing kindnesses to himself, so as to show himself grateful for them by showing kindness to others for God"s sake.

    S. Dionysius, writing to the same Caius, the Therapeut, i.e. the Seer and Contemplative, which is the reason why the Apostle speaks of seeing God, alludes to these words of the Apostle. And he explains in what way good and perfect men, especially Therapeuts like Caius, see God: "If there be any one who when he has seen God has understood what he has seen, he hath not seen Him, but something of Him which is and is known. But He Himself being placed on high above all understanding and all being, far surpasses all understanding." For God being in Himself invisible transcends all things, and inhabits the unapproachable light, which is to us impenetrable darkness, as the same Dionysius teaches elsewhere. He proves the same thing by the example of S. Paul, who, although he was rapt up to God, nevertheless declares that God surpasses all understanding and knowledge. Hence also our John the Evangelist says in his Gospel (i. i8), "No man hath seen God at any time," namely, by any clear vision. For men have seen Him imperfectly by faith, according to the words, "now we see through a mirror in an enigma." ( 1 Corinthians 13:12. Vulg.)

    Ver12.—To Demetrius testimony is borne by all, concerning his hospitality, probity, and all other Christian virtues. He proposes him therefore to Caius for imitation and assistance. Our Serarius conjectures that this Demetrius was the same as the chief of the craftsmen of Diana, who raised a tumult against S. Paul at Ephesus (Acts xix24), who afterwards repented, and changed his persecution for the propagation of the faith. But there is no mention of this in any ancient history.

    And by the truth itself: the testimony of men may be erroneous, but the testimony of the truth can never be deceptive. The truth bears testimony to Demetrius. That is, Demetrius leads a truly Christian life, and does Christian works. His life therefore is a true witness to his virtue.

    We also bear witness, which is most weighty and certain, inasmuch as it is episcopal, apostolic, and canonical, as being that of one of the sacred writers.

    Ver14.—Salute the friends by name. The Syriac renders this verse, The friends pray for your peace: pray for the peace of the friends, for every one by name.

    1S. Jerome uses the word cœcutiat. I am not sure, having regard to the context, that he does not mean, "get out of their depth," as we say in English. (Return to the place.)

    2This word is not in Liddell and Scott, but I take it to be a feminine form of πύργς. (Return to the place.)

    THE END

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    Bibliographical Information
    Lapide, Cornelius. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". The Great Biblical Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/clc/3-john-1.html. 1890.

    Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

    Salutation (or Greeting) - 3 John 1:1-4 serves as a salutation to this short epistle.

    3 John 1:1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

    3 John 1:1 — "The elder" - Comments- As John the apostle is the most probable author of this short epistle, and as John was living in Asia Minor during his later years, overseeing the churches that Paul left behind, and knowing that John never used his proper name in any of his writings, we can easily see why he would call himself "elder."

    3 John 1:1 — "unto the wellbeloved" - Comments- This word appears four times in this short epistle (1, 2, 5, 11).

    3 John 1:1 — "Gaius" - Comments - Adam Clarke says the name "Gaius" is Greek form of the Roman name "Caius." 43] Thus, John is writing to a Gentile, and most likely a member of one of the churches in Asia Minor, of which John, the elder, was overseer.

    43] Adam Clarke, The Third Epistle of John, in Adam Clarke"s Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), 3 John 1:1:1.

    The Apostolic Constitutions, a collection of ecclesiastical law that is believed to have been compiled during the latter half of the fourth century, states that there was a man by the name of "Gains" who became the bishop of the church at Pergamus. It is very possible that this was the same person mentioned in John's third epistle. It is interesting to note that the name of Demetrius ( 3 John 1:12) is mentioned next to the name of Gaius in this passage.

    "Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these…Of Pergamus, Gains. Of Philadelphia, Demetrius, by me." (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 7446)

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    Bibliographical Information
    Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/3-john-1.html. 2013.

    The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

    [Note.—"This Epistle is addressed to Gaius or Caius. We have no reason for identifying him with Caius of Macedonia ( Acts 19:29), or with Caius of Derbe ( Acts 20:4), or with Caius of Corinth ( Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 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 ( 3 John 1:4), and a layman of wealth and distinction ( 3 John 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 ( 3 John 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 ( 3 John 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].

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

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    Notes on Third Epistle of John.

    1.The elder—Note on 2 John 1:1.

    Well beloved—An epithet thrice used in the epistle, as elect is twice in the Second Epistle. This epithet in the Greek comes after the name, and strikingly reads, Gaius the well beloved, as if the epithet were a regular title.

    Gaius—Or Caius, a very common name among the Romans. There was among the followers of St. Paul a Caius of Macedonia, (Acts 19:29;) a Caius of Derbe, (Acts 20:4;) and a Caius of Corinth, at whose house St. Paul probably wrote his epistle to the Romans. This Gaius is some thirty-five or forty years later, and in Asia Minor, being in visiting distance from John, 3 John 1:14. He cannot, therefore, be probably identified with either of the other three. Wordsworth reminds us that “a Gaius was appointed by St. John to be bishop of Pergamos.”—Constitut. Apost. 7:46.

    In the truth—As the article is wanting in the Greek, some interpreters understand the phrase, whom I truly love. This makes good correspondence with beloved. Thou art the well beloved, and I love thee in truth. But John often omits the article where the real meaning is the gospel truth, as in 3 John 1:3.

     

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/3-john-1.html. 1874-1909.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    3 John 1:1. , see Introd. pp. 159 ff. , see note on 2 John 1:1 , see note on 2 John 1:1.

     

     

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    Bibliographical Information
    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/3-john-1.html. 1897-1910.

    The Bible Study New Testament

    1. From the Elder. See note on 2 John 1:1. To my dear Gains. This is probably the Gaius of Corinth (Romans 16:23).

     

     

     

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    Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 3 John 1:1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/3-john-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.