Author and Date
The third epistle of John is the second-shortest book in the Bible, consisting of only fifteen verses. Despite its brevity, 3 John is generally divided into two sections:
- God's children live by the standards of the gospel (1-12)
- Conclusion (13-15)
John wrote to commend Gaius, who was taking care of traveling teachers and missionaries, and also to warn against people like Diotrephes, who was proud and refused to listen to spiritual leaders in authority. If we are to live in the truth of the gospel, we must look for ways to support pastors, Christian workers, and missionaries today. All Christians should work together to support God's work, both at home and around the world.
Major themes contained in third John include:
hospitality - John wrote to encourage those who were kind to others. Genuine hospitality for traveling Christian workers was needed then and is still important today. This is imporant as faithful Christian teachers and missionaries need our support. Whenever you can extend hospitality to others, it will make you a partner in their ministry.
pride - Diotrephes not only refused to offer hospitality, but he set himself up as a church boss. Pride disqualified him from being a real leader. This is important because Christian leaders must shun pride and its effects on them. Be careful not to misuse your position of leadership.
faithfulness - Gaius and Demetrius were commended for their faithful work in the church. They were held up as examples of faithful, sefless servants. We shouldn't take for granted Christian workers who serve faithfully. Be sure to encourage them so they won't grow weary of serving.
Life Application Bible - New International Version. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. and Zondervan Publishing House, 1989.