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3 John

3 John Bible Study Notes

The third Epistle of John is a private letter to Gaius to encourage and strengthen Gaius, and to warn him against the party headed by Diotrephes, who refuse to cooperate with John. Also to introduce a party of Christians led by Demetrius. Additionally, John express his hope that he will soon be able to visit Gaius.

 

Overview of Third John

Following his return to Ephesus from his banishment (about A.D 92 to A.D. 96) to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation, John wrote the Gospel of John, partly at the request of the faithful who wanted to know more about the life of Christ and partly to counter false doctrines that were entering the Church. John wrote his epistles at Ephesus after he wrote the Gospel of John, probably between A.D 100 and A.D. 110. For more information about the life of John and his purpose in writing his Gospel and his epistles see this authors notes about the First Epistle of John.

Third John is the shortest book in the Bible in terms of words. .Second John is the shortest book in the Bible in terms of verses; it only contains thirteen verses.

The third Epistle of John is a private letter to Gaius to introduce a party of Christians led by Demetrius, who were strangers to the place where he lived, and who had gone on a mission to preach the Gospel. (3 John 1:73 John 1:7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

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

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). John’s purpose in writing is to encourage and strengthen Gaius, and to warn him against the party headed by Diotrephes, who refuse to cooperate with John. John express his hope that he will be able to visit Gaius and, if so, will be able to set right the things which he fears Diotrephes will say and do.

There are four people named Gaius named in the New Testament:
• Gaius is mentioned in Macedonia as a traveling companion of Paul, along with Aristarchus( Acts 19:29Acts 19:29
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.  

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)
• Gaius from Derbe, is named as one of Paul’s seven traveling companions who waited for him at Troas (Acts 20:4Acts 20:4
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.  

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).
• Gaius is mentioned residing in Corinth as being one of only a few people there (the others being Crispus and the household of Stephanas) who were baptized by Paul, who founded the Church in that city (1 Corinthians 1:141 Corinthians 1:14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;  

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).
• Gaius is referred to in a final greeting portion of the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 16:23Romans 16:23
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.  

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) as Paul’s “host” and also host of the whole church, in whatever city Paul is writing from at the time (probably Corinth).

We do not know if the Gaius in Third John is one of the above. This author thinks it unlikely as he doubts contemporaries and companions of Paul would still be alive and active some 30 to 40 years after Paul’s death.

 

3 John Bible Study Tool: Outline of Third John

I. 3 John 1:13 John 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The Third Epistle of John 1 1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. in...: or, truly  

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. Salutation

II. The Commendation of Caius
A. 3 John 1:2-43 John 1:2-4
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

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

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. Godliness of Gaius
B. 3 John 1:5-83 John 1:5-8
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

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: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: after...: Gr. worthy of God 7 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth. fellowhelpers: or, joint-labourers  

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. Generosity of Gaius

III. The Condemnation of Diotrephes
A. 3 John 1:9-113 John 1:9-11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

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 his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. 11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.  

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. The Pride of Diotrephes
B. 3 John 1:13 John 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The Third Epistle of John 1 1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. in...: or, truly  

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2. Praise of Demetrius

IV. 3 John 1:13 John 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The Third Epistle of John 1 1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. in...: or, truly  

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3-14. Benediction

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