3rd Epistle of John
The letter was written by “the elder”, the same author as 2 John. It is a personal letter to Gaius, who must have been a leader in a congregation. It is not possible to know if this Gaius was the same “Gaius” mentioned in other places in the New Testament (Act. 19:29, 20:4, Rom. 16:23, 1 Cor. 1:14).
No greater joy, 1:4
The author states: “No greater joy can I have than this, than to hear that my children follow the truth”. While it is a great joy for biological parents to know that their children follow the truth concerning God the Father and Jesus the Messiah (John 17:3), here the author is using the world “children” metaphorically to mean those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah (1 John 2:1, 5:1). The author most likely had a personal influence in these “children” coming to and then growing in their faith. Like a parent who cares for their child, the author expressed his desire to be present with them (3 John 1:10, 13, cf. 2 John 1:12).
Support such men, practice hospitality, 1:5-8
The main purpose for the writing of the letter was to encourage Gaius and the congregation to support traveling Christian teachers. The author knew that these teachers of true doctrine were doing “God’s service”, and as much as Gaius and others could support these men, they would be “fellow workers in truth”. Practicing hospitality is a theme emphasized by other writers of Scripture:
Paul: “Share what you have with God’s people, and practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).
Author of Hebrews: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2).
Peter: “Welcome one another into your homes without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9).
As believers in the One True God and His Messiah, Jesus, we should be ready to open our homes to others of like-minded faith, especially to those who are ministering “for His sake”.
Diotrephes upbraided, 1:9-10
A certain man named Diotrephes was called out because he refused to practice hospitality to the traveling truth teachers. Diotrephes not only refused to give hospitality, but “stops those who would welcome them and puts them out of the church”. Diotrephes must have been a proud, selfish man.
Bill & Stephanie Schlegel
(Editor’s Note: I am so glad I met Bill and Stephanie Schlegel at FUEL this past summer and had the opportunity to share a meal with them, during which time they agreed to write for this week. I greatly value their love for and dedication to God’s truth. The Schlegels lived in Israel for 34 years. He is the author of the Satellite Bible Atlas: https://www.bibleplaces.com/satellite-bible-atlas-schlegel/ . This spring he will be leading an incredible trip to Israel: https://maranathatours.com/wp-content/uploads/brochure-website.pdf
For more great writing, podcasts, videos and testimonies about the truth in God’s scriptures, we welcome you to check out the website that Bill edits – One God Report: http://www.onegodreport.com/