The Agora
Bible Commentary
3 John


3 John

3Jo 1:1

The picture of interecclesial affairs in the first century: An imperfect network of congregations, calling for forbearance and patience, not peremptory judgments by fallible leaders. Even the apostle John does NOT say, "Disfellowship Diotrephes." "Wherever there is intolerance, wherever we find conditions of communion among Christians, which Christ hath not clearly enjoined... there is the spirit which is not of God... Alas! how much of this spirit remains among us all" (JT, Herald 1850).

MY DEAR FRIEND GAIUS, WHOM I LOVE IN THE TRUTH: "Why is Gaius loved so much? What inspires people to such strong feelings? One aspect of this man's character is that he walks 'in the truth.' Walking in the truth is more than just being good. It is consistency in so doing. It is a constant pressing forward toward godliness. Naturally, the virtues espoused by Christ bring out affection in others who are similarly driven. When they are consistently employed by the believer, people are drawn to that individual. Even among non-believers, compassion, honesty, humility, selflessness, joyfulness and the like are natural magnets to a race of beings that are not consistently exposed to such virtues" (KT).

3Jo 1:5

YOU ARE FAITHFUL IN WHAT YOU ARE DOING: Examples of faithfulness in service: Samuel (1Sa 3:20); David (1Sa 22:14); the temple overseers (2Ki 12:15); the workers (2Ch 34:12); Hananiah (Neh 7:2); Abraham (Neh 9:8); the treasurers (Neh 13:13); Daniel (Dan 6:4); Timothy (1Co 4:17); Epaphras (Col 1:7); Tychicus (Col 4:7); Onesimus (Col 4:9); Paul (1Ti 1:12); Moses (Heb 3:2,5); Gaius (3Jo 1:5); Jesus Christ (Rev 1:5); Antipas (Rev 2:13).

Cp Luk 16:10; 2Ch 31:12.

3Jo 1:8

Gaius will receive the brethren, but Diotrephes will not receive them (v 9), yet they are all in fellowship with one another!

OUGHT: Opheilo = to be under obligation, as of a debt. Sw 1Jo 2:6; 3:16; 4:11.

WORK TOGETHER: The aspects of fellowship: "We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth" (3Jo 1:8). Aspects of fellowship:

3Jo 1:9

See Lesson, Diotrephes.

DIOTREPHES: "Nourished by Jove". Domineering, self-assertive, arrogant.

WHO LOVES TO BE FIRST: A position rightly belonging only to Christ: Col 1:18.
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