A study of 3 John
Intro to 3 John
-This book is attributed to John the Apostle, the beloved disciple, the apostle of love (for a constant theme
of his is love), author of The Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, Revelation, the disciple of whom Jesus said to
Peter "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me" John 20:22.
While John did die , for Jesus did not say John would not die, John was the only Apostle to not die as
-It is thought that John wrote this book around A.D 90
-3 John is a personal letter of encouragement, written to a man named Gaius- who was trying to serve
Christ in a tough church situation due to a church leader who was domineering, selfish, rebellious, and
READ 3 JOHN
A consideration of the 3 people spoken of in 3 John
I. Gaius: Known for his hospitality, faithfulness, and servants heart
-FYI: Gaius a very common name.
-It seems that Gaius was a personal convert of John v.4
-Gaius was very dear to John, so dear that he addresses him as "agapetos" 4 times (v.1,2,5,11). This
means dearly beloved. It's a adjective. It could also be translated "dear friend". Either way, it indicates
that John had deep feelings for Gaius and note this: such love was in the truth= in Christ and mostly likely
due to his being a personal convert.
-Gaius was a man with a heart for missions
-Gaius was a friendly and hospitable man who welcomed strangers and people to the church
-Gaius had a servants heart
-For Gaius, John prayed that God would richly bless him. v.2 (READ)
There is a reason for this blessing. It's because Gaius was faithful in being a blessing to others
(particularly to visitors/missionaries). This is why John lavishes this blessing on Gaius. John was not merely
desiring that God bless Gaius for his own enrichment. Gaius was a faithful channel of blessing to others--
that the name of Christ and the Lord would be praised.
Applications from John's address to Gaius
Points of Application relating to John's initial address to Gaius:
a. The affection and brotherly love that John had for Gaius is to mark our relations with each other as
brothers and sisters in the Lord. Not just a love in word, but in deed. Our prayer: Help us to love one
b. We are to be a channel of blessing to others- using what God has given us to encourage others
c. The hospitable and welcoming heart of Gaius is to reside in us. We are to be friendly and outgoing to
visitors and strangers-- wherever we go. In Romans 12:13 it says; "Share with God's people who are in
need. Practice hospitality." Gaius' keenness to support those involved in evangelism and various missionary
endeavors is to be found in us.
Some of those we support include: The Burry's, Bruno's, Mark Eastwood, Dan Burkholder.
d. Faithfulness to Christ is really important.
A further comment on verse 4
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth"
One of my big desires is that we all would be found faithful to Christ. That we would not turn away from
Christ. Another of my desires is that if and when you move to another place or when you transition to the
next life stage, and when hard times comes, that you would carry on with Christ faithfully.
I have great joy when I hear of those who carry on in Christ. We must encourage one another to do so.
II. Diotrephes: The one who loved to be first v.9
One of the reasons John wrote Gaius, was to get a message to one of the church's that he had apostolic
authority over (perhaps as it's founder). The indication of v.9 "will have nothing to do with us." is that this
Diotrephes had somehow taken charge of the local church to which John was writing and was in the process
of shutting John out. How such a thing could happen to one who was a model of Christian love and the last
living eyewitness of the person of Christ during his earthly ministry is mind boggling.
Bearing in mind that John was loving towards the faithful and tough with those who were opponents of
Christ, John says some very pointed things about Diotrephes
"He loved to be first" v.9
"He was a gossip" v.10
"He was inhospitable to visiting brothers and sisters in the Lord and particularly inhospitable to those
involved in mission and gospel work". This made Gaius' service tough.
"He opposes and excommunicates those who wish to help and bless visiting and travelling brothers and
sisters who were serving Christ"
"His was evil" v.11
"If John was able to come to them, he would deal with him" v.10
From John's expose of Diotrephes, there is much for us to learn
1. One should not rush to be first or take center stage. What a horrible thing to be known as a person who
loves to be first! Humility and servanthood are to distinguish us. Our eyes are not be on the biggest piece,
the best place, etc.
2. Lording it over other people, and abusing ones power is a big no-no when it comes to being a leader in
Leaders are to be gentle, loving, Biblically minded, self controlled, having servants hearts, being people of
3. When we talk about others, we need to be really careful about what we say.
A gossip and slanderer talks about others with a singular purpose-- to hurt another person and their
reputation. We are not to gossip. We are to build others up. If something needs to be said about a person
we need to make sure what is said is true and we need to check our motives for saying it- and the
appropriateness of it.
4. As already noted, being hospitable and supporting mission work is important to the health, well being,
and testimony of every church.
III. Demetrius: A commended servant of Christ. A person who was an example to follow. v.12
In seeking to encourage Gaius, John points out to Gaius that he is not alone in his local church in seeking
to do what is right and holy, there were others-- particularly Demetrius
Further: Against the backdrop of the evil example of Diotrephes, John supplies Gaius with a good example
of someone to imitate
-Demetrius was well spoken of
-His life was in accord with Christ (the truth).
-He was serious about his faith
-He was a mature man, known for his deeds and testimony
-He had a great reputation
-He was the kind of person that one should imitate
1. What's your reputation?
Some folk are known for joy, prayer, loyalty, faithfulness gentleness, evangelism. Others are known for
negative things such as: pride, anger, selfishness, sexual immorality, being disruptive, not being forgiving,
The great news is that Jesus is transforming us and fitting us for heaven: Our goal: Cooperate with the
Holy Spirit in the process of becoming like Christ. Get into the word of God. Put the Word into practice in
our lives. Then we will come to have a reputation like Demetrius and like Gaius.
2. Who is your hero? When we see a person who is following Christ and acting like Him, we are to imitate
"Dear friend/Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but what is good" v.11
In life we are going to see a lot of different examples -- we will see people swearing, cheating, lying, being
sexually impure, dressing provocatively, challenging authority, lording it over others, gossiping, holding
grudges, retaliating, stealing, making fun of others, pretending to be something they are not, etc, etc
The key is to know which examples to follow. Sometimes people we know, love, and respect will set a bad
example- we are not to follow them.
Whenever we see someone striving after Christ and being like him, there example is what we are to
imitate. When we see a Christian brother or sister doing what is wrong-- pray for them, and if the
opportunity arises- gently correct them in love.
Our call is to stay faithful to Christ. "no greater joy for John"
As John blessed Gaius, we are bless others. When blessed by God, we must take care to pass on what we
are receiving to others-- that the name of Christ may be praised.
Brotherly love is to mark our relations
Missionary support is an important thing for a church to do.
We need to be careful whom we imitate. We need to imitate those who are doing good.
We are not to be gossips