3 John 1:1 His Greeting
- The Elder: The writer of this book identifies himself simply as the Elder. Presumably, the first readers knew who this was, and from the earliest times, Christians have understood that this was the Apostle John writing, the same John who wrote the Gospel of John, 1 and 2 John, and the Book of Revelation.
- Perhaps he does not directly refer to himself for the same reason he does not directly refer to his readers in 2 John - the threat of persecution may be making direct reference unwise; and of course, unnecessary.
- To the beloved Gaius: We don't know if this specific Gaius is connected with the other men by this name mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 19:19, 20:4; 1 Corinthians 1:14; Romans 16:23).
- The identification is difficult because Gaius was a very common name in the Roman Empire.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for 3 John 1,
There are traveling teachers who had come to the church and while Gaius had received them, one self-assertive member named Diotrephes tried to keep them away. John rebukes him.
3 John 1:2-4 His Joy at Their Well-being
John tells Gaius that he is glad that he is in good health (perhaps he had previously been sick)...and that he is growing spiritually. John had received a report from some other believers that Gaius was “walking in truth” and this pleased him. In fact, he says that “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” Could it be that John had played a part in Gaius coming to Christ (“my children”) and now his heart is warmed to hear that he is faithfully following Him?
3 John 1:5-8 His Approval of Their Support
John says that it was good when the church supported these teachers when they came to them. They were acting “faithfully” when they extended that kind of courtesy…meaning that this kind of behavior is in keeping with the faith, with what it means to be a Christian. These traveling teachers had gone out “for the sake of the Name”…speaking of Jesus. They were traveling from place to place telling people about Him. These traveling missionaries refused to accept financial help from those that they ministered to…lest someone say that they were just doing it for the money. When we (the church) support these men we become their “fellow workers with the truth”.
3 John 1:9-11 His Rebuke of Diotrephes
John had written to Diotrephes and told him to do so...but he had refused...because he wants to be the leader, and not listen to what John has said. He even tried to have those who disagree with him put out of the church. John tells them that the actions of Diotrephes are evil…and that they are not to act like him.
3 John 1:12 His Recommendation of Demetrius
John now mentions Demetrius. He may have been one of the traveling teachers. John and others all give him a very positive recommendation.
3 John 1:13-14 His Goodbye
Prayer: Lord, there are those in churches today who want to be the first, the leader. They want to make decisions and tell others what to do. Please help me to know how to respond to them...so that You are glorified, they understand their proper role in the church, and the church is blessed.