3 John


The apostle John. See Introduction to 2 John: Authorship.


Uncertain; probably late in the first century.


Love for the truth; and support for true Christian teachers.


To encourage love among brothers and service to traveling missionaries.


The Contribution of 3 John to Redemptive Revelation

John wrote this letter to a faithful Christian man about whom we know little except his name, Gaius. This common Latin name belonged to other men in the New Testament (Acts 19:29; 20:4; Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 1:14)—and to more than one Roman dictator. The Gaius whom John loved was no dictator. John calls him “beloved” four times in this short epistle (3 John 1,2,5,11), a lavish reminder of his pleasure in Gaius’s faithfulness. He is a model of soul prosperity (3 John 2) by the power of God’s truth (3 John 3-4), producing the fruit of love and missionary support (3 John 5-8).

In contrast stands Diotrephes, a leader in a local church. Whereas true servants of the Lord seek the glory of His name through the gospel (3 John 7), Diotrephes sought his own glory (3 John 9). It does not appear that he was a heretic, for John makes no mention of false doctrine here. Yet despite his orthodoxy the truth had not entered his heart, and his proud and divisive conduct implied that he did not belong to God (3 John 11). He slandered the broader church and refused to allow anyone in his congregation to welcome missionaries as they traveled through the area (3 John 10).

Where John’s second epistle warns against welcoming false teachers, the third gives a balancing exhortation for believers to warmly receive and help preachers who seek the glory of Christ and to maintain fellowship with other congregations.


  1. Greeting: Love in the Truth (3 John 1)
  2. Blessing and Joy in Gaius (3 John 2-4)
  3. Commendation for Caring for Missionaries (3 John 5-8)
  4. Warning against Diotrephes (3 John 9-11)
  5. Conclusion and Greeting (3 John 12-14)

Extracted from: Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible Notes(Beeke, Joel R. 2015. Reformation Heritage Books).

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