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Bible Commentaries

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

3 John 1




Questions For Third John

1. To whom is this epistle addressed?

2.Is it the only individually addressed epistle?

3.What is stated with reference to Gaius?

4.State the good will he expresses for him.

5.What was already prospering?

6.On what material can the soul prosper?

7.For what did he rejoice greatly?

8.By what means did he learn this?

9.What gives John his greatest joy?

10.In what relation does he represent Gaius?

11.How could this relation exist?

12.Was Gaius selfish in his conduct?

13.Was he partial in his good deeds?

14.Who are meant by strangers?

15.What did Paul command on this subject?

16. Yet to whom is our first obligation?

17.What had the favored ones borne for Gaius?

18.Of what had they borne this?

19.Where had they done so?

20.State the antecedent of "whom" 6th verse.

21.Explain "after a godly sort" in this verse.

22.How could this conduct be toward God?

23.Who went forth in verse7?

24.Taking nothing of what, from the Gentiles?

25.For whose sake did they do this?

26.What apostolic examples have we for this?

27.Is a preacher required to do this?

28.What may he require of the church?

29.In receiving such as above what do we become?

30.On what principle could this be?

31.To whom did John write?

32.Did he have special authority to write?

33.Why did Diotrephes receive him not?

34.How might his evil desire be hindered by John?

35.Explain hi.s desire in light of 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

36.Did this cause John to decide not to come?

37. In what way did Diotrephes oppose John?

38. State further how he treated brethren.

39. To what extent did he work against them?

40. What would John have Gaius to follow?

41.By what facts does he identify each kind?

42.State the general reputation of Demetrius.

43.And tell the special report he had.

44.What personal testimony was added to this?

45.Instead of writing further what does he expect?

46.What were materials were uscd in this letter?

47.Did that make it a dead lelter?

48.What does he wish to be with him?

49.Who joined John in greetings?

50. What personal greeting did he here direct?

Verse 1

The elder. This term is explained at verse1of2John. There are several persons named Gaius in the New Testament. Thayer notes them in connection with certain passaged, and at our verse he says the following: "An unknown Christian, to whom the third epistle of John is addressed." Robinson"s Lexicon, Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Bible Dictionary all favor the same identity. He was evidently John"s convert, for in 3 John 1:4 he is included in "my children." Whom I love in the truth is the same thing he says of the "lady" in the preceding book. It means his love for them is because of their devotion to the truth.

Verse 2

This verse is similar to many passages where the grace of God is wished for the disciples. However, in this the writer is first expressing a wish for the physical health of his convert. He is interested in his spiritual welfare, of course, but he seems to know that Gaius is in satisfactory condition in that respect, which is indicated by the words as thy soul prospereth.

Verse 3

Some brethren had brought a report of the conduct of Gaius which was favorable. That is the basis of his remark about his soul prospering.

Verse 4

The joy over the faithfulness of his convert is the kind of "reward" that he means in 2 John 1:8. Beingone of his converts John speaks of him as being among his children. (See explanation of this subject at 1 Timothy 1:2.)

Verse 5

Doest faithfully denotes that whatever Gaius did he was in earnest about it; not half-hearted. He did his good deeds for others "heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" ( Colossians 3:23). To brethren and to strangers is in keeping with Galatians 6:10. Paul there says for disciples to "do good unto all men, exspcially to them who are of the household of faith."

Verse 6

Have borne witness was done by the brethren mentioned in the preceding verse ( 3 John 1:5). They seem to have been traveling from place to place, or some of them were, which gave them an opportunity for making the report to John referred to. AGaius assisted these travelers in so ay for their journey. After a godly sort means it was in the name of God and because of their work for Him.

Verse 7

These traveling brethren were evidently engaged in spreading the Gospel, for the next verse speaks about being fellow-helpers to the truth. The Lord has "ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." ( 1 Corinthians 9:14). Yet, Paul refrained from such support in order that he might relieve the brethren of that pressure. The brethren of our verse did something similar, except they evidently made that concession to the people of the nations (Gentiles).

Verse 8

Because of the aforesaid sacrifice, John insists that the disciples should voluntarily assist them. Fellowhelpers to the truth. A man may not be able to preach the Gospel, but if he supports the man who does Song of Solomon , he becomes a partner with him in the work and will be lessed of the Lord for his contribution.

Verse 9

I wrote unto the church means the church of which Gaius was a member. This is indicated by some following statements in the book. John insists that he will come to the place to which he wrote the letter referred to, and at the same time trusts to see Gaius face to face. The fact that John wrote unto the church but that Diotrephes ignored the letter, indicates that the epistle was sent to this man as an elder of the congregatio n. That would be usual to send an official document to the officers, or at least in their care, as we read that Paul addressed his epistle to the church at Philippi to "the bishops and deacons" ( Philippians 1:1). Thae epistle had something to do with John"s proposed visit to the church, since he declares or implies that he is going to make the journey notwithstanding the opposition of Diotrephes. This may raise a question in the mind of the reader whether it is right to visit a congregation against the authority of an elder. It is proper for an apostle to do Song of Solomon , for they were in the church before the elders. (See 1 Corinthians 12:28 where "governments" stands for the eldership.) Loveth to have the preeminence. This thirst for power among the elders is what resulted in the great falling away and development of the Church of Rome. Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 that the mystery of this iniquity was already at work when he was writing, and he evidently was referring to such characters as Diotrephes. (See General remarks at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17.)

Verse 10

John expects to come and when he dopes he will consider the deeds of Diotrephes, namely, his opposition to the apostle. Prating means to use false accusations against John in an effort to defend himself. Malicious words are the kind uttered with the intent of doing harm. Not content therewith is said because he not only opposed John , but opposed the brethren whom he sent to the church as messengers. He also forbade others who would have accepted the messengers, and if they showed friendship for the apostolic messengers, they were excluded from the church.

Verse 11

This whole verse is a kindly exhortation for Gaius to continue in the good life that he is now following which will demonstrate that he is of God.

Verse 12

This Demetrius is not found in any other place that I have seen. He was a disciple well spoken of by all who knew him. Of all, and of he truth itself. A man could have a good name without deserving it, but the report for Demetrius was a truthful one. John adds his testimony for the good name of this brother by saying we also bear record. It is probable that he was to be the bearer of this epistle.

Verse 13

This has the same meaning as 2 John 1:12.

Verse 14

The usual friendly salation from friends, just another affectionate title from the mind of the loving John. Greet the friends by name. This denotes a personal recognition of the faithful messengers who are coming to see the congregation


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Bibliography Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 3 John 1:4". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.

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