1The Elder, to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.2Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.3For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and bore witness of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in truth. 4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in truth. 5Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers,6who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well,7because they went forth on behalf of His name, taking nothing from the Gentiles.8We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.9I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us.10Therefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, ranting against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and prevents those who want to, putting them out of the church.11Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.12Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true.13I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink;14but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.
Jamieson Fausset Brown Bible Commentary 1
I--emphatical. I personally, for my part. On Gaius or Caius, see my Introduction before Second Epistle.
love in the truth-- (2John 1:1
). "Beloved" is repeated often in this Epistle, indicating strong affection (3John 1:1
-2, 3John 1:5
, 3John 1:11
above all things--Greek, "concerning all things": so ALFORD: in all respects. But WAHL justifies English Version (compare 1Pet 4:8
). Of course, since his soul's prosperity is presupposed, "above all things" does not imply that John wishes Gaius' bodily health above that of his soul, but as the first object to be desired next after spiritual health. I know you are prospering in the concerns of your soul. I wish you similar prosperity in your body. Perhaps John had heard from the brethren (3John 1:3
) that Gaius was in bad health, and was tried in other ways (3John 1:10
), to which the wish, 3John 1:2
be in health--in particular. 3
testified of the truth that is in thee--Greek, "of" (or 'to') thy truth": thy share of that truth in which thou walkest [ALFORD].
even as thou--in contrast to Diotrephes (3John 1:9
my children--members of the Church: confirming the view that the "elect lady" is a Church. 5
faithfully--an act becoming a faithful man.
whatsoever thou doest--a distinct Greek word from the former "doest": translate, "workest": whatsoever work, or labor of love, thou dost perform. So Matt 26:10
, "She hath wrought a good work upon me."
and to strangers--The oldest manuscripts, "and that (that is, and those brethren) strangers." The fact of the brethren whom thou didst entertain being "strangers," enhances the love manifested in the act. 6
borne witness of thy charity before the church--to stimulate others by the good example. The brethren so entertained by Gaius were missionary evangelists (3John 1:7
); and, probably, in the course of narrating their missionary labors for the edification of the Church where John then was, incidentally mentioned the loving hospitality shown them by Gaius.
bring forward on their journey--"If thou (continue to) forward on their journey" by giving them provisions for the way.
after a godly sort--Greek, "in a manner worthy of God," whose ambassadors they are, and whose servant thou art. He who honors God's missionary servants (3John 1:7
), honors God. 7
his name's sake--Christ's.
went forth--as missionaries.
taking nothing--refusing to receive aught by way of pay, or maintenance, though justly entitled to it, as Paul at Corinth and at Thessalonica.
Gentiles--the Christians just gathered out by their labors from among the heathen. As Gaius himself was a Gentile convert, "the Gentiles" here must mean the converts just made from the heathen, the Gentiles to whom they had gone forth. It would have been inexpedient to have taken aught (the Greek "meden" implies, not that they got nothing, though they had desired it, but that it was of their own choice they took nothing) from the infant churches among the heathen: the case was different in receiving hospitality from Gaius. 8
We--in contradistinction to "the Gentiles" or "heathen" referred to, 3John 1:7
therefore--as they take nothing from the Gentiles or heathen.
receive--The oldest manuscripts read, "take up." As they "take" nothing from the Gentiles, we ought to take them up so as to support them.
fellow helpers--with them.
to the truth--that is, to promote the truth. 9
I wrote--The oldest manuscripts add "something": a communication, probably, on the subject of receiving the brethren with brotherly love (3John 1:8
, 3John 1:10
). That Epistle was not designed by the Spirit for the universal Church, or else it would have been preserved.
unto the church--of which Gaius is a member.
loveth . . . pre-eminence--through ambition. Evidently occupying a high place in the Church where Gaius was (3John 1:10
among them--over the members of the Church.
receiveth us not--virtually, namely, by not receiving with love the brethren whom we recommended to be received (3John 1:8
, 3John 1:10
; compare Matt 10:40
if I come-- (3John 1:14
I will remember--literally, "I will bring to mind" before all by stigmatizing and punishing.
prating--with mere silly tattle.
neither doth he . . . receive the brethren--with hospitality. "The brethren" are the missionaries on their journey.
forbiddeth them that would--receive them.
casteth them--those that would receive the brethren, by excommunication from the Church, which his influence, as a leading man (3John 1:9
) in it, enabled him to do. NEANDER thinks that the missionaries were JEWS by birth, whence it is said in their praise they took nothing from THE GENTILES: in contrast to other Jewish missionaries who abused ministers' right of maintenance elsewhere, as Paul tells us, 2Cor 11:22
; Phil 3:2
, Phil 3:5
, Phil 3:19
. Now in the Gentile churches there existed an ultra-Pauline party of anti-Jewish tendency, the forerunners of Marcion: Diotrephes possibly stood at the head of this party, which fact, as well as this domineering spirit, may account for his hostility to the missionaries, and to the apostle John, who had, by the power of love, tried to harmonize the various elements in the Asiatic churches. At a later period, Marcion, we know, attached himself to Paul alone, and paid no deference to the authority of John. 11
follow not that which is evil--as manifested in Diotrephes (3John 1:9
but . . . good--as manifested in Demetrius (3John 1:12
is of God--is born of God, who is good.
hath not seen God--spiritually, not literally. 12
of all men--who have had opportunity of knowing his character.
of the truth itself--The Gospel standard of truth bears witness to him that he walks conformably to it, in acts of real love, hospitality to the brethren (in contrast to Diotrephes), &c. Compare John 3:21
"He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God."
we also--besides the testimony of "all men," and "of the truth itself."
ye know--The oldest manuscripts read, "thou knowest." 13
I will not--rather as Greek, "I wish not . . . to write" more. 14
face to face--Greek, "mouth to mouth."
Peace--peace inward of conscience, peace fraternal of friendship, peace supernal of glory [LYRA].
friends--a title seldom used in the New Testament, as it is absorbed in the higher titles of "brother, brethren." Still Christ recognizes the relation of friend also, based on the highest grounds, obedience to Him from love, and entailing the highest privileges, admission to the intimacy of the holy and glorious God, and sympathizing Saviour; so Christians have "friends" in Christ. Here in a friendly letter, mention of "friends" appropriately occurs.
by name--not less than if their names were written [BENGEL].