Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read the entire book.
Orientation 3 John is book #25 of 27 in the New Testament, and and is one of the general letters. For more information see the Bible Overview page. Synopsis This is the only one of John's letters addressed to an individual - Gaius. Gaius is a believer in a church run by a domineering, selfish leader -Diotrephes.
While 2 John focused on not welcoming the heretics, 3 John is somewhat the inverse - it focuses on showing hospitality to believers. (It was the custom at the time for believers to travel as evangelists, and stay in the homes of other believers).
John greets Gaius and relates the joy of hearing good reports of his works (3). His good works and hospitality have earned him a reputation (6). He is encouraged to show hospitality to believers (8). John's previous letter (lost) to selfish church leader Diotrephes was ignored. Diotrephes has not welcomed believers, been gossiping about the believers, and even excluding people from the church (10). John is coming and will deal with him. He hints that Demetrius will be a good ally to Gaius (12). John has things to say which he does not wish to commit to paper (13).
Discussion points John is coming into a touchy situation - dealing with a church leader who is clearly out of line. What avenues do we have in place if this situation arises today - both in preventing these situations and dealing with them if they occur?
John is coming and will confront Diotrephes. Then he hints that Demetrius is on their side. Reading between the lines - what do you expect to happen?
John has things to say which he does not wish to commit to paper. Do we have the same caution today about some things? Are there things better said verbally than written (or emailed - or posted online)?
For source citations see the home page. Revised April 14 2014
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