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1 The Elder vnto the welbeloued Gaius, whom I loue in the trueth:

2 Beloued, I wish aboue all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, euen as thy soule prospereth.

3 For I reioyced greatly when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, euen as thou walkest in the trueth.

4 I haue no greater ioy, then to heare that my children walke in truth.

5 Beloued, thou doest faithfully whatsoeuer thou doest to the Brethren, and to strangers:

6 Which haue borne witnesse of thy charitie before the Church: whome if thou bring forward on their iourney after a godly sort, thou shalt doe well:

7 Because that for his Names sake they went foorth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.

8 We therefore ought to receiue such, that we might be fellow helpers to the trueth.

9 I wrote vnto the Church, but Diotrephes, who loueth to haue the preeminence among them, receiueth vs not.

10 Wherefore if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against vs with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth hee himselfe receiue the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the Church.

11 Beloued, follow not that which is euill, but that which is good. He that doth good, is of God: but hee that doth euill, hath not seene God.

12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the trueth it selfe: yea, and we also beare record, and ye know that our record is true.

13 I had many things to write, but I will not with inke and pen write vnto thee.

14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and wee shall speake face to face. Peace bee to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

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Commentary for 3 John 1

This epistle is addressed to a converted Gentile. The scope is to commend his stedfastness in the faith, and his hospitality, especially to the ministers of Christ.

- The apostle commends Gaius for piety and hospitality. (1-8) Cautions him against siding with Diotrephes, who was a turbulent spirit; but recommends Demetrius as a man of excellent character. (9-12) He hopes soon to see Gaius. (13,14)

1-8 Those who are beloved of Christ, will love the brethren for his sake. Soul prosperity is the greatest blessing on this side heaven. Grace and health are rich companions. Grace will employ health. A rich soul may be lodged in a weak body; and grace must then be exercised in submitting to such a dispensation. But we may wish and pray that those who have prosperous souls, may have healthful bodies; that their grace may shine where there is still more room for activity. How many professors there are, about whom the apostle's words must be reversed, and we must earnestly wish and pray that their souls might prosper, as their health and circumstances do! True faith will work by love. A good report is due from those who receive good; they could not but testify to the church, what they found and felt. Good men will rejoice in the soul prosperity of others; and they are glad to hear of the grace and goodness of others. And as it is a joy to good parents, it will be a joy to good ministers, to see their people adorn their profession. Gaius overlooked petty differences among serious Christians, and freely helped all who bore the image, and did the work of Christ. He was upright in what he did, as a faithful servant. Faithful souls can hear their own praises without being puffed up; the commendation of what is good in them, lays them at the foot of the cross of Christ. Christians should consider not only what they must do, but what they may do; and should do even the common actions of life, and of good-will, after a godly sort, serving God therein, and designing his glory. Those who freely make known Christ's gospel, should be helped by others to whom God gives the means. Those who cannot themselves proclaim it, may yet receive, help, and countenance those who do so.

9-12 Both the heart and mouth must be watched. The temper and spirit of Diotrephes was full of pride and ambition. It is bad not to do good ourselves; but it is worse to hinder those who would do good. Those cautions and counsels are most likely to be accepted, which are seasoned with love. Follow that which is good, for he that doeth good, as delighting therein, is born of God. Evil-workers vainly pretend or boast acquaintance with God. Let us not follow that which is proud, selfish, and of bad design, though the example may be given by persons of rank and power; but let us be followers of God, and walk in love, after the example of our Lord.

13,14 Here is the character of Demetrius. A name in the gospel, or a good report in the churches, is better than worldly honour. Few are well spoken of by all; and sometimes it is ill to be so. Happy those whose spirit and conduct commend them before God and men. We must be ready to bear our testimony to them; and it is well when those who commend, can appeal to the consciences of such as know most of those who are commended. A personal conversation together often spares time and trouble, and mistakes which rise from letters; and good Christians may well be glad to see one another. The blessing is, Peace be to you; all happiness attend you. Those may well salute and greet one another on earth, who hope to live together in heaven. By associating with and copying the example of such Christians, we shall have peace within, and live at peace with the brethren; our communications with the Lord's people on earth will be pleasing, and we shall be numbered with them in glory everlasting.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for 3 John 1

  • BSP
    Verse 4: Parents want their children to walk in the truth and do what is right. This takes hard work on the parents part in order to instill Bible principles in their children at a young age.
  • Tikki
    I find it interesting that John referred to himself as an "elder".
    In the book of revelation the "elders" who were in heaven (spiritual realm-Rev 1:10). Ended up having to cast their crowns down at the feet of him who was worthy (Jesus-Rev 4:10)
    The apostle Paul was the greatest apostle, due to the fact that he received the good news via the spirit of truth , by revelation (Gal 1:12).
  • Brian
    Insight this just sounds like it was Diotrephes that did not receive John's words, not the church. He was on a power trip and considered it HIS church the way it appears. He was apparently out of control in many things (verse 10). I'm guessing John set things straight when he got there (verse 14).
  • Insight777
    V9- the church would not receive Apostle John. They did not want to listen to John and responded with malice towards the truth of Jesus that John preached. John said he would remember this excommunication V10. John said follow good not evil. Could this be an inferior church that Paul established? Paul said his church was considered inferior because he caught his followers with guile (evil).
  • A disciple
    Insight; When I read this, I'm stunned that someone pretending Christianity could be so out of mind and without a conscience, to dare to do this to the very Apostles themselves! But having gone through something similar myself, I can say; I know the kind John writes about: and it isn't something that just recently showed up in the world. How does anyone in any age make himself God's mortal enemy?
  • Insight777
    V10 is important. What church has the right to cast out anyone! If a follower of Jesus, no one is denied the right to speak the gospel or listen to others that have a different interpretation of Bible parables. Jesus died because of blasphemy. He was cast out being denied the freedom of speech. Listen to each other respectfully to discern what the correct Bible symbolism is and find truth. Love is

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