Bible Studies

III John

The character of Gaius

Here in this Epistle we have John, an apostle and elder of the church, saluting, honoring and exhorting a brother in the Lord.

II John was written to an elect (saved) lady

II Jn 1:1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

But III John is written to a believer who is worthy of esteem and value. He is notified, by name-Gaius. The name is mentioned four other times in the Bible. In Acts 19:29- and Acts 20:4 this is the same person. In Rom 16:23 and 1 Cor 1:14 it could very well be the same person.

By the kind expressions of the apostle to him as the well beloved, and whom I love in the truth, we can see the sincerity of the apostles' love for this man. The truth of God that Gaius manifests and the Christian charity that he is known for is evident that his soul prospers, because Paul has heard about it. v 3. John wishes and probably petitions God that this man will prosper in his health as well as his soul.

Matthew Henry commentary says that often a valued or trustful soul is lodged in a handicapped or impaired body. Grace must be put to use in submission, or compliance to such an allotment. The apostle Paul had a thorn in his side. God told Paul His grace was sufficient for him. Paul had to put the grace of God into submission, or compliance to such an allotment. (2 Cor 12:7-9)

The prayer of a healthy body for God's ministers is good, in that a healthy body will be more able to administer to the saints and spread the gospel of Christ.

John's concern gives witnesses that it is possible to be physically ill and spiritually healthy; in spite of what those who preach a faith, health, wealth and prosperity gospel might say. But as important as physical health is to those who would serve and glorify God, spiritual health is even more important, especially in the case of a teacher.

Those who have physical illness often display symptoms that are obvious for all to see. When someone asks us, "Aren't you feeling well today," we may wonder why they ask. Such inquiries often indicate the presence of an outward and obvious sign of the physical problem. Many times spiritual illness is also indicated by obvious outward and noticeable signs as well.

It is true that physical good health is often implied by clearly visible evidence.. Such signs as rosy cheeks, a springy step and a twinkle in the eye are well known. The same can be said of spiritual health. It seems the condition of Gaius spiritual health was obviously outwardly manifest for all to see. This Elder reflected his spiritual growth.

2 Cor 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

In many cases physical health can be achieved and maintained by faithful and regular obedience to the "needs of the body". Wholesome nutrition and regular exercise is important. Sufficient rest is required and cleanliness is helpful. Regular attendance to these important factors are essential to good physical health.

LIKEWISE-the spirit of man, just as his body, needs "regular" attendance to the things needed for spiritual healthiness and growth. We must ourselves feed on the Word of God, and be fed on the Word of God, by others. Yet we must go further and exercise our spirits. We must be involved in Godly activities. Witnessing and serving others. Sufficient rest is required. Quite times in communion with God is essential. (prayer)

It is very clear that many people in the churches today are not like Gaius. It has been said that hospitals minister to sick people, schools to ignorant people and the Church to sinful people. Therefore we shouldn't set too high a standard for church members. But sick people are expected to ultimately get well, ignorant people are supposed to continuously learn and Christians should be expected to grow and become better and stronger spiritually. There is no excuse for us to remain permanently babes nursing on milk when we should mature to be grown up sons of God feasting on the meat of the Word.

Heb 5:12-14 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

1 Cor 3:1-3 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Have you ever seen the malnourished children shown on the TV? Do you notice how pitiful they look? It is hard to look upon such examples of poverty.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could picture the condition of those who suffer from spiritual malnutrition with at least an equal amount of dread? Is the unsightliness any less distressing in the eyes of God? Isn't spiritual malnutrition even more serious than short-lived hunger and hardship? Yet many Christians can see this wretched condition manifest in "brothers and sisters" in Christ and it doesn't bother them one bit. .

This type of Christian cannot put on the whole armor of God and fight. They are merely spiritual survivors who get just enough spiritual food to weakly struggle on from day to day. They don't know the meaning of prospering spiritually.

Has the church grown to "feel comfortable" in this weakened condition? Maybe the church needs to raise the standards or expectations of the fellowship, because people rarely rise above what is expected of them. You know-it's got to where the "normal" Christian is now seen as a "fanatic" in the eyes of the spiritually weak church.

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John wishes and probably petitions God that this man will prosper in his physical undertakings, (job-business affairs) as well as his soul.

The words "mayest prosper" and " prospereth" are the same Greek word, and is the word used in the following verse.

1 Cor 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

Many times God does prosper his servants in material goods, and there's nothing wrong in that. A prudent and grateful servant will use much of his material blessings to the glory of God.

In verses 4 John speaks as though he may have converted Gaius, or else started the church where he was assembling.

Gaius does charitable things for the brethren in the local church and to strangers. Now these people that were strangers to Gaius were most probable missionaries who have born witness of him to John. John tells Gaius to send these strangers on their journey in a good way, or after a Godly sort, because for Jesus sake they went to preach to the Gentiles and took no housing, food, money from them.

If the church where Gaius assembled was to receive, or welcome these missionaries, and help provide for their needs as they took nothing from the Gentiles, they would be involved in the work these men accomplished.(verse 8)

In verse nine John says that he wrote to the church where Gaius was assembling together, but Diotrephes, who was evidently the pastor or leading elder loved to have the preeminence, dominance, or superiority over the local believers, or church menders. He would not receive John and his group. Diotrephes was full of proud ambition and desired to elevate his personal authority

Diotrephes babbles and talks with wicked and evil words against John and his group whoever they are. But he isn't satisfied with this, he also won't let the other church members welcome them and disfellowships those that would. He is a dictator and an oppressor.. (verse 10)

Diotrephes is doing evil and John says those that do evil have not seen God. John says do not follow this evil man. I believe John is telling them to get out of that church. (verse 11)

In verse 12 John talks of another man. So far he has talked of Gaius to which this letter was written. He has talked of the evil Diotrephes, and not he speaks of another good Christian, Demetrius. Demetrius' good testimony was witnessed to by three sources: (1) all men, (2) the truth, that is, the standard of Christianity, and (3) John and those with him.(verse 12)

A man by the name of Demetrius is mention two other times in the Bible .This is in Acts 19:24 and 19:38. This Demetrius was a silversmith who made silver shrines for the pagan goddess Diana.

John says to say hello to the brethren by name. He says, "don't say the apostle John sends his greetings". The friends are to be told of the greetings each separately.