Thursday, September 10, 2009

3 John - Introduction

This tiny book – written by the apostle John – is John’s personal letter to a man named Gaius, likely a leader in some respect, a person with significant responsibility. 3 John is a companion letter to 2 John, and both have similar, pastoral concerns behind them. 2 John was concerned to encourage Christians not to show hospitality to false teachers, whereas 3 John is concerned to encourage Christians to show hospitality to true, faithful Christian missionaries and evangelists. John warns these Christians against showing hospitality and giving support to and respecting false teachers, but he doesn’t want them to overreact and stop showing hospitality to and support for and encouragement of true and faithful Christian teachers, evangelists, and missionaries. That context is the backdrop of this letter. So the positive instruction of 3 John – Show hospitality to missionaries who are visiting – balances the negative instruction of 2 John – Do not show support or hospitality towards those who deny the teaching of the Bible, Jesus’ teaching about Himself, the apostles’ teaching about Him.

This letter breaks into distinct parts. First, we have a salutary greeting in v1-2 and a celebration over the news about the faithfulness of Gaius in v3-4. Second, we have an encouraging commendation for hospitality and an exhortation to cooperate for the sake of the truth in v5-8. Third, we have a reminder regarding the evil behavior and bad example of Diotrephes, along with an exhortation to do what is good in v9-11. Fourth and finally, we have a good example set forth in the commendation of Demetrius, along with a concluding blessing in v12-14. Let’s take a closer look at the text.

No comments: