Audience: Church Elder Gaius
Subjects: Welcome those who live for
Jesus, Imitate good, Evildoers are not from God, etc.
The letter of 3 John is a short letter written by John to an elder named Gaius. Unfortunately, John does not cover many subjects in 3 John, a major reason being that he is able to see him in person (as stated in verse 14).
John tells Gaius that he is very pleased with the report he received from fellow Christians that Gaius has been hospitable and caring to those who have been doing God's work by traveling around and witnessing about Jesus Christ.
John then speaks of someone who claims to be a member of the Church named Diotrephes, but "who loves to be first" and "will have nothing to do with us." (3 John 1:9 NIV) John says that this person has been spreading false rumors about John and the others doing the work of Christ. He says he will address this issue in person.
John then speaks briefly of another person named Demetrius, who "is well spoken of by everyone," (3 John 1:12 NIV) which is the end of the letter.
By the sound of this letter, it is possible that someone named Diotrephes was holding some position of authority in the church, yet his behavior was actually opposing Christ. John then mentions Demetrius, but he says very little about him, except that he is well spoken of by everyone.
It is very likely that John was mentioning Demetrius as a replacement for Diotrephes. 3 John sounds like a letter to inform Gaius that Diotrephes needs to be removed from his position of authority (since his actions clearly indicate that he is not a Christian - "Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God." 3 John 1:11 NIV) and have him replaced with Demetrius.
While this letter is very short, it appears to give us a glimpse into the developing structure of the early church.
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