Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 3 John 1:11-15

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Exhorting Hospitality - 3 John 1:11-12

John commends Gaius’ right behavior and right belief. It is clear that Gaius knows God (v. 11). John wants him to keep doing what he has been doing. John also commends Demetrius, talking about how trustworthy he is (v. 12)

Doing good - 3 John 1:11

imitate… does good… does evil. This is related to what John says elsewhere, that doing right is the mark of those who are from God (see notes on 1 Jn. 3:7-10). However, doing right and doing good are not the same thing. In 1 John, doing right has to do with obeying God’s commands, the opposite of sinning or lawlessness. In 3 John, doing good has to do with giving hospitality. In this context, doing good is providing hospitality to the travelling missionaries, and doing evil is failing to take care of the missionaries.

Demetrius - 3 John 1:12

Demetrius… testimony. See WLC 144; WSC 77. This is a recommendation for Demetrius from John and the rest of his churches. For more on letters of recommendation, see note on 2 Cor. 3:1. The case here may be that no one in Diotrephes’ house church will help Demetrius, so John is asking Gaius to take care of him. In Paul’s case, there were sometimes fake letters that had to be uncovered (see note on 2 Thess. 2:2). Not only this, but letter carriers sometimes had to explain Paul’s letters. It is possible that Demetrius is going to play this role for John, so John gives Gaius reasons to listen to him. The local church has endorsed Demetrius (see notes on Acts 6:3; 10:22; 16:2; 22:12; Heb. 11:2, 4, 5, 39). He is also endorsed by the truth itself and by the apostles (see notes on Jn. 19:35; 21:24)

Final Greetings - 3 John 1:14

see you soon. See note on 1 Jn. 12. John adds his concern for peace here (v. 15). friends. This word is only used here in the NT to talk about believers. At the same time, Jesus called his disciples his friends (see notes on Jn. 15:13-15). Jesus’ friends are those who obey his commandments. It is possible the early Christians called themselves the friends, but that is not clear. If friends here have to do with a group of Christians, it probably has to do with the Christians who are at the place where John is. These Christians could have borrowed the title friends from the Epicureans, who had philosophical communities that were made up of “friends.

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