Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 3 John 1:5-10

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Show hospitality to brothers - 3 John 1:5-8

brotherswelcome. Now John gets into the first major issue of the letter. Gaius has done a good job at showing hospitality to missionaries. He has an important ministry. It is possible that the travelling missionaries turned to Gaius for help because Diotrephes refused to help them (vv. 11-12). Regardless, these missionaries were strangers to Gaius when he first met them (v. 5), but Gaius still helped them (v. 6). They did not get any help from non-Christians, but only Gaius (v. 7). Therefore, John talks about how important this ministry of support is for missionaries (v. 8). This is all about Christians showing love for one another. They did not support everyone, but had to resist false teaching by not showing hospitality to them (see notes on 1 Jn. 4:1-3; 2 Jn. 10-11).

Sending missionaries - 3 John 1:6

send them off on their journey. This phrase about sending missionaries translates a form of a verb that was a technical term for missionary support in the early church (see notes on Acts 15:3; 20:38; 21:5; Rom. 15:24; 1 Cor. 16:6, 11; 2 Cor. 1:16; Tit. 3:13). This probably has to do with sending missionaries on with supplies for their journey. Hospitality was a major issue for Jews, because Greco-Roman inns were also brothels. Jewish people sought out other Jewish people to stay with, and they would bring a letter that recommended them as good Jews. Christians probably adopted the same practice so they could stay with one another

For the sake of Jesus - 3 John 1:7

for the sake of the name. That is, for the sake of Jesus. This phrase is used five other times in the NT, and most of the time it has to do with people being persecuted because they are Christians (see notes on Acts 5:41; 9:16; 15:26; 21:13). John also talks about the opponents going out from the community, but they go out to deceive other people (see note on 2 Jn. 7). These missionaries went out to preach the gospel they had heard from the apostles in the beginning. Gentiles. John uses Gentile here in the sense of non-Christian. If the missionaries had gotten help from nonbelievers, it would mean the Christians in that area were not doing their job of taking care of traveling ministers. The word here specifically means Gentile individuals with Gentile beliefs (see notes on Matt. 5:47; 6:7; 18:17). This is similar to how Jesus told his disciples that if a sinful person would not listen to the church, the church should treat them like a Gentile (Matt. 18:17) - 3 John 1:8

welcome. This word means far more than welcome. It has the idea of lifting up a person, of supporting them. In 2 John 11, John warned his readers that showing hospitality to the false teachers would make them sharers in their evil work. Here, showing respect to missionaries will mean they are working together with them for the truth. Providing hospitality to travelling missionaries is how Christians can participate in the cause of truth. That makes them fellow workers for the truth

Not Walking in Truth - 3 John 1:9-10

Negative Contrast. This is the most critical point of the epistle. John sees a problem in the church (v. 9). It is possible John is worried that Diotrephes will deny what John wrote in his other letters. Diotrephes will lead the church astray if he tells the people to go against John’s leadership. So, John handles this difficult situation here, warning Gaius what lies ahead

Who loves to be first - 3 John 1:9

who loves to be first among them. This phrase could mean Diotrephes was not elected as an elder or deacon, but took power for himself. It might just mean John views him has a trumped-up dictator. It is also possible that Diotrephes did not allow anyone else to speak or teach in the church, wanting the community to only listen to him. There is no historical record of Diotrephes ever being charged with heresy, so it is likely that John is talking about how he did not allow anyone else to teach but him. Diotrephes is insecure, so he lusts for power. This kind of person does not accept the authority of the apostles. By not receiving the people that John sent, Diotrephes disrespected John as well. To receive people who are sent is the same as receiving the one who sent them (see notes on Jn. 5:23; 12:44-45; 13:20; 14:24)

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