Book of the Week 64: III John

Greek Name: IOANNOU  G

Human Author: John (The Apostle)                                   

OT or NT: New Testament

Number of Chapters: 1

Basic Facts

  1. III John is the sixty-fourth book of the Bible.

  2. In terms of literary genre, III John is classified as an epistle, or letter.

  3. The Greek name for the book of III John is IOANNOU G which means, “of John – three.”

  4. III John is addressed to a man named Gaius.

  5. III John is the second shortest book of the New Testament; it is only longer than II John.

Story of the Book

John begins this letter by identifying himself simply as “the Elder” and addresses his letter to a brother in Christ named Gaius (III John 1:1). John proclaims that he loves Gaius in Christ, and rejoices that Gaius is walking in the truth (III John 1:2-3), proclaiming that his greatest joy is to know that his children in the faith are walking in the truth (III John 1:4). He commends Gaius for generously showing hospitality and support for missionaries who came to him as strangers (III John 1:5). John encourages Gaius to send the missionaries out in a manner worthy of God, commending the missionaries for going out in the name of Christ without accepting anything from the Gentiles (III John 1: 6-7). For this reason, John writes that it is fitting to support such people in order to be fellow workers in the truth (III John 1:8). John then turns his attention to a matter of church discipline, stating that he has written to the church to rebuke a man named Diotrephes. Diotrephes liked to put himself first, refused to accept the authority of John as an Apostle, refuses to welcome Christian brothers, and prevents other believers from showing hospitality, and excommunicated believers who do show hospitality (III John 1:9-10). He warns Gaius to imitate good rather than evil, for those who do good are from God, and those who do evil have not seen God (III John 1:11). John then turns his attention to commending a man named Demetrius, who received a good report of his faith from the truth of the Gospel, from others, and from John and his companions (III John 1:12-13). John says he has much to write about, but he cuts his letter short, hoping instead to meet Gaius in person and speak with him face to face (III John 1:13-14). He closes his letters by sending Gaius a final greeting, telling him to greet each of his brother in Christ by name (III John 1:15).

Jesus Revealed in III John

Jesus is revealed in III John as the one who is Himself the truth and has revealed the truth of the Gospel (John 14:6; III John 1: 2-4, 8, 12-13). Because Jesus Himself is the Truth, everyone who abides in Christ also abides in the Truth. John commends missionaries who go out to the world in the name of Christ, and commends Gaius for showing them support and hospitality in order that he might be a fellow worker in the truth (III John 1:5-8). John tells Gaius that it his greatest joy to know that his children in the Lord are walking in the truth (III John 1:4).

Just as John found joy in knowing that his spiritual children are walking in the truth, we as believers today can be assured that if we are abiding in Christ that we also are walking in the truth.  The truth of the gospel is that Jesus Himself is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). John re-affirms this truth in his letter to Gaius, who is walking in the truth of the gospel and showing hospitality to strangers in order to be a fellow laborer for the truth. We as believers today will do well to learn from Gaius’ example by supporting missionaries and waking in the truth as Gaius did.