III John

Author: St. John, son of Zebedee

Date: Written: 70-100 AD


John addresses this letter to Gaius, a wealthy Christian in one of the communities under John's care.  3 John is one of two NT letters that are written to specific person (the other is Philemon).  It gives a poignant yet brief glimpse into the daily workings of the early Church. On authorship, see Introduction to 1 John.


John commends Gaius for his continuous hospitality to traveling missionaries.  He asks Gaius to continue hosting missionaries and helping them on their way (3-6).  In contrast to 2 John, where the apostle warns against hosting certain people, 3 John encourages Gaius to play host.  Yet the apostle defines the type of people Gaius should host as those who have gone out from John's community, who have received nothing from non-believers and who have potential to be "fellow workers for the truth" (5-8).  John notes that Gaius' hospitality is an act of faith and love, a true expression of his genuine commitment to Christ (5-6).


A tone of Christian love pervades the letter.  John states his love for Gaius and addresses him as "beloved" three times (1, 2, 5, 11).  He expresses his joy and concern for Gaius and his desire to see him soon (2-4, 14).  The letter is sent from the context of one community of "friends" to another (15).


John warns Gaius about the activities of Diotrephes, who has claimed authority over a church for himself and spurned John's teaching (9).  Illustrating the importance of hospitality in the early Church, John notes Diotrephes' refusal to host Christian missionaries as an obvious example of his disobedience (10).  John may be turning to Gaius for help in providing for the needs of missionaries where Diotrephes used to help.


By "putting himself first" Diotrephes has apparently claimed some sort of authority for himself without the apostle's permission (9).  He rejected John's initial letter and refuses to acknowledge his authority.  In addition to this, Diotrephes has been publicly speaking against John (10).


John only gives one exhortation in the whole letter: to imitate good, not evil (11).  He points his readers away from the example of Diotrephes and toward the good.  Additionally, John gives a commendation of Demetrius who may have been the letter-bearer of 3 John.  In harmony with the letter-writing traditions of the first century, John expresses his wish to come visit Gaius (13-14).  He also imparts a greeting from "the friends" in his community (15).


3 John illustrates how Christian faith translates into concrete actions.  Gaius fulfills his obligation to receive missionaries as guests because of his faith.  Diotrephes exposes his illegitimacy by refusing missionary guests.  Also, John's apostolic authority comes to the fore.  He evaluates Christian teachers and makes it his personal responsibility to visit Diotrephes' congregation and confront him (10).  Yet in the face of controversy, John communicates with the warmth of Christian love.


By Mark Giszczak


Ads by Google
(What's this?)


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »


Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: