Even though 3 John is short, it has many things to teach us, church workers, and any Christian. These are not suggestions, they are part of God’s kingdom life that we must learn now as much as possible. These are my translation and notes.
Salutation Chapter 1:1-4
Providing For Traveling Evangelists Chapter 1:5-8
False, Controlling Pastor Chapter 1:9-12
Farewell Chapter 1:13-14
1 The elder to the beloved Gaius whom I love in truth.
2 Beloved, I pray that yous may flourish and be in health in everything, just as yours soul is flourishing.
[Hopefully, we pray for our brothers and sisters for their soul to prosper, then for their health and wellbeing to prosper. The Greek word for ‘flourish’ is εὐοδόω euodóō (G2137). It means in a literal sense to have a successful journey (Romans 1:10). Further, it has the meaning of successful is various endeavors and success. See 1 Corinthians 16:2. There is concern for others before ourselves. There is love for our brothers and sisters to pray for their success, for God to bless them. Prosperity for the soul is not in this world’s goods, money, power, fame, success in whatever field one is occupied with. Rather, it is prospering in spiritual matters as growing in faith, knowledge, wisdom, love, peace, being in God’s will, holy life, family life, and church life. Compare Galatians 6:8 and 2 Timothy 1:7].
3 For I greatly rejoiced when the brethren came and reported of the truth that is in yous, even as yous live in truth.
[Note the importance of truth. We must rejoice every time truth is lived and spoken. Compare Psalm 56:13 (resulting from a heart of thankfulness) and Genesis 17:1 (a requirement of God for us as evidenced by Abraham)].
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are habitually living in truth.
[Truth is reality. Truth has no lies. It is not an appearance of truth. It is consistent in public and private. Lying to protect the innocent is not something judged. Compare Rahab (Hebrews 11:31 and Joshua 2) and God to Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:1-3 (Samuel did have a sacrifice but didn’t tell the part about anointing David). Lying to my advantage (not getting caught for a crime, to make money, to seduce, etc.) is evil. Lying to protect other’s crime is evil. Jesus always told the truth. See John 18:19-38 for examples and the contrast from Peter’s life].
Providing For Traveling Evangelists
5 Beloved, what yous do to the brethren and strangers is done faithfully.
[Next, the Apostle mentions being faithful. This is faithful to the Christian doctrine as the Apostles and Jesus taught and to God’s desire for us to live His kingdom worldview, lifestyle, character traits, rules, etc.].
6 They testified about yours love before the church. Yous will do well to aid them in their journey in a manner worthy of God.
[Thirdly, the Apostle mentions love (G26)—God’s type of love].
7 For they went out for his name’s sake, accepting nothing from unbelievers.
[The name is Jesus. Compare John 1:12 and Philippians 2:9-11. The Biblical Illustrator, NT has this note:
Their motive: “for His name’s sake” — for Christ’s service.
Their conduct: “they went forth.” With the gospel in his hand and the Saviour in his heart he makes his way through burning deserts and the howling wilderness, braving the rage of climates.
Their disinterestedness: “taking nothing” of those to whom they are sent. When an artisan or commercial man quits his native country for foreign lands it is in the hope of making a fortune; or when a navigator undertakes an arduous voyage of discovery, it is with the hope of immortalising his name. Not so the Christian missionary].
8 Therefore, we should welcome such, so that we may be co-workers in the truth.
[Those Jesus Christ and His church (believers) are to be helped financially and to meet the necessities of life as food and shelter].
False, Controlling Pastor
9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the supremacy over them, won’t receive us.
[Diotrephes is the example of what a church worker should NEVER be like. He has the character traits of being an abuser (in every way), a bully, and arrogant. He does NOT have the character traits of truth, love, and faithfulness to the faith. He truly has fallen into the pride of the devil (1 Timothy 3:6)].
10 For this reason, if I come, I will remember his actions, which he does, blabbering against us with wicked words, and not being content with that he himself will not welcome the brethren, forbids those who want to, and throws them out of the church.
[John is going to exercise his apostolic authority. Compare Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:3-7].
11 Beloved do not imitate what is evil but what is good. He who is doing good is of God, but he who is doing evil has not seen God.
[What a person says is important, but how a person lives and acts in private is most important. We are not to imitate evil; that’s what we were delivered from by the Lord Jesus. Contrast the two in Galatians 5:19-26].
12 Demetrius has a good report from all, even from the truth itself. We also bear witness, and youp know that our witness is true.
13 I have many things to write, but I will not with pen and ink write to yous,
14 But I hope to see yous soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace be with yous. [Our] friends greet yous. Greet the friends by name