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Examination of 3 John 1-4

3 John 1 New American Standard Bible

1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

The elder here refers to John the Apostle. He doesn’t

refer to himself as an apostle, but simply as an elder. He is writing a personal letter to man named Gaius. We know that John and this man have a close bond in Christ as John refers to Him as beloved and whom he loves in the truth.

Believers have a special relationship with one another through Jesus Christ. In Christ we are adopted into God’s family. In Christ we not only become children of God, but we become fellow brothers and sisters with those who also profess trust in Jesus Christ. This is why Jesus said a new command I give you that you love one another.

John not only wrote of this often in his letters, but he lived it out for those who observed his life to see. We will develop a reputation by the actions that make up of our lives. No matter how much we may be able to talk about the bible and even quote scripture, if it is not evident in our daily living, then it demonstrates it has not truly taken root in our hearts. The true Christian is one who lives out their faith on a daily basis and truly reflects the character and nature of Jesus Christ. This was the case with John the apostle.

3 John 2 New American Standard Bible

2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

God is concerned not only with the well-being of our spiritual health, He is concerned with our physical health as well. Taking care of our physical health is important for being the best servant of Jesus Christ we can be. Everything from our diet, to how much sleep we are getting, to physical activity will not only impact our physical health but will directly impact our ability to serve the Lord.

Many during this time believed the spiritual was good and the physical was bad. But John shows us here that this is not the case. John refers to Gaius as beloved and had a great concern for him as a fellow brother in Christ. It seems that Gaius may have been very healthy spiritually, but physically may have been lacking. It is important that we not only properly take care of our spiritual lives, but we take care of our physical bodies as well.

3 John 3 New American Standard Bible

3 For I was overjoyed when brothers came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.

John’s joy was found in Gaius walking in the truth. It brought great joy to his heart. When those returned that John had sent out to check on the churches, more than likely John had heard reports about issues that existed in the body of Christ. But it brought great joy to him to hear that Gaius is walking in the truth.

In the previous verse John had talked about the importance of both his physical health and spiritual health. John now points out that Gaius is walking in the truth. This means that Gaius not only believers, but he is living his life before others to see.

This should be the goal of every believer in Jesus Christ. To truly live out our faith. God never meant for the life and faith of a believer to be enclosed in the four walls of a building. I thank God for physical buildings where we can meet, but God meant for our Christianity to invade the marketplace. When we truly walk in the truth it is a living testimony to the reality and truth of who Jesus Christ is.

3 John 4 New American Standard Bible

4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

John referred to those who he had discipled and raised up in the faith as his children. These are his spiritual children. Just as a physical parent takes great pride and joy in the way their children live their lives and accomplish things, there is no greater joy in the life of a spiritual parent than to hear that the one you have invested in is walking in the truth.

Discipleship is an investment. It can be a messy and painful process as well. Sometimes there are those we invest in and disciple who fail to walk in the truth. They continue to struggle and fail and return to the world. But we should never give up on those God has brought into our lives to disciple. We must pray for them diligently and continue to sow into their lives seeds of encouragement and hope.

Gaius brought incredible joy into the life of the aged apostle because here he heard of one who was walking in the truth. Not merely giving Jesus lip service, but actually living out the truth on a daily basis. His life and desire to live for Christ brought great joy to the man who had personally walked with Christ and referred to himself as the one whom Jesus loved.

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