Summary: Analysis of 3 John. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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Analysis of 3 John.

• (a). The encouragement of Gaius (vs 1-8)

• (B). The criticism of Diotrephes (vs 9-10)

• (c). The testimony of Demetrius (vs 11-12)


A grandmother was looking after her two little grandchildren;

• A 7-year-old girl, and a 5-year-old boy.

• And both these children had been very, very naughty.

• As the time drew near for their mother to pick them up,

• The little girl said, "Are you going to tell Mummy how we behaved?"

• The grandmother replied, "No, I’m not. But if she asks me, I can’t tell a lie."

• The little boy looked up to her and said, "Why not? I’m only five, and I can lie great."

• In 2 John the letter you look at last week;

• The problem was the woman had love but at the expense of truth!

• In 3 John the letter we are looking at this week;

• The problem was a man had truth but at the expense of love!

In the Greek text this is the shortest letter in the New Testament:

• Both 2 John and 3 John focuses on the basic issue of hospitality;

• But they come from, different angles.

• While 2 John warns against showing hospitality to false teachers;

• 3 John condemns the lack of hospitality shown to faithful teachers of God’s word.

(1). Comparison with 2 John.


• 2 John was written to a lady and her children,

• 3 John is written to a man and his acquaintances.


• The problem John addressed in his second letter;

• Was a lady entertaining the wrong kind of travellers, visitors.

• The problem in 3 John;

• Is a man who refused to entertain the right kind of travellers, visitors.


• In 2 John hospitality is misplaced.

• In 3 John hospitality is missing completely.


• It’s kind of ironic that in 2 John a lady said yes, to a person she should have said no too.

• In 3 John a man said no, to a person she should have said yes too.


• The message of 2 John is:

• Truth was needed to bring love back into balance.

• The message of 3 John is:

• Love was needed to bring truth back into balance.

(f). Finally...

• In 2 John no personal names are mentioned.

• In 3 John a number of specific names are mentioned.

• i.e. Gaius (vs 1-8), Diotrephes (vs 9-10), Demetrius (vs 11-12)

(2). Analysis of 3 John.

• An outline of this letter naturally forms around the three men that are mentioned:

• First in verses 1-8 we meet Gaius.

• Second in verses 9-10 we meet Diotrephes.

• Third in verses 11-12 we meet Demetrius.

(a). The encouragement of Gaius (vs 1-8)

• As you scan the letter it becomes clear that Gaius was very close to John.

• Just look at the affectionate way he refers to him.

• i.e. verse 1: “To my dear friend” or “Beloved Gaius”.

• i.e. verse 2: “Dear friend” or “Beloved Gaius”.

• i.e. verse 5: “Dear friend” or “Beloved Gaius”.

• i.e. verse 11: “Dear friend” or “Beloved Gaius”.


• We don’t know for sure who this particular Gaius was:

• We do know that there are there are three people called Gaius;

• Who get a name check in the New Testament.

• (a). Gaius the Macedonian – he is mentioned in Acts chapter 19.

• (b).Gaius of Derbe – he is mentioned in Acts chapter 20.

• (c). Gaius of Corinth – he actually gets a double mention;

• In 1 Corinthin’s chapter 1verse 4 and Romans chapter 16 verse 23.

• (d). Of course it might have been someone completely different;

• ill: The name Gaius was as popular in the Roman empire;

• As the names John or Richard are today.

• ill: The Romans had 18 names that they usually chose from;

• Gaius was in that list of 18!

• Now although we cannot tell with certainty who this Gaius was;

• We do know a number of things about him.

(1st). He was a sick man (vs 2).

• Those words “You may enjoy good health”,

• Suggest that Gaius may not have been a well man.

• In most New Testament greetings & prayers the focus is on spiritual health, not physical;

• So that mention of physical health would suggest he was or had been an unwell man.

(2). He was spiritually healthy (vs 2).

• “...even as your soul is getting along well”.

• Gaius may have failed his physical medical;

• But he ‘passed with flying colours’ his spiritual check up!

• It is amazing how many Christian folk who suffer very poor physical health;

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