The Passion Translation
Love in Action
3 I was filled with joy and delight when the brothers arrived and informed me of your faithfulness to the truth. They told me how you live continually in the truth of Christ.[f] 4 It is the greatest joy of my life to hear that my children are consistently living their lives in the ways of truth!
Financially Supporting Missionaries
5 My beloved friend, I commend you for your demonstration of faithful love by all that you have done for the brothers on their journey, even though they were strangers at the time.[g] 6 They have shared publicly with the congregation[h] about the beautiful acts of love you have shown them.[i] Now, if you would be so kind, send them on their way with a generous gift, in a manner that would honor God.[j] 7 You see, it was their passion for the glory of the name of Christ that launched them out, and they’ve not accepted financial support from unbelievers.[k] 8 They are deserving of all the support we can give them, because through our giving we can partner with them for the truth.[l]
9 I have already written you once about this,[m] but Diotrephes,[n] who loves to be in charge and recognized as first among you, does not acknowledge our authority. 10 So if I come, I will address what he’s doing—spreading his malicious slander against us.[o] And not content with that, he refuses to welcome our brothers,[p] and he stands in the way of those who want to receive them and show them hospitality by throwing them out of the church!
12 As for Demetrius, everyone speaks very highly of him,[s] and even the truth itself stands by his side. We too wholeheartedly endorse him, and you know that our recommendation is reliable.
15 Peace to you, my friend. Your friends here send their loving greetings to you. Please greet each one of our friends there by name.
- 3 John 1:1 Or “presbyter.” This was obviously a self-designated term for the apostle John. He was an elder because of being the only living apostle who was chosen by Jesus.
- 3 John 1:1 Gaius was a convert of John’s and a close friend who likely had a leadership position in the church (location not given). Church tradition states that he was one of the seventy whom Jesus sent out and was later ordained by John as the bishop of Pergamum. See Apostolic Constitutions (7.46.9; Funk 1, 454). However, there was also a Gaius who became the bishop of Ephesus. There are four mentions of Gaius in the New Testament, although it is unlikely that they were the same person (Acts 19:29; Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 1:14). The name Gaius means “joyful or happy.” The Latin form of Gaius can be translated “lord.”
- 3 John 1:1 Or “continually love in truth” (reality).
- 3 John 1:2 The Greek word eudōomai means “to be brought along to a smooth and prosperous journey” or “to be continually prospered [unto success] in every way.” The Aramaic can be translated “as much as succeeds you.” See Josh. 1:8.
- 3 John 1:2 John is praying that Gaius’ physical health would match his spiritual health. God is concerned for both our physical health (he gave our bodies an immune system) and our souls (emotional and spiritual well-being). If physical health and soul “prosperity” were not the will of God, why would John pray that for Gaius?
- 3 John 1:3 Although the words Jesus, or Christ, do not appear anywhere in the text of 3 John, they are clearly implied.
- 3 John 1:5 These are traveling missionaries and itinerant speakers who were shown hospitality by Gaius. True hospitality is a lost art in some churches today and needs to be valued anew.
- 3 John 1:6 This would likely have been the church where John was ministering (Ephesus, Pergamum, or another unnamed location).
- 3 John 1:6 As translated from the Aramaic.
- 3 John 1:6 Or “equal to God’s value of them.” Apparently, these missionaries had reported to John, returned to the area where Gaius was living, and then continued on with their missionary journey. The Aramaic is quite different: “You outfitted them like a plank billboard for God”; that is, “The gifts you gave them made them an advertisement for God.”
- 3 John 1:7 Or “from the gentiles.”
- 3 John 1:8 By giving to those who preach the gospel and nurture the people of God, we are partnering with them in their ministry.
- 3 John 1:9 This refers to a lost letter, possibly destroyed by Diotrephes. So the letter we now have is actually 4 John.
- 3 John 1:9 Diotrephes was most likely an elder in the congregation who saw himself as the most important one, pushing himself forward with a controlling leadership style. He refused the apostolic authority of John and would not accept guest speakers who may have been sent by John. His name means “nourished by Jupiter.” Leaders must view other leaders not as threats but as coworkers. Love is not controlling or tyrannical. It is clear in the New Testament that the local church must have God-appointed ministry in the congregation from pastors, prophets, teachers, evangelists, and apostles (Eph. 4:11). Additionally, there were itinerant ministers that—if proven authentic—were to be received by the local church authorities and given both opportunities to minister and generous gifts to send them on their way.
- 3 John 1:10 Or “with evil words talking nonsense about us.”
- 3 John 1:10 These would be the itinerant ministers, missionaries who visited their assembly to minister in the region.
- 3 John 1:11 The Aramaic gives an entirely different slant to this verse. It can be translated “Beloved, don’t treat him with malice but with blessing” (good deeds).
- 3 John 1:11 This last clause is asyndetic in order to add emphasis.
- 3 John 1:12 It is possible that Demetrius was one of the “brothers” (v. 3) who was now coming to visit the church and that he was the one who carried this letter to Gaius. This letter served the purpose of being a “letter of recommendation” of Demetrius and his ministry.
- 3 John 1:13 Or “I’d rather not write with ink [pen] and paper.”
- 3 John 1:14 The Aramaic can be translated “mouth to mouth.”
New International Version
1 The elder,(A)
To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 It gave me great joy when some believers(B) came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.(C) 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children(D) are walking in the truth.(E)
5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters,[a](F) even though they are strangers to you.(G) 6 They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way(H) in a manner that honors(I) God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name(J) that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans.(K) 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.
9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come,(L) I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers.(M) He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.(N)
11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good.(O) Anyone who does what is good is from God.(P) Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.(Q) 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone(R)—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.(S)
13 I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.(T)
- 3 John 1:5 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family.