Walk in truth and lead people well | 3 John commentary

This is another short letter by the apostle John, written between 85-95 A.D. John addresses this letter to a loyal believer called Gaius. The second letter of John spoke of not helping missionaries who speak falsely. Well Gaius was a gracious helper of missionaries. Therefore, John had a few things to say, and some comparisons to make to other leaders, Diotrephes and Demetrius.

John starts the letter addressing Gaius and wishing him prosperity. He praises Gaius’ faithfulness and charity unto the church. This is because he helps missionaries faithfully. This sets a good example of other Christians, which is why John praises it. It also allows other audiences to realize the importance of helping missionaries. Now, missionaries are not beggars, they are simple people doing God’s work by carrying the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. Therefore, it is important to support their endeavors.

Next, John comments on another leader, Diotrephes, who is like an opposite of Gaius. Diotrephes was someone who did not receive John well, thus firing malicious words, and not being content with himself enough to help people in the church. Lastly, he comments on Demetrius, another leader, who had good reports from all men. People loved Demetrius. John claimed that Demetrius does well. John ends the letter letting Gaius know he would see him face-to-face soon (which is probably why the letter was short).

When it comes to walking in the truth, as John wrote in verse 3, this literally means to be good in your faith so much that people observe and testify of you. Gaius was a man that John thought mentionable as walking in the truth. Of course, Diotrephes was rebuked, mainly for undermining an office in the church and preventing people from being hospitable. Moreover, it is only right to not imitate evil (but rather to do good of God). Demetrius was another good example just like Gaius, which is why he was also mentioned.

It is important in the body of Christ, that God’s people do not mock the example of Diotrephes, but rather take on a better approach like Gaius and Demetrius. Therefore, we, as Christians, should support missionaries and help those who are in need. While doing this, we heed John’s warning in 2 John, where he warns about false teachers. If we heed those warnings, and give faithfully – then we will also walk in the truth, prosper, and be in good health. By supporting the Great Commission, we are doing the Will of God for all His people. We can expect to be blessed in this degree as stated, if we do God’s Will.

As such, we can put labels on these three men. Then, we can know what people would follow as an example. Gaius was a dependable leader in the church, who helped people. Diotrephes was the dominating or controlling official. Last, Demetrius is the kind messenger, who seems to have a good heart like Gaius. These are great examples.

Lessons and other notes from John here

PEOPLE: Gaius is a helpful man who provides hospitality to traveling preachers. He supports these people and wishes them well. He is warm, especially in welcoming people to preach into the Church, and helps strangers as well. He also helps preserve God’s truth.

Diotrephes is a man who acts out of selfish ambition – kind of a counter to Gaius, as this man was simply one who opposed the authority of John; refusing to pass on his instruction to the Church. He made false accusations about John and was very domineering. He didn’t welcome traveling preachers, and would be subject to John’s punishment if he had to come.

Demetrius was a man with a good report among men, and was to be a reliable helper in the difficult time of preserving the Gospel in the time of great false teaching.

Dangers of the defiled road:

  • Romans 13:13 identifies: Rioting, drunkenness, chambering, wantonness, strife, envying
  • 2 Peter 2:10 identified: Walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, Despising of government, Presumptuous are they, Self-willed are they, They speak evil of dignities
  • 1 John 1:6, “If we say we have fellowship with Him, but walk in darkness, we lie and don’t know the truth.”

Instructions to remain of the prosperous road:

  • We should walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10)
  • Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10)
  • Walk in Christ Jesus, be rooted and grounded in Him and stablished in the faith – abounding with thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6-7)
  • If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with each other (1 John 1:7)

Conclusion of the matter

The teaching on the Characteristics of Diotrephes was good, because he was inhospitable, and therefore, this was not Christlike. It’s good to learn what not to do, because it helps you do what you’re supposed to do. This was a prideful man that did not receive others, was selfish, and forbade others to receive the brethren. He did not care much for people, and had an attitude of arrogance among them. These are different ways that authority can devour a person’s personality and intentions. Give a person a good amount of power, and you may have a problem on your hands if that person misuses the power they’re given. John was so angry at this man that his old self was starting to boil, because he could not believe the insolence stemming from him. He was just one example of someone who isn’t Christlike.

John, once again, is amazed at the hospitality of those under his care and those that are his friends. He is so happy that Gaius is a hospitable person and glad that he is prospering. He is so excited when his people walk in truth, and he hopes that he will continue. He is not happy at Diotrephes, who is a near mere polar opposite of Gaius. He warns about Diotrephes and talks about him quite a bit for the issues that he has brought to the Church, and hopes he can stop the nonsense. Other than all that, he is still against the false teachings of the day, and hopes that they can continually be dealt with, so he appoints people to help (namely Demetrius) to preserve the truth of the Gospel.

We could learn from these examples. We could learn the great hospitality of Gaius and put it into practice immediately, and we could learn how not to be in our hospitality through the example of Diotrephes. Being a hospitable person requires selflessness, self-control, compassion, showing mercy, and other virtues – and therefore, selfishness, arrogance, pride, mean-spirited attitudes, and other evil or negative things should not be welcome in a hospitable place.

Some have said the Church is a hospital for sinners. Whether that’s true or not is of no concern, but what is of concern, is that we do treat people in our everyday lives with hospitality, whether they are a Christian or non-Christian (for John told Gaius to not just treat Christians, but also strangers). We should follow suit on the admonitions given to Gaius, for it can help us improve our ministry and methodology of helping people in our everyday lives.

Even John warned against false teachings and heresy | 2 John commentary

In 2 John, John puts a similar focus on truth as he does in the first letter. This letter was written between 85-95 A.D. This is a very quick but important letter from John. It is best to decide upon whom John is addressing. John speaks of “the elect lady and her children.” This could mean a local church and its congregation, or it could mean an unknown widowed woman. Nevertheless, John places a warning on the “elect lady” about giving hospitality and support to traveling ministers (missionaries) who have departed from the apostolic truth and have migrated toward false teachings.

John once again warns against false teaching as he did in 1 John. We learn also in this letter that truth and love are inseparable. We should walk in truth, not just admire it. We should also love one another, a genuine love. Therefore, John starts the letter with his greeting before talking about walking in truth, and that we had a commandment from the beginning to love one another. The love we have, we should walk in it.

Next, John talks about the deceivers who have entered the world who do not confess Jesus as Christ. These deceivers are an antichrist. John warns next that those who transgress and abide not in the doctrine of Christ do not have God. However, those that do abide in His doctrine do have both the Father and the Son. The warning right after that is if these deceivers come to your house with this kind of (false) doctrine, do not receive him or help him out. That is how this second letter ended.

False teaching is a major problem in the body of Christ today, because people are focused on their own will, instead of humbling to God’s Will. John points out that even in his day, false teaching is prevalent. He also speaks to keep an eye out for those that practice unrighteousness and do not hold true to the apostolic truth. This can be reflected to a contemporary principle of watching out for false teachers (and prophets), especially in the last days before the Lord’s coming.

John seemed to have some kind of apostolic love toward the “elect lady,” as he spoke that he loved in truth. John seemed to end the letter early, because he expected to see the “elect lady” soon. So, John’s letter, in a quick summary, went like this: He encourages the people to persevere in love and belief in God, to have nothing to do with false teachers – not even to support or give them hospitality, and then a hope to see them soon.

It also seems that John has a strong will against those who deny Christ, as in verse 9, we also see this in 1 John 2:23. This is to be expected by someone who loves Christ so much. John was a very faithful disciple, so seeing his love manifest into feelings of discontentment against those who do evil, speak falsely, and deny Christ. John is a good example of a disciple who was well trained in the beautiful teachings of Jesus Christ. John teaches this audience these things, because he is setting the example that the Lord crafted in him to make other people more like disciples of Jesus.

Lessons & other notes from John

This epistle is unique, because it is the only book in the New Testament that is addressed to a lady. Some believe the elect lady is a title for a woman in the higher social realm or official/dignitary – or married to such. Many traditions teach that the person addressed is Martha of Bethany. Others believe that it is the Church he is referring to, but nonetheless, there are many beliefs on who it might be.

Trinity: As for the personage of the Trinity, it seems that each member of the Godhead has a particular personality. The Father is the creator and Law Giver, Jesus the Son of God is the Savior, Baptizer, Healer, and Soon Coming King, and the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth, the Convictor, the Comforter, and the Illuminator. However, each possesses all these things.

They are always working together no matter what, for Jesus was Baptized by John, a Spirit like a dove descended upon Him – and then a voice came from Heaven (from God) that said “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus, as we see in John 17, wants the same unity for the believers that exists between the Father and the Son, so that through them, others would believe as well. He hopes that they share in the love that the Father has for the Son. He desires that they give themselves to God for the task of spreading the Gospel. Overall, He is telling them to have unity just as the Father and the Son have unity.

Being unified: Being in unity in the Body of Christ is highly important, and it tells us to love one another, walk in truth, and follow His commands – for He is looking after us and hopes that we keep our joy and peace. Practicing love and unity on a normal basis is the key to living more successfully with others.

What he appears to mention the most is that we love one another (we see in 2 John 5, John 13:34, John 15:12, 1 John 2:7, 1 John 3:23, and 1 John 4:21). He speaks of the Great Commandment in many verses, because Jesus had spoken of it, and then John repeats Jesus and keeps reassuring the people that if they love one another, they are doing the Will of the Father.

John is so glad to be united with this lady and her children, and hopes that they continue doing the good work they have done, especially in hospitality – for hospitality is important in the Body of Christ, because this world does not show mercy, so His People must show mercy to give people hope. The hope we have is of the Lord, and He hopes that we all will love each other and be in unity just as the Father is to the Son, because we need to spread around His Message much! False teachers have come, but we need to spread around the actual truth to hopefully blot those false ones out.

John rejoices when his teachings have done well to success, and is thankful that the people he is addressing have maintained their loyalty to the Gospel, and hopes for them to continue. We must look to ourselves and know what we have and have not done – make the change – and then we will receive a full reward, as he encourages. Truth and love are inseparable from the Gospel, and we are saved by this Gospel.

What he wishes most though is the love that we must share and in unity. He is glad that so many are united in love, and he is trying to be tolerant of the false teachers and false teachings of the day – so he gives us warnings and hopes that we will understand how to identify those who are false. We can also look back at the other tips, which are helpful to identify false teachers and doctrines. He loves those whom he teaches, and hopes that they will always be united!