Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary On

The Bible Book Of

written by
Kraig J. Rice

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 1) An Introduction to this Bible book of Third John
 2) Gaius
 3) Diotrephes
 4) Demetrius

NLT stands for New Living Translation.   MKJV stands for Modern King James Version.
Many words on this web page are color coded:

The words of God are in red that symbolize His shed blood.
The words of Scripture are in purple that symbolize royalty.
A devotional commentary is different from an exegetical commentary. In a devotional commentary like this one I can give the application of a verse rather than just the interpretation of a verse.

An Introduction

Who wrote this book?
Church tradition ascribes the authorship of this bible book to the Apostle John. Jesus nicknamed John the "Son of Thunder." He refers to himself in this writing as "the Elder." Why? Because he was very old.

What are some things that we know about the Apostle John?
He was called "John the beloved" and was a friend, disciple, and apostle of Jesus Christ.

When and where was this book written?
This bible book was written probably around 96 A.D. when John was in Ephesus.

Why was this book written?
To encourage help and hospitality toward true Christian leaders in the church.

What was the historical setting in those days when this book was written?
The gentile people in those days (the first century) were mostly decadent with low morals. Folks worshipped idols. Christianity was on trial in the first century. There was world wide persecution against Christians. It is estimated that there were 5 million Christian martyrs by the end of 300 A.D.

According to church history the Apostle John was released from prison on the Island of Patmos after the death of Emperor Domitian in 96 A.D. Then John went to Ephesus and to the churches in Asia Minor. He did ministry work there among them, helping them in many ways, as well as revealing to them the fullest understanding of the book of Revelation that God wrote through him.

This is possibly the last bible book that John wrote. Actually, it was a letter. He was the only apostle to die a natural death- the others were all martyred for their faith.

Most evangelists and bible teachers walked in those days- sometimes they walked for miles in bad weather. It was slow travel. Hospitality meant a warm bed, a good meal, enthusiastic conversation, and a refreshing bath. This kind of hospitality really meant a lot.

The Bible book of Third John only has one chapter with 14 verses:
John's greeting to Gaius (verses 1-4).
The very good testimony of Gaius (verses 5-8).
The bad testimony of Diotrephes (verses 9-11).
The very good testimony of Demetrius (verse 12)
John's promise to visit Gaius (verses 13-14).

The theme of this book:  Jesus is our Way

He is our Way to salvation and to Heaven. We must show "the Way" to others. He shows us in this bible book the way to love, and the way to show hospitality to visiting missionaries, teachers, and evangelists.

A Look At A Few Verses

verse 1
Who was this Gaius? He was a very good leader in the early church with a good reputation. He was a personal friend of John because 4 times John calls him "beloved." Which Gaius was it? It is not exactly clear. There are several possibilities:

1). Gaius of Derbe (Acts 20:4).

2). Gaius of Corinth (Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14).

3). Gaius of Macedonia (Acts 19:29).

4). Gaius, the Bishop of Pergamos (church history).

In this bible book we see 3 men: 2 were genuine and 1 was a counterfeit.

The name Gaius is spelled Gaios in Greek. What was his character? Gaius believed in sound Christian doctrine, therefore, he walked and worked for Christ in selfless Christian love.

In contrast to Gaius stands Diotrephes. Some refer to him as Diotrephes the Dictator. His name in Greek can be interpreted to mean "Jove-nourished." Jove was Jupiter, the supreme god (dio) of the Greeks. Trephes (Trepho or threpho in Greek) is associated with physical nourishment. Therefore his name could mean: "My god, Jupiter, who I cherish with food offerings." Diotrephes probably did not have Christian parents because they named him after one of their idols that they worshipped.

Demetrius also stands in contrast with Diotrephes. The name Demetrius means "belonging to Demeter." Who was Demeter? It was another name for Ceres, the Greek god of agriculture. Demetrius probably did not have Christian parents because they named him after one of their idols that they worshipped. But, eventually, Demetrius accepted Christ- his conversion was real. He lived the life. He was a true Christian.

Diotrephes was trying to undermine the Apostle John's authority and take over. Who does that remind you of? Yes, Satan. In the beginning he wanted to pull down God off of His throne and take over but God dealt with him. And, now, John is probably going to excommunicate this Diotrephes. This was more than just a power struggle. Diotrephes did not live the truth- he lived a lie
"But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie"
(Revelation 22:15).
How does one live a lie? By pretending to be on one side while secretly being on the other side. Also using malicious words to tear down others in order to build yourself up is poor psychology. His words and rebellion came from an evil heart- from out of the heart of man proceed the issues of life:
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things"
(Matthew 12:35).
"For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man..."
(Matthew 15:19-20).

Insubordination is the word that is used in the military.

Sometimes there are "lemons" in the church- folks in the leadership who God never called to be there. And sometimes they do more harm than good.

Diotrephes would probably refuse any form of correction from the Apostle John. Why is that significant? If he was excommunicated he may have drawn away a following. Could it be that this was the first church split? If it was- who would want to follow such a leader as him? Nevertheless, I have seen such followers bend the knee to such a pathetic leader. That leader was evil, an ex-police officer and a closet Satanist, and he exerted a lot of power and influence over some who were weak minded, weak willed, and guillable. Many of this same type are out there in one group or another so be careful of them.

I guess you or I could be either a Gaius or a Diotrephes in our character and actions. Diotrephes showed no love while Gaius showed love and served Christ. If we truly are Christ's love slaves then we should give our 3 T's (time, talent, and treasure) to Him. The Apostle John shows us that Gaius and Demetrius are good examples for us to follow. Diotrephes served the devil but Gaius was encouraged not to follow him in any way. And we are not to follow any phonies or counterfeits in any way.

Verse 4
I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children live in the truth. The expression "my children" refers to those folks in the churches under the watchfulness of John the elder. One Christian once said: "From truth springs love..."

Verses 5-8
Warm Christian hospitality is a manifestation from Christ's love in us.

"Dear friend, you are doing a good work for God when you take care of the traveling teachers who are passing through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your friendship and your loving deeds. You do well to send them on their way in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord and accept nothing from those who are not Christians. So we ourselves should support them so that we may become partners with them for the truth."

Verses 9-11. These verses are very clear with no need for a lot of commentary.
"I sent a brief letter to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, does not acknowledge our authority. When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the wicked things he is saying about us. He not only refuses to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church. Dear friend, don't let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God's children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God."

Verse 12
Demetrius was dependable. He had sound doctrine.

Some additional Scriptures:

1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 give the biblical qualifications to be an elder.

"Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay"
(1 Peter 4:9).

"When God's children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night"
(Romans 12:13).

"I am planning to send either Artemas or Tychicus to you. As soon as one of them arrives, do your best to meet me at Nicopolis as quickly as you can, for I have decided to stay there for the winter. Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos with their trip. See that they are given everything they need. For our people should not have unproductive lives. They must learn to do good by helping others who have urgent needs"
(Titus 3:12-14).

"Continue to love each other with true Christian love. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!"
(Hebrews 13:1-2).

"Those who sin are opposed to the law of God, for all sin opposes the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, for there is no sin in Him. So if we continue to live in Him, we will not sin either. But those who keep on sinning have never known Him or understood who He is"
(1 John 2:4-6).

"Those who have been born into God's family do not sin, because God's life is in them. So they cannot keep on sinning, because they have been born of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the Devil. Anyone who does not obey God's commands and does not love other Christians does not belong to God"
(1 John 3:9-10).

"Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God- for God is love"
(1 John 4:7-8).

65. Jude Commentary

Celebrate Christ's Resurrection

63. Second John Commentary

Bible Commentary Index

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As of August 30, 2011