3 John 1:1
The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
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(1) The elder.—See the Introduction, and 2John 1:1.

Gaius.—The common Roman name Caius. A Caius is mentioned in Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1Corinthians 1:14. The difference in date between these and St. John’s correspondent would alone be sufficient reason against any attempt at identification. There is nothing to show whether he was a presbyter or not.

Whom I love in the truth.—Or, in truth. (See 2John 1:1.)

3 John 1:1. The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius — Gaius, or, according to the Latin orthography, Caius, was a common name among the Romans. In the history of the Acts and in the epistles we meet with five persons of this name. 1st, One mentioned Acts 19:29, called a man of Macedonia, and Paul’s companion in travel. 2d, A Gaius of Derbe, a city of Lycaonia, mentioned Acts 20:4. Gaius with whom St. Paul lodged at Corinth, and called his host, Acts 16:23. ne of that name, whom the apostle had baptized at Corinth, mentioned 1 Corinthians 1:14, who probably was the same person with the Gaius last mentioned. 5th, A Gaius to whom John wrote this epistle, thought by Estius and Heuman to be a different person from all those above mentioned; because the apostle hath intimated, 3 John 1:4, that he was his convert, which they suppose he could not say of any of the Gaiuses mentioned above. Lardner supposes he was an eminent Christian, who lived in some city of Asia, not far from Ephesus, where St. John chiefly resided after his leaving Judea. For, 3 John 1:14, the apostle speaks of shortly coming to him, which he could not well have done if Gaius had lived at Corinth, or any other remote place. This Gaius being neither a bishop nor a deacon, but a private member of some church, (as appears by the contents of the epistle,) his hospitality to the brethren, who came to him, is a proof that he possessed some substance, and that he was of a very benevolent disposition. The design of St. John, in writing to him, was not to guard him against the attempts of the heretical teachers, who were gone abroad, or to condemn the errors which they were at great pains to propagate; but only, 1st, To praise Gaius for having showed kindness to some Christian strangers, who, in journeying among the Gentiles, had come to the place where Gaius resided; and to encourage him to show them the like kindness, when they should call upon him again, in the course of their second journey. 2d, For the purpose of rebuking and restraining one Diotrephes, who had arrogantly assumed to himself the chief direction of the affairs of the church, of which Gaius was a member, and who had both refused to assist the brethren above mentioned, and had even hindered those from receiving and entertaining them who were desirous to do it. 3d, The apostle wrote this letter to commend an excellent person named Demetrius, who, in disposition and behaviour, being the reverse of Diotrephes, the apostle proposed him as a pattern, whom Gaius and the rest were to imitate.

1:1-8 Those who are beloved of Christ, will love the brethren for his sake. Soul prosperity is the greatest blessing on this side heaven. Grace and health are rich companions. Grace will employ health. A rich soul may be lodged in a weak body; and grace must then be exercised in submitting to such a dispensation. But we may wish and pray that those who have prosperous souls, may have healthful bodies; that their grace may shine where there is still more room for activity. How many professors there are, about whom the apostle's words must be reversed, and we must earnestly wish and pray that their souls might prosper, as their health and circumstances do! True faith will work by love. A good report is due from those who receive good; they could not but testify to the church, what they found and felt. Good men will rejoice in the soul prosperity of others; and they are glad to hear of the grace and goodness of others. And as it is a joy to good parents, it will be a joy to good ministers, to see their people adorn their profession. Gaius overlooked petty differences among serious Christians, and freely helped all who bore the image, and did the work of Christ. He was upright in what he did, as a faithful servant. Faithful souls can hear their own praises without being puffed up; the commendation of what is good in them, lays them at the foot of the cross of Christ. Christians should consider not only what they must do, but what they may do; and should do even the common actions of life, and of good-will, after a godly sort, serving God therein, and designing his glory. Those who freely make known Christ's gospel, should be helped by others to whom God gives the means. Those who cannot themselves proclaim it, may yet receive, help, and countenance those who do so.This brief Epistle, written to a Christian whose name was Gaius, of whom nothing more is known (compare the notes at 3 John 1:1), and in respect to which the time and place of writing it are equally unknown, embraces the following subjects:

I. The address, with an expression of tender attachment, and an earnest wish for his welfare and happiness, 3 John 1:1-2.

II. A commendation of his character and doings, as the writer had learned it from some brethren who had visited him particularly;

(a) for his attachment to the truth, and,

(b) for his kindness shown to the members of his own church, and to strangers who had gone forth to some work of charity, 3 John 1:3-8.

III. The writer then adverts to the fact that he had written upon this subject to the church, commending these strangers to their attention, but that Diotrephes would not acknowledge his authority, or receive those whom he introduced to them. This conduct, he said, demanded rebuke; and he says that when he himself came, he would take proper measures to assert his own authority, and show to him and to the church the duty of receiving Christian brethren commended to them from abroad, 3 John 1:9-10.

IV. He exhorts Gaius to persevere in that which was good - in a life of love and kindness, in an imitation of the benevolent God, 3 John 1:11.

V. Of another person - Demetrius - who, it would seem, had been associated with Gaius in the honorable course which he had pursued, in opposition to what the church had done, he also speaks in terms of commendation, and says that the same honorable testimony had been borne of him which had been of Gaius, 3 John 1:12.

VI. As in the second Epistle, he says, in the close, that there were many things which he would be glad to say to him, but there were reasons why they should not be set down "with ink and pen," but he hoped soon to confer with him freely on those subjects face to face, and the Epistle is closed by kind salutations, 3 John 1:13-14.

The occasion upon which the Epistle was written is no further known than appears from the Epistle itself. From this, the following facts are all that can now be ascertained:

(1) That Gaius was a Christian man, and evidently a member of the church, but of what church is unknown.

(2) that there were certain persons known to the writer of the Epistle, and who either lived where he did, or who had been commended to him by others who proposed to travel to the place where Gaius lived. Their particular object is not known, further than that it is said 3 John 1:7 that they "went for his name's sake;" that is, in the cause of religion. It further appears that they had resolved not to be dependent upon the pagan for their support, but wished the favor and friendship of the church - perhaps designing to preach to the pagan, and yet apprehending that if they desired their maintenance from them, it would be charged on them that they were mercenary in their ends.

(3) in these circumstances, and with this view, the author of this Epistle wrote to the church, commending these brethren to their kind and fraternal regards.

(4) this recommendation, so far as appears, would have been successful, had it not been for one man, Diotrephes, who had so much influence, and who made such violent opposition, that the church refused to receive them, and they became dependent upon private charity. The ground of the opposition of Diotrephes is not fully stated, but it seems to have arisen from two sources:


THE THIRD EPISTLE OF JOHN Commentary by A. R. Faussett

3Jo 1-14. Address: Wish for Gaius' Prosperity: Joy at His Walking in the Truth. Hospitality to the Brethren and Strangers the Fruit of Love. Diotrephes' Opposition and Ambition. Praise of Demetrius. Conclusion.

1. I—emphatical. I personally, for my part. On Gaius or Caius, see my [2656]Introduction before Second Epistle.

love in the truth—(2Jo 1). "Beloved" is repeated often in this Epistle, indicating strong affection (3Jo 1, 2, 5, 11).3Jo 1:1-4 The apostle, after a kind salutation to Gaius,

testifieth his joy in his piety,

3Jo 1:5-8 commending his hospitality towards the preachers of

the gospel.

3Jo 1:9,10 He censureth Diotrephes, and threateneth him for his

ambitious opposition.

3Jo 1:11 The ill example of such is not to be followed.

3Jo 1:12 He beareth testimony to the good character of Demetrius.

3Jo 1:13,14 He hopeth to see Gaius shortly, and concludeth with


Ver. 1,2. This Gaius was well known by the apostle, not only to be a stedfast professor of the truly Christian, uncorrupted faith, (which is implied in his avowing his love to him in the truth, or upon the Christian account), but to be so improved and well-grown a Christian, that he reckons he might well make the prosperous state of his soul the measure of all the other prosperity he could wish unto him.

The elder unto the well beloved Gaius,.... The elder is the writer of the epistle, the Apostle John, who so styles himself on account of his age, and office, as in the preceding epistle. The person to whom he writes is "the well beloved Gaius"; not that Gaius, who was the Apostle Paul's host, Romans 16:23, for though their characters agree, being both hospitable men, yet neither the place nor time in which they lived. The Apostle Paul's Gaius lived at Corinth, this is in some place near to Ephesus, for the apostle in his old age purposed to come and see him shortly; the other was contemporary with Paul, this with John; there were thirty or forty years difference between them: besides, the Corinthian Gaius was baptized by Paul, and was doubtless one of his spiritual children, or converts, whereas this Gaius was one of the Apostle John's spiritual children, 3 John 1:4; nor does he seem to be the same with Gaius of Macedonia, Acts 19:29, or with Gaius of Derbe, Acts 20:4, who seem to be two different persons by their country, though both companions in travel of the Apostle Paul; for which reason, as well as the time of their living, neither of them can be this Gaius, who was a settled housekeeper, and resided at some certain place. His name is a Roman name, and the same with Caius, though he seems to have been a Jew, as he might, it being usual with the Jews in other countries to take Gentile names. His character is, that he was "well beloved"; that is, of God, as it appears he was from the grace bestowed on him, from the prosperous estate of his soul, and from the truth that was in him, and his walking in it; and of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the same reasons; and also of all the brethren and saints that knew him; he being a person not only truly gracious, and of faithfulness and integrity, but of great liberality and beneficence, which must gain him much love and esteem among them; and he was well beloved by the Apostle John; and so the Syriac version renders it, "to my beloved Gaius": though his love to him is expressed in the following clause,

whom I love in the truth; as being in it, or for the sake of it, or truly and sincerely; See Gill on 2 John 1:1.

The {1} elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

(1) An example of a Christian greeting.

3 John 1:1. Superscription. On ὁ πρεσβύτερος, see the Introd. sec. 1. With regard to the person of Caius nothing particular is known; that he is identical with one of two (or three) Caiuses who are mentioned as friends and helpers of the Apostle Paul (comp. Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; 1 Corinthians 1:14; and Romans 16:23), is at least improbable.[16] It is also uncertain whether he is the same person as the Caius who, according to the Constitt. Apostol. vii. 46, is said to have been appointed by John as bishop in Pergamos (Mill., Whiston). That he was presbyter of the Church (Köstlin) does not follow from 3 John 1:8. The apostle expresses his love to Caius in the epithet τῷ ἀγαπητῷ; how sincere it was is shown by the fact that he not only adds: ὋΝ ἘΓῺ ἈΓΑΠῶ ἘΝ ἈΓΗΘΕΊᾼ (comp. with this 2 John 1:1), but also addresses him three times in the Epistle by ἈΓΑΠΗΤΈ. On ἘΝ ἈΛ. Oecumenius here well observes: ἘΝ ἈΛΗΘΕΊᾼ ἈΓΑΠᾷ Ὁ ΚΑΤᾺ ΚΎΡΙΟΝ ἈΓΑΠῶΝ ἘΝΔΙΑΘΈΤῼ ἈΓΆΠῌ.

[16] Lücke thinks that if he was one of these, he would only be the Caius of Derbe (Acts 20:4); yet he states no reason for this opinion, but merely refers to Wolf’s Curae; Wolf, however, regards it as probable that he was the same as the Caius mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:14, whom he distinguishes as the Corinthian Caius from the Caius of Derbe.

3 John 1:1-4. Address and Commendation. “The Elder to Gaius the beloved, whom I love in Truth. Beloved, in all respects I pray that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I was exceedingly glad when brethren would come and testify to thy Truth, even as thou walkest in Truth. A greater gladness than this I have not—that I should hear of my children walking in the Truth.”

1. The Address

1. This Epistle, like the Second, and most others in N.T., has a definite address, but of a very short and simple kind: comp. James 1:1. It has no greeting, properly so called, the prayer expressed in 3 John 1:2 taking its place.

The Elder] See on 2 John 1:1. From the Apostle’s using this title in both Epistles we may conclude that he commonly designated himself thus. If not, it is additional evidence that the two letters were written about the same time: see on 3 John 1:13-14.

unto the wellbeloved Gaius] More exactly, to Gaius the beloved: the epithet is the same word as we have had repeatedly in the First Epistle (1 John 2:7, 1 John 3:2; 1 John 3:21, 1 John 4:1; 1 John 4:7; 1 John 4:11) and have again in 3 John 1:2; 3 John 1:5; 3 John 1:11. The name Gaius being perhaps the most common of all names in the Roman Empire, it is idle to speculate without further evidence as to whether the one here addressed is identical with either Gaius of Macedonia (Acts 19:29), Gaius of Derbe (Acts 20:4), or Gaius of Corinth (Romans 16:23). See Introduction, Chap. IV. sect. ii. pp. 60, 61.

whom I love in the truth] Better, whom I love in truth: see on 2 John 1:1. This is not mere tautology after ‘the beloved;’ nor is it mere emphasis. ‘The beloved’ gives a common sentiment respecting Gaius: this clause expresses the Apostle’s own feeling. There is no need, as in the Second Epistle, to enlarge upon the meaning of loving in truth. In this letter the Apostle has not to touch upon defects which a less true love might have passed over in silence.

3 John 1:1. Ὁ πρεσβύτερος, The Elder) An appropriate title for a familiar Epistle, such as this, and the one that follows. And indeed the gravity of the argument, and the familiarity of the little Epistle, are wonderfully combined and adjusted. The parts of the Epistle are three.

I. THE INSCRIPTION, 3 John 1:1-3.

II. AN EXHORTATION to perseverance in true love and faith, 3 John 1:4-11.

III. THE CONCLUSION, 3 John 1:12-13.

ἐκλεκτῇ, elect) He calls her elect, from her spiritual condition: for that this name is appellative, is plain from the circumstance of its being attributed to her sister also, 3 John 1:13; and if it had been a proper name, it would have been ἐκλέκτη, from ἔκλεκτος. They were either widows, or women of piety beyond their husbands. But Κυρία [answering to the Hebrew Martha.—V. g.], as in other places, so here, is a proper name, as the Pæcile of Heuman teaches, T. 2, Book iii. art. 13, and T. 3, Book i. art. 2. Nor can any one doubt it, unless he is ignorant of the style of the ancients, or does not bear it in mind. The appellative Κυρία, a mistress, independently of the relation to her slaves, could scarcely be given to a queen at that time without exciting envy. Proper names were usually employed of old,

Verse 1. - To Gaius the beloved (Γαι'´ῳ τῷ ἀγαπητῷ). This is additional reason for thinking that κυρία in the Second Epistle is not a proper name; if it were we should probably have the same formula as we have here, Κυρίᾳ τῇ ἐκλεκτῇ. The name Gaius occurs elsewhere in the New Testament four times (Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14); as it was as common in the Roman Empire as John Smith is among ourselves, it would be rash to infer that the Gaius addressed here is the same as any of those mentioned elsewhere. In all probability there are at least four persons of this name in the New Testament. In the opening of this Epistle also we have to remark the characteristic repetition of the word "truth," which occurs four times in the first four verses. Deeds, in which Gaius and Demetrius were rich, not words, of which Diotrephes was so prodigal, are what win the approbation and love of the apostle. The thing which he hates is unreality; the object of his special adoration is "the truth;" "to walk in the truth" is nothing less than to follow in the footsteps of the Lord. 3 John 1:1The elder

See on 2 John 1:1.


The name occurs several times in the New Testament, as Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14. The person addressed here cannot be identified.

The well-beloved

Rev., the beloved. In the Greek order the name comes first. Gaius the beloved.

In the truth (ἐν αληθείᾳ)

Rev., properly, omitting the article, in truth. See on 2 John 1:4.

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