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Survey of 3 John . I. General information. “One of the richest thoughts in this brief epistle is a study in contrast between two good brethren and one evil brother.” (Johnny Ramsey). New Testament General Letters. James through Jude. Author. The Apostle John as guided by the Holy Spirit.

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“One of the richest thoughts in this brief epistle is a study in contrast between two good brethren and one evil brother.” (Johnny Ramsey)


The Apostle John as guided by the Holy Spirit


“The third letter, like the other two, deals with their love for the Lord, His Word, and their love for one another from a very practical point of view. All of John's epistles draw a sharp line of distinction between truth and error, light and darkness, and love and hatred.”

to whom written
To Whom Written

This is a very personal letter addressed to "Gaius, the beloved whom I love in the truth" (v.1).

why it was written
Why it was written

To commend Christian faithfulness and hospitality & to condemn those in the church who act like Diotrephes


“The letter focuses on showing hospitality and giving support to those traveling evangelists who were faithfully preaching the truth. Gaius had received them with hospitality while Diotrephes, a self-assertive leader in one of the churches, had refused to receive them.”

outstanding features of the book
Outstanding features of the book

It is a meaningful letter – full of tenderness

It is a look into the lives of early Christians – Christians like you and me


It centers around the lives of three major characters:




3rdJohn is the shortest book in the Bible.

brief outline
Brief outline

I. Introduction 1-4

II. Commendation of Gaius 5-8

III. Condemnation of Diotrephes 9-10

IV. Recommendation of Demetrius 11-12

Conclusion 13-14

i introduction to letter vs 1 4
I. Introduction To Letter – Vs. 1-4

The elder unto the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth


For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.


The elder (v. 1) – reference to the aged John, who wrote the letter

V. 2 – All things should be gauged by spiritual prosperity – John prayed that Gaius would prosper physically as he did spiritually


Vs. 3-4 “Walk in truth” - Following faithfully the word of God

Gaius was a beloved man and a truth follower

ii gaius lover of hospitality vs 5 8
II. Gaius – Lover Of Hospitality Vs. 5-8

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:


Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.


Traveling preachers needed help – place to stay – food – support

Gaius was hospitable toward all men (Vs. 5-6)

iii diotrephes lover of first place vs 9 10
III. Diotrephes – Lover of First Place – Vs. 9-10

I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words:


and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.


What he did:

He had turned away traveling preachers

He had turned out of the church those who were helping traveling preachers


Characteristics of Diotrephes:

He put himself first

He spoke evil of John

These two characteristics often go together – lovers of first place are often critical of others

iv demetrius lover of faithfulness vs 11 12
IV. Demetrius – Lover Of Faithfulness – Vs. 11-12

Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.


Demetrius had a good report of others, of the truth and of John

His life showed that he followed God’s word

He appears to be offered as a pattern for Gaius and others to follow

1 we are to be hospitable
1. We are to be hospitable

1 Pet. 4:9

“Use hospitality one to another without grudging.”

2 we must walk in truth
2. We must “walk in truth”

2 Jn. 4, 6

4 - I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth,…

6 - And this is love, that we walk after his commandments…

3 sinful pride can cause us to lose our good judgment
3. Sinful pride can cause us to lose our good judgment

Proverbs 11:2

“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.”

4 christians often imitate other christians
4. Christians often imitate other Christians

What example are we setting in the local church?

Who are we imitating?

Gaius had Diotrephes and Demetrius – who would you have followed?

5 we must not let the spirit of diotrephes dominate our lives
5. We must not let the “spirit of Diotrephes” dominate our lives

Micah 6:8

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

6 we must follow that which is good
6. We must follow that which is good

3 Jn. 11

“Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.”


3 Jn. 2

[2] Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.


The Three men of Third John, outline by Winfred Clark (Expositions of the Expositor)

“The Third Epistle of John, Mark Copeland, ( )

The Third Epistle of John, Know Your Bible, by Frank J. Dunn, 1997