3 JOHN - Introduction
THIRD EPISTLE OF ST. JOHN,
St. John commends Gaius for his faith, charity, and hospitality towards
strangers and the ministers of the gospel, to whom he would have every one to give a kind reception, and such charitable assistance
as they can afford, and which others want. (Witham) --- Gaius, to whom this epistle is addressed, is apparently one of the
two disciples of St. Paul, who bore this name. The best known is that of Corinth, with whom St. Paul lodged, and who had been
converted and baptized by St. Paul. Others, with greater probability, suppose it was Gaius, of Derbe, mentioned in Acts xx.
4. All that we know for certain of this Gaius is, that he was a great friend of St. John, that he exercised hospitality with
great zeal and generosity, notwithstanding the harshness and severity of Diotrephes, who appears to have been his bishop,
and who was not willing that hospitality should be shewn to the brethren converted from Judaism. St. John promises to visit
Gaius, and to reprimand Diotrephes. There is great probability that this letter was carried by the converted Jews, who travelled
to diffuse the gospel, and who made a religious point not to enter among the Gentiles, and not to receive any thing from them.
It may then be considered as a recommendatory letter in favour of these apostolic men. It appears that great pains were taken
to remove the antipathy that existed between these two parties, even after their conversion. The same seeds of division are
discernible in St. Paul's epistles between the Jews and the converted Gentiles: and one of the earliest concerns of this apostle
was, to suppress in the Jews all sentiments of vanity and self-sufficiency, which made them prefer themselves to the Gentiles;
and in Gentiles a different kind of pride, which caused them to despise the Jews. In the first part of this letter St. John
congratulates Gaius on his good works, and recommends to him certain evangelical preachers, who were to deliver him this letter
as they called upon him. (ver. 1, 8.) In the second part he complains of Diotrephes, who affected independence, and proposes
to Gaius the example of Demetrius, the faithful servant of Jesus Christ, ver. 9. ad finem[to the end].