- Conference Media
- New City Catechism
- Read the Bible
This introductory course is designed to provide key insights into the book of 3 John by pulling together a number of key resources: overview videos from Fast Facts and The Bible Project, helpful contextual information from The ESV Study Bible, commentary recommendations from The Gospel Coalition, a single sermon that sums up the book from beginning to end by Mark Dever, and much more. By watching, listening to, and reading these resources, you’ll be better prepared to read, study, teach, or preach the book of 3 John.
Third John is a personal epistle, addressed to a friend of the author. The customary epistolary conventions are evident: an opening salutation, a body of instruction, and concluding greetings. Reinforcing the identity of this book as a personal letter is the way in which it is built around references to specific acquaintances from start to finish. Whereas 2 John was written to an unidentified church, this letter is filled with references to specific people and situations. It speaks of hospitality to traveling Christians. The main motif is “a home away from home,” and accompanying that, the pattern of arrival and welcoming of guests.
The theme of 3 John is steadfastness in the face of opposition. The recipient of the letter, Gaius, faces a troublemaker named Diotrephes. By “walking in the truth” (3 John 3, 4), Christians can embrace and live out the apostolic message that John conveys in all his letters.
3 John 5–8
3 John 9–10
3 John 11
It has been suggested that 2 and 3 John were originally preserved because they were part of a single packet containing all three Johannine letters. On this view, 3 John was a personal letter to Gaius commending the courier of the shipment, Demetrius (3 John 12); 2 John was to be read aloud to Gaius’s church; and 1 John was a sermon for general distribution and not a letter in the strict sense. This scenario cannot be verified but is a useful hypothesis in envisioning how John’s letters could have arisen and been preserved in early Christianity. Unfortunately, no other information about Gaius has survived.
Since Christ has accomplished salvation, believers are to continue in his truth.
Nancy Guthrie interviews David Helm
The following recommendations are from D. A. Carson, New Testament Commentary Survey. 7th ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2013.