Books of Bible
Summary of John's Third Epistle
By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
A. The author of the letter (1:1).
1. John refers to himself as the elder--the aged apostle (1:1).
B. The letter was written to Gaius (1:1).
1. Three persons named Gaius are mentioned in the New
Testament (Rom. 16:23; Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4).
a. We cannot be sure John refers to any of the three.
b. Gaius was a common name in the first century.
2. The Gaius to whom John wrote was known to and loved by
John in the truth (truly or sincerely) (1:1).
B. John's prayer for Gaius (1:2).
1. Gaius would have material abundance and good health (1:2).
a. It is not wrong to want worldly possessions, but we must
guard against trusting in them (Luke 12:15).
b. It is not wrong to want good health, but it is wrong to
want it so much we cannot be content (Phil. 4:11).
2. John knew Gaius was firm in faith and rich in virtue,
enjoying an abundant and complete life, and asked of God
that Gaius might be as affluent in money and health as he was
in spirit and truth (1:2).
II. Hospitality in Support of Truth (1:3-12).
A. The good report concerning Gaius (1:3-4).
1. John learned Gaius was walking in the truth (1:3).
a. Walking in the truth is equivalent to walking in the light
(1 John 1:7).
b. Walking in the light of truth brings freedom from sin, and
therefore, liberty from panic and alarm (John 8:32).
2. John's greatest joy was hearing his disciples were faithful
a. John considered spiritual prosperity to be more important
than wealth and health (1:4).
b. John thought of Gaius as his child in the faith--John was
responsible for the conversion of Gaius (1:4).
B. John's request of Gaius (1:5-8).
1. John commends Gaius (1:5).
a. Gaius sheltered and supported true teachers of the word
b. Gaius was helpful to brethren and strangers (1:5).
c. The brethren were members of the church known to both
John and Gaius. The strangers were also members of the
church, previously unknown to Gaius, but for whom he
2. Those who has been helped by Gaius reported it to the
church from which they went out (1:6).
a. John congratulates Gaius for his continued help of these
brethren and strangers (1:6).
b. This was done in a manner worthy of God (1:6).
3. The workers Gaius helped on their journey went among the
Gentiles preaching the gospel, but taking no financial support
from the Gentiles (1:7).
a. Gentiles would later be taught to give material aid to their
spiritual teachers (1 Cor 9:11-14; Gal. 6:6).
b. When Gentiles were first converted, they were not asked
to give money to advance the preaching of the word lest
the motive of the teacher be in doubt (1 Cor. 9:15).
c. These preachers faced many dangers and accepted
hardship to teach the Gentiles (1:7).
4. John says when we help such people we are fellow workers
for the truth (1:8).
a. By supporting those who leave the comforts of home and
face peril to teach the word, we please God by advancing
b. We are credited with the good done by agents we have
commissioned (1:8; John 4:1-2).
C. Diotrephes and Demetrius (1:9-12).
1. John had either written to the church of which Gaius was a
member, or would have written, to give this same counsel
a. Diotrephes, a ruler in the church of which Gaius was a
member, loved power and ran rough-shod over the church
b. Diotrepehes received not John as an apostle (1:9).
2. John intended to visit the church and remember the deeds
of Diotrephes (1:10).
a. John claims to be superior to Diotrepehes. He will call the
trouble maker to account and punish him.
b. This is not a personal matter, but Diotrepehes was
forbidding disciples to receive the brethren and strangers,
and those who did receive them were cast out of the
church. He interfered with the free course of truth--a
religious offense (1:10).
c. Diotrepehes also attacked the apostle John with malicious
3. John tells Gaius to follow good and not evil (1:11).
a. He who does good is of God (1:11).
b. He who does evil has no right knowledge of God (1:11).
4. John commends Demetrius (1:12).
a. All men praised Demetrius.
b. The truth praised Demetrius because his conduct was
according to the rules of the gospel (1:12).
c. The apostle John also sincerely praised him (1:12).
d. His example was worthy to be followed (1:11).
III. Conclusion (1:13-14).
A. John hoped to speak with Gaius face to face (1:13).
B. "Peace be unto thee. The friends salute thee. Salute the
friends by name" (1:14).
1. John uses the word "friend" as a synonym for disciple, or
believer, or Christian.
a. They were friends of Christ and therefore friends of one
another, and friends of all who know and love truth (John