Dear friend

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, just as you are progressing spiritually.
3 John: 2 (NIV)

Read: 3 John:1-15

Consider: The Apostle John wrote this personal letter to a believer named Gaius.  John addresses Gaius as ‘dear friend’ four times in this letter.  The Greek word translated as ‘dear friend’ in the NIV is rendered as ‘wellbeloved’ and ‘beloved’ in the KJV and ‘beloved’ in the ESV.  Gaius was not just an acquaintance, but someone that John had a particular affection for.

Gaius is mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament – in Acts 19:29, 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14).  In these passages Gaius is a fellow-worker with Paul and was one of his travelling companions during some of his missionary journeys.  We read of Gaius when in Ephesus with Paul: Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s travelling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theatre together (Acts 19:29), and also in his letter to the Romans: Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings (Romans 16:23a).  Here was a man of God who was highly regarded by both John and Paul.

Returning to our passage in 3 John what did John write to his friend Gaius?  Firstly, John writes of Gaius that: ‘… you are progressing spiritually’ (3 John: 2).  John is encouraged that Gaius has continued to grow in his faith and that some believers who visited John, spoke highly of him (v3).  Secondly, John commends Gaius for welcoming some visiting preachers and offering them hospitality in his own home.  John says of the visiting preachers: We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that they may work together for the truth (v8).  Gaius must have stood up against Diotrephes, who only receives mention here in John’s letter, despite him always wanting to be first (v9).  Lastly, John tells Gaius: ‘… do not imitate what is evil but what is good’ (v11).  John may be thinking here of the bad example being set by Diotrephes and encouraging Gaius not to follow this example.  He may also be thinking back to what he said at the start of this letter, where he was encouraging Gaius in his spiritual growth.

How do your fellow-believers speak of you?  Our motivation should not be to be well spoken of, but that people would see Christ in us and as a result speak well of us as Christians.  Are you growing spiritually?  Do people in your church and even in your immediate family see a change in your spirituality over time?  Are you hospitable not just to those in the church, but also to visitors?  It is easy to be hospitable to those we like, but what about strangers and those on the margins of church life?  What kind of example are you setting?  Are you seen as a good example, keen to imitate what is good?

Don’t let this be off-putting to you as all these things are achievable, but only in God’s strength.

 Pray: Father, we see in the life of Gaius someone who loved you and who was fervent about sharing the good news of the gospel.  We thank you for his example of spiritual growth and his willingness to provide hospitality to others.  May we seek to imitate what is good and to avoid what is evil.  Amen

Every blessing

© 2022

Author: profsloan

The purpose of this blog is to encourage others to read the Bible daily and to grow in Christ. Each day I will generally publish a devotional or a reading for the day, together with a prayer.

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