1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
3 John 1 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Paul calls it a gift. Hospitality is right up there as one of the gifts the Spirit gives out to Believer’s. Every Follower has at least one gift given in order to serve. From teaching to preaching to prophecy to faith – none are above the other. However, the gift of hospitality is not about if you can set your table to look like a magazine spread or cooking in the kitchen for 9.5 hours for a meal. The gift of hospitality is truly about servanthood. Kathy Sharp writes hospitality is about “Open Hands. Open Hearts. Open Doors.”
Within the ancient culture and truly a mark of the early Church, hospitality was not only expected but practiced. Paul, Peter and John alongside other writers speak toward the importance of practicing hospitality again and again. It is being the hands and feet of Jesus in a loving and intimate way by opening your home.
Let’s be honest though – hospitality costs. It takes your time, your energy, your money in order to be hospitable in having people in. It also at times can feel like an inconvenience. Sometimes things get broken. Many times it’s hard. But the act of being hospitable, whether it is a gift from God or not, is expected. It can reflect what is ultimately more important to us.
What is more important to God, a person or if someone removes their shoes when walking in? What’s more important, a shattered crystal glass or a soul?
John writes this brief letter to Gaius, a prominent Believer who opened his home again and again to those who traveled. For him, hospitality was a way of life. He was generous and his friendship genuine.
Within this short writing, John mentions 3 men. Gaius a man who showed tangibly the love of Christ by his hospitality. Diotrephes a church leader who lacks a reflection of God’s values and Demetrius who walks in the truth. Which of these men do you identify? Are you marked with the same spirit of Gaius who generously gives to others? Are you Diotrephes who only looks out for yourself and your things? Are you Demetrius who loves the truth?
3 John 1 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Gaius was the Greek way of writing the Roman name Caius. Believe it or not, there are many references to Caius in Scripture.
- In Romans 16, Paul mentions a Caius who lived in Corinth.
- In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul mentions (probably the same) Caius whom he had baptized.
- In Acts 19, we have Caius, the native of Macedonia, who accompanied Paul and spent time with him at Ephesus.
- In the next chapter, Acts 20, we have another Caius, of Derbe, who traveled with Paul alongside Timothy.
Here in 3 John, we have yet another Caius who is probably different from all of the above! I never realized how popular this name was in the Bible. The Caius mentioned here by John has high standing just as many of these others who shared his name.
John counts him among his children. This could have signified many things during that time. Obviously, it would have meant they were close. However, it also could have meant he was a convert of John and was discipled by him. In that time, it was not uncommon for the elder to consider the younger a child by their authority in the faith. John would have been an aged man at the time of this letter.
Overall, this letter serves as an encouragement for some and a rebuke for others. Like other letters, the purpose was to kindle the fire that was authentic and call out the false teaching that was trying to infiltrate the church.