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3 John

Authorship & Date

See 1 John.

Audience

To John's "beloved Gaius" (vs 1) and other friends (vs 14). The name Gaius is also mentioned in Acts, Romans, and 1 Corinthians. However, it is difficult to say if the Gaius of 3 John is the same person as these. We know from verses within 3 John that Gaius he ministered to others who had testified to John (vs 5), that he cared for traveling missionaries (vs 6) and that he was also a victim of Diotrephes' malicious words (vs 10).

Purpose

John writes to Gaius to encourage him to continue helping and giving aide to the missionaries involved in ministry to the churches. He also warns Gaius of John's intention to discipline Diotrephes, who has rejected John's authority. And finally, he recommends Demetrius to Gaius' care.

Discussion Questions

  • What characteristic did John find fault with in Diotrephes? What was Diotrephes motive?
  • What does 3 John reveal about how churches worked together in the 1st Century.
  • Was there devisions between churches? Where there false churches? What does this say about the distinction between the "visible" and "invisible" church?
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