3 John Commentaries & Sermons

Commentaries, Sermons, Illustrations, Devotionals
See Disclaimer

Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Overview Chart - 3 John - Charles Swindoll



Key Words -- See importance of key words - learn how to mark key words and the associated discipline of how to interrogate them with 5W/H questions. Practice "interrogating" key words as well as term of conclusion (therefore), term of explanation (for), terms of purpose or result (so that, in order that, that, as a result), terms of contrast (but, yet), expressions of time (including thenuntil, after) and terms of comparison (like, as). You will be amazed at how your Teacher, the Holy Spirit, will illuminate your understanding, a spiritual blessing that will grow the more you practice! Be diligent! Consider the "5P's" - Pause to Ponder the Passage then Practice it in the Power of the Spirit. See also inductive Bible study  - observation (Observe With a Purpose), Interpretation (Keep Context KingRead LiterallyCompare Scripture with ScriptureConsult Conservative Commentaries), and then be a doer of the Word with Application. Do not overlook "doing the word" for if you do you are deluding yourself, and are just a "smarter sinner," but not more like the Savior! As Jesus said "blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it." (Lk 11:28+, cf James 1:22+), 

  • Truth (6x in 5v) - 3 John 1:1, 3 John 1:3, 3 John 1:4, 3 John 1:8, 3 John 1:12
  • Testimony (3x in 1v) - 3 John 1:12
  • Evil (2x in 1v) - 3 John 1:11
  • Good (4x in 3v) - 3 John 1:2, 3 John 1:11, 3 John 1:12 (added by translators)
  • Receive - 3 John 1:10, 3 John 1:12

An Outline of 3 John from D. Edmond Hiebert

I The Salutation, 3 John 1:1-4 

A The writer, 3 John 1:la 
B The reader, 3 John 1:1b 
C The wish, 3 John 1:2-4 

1. The statement of the wish, 3 John 1:2 
2. The reason for the wish, 3 John 1:3-4 

II The Message, 3 John 1:5-12 

A The obligation to support the missionaries, 3 John 1:5-8 

1. The commendation of Gaius for his service to the missionaries, 3 John 1:5-6a 
2. The suggestion of his further service to the missionaries, 3 John 1:6b 
3. The explanation concerning the missionary obligation, 3 John 1:7-8 

B The temporary triumph of ambitious evil, 3 John 1:9-10 

1. The letter of John to the church, 3 John 1:9a 
2. The refusal by Diotrephes to receive them, 3 John 1:9b 
3. The action of John at his coming, 3 John 1:10a 
4. The account of the activity of Diotrephes, 3 John 1:10b 

C The personal lesson from the circumstances, 3 John 1:11 
D The commendation of Demetrius, 3 John 1:12 

III The Conclusion, 3 John 1:13-14 

A The explanation about the brevity of the letter, v3 John 1:13-14a 
B The benediction, 3 John 1:14b 
C The greetings, 3 John 1:14c 

Address - verse 1 
GAIUS - SERVICE IN-TRUTH AND LOVE (3Jn 1:2-8)."Brethren... witness to thy truth" (3Jn 1:3, R.V.)."Brethren... witness to thy love" (verse 6, R.V.).
DIOTREPHES - EVIL BY PRIDE AND STRIFE (3Jn 1:9-11)."Who loveth to have the pre-eminence" (3Jn 1:9)."And casteth them out of the church" (3Jn 1:10).Commendation of one, Demetrius - (3 Jn 1:12).
Parting words - 3 Jn 1:13,14.
This third epistle of John is addressed to "Gaius." As this name was just about as common in the Roman world as the name John Smith is in the British Isles today, it would be rather rash without any further data to infer that the Gaius whom John here addresses is the same as others of that name who are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament (Ac 19:29,20:4; Ro 16:23; 1 Co 1:14).
Let all who open their homes and give hospitality to our Lord's ministering servants see from this letter to the hospitable Gaius how the Lord Himself regards their kindliness. They are "fellow-helpers of the truth" (verse 8). The providing of such hospitality can sometimes be very tiring. Had Gaius been generously overdoing it? Had he overtaxed himself, giving cause for John's solicitous concern as to his health (verse 2)?
Alas, over against the unselfish Gaius was the selfish Diotrephes, who cuts a sorry contrast. His is tongue and temper are deplored in verse 10. Dr. Campbell Morgan well says: "The whole truth about this man is seen in one of those illuminative sentences in which the character of a man is so often revealed in the Scriptures. 'Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence.' That is the essential violation of love, for 'love... seeketh not her own.' This is an instance of heterodoxy of spirit or temper, rather than of intellect. There is no evidence that this man was teaching false doctrine, but he was not submissive to authority. As is always the case, the unsubmissive one becomes the greatest tyrant, and thus by disobedience he manifests his lack of love."
Glance, again at verse 7: "They went forth for the sake of THE NAME." It is arresting. To Christian hearts it is thrilling. Just as "the Name" to a Jew always meant Jehovah, so now to the Christian-whether Jew or Gentile - "the Name" means the One which is dear and glorious above all others. Ignatius, later writing to the Ephesians, says: "I am in bonds for the Name's sake"; and, "Some are wont of malicious guile to hawk about the Name." In Ac 5:41 the whipped apostles left the council chambers, not chafed and humiliated, but "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for THE NAME"!

Oh, for a like humility, loyalty and love!
Oh, let my love be such to Thee,
That I may ever grateful be
To suffer stigma, brand or shame,
And count it honour for Thy Name
Who didst so much for me!


Do you remember what Christ said of Himself in John 14:6? “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” We find Jesus portrayed in 1, 2 and 3 John as those three:

  • Jesus the Life—1 John
  • Jesus the Truth—2 John
  • Jesus the Way—3 John

Third John was written to John’s generous and warmhearted friend Gaius. This man was the model of a true Christian layman who had dedicated his wealth and talents to the Lord. His purse strings were loose and his latchstring was out. All he had belonged to Christ. He was the picture of the man who had found Christ to be “the Way,” and in his everyday life, he tried to show that gracious Way to others. Such people, scattered here and there, have through the years kept not only the Church alive in an unfriendly world, but also Christ’s love burning brightly for God’s people when all around seemed dark.
Gaius was noted for his hospitality, a manifestation of Christian love. John urges him to continue entertaining the traveling preachers in spite of the bitter opposition of an autocratic and blustering church official named Diotrephes.
You can be either a Gaius, helping in the Kingdom, or a Diotrephes, hindering the cause.
What a splendid thing to be rich and powerful and to choose to lay all of your gifts and talents at Jesus’ feet, like Gaius and Demetrius!

Bruce Wilkinson - In First John the apostle discusses fellowship with God; in Second John he forbids fellowship with false teachers; and in Third John he encourages fellowship with Christian brothers. Following his expression of love for Gaius, John voices his joy that Gaius is persistently walking in the truth and showing hospitality to the messengers of the gospel. But John cannot commend certain others in the assembly. Diotrephes, for example, has allowed pride to replace love in his life, even rejecting the disciplining words of John. Everything that Gaius is, Diotrephes is not! John uses this negative example as an opportunity to encourage Gaius. Godly character and loyalty to the truth are never easy, but they bring God’s richest commendation—and John’s as well! (Talk Thru the Bible)

Introduction by John MacArthur - Excerpt (Click for full introduction) - Third John is perhaps the most personal of John’s 3 epistles. While 1 John appears to be a general letter addressed to congregations scattered throughout Asia Minor, and 2 John was sent to a lady and her family (2 John 1), in 3 John the apostle clearly names the sole recipient as “the beloved Gaius” (3 John 1:1). This makes the epistle one of a few letters in the NT addressed strictly to an individual (cf. Philemon). The name “Gaius” was very common in the first century (e.g., Acts 19:29; 20:4; Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 1:14), but nothing is known of this individual beyond John’s salutation, from which it is inferred that he was a member of one of the churches under John’s spiritual oversight.

As with 2 John, 3 John focuses on the basic issue of hospitality but from a different perspective. While 2 John warns against showing hospitality to false teachers (2 John 7–11), 3 John condemns the lack of hospitality shown to faithful ministers of the Word (vv. 9,10). Reports came back to the apostle that itinerant teachers known and approved by him (3 John 1:5–8) had traveled to a certain congregation where they were refused hospitality (e.g., lodging and provision) by an individual named Diotrephes who domineered the assembly (3 John 1:10). Diotrephes went even further, for he also verbally slandered the Apostle John with malicious accusations and excluded anyone from the assembly who dared challenge him (3 John 1:10).

In contrast, Gaius, a beloved friend of the apostle and faithful adherent to the truth (3 John 1:1–4), extended the correct standard of Christian hospitality to itinerant ministers. John wrote to commend the type of hospitality exhibited by Gaius to worthy representatives of the gospel (3 John 1:6–8) and to condemn the high-handed actions of Diotrephes (3 John 1:10). The apostle promised to correct the situation personally and sent this letter through an individual named Demetrius, whom he commended for his good testimony among the brethren (3 John 1:10–12). 

HENRY ALFORD (1810-1871)
The New Testament for English Readers
3 John Commentary

Read his fascinating brief biography - Henry Alford and Phil Johnson's related comments

James Rosscup writes that Alford's series on the New Testament "contains much that is valuable in the Greek New Testament… though all of the Greek New Testament words have been changed to English throughout." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (see his comments in following entry on Alford).

Editorial Note: If you are not proficient in Greek, you will find this work considerably more useful than the following work by Alford, because in this volume he translates the Greek and Latin into English. While the "The Greek New Testament" (see next entry below) is longer (e.g., English version of 1John = 66 pages compared to Greek version = 94 pages in part because the latter includes comments of more technical nature), the substance of the commentary is otherwise similar to that found in the "NT for English Readers".

The Greek New Testament
3 John Commentary


Charles Haddon Spurgeon writes that this text "is an invaluable aid to the critical study of the text of the New Testament. You will find in it the ripened results of a matured scholarship, the harvesting of a judgment, generally highly impartial, always worthy of respect, which has gleaned from the most important fields of Biblical research, both modern and ancient, at home and abroad. You will not look here for any spirituality of thought or tenderness of feeling; you will find the learned Dean does not forget to do full justice to his own views, and is quite able to express himself vigorously against his opponents; but for what it professes to be, it is an exceedingly able and successful work. The later issues are by far the most desirable, as the author has considerably revised the work in the fourth edition. What I have said of his Greek Testament applies equally to Alford’s New Testament for English Readers,* which is also a standard work." (Spurgeon, C. H. Lectures to my Students, Vol. 4: Commenting and Commentaries; Lectures Addressed to the students of the Pastors' College, Metropolitan Tabernacle)


D Edmond Hiebert - Prints the author's own translation. A series of popular studies whose strong point is word study. Contains good illustrative material. Part of the author's interpretation follows a liberal position. Barclay holds that Christ's descent into Hades gave those who there heard Him a second chance.

Comment: I appreciate Barclay's unique insights on Greek words, but clearly his teaching about a "second chance" is NOT sound doctrine! Be an Acts 17:11 Berean with Barclay. See discussion of his orthodoxy especially the article "The Enigmatic William Barclay".

Commentary on 3 John

James Rosscup writes that Barnes "includes 16 volumes on the Old Testament, 11 on the New Testament. The New Testament part of this old work was first published in 1832–1851. Various authors contributed. It is evangelical and amillennial… Often the explanations of verses are very worthwhile." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)

C H Spurgeon "Albert Barnes is a learned and able divine, but his productions are unequal in value, the gospels are of comparatively little worth, but his other comments are extremely useful for Sunday-school teachers and persons with a narrow range of reading, endowed with enough good sense to discriminate between good and evil… Placed by the side of the great masters, Barnes is a lesser light, but taking his work for what it is and professes to be, no minister can afford to be without it, and this is no small praise for works which were only intended for Sunday-school teachers." (Spurgeon, C. H. Lectures to my Students, Vol. 4: Commenting and Commentaries; Lectures Addressed to the students of the Pastors' College, Metropolitan Tabernacle)

3 John
Sermon Notes

Good illustrations

Commentary on 3 John
Gnomon of the New Testament

James Rosscup writes "This work (Gnomon), originally issued in 1742, has considerable comment on the Greek, flavoring the effort with judicious details about the spiritual life. It has much that helps, but has been surpassed by many other commentaries since its day." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)

The Critical English Testament
Commentary on Jude

Represents Combination of Bengel's Gnomon (above) and Comments by more modern expositors (in brackets) to make this more usable for those who do not read Greek.

Spurgeon comments on the goal to make Bengel's Gnomon (listed above) more accessible -- "Such is the professed aim of this commentary, and the compilers have very fairly carried out their intentions. The whole of Bengel’s Gnomon is bodily transferred into the work, and as 120 years have elapsed since the first issue of that book, it may be supposed that much has since been added to the wealth of Scripture exposition; the substance of this has been incorporated in brackets, so as to bring it down to the present advanced state of knowledge. We strongly advise the purchase of this book, as it… will well repay an attentive perusal. Tischendorf and Alford have contributed largely… to make this one of the most lucid and concise commentaries on the text and teachings of the New Testament" (Spurgeon, C. H. Lectures to my Students, Vol. 4: Commenting and Commentaries; Lectures Addressed to the students of the Pastors' College, Metropolitan Tabernacle)


Critical and Exegetical Commentary
3 John

International Critical Commentary Critical and Exegetical Commentary - 1912

James Rosscup: This ICC work rates with Westcott as one of the top two detailed older commentaries of a technical nature based on the Greek text. (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An annotated bibliography of selected works).

John Cereghin - (Comments on 1 John but important to help understand Brooke's perspective) He thinks in I John, Christ is "separated from us by sinlessness rather than by Divinity" (xvi); will not suggest who the author is (xviii); discusses the meaning of “propitiation” (23-27); argues from the meaning of the Greek tense; refers to the antichrist legend (59,69-79); holds that John clearly identified Jesus the man who lived a human life with the Son of God (121-122); has extended comments on the text of the “heavenly witnesses” (154-165). (He paraphrases Cyril Barber's comment in which Barber says Brooke) Deprecates the deity of Christ, rejects as "legend" the teaching regarding the Antichrist and minimizes the efficacy of Christ's death on the cross. Exegetically valuable; theological unreliable.

3 John
Anecdotes, Illustrations, Exposition
Joseph Exell, Editor

  • 3 John 1 - Notes on following verses
  • 3 John 1:2
  • 3 John 1:3
  • 3 John 1:4
  • 3 John 1:5,6
  • 3 John 1:7,8
  • 3 John 1:9-11
  • 3 John 1:11
  • 3 John 1:12
  • 3 John 1:13-14

Alfred Plummer

Hiebert - definite value for the interpretation of these epistles

Commentary on 3 John

James Rosscup - This old, conservative Wesleyan Methodist work is good devotionally and aggressive for righteous living. Laypeople can find it still valuable today. It is Arminian in viewpoint and thus helpful, for example, in showing the reader how this approach deals with texts involving the eternal security question. The work contains much background material from many sources on all books of the Bible.

Spurgeon - Adam Clarke is the great annotator of our Wesleyan friends; and they have no reason to be ashamed of him, for he takes rank among the chief of expositors. His mind was evidently fascinated by the singularities of learning, and hence his commentary is rather too much of an old curiosity shop, but it is filled with valuable rarities, such as none but a great man could have collected....If you have a copy of Adam Clarke, and exercise discretion in reading it, you will derive immense advantage from it, for frequently by a sort of side-light he brings out the meaning of the text in an astonishingly novel manner. I do not wonder that Adam Clarke still stands, notwithstanding his peculiarities, a prince among commentators. I do not find him so helpful as Gill, but still, from his side of the question, with which I have personally no sympathy, he is an important writer, and deserves to be studied by every reader of the Scriptures.

Commentary on 3 John

3 John


James Rosscup -  Though often scanty, the work edited by a brilliant scholar is sometimes very helpful. Ellicott was an Anglican bishop. The New Testament part is more valuable. The work dates back to 1897 and is verse by verse, consisting of 2,292 pp. Ellicott was an outstanding Anglican conservative scholar of the 19th century in England. He also wrote critical commentaries on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians and Philemon. Different scholars here contributed on different scripture books, Famous names included are George Rawlinson (Exodus), H. D. M. Spence (I Samuel), E. H. Plumptre (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Acts, 2 Corinthians), W. Sanday (Romans, Galatians), Alfred Plummer (2 Peter, Jude), etc. A one-volume condensation edited by John Bowdle is available (Zondervan, 1971, 1,242 pages). 

What the Bible Teaches – Each page of this commentary has the AV text at the top and a commentary on some of the words and phrases underneath. Now over a century old, it is still very helpful.

3 John Commentary
William Alexander

3 John Commentary
David Smith

Hiebert - Greek text. Important for linguistic study of the epistles. Defends Johannine authorship. The viewpoint is essentially conservative.

Rosscup - This is a thorough exegesis of the Greek text. It is considered to be one of the standard tools for exegetical study.

Commentary on 3 John

James Rosscup - Gill (1697–1771), a pastor of England, wrote these which are two-column pages, ca. 900–1,000 pages per volume, Originally they were 9 volumes, folio. He also wrote Body of Divinity, 3 volumes, and several other volumes. His commentary is evangelical, wrestles with texts, is often wordy and not to the point but with worthy things for the patient who follow the ponderous detail and fish out slowly what his interpretation of a text is. He feels the thousand years in Revelation 20 cannot begin until after the conversion of the Jews and the bringing in of the fullness of the Gentiles and destruction of all antiChristian powers (volume 6, p. 1063) but in an amillennial sense of new heavens and new earth coming right after Christ’s second advent (1064–65), and the literal thousand years of binding at the same time. He feels the group that gathers against the holy city at the end of the thousand years is the resurrected wicked dead from the four quarters of the earth (i.e. from all the earth, etc. (1067).  

Spurgeon - Beyond all controversy, Gill was one of the most able Hebraists of his day, and in other matters no mean proficient...His ultraism is discarded, but his learning is respected: the world and the church take leave to question his dogmatism, but they both bow before his erudition. Probably no man since Gill’s days has at all equalled him in the matter of Rabbinical learning.

Commentary on 3 John

More modern commentary. Conservative. Brief comments. 

Commentary on 3 John

Spurgeon - A Christian man wishing for the cream of expository writers could not make a better purchase. Ministers, as a rule, should not buy condensations, but get the works themselves.

James Rosscup - This evangelical work, devotional in character, has been in constant demand for about 280 years. Its insight into human problems is great, but it often does not deal adequately with problems in the text. The one-volume form eliminates the Biblical text and is thus less bulky. It has sold very well. The late Wilbur M. Smith, internationally noted Bible teacher, seminary professor and lover of books, tabbed this “The greatest devotional commentary ever written”. Henry was born in a Welch farmhouse, studied law, and became a Presbyterian minister near London. He wrote this commentary in the last 13 years before he died at 52 in 1714. The first of six volumes was published in 1708. He completed through Acts, and the rest of the New Testament was done by 14 clergymen.

Commentary on 3 John

Studies in 3 John

Annual $50 fee or $5 monthly [click] required to view the entire article but will give you access to literally thousands of conservative articles (recommended). 

Anything written by D Edmond Hiebert is worth your time in consulting!

John Walvoord - While our generation has produced many notable scholars, few have achieved excellence in writing biblical commentaries from the standpoint of evangelical theology. The tendency has been in religious literature to discuss the views of men rather than the inspired Word of God. Dr. D. Edmond Hiebert has manifested extraordinary gifts as a leading scholar in the field of biblical exegesis. In his writings he has shown thorough research, a comprehensive review of pertinent literature, and, more importantly, a penetrating discernment of the precise meaning of the scriptural text. He has combined depth in scholarship with practical application and has manifested an ability to communicate the results of his study in an understandable way. His works have benefited both the scholar and the lay reader and have served to provide a solid basis for interpreting Scripture for a generation which has deviated more from biblical truth than any generation in the past. God has raised up men such as Dr. Hiebert to provide a sure word in an age that is groping for eternal truth. (For more see Tributes to D Edmond Hiebert)

Commentary on 3 John
Marianne Meye Thompson

Marianne Meye Thompson is the George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. While specializing in the Gospels and particularly the Gospel of John, she has written on Colossians, the epistles of John, and various theological topics such as God as father in the Scriptures. She is an ordained teaching elder in the PCUSA.


James Rosscup - He is staunchly evangelical, showing good broad surveys based on diligent study, practical turns, even choice illustrations. In prophecy he is premillennial dispensational....Many preachers have found that Ironside works, read along with heavier books on details of exegesis, help them see the sweep of the message and prime their spirits for practical relevance.

Commentary on 3 John

James Rosscup - This is a helpful old set of 1863 for laypeople and pastors to have because it usually comments at least to some degree on problems. Though terse, it provides something good on almost any passage, phrase by phrase and is to some degree critical in nature. It is evangelical....Especially in its multi-volume form this is one of the old evangelical works that offers fairly solid though brief help on many verses. Spurgeon said, “It contains so great a variety of information that if a man had no other exposition he would find himself at no great loss if he possessed this and used it diligently” (Commenting and Commentaries, p. 3). Things have changed greatly since this assessment! It is primarily of help to pastors and lay people looking for quick, though usually somewhat knowledgeable treatments on verses.

Spurgeon - A really standard work. We consult it continually, and with growing interest. Mr. Fausset’s portion strikes us as being of the highest order. 

My Comment - This is one of the best older (Pre-1800) works on interpretation of prophecy as it tends to interpret the text literally and not allegorically. 

3 John

James Rosscup - The treatments of books within this evangelical set vary in importance. Generally, one finds a wealth of detailed commentary, background, and some critical and exegetical notes. Often, however, there is much excess verbiage that does not help particularly. On the other hand, it usually has something to assist the expositor on problems and is a good general set for pastors and serious lay people though it is old.


Recommended Resource - The two sermons together are about 34 pages of material. 


James Rosscup - This evangelical work is both homiletical and expository and is often very good homiletically but weaker otherwise. Helpful in discussing Bible characters, it is weak in prophecy at times because of allegorization. It is not really as valuable today as many other sets for the serious Bible student. The expositions are in the form of sermons.


Mp3's that correspond to his Thru the Bible study.


3 John
Conservative, Evangelical


Explanation - Click link below and retrieve comments from 36 separate commentaries on ONE PAGE on this one verse. Most of these are older commentaries like Matthew Henry, etc. but are generally conservative. To go to the next verse simply click "3 John 1:2" in the upper right corner. If you want to go to a specific verse here is the URL - https://www.studylight.org/commentary/3-john/1-1.html. E.g., if you want to go to 3 John 3, simply change the URL (this is in the address box at top of the page) and you change "1-1" to "1-3" (https://www.studylight.org/commentary/3-john/1-3.html)








  • 3 John; Principle #1; 3 Jn. 1-4; Wealth and Health: Though we are to pray for one another that our heavenly Father will meet our physical needs, we must not use this text to promote prosperity theology. Video
  • 3 John; Principle #2; 3 Jn. 5-12; Hospitality and Generosity: Those qualified believers who devote large amounts of time to ministry and have personal financial needs should be cared for by the church body. Video

GOSPEL COALITION Sermons on 3 John - audio






Hiebert - Prints author's new translation. Twenty wordy lectures by a noted Plymouth Brethren scholar of the past century. Provides an important study of the text with numerous comments and illustrations of the religious scene from a perspective of intense loyalty to the Scriptures.


MONERGISM - Audio messages


Rosscup - Morgan was an evangelical master at surveying a book and giving its message within a brief compass. He introduces each book with a chart giving an analysis and synthesis.....Morgan deals with the Bible chapter by chapter, with nearly 300 words on each. He devotes 400 pages to the Old Testament, 150 to the New Testament. It is a stimulating broad evangelical coverage of Scripture, if the reader is looking for synthesis rather than detail. Morgan was a master expositor in the early part of this century. Some of the effort is so general it is of little help except to those looking for sketchy treatment. It is evangelical and premillennial. Morgan is better in such works as The Crises of the Christ.



Rosscup - This work, later called Preaching Through the Bible (Baker Book House), is rich in its applications and exhortations, though often not particularly helpful for the reader who is looking for exposition that stays right with the text. Treatment of the texts is sermonic.











Devotional Illustrations
Radio Bible Class

Updated December 4, 2018


  • 3 John Exposition
  • 3 John 1:1-4 Homiletic
  • 3 John 1:2 Suggestive Notes and Sermon Sketches
  • 3 John 1:5-14 Homiletic
  • 3 John 1:7 Suggestive Notes and Sermon Sketches
  • 3 John 1:9,10 Suggestive Notes and Sermon Sketches
  • 3 John 1:12 Suggestive Notes and Sermon Sketches


James Rosscup - Many authors contributed to this work that had the aim of giving preachers material on introduction, verse by verse exposition, a section on homiletics, and a section of collected homilies (outlines, etc.) by various preachers, which can stimulate thought. It moves through one small section of Bible verses after another.

  • 3 John Expositional Commentary
  • Homiletics below
  • 3 John 1-14 An Apostolic Pastoral to a Christian Man
  • 3 John 1-14 The Aged Presbyter's Letter to a Private Church-Member
  • 3 John 1:2 Ideal Prosperity
  • 3 John 1:3-4 Spiritual Prosperity
  • 3 John 1:5-6 Hospitality
  • 3 John 1:7-8 Missionary Workers and Helpers
  • 3 John 1:9, 10 Diotrephes: A Beacon
  • 3 John 1:11, 12 Imitating the Good
  • 3 John 1:13, 14 Valediction




This is another sample of the Apostle John's private correspondence. This letter was written to a generous and warm-hearted friend called Gaius, noted for loving hospitality, urging him to continue entertaining the traveling preachers, in spite of the bitter opposition of an autocratic and blustering Church official called Diotrephes.

INTERESTING QUESTIONS. 3 John 1:2, 4, 5, 11

1. Was Gaius ill? (2).

2. Was Gaius one of Paul's converts? Note: "My children" (4).

3. Did Paul love Gaius very ardently? The word "Beloved" is repeated in this short letter, indicating ardent affection (1, 2, 5, 11).

4. Was Gaius prospering spiritually in the things of God? (2).

VARIOUS ASPECTS OF TRUTH. 3 John 1:1, 3, 4,8

As in his previous writings, John has much to say about Truth. Note the various aspects of Truth.

I. An Indwelling. Truth is first regarded as being in the man. "The truth that is in you" (3).

II. A Road. Truth is then viewed as a road on which, and within whose limits, the man walks. "Even as you walk in the truth" (3).

III. An Atmosphere. Truth is now considered as an atmosphere in which the man moves. "Walk in truth" (4).

IV. A Soil, in which love is rooted (1). "I love in the truth."

V. A Weapon (8). "Fellow-workers with truth" (R.V.). Suggesting truth as their powerful weapon in Christian Service.

VI. A Companion. "Fellow-helpers to the truth" (8), suggesting that in our pilgrimage we should make truth our companion.

VII. Referee. Giving testimony in favor of these who walk in truth. "Demetrius has good report of all men, and of the truth itself."



Christian Character The Weekly Pulpit 3 John 1:1
Some First Century Church Members J. M. Gibbon. 3 John 1:1
The Ideal Christian T. Davies, M. A. 3 John 1:1
The Quietness of True Religion Abp. Wm. Alexander. 3 John 1:1
The Aged Presbyter's Letter to a Private Church-Member R. Finlayson 3 John 1: 1-14
Ideal Prosperity W. Jones 3 John 1: 2
Gaius the Beloved D. Rhys Jenkins. 3 John 1:2
Gaius, and His Soul's Prosperity A. Whyte, D. D. 3 John 1:2
Health K. Braune, D. D. 3 John 1:2
Health the Chief Thing   3 John 1:2
New Year's Wishes J. H. Gurney, M. A. 3 John 1:2
Prosperity and Piety W. Patten, D. D. 3 John 1:2
Soul Prosperity P. Morrison. 3 John 1:2
Soul Prosperity J. L. Burrows, D. D. 3 John 1:2
Soul-Health C. H. Spurgeon. 3 John 1:2
Spiritual and Temporal Prosperity W. Dickson. 3 John 1:2
Spiritual Health J. G. Greaves. 3 John 1:2
Spiritual Prosperity J. Caird, D. D. 3 John 1:2
St. John's Prayer for Gaius J. Orton, D. D. 3 John 1:2
The Christian's New Year's Compliment J. Cumming, D. D. 3 John 1:2
The Health and Prosperity of the Soul J. Vaughan, M. A. 3 John 1:2
The Helpfulness of Health R. Baxter. 3 John 1:2
Fame W. Jones, D. D. 3 John 1:3
Gaius S. Cox, D. D. 3 John 1:3
The Testimony of Others T. Davies, M. A. 3 John 1:3
Spiritual Prosperity W. Jones 3 John 1: 3, 4
A Minister's Chief Joy Sketches of Sermons 3 John 1:4
The Christian Minister's Joy T. Kidd. 3 John 1:4
The Christian Walking in the Truth C. Bradley, M. A. 3 John 1:4
The Minister's Greater Joy T. Davies, M. A. 3 John 1:4
The Parent's and Pastor's Joy C. H. Spurgeon. 3 John 1:4
Walk in Truth H. Allen, M. A. 3 John 1:4
Allegiance to the Faith J. Paterson, D. D. 3 John 1:5-6
Hospitality W. Jones 3 John 1: 5, 6
Noble Deeds The Weekly Pulpit 3 John 1:5-6
All Ought to be Fellow-Helpers F. Clarkson. 3 John 1:7-8
Christian Missions T. H. Home, B. D. 3 John 1:7-8
Fellow-Helpers to the Truth H. Stowell, M. A. 3 John 1:7-8
Fellow-Helpers to the Truth W. Jones, D. D. 3 John 1:7-8
For the Name's Sake A. Raleigh, D. D. 3 John 1:7-8
Missionary Enterprise The Weekly Pulpit 3 John 1:7-8
Missionary Workers and Helpers W. Jones 3 John 1: 7, 8
Primitive Missionaries O. A. Jeary. 3 John 1:7-8
Truth Helpers R. Sewell. 3 John 1:7-8
The Aged Presbyter's Letter to a Private Church-Member R. Finlayson 3 John 1: 1-14
Diotrephes: a Beacon W. Jones 3 John 1: 9, 10
Ambition C. H. Spurgeon. 3 John 1:9-11
Censorious Men   3 John 1:9-11
Covetousness in Sinning W. Jones, D. D. 3 John 1:9-11
Diotrephes S. Cox, D. D. 3 John 1:9-11
Diotrephes Christian Treasury 3 John 1:9-11
Diotrephes Rebuked W. Jones, D. D. 3 John 1:9-11
Love of Pre-Eminence A. Roberts, M. A. 3 John 1:9-11
The True Method of Eminence   3 John 1:9-11
Evil not to be Imitated W. Jones, D. D. 3 John 1:11
Godliness W. Jones, D. D. 3 John 1:11
Sin Injurious to Spiritual Sight The Weekly Pulpit 3 John 1:11
Imitating the Good W. Jones 3 John 1: 11, 12
A Good Name W. Jones, D. D. 3 John 1:12
Demetrius S. Cox, D. D. 3 John 1:12
The Christian Character Will Stand Every Test The Weekly Pulpit 3 John 1:12
Greet the Friends by Name C. Wordsworth. 3 John 1:13-14
The Friends J. Wesley. 3 John 1:13-14
The Sweetness of Christian Fellowship The Weekly Pulpit 3 John 1:13-14
True Friends Scarce J. Spencer. 3 John 1:13-14
Valediction W. Jones 3 John 1: 13, 14

F C Cook


Commentary on 3 John

Word Studies in the New Testament
3 John

Devotional Illustrations
Radio Bible Class

3 John South Pole 

IT'S one of the few places on earth where the air is as fresh and clean as it must have been millennia ago. Constant winds keep out pollution and germs, and the climate discourages the growth of native viruses. It sounds like the healthiest place on earth. So why doesn't anyone want to live there? Because it's also the coldest place on earth. With temperatures that drop to minus 100 degrees Fahr­enheit, the South Pole is too frigid even for germs.

Some churches bear a striking resemblance to that sterile atmosphere. The truth of God is preached, Scriptures are metic­ulously quoted, and error has no chance to survive. But neither does life. The spiritual temperature is subzero, as evidenced by the cold shoulder given to the poor and needy (James 2:2-6). Those weak in the faith engage in icy arguments (Romans 14:1). Those who threaten to invade their comfortable cliques are left out in the cold (3 John 5-10). Unloved and unwelcomed, many people leave.

The church is to function as the body of Christ. As such, it should be warm, compassionate, and inviting. Our goal is not to keep out germs; it's to create an atmosphere where the spiritually sick can find healing. —M R De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

To My Dear Friend

Read: 3 John 

The elder, to my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 3 John 1

What the apostle John did for his friend Gaius in the first century is a dying art in the twenty-first century. John wrote him a letter.

One writer for the New York Times, Catherine Field, said, “Letter-writing is among our most ancient of arts. Think of letters and the mind falls on Paul of Tarsus,” for example. And we can add the apostle John.

In his letter to Gaius, John included hopes for good health of body and soul, an encouraging word about Gaius’s faithfulness, and a note about his love for the church. John also spoke of a problem in the church, which he promised to address individually later. And he wrote of the value of doing good things for God’s glory. All in all, it was an encouraging and challenging letter to his friend.

Digital communication may mean letter-writing on paper is fading away, but this shouldn’t stop us from encouraging others. Paul wrote letters of encouragement on parchment; we can encourage others in a variety of ways. The key is not the way we encourage others, but that we take a moment to let others know we care for them in Jesus’s name!

Think of the encouragement Gaius experienced when he opened John’s letter. Could we similarly shine God’s love on our friends with a thoughtful note or an uplifting call?

Lord, help us know how to encourage others who need a spiritual boost from us.

Encouraging words bring hope to the human spirit.

By Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Imitate The Good
Read: 3 John

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God. —3 John 1:11

Most people would agree that life is a painful mixture of good and bad. It’s true in marriage, friendship, family, work, and church. Yet we are surprised and disappointed when self-centeredness takes the stage within a fellowship of those who seek to worship and serve Christ together.

When the apostle John wrote to his friend Gaius, he commended the truthful living and generous hospitality of those in his church (3 John 1:3-8). In the same fellowship, however, Diotrephes, “who wants to be head of everything” (v.9 Phillips), had created an atmosphere of hostility.

John promised to deal personally with Diotrephes on his next visit to the church. In the meantime, he urged the congregation: “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God” (v.11). John’s words echo the instruction of Paul to the Christians in Rome: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).

In a heated conflict, we may be tempted to “fight fire with fire.” Yet John urges us to turn away from what is bad and follow what is good. This is the pathway that honors our Savior.

For Further Study
Be patient and humble in conflicts (Rom. 12:12-21; Gal. 6:1).
Follow the guidelines in Matthew 18:15-18
with the desire to restore erring fellow Christians.

As light overcomes darkness, goodness can overcome evil.

By David C. McCasland

No Greater Joy
Read: 3 John 1:1-8 

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

Bob and Evon Potter were a fun-loving couple with three young sons when their life took a wonderful new direction. In 1956 they attended a Billy Graham Crusade in Oklahoma City and gave their lives to Christ. Before long, they wanted to reach out to others to share their faith and the truth about Christ, so they opened their home every Saturday night to high school and college students who had a desire to study the Bible. A friend invited me and I became a regular at the Potters’ house.

This was a serious Bible study that included lesson preparation and memorizing Scripture. Surrounded by an atmosphere of friendship, joy, and laughter, we challenged each other and the Lord changed our lives during those days.

Be a voice of encouragement to someone today.

I stayed in touch with the Potters over the years and received many cards and letters from Bob who always signed them with these words: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). Like John writing to his “dear friend Gaius” (v. 1), Bob encouraged everyone who crossed his path to keep walking with the Lord.

A few years ago I attended Bob’s memorial service. It was a joyful occasion filled with people still walking the road of faith—all because of a young couple who opened their home and their hearts to help others find the Lord.

Thank You, Lord, for the people who have encouraged me to keep walking in Your truth. May I honor them by helping someone along that road today.

Be a voice of encouragement to someone today.

By David C. McCasland

INSIGHT Today’s reading is taken from the apostle John’s final letter, written near the end of his life. John is the only one of the twelve apostles who was not martyred for his faith. However, according to tradition John was tortured and later exiled on the Island of Patmos. John kept in touch with those congregations he had nurtured earlier in his ministry. He wisely understood that health can be experienced in mind, body, and soul and so includes this in his prayer (v. 2). His word choice is kind and relational. He writes that his highest joy in ministry is to hear how those he has ministered to are moving on in their faith in Christ (v. 3).  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

3 John Climate Control

It's one of the few places on earth where the air is as fresh and clean as it must have been millennia ago. Constant winds keep out pollution and germs, and the climate discourages the growth of native viruses.

It sounds like the healthiest place on earth. So why doesn't anyone want to live there? Because it's just too cold. With temperatures that drop to -100¡ Fahrenheit, the South Pole is too frigid even for germs.

Some churches bear a striking resemblance to that sterile atmosphere. The truth of God is preached, Scriptures are meticulously quoted, and error has no chance to survive. But there is no corresponding obedience or love, and the spiritual temperature is sub-zero. The poor are given the cold shoulder (James 2:2-6). Those weak in the faith engage in icy arguments (Rom. 14:1). Brothers in Christ are left out in the cold because they pose a threat to comfortable cliques (3 John 5-10). Unloved and untouched, many people leave.

The church was formed by the redeeming love of Christ and is designed to be a warm and inviting fellowship! Our desire must not be merely to "keep out the germs," but to let the Lord create a climate where brothers and sisters can open their hearts to His soul-healing love. --M R De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The house of God should be a place
For praise and fervent prayer;
How sad when folks let small things break
Their sweet communion there!
--H G Bosch

The church should always be a warm shelter in a cold world.

3 John 4 The "Pistol" And The Lord
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. . --3 John 4

When it's my turn to pack school lunches, I write my kids' names on the bags. But on two of the lunches, I've been instructed to write "Pistol Pete." That's because Julie and Steven have become enamored with the memory of Pete Maravich, one of the greatest basketball players of all time. And I'm responsible for this because I've told them about the Pistol since they were little. They've watched his instructional videos, read his biography, and viewed his life story. So they both are Pistol Pete "wannabes."

That's okay with me. Children need good role models and examples. And Maravich was a Christian. But I would be disappointed if my children didn't see Jesus Christ modeled in my life also and want to be like Him. That's why when Stevie tells me that Jesus is his best friend, I'm a happy dad.

As parents, we must tell our children about Jesus and be role models who live for Christ. That was the case with Paul, who counted Timothy as his son in the Spirit (1Ti 1:18), and with John, who rejoiced over those whom he called his children (3Jn. 4).

Like them, let's live, talk, and love in a way that points everyone--especially our children--to Jesus. --J D Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Whatever you write on the heart of a child
Is written indelibly there;
Each action and word makes an impact, you know,
Like a kindness or beautiful prayer.

The greatest gift a parent can give is a worthy example.

3 John 4 The value of God's truth

The truth of God is a wonderful asset to a Christian. Joni Tada likened the value of God's truth to an experience in her childhood. She wrote,

"At four, I was too young to have my own horse, and I'm not sure a horse fit for a four-year-old could have kept up with my father and sisters. So when we went horseback riding, I sat behind my father on his big horse. With my tiny hands, I'd hang on to the back of his belt and away we'd go. I'd bounce up and down in the saddle, sliding this way and that, but as long as I had a strong hold on that belt, I knew I was safe."

God's truth is like that belt. It's strong and reassuring, and we can hold on to it amid the turns and bumps of life. He is our all-loving, all-powerful God, and He does not change. He will give us all the help we need. —D. C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


3 John 9 - Diotrephes

Pastor H. A. Ironside had a man in his church who always tried to run the board meetings. If Ironside agreed with him, all went well. But when he disagreed, he would receive a harsh letter from the man, who sarcastically addressed him as “Dear Diotrephes.” Actually, the board member deserved the title, not Ironside, who was known for his graciousness.

In John’s third letter we read about Diotrephes, who wanted to be a boss in the early church. Overly ambitious and domineering, he opposed the apostle John and set himself up as a dictator over those in his spiritual care. Anyone who took exception to him was dismissed from the congregation.

The problem of bossy church leaders was not limited to the first century. A. T. Robertson wrote a magazine article in which he rebuked leaders who follow in the footsteps of Diotrephes. After it was published, he received letters from at least 25 different church leaders, demanding that their subscriptions to the magazine be canceled. Although Robertson had never met any of them, they all said in effect, “You have personally attacked me!”

A lust for power springs from pride and selfishness. In contrast, Jesus served in humility and obedience to His Father (Phil. 2:8). He must be our pattern.

3 John Resources
Illustrations, Devotionals

3 John 3 The Vital Importance of Truth

“For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.” (C H Spurgeon)

The truth was in Gaius, and Gaius walked in the truth. If the first had not been the case, the second could never have occurred; and if the second could not be said of him the first would have been a mere pretence. Truth must enter into the soul, penetrate and saturate it, or else it is of no value. Doctrines held as a matter of creed are like bread in the hand, which ministers no nourishment to the frame; but doctrine accepted by the heart, is as food digested, which, by assimilation, sustains and builds up the body. In us truth must be a living force, an active energy, an indwelling reality, a part of the woof and warp of our being. If it be in us, we cannot henceforth part with it. A man may lose his garments or his limbs, but his inward parts are vital, and cannot be torn away without absolute loss of life. A Christian can die, but he cannot deny the truth. Now it is a rule of nature that the inward affects the outward, as light shines from the centre of the lantern through the glass: when, therefore, the truth is kindled within, its brightness soon beams forth in the outward life and conversation. It is said that the food of certain worms colours the cocoons of silk which they spin: and just so the nutriment upon which a man’s inward nature lives gives a tinge to every word and deed proceeding from him. To walk in the truth, imports a life of integrity, holiness, faithfulness, and simplicity—the natural product of those principles of truth which the gospel teaches, and which the Spirit of God enables us to receive. We may judge of the secrets of the soul by their manifestation in the man’s conversation. Be it ours to-day, O gracious Spirit, to be ruled and governed by thy divine authority, so that nothing false or sinful may reign in our hearts, lest it extend its malignant influence to our daily walk among men. (Spurgeon, C. H. Morning and Evening)

3 John 4 - Spurgeon - “I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in truth.” It is grievous to see how some professing Christian parents are satisfied as long as their children display cleverness in learning or sharpness in business, although they show no signs of a renewed nature. If they pass their exams with credit and promise to be well fitted for the world’s battle, their parents forget that a superior is calling, involving a higher crown, for which the child will need to be fitted by divine grace and armed with the whole armor of God. If our children lose the crown of life, it will be but a small consolation that they have won the laurels of literature or art. Many who ought to know better think themselves superlatively blessed if their children become rich, marry well, strike out into profitable enterprises, or attain eminence in their profession. These parents will go to bed rejoicing and wake satisfied—though their boys are on the road to hell—if they are also making money. They have no greater joy than that their children are having their portion in this life and laying up treasure where rust corrupts it. Though neither their sons nor their daughters show any signs of the new birth, give no evidence of being rich toward God, manifest no traces of electing love, redeeming grace, or the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, yet the parents are content with their condition.

I hope no parent will allow their children to grow up and leave their roof without knowing the doctrines of the gospel, the life of Christ, and the great precepts of Scripture—without having as clear an understanding as possible of the great principles and plan of salvation. It should be the holy ambition of every parent that his entire family should be renewed by the Holy Spirit. Happy as a marriage day is that day when a parent sees his child surrendered to the people of God, having first given his heart to Christ. The joy of the text is that the children “walk in the truth”—the actual demonstration of the power of the gospel in their lives. This proves that the teaching was well received, the feeling was not mere excitement, and the profession was not a falsehood but was done in truth.

3 John 6 Worthily of God

If in his second letter John dealt specially with the subject of those to whom no hospitality should be extended, in this he commends hospitality, and shows what its nature should be. There were those who "for the sake of the Name went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles." These were to be received and welcomed, and "set forward on their journey worthily of God." Two interpretations have been given of this phrase. One is that these men were to be treated as the very messengers of God, and so worthily of that fact. The other is that those who tendered them hospitality were to do it as God would do it, "worthily of God." Most probably both views are correct, both ideas being involved. In harmony with the whole spirit of the letter the second is the more patent. What a pattern and test is here of hospitality! What kind of a host is God? How does He treat His guests? When we have answered those questions, we shall have discovered the nature of the hospitality we ought to extend to all those who go forth for the sake of the Name. To those who receive the hospitality of God, He gives of His best, He gives lavishly, He gives of pure delight. His concern is ever for the highest wellbeing of His guests. He opens His home to them; He spreads His table before them; He admits them to familiar converse with Himself; He places at their disposal all His knowledge, and all the riches of His grace. If we are to entertain "worthily of God" these are the lines upon which our hospitality must proceed. It is one of the things which constantly cheer and help those who go forth for the sake of the Name. (Morgan, G. Campbell)

3 John 7 - For the sake of the Name they went forth. (F B Meyer)

The beloved elder is anxious about some travelling evangelists, who had gone forth to visit the churches; and is commending them to the care of Gaius. He was to set them forward in a manner that should be worthy of God. This is a high standard for our entertainment of brethren and strangers withal. It would save us from niggardliness and stint, for God is never miserly or meager. It would equally save us from ostentation, since in God there is perfect simplicity. It would pervade our behaviour with the most perfect grace. But notice, in respect of these evangelists: —

Their motive. — “For the sake of the Name.” It is not needful to say whose Name. There is one Name above every name, in which whatever we do is to be done. To teach the meaning hidden in that Name; to unfold its sweetness and power; to exert its spell over souls that had never felt its magnetism; to glorify it and make it honored and beloved — this was their one thought and aim. Oh that we were animated by the same gracious motive!

Their delicacy. — They would take nothing of the Gentiles. It seemed to them incongruous to go for alms and maintenance to those who do not love their Lord. Besides, could not He maintain his own servants? They certainly would not have sanctioned the means that modern Christians adopt of getting money from the ungodly.

Their welcome. — We ought to welcome all such and in doing so we may be fellow-helpers with them and with the truth. It is a very beautiful act to link ourselves with God’s honored servants by prayer and sympathy, that we may be counted their fellow-helpers and companions. (Meyer, F B: Our Daily Homily)

3 John 7 The key to the missionary devotion (Oswald Chambers)
For His name’s sake they went forth. 3 John 7.

Our Lord has told us how love to Him is to manifest itself. “Lovest thou Me?” “Feed My sheep”—identify yourself with My interests in other people, not, identify Me with your interests in other people. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 gives the character of this love, it is the love of God expressing itself. The test of my love for Jesus is the practical one, all the rest is sentimental jargon.

Loyalty to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of Redemption wrought in me by the Holy Ghost Who sheds abroad the love of God in my heart, and that love works efficaciously through me in contact with everyone I meet. I remain loyal to His name although every commonsense fact gives the lie to Him, and declares that He has no more power than a morning mist.

The key to missionary devotion means being attached to nothing and no one saving Our Lord Himself, not being detached from things externally. Our Lord was amazingly in and out among ordinary things; His detachment was on the inside towards God. External detachment is often an indication of a secret vital attachment to the things we keep away from externally. The loyalty of a missionary is to keep his soul concentratedly open to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The men and women Our Lord sends out on His enterprises are the ordinary human stuff, plus dominating devotion to Himself wrought by the Holy Ghost. (Chambers, O. My Utmost for His Highest)

3 John 9 Unity and the Spirit of Diotrephes (C H Spurgeon)Now that we know that there is a unity of the Spirit worthy to be kept, I want to point out that it needs to be kept. It is a very difficult thing to maintain, for several reasons. First of all, our sins would, very naturally, break it. If we were all angels, we would keep the unity of the Spirit and not even need the exhortation to do so. But, alas, we are proud, and pride is the mother of division. Diotrephes, who loves to have preeminence (3 John 1:9), is very sure to head a faction. How envy, too, has separated good friends! When I cannot be satisfied with anything that is not hammered on my workbench, when another man’s candle grieves me because it gives more light than mine, and when another man troubles me because he has more grace than I have—oh, there is no unity in this case. Anger—what a deadly foe that is to unity! When we cannot overlook the smallest disrespect, when the slightest thing turns our faces red, when we speak unadvisedly with our lips—surely then there is no unity. But, I do not need to read the long list of sins that spoil the unity of the Spirit, for it is lengthy. Oh, may God cast them out of us, for only then can we keep the unity of the Spirit. (Power in the Blood)

3 John 9 Three D's (Vance Havner)
In the New Testament family album three men whose names begin with the same letter stand out as typical of three kinds of Christians today. The Scripture account of them all is very brief, but a little window lets in much light and from the meager record we immediately recognize that their kind has not yet disappeared from the earth.

1. There was Demas, who forsook Paul, having loved this present world (2 Tim. 4:10). Doubtless he had started out in dead earnest, maybe with plenty of fire, but the pull of the old life and the charm of the world were too much for him.

2. Then, there was Diotrephes, who loved the preeminence (3 John 9)… His sort is still with us in the minister who bosses instead of shepherds his flock; in ecclesiastical overlords who reject all visiting brethren who do not measure up to their private yardstick; in any and all who want to rule instead of serve.

3. How refreshing it is to move from these two troublesome souls to Demetrius, who loved the truth (3 John 12). Whether or not he was the Ephesian silversmith, now converted, he had good report of all and of the truth and of John; and his sort is altogether too rare today. He was no celebrity, but we could profitably exchange some of our striking personalities for more of his kind. What would the church do today without his quiet, faithful, steadying testimony?

God help us in such a time to choose the Demetrius way of good report and not the Diotrephes way of loud report! (Vance Havner)

3 John 1:9-15
The third epistle of John addresses the problem of overly ambitious and domineering church leaders. But this problem was certainly not limited to the first century. Bible scholar A. T. Robertson wrote a magazine article that rebuked leaders who follow in the footsteps of Diotrephes (3 John 9). After it was published, he got numerous letters from church leaders, demanding that their subscriptions be canceled. Although Robertson had never met any of them and had not used any names, they all felt that he had attacked them personally! (Today in the Word)



DISCLAIMER: Before you "go to the commentaries" go to the Scriptures and study them inductively (Click 3 part overview of how to do Inductive Bible Study) in dependence on your Teacher, the Holy Spirit, Who Jesus promised would guide us into all the truth (John 16:13). Remember that Scripture is always the best commentary on Scripture. Any commentary, even those by the most conservative and orthodox teacher/preachers cannot help but have at least some bias of the expositor based upon his training and experience. Therefore the inclusion of specific links does not indicate that we agree with every comment. We have made a sincere effort to select only the most conservative, "bibliocentric" commentaries. Should you discover some commentary or sermon you feel may not be orthodox, please email your concern. I have removed several links in response to concerns by discerning readers. I recommend that your priority be a steady intake of solid Biblical food so that with practice you will have your spiritual senses trained to discern good from evil (Heb 5:14-note).