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Just as he did at the beginning of 2 John, the apostle describes himself as aged in addressing this personal letter to Gaius, whom he loved. The term here for beloved suggests a very close relationship. John sincerely loved him. Gaius had taken care of his soul's needs, so now John prayed that he might prosper financially and in health equally as well ( 3Jn_1:1-2 ).
The apostle knew of Gaius' spiritual health because some brethren had reported to John concerning his faithful life of service. John's heart was made light because of this report. It may well be that Gaius was one of John's converts. A worldly man might list a number of things that make him happy but the follower of Christ rejoices when the cause of the truth is furthered in a life ( 3Jn_1:3-4 ; 1Co_13:6 ; Php_4:14-17 ).
Helping Traveling Preachers
Traveling preachers went from place to place preaching the truth during the first century. John commended Gaius for supporting their efforts by taking them in and providing for their needs ( Mat_25:31-46 ; 1Ti_3:2 ; 1Ti_4:9-10 ). Those he had helped had reported his good deeds to the church where John was. It seems these same men were about to make another preaching trip, and John encouraged Gaius to again help them on their way ( Rom_15:24 ; Tit_3:13 ). Woods suggests it was customary in that day to start out with a guest and go a short way with him on his trip thereby encouraging his efforts ( 3Jn_1:5-6 ).
These missionaries did their work for the sake of Christ. They refused pay from nonbelievers, likely to avoid criticism as to their purpose for preaching ( 1Co_9:1-19 ; 2Co_11:1-9 ). By taking such men in and helping them on their way one became a partner in their efforts ( 3Jn_1:7-8 ; contrast 2Jn_1:9 ).
Diotrephes was a man that liked to be in first position. So, when a letter came from John, perhaps carried by the missionaries just discussed, he suppressed the letter and refused to allow the preachers to come in and be with the saints. He falsely accused John with evil words. He refused the traveling preachers and forbad others to receive them. Anyone who helped them, he cast out of the church. John said he would deal with the matter when he came. John urged Gaius to imitate good works because evil workers like Diotrephes did not really know God. ( 3Jn_1:9-11 ).
Demetrius and Some Closing Words
Demetrius may have been one of the letter bearers who had been refused. At least, he is a contrast to the bad example of Diotrephes. Men spoke well of him generally, but public opinion can be wrong. The life of truth he lived also commended him ( Mat_7:15-20 ). John agreed with the good report of public opinion and the truth and Gaius knew he would not lie. John, like so many of us, had more to say, but evidently, wanted to do so in person. He expressed a desire to see Gaius soon. His prayer was that he would be at peace. Friends sent greetings through John, and John wanted Gaius to convey greetings to other friends who were with him.
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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on 3 John 1". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent