547.) 3 John

Paul has three men in mind when he writes this note to a friend: Gaius, who loves to show hospitality; Demetrius, who loves the truth; and Diotrephes, who loves to be first.

3 John 1 (English Standard Version)


1The elder to the beloved Gaius (good example), whom I love in truth.

Who is this Gaius?  It is hard to know.  David Guzik tells us that Gaius was one of the most common names in the Roman Empire!

2Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Support and Opposition

5Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, 6who testified to your love before the church.

Matthew 25:21 (New International Version)

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. 7For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.

from My Utmost for His Highest,
by 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.  The key to missionary devotion means being attached to nothing and no one saving Our Lord Himself.  Loyalty to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of Redemption wrought in my 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.


9I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes (bad example), who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

11Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.

Psalm 37:27 (New Living Translation)

Turn from evil and do good,
      and you will live in the land forever.


Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 12Demetrius (good example) has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

Final Greetings

13 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. 14I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

15Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, every one of them.


from the Life Application Bible:

“Whereas 2 John emphasizes the need to refuse hospitality to false teachers, 3 John urges continued hospitality to those who teach the truth.  Hospitality is a strong sign of support for people and their work.  It means giving them of your resources so their stay will be comfortable and their work and travel easier.  Actively look for creative ways to show hospitality to God’s workers.  It may be in the form of a letter of encouragement, a gift, financial support, an open home, or prayer.”

Four women have taught me much about hospitality:

1) My mother, Maurine Riskedahl, was a good cook and an interesting conversationalist.  (I am grateful that I now have her good dishes—Haviland—that she bought with money from her first year teaching in Adel, Iowa, in 1946.)  Every year Mother put on a “Christmas Tea” at our house for all the faculty and staff at our high school; she served seven different kinds of homemade Norwegian holiday delicacies along with a variety of other goodies.

2)  My aunt, Genevieve Wilson, made everything so pretty at her table and in her home. Even as a young widow with a daughter, living very frugally, she still supported a missions child overseas.  Later in her life she opened her home to visiting missionaries from around the world and cheerfully, generously, supported them.

3)  My friend, Sue Awes, articulated what Mother and Aunt Gen did but never expressed so clearly — that hospitality is a gift from the heart.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should show tender, loving care, with your own creative touch!  Some years ago I was on a mission trip with Sue, and I will never forget watching her teach, so joyfully, a group of older Russian orphan girls the basics of gracious hospitality (a piece of fruit in a colorful bowl on the table, a flower in a pretty bottle at the bedside . . . ).

4)  My friend, Linda Wallace, makes hospitality seem simple and fun, as if you are doing her a favor by being her guest!  Her warm and unpretentious ease when making you feel at home is pure elegance, pure grace.  And I must mention her delicious bran muffins and lemon-filled creme puffs!

Who has taught you?  Who are you teaching?  Do it as unto the Lord, as these four women have!



In this song, “Remembrance (Communion Song)” by Matt Redman, my favorite line is “Now the simple made divine” — for that is the transforming power of Christian hospitality.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Thinking of you . . .     http://rlv.zcache.com/thinking_of_you_card-p137917990066917825qdoq_400.jpg
Trinity.     http://www.holytrinityoldcatholicchurch.org/_borders/thd_trinity1.gif
do good.    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2473/3817553868_cc9d65838d.jpg
Thank you for your hospitality.    http://rlv.zcache.com/thank_you_hospitality_2_customizable_card-p137811481228795928q6am_400.jpg

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