SummaryJohn the Elder writes the New Testament's closest thing to a typical personal letter. He writes to his friend and fellow Christian, Gaius, for help with disciplining Diotrephes, who is resisting John's leadership. The letter probably originally accompanied a letter to a larger house church, perhaps either 1 or 2 John.
This short letter gives us a window into issues of leadership, authority, and hospitality in early Christianity.
Where Do I Find It?
The Third Letter of John is the twenty-fifth book in the New Testament. It is the last of the three "Johannine Letters," a collection of writings that share much in common with each other and with the Gospel of John.
Who Wrote It?
The "elder" who wrote this letter is often identified as John, the same person who probably wrote the Gospel of John (maybe in cooperation with other writers). This elder may or may not be the Apostle John, son of Zebedee.
When Was It Written?
The Third Letter of John comes from around 90 C.E. It was probably written before 1 John, but after the Gospel of John.
What's It About?
John the Elder writes to his friend and coworker Gaius, asking for help with the discipline of Diotrephes, another leader in a local house church.
How Do I Read It?
Read this letter in its social and historical context, written from John the Elder to his friend and fellow leader in a local church, Gaius. Notice the theme of hospitality and the need to apply discipline to other leaders in the church.
AUTHOR: Alan Padgett, Professor of Systematic Theology