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The Third Johannine Epistle

An Inductive Bible Study
Brandon Minter BIBLE 350 4/30/2013

A methodical study of the book of III John in a commentary format.

The book of Third John is a rather short epistle acclaimed to be written by the apostle John. Although the Epistle is so short, consisting of only 14-15 verses (varying on translation), it does have quite a bit to offer to the readers not only of the original recipients of the letter, but also to the readers of the New Testament book today. The book is gives a good sense of instruction, warning, encouragement, and even good examples of human interaction. The methods used in this commentary are the same methods used from Galatians: The Charter of Christian Liberty by Merrill C. Tenney, as taught and explained the Dr. Paul Finks Inductive Bible Study course. The methods include those that are helpful to correctly evaluate the text exegetically. The Synthetic method describes the coherence of the verses to explain the book as a whole. This is method is useful in order that one may be able to explain the book in its original context as to the purpose and intent as well as the synthesis of each section. The Critical method is useful for explaining the hard questions that the book proposes, whether historically or theologically. The Biographical method is that method which explains the characters of the text and how they all fit into the overall purpose of the scripture. This method is helpful in researching the characters so that the context of what is written may be understood more clearly. The Historical method is the method that can be used to understand the text as it was written within the time. This is useful to understand certain figures of speech and the emotional weight of certain circumstances as compared to others. The Theological method is a great method to dissect the text into different sections of theology in order that a person might have the ability to answer tough theological questions. The Rhetorical method is useful for picking out the different literary devices so that one may understand the text more clearly when trying to understand certain truths about the text. The Topical method can be used so that one will understand the events of the scripture and be able to relate them to other life situations as to minister to others

from comparison. The Analytical method is useful in researching the text as much as possible to come to certain conclusions on issues that arrive in the scripture. The Comparative method is an astounding way to explain how the passage relates to other passages in other parts of the scripture. This is useful in explaining the coherency of scripture as a whole and Gods use of certain events to lead up to other similar events. The Devotional method is useful to a steward of the scripture in that it has the ability to give the person the ability to use the passage as a personal experience other than just some text. All of these methods will help the Third Johannine epistle become clearer to the reader. These methods are designed to dissect the text so that Gods word may become evident in all areas of all people all the time.

The Text
King James Version
(3Jn 1:1) The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. (3Jn 1:2) Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (3Jn 1:3) For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. (3Jn 1:4) I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3Jn 1:5) Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; (3Jn 1:6) Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: (3Jn 1:7) Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. (3Jn 1:8) We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth. (3Jn 1:9) I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. (3Jn 1:10) Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. (3Jn 1:11) Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. (3Jn 1:12) Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true. (3Jn 1:13) I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: (3Jn 1:14) But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

Greek New Testament

(3Jn 1:1) (3Jn 1:2) (3Jn 1:3) . (3Jn 1:4) (3Jn 1:5) (3Jn 1:6) . (3Jn 1:7) (3Jn 1:8) (3Jn 1:9) , , , . , , . ,

. , . . .

(3Jn 1:10) , , , , . (3Jn 1:11) , . (3Jn 1:12) (3Jn 1:13) (3Jn 1:14) , . , . . ,

The Synthetic Method

As Christians we are called to read Gods word and be able to defend it as well as explain it to others. The best initial way to do that is to explain how the entire text fits together. When addressing the New Testament book of Third John, it is important to not dilute the text so much that specific verses can be wrenched out of context in order to fit ones personal presumptions. In order to do so, we synthesis, or combine the ideas. The word synthesis is a derivative from the Greek language. The Greek prepositions is translated with or together and the word which is translated place. A literal translation of the compound word would be to place together. Knowing this we understand that when we use the Synthetic method, we are placing together the text. Because of separation of verses, we look at the book in the Bible purely as God-breathed scripture, which they are, but they are also works of literature. The book of Third John is a letter or epistle that John is writing to a friend named Gaius. We tend to look at the numbers between sentences and phrases and make a subliminal decision that separates the verses. When the letter was written, it was intended to be read as a whole. The Synthetic method can help us understand the original intent of the letter so that we may learn more about the scripture itself, its earthly author, and its Heavenly Author. In this method, there must be repetition. Reading the book consistently and repeatedly can be very helpful to one who is trying to study the text. It helps not only to read the passage back to back, but also to put time in between reading so that the passage can become clearer throughout the span of time. Doing this will also bring attention to different themes of the passage so that even though the passage has been read before, something new can still be learned.

It is encouraged that the reader attempting to use this method take the numbers out of the passage and read it as a leader, maybe even hand write it and read it over. When looking at the book of Third John in this way, we can see that the book is a letter from The Elder to a man named Gaius. The letter addresses personal issues such as the authors prayers and rejoicing as well as the authors opinions on certain topics and the authors reaction to certain events. It is also evident some of the events of the time period in which the letter is written. The letter is quite a short one, which would lead one to believe that distance between where the letter was sent and where the letter was received might not be that far. The distance was surely far enough that a letter needed to be sent instead of a personal appearance or a message by word of mouth, but because the letter is so short and there are multiple letters like this from the same author, there seems to be a reason to believe that these letters were more frequent and closer by. When the Apostle Paul wrote letters to churches that were far away from where he was able to send them, the letters tended to be a longer. For example, The letter to Romans was written when Paul was in Corinth. The argument about the longevity of the letters can also be that there needed to be more issues covered in these conversations, but we also see that Apostle Paul writes shorter letters to those he wishes to see soon. It is best not to look too deep into this matter. No matter what, the epistle written to Gaius is God-breathed scripture and is useful for the Lords Kingdom. Now that the text has been looked at as a whole and certain assumptions were able to be made, the text can now be separated into the logical thoughts of the author. The chart below explains how the New Scofield Reference Bible (New King James Version) dissects the thoughts of the author logically and topically as well as the divisions of thoughts in the Greek text.

The Synthetic Method

New King James Version
NO Ref. Content Introduction: Gaius Greeted and Characterized Hospitality to Traveling Ministers God's work supported by His own people Domineering Diotrephes and His Evil Deeds Godly Demetrius Conclusion NO Ref.

Zondervan Greek NT
Content Salutations Rejoicing Treatment of brothers Confronting Diotrophes Imitation Valedations

1 v1-4 2 v5-6 3 v7-8 4 v9-11 5 v12 6 v13-14

1 v1 2 v2-4 3 v5-8 4 v9-10 5 v11-12 6 v13-14

Now that the text is organized, it can be understood more as a whole as well as into sections. It is important to remember both when exegetically assessing the text. After the period in which the reader should read the whole text over again a few times, the reader should also read over each section individually a few times. It can be determined from this method that the issues that were written of were of particular interest of the author to the point of retaliation. The author also gives praise and encouragement to Gaius as well as to the Church Gaius is a part of.

The Critical Method

To better understand a passage of scripture, it is helpful to critique it. This does not mean that we try to disprove certain issues in the book, but that we try to answer possible questions that could deter others theology or faith. The biggest issue with Third John is the author. The epistle only states that the author is called The Elder. Due to church history, we claim this to be the Apostle John. Some say that the author was named John, but was different than the Apostle. We can seem to trust that the author is John the apostle because of the longevity of Johns life as well as the area and time that the epistle was written. Another issue with the book is that there is no explanation of the letters destination. Again, we can look at church history and assume that the destination based on the recipient. The Gaius in Third John is not the same in other scriptures as will be explained in the next chapter. We assume that this Gaius is one of the church leaders from Ephesus. The other critiques of the book in a theological sense are explained in a further chapter diagramming The Theological Method.

The Biographical Method

The Characters of Third John, only consisting of four named characters, comprise of approximately 0.12% of the characters in the entire Bible. It is a good tool to study any and all characters, including the ones in a small passage such as Third John. The apostle John was the son of Zebedee and Solome. He had a brother named James and was the Cousin of the Lord Jesus. John grew up in a Jewish home learning to fish from his father and was a fisherman until Jesus acquired him for his purpose as one of the twelve disciples. John seemed to have a struggle with pride, putting the things he wanted over the will of God. John shows this in his argument with his brother James about the positioning in heaven. Jesus rebukes John in this instance, and John begins to mature in Christ. John was one of the only disciples who saw Jesus Crucified as he was selected to take care of the mother of Jesus, Mary. John stayed with the Lords mother until Mary passed away. He then traveled with Mary Magdalene until he was separated in the Roman persecution in which John was a great encouragement to the church during the reign of Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus. John traveled much and is the attributed author of the Gospel of John. John lived in Ephesus in his later years and traveled there frequently after he moved. John is said to have written three epistles while at Ephesus. John shows that he is truly an example of compassion and care through these epistles. This can be an encouragement for Churches to take care of their pastors and traveling ministers as well as for ministers to show compassion on the Church.

After his epistles, John was banished to the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation. He eventually died a natural death. Some attribute his longevity of live to the last words Jesus spoke to the apostles when Peter was questioning about John. Although there are questions about Johns authorship about the fourth gospel account due to the literary difference from Revelation, there is still good evidence to believe this as Revelation was written when John was secluded on an island and had been given a vision from God. Johns life is a great example of the development of a Christian from a young age until old age. Gaius was the one to whom the Apostle John was writing to. Due to the time difference in which Johns third epistle was written and the geographical difference, this Gaius does not seem to be the same as the others with the same name that were mentioned in the New Testament. Gaius seems to be one of Johns close friends as well as a leader in a church in his area. The epistle mentions instructions of Gaius sending forward members of the church. This would seem to suggest that Gaius is of some leadership position in the church. The negative character mentioned in the epistles is named Diotrephes. This character seems to have used the church for his personal gain. Many Pastors today fall under the character of Diotrephes. His domineering personality is that of which Jesus warns the Pharisees about. Demetrius seems to be in the epistle as a testimony to counteract the negative aspect pertaining to Diotrephes. After explaining good and evil, showing Diotrephes as an example of one who has not seen God, John writes about Demetrius in order to show a good example to parallel.

The Historical Method

The history of the book of Third John is a testament to what context in which the epistle should be read. Researching the history contained in a certain passage of scripture can help one understand the rhetorical language used that may not be used anymore. This method is also good for extracting history out of the text. This can help us to come to conclusions and understand other references in scripture. This may also be used to see fulfilled prophecy and to make connections to events from the past or even the future, especially the eschatological future. The historical accounts in Third John are not too vast. It is only comprised of 14 verses and shows almost no record of when it was written. All of our assumptions of the book are based on extra-biblical sources and clues from other writing by the same author. The Author is acclaimed to be the Apostle John. Some argue that the literary structure is different in all of the books that John is supposedly the author. The counterargument to that is in the writing styles themselves. The gospel of John was written in a story format, in order to explain the events of the life of Christ in detail. The three Johannine epistles are written in the format of a letter, addressing specific people and using epistle language. Johns Revelation is written in apocalyptic style because it is dealing with a vision of eschatology. Just because the writings are in different styles does not mean that they do not share the same author. C.S. Lewis, for example, wrote many books including the Narnia series that depicts fiction driven allegories of biblical issues, whereas his book The Screwtape letters are written in epistle format. If the books had no author written on them and a person was to come across them and wonder about the author, they wouldnt look to the differences in literary structure to see if the author wrote both pieces. They would look to the similarities such as

phrasing and word order. The similarities suggest that the author of the Gospel of John, the three Johannine epistles, and the book of Revelation share the same author. Finding the author of one text means that the author of all of them has been found. Knowing that John was often referenced as the elder later in his ministry would suggest that he is the one writing the three letters. This term explained his age as well as his ministerial position. John lived the longest out of all of the apostles and was able to continue writing during the times that these letters were written. There is not much of a chronological structure to the book of Third John, but what there is in the book is displayed below in a chronological chart of the events of Third John.

The Historical Method

Bretheren testify John Writes to the church


v3 unknown v9 unknown

These events that occur in the third Johannine epistle are not dated or relevant to each other. It is not certain which event happens first chronologically. It is assumed that the testimony of the Bretheren comes before Johns previous writing to the church in which Diotrephes did not receive John and his fellow travelers. It is important to draw history from, and use other historical evidence to understand scripture more clearly. This is useful even if there is not much to know about the book, such is the case in Third John.

The Theological Method

When looking at any passage of scripture, it is important to look at the Theological issues in the text. Not every scripture is as packed with theology as another, but that does not mean that there is no theology at all. Below is a chart of the different areas of theology and where each verse of the text in Third John fits in.

Ref. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Text. v1 v2 v3 v4 v5 v6 v7 v8 v9 v10 v11 v12 v13 v14 v15

Anthropology Ecclesiology Harmitiology Soteriology / / / / / / / / / /

/ / / / / / / / / / / /

As shown in the chart. Third John deals with anthropology and ecclesiology more than any other type of theology. This is because the intent of the letter was to clear up issues dealing with the church and those in the church. There was not an overwhelming need to deal with the other areas. At this time when the epistle was written, about 90-95AD, Paul had written letters to other churches dealing with most of the other major areas of theology and these letters were duplicated and circulated to many of the early churches.

Third John has three major theological assumptions in the text. The assumptions are not profound, but it is good to know what they are so that one may look unto other issues in the text. The first theological assumption is that absolute truth exists. John uses the word truth many times throughout his letter. In order for him to do this in good conscience and conviction, he must believe that there is an absolute truth that exists. The second theological assumption is that there is power in the name of Christ. John speaks about those who are preaching in the name. He encourages others to do the same. In order for this to be true, John must believe that there is power in the name of Jesus Christ. The third theological assumptions is that the apostles are given a type of authority. John talks about taking action against Diotrephes which shows that some characteristic of being an apostle gives him the right to do this. He may just be doing it as a follower of Christ, but in simply writing the letter under the influence of the Holy Spirit, John shows that apostles do have a different kind of authority than others. With theological assumptions, certain passages can raise certain theological questions. Other passages have more controversy than others, but Third John does have its own. Third John claims that anyone who does evil has not seen God, but we still sin after we become followers of Christ. Does this mean that if we sin we have never seen God? The answer can be found in another epistle John wrote. 1John 3:8-10 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

This verse speaks about evil being continual sin, not instances of sin which still need repentance. The person who sins and never intends to repent is the one who has not seen God. It is a temptation to sin when we know that God will forgive us, but true forgiveness only comes when repentance is evident in the heart of the one who has sinned. Even small passages like Third John can produce great theology. Any scripture is good to be used in the study of God and Third John is not an exception.

The Rhetorical Method

When addressing a passage, it is wise to look at the rhetoric that is used. As explained in the section about The Historical Method it is good to look into the type of language that was used in order to understand the text more clearly. Some things may be literal, while others are simply worded a certain way to portray a certain idea. It is important not to confuse these, so the text must be diagrammed according to the literary devices used so that there may be no confusion as to what is a rhetorical device and what is history or fact. Below is a chart that organizes the different rhetorical uses of parts of the passage.

3 John Rhetorical Method

John's Prayer and Rejoicing v2-4

Division of 3 John
John Commends and Condems v5-10 John explains correct imitation v11-12 Conclusion v1314

Figures of Color
Simile Metaphor Allegory Metonymy Synecdoche Hyberbole

Introduction v1

v1 The Elder

v7 His name's sake

Figures of Form
Irony Liotes Meiosis v10 call to mind, putting them out of the church. v11 Evil, Good/Good, Evil

Euphemism Rhetorical Questions Parallelism

Seeing this chart, we are able to more clearly understand what the Apostle John is trying to explain. It is good to do this with every passage of scripture. It is also a good tool to research the original language, in this case Greek. Certain words translated literarily do not make sense to us because of the time and language difference. We can take what we find to better understand Gods word.

The Topical Method

When taking a passage and intending to use it to help others, it is good to research the text using The Topical Method. This method allows the reader to diagram the passage into different topics in order that the text can be related to problems that Christians go through today. When using the method the first thing to be done is select the topics that the text describes. After this is done, the verses are put into order of the topics. This method can be used to develop sermons or even to personally tabulate the Bible according to topics for better search. Below is a chart depicting the topics of Third John.

The Topical Method

Topic Hospitality Correction Encouragement 1 v5-8 v9-11 v2-4

Even when looking at the passage topically, it is important not to forget to do such thing exegetically. As followers of Christ hungering for more knowledge about God, it is important not to impose personal issues into the text, but instead use the text to relate to personal issues.

The Analytical Method

The Analytical Method is also a good tool for using a passage to preach. This method helps those researching Gods word to organize the text into a logical thought process than can be explained to others in a way that allows the listeners to remember the message and apply it. To do this method, it is good to remember to pull the message out of the text, not to try to put a message into the text. After reading the text, one should separate it into three major points, Intro, Body, and Conclusion. These points should have sub-points and explanations of the points. On the next page is a personal outline of the book of Third John. When the passage has been outlined, it is easier to keep the logical thoughts organized. The outline can now be used for a lesson or sermon in which others will be able to keep attention and follow the ideas logically.

I. From The Elder A. The Elder is John 1. This John also wrote the other two letters, the Gospel of John, and Revelation. To Gaius A. A typical Roman name B. The Beloved 1. Whom John loves in truth


Body Johns prayer and rejoicing A Johns prayer 1 Prosper in all things 2 Be in health B Johns rejoicing 1 John rejoiced when a Brethren came and testified of the truth b He heard that his children walk in the truth II John Commends and Condemns A John commends Gaius for 1 Taking care of traveling ministers B John explains the importance of taking care of ministers 1 They went forth and Gods sake 2 They took nothing from the gentiles 3 We should receive them to become fellow workers for the truth C John explains Diotrephes actions 1 Diotrephes is selfish 2 Diotrephes does not receive traveling ministers III John explains correct imitation A John says not to imitate evil 1 This models the story of Diotrephes B John says to imitate what good 1 This models Gaius story I Conclusion I John explains his letter A John wanted to write more B John hopes to see them soon C John states goodbye from him and others

The Comparative Method

Because all of scripture is useful and is combined into one book that we call our Bible, the ability to compare scriptures to one another lies within each text. Because the author of Third John has written other books of the Bible, comparisons can be made between those other books. Comparisons can also be made to Old Testament books as well other books of the New Testament. This method may be easier than it is thought to be. This is because the same Holy Spirit inspired all of scripture. On the next page is a chart of the comparisons in Third John to other scriptures and a comparative explanation.


Text of 3 John


Text of comparing Verses


Teaching of the Comparisons

A common introduction of this author. The word "Elder" being used to describe the ministerial position as well as the age of the author who is acclaimed to be the Apostle John.

The Elder, To the beloved Gaius, 1 whom I love in truth: 2 John 1:1 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as 2 your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is 3 in you, just as you walk in the truth. 2 John 4

The elder, To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth--and not I only, but also all who know the truth-Person

I have no greater joy than to hear that 4 my children walk in truth. 1 John 2:1 Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for 5 strangers,

I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. Topic My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Topic

A similaraity between the texts and sentence structure that suggests the authors the two texts are the same. Another similarity of sentence structure. The Text differs in that the first chronological epistle goes into more detail about sin. John comments on the theme of being hospitipal to other ministers. The same theme is shown in Paul's Epistle to the Romans. Both the apostle John and the apostle Paul command a worthy walk of the Lord. The apostle John explains that not only should we do this, but we should encourage others to do the same The Apostle John explains working for the sake of the name. Earlier the apostle wrote the accounts of Jesus' words about why we do work for the sake of the Name (that is, the name of Jesus) This event is a testament to Christianity being applied. John and Paul explain in their epistles about the importance of taking in traveling ministers and showing hospitality. This shows the consistancy of a Christian lifestyle among differen Christ Followers John writes about an event of the topic of pride. This same pride issue is explained by Christ in the gospel accounts, such as the one in Matthew

distributing to the needs of the saints, Romans 12:13 given to hospitality. Topic

who have borne witness of your love I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner beseech you to walk worthy of the 6 worthy of God, you will do well, Ephesians 4:1 calling with which you were called,


because they went forth for His name's sake, taking nothing from the 7 Gentiles. John 15:21 Acts 20:33

But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. Topic I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. Event

We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers 8 for the truth.

distributing to the needs of the saints, Romans 12:13 given to hospitality. Topic

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence But many that are first shall be last; 9 among them, does not receive us. Matthew 19:30 and the last shall be first. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out 10 of the church. John 9:22 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has 11 not seen God. Psalm 34:14 Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know 12 that our testimony is true. 1 Timothy 3:7 I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and 13 ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the 14 friends by name. 2 John 12


His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue Event

John records both of these events in which someone is thrown out of the religious place for proclaiming the church. This shows the apostles' heart towards this specific situation as he makes sure to mention it and the dangers of such people. This is a simple concept that the Jews learned from childhood. The apostle reiterates it here. The Apostle John and the Apostle Paul describe the importance of having a good testimony of truth.

Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. Old Testament Reference Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Topic

Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. Literary Structure/person

The literary structure in this text suggests that the authors of both are the same person. Similar salutations and valedations make this probable.

The Devotional Method

Out of all the methods, The Devotional Method is one of the most important. This method is used for the individual to gain a closer relationship with Christ. Third John may be a short book, but it is no less significant than any other book of the Bible. This book written by the Apostle John helps us understand more about our human nature and the nature that the Holy Spirit calls us to. We may relate ourselves to a few of the characters in Third John. We can either be a Demetrius or a Diotrephes. It is up to us to decide which one we decide to be like. It may be obvious when reading the passage which one we should be like. The problem is, we often think of others when reading about biblical characters other than ourselves. John encourages us to be like Demetrius. We should be the type to consistently encourage others and build the church up. Pastors are not the only ones whose job is to build up and exhort the church; it is also up to the parishioners. The entire church is responsible for the work of the church. A rough estimate of the dispersion of work in the church is that 10% of the people do 90% of the work. This is not what we are called to. It is not even the jobs of the deacons only. The Greek word means minister with the intent of being a servant. Knowing this, anyone who claims Christ as their Lord and Savior is a deacon. John also uses this letter to discourage us from being like Diotrephes. Unfortunately it is very rare that we will find ourselves comparing to this character on our own. If we are like this person named Diotrephes, then we probably are not in the state of mind to see the wrong in what we are doing. It normally takes a fellow brother or sister in Christ to bring out these issues into the light. If we know someone like this in our personal lives, it is important to confront each

other in love. Pastor David Clay of Amherst Baptist Church states that Truth without love is just condemnation. We can take this lesson to heart when we decide who we want to be like. We can be legalistic and deny hospitality to other ministers, or we can remember the lesson that the Apostle John teaches us and show other ministers the correct way to treat one another.


Now that we have dissected every bit of truth that we can out of the book of Third John, we can continue our studies of other books as well. The methods used to create this commentary can be used for every book of the Bible. Even though Third John is a small fourteen verse book, there is quite a bit that can be learned from it. This book may help those who desire to understand the small epistle more clearly. Another great thing about Gods word is that there is an infinite amount of knowledge that can be gained from it. As time goes forward more things can be learned about scripture. The Dead Sea Scrolls have been discovered within the past 70 years and have expanded our knowledge of scripture more than before. Who knows what else will be found in the future, whether artifacts or other copies of original manuscripts, there are many possibilities to help us better understand scripture. It is important to remember that God has allowed us to understand certain things and certain times for certain reasons. Knowledge outside of its time can be dangerous. Some preachers look at something in scripture during a time in their life and create a sour theology based upon it. Later in life that same preacher may understand scripture clearer. If we are confused about a certain passage it may because God is trying to protect us from focusing too much on things that are not as import as others. Gods Church is split enough as it is, there does not need to be more separation of the body of Christ. God has allowed us the ability to study His word and pray over it so that we may understand it better. We must use the gift of the Holy Spirit wisely to discern Gods word. That is the true purpose of Inductive Bible Study.