New Testament Survey: The Book Of Third John

Written By: Steve Shirley


The Book Of Third John

Author:  John (Son of Zebedee)
(For more on John see: Survey: Gospel of John)

The Stats:

Date Written:

Place Written:  Ephesus (See: Survey: 1st John for more on this)

Written To:  Gaius

Key Verses:  (3 Jn 5, 11)


Special Emphasis:

Gaius: A "beloved" (3 Jn 2,5,11) friend of John. It appears that he was a well-known, prominent, and wealthy Christian. He may have been a member of one of the churches that John was the "superintendent" of in Asia (possibly Diotrephes' church). John commended him for "walking in truth" (3 Jn 3-4), and being "faithful" (3 Jn 5) by showing "love"(3 Jn 6) and hospitality to traveling missionaries. John warns him not to "follow that which is evil (Diotrephes), but that which is good" (3 Jn 11).

Diotrephes: He is depicted as an arrogant, prideful, unloving, self-centered man who "loves to be first" (3 Jn 9). He was likely a bishop in charge of one of the churches under John's oversight. As the leader, he rejected a previous letter sent by John (3 Jn 9)(which may have been 2nd John) and slandered John "with malicious words" (3 Jn 10). He also refused to show hospitality to traveling missionaries and even "put out of the church" those who did help them (3 Jn 10). It is interesting to note, however, that John does not accuse him of heresy or teaching false doctrine.

Demetrius: John says that everyone has "a good testimony" of him and that he stood for the truth (3 Jn 12). Most believe that he delivered 3rd John as John's response to the reports from the traveling missionaries about the hospitality of Gaius and their rejection by Diotrephes.


1. Personal greetings, 1-4.

2. Instructions concerning ministering brethren, 5-8.

2. Instructions concerning ministering brethren, 5-8.

3. The apostate leader and the good Demetrius, 9-14.

(Survey from Scofield Reference Notes [1917 ed.]: Public Domain)