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Great Characters of the Bible (11 of 12)
Prosperity of the Soul -- Gaius
Clarence E. Macartney
3 John 2
Would it be safe for one who had the power to make his
wish come true, to make that wish for you-that your
bodily health and your worldly prosperity be brought
to the level of the prosperity of your soul?
This brief third letter of John introduces us to three
men in one of the early churches somewhere there in
Asia Minor. One of these is a very unattractive
character, the quarrelsome, loquacious, boasting
Diotrephes, "who loveth to have the preeminence." His
type still persists. The second, Demetrius, is a far
different kind of man. For him there is a threefold
witness to his Christian character and life: the
report of all men, the opinion of John himself, and
still more, of the Truth itself. His life adorned the
Gospel that he professed. But it is not to either of
these two men that this brief fourteen-verse letter of
John is addressed; it is directed to the well-beloved
Gaius. It is to him and for him that John expresses
his wish, or better his prayer; for what John said was
not "I wish," but, "I pray that...thou mayest prosper
and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
There is much light shed in this letter on the
character of Gaius, but nothing is told us about his
work or his station in life. From the record of his
hospitality and charity, it may be reasonable to infer
that he was a man of considerable standing. He may
have been a merchant at Laodicea, or a purple seller
at Thyatira, or a manufacturer at Smyrna, perhaps a
scholar or teacher. But John tells us nothing as to
that. What John does tell us is that whatever his
occupation in life and whatever his worldly
possessions or bodily health may have been, Gaius was
prosperous in his soul.
Thus John proclaims what Christ proclaims and what all
the Bible proclaims, the preeminence of the soul.
Concerning man alone it was s ...
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