by Stan Coffey

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3 John: Testifying to the Truth (30 of 32)
Series: Through the Bible
Stan Coffey

AUTHORSHIP: The Apostle John

DATE OF WRITING: Between 90 and 95 A.D.

THEME: John's third letter is very personal in character and emphasizes the battle for truth within the local church. One of the key words in this letter is witness, 3 John 3, 6 and 12. The word witness is sometimes translated testify and sometimes translated record. Each Christian is a witness, either a good one or a bad one. In this little letter (the shortest New Testament epistle in the original Greek) we read of three individuals who were witnesses in the local church. Two of them were good witnesses, helping the truth, one was a bad witness hindering the truth. This letter pictures an aged apostle concerned about inroads or apostasy into the church and what he can from a distance to correct the problem.

While the second letter of John was sent to a woman, the third is sent to a man. While the second urged against receiving false messengers, the third warned against rejecting true messengers. While anonymity marks the second letter the naming of specific individuals highlights the third letter. While the second letter warned against being too soft, the third letter warns against being too hard. While the first letter warned against the deceiver, the second letter warns against the dictator.

The third letter of John is very personal in character and carries the same theme that truth is all important. When truth and love come into conflict it is truth that must survive.


A. His pastor - John - vs. 1

1. ''The elder'' - could refer to the age of John, he was almost 100 years old at the time
2. ''The elder'' - could refer to John as an officer in the early church - a spiritual leader

B. His personality - vs. 1

1. Gaius was sweet in his demeanor - ''the well beloved Gaius'' (Four times John calls him beloved - vs. 1, 2, 5, and 11) John knows and loves him ...

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