3 John 1-5
3 John like 2 John was written between the time of 80-95 A.D. This letter like 2 John was addressed to an individual named Gaius but the main topic is the Christians walking in truth and obedience. This small letter also mentions missionary activity in verses 5 to 8. The truth is a central theme of this letter as well as John’s other letters.
3 John 1 (KJB)
The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
Here John begins his letter to Gaius (Gaius means I am happy). Gaius may have been led to the Lord by John as we will see in the language of verse 4. There is no specific geographic location given but was probably in the area of Asia Minor as the other two letters were. It was at this time that Emperor Domitian was on the throne in Rome (81-96 A.D.) and under him was another great persecution of the Christians. This may be the reason why John left no location so there would be no persecution of the recipients.
3 John 2 (KJB)
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Prosper and prospereth - Get along well, succeed, gain
Health - Be sound or wholesome
Here John desires Gaius to prosper and be in health. The word prosper carries with it the idea of a successful journey. John had desired that he would be prosperous in all areas of his life as he was in his spiritual walk. This verse has been taken way out of context by the Charismatic movement. They use it as one of their “proof texts” that God wants everybody wealthy and healthy. John, in this verse, is desiring that Gaius be prosperous, he is not guaranteeing any prosperity. It was a very intimate greeting coupled with the term “beloved.” If you write to a person that is beloved to you, are you going to desire that they fall off a cliff or that they would prosper? John was hoping that Gaius would be found in good health, as good as his soul was. Remember, the soul of the Christian has been totally cleansed of all sin by the sacrifice of Christ.
3 John 3 (KJB)
For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
Testified - Bore witness
Walkest - Live or conduct oneself
Here John was traditionally in Ephesus and there were brethren that had brought word back to him that Gaius was continually conducting himself in a manner which was in accordance with the truth of God. The verse closes with an added confirmation of the walk of Gaius, in that the reports the brethren bought to John were well confirmed that Gaius had a good report as a Christian. It brings joy to a person when someone whose life they had a part in is still continuing to walk obediently and it was not just for window dressing.
3 John 4 (KJB)
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Here John expresses himself again that he rejoices when he hears someone walking in the truth. It seems from this verse that Gaius was led to the Lord by John and that he was John’s child in the faith. It is always a good feeling to see someone who we have led to the Lord continuing to walk in the truth and having a good testimony of faith. You can also take this verse as an affirmation from the Lord that He too is happy when His children are walking in truth and avoiding the evil of the world.
3 John 5 (KJB)
Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
Thou doest - Work, perform, accomplish or carry out
John gives Gaius another encouragement in that everything he does, whether it is for the brethren or for strangers, unbelievers or those whom he shows hospitality to. The words “thou doest” carries with it the idea of labor which is very wearying to the body but nevertheless is done. Those words give a summation of how Gaius had a life of service and was not afraid to go the extra mile. Hospitality was a great feature of the ancient world as well as up until the 20th century when hotels and motels started to dot the landscape. People no longer stayed at other people’s homes but instead were put up in a motel. It seems Satan has been very good at isolating the brethren so there can be none or less planning on how to damage the kingdom of Satan. This is one of the reasons Satan tries to keep Christians away from church so there is no group planning on evangelism. (Mark 3:27 KJV) No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.