III John offers a stark contrast among three men who respond in different ways to the itinerant teachers sent out by the apostle: Gaius generously gave to others, Demetrius loved the truth, and Diotrephes looked out for himself.
III John is a personal letter written by the Apostle John to a man in the church named Gaius.
It is not known for sure where Gaius lived, but it is thought that he belonged to a church somewhere in an area that is now known as western Turkey.
In those days, traveling Christian preachers and teachers would turn to the local church for hospitality.
The problem was that some of the people seeking room and board were phonies who just pretended to be true prophets to get free hospitality.
John was appealing to Gaius for hospitality for Demetrius (v. 12) who was evidently a traveling preacher.
It appears that the church was dominated by a man named Diotrephes who did not extend a welcome to traveling brethren. In fact, he even sought to excommunicate from the church those who offered such men their hospitality.
Fellowship is the theme of I, II, and III John:
Fellowship with God needed-I John.
Fellowship forbidden with false teachers-II John.
Fellowship with Christian brothers encouraged-III John.
This letter gives us a glimpse into the kind of frank and personal correspondence that the Apostle John had with other great Christian leaders.
This book should cause us to reflect on Christ’s values in our relationship with others and the opening of our lives and homes to touching others with His love.
An outline for III John:
Commendation of Gaius (hospitality, servanthood) (verses 1-8).
Condemnation of Diotrephes (haughtiness, selfishness) (verses 9-14).