Third Epistle of John

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The Third Epistle of John, usually referred to simply as Third John and often written 3 John, is a book of the New Testament attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John. This Epistle is the shortest book in the Bible (least words; 2 John has fewer verses).

Contents

Composition

Indications within the letter suggest a genuine private letter, composed to Gaius to commend a party of Christians led by Demetrius, who were strangers to the place where he lived, and who had gone on a mission to preach the gospel (verse 7). The purpose of the letter is to encourage and strengthen Gaius, and to warn him against the party headed by Diotrephes, who refuses to cooperate with the presbyteros who is writing.

Regarding the letter addressee Gaius: the same name occurs in four New Testament texts. Thus, the question naturally arises whether the Gaius of 3 John is the same man mention in any of the others contexts. First, a Christian Gaius is mentioned in Macedonia as a traveling companion of Paul, along with Aristarchus(Acts 19:29). One chapter later, a Gaius from Derbe, is again named as one of Paul's seven traveling companions who waited for him at Troas (Acts 20:4). Next, a Gaius is mentioned residing in Corinth as being one of only a few people there (the others being Crispus and the household of Stephanas) who were baptised by Paul, who founded the Church in that city (1 Corinthians 1:14). Lastly, a Gaius is referred to in a final greeting portion of the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 16:23) as Paul's "host" and also host of the whole church, in whatever city Paul is writing from at the time. In all likelihood, this was Corinth.

Authorship of 3 John and other Johannine texts

The language, pastoral concerns, and brevity of 3 John are similar to those of 2 John, suggesting a common author and purpose. Both are written by a person identifying himself as John "the elder" or John the Presbyter.

Scholars are more divided on the question of whether this is the same as the author 1John, the Gospel of John and the Revelation, all three of which place the author in a leading eyewitness role in the Church origins.[citation needed]

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