Friday, 3 July 2020
To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth: 3 John -1
As in 2 John, John begins his letter with “The Elder.” Because of his reputation, age, and status, this was all that was necessary to identify himself to his readers. This is a personal letter and is being written “To the beloved Gaius.”
Gaius was a very common name at the time, coming from the Roman name Caius. And so, he can’t be linked with any other Gaius – either mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament or from archaeological discoveries. The name is found twice in Acts, once in Romans, and once in 1 Corinthians. Of this particular Gaius, we know he was beloved of John.
Of his addressee, John next says, “whom I love in truth.” The translation is correct. Some translations say, “in the truth.” There is no article before “truth,” showing that it is a state of being, rather than a love because of a particular issue. John’s love extends beyond one point and is an all-encompassing fraternal love which is grounded in truth.
John will use the term “truth” six times in this short letter. He will also use the adjective form “true” once as well. His stress on this word is to show the contrast between Gaius and those like him, and on another person whom John will single out for his evil ways.
Life application: As we go through this short letter, we are going to get a good idea of the workings of the church at this early stage in Christianity and about the problems they faced even then.
Some of these problems are still being faced today. One of the problems is discontent among those within the body leading towards animosity. We can tell this even from this first verse. John uses an emphatic “I” in this verse, implying that there were those who were at enmity with Gaius.
John was stressing, in essence, that “even though others don’t love you, I (stated boldly) do.” And why was there this bond of love? Because of walking in truth, meaning the doctrine of Jesus Christ when properly taught and accepted. John loved those who received the truth. The implication is that he had no love for those who didn’t or those who taught it falsely.
Let us take the Bible in its proper context when dealing with such issues as Christian love.
Each day, Lord, we look with anticipation at the coming wisdom when we pick up your word to read it again. We cherish the treasures of insight You have placed there. May we properly handle Your word so that You will be glorified, and so that we will be found truthful in our lives and doctrine. What more could a soul desire than this! Amen.