Like the Epistle to Philemon and Second John, Third John is a private letter addressed to the elder's friend, Gaius, who was a leading member in another congregation. There was a Gaius in Corinth (1Cor.1v14; Rom.16v23); a group of Christians met in his home. One tradition says that this Gaius later became John's scribe. However, we do not know if he is the same Gaius as the one in 3 John. One thing is certain; John truly loved this man. (3Jn.1-5; 3Jn.11). This particular Gaius is commended for his deep devotion to the truth and for showing his practical love to traveling preachers who depended on congregations of true believers to support them.

There was another individual in that vicinity whom John did not appreciate. His name was Diotrephes. He was a self-appointed, domineering man who summarily excommunicated anyone who did not agree with his policies. He was so arrogant that he ignored even John's apostolic credentials. A confrontation was inevitable (3Jn.9-11).

John's teaching about committing sin (1Jn.1v6-10; 1Jn.3v4-10) may be interpreted by his own phrase in 3Jn.11--"a doer of evil." This does not mean the mere commission of an inadvertant, single act of sin, but denotes a habitual sinner, one who deliberately sins often.

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