Studies in 3 John Part 3: An Exposition of 3 John 11-14 -- By: D. Edmond Hiebert

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 144:575 (Jul 1987)
Article: Studies in 3 John Part 3: An Exposition of 3 John 11-14
Author: D. Edmond Hiebert


Studies in 3 John
Part 3:
An Exposition of 3 John 11-14

D. Edmond Hiebert

Professor Emeritus of New Testament
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California

The laudatory introduction in verses 1–4 prepared the way for John’s main message to Gaius in verses 5–12. In verses 5–8 John set forth the Christian obligation to support missionaries of the gospel, and in verses 9–10 he condemned the hostility of Diotrephes toward the missionaries John had sent out. In verses 11–12 two further matters are set before Gaius. Verses 13–14 constitute the epistolary conclusion of this brief document.

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has received a good testimony from every one, and from the truth itself; and we also bear witness, and you know that our witness is true.
I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name (3 John 11–14).

The Body of the Letter Continued

Having set forth two of his essential concerns in verses 5–10, John presented two further matters in verses 11–12. In verse 11 he reminded Gaius of the lesson to be learned from the unhappy circumstances recounted in verses 9–10. Those circumstances also provided the setting for the recommendation given to Demetrius in verse 12 .

The Personal Lesson from the Circumstances (v. 11)

For the third time the elder addressed the recipient of his letter as “Beloved” (ἀγαπητέ), having already applied the adjective to him in the opening salutation (v. 1). The transition from the sad scene in verses 9–10 to his loving appeal to Gaius is abrupt, made without any transitional particle. It undoubtedly was a relief for John to turn from thinking of the hostility of domineering Diotrephes to giv...

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