Third Epistle Of John
From Bible Encyclopedia
The New Testament Third Epistle of John (often referred to as 3 John) is the 64th book of the Bible. It is the second-shortest book in the Christian Bible by number of verses, and the shortest in regard to number of words (according to the King James Version).
It is written by a man who identifies himself only as "the presbyteros" and is addressed to Caius (or Gaius). Easton's Dictionary finds it uncertain whether the Christian Caius in Macedonia (Acts 19:29), the Caius in Corinth (Romans 16:23) or the Caius in Derbe (Acts 20:4) is intended. The letter has indications that it is a genuine private letter, written for the purpose of commending to Gaius 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 stengthen Caius, and to warm him against the party headed by Diotrephes, who refuses to cooperate with the presbyteros who is writing.
Edgar Goodspeed saw this and 2 John as cover letters for 1 John, as the only likely reason for their preservation. The language of this epistle is remarkably similar to 2 John, and it is the scholarly consensus that the same man wrote both of these letters, although it has been debated whether or not this man also wrote the Gospel of John, 1 John, or Revelation, and the Authorship Of The Johannine works is generally agreed by modern scholars to have been by multiple people (all known as John) rather than just one. Even in ancient times it was argued that this John the Presbyter was different to the John who wrote 1 John, and this was affirmed by an official church ruling at the Council of Rome, where it was ordered that the author of 1 John should be known as John The Evangelist while the author of 2&3 John should be known as John the Presbyter.
The earliest possible attestations for 3 John come from Tertullian and Origen. Tertullian, "On Monogamy" ch.vi quotes a brief phrase—"follow the better things"— from 3 John 1:11 "Beloved, imitate not that which is evil, but that which is good", a phrase that might also have been adapted from the Septuagint Psalm 36:27 (37 in the Hebrew Bible) or from the 1 Peter 3:11. Origen's Commentary on Matthew book xi says "But many things might be said about the Word Himself who became flesh", which has been offered as a parallel showing the use of logos in 3 John 1:7. . Irenaeus in Adversus Haereses iii. 16. 7 (written ca 175), quotes 2 John. 7 and 8, and in the next sentence I John 4:1, 2, as from "the Letter of John."; he does not quote from 3 John. The Muratorian Canon accepts two letters of John only.
Is addressed to Caius, or Gaius, but whether to the Christian of that name in Macedonia (Acts 19:29) or in Corinth (Romans 16:23) or in Derbe (Acts 20:4) is uncertain. It was written for the purpose of commending to Gaius some Christians who were strangers in the place where he lived, and who had gone thither for the purpose of preaching the gospel (3 John 1:7).
The Second and Third Epistles were probably written soon after the First, and from Ephesus.