What does 3 John 1:1 mean?
ESV: The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
NIV: The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
NASB: The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
CSB: The elder: To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
NLT: This letter is from John, the elder. I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth.
KJV: The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
NKJV: The Elder, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:
Verse Commentary:
This opening verse follows the common format of ancient letter writing. It includes the author, the recipient, and a brief introduction. This letter is from "the elder." From the earliest days of Christianity, this has been accepted as John the apostle. As is typical of John, though, his name is not specifically mentioned in the letter. John calls Gaius "whom I love in truth," and truth is a common theme in this short letter.

The recipient is "the beloved (or 'dear friend') Gaius." The name Gaius was common in the first century and is also seen in Acts 19:29, Acts 20:4, Romans 16:23, and 1 Corinthians 1:14. However, it is unlikely that all of these were the same person. Though little is known of this Gaius, he was clearly well known by the apostle John, and was a man committed to sharing the truth of the Lord with others. He was commended for helping traveling evangelists and helping others grow spiritually.
Verse Context:
Third John 1:1–8 introduces the writer as “the elder,” which tradition says is the apostle John. It specifies that the letter is meant for Gaius, who is praised for his positive reputation. In particular, Gaius is applauded for caring for missionaries and other traveling Christians. This is especially important to John, so those preaching the truth aren’t dependent on the support of non-believers.
Chapter Summary:
Third John is a short letter from the apostle John to a fellow Christian, Gaius. John emphasizes the importance of “truth,” which is mentioned a half-dozen times. The passage highlights the need for Christians to support each other, so that missionaries and evangelists don’t depend on the support of non-believers. John’s words also speak against church leaders who are more interested in reputation and power than submission to the truth.
Chapter Context:
Third John is a short letter from the apostle John to a fellow Christian, Gaius. John emphasizes the importance of “truth,” which is mentioned a half-dozen times. The passage highlights the need for Christians to support each other, so that missionaries and evangelists don’t depend on the support of non-believers. John’s words also speak against church leaders who are more interested in reputation and power than submission to the truth.
Book Summary:
Third John consists of just one chapter. This is a short letter from the apostle John to a fellow believer, Gaius. “Truth” is mentioned six times in this book's brief 15 verses. Gaius is praised for his commitment to Christian service. At the same time, John condemns the actions of Diotrephes, a church member causing problems. After mentioning the good reputation of a man named Demetrius, John closes his letter in the hope of coming to see Gaius face-to-face. This upcoming meeting seems to be why the letter is so short.
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