3 John 1

This devotional is written by Sadie Windsor-Richards.

3 John 1

The elder,

To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, just as you are progressing spiritually. 3 It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honours God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.

9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone – and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.

13 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.


In this passage John writes to Gaius; a proactive member of the church. Gaius was fantastic at showing hospitality. Christian leaders travelled from town to town, helping to build the church communities and they relied on the believers to accommodate them. We also read about another leader Diotrephes who did the exact opposite. He wanted to control the church and any visiting leaders threatened that, so he sought to undermine them.

As well as the theme of hospitality, the thought that strikes me most here is the power of words.
John seeks to build up and encourage Gaius. In verse 3 he writes; “It gave me great joy to have some of the brothers come and tell us of your faithfulness.” In direct conflict to this, John describes how Diotrephes is “gossiping maliciously” and causing trouble in the church.

Our words are extremely powerful. What we say and how we say it can either have a damaging effect or by contrast a life affirming impact on the lives of those around us. Sometimes I think it is tempting to assume that our words are fleeting; spoken in a moment and then gone. But our words have impact and can, if used with sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, be a positive turning point in an individual’s life. That word of encouragement may seem trivial to us but it could really help to turn a situation around for the better.

Let us be alert for opportunities to use our words, to edify others. If we know that what we are about to say is destructive then we can leave it behind. If we have caused hurt we can seek forgiveness and go on to be an encourager instead.
It’s a wonderful thing to do.

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