For interest’s sake, here’s a brief outline of FaceLift’s personal hermeneutic on 3 John, highlighting the structure of the letter, illustrating the probability that 3 John 2 was more than a salutation, and was in fact part of John’s exhortation to his friend, Gaius; and the way in which John exhorts and affirms his friend. This in reply to Phil’s claim of ‘horrible’ hermeneutic, which FaceLift refutes.
THE ELDER, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:
This is the greeting, and is followed by three sections prefaced by ‘Beloved’, which was a common term to John’s writing, and often the lead into a new subject (read through 1 John):
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
The first sentence, a prayer for total well-being, based on the confirmed report that Gaius ‘soul prospered’, that is: he continued in the truth, and is qualified by the conjunction, ‘for’; ‘for I rejoiced greatly’, followed by the reason for rejoicing, the good report.
His soul was already prospering as a result of his union with Christ, but it was compounded by his continuing in the truth. So, in the same way his soul prospered, John prayed that his whole person and affairs would prosper.
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.
An affirmation of Gaius’ willingness to assist and receive ministers and saints from other places, as brethren, and therefore as members of the same Body, to be cared for as our own.
Then a warning about another leader who did not have the same gracious attitude, and was resistant of showing either hospitality, or utilising the gifts and callings of other Christian ministries or saints:
I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.
Then the third ‘beloved’.
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true.
An admonition to continue in the truth and maintain a good witness before all.
Followed by closing thoughts, and a blessing:
I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face.
Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.
If you follow the ‘Beloved’ trail of John’s letters, you will see what this letter clearly illustrates.