FaceLift’s condensed hermeneutic on 3 John

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.


19 thoughts on “FaceLift’s condensed hermeneutic on 3 John

  1. Really?-Is that so?-hmm-‘you dont say’-amazing!

    ……Why did you bother dear fellow?

    Why don’t you rather start a post suggesting useful directions for the objectives of this Blogsite?


  2. Hi Facelift,

    You still have missed the point….I criticized your misinterpretation of my article….and how you read into it and made assumptions….hermenuetics isn’t just restricted to biblical interpretation….which was my whole point…

  3. Who cares if I get it! I have fun in the Word anyway! You don’t get it!

    In fact the passage is quite topical. Phil comes close to being similar in attitude to Diotrephes who won’t receive other brethren so he can protect the ivory tower of his aloof ‘discernment’ ‘theology’ ministry, and doesn’t know how to love a brother despite the differences, immaturities, inabilities to see or respond adequately (in his view), missing out on a completely different outlook, throwing insults at brethren in the hope they’ll stay away so he can pretend they’re cowardly to avoid his scrutiny.

    Better to be like Demetrius. ‘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.’

  4. Ah, but Phil was never gonna come unto this site again to ‘squabble’ with me, was he. Maybe I’ll do an article on him, and on other ‘discernment’ ministries.

    The first problem with ‘discernment’ ministries which clam to have the correct theology is that they have to have theology so totally nailed down themselves to actually have a valid reason to exist.

    The second problem is that they seem to universally have this Diotrophan attitude, which ultimately shuts out all doctrinal stances which do not echo their own.

    It’s an exclusivity which is destructive to those who have been wrongly taught but are open to being correctly taught. It’s dismissive attitude which suggests superior intellect, knowledge, understanding and even focussing abilities, but at the expense of those who are seen as lesser beings for not believing the exact same doctrine.

    I think the choice of 3 John was very opportune, since, read in context and as a whole it points out some of the flaws of ‘discernment’ ministries.

    “The Spirit gives life, but he letter kills”. How true!

  5. You do raise a good point FaceLift. Unfortunately, I don’t agree with your view 100% but you’ve given me something to ponder about. Thanks. I’ll be thinking about what you said.

  6. The benefit of blogging is that we have an opportunity to disagree and discuss what believe without slagging one another off!

  7. “The second problem is that they seem to universally have this Diotrophan attitude, which ultimately shuts out all doctrinal stances which do not echo their own.”

    Well, I’m quite familiar with this stance from a variety of churches I’ve been part of. The Sydney Anglicans shut out the Pente’s for believing in the current, literal exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The local Pente’s regard seminary training as ‘cemetery’ training. Etc.

    Anyway, you can have all the correct doctrine in the world, and without love it is worthless.

  8. You confuse Biblical prosperity with covetous riches, greed and avarice.

    The Bible is clear on what prosperity means, but critics tend to take the concept to the extreme. It leaves us with no place to go but but the think it’s more godly to be in poverty.

    God is far more generous with his children and Church than this.

  9. Facelift, its the prosperity teachers who take prosperity to an extreme with covetous riches, greed and avarice. You deny that they teach it this way.

  10. I know of prosperity teachers who don’t.

    There are certainly others who teach wrongly, and I’ve discussed this with a pastor today who is highly critical of those teachers who take advantage of others, say, by claiming they’ll have all their problems cured by donating $250 to their TV ministry – NOW! My pastor friend is against the crass foolishness of some teaching, but teaches prosperity himself, but a balanced teaching which doesn’t encourage covetous riches, greed or avarice.

    I find the negative claims constantly touted here and at Phil’s unhelpful (not all the comments, but the emphasis on the negative perspective). I am surprised at the amount of defence or the way Phil goes about it.

    Although, I will say, even Phil says some great things, but then, so does Chee on his site. However, there are some things I would agree with Phil on in regard to Chee’s ideas. But what gets me is the way he constantly calls people like Chee ‘clueless’ or ‘silly’ or heretical, the devil’s tool, or some other manic descriptor, but he’s obviously just a Christian blogger, and a product of he teaching he knows, with good intentions, not the anti-christ, or some cult teacher, as S&p suggests.

    Seriously, had you hard of Chee before Phil’s blog? Had you heard of Phil? Why so negative?

    There is certainly Biblical teaching which shows that it is possible for believers to be blessed.

    Sadly the emphasis is so confined to the negative that the wrong perspective is constantly portrayed.

  11. FaceLift:
    “There is certainly Biblical teaching which shows that it is possible for believers to be blessed.”

    Yeah. What’s that? Be perfect? That didn’t work for Jesus either here on earth.

    The confession of someone who lives the gospel message:
    “I’m safe. I’m saved. I’m satisfied.”

  12. I encourage you FaceLift to sit down with a homeless Christian who lives on the streets and ask them how they see life. They may have addictions, but there is one thing that will make their face beam and that is how Jesus Christ has been there for them in their circumstances.

    They see straight through the illusions that you and me pursue in our lifestyle. They see the irrelevance of riches but also see the need not to be poor. If your local ministry actually deals with the homeless or homeless Christian, they will leave a greater impact on your ministry then those that seek success in the Lord. Their natural love for the Lord will not make them think about poverty, riches, status, expectations or even themselves.

    They carry a natural beauty that Christianity has lost. To pursue wealth is not a sin, but it is a distraction to the central gospel of the church in how we are too live. There are some people in the body of Christ who God will give great jobs too or have the gift of good stewardship. But that is not because they pursued wealth but because that was naturally the person God made them and shaped them to be. Those who naturally earn a lot of money and bless people with their income are just as effective and beautiful as those that are poor or homeless in the church, who reveal to us the realities of humanity who pursue such wind.

    If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not against people who are rich or poor. I am against the church’s emphasis on money rather then on the central gospel of Jesus Christ which is so seriously neglected within our own walls. When was the last time you heard a powerful, hard hitting gospel message in your congregation?

  13. teddy! I love the articles you dig up. Thanks mate! Keep finding these gems. I love this quote.

    ““Theology is important because correct doctrinal beliefs are essential to the relationship between the believer and God.”” – Millard J. Erickson

  14. s&p, not only did I grow up in those circumstances, I’m blessed to work with people in those circumstances, and you are indeed correct about the resilience and good attitude of poor people, but I can tell you they are aspirational, or would be if they had any chance of getting out of poor street, and far prefer not having the pressure, dangers, pain and desperation of poverty, where the life expectancy is far lower, and the lifestyle is far more unpleasant much of the time. The thing is we have it in our power to help them up from poverty.

    It is also careless to romanticise poverty.

    I happen to believe that leaving people in poverty when we have it in our power to help them prosper is very close to sin, if not sin.

    Prosperity is relative to contentment, and not to be confused with monetary riches.

  15. So true. As a church community, we are more then willing to offer healing and financial support to the homeless who want to get out of their way of living.

    But allot of them prefer it. There is a massive homeless family where we are where they love each other so much that they would prefer to live with their friends in their condition. You couldn’t see greater examples of love among those guys.

    They know the dangers of it. They know that a cold night ,or in particularly ‘wild nights’ with violent drunks, can end their lives. Still they choose to be with their ‘family’.
    I don’t see that as being poor. Oddly enough, they see more spiritual things from their circumstances. They are more vulnerable to spirits, apart from the ones who are saved already.

    As a church community we respect the individuals choice unless it carelessly affects their loved ones like family and friends. Otherwise we will put more emphasis in getting the person out of their circumstances. We work with the St Vincent and the Salvos with this.

  16. I think it’s healthy to ‘romanticise’ certain things.
    It helps you attain those characteristics that can help further your relationships with God and people. It’s like the spirit in you wants to be real and relevant to those around you.

    For me, I like to romanticise about being poor. It makes me excited and then I feel comfortable or natural to fast. Fasting, like poverty, awakens us up as to we are individually, corporately and spiritually.
    If I romanticise about being rich, it makes me excited to gain for a while so I can further something of myself to bless others with.
    If I romanticise about just enjoying the casual life, I can enjoy every day people who I may not meet who need God or direction in their life.

    You see God in others and desire those aspects, and God will shape you for a while. I got a vision the other day. We are all amoeba’s, taking on various forms for a while before God changes us again to serve someone elses need. We’re simply being all things to all men.

  17. So much for the ‘Condensed hermeneutic of 3 John’-

    “I enjoy ‘Relative-Poverty’- that is, I live in poverty with my relatives,”

    he wrote, tapping it out on a new and expensive computer, and pondering the wretched misery of living in an overly expensive, overtaxed, overworked, overstressed society.

    The poorest Australians would probably look like millionaires to most of the ancients, and many of our pursuits would seem utterly god-like, however frivolous and stupid.

    Dont worry, many more of the ‘lucky country’ will reach ‘poor-street’ as you call it, in the very near future, so our generally self-centred, disconnected & greedy society may be in for some interesting shocks, however much we are in denial of things.

    As for me, I enjoy soap & water, and Im interested in the problems of both ‘romance’ and ‘happiness’-& God helps me with both issues beautifully.

    -Surely its not what life deals out to you but what you are going to make of it that matters, and yet I too, have seen too many terrible things, almost beyond understanding. I respect & honour those who can work with the severely handicapped especially, and those who cannot help themselves; this seems ‘true-religion’ to me.[‘orphans & widows’]

    Love joins everything together in the universe, and the only thing that makes sense of this place.


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