Introduction to 3 John - ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ ΕΠΙΣΤΟΛΗ ΤΡΙΤΗ

Open the door

Put out the welcome sign!

How to read 3 John

Hospitality is important to God. He is the most hospitable being in the universe! His arms are always open wide to welcome all who want to join his family. He invites us to join him in this kingdom ministry. John’s words help us to see hospitality as a powerful, practical expression of the love of God. John’s words will also lead you to value the many diverse gifts at work within the church and encourage you to seek unity within the body of Christ.

This letter is an important companion piece to 2 John. In the earlier letter the apostle warned believers against supporting false teachers. In this one, he encourages believers to warmly welcome and strongly support those who do bring the truth of God to us. Taken together, these two letters focus us on the incredible value of the truth of the gospel and the need for both love and discernment. It will challenge you to consider how you can express God’s hospitality to others more fully.

Who wrote this letter?

The apostle John, who also wrote the other two letters and the gospel that bears his name. He probably wrote it in the late AD 80s.

To whom was it written and why?

John wrote this brief letter to his friend Gaius, perhaps to accompany his more general letter (1 John). He wanted to encourage him for his faithful support of legitimate teachers. He also was warning him about the actions of a certain strong-willed leader named Diotrephes.

SourceView Insights

Reading John’s letter to his friend may feel like eavesdropping. Because we can’t hear Gaius’ response, all SourceView text here is black. The letter is displayed with a cursive script to give it a handwritten feel.

JUDE

Contend for the faith

When evil abounds, hold on to God because he holds on to you

How to read Jude

Ever disconnect the smoke detector or the seatbelt buzzer because you didn’t want to be bothered with the irritating noise? Ignoring such warnings could cost you your home or your life. But ignoring spiritual warnings could be even worse. That’s why we should pay close attention to this book. Jude sounds a short sharp warning siren we dare not ignore.

Jude doesn’t waste words as he describes what’s wrong and what to do about it. He makes it crystal clear that we’ve got to take a stand for the truth and contend for the faith. As you read, you might want to flip back and forth with 2 Peter. Observe how many parallels there are between these two books as they both seek to combat false teaching in the church.

As you read Jude’s compelling words, be attentive to the warnings, but also notice the promises and the encouragement to live genuine Christian lives. You would think that with the need to contend against so much false teaching, Jude would be somewhat discouraged. Just the opposite is true! He’s more impressed with God’s capacity to keep us in his ways than with the enemy’s attempts to divert us. His final song of praise exudes great joy and confidence: “Now to him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory in great joy, 25 to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen” (verses 24-25).

Who wrote this book and when?

Jude was the half-brother of Jesus and full brother of James (author of James). He may have written this letter around the time Peter wrote his second letter, between AD 60 and 65. These two letters have striking similarities.

Why was it written?

Jude was concerned that Christians might be drawn away from the truth by slippery teachers of false doctrine. He wrote to urge believers “to contend earnestly for the faith” (verse 3).

What was happening at the time?

Impostors had begun to teach things contrary to the gospel and were causing confusion in the church. They taught it really didn’t matter how people lived if they had been saved by grace. You can imagine the disaster this could produce! Jude wanted to make sure that no believer followed the example of Cain (Gen 4:1-25), Balaam (Num 22:1-24:25), or Korah (Num 16:1-49).

SourceView Insights

Reading Jude’s letter is like listening to a cell phone conversation—one-sided. Therefore, all the SourceView text is in black. We have displayed the letter with a cursive script to recreate the original handwritten feel.

Kurt Aland et al., Novum Testamentum Graece
(28th Edition.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012), Mt.

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