Q: In 3 Jn 1, did John treat Gaius as an ally who will support John against Diotrephes, the leader of another faction, as Asimov’s Guide to the Bible p.1171 says?
A: No. There is no evidence for this strange idea that John, the apostle of Jesus, was in need of allies.
Q: In 3 Jn 2 (KJV), does this mean we should be "prospering"?
A: No. The King James Version translated this accurately, but sometimes people take words out of context. The King James Version says, "just as your soul is prospering." See also the next question.
Q: In 3 Jn 2, does "I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you" show that all Christians ought to be healthy and rich?
A: No. Prosperity teachers might try to use this verse to teach this error, but every mention of health and well-being does not mean we are to think of God primarily in terms of the health and good things He gives us. John was praying for their well-being in every way. The Bible has nothing against wealthy believers, such as Abraham, as long as they do not love money. See When Cultists Ask p.303 for more info.
Q: In 3 Jn 7 (KJV), should the word be "Gentiles" or "pagans" as in other translations?
A: The word, in isolation, could be translated either way. However, the context here is unbelievers, pagans, or heathen as the Williams Translation. Paul did often receive help from Gentile Christians. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.750-752 for more info.
Q: In 3 Jn 7, should Christians accept anything from "Gentiles"? How about a paycheck?
A: Christians can accept things from Gentiles and non-believers in general. Two points here.
1. It describes people who were going forth to share the Gospel. In general, it would be strange for full-time Christian workers to be paid by non-Christians. (Though this is done in state-sponsored churches, such as in Norway, Great Britain, and so forth.)
2. John was mentioning this to shame Christians who were refusing to help other Christians who were sharing the Gospel. Even today, there are genuine Christians who refuse to associate with other Christians in evangelism. One unfortunate excuse I heard was, "they might sing songs that are not doctrinally correct." Yet, they were not willing to look over the songs in advance and come to an agreement.
Geisler and Howe in When Critics Ask p.547, after stating this applies to ministering the Gospel, add that this is "descriptive, not prescriptive." In other words, John did not say, "I command you never to take money from pagans." Rather, John mentioned that as an example for us to follow, in his ministering, he did not take money from pagans. See also Hard Sayings of the Bible p.750-751 for more info.
Q: In 3 Jn 9, how could Diotrephes be a leader in God’s church?
A: Unfortunately, history has shown it was all too easy for a false brother to become a leader of Christians. People did not to wait for history to show them this, though. Paul expressly prophesied this in Acts 20:29-31 and 2 Timothy 4:3-5.
Q: In 3 Jn 11 and 1 Jn 2:29, how is it that "anyone who does what is good is from God"?
A: We have to answer the question "what is good?" before we can answer this question. Mark 10:18 says that only God is good. Good in this context means what is pleasing to God, and Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith, it is impossible to please God.
Since Diotrephes was doing evil in 3 John 9-10, John was saying these words in 3 John 11 to indirectly show why Diotrephes was not from God. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.752-753 for more info.
Q: In 3 Jn 12, is Demetrius the same person named Demetrius in Acts 19:242?
A: We do not know, but most likely not. Demetrius was a common Greek name.
Q: In 3 Jn, how do we know if what we have today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least three reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; Matthew 24:35.
2. Evidence of the early church. Here are a few of the writers who referred to verses in 3 John.
Hilary wrote about 355-367/368 A.D.
Note that the Muratorian Canon (c.170 A.D.) only mentions two letters of John.
3. Earliest manuscripts we have of 3 John show there are small manuscript variations, but zero theologically significant errors.
p74 (=Bodmer 17) Acts 1:2-5,7-11,13-15,18-19,22-25; 2:2-4; 2:6-3:26; 4:2-6,8-27; 4:29-27:25; 27:27-28:31; James 1:1-6,8-19,21-23,25,27; 2:1-3,5-15; 18-22, 25-26; 3:1,5-6,10-12,14,17-18; 4:8,11-14; 5:1-3,7-9,12-14,19-20; 1 Peter 1:1-2,7-8,13,19-20,25; 2:6-7,11-12,18,24; 3:4-5; 2 Peter 2:21; 3:4,11,16; 1 John 1:1,6; 2:1-2,7,13-14,18-19,25-26; 3:1-2,8,14,19-20; 4:1,6-7,12,16-17;5:3-4,9-10,17; 2 John 1,6-7,13; 3 John 6,12; Jude 3,7,12,18,24 (7th century)
7th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament has James 2:4 and 1 Peter 1:12
7th century - 1975 - Aland et al. Third Edition
6th century - 1998 - Aland et al. Fourth Revised Edition
Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.), Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.), and Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D) have all of 3 John.
Bezae Cantabrigiensis (c.450-550 A.D.) has preserved 3 John 11-15.
Bohairic Coptic 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic 3rd/4rth century
Ephraemi Rescriptus 5th century
Armenian [Arm] from 5th century
Georgian [Geo] from 5th century
Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.
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