In this series Alan Hill surveys some of the lesser-known books of Scripture.
The third letter of the apostle John is the shortest book in the Bible. It is only a few hundred words long, but God saw to it that it was included in the canon of Holy Scripture. Like a rare pearl washed up on a beach, this brief letter from 2,000 years ago may be small and easy to miss, but it remains precious and worthy of attention.
3 John is about two people who were very different spiritually. What kind of person are you? If someone who knows you well was to write a letter honestly explaining your character, what would it say? What if that letter was then made public, included in the world’s best-selling book and translated into hundreds of languages? What if we could read it out loud today?
This is exactly what has happened to two 1st-century churchgoers by the names of Gaius and Diotrephes. In 3 John we have an honest assessment of their characters and lives. One assessment is very positive, one is very negative. Gaius stands as a model of what a Christian should be; Diotrephes is an example of everything believers should not be.