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3 John 1:1-2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
1 The older man to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
2 Beloved one, I pray that in all things you continue to prosper and enjoy good health, just as your soul is prospering.
THE ELDER: FRIEND AND COACH 3 John 1–2
The author simply begins, The elder (v. 1). We would assume that this is the same person who penned the second letter. The title, language, and subject matter all suggest the author of the one authored the other as well, who we believe is John the apostle. He addresses Gaius as my dear friend. The Greek word agapeos could be translated as beloved or my beloved friend. The same term is used four times in this letter (vv. 1, 2, 5, 11). He adds to the warm greeting the phrase whom I love in the truth (v. 2). Even though the definite article is not in the original manuscripts, the phrase has the force of “the truth of God in Christ,” rather than the much weaker “whom I really love.” John and Gaius’s bond of love was intricately tied to Christ and the gospel message.
Clearly, John is serving as Gaius’s mentor, coach, and encourager. He offers more than encouragement. He prays for three wonderful things in Gaius’ life that are a model for us all.
He prays for his physical well-being. Specifically, he prays, that you may enjoy good health. Before we make “health” comments, it is worth noting that one may have good health but fail to respect and enjoy that good health. We would be well advised to consciously appreciate the health we have, give God thanks for it, and seek to sustain it and use it for good.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
In the early Church the Christian home was, as it should be now, the place of the open door and the loving welcome. There can be few nobler works than to give a stranger the right of entry to a Christian home. The family circle should always be wide enough to have a place for the stranger, no matter where he comes from and no matter what his color may be.
John prays for positive life circumstances. Life is complicated. It is now, and it was back then. John is showing great balance in his friendship with Gaius. He is letting him know that the church concerns are not his only concerns as they relate to Gaius. All believers need to be careful about expectations that lead to unhealthy over-commitment. The same advice is good for those in full-time ministry. We must establish balance in our lives that allows us to attend to body, mind, soul, and relationships of value, so that all may go well with [us].
John prays for his friend’s soul. John says it in a way as to suggest that throughout life’s issues, we need to determine whether our soul is getting along well. The term soul is sometimes used interchangeably with spirit. The Greeks had two words: pnuema, which is translated spirit, and psuche, which is usually translated soul. Basically, it seems that soul refers to the “aliveness” of any creature, even an animal. The spirit refers to a unique capacity for God. In the Church, however, the term soul has often been used for that part of us that is our “God connection.” However one distinguishes between soul and spirit, we can say that John’s concern is for the inner being of Gaius, in all of its functions related to mind, emotion, will, and faith.
By David A. Case and David W. Holdren
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BIBLE TRANSLATION AND TEXTUAL CRITICISM
BIBLICAL STUDIES / INTERPRETATION
CHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM
CHURCH HEALTH, GROWTH, AND HISTORY
 David A. Case and David W. Holdren, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude: A Commentary for Bible Students (Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2006), 346–347.
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