THIRD EPISTLE OF S. JOHN,
S. John commends Gaius for his faith, charity, and hospitality towards strangers and the ministers of the gospel, to whom he would have every one to give a kind reception, and such charitable assistance as they can afford, and which others want. Wi.
--- Gaius, to whom this epistle is addressed, is apparently one of the two disciples of S. Paul, who bore this name. The best known is that of Corinth, with whom S. Paul lodged, and who had been converted and baptized by S. Paul. Others, with greater probability, suppose it was Gaius, of Derbe, mentioned in Acts xx. 4. All that we know for certain of this Gaius is, that he was a great friend of S. John, that he exercised hospitality with great zeal and generosity, notwithstanding the harshness and severity of Diotrephes, who appears to have been his bishop, and who was not willing that hospitality should be shewn to the brethren converted from Judaism. S. John promises to visit Gaius, and to reprimand Diotrephes. There is great probability that this letter was carried by the converted Jews, who travelled to diffuse the gospel, and who made a religious point not to enter among the Gentiles, and not to receive any thing from them. It may then be considered as a recommendatory letter in favour of these apostolic men. It appears that great pains were taken to remove the antipathy that existed between these two parties, even after their conversion. The same seeds of division are discernible in S. Paul's epistles between the Jews and the converted Gentiles: and one of the earliest concerns of this apostle was, to suppress in the Jews all sentiments of vanity and self-sufficiency, which made them prefer themselves to the Gentiles; and in Gentiles a different kind of pride, which caused them to despise the Jews. In the first part of this letter S. John congratulates Gaius on his good works, and recommends to him certain evangelical preachers, who were to deliver him this letter as they called upon him. v. 1, 8. In the second part he complains of Diotrephes, who affected independence, and proposes to Gaius the example of Demetrius, the faithful servant of Jesus Christ, v. 9. ad finem.
Ver. 4. No greater grace. That is, nothing that gives me greater joy and satisfaction. Ch.
Ver. 7. Taking nothing of the Gentiles. These ministers and preachers of the gospel, whom S. John recommends, took care, as S. Paul did, not to take any thing of the Gentiles, to whom they preached, lest they should be thought to preach to get money by it. But he puts Gaius in mind, that by assisting such men, he would become a fellow labourer in the gospel, and have a share in their reward. Wi.
Ver. 9-10. Diotrephes . . . doth not receive us, nor those we recommend, but prattles and talks against me. We know no more of this man, nor of Demetrius, of whom S. John gives so favourable a character. Wi.
--- It seemeth, saith Ven. Bede, that he was an arch heretic, or proud sect master—upomnhsw. I will rebuke them, and make them known to be wicked. Bede.
Ver. 14. This was a very usual salutation among the Jews, by which they wished every possible blessing might come upon their friends they thus saluted. Menochius.