Archibald Thomas Robertson

The Epistle of Third John

About A.D. 85 to 90

By Way of Introduction

Certainly 3 John is addressed to an individual, not to a church, though which Gaius we do not know. There are three friends of Paul with this name; Gaius of Corinth (1Co 1:14), Gaius of Macedonia (Act 19:29), Gaius of Derbe (Act 20:4), but it is unlikely that this Gaius of Pergamum (Findlay would call him) is either of these, though the Apostolical Constitutions does identify him with Gaius of Derbe. It is possible that in 3Jo 1:9 there is an allusion to 2 John and, if so, then both letters went to individuals in the same church (one a loyal woman, the other a loyal man). Three persons are sharply sketched in 3 John (Gaius, Diotrephes, Demetrius). Gaius is the dependable layman in the church, Diotrephes the dominating official, Demetrius the kindly messenger from Ephesus with the letter, a vivid picture of early church life and missionary work. John is at Ephesus, the last of the apostles, and with an eagle’s eye surveys the work in Asia Minor. The same Gnostic deceivers are at work as in the other Johannine Epistles. Pergamum is described in Rev 2:13 as the place “where Satan’s throne is.”

Taken from "Word Pictures in the New Testament" by Archibald Thomas Robertson