3 John 1-8

These small group studies of 3 John contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

3 John 1-8 Bible Study with Discussion Questions, Teaching Points, and Cross References

3 John 1-8

Commending Christian Hospitality

Summary- John wrote to Gaius, whom he loved in truth, and prayed that his health would prosper as his soul prospered. He heard that Gaius had been walking in the truth, and testified that his greatest joy was found in his children’s walking in the truth.

Then, he commended Gaius for faithfully showing hospitality to brethren and strangers alike, in the same way as he would have shown hospitality to the Lord. These to whom he had shown hospitality were traveling for the sake of Christ, and not for their own gain. We, as well as Gaius, should support such men as these, so that we may participate in their work.

Central Teaching- Show hospitality worthy of God to brethren, even strangers, who are walking in the truth.

Key Verse- 4

Key Words- love, truth, pray, prosper, health, soul, testified, walking, joy, faithfully, brethren, strangers, support, fellow workers

Ten things this passages says-

  1. John loved Gaius in truth.
  2. He prayed that Gaius would prosper and be in good health in all respects.
  3. He prayed that Gaius’ health would prosper as his soul prospered.
  4. Brethren spoke well of Gaius, because he was walking in the truth.
  5. John’s greatest joy came when he heard his children were walking in the truth.
  6. Gaius was acting faithfully in everything he accomplished towards the brethren; especially towards strangers.
  7. Those he had ministered to testified to Gaius’ love before the church.
  8. We should treat those we are showing hospitality to in a manner worthy of God.
  9. People who are truly serving the Lord are doing it for His Name, not their own gain.
  10. When we support men who are motivated by truth, we are fellow workers in that truth with them.

Ten things this passage does NOT say-

  1. John’s love for Gaius was based on emotions, and had no biblical foundation.
  2. John thought it was wrong to pray for physical prosperity of any kind. He focused on spirit alone.
  3. John thought that physical health and prosperity was more important than spiritual well-being.
  4. Gaius reported his good deeds to John, so that John would not remain unaware of what a good job he was doing.
  5. Gaius’ good deeds were unconnected with his spiritual focus on truth.
  6. John’s greatest sources of joy were earthly and temporal.
  7. Occasional hospitality is enough. It’s not necessary to make a regular habit of it.
  8. It’s fine to show hospitality towards the brethren, but it’s unnecessary and dangerous to open one’s home to strangers.
  9. Any level of hospitality shown is acceptable. It doesn’t matter if it’s half-hearted or grudging.
  10. We receive no benefit from showing hospitality, but only end up being used and taken advantage of.

What does this passage teach us about God?

He loves in truth.

He desires us to pray for physical, as well as spiritual well-being.

He rejoices when we speak well of each other.

He rejoices when we walk in the truth.

He is faithful.

He is not a respecter of persons. Brethren and strangers alike receive equal treatment.

He rewards those in supporting roles (such as hospitality) in the ministry, as well as those out in the forefront.

Questions-

What kinds of people are called “beloved,” both in this book and in the rest of the NT? V1

What does it mean to “love in truth”? V1

What does John’s prayer for Gaius say about his spiritual health? V2

What does his prayer show us about praying for someone’s physical health? V2

How does his prayer contradict the idea that ill health is due to sin or a lack of faith in one’s life? V2

What two things brought John joy in this verse? V3

What does it mean to “walk in the truth”? V3

In response to this verse, what kinds of changes should we make to our own lives? V3

Who were John’s children? V4

What brought him the greatest joy? V4

Conversely, what do you think would have brought him the greatest sorrow? V4

What things bring you joy? Do they match up with the eternal perspective that John had? V4

Why is it significant that he was “acting faithfully”? What does that mean? V5

Who was Gaius showing hospitality to? V5

Can you think of any cross references that tell us specifically who we should practice hospitality towards? V5

How was Gaius’ “love” demonstrated? V6

What was one way that Gaius’ guests showed their gratefulness? What do you think the result of their testimony was? V 6

How did John indicate that he wanted Gaius’ hospitality to continue? V6

What does it mean to “send them on their way in a manner worthy of God”? V6

What should the motivation be of a preacher that we show hospitality towards? V7

Who is “the Name” referring to? V7

Who do “the Gentiles” refer to? V7

Why is it important that such a preacher accepts nothing from the Gentiles? V7

What kind of men should we support? V8

How should we support them? V8

Why should we support them? V8

Cross References-

3 John 1-

2 John 1

 The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth,

Acts 19:29

29 The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia.

Rom 16:23

23 Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother.

1 John 3:18

18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

3 John 2-

James 5:12

12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.

1 Peter 4:7-8

 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

Ps 20:1-5

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!

May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!

2 May He send you help from the sanctuary

And support you from Zion!

3 May He remember all your meal offerings

And find your burnt offering acceptable! Selah.

4 May He grant you your heart’s desire

And fulfill all your counsel!

5 We will sing for joy over your victory,

And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.

May the LORD  fulfill all your petitions.

Phil 2:4

4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Phil 2:27

27 For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.

Col 1:4-6

4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;

1 Thess 2:13-14

13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it  not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,

1 Thess 2:19-20

19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

1 Thess 3:6-9

6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you, 7 for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith; 8 for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9 For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account,

2 Thess 1:3

3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

2 Thess 2:13

13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

Philem 5-7

5 because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; 6 and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. 7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

Ps 119:40

40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;

Revive me through Your righteousness.

2 Cor 7:6

6 But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

3 John 3-

Phil 1:3-4

3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,

1 Thess 2:19-20

19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

2 John 4

4 I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father.

3 John 4

4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

Rom 1:8-9

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. 9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you,

2 Cor 7:6-7

6 But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.

Eph 1:15-16

15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;

Col 1:7-8

7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

1 Thess 3:6-9

6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you, 7 for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith; 8 for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9 For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account,

Ps 119:11

11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,

That I may not sin against You.

2 John 2-4

2 for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

4 I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father.

Ps 26:3

3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,

And I have walked in Your truth.

Ps 86:11

11 Teach me Your way, O LORD;

I will walk in Your truth;

Prov 20:7

7 A righteous man who walks in his integrity —

 How blessed are his sons after him.

Prov 23:15

15 My son, if your heart is wise,

My own heart also will be glad;

Phil 1:27

27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

3 John 4-

Prov 23:24

24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,

And he who sires a wise son will be glad in him.

1 Cor 4:15

15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

Gal 4:19

19 My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you —

1 Kings 2:4

4 so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘ If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’

1 Kings 3:6

Then Solomon said, ” You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

2 Kings 20:1

3 ” Remember now, O LORD, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Ps 26:1-3

 Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity,

And I have trusted in the LORD  without wavering.

2 Examine me, O LORD, and try me;

 Test my mind and my heart.

3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,

And I have walked in Your truth.

Isa 38:3

3 and said, ” Remember now, O LORD, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

John 12:35-36

35 So Jesus said to them, ” For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.  36 “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”

Gal 2:14

14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?

3 John 5-

Matt 24:45

45 ” Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?

Luke 12:42-43

42 And the Lord said, ” Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?  43 “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.

Luke 16:10-12

10 ” He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.  11 “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?  12 “And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

2 Cor 4:1-3

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

Col 3:17

17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

1 Peter 4:9-11

 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so  as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Matt 10:41

41 ” He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward

Matt 25:35

35’For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;

Luke 10:7

7 “Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.

Acts 16:15

15 And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

Rom 16:2

2 that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.

Gal 6:10

10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

3 John 6-

Philem 5-7

5 because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; 6 and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. 7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

3 John 12

12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

Rom 15:24

24 whenever I go to Spain — for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while —

2 Cor 1:16

16 that is, to pass your way into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea.

Titus 3:13

13 Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them.

1 Thess 2:12

12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

Gen 4:7

7 ” If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Matt 25:21

21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

Phil 4:14

14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.

1 Peter 2:20

20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds  favor with God.

3 John 7-

Acts 8:4

Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.

Acts 9:16

16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

2 Cor 4:5

5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.

Col 1:24

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

Rev 2:3

3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.

2 Kings 5:15-16

When he returned to the man of God with all his company, and came and stood before him, he said, “Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel; so please take a present from your servant now.” 16 But he said, ” As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will take nothing.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused.

1 Cor 9:12-15

12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? 14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. 15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.

1 Cor 9:18

18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

2 Cor 11:7-9

7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge? 8 I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you; 9 and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.

2 Cor 12:13

13 For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not become a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!

Matt 19:29

29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.

John 21:17

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, ” Tend My sheep.

1 Cor 16:7

6 and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go.

3 John 8-

Matt 10:14

14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.

Matt 10:40

“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me

Luke 11:7-8

7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’

2 Cor 7:2-3

2 Make room for us in your hearts; we wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we took advantage of no one. 3 I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together.

3 John 10

10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.

1 Cor 3:5-9

5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

1 Cor 16:10-11

10 Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is doing the Lord’s work, as I also am. 11 So let no one despise him. But send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brethren.

Phil 4:3

3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

1 Thess 3:2

2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,

Matt 10:11-13

11 “And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city.  12 “As you enter the house, give it your greeting.  13 “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.

Acts 21:18

17 After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.

1 Cor 3:9

9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Study 3 John 9-15

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