Verse 1: The note in the ESV Study Bible reads: “Beloved! Conveys the truth that Christians are linked by the love God has shown them in Christ (cf. I John 4:910). Love in truth: could simply mean ‘True love’ as a Christian brother, or it could refer to the ‘truth’ of the gospel, in the service of which John and Gaius are intertwined.” John MacArthur leans towards the second view. He writes, “John’s use of this phrase elsewhere in these letters where truth takes on such a significant meaning.”

Verse 2: The word “wish” is translated as “prayer” in other places (cf. James 5:16). Thus, John was praying for Gaius to prosper and be in health physically. Please note that it is not wrong to pray this for others.

Many assume that Gaius was poor and sickly physically. While this may be the case, it is not necessarily so. This was a common greeting in John’s day.

The unique aspect of the greeting is that John prayed for Gaius to prosper and be in health physically as he was spiritually. For his body to be as his soul.

Gaius’ spiritual health seems to have excelled his physical health. His heavenly bank account had more riches in it than his earthly account. How often do we find this to be the case in member’s lives?

What if someone prayed for us to physically enjoy the health and wealth that our soul does? What would happen to us? Would checks start bouncing left and right or would we be rich? Would someone have to hook us up to life support or would we be ready to run a marathon?

Verse 3: It seems clear that Gaius’ spiritual health was good. “Truth” is fidelity to Christ and His commands.

  1. Gaius’ walked matched his talk!
  2. He had a good report from the brethren (3 John 3).
  3. All of his spiritual vital signs were good.
  4. The tense of the Greek verbs translated “came and testified” means that they came over and over again with these words.
  5. He was in great shape from walking daily in the truth (3 John 4). Someone noted that he had not only taken the first step of faith, but that he was walking in the faith.
  6. His reputation for practicing what he preached was exemplary. John’s commendation of him centers not only in the fact that he knew the truth but he faithfully practiced it.

Verse 4 John had no greater joy than to hear that those that he had converted were walking in the truth

What is your greatest joy?

I think that it is important to note that John did not let one man, Diotrophes, rob him of his joy. I am afraid that we sometimes do this. John still found joy in Gaius and Demetrius.


Larry Miles is Co-Editor of Word & Work and attends Cherry St. Church of Christ in New Albany,