This letter is from John, the elder. I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth. Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3 John 1-2 NLT
The emphasis in 3 John differs from 2 John. In 2 John, John rebukes the false teachers and warned believers to not entertain their false teachings. In 3 John, John commends those who are teaching the truth and encourages them to continue promoting the truth of God and His Word. From the text, John is writing to Gaius. We have no knowledge where Gaius lives. The name Gaius is common in the New Testament. One of Paul’s travel companions from Macedonia was Gaius (see Acts 19:29). Another Gaius was from Derbe (see Acts 20:4), and still another Gaius was a Christian in Corinth (see Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14). We have no certainty that the recipient of John’s epistle is one of these persons. Nevertheless, John refers to Gaius as his “dear friend whom he loves in the truth.” The relationship between John and Gaius was one of love and trust. This is also how John commended the family he wrote to in 2 John. “I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth” (2 John 1). Love stems from the knowledge of truth of God. In this short epistle, four times John addressed Gaius as his “dear friend.” John prays for the physical as well as the spiritual health of Gaius. He knows that Gaius is spiritually active, but John desires that also in physical aspects, Gaius will have the strength that he may succeed. He wants to see Gaius prosper as he pursues God’s plans and purposes for his life. John wishes physical health for Gaius, so that Gaius may function efficiently in his work. John follows Christ’s example when He had shown that He cares for the physical and spiritual well-being of an individual. “‘Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.’ Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’” (Mark 2:9-11). John, just like the Lord Jesus Christ, is concerned that believers have a balanced life. We cannot be effectively used by God if we will neglect our physical or spiritual health. We must not neglect the spiritual nourishment we obtain from reading and meditating upon God’s Word. Then, let us have that sustenance work its way as we work out our godly lives. “‘Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. ‘Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come’” (1 Timothy 4:6-8).