Here’s 2 and 3 John. Did YOU know there was a 3 John? I didn’t! It’s like the only series of books in the Bible that’s a trilogy! Woooo!
IT’S SO SMALL! I CAN’T FIND IT! WHERE IS IT?
2 John and 3 John are right before Jude and Revelation, the last book in the Bible.
HOW SMALL IS IT?
1 John is disqualified from being a Tiny Book Of The Bible because it’s 4 chapters and 5 pages long. In comparison, both 2 John and 3 John are 1 page each. They're so tiny I squashed them into one blog entry, ha ha ha.
WHO WROTE IT?
John the Apostle.
WHAT’S THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT?
John wrote all three books late in his life. At this point, he’s the only surviving Apostle, other than Paul. The rest of the 12 have all been martyred in various violent ways. All three books were addressed to a group of churches and certain people around Ephesus, in what’s now western Turkey.
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?
John’s primary topic in the first two books (or letters) is about the infiltration of false teachers in the early Christian church called Gnostics. Gnostics taught that one should shun the material world and material needs of others, only the spirit was good. They also thought that Jesus was never fully a man, only a spirit, or a ghost who had the appearance of a man. Because they thought Jesus was a spirit, they denied the death and resurrection of Jesus. In 1st John, he explains fully why that’s wrong. In 2nd John, he follows up on what a false teacher is and in 3 John, he’s writing to a friend about a different kind of false teacher, a gossiper and inhospitable man.
2 John is addressed to a lady, but that’s most likely a metaphor for the church. The Church Lady!
John asks The Church Lady that “we love another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 1:5-6). And then expounds on the warnings in 1 John that anyone who doesn’t acknowledge Jesus Christ “as coming in the flesh” (2 John 1:7)) is a deceiver and the antichrist. So if anyone shows up and says something like that, “do not take him into your house or welcome him.” (2 John 1:10) So do good, and he’ll hopefully see him soon.
3 John is addressed to Gaius, who is not the Battlestar Galatica character or Gaius Julius Caesar but instead is a good friend of John’s.
John thanks Gaius for showing hospitality to “the brothers” (3 John 1:5). The brothers were most likely teaching elders who traveled between churches.
John then goes on to call out Diotrephes, a leader of the church who’s been “gossiping maliciously about us” (3 John 1:10) and hasn’t been showing hospitality to the brothers, and has actually been excommunicating members of the church who do. So John tells Gaius to do good, not evil, and he’ll hopefully see him soon.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN? WHY DO YOU THINK IT WAS IN HERE?
All three letters were written around the same time, so it seems silly not to include all three.
Yet 3 John is really more of a personal letter to Gaius, not something to be read aloud to a new congregation. It almost feels like you’re spying on personal stuff, especially when John talks about Dioptrephes being inhospitable to him and other Christians, and how John will call him out publicly if John manages to get to Gaius and his church.
No mention is made whether John did so, though it would be quite fun to imagine John the Apostle calling out someone. Yo! You been talking smack about me? I hung with JESUS, you moron! You really think you can lie and get away with it! I GOT GOD ON MY SIDE!
Ha ha ha.