III John

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The Third Epistle of John or III John, usually referred to as 3 John, is a book of the New Testament, written by Apostle John to his friend Gaius. It is the shortest book in the Bible, having only 14 verses and totaling only 294 words.[1] This is the only New Testament book that does not mention "Jesus" or "Christ."

The author identifies himself as John, historically considered to be the Apostle John, who also wrote the Gospel of John along with I John, II John, and the Book of Revelation. Liberal theologians disagree, some contending that only that all three Epistles shared authorship by the same individual.

John wrote this book to:

  • Greet Gaius.
  • Thank Gaius for his good work.
  • Tell that Diotrephes was living badly.
  • Tell all Christians to act with goodness.

Despite liberal denial of traditional authorship, Johannine attribution is substantiated by internal evidence due to parallels in tone and writing style:

This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

—John 21:24[2]

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

—3 John 12[3]

Language and style

Like the rest of the New Testament, III John is written in Koine Greek, and was originally penned as a letter. In the Epistle, John only addresses himself as "the elder," since church leaders were called elders when he wrote III John. As in II John, he writes that he does not want to write all he wants to tell in a letter, which may explain the short length of III John.

See also