Not the Author of Confusion

1Corinthians 14:27-33 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 

‘Unknown tongue’ – there is no word in the Greek for unknown here. No language spoken in any place in the universe is actually unknown to the people who speak it. The only sense in which tongues or languages are spoken by the ability of the gift of tongues is unknown is that the speaker himself does not know the language or languages which he speaks (14:2).

‘Let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.’ In congregational meetings, the command is that no more than three messages in tongues should be allowed in any one service, and that, provided they are truly interpreted. The order should be by course with the first message being interpreted before a second, if any, is given. One who thus speaks shall not interpret himself, his words must be interpreted by another gifted to do so (14:13). Even if more than one person speaks the rule is no more than a total of three messages in a single gathering. After that, they must remain silent regardless of how much they seem to be inspired. If there is no interpretation to the first message, they likewise must remain silent (14:27-28, 32). These laws concerning the gifts of tongues are to be obeyed as the commandments of God (14:32-33, 37-38).

‘Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.’ Prophets are also to speak two or three messages in turn letting others judge whether or not they have spoken the truth. Both kinds of messages (tongues and prophecy) are to be judged as to their truth. The basis of judgment is the written revelation of God (Deut. 18:10-12, 20; Isa. 8:19-20; Rev. 22:18-19). If any message in tongues or prophecy does not harmonize with the Bible or does not come to pass, then it is to be judged false and the person said to be speaking by his own spirit (13:1-3; Deut. 13:1-9; 18:20-23; Jer. 23:25-29, 32; Ezek. 13:2-3).

‘If any thing be revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace.’ Everything revealed to a person is not a divine revelation. This is why everything must be judged.

‘All prophesy’ – men and women were permitted to prophesy (11:1-16; Acts 2:16-21). ‘The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.’ Among people who have inspirational experiences of prophecy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues, it is very easy for one to claim that the Holy Spirit is moving upon him and that he should not quench the Spirit (1Thess. 5:19). This attitude of being determined to obey the Spirit leads to abuse of such gifts over and over, causing much confusion in gatherings. Let no man claim to be moved by the Holy Spirit who acts disorderly and causes confusion, for God is not the author of such (14:32-33).

Done Unto Edifying

1Corinthians 14:26  How is it then, brethren? when you come together, every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 

‘When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation.’ Congregational activities: singing of psalms (Eph. 5:1-33; Col. 3:1-25); teaching doctrines (Acts 2:14, 42; 8:4-5, 35; 10:33-44; 1Cor. 1:18-24; 2Tim. 4:2-4); tongues and interpretations (1Cor. 14:27); prophecies (1Cor. 14:3, 24-25, 29-30); exhortations by laymen (Heb. 10:25); the Lord’s Supper (1Cor 10:16-17; 11:17-34; Jude 1:12); scripture reading (Luke 4:16; Col. 4:16; 1Thess. 5:27; 1Tim. 4:13); prayers (Acts 2:42; 4:24-31; etc.); exercise of other gifts – healing, faith, and miracles (Acts 3:6; 5:12-16; 8:5-8; 15:12; 19:11); exercise of discernment and judgment (Acts 5:1-11; 13:6-11; 1Cor. 5:1-13); baptism (Acts 2:41; 8:12; 16:33); laying on of hands for enduement of the Holy Spirit and gifts (Acts 8:14-19; 9:17-18; 19:1-7; 1Tim. 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6; Heb. 6:1-20); collection of tithes and offerings (Acts 11:29; 1Cor. 16:2); disputings (Acts 19:8-10; Gal. 2:1-21); congregational trials (Matt. 18:15-18; 1 Cor. 5-6; Acts 5:1-42; 11:1-30; Gal. 2:1-14).

God is In You of a Truth

1Corinthians 14:22-25 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serves not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that you are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believes not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 

‘Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serves not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.’ This is Paul’s explanation of the main purpose of tongues. They are designed as a sign to unbelievers that through their miraculous exercise sinners might see the manifestation of the supernatural (Isa. 28:11-12). Examples of this are found in Acts 2:1-11; 10:44-48; 19:1-7 and 1Corinthians 14:1-40.

‘Will they not say that you are mad?’ This will naturally be the result of such misuse of tongues.

‘And so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.’ The chief end of all gifts and worship services is to bring people to repentance and surrender to God. This is the chief purpose of the death of Christ (John 3:16).’

In Understanding Be Men

1Corinthians 14:20-21 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be you children, but in understanding be men. In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, said the Lord. 

‘Be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be you children, but in understanding be men.’ Three stages of human growth are mentioned: [1] The Greek word nepios, meaning an infant who cannot yet speak and who knows nothing of sin (the verb nepiazo is translated “be you children” in 1Corinthians 14:20). [2] The Greek word paidion, a child beginning schooling to receive their first instructions. [3] The Greek word teleios, a man of mature age and thought; a man of growth and understanding. In other words, don’t be as little children in understanding. In malice be infants who cannot speak and who knows nothing of sin, but in understanding be people of maturity and growth.

‘Law’ – the law was a term used by Jews to express the whole Scriptures of the law, the prophets, and the psalms (Luke 24:44; John 10:34; 15:25), which we call the Old Testament today. ‘…written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.’ This is the 5th and last Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in 1 Corinthians (Isa. 28:11-12). This prophecy reveals that God intended over 700 years before Christ to speak to people with stammering lips and other languages.

Prophetic Word

2Peter 1:19-21 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 

‘More sure word of prophecy’ we have a more sure word of prophecy than the oracles of heathen priests who fake messages from their idol gods. Oracles [Greek: logion], as described in 1Peter 4:11, is a divine answer to a question. It always implies a speech purely celestial, in which man has no part (Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12). Heathen gave the highest respect to oracles from their gods. They held them as sacred and inviolable and did scarcely anything in business, war, making peace, or making laws without an oracle. How much more should Christians obey the Bible which they hold to be the oracles of God! Heathen gave many presents to their priests to get an oracle that could be interpreted either way a matter happened, but Christians have an infallible revelation in all affairs of life – and it is free.

‘Until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts’ this is the 2nd New Testament prophecy in 2Peter that is unfulfilled. This refers to the second coming of Christ, which was so signally foreshadowed on the mount of transfiguration (Num. 24:17; Mal. 4:2).

‘Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation’ this is the first principle of truth, that no prophecy is self-originated by the speaker or from a mere impulse of the prophet’s own mind. Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (1:20-21). ‘Private’ [Greek: idios] one’s own; personal; private. Translated his own 76 times, and private only here.

‘Interpretation’ [Greek: epilusis] a release. It means no prophecy is of personal release or from the prophet’s [New Testament the office was called apostles, not prophets] own mind or from human impulse.

‘Prophecy’ the predominant Hebrew verb meaning “to prophesy” is naba’ which not only has to do with foretelling events, but also with praying and making supplication. The prophet [Hebrew: nabiy] was not by office a declarer of future events, but primarily a preacher of righteousness for his day (Neh. 6:7; Hos. 12:10; Acts 3:21; 1Pet. 1:10-12). He foresaw future events in the light of the righteousness or wickedness of the people to whom God made everlasting covenants. His main work was to urge men to live righteously and godly according to the Law of Moses (Old Testament times – Genesis to Christ’s crucifixion). His other work was to warn of events to come in view of the attitude of the people concerning the will of God and to pray and make supplication for the people and for God to be merciful. The prophet’s predictions of things to come were chiefly conditional, and many of their prophecies were stated in conditional terms. The unconditional prophecies were the fixed plans of God concerning necessary events to bring the earth into complete submission to Himself again and do away with sin, rebellion, and enemies so His eternal program could finally be realized (1Cor. 15:24-28; Eph. 1:10; Rev. 21:22). Other events were flexible and based on obedience or disobedience to God in the ordinary fulfilment of the general plan.

‘Old time’ referring to the Old Testament times (Heb. 1:1) when the Father spoke (oral Word) through prophets and in the New Testament times through Jesus Christ who spoke through His apostles (Luke 6:13; Acts 1:2; Rom. 1:1; 1Cor. 1:1; 2Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; 1Pet. 1:1; 2Pet. 1:1; etc.) so that we have the written Word today.

‘Moved by’ [Greek: phero] to bear along. The prophets were borne along or moved by the Holy Spirit. They uttered things far beyond their knowledge and searched diligently the meaning (1Pet. 1:10-12).

Praise, Honour and Glory

1Peter 1:6-8 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perish, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory

‘Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season’ in which salvation you rejoice, but once in a while, it is needful for you to go through manifold temptations to test your faith that it be found genuine and thus be rewarded (1Pet. 1:6-7). Trials test religion and faith and the man who stands true in them, proves his religion sound and his faith genuine. Tests work patience and patience works perfection (Jas. 1:3-4, 12; Rom. 5:3-5; 1Pet. 1:7). A trial of any kind is not necessarily a temptation to sin and remember that God never tempts anyone to sin (Jas. 1:13) to test them.

‘Heaviness through manifold temptations’ caused grieve through many kinds of trials.

‘That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ’ this is the 2nd New Testament prophecy in 1Peter that is unfulfilled.

‘Gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire’ – the fire only separates all the foreign and impure materials from gold. It loses nothing of its nature, weight, colour, or any other property. Gold has been kept in a state of fusion for months without the smallest change. Genuine faith also will be proved by trials.

‘Might be found unto praise and honour and glory’ through trials that can purify man from all impurities and sin, one should be in this condition – praise, honour and glory – at the coming of our Lord Jesus; not grumbling, complaining and busy with the cares of this life (Luke 21:34-36).

‘At the appearing of Jesus Christ’ at this time, it will manifest what rewards men will have in the eternal kingdom (Matt. 16:27; 25:21, 25:23).

‘Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory’ faith in Christ makes one a new creature and instils in him personal living confidence as strong as the faith of those who have seen Him and known Him personally (2Cor. 5:17-18; Rom. 5:5). This faith produces joy (1Pet. 1:8-9). To be strong in the Lord, we have to find our joy in Him alone, (Neh. 8:10; Rom. 15:13; 1Thess. 2:19) all else will disappoint and fail us.

Abundant Mercy

1Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fade not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

‘God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ God are both the Father and God of Jesus Christ. He is not Jesus Christ. It is clear in Scripture that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead.

‘Begotten us again’ the Greek word anagennao meaning to beget anew. It is used both times by Peter (1:3, 23). It certainly teaches begetting more than once. The word “again” proves this fact (1Pet. 1:3; John 3:3, 7; Gal. 4:19). Man was created in union with God and in God’s grace and favour. He fell from this position and has to be born again to get back into God’s grace (John 3:3, 7). After one is born again he is warned not to build again the things he once destroyed (Gal. 2:18); not to turn again to sin (Gal. 4:9); not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Gal. 5:1); not to be overcome again with the pollutions of the world (2Pet. 2:20-22), and not to lay again the foundation of repentance and service to God (Heb. 6:1). If men do not heed these warnings and do these things again, he falls away and is in a backslidden condition (Rev. 3:15-19). There is nothing made but what can be revived, restored, recast, refinished, rebuilt, reanimated, refashioned, and remade be proper and skilled workmen. Therefore the Almighty God can restore us or ‘begotten us again.’

Peter is a good example, as he was once converted, confessing Jesus as the Son of God and the Christ, which brings the new birth (1Jn. 5:1; Matt. 16:16). He even had the power to preach and heal and had the Spirit in him (Matt. 10:1-20). Jesus predicted his backsliding and reconversion (Luke 22:31-34), proving that a converted man can and must be reconverted if he sins as Peter did in Matthew 26:69-75.

‘Lively hope by the resurrection’ the hope of living again by resurrection (John 14:2-3; 1Thess. 4:17).

‘To an inheritance incorruptible …’ the first New Testament prophecy in 1Peter that is unfulfilled. ‘Inheritance’ the Greek word kleronomia meaning a possession (1:4; Matt. 21:38; Mark 12:7; Luke 12:13; 20:14; Acts7:5; 20:32).  ‘Incorruptible’ the Greek word aphthartos meaning immortal.

‘Undefiled’ here we have the five-fold character and position of Jesus Christ: He is holy (Heb. 7:26; 1Pet. 2:22); harmless, the Greek word akakos meaning without evil.  He is undefiled meaning that He had no physical imperfection and nothing low, base, or unbecoming in His life and conduct. He kept Himself separate from sinners (Heb. 7:26). He lived a perfect life not being unequally yoked together with sinners in their sinful ways (2Cor. 6:14 – 7:1). He was made higher than the heavens. He was more exalted than angels and all other created beings of heaven (Heb. 7:26; Eph. 1:20-23; Php. 2:9-11; 1Pet. 3:22).

‘Kept’ the Greek word phroureo meaning garrison; guard; keep; defend. There are ten secrets given for the cure of worry in God’s Word: Permit the peace of God to garrison or keep your heart and mind through Jesus Christ (Php. 4:7). Renounce all worry; then by prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving, make all requests known to God (Php. 4:6; Jas. 4:7). Think on the right things (Php. 4:8). Keep your mind stayed on God (Isa. 26:3). Use the weapons of spiritual warfare (2Cor. 10:4-6). Put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6:10-18). Have faith in God (Matt. 6:25-34; 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24). Live and walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26; Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13). Do not cast away confidence (Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:11-12; 10:19-23, 35-39). Cast all your cares upon God (1Pet. 5:7).

‘Salvation’ – here the threefold salvation of the believer is explained: The believer now has salvation and is saved from all sin (Luke 19:9; Acts 4:12; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10; 2Cor. 6:2; Eph. 1:14; 2Thess. 2:13; 1Jn. 1:9); the believer is being kept from sin as he walks in the light (Php. 2:12; 2Tim. 3:15; Tit. 2:11-12; Heb. 2:3; 6:9; 1Jn. 1:7); the believer will eventually be saved from all the fall (Rom. 13:11; 1Thess. 5:9; Heb. 5:9; 9:28; 1Pet. 1:5, 9, 13).

‘Ready to be revealed in the last time’ we see the future blessings of salvation throughout the Word of God: Redemption of the body (Rom. 8:23); redemption of all creatures (Rom. 8:19-24; Acts 13:47; Isa. 11:6-9); unforfeitable eternal life (Matt. 19:29; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Gal. 6:7-8); final defeat of satan (Isa. 24:21-22; 25:7-8; Rev. 12:10; 20:1-10); all rebellion put down and cancellation of the curse (1Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 22:3); uniting of heaven and earth (Eph. 1:10); complete removal of sin, sickness, death, and all effects of rebellion (1Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 21:3-5); renewal of the heavens and earth to a perfect state (Rom. 8:19-25; Heb. 1:10-12; 12:25-28; Rev. 21-22; 2Pet. 3:10-13); eternal continuation of natural people, animals, and all things as would have been if man had not sinned (Gen. 8:22; 9:12; Isa. 11:6-9; 65:20-25; Rom. 8:20-25); eternal kingdom of Christ and of God on earth (Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14; Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 11:15; 22:4-5).

Through Sanctification

1Peter 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 

‘Peter’ he was one of the 12 apostles (1Pet. 1:1; Matt. 10:2); called Simon and Cephas (John 1:42); a native fisherman of Bethsaida (Matt. 4:18; John 1:44. Peter was a married man (Matt. 8:14; 1Cor. 9:5). He ministered primarily to Jews (Gal. 2:7) and was an elder among many others (1Pet. 5). Peter went east and wrote an epistle from Babylon. Nothing is given of his death other than what is given in John 21:18-19. The theme of this epistle is to exhort believers to stand true in all kinds of suffering, and to set forth the true grace of God (1Pet. 5:12).

‘An apostle of Jesus Christ’ the Greek word apostolos meaning a delegate, one sent with full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent. In the case of Christians it means God sends them to do what He, Himself would do if He went.

There are twenty-four apostles recorded in the Word: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew (Matt. 10:2); James, son of Zebedee and John his brother (Matt. 10:2); Philip and his brother Bartholomew (Matt. 10:3); James, son of Alphaeus and Judas his brother (Luke 6:16) and Matthew, son of Alphaeus, perhaps brother of James and Judas (Mark 2:14; Luke 6:15); Thomas Didymus [twin] (Matt. 10:3; John 11:16; 20:24; 21:2); Simon Zelotes, brother of James and Judas, according to tradition (Luke 6:15); Judas Iscariot (Matt. 10:4); Matthias (Acts 1:26); Barnabas (1Cor. 9:5-6; Acts 13:1-3; 14:4, 14; Gal. 2:9); Andronicus (Rom. 16:7); Junia (Rom. 16:7); Apollos (1Cor. 4:6-9); James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19; 2:6; Jas. 1:1); Silas (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Timothy (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6) Titus (2Cor. 8:23); Epaphroditus (Php. 2:25); Paul (Gal. 1:1; 2:8); Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1). Lists of the twelve apostles are given in Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13, 26.

‘Strangers’ the Greek word parepidemos. They were Jews of the dispersion (Jas. 1:1). They were the elect or converted Jews (1Pet. 1:2).

‘Pontus’ an ancient kingdom of Asia Minor, originally part of Cappadocia, between the Black and Caspian Seas and south to Armenia (Acts 2:9). ‘Galatia’ a province in Asia Minor west of Cappadocia and south of the Black Sea (Acts 2:9). ‘Cappadocia’ a province east of Galatia and south of the Black Sea (Acts 2:9). ‘Asia’ in some places refers to the whole of Asia Minor, but here it no doubt means the province of Asia Minor with Ephesus as its capital. ‘Bithynia’ an ancient kingdom of Asia Minor south of the Dead Sea and west of Pontus (Acts 16:7).

‘Elect’ the Greek word eklektos meaning to be picked out, chosen. Four elects’ of God are mentioned: Christ (Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 2:6); all Christians (Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; Tit. 1:1; John 15:16; Eph. 1:4; 2:10; 2Thess. 2:13; 2John 1:1, 13); Israel (Isa. 45:4; 65:9, 22; Matt. 24:21-31; Mark 13:22, 27; 1Pet. 1:2); and angels (1Tim. 5:21). Anyone chosen of God at any time, Jew or Gentile, is the elect of God (Rom. 9:11; 11:5, 7, 28; 1Thess. 1:4; 1Pet. 5:13; 2Pet. 1:10). All men are called to become God’s elect or chosen ones and can be if they will choose God (Matt. 11:28-30; 20:16; John 1:12; 3:16-20; 6:37; Eph. 1:4; 2Thess. 2:13; Jas. 2:5; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 17:14; 22:17).

‘Foreknowledge of God the Father’ the Greek word prognosis meaning to have a perceiving beforehand. Here and in Acts 2:23 refers both to God seeing ahead that He would have to send a Saviour to redeem man from the fall (Rom. 8:29-30). No single individual is chosen, elected, foreknown, or predestined to be saved or lost without his personal choice and responsibility in the matter (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17). It would be cruel impartiality – an unjust regard for one and an unjust disregard for another – and not divine justice for one to be chosen by God to be saved and another to be damned. God offers grace to all alike. His invitations, promises, provision, and warnings of punishment are general. All people are invited to choose life and are warned of eternal punishment if they do not do so. It is inconsistent with man’s probation for God to elect some to be saved and some to be lost.

‘Sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ’ Three ways to become God’s elect: Through sanctification of the Spirit; through obedience to the gospel and through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. All three things take place at once – when we get salvation. This is plainly taught here and in 2Thessalonians 2:13. God has from the beginning chosen us to salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit and to believe in the truth (John 17:17). No man can receive salvation except through these two things. It is folly to claim salvation without sanctification and belief in the truth.

‘Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied’ we are constantly warned to be diligent that we may be found of Jesus Christ in peace, without spot, and blameless, and to beware that we, like the backsliders of 2Peter 2:1-22, who are being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from our own steadfastness and that we might grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2Pet. 3:14, 17-18).

Peace Be to Thee

3John 1:5-14 Beloved, thou does faithfully whatsoever thou does to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shall do well: Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow-helpers to the truth. I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence among them, receives us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and forbids them that would, and casts them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and you know that our record is true. I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name. 

‘Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church’ Gaius had taken care of the visiting ministers and also Christian strangers, and had done many works of charity (3Jn. 1:5-8).

‘Taking nothing of the Gentiles’ these ministers preached for Christ, not for personal gain or advantage. By all means, they showed themselves disinterested in income (3Jn. 1:7-8).

‘Diotrephes’ who this man was is unknown. Regarding character, he is known as being proud, ambitious, exclusive, malicious, inhospitable, despotic, and rebellious against apostolic authority (3Jn. 1:9-10).

‘I will remember his deeds which he does’ this is the only threat in John’s writings, except in Revelation. He had apostolic power and threatened to use it to bring judgment on this rebel, as Paul threatened the Corinthians (1Cor. 4:16-21).

‘Follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God; but he that does evil has not seen God’ do not follow this kind of man (3Jn. 1:9-11). Do good, for this, will be proof that you are of God and know Him.

‘I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face’ in both 2John and 3John, the apostle expressed his hope of seeing the ones to whom he wrote (2Jn. 1:12).

‘Peace be to thee’ John speaks the peace of Christ over his fellow-believers as given in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you.” Jesus left the disciples with His dying legacy – peace; not the kind the world gives. Men have peace societies, temples, and plans, but arm for war all the while. They killed the Prince of Peace (Acts 4:27) and ignore Him still, so they will have no peace until He comes to reign (Ps. 2:1-12; 1Thess. 5:3; 1Cor. 15:24-28).

No Greater Joy

3John 1:1-4 The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walks in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 

‘Elder’ John was an elder in three ways: By title, being an apostle and a preaching elder; by seniority, both as a Christian and as an apostle. He is thought to have been the oldest of the apostles, to have had the most years of Christian experience and to have been the only one to die a natural death; by age, being about 90 years old at this writing.

‘Unto the well-beloved Gaius’ the second epistle of John to an individual (2Jn. 1:1). ‘Gaius’ it is not known whether this Gaius was the same mentioned in Acts 19:29; 20:4; Romans 16:23 and 1Corinthians 1:14, or not.

‘I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers’ when the soul prospers, that part which is the seat of the desires, feelings, passions, appetites, and emotions, one stays in health. The soul reflects whether or not the thoughts (originating from man’s spirit) have been captured to the obedience of Christ, or not (2Cor. 10:3-5; Jas. 1:13-16).

Three kinds of blessing that are God’s will: Material prosperity (3Jn. 1:2; Jos. 1:5-9; 1Sam. 2:7-8; 1Kin. 2:3-4; 1Chron. 29:12; Ezr. 8:22; Job 36:11; Ps. 1:1-3; Matt. 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; John 15:7, 15:16; 2Cor. 9:6-8; Php. 4:19). Physical healing and health (3Jn. 1:2; Ex. 15:26; Ps. 91:1-16; 103:3; Isa. 53:4-5; 58:8; Matt. 8:17; 1Pet. 2:24; Jas. 5:14). Soul salvation (3Jn. 1:2; Matt. 1:21; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-9; Heb. 7:25; 1Jn. 1:7, 9; Rev. 1:5).

If such blessings are the will of God for one man, they are for all men alike who will have faith for them, because there is no partiality in the gospel.

‘I have no greater joy’ John found joy in the one great thing of life, the greatest, in the testimony of those who have chosen eternal life. There is no greater joy.

‘Children walk in truth’ from this we gather that Gaius was a convert of John the apostle. Or, it could refer to Christians under John’s care, those who were his juniors in Christ and in age.