Thinking about 3 John

3 JohnI talked last week about how I approach texts. I mentioned that a couple of us are looking at 3 John (traditionally pronounced “third John”). For those who may be following along at home, I decided to share my first pass at observations on the letter.

  1. When I read how John talks to and about people, this is a model of how to do encouraging and teaching. “Here’s what’s being done well. Here’s what to pay attention to.”
  2. It’s a glimpse of hospitality in first century. People are traveling from place to place, and staying in homes.
  3. It’s a picture of John NOT in exile on Patmos. For some of us, that’s the only place we’ve seen him pictured. An old guy on an island with a Roman soldier standing in the background. But there were fifty years or more between the beginning of Acts, where Peter and John were in the temple, and the writing of Revelation. What was he doing? What was that like? Where did he live and work? How much traveling did he do?
  4. This is a glimpse of the ways of the early church. Some people lived in one place. Other people traveled from place to place.
  5. It shows that it’s okay to pray for good health. Sometimes it seems that we only pray for sick people. Here, John is saying “I’m asking God to help you stay healthy in your body AND in your beliefs.”
  6. it shows that people, using God’s name, have always been protective of their own agendas and gathering of people: “You can’t tell me what to do, and if you listen to them, I’ll ignore you, too.” When we talk about going back to something, we have to go way back.

I’ll keep sharing as we keep digging. Read along!

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.