3 John


3 John 1 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on 3 John 1 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.

4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:

7 Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.

8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

"I wrote unto the church"
There was another epistle of John that has since been lost.
-Lost books of the Bible
This refers indeed to an epistle that was not inspired, and therefore has not become part of the Bible. As John Gill explains:

that this epistle should not be preserved, need not seem strange; for it cannot be thought that everything that was written by him to particular persons, or churches, should be continued.

10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

"I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words."
I do not understand why the author of the SAB calls this foul language. Nor do I understand why he thinks this is injustice. Either Diotrephes was using malicious words or not. As the church kept this letter for generations to come, it was clear it was received as true. I.e. people at that time agreed with John that this was the case.

11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

Do good; avoid evil. "He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God."
Of course it's not nearly that simple. There are many good atheists and bad theists. Take Moses, for example. Moses supposedly spoke to God face to face (Ex.33:11), yet look what he did in Numbers 31.
Do Christians sin?
Does anyone ever do anything good?
The apostle John does not make the claim the author of the SAB says he makes. If so, he would have written: he that is of God, does good, but he that is not of God, does evil, Which indeed experience proves not to be true. People can say they are of God, would that mean everything they do automatically gets the sign of approval? The apostle James writes a whole letter on that subject and demonstrates clearly that is untrue, It is by the fruit that we know the tree, not the reverse.
But if someone, atheist or theist, does good, this is from God. So yes, atheists can do good. And theists can do evil. But that evil is not from God, that cannot be as the apostle John says here. So one can never make the claim that evil one does is somehow allowed or good because one is a believer.

12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.

13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:

14 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.