Course Hero. "New Testament Study Guide." Course Hero. 27 Apr. 2018. Web. 22 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/>.
Course Hero. (2018, April 27). New Testament Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 22, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/
(Course Hero, 2018)
Course Hero. "New Testament Study Guide." April 27, 2018. Accessed September 22, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/.
Course Hero, "New Testament Study Guide," April 27, 2018, accessed September 22, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/.
Addressing Gaius, "the elder" offers encouragement.
Although this letter is quite brief, it offers some insight into the close personal relationships that developed between members of the Christ-believing communities. These relationships are founded on shared belief, above all. John repeatedly calls Gaius "beloved" (3 John 2, 5, 11), and refers to other Christ-believers as friends and says they should be treated as such even when he explicitly states that they are "strangers" whom Gaius has never met before (3 John 5). Although the author calls himself an "elder," the emphasis throughout on bonds of love and friendship in the community indicates that any authority was perhaps poorly defined or not universally accepted.
The author's personal knowledge about individuals in the community also demonstrates that sometimes the scale of conflicts among Christ-believers could be quite small. In this letter, it is a single, specific person whose opposition to the author inspired him to write a letter. This gives readers a glimpse of the precariousness of Christian leadership in the early Christ-believing communities, perhaps especially of leadership that relied on long-distance communication. On the other hand, the author's confidence in his ability to deal with Diotrephes and to convince Gaius not to be swayed suggest that personal appeals, like a letter, could have a significant impact on the spread of certain strands of early Christian teaching.