|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-8 Those who are beloved of Christ, will love the brethren for his sake. Soul prosperity is the greatest blessing on this side heaven. Grace and health are rich companions. Grace will employ health. A rich soul may be lodged in a weak body; and grace must then be exercised in submitting to such a dispensation. But we may wish and pray that those who have prosperous souls, may have healthful bodies; that their grace may shine where there is still more room for activity. How many professors there are, about whom the apostle's words must be reversed, and we must earnestly wish and pray that their souls might prosper, as their health and circumstances do! True faith will work by love. A good report is due from those who receive good; they could not but testify to the church, what they found and felt. Good men will rejoice in the soul prosperity of others; and they are glad to hear of the grace and goodness of others. And as it is a joy to good parents, it will be a joy to good ministers, to see their people adorn their profession. Gaius overlooked petty differences among serious Christians, and freely helped all who bore the image, and did the work of Christ. He was upright in what he did, as a faithful servant. Faithful souls can hear their own praises without being puffed up; the commendation of what is good in them, lays them at the foot of the cross of Christ. Christians should consider not only what they must do, but what they may do; and should do even the common actions of life, and of good-will, after a godly sort, serving God therein, and designing his glory. Those who freely make known Christ's gospel, should be helped by others to whom God gives the means. Those who cannot themselves proclaim it, may yet receive, help, and countenance those who do so.
Vers. 5-12. - 2. MAIN DIVISION. Exhortation. Having thus stated the circumstances which have led to his writing (comp. 2 John 1:4), the elder begins the main portion of the letter, which consists of three sections; the hospitality of Gaius, and its value (verses 5-8); the arrogance of Diotrephes, and its results (verses 9, 10); the moral (verses 11, 12). The transition to this central portion of the Epistle is marked by a repetition of the loving address. In all three cases (verses 2, 5, 11), the introductory "beloved" indicates the beginning of a section. Ver. 5. - It is by no means easy to translate this verse satisfactorily, πιστὸν ποιεῖς ὅ ἐὰν ἐργάσῃ εἰς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς καὶ τοῦτο ξένους. Here we have three difficulties:
(1) to determine the meaning of πιστὸν ποιεῖς;
(2) to bring out the meaning of ἐργάσῃ;
(3) to translate τοῦτο without awkwardness.
The reading εἰς τοὺς (K, L) for τοῦτο (א, A, B, C, and versions) has probably arisen from a wish to avoid this last difficulty. Thou doest a faithful act in all that thou workest towards the brethren, and that towards strangers, is a fairly literal and intelligible rendering. But "to do a faithful act" is somewhat obscure. Probably it means "to act as a faithful man would." All his conduct towards the brethren, even when they were not previously known to him, was such as became a faithful Christian. This was his special merit; he treated brethren who were entire strangers to him, not as strangers, but as brethren. He did not pick and choose, showing hospitality to those whom he liked and neglecting the rest. Every missionary was sure of a welcome from Gains.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Beloved, thou doest faithfully,.... Or a faithful thing, and as became a faithful man, a believer in Christ; in all his beneficence and charity he acted the upright part; he did not do it in an hypocritical way, to be seen of men, and gain applause from them, but from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God:
whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; which may design either different persons; and by "brethren" may be meant the poor brethren of the church that. Gaius belonged to, and others that were well known to him; and by "the strangers", not unconverted persons, but such of the saints as came from foreign parts, and travelled about to spread the Gospel, and enlarge the interest of Christ: or else the same persons may be intended, for the words may be read, as they are in the Alexandrian copy, and some others, and in the Vulgate Latin version, "what thou doest to the brethren, and this to strangers"; that is, as the Arabic version renders it, "to strange brethren"; or, as the Syriac version, "to the brethren, and especially them that are strangers"; so that Gaius was a very hospitable man, one that entertained and lodged strangers, and used them very civilly and courteously, with great liberality, and with much integrity and sincerity.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. faithfully—an act becoming a faithful man.
whatsoever thou doest—a distinct Greek word from the former "doest": translate, "workest": whatsoever work, or labor of love, thou dost perform. So Mt 26:10, "She hath wrought a good work upon me."
and to strangers—The oldest manuscripts, "and that (that is, and those brethren) strangers." The fact of the brethren whom thou didst entertain being "strangers," enhances the love manifested in the act.
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