|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.
Ver. 6. - Who bare witness to thy love before the Church. The thoroughly Greek word ἐκκλησία (which, however, had received a number of Jewish associations through its frequent use in the Septuagint)is used by St. John nowhere but in this Epistle. This witness of the brethren before the Church respecting the good deeds done to them is a type and earnest of the witness of Christ at the day of judgment: "I was a stranger, and ye took me in... Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me." Whom thou wilt do well to forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God. No higher standard could well be set. It reminds us of "perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" Gains is to treat them as remembering the Divine declaration, "He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me" (John 13:20). This coincidence, consciously or unconsciously made, between the Gospel and Third Epistle, is lost in the rather colourless rendering in the Authorized Version, "after a godly sort."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church,.... At Ephesus, where John was; these brethren and strangers coming thither, and being greatly affected with Gaius's kindness and liberality to them, could not forbear speaking of it to his praise, in the presence of the members of the church, as well as acquainted the Apostle John with it; the Syriac version reads, "before the whole church"; they bore testimony of his liberality in a very public manner And this the apostle mentions to encourage Gaius to go on, and continue in his kindness to the same persons, since they retained such a grateful sense of past favours; and whereas they were now returning back, he desires that he would give them some further assistance:
whom if thou bring forward on their journey; the word here used signifies, to send on before, as in Acts 15:3, and is used by the Septuagint in the same sense as here, and in the above places, in Genesis 18:16; where it is said, that "Abraham went with them (the angels) to bring them on in the way", "to send them on", or "send them away"; dismiss them, take his leave of them in a friendly and honourable way. The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan render it, "to accompany them"; and so this Greek word, which seems to answer to the Hebrew phrase, signifies an honourable accompanying, leading forth, and taking leave of friends; and so the apostle encourages Gaius to behave in like manner to the brethren and strangers; meaning, either by accompanying them in person, or by sending his servants along with them, both to direct them the way, and to secure them from danger, and chiefly by furnishing them with everything necessary for them; see Titus 3:13. And this he would have him do,
after a godly sort; or "worthy of God"; in imitation of God, who is merciful, kind, and beneficent; or as it became him whom God had called by his grace to his kingdom and glory; or as it was fit and proper such servants of God, as those brethren were, should be used; and this would be doing well:
thou shalt do well; what is grateful and well pleasing to God, and beautiful and lovely in the eyes of his people.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. borne witness of thy charity before the church—to stimulate others by the good example. The brethren so entertained by Gaius were missionary evangelists (3Jo 7); and, probably, in the course of narrating their missionary labors for the edification of the Church where John then was, incidentally mentioned the loving hospitality shown them by Gaius.
bring forward on their journey—"If thou (continue to) forward on their journey" by giving them provisions for the way.
after a godly sort—Greek, "in a manner worthy of God," whose ambassadors they are, and whose servant thou art. He who honors God's missionary servants (3Jo 7), honors God.
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