3 John 1:5
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do to the brothers, and to strangers;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
3 John 1:5-8. Beloved, thou doest faithfully — Uprightly and sincerely; or, as πιστον ποιεις is more accurately rendered, thou dost a faithful thing; or a thing becoming a faithful person, or one who is a real believer; whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers — To thy fellow- Christians, known to thee, and to those with whom thou hast had no acquaintance. Who have born witness of thy charity before the church — The congregation with whom I now reside; whom — Which brethren or Christian strangers; if thou bring forward on their journey — Supplied with what is needful; after a godly sort — In a manner worthy of God, or from a principle of divine love, and correspondent to the relation in which you and they stand to him; thou shalt do well — How tenderly does the apostle enjoin this! Because that for his name’s sake — Out of zeal for his honour and interest; they went forth — To preach the gospel, abandoning their habitations, possessions, and callings; taking nothing of the Gentiles — Among whom they laboured, toward their support, that they might take off all suspicion of their being influenced by mercenary motives. We, therefore — Who do not undertake expensive journeys for the sake of preaching the gospel, and who have any habitation of our own; ought to receive such — Hospitably and respectfully; that — If Divine Providence do not give us opportunities of laying ourselves out, as they do, in the exercise of the ministerial office; we might — Though in a lower degree; be fellow-helpers to the truth — Which they preach, and may be entitled, through divine grace, to a share in their reward.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.Beloved, thou doest faithfully - In the previous verses the writer had commended Gaius for his attachment to truth, and his general correctness in his Christian life. He now speaks more particularly of his acts of generous hospitality, and says that he had fully, in that respect, done his duty as a Christian.

Whatsoever thou doest - In all your contact with them, and in all your conduct toward them. The particular thing which led to this remark was his hospitality; but the testimony respecting his general conduct had been such as to justify this commendation.

To the brethren - Probably to Christians who were well known to him - perhaps referring to Christians in his own church.

And to strangers - Such as had gone to the church of which he was a member with a letter of commendation from John. Compare the Romans 12:13 note, and Hebrews 13:2 note.

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.

Charity to Christians is reckoned fidelity to Christ, being shown to them upon the Christian account, which is intimated to have been done by this pious person, who so kindly treated

the brethren, and strangers, i.e. even though they were strangers. 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.

Beloved, thou doest {b} faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

(b) As becomes a believer and a Christian.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3 John 1:5-6. Praise of Caius for his φιλοξενία, induced by that which he exhibited towards the brethren (3 John 1:3).

πιστὸν ποιεῖς ὃ ἐὰν κ.τ.λ.] By πιστόν the conduct (ποιεῖς) of Caius, which he had shown towards the brethren, is described as faithful, i.e. corresponding to the Christian profession. Ebrard’s view, that πιστὸν ποιεῖν is = the classical πιστὸν (= πίστιν) ποιεῖσθαι in the sense of “to give a pledge of faithfulness, a guarantee,” cannot be grammatically justified. By ἐάν (= ἄν) the idea is generalized: “everything whatever.

εἰς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς καὶ τοῦτο ξένους] With the construction ἐργάζεσθαι εἰς, comp. Matthew 26:10. By καὶ τοῦτο it is brought out that the ἀδελφοί to whom Caius is showing his love are ξένοι; even with the reading καὶ εἰς τοὺς ξένους the thought remains the same: καί, namely, is epexegetically used = “and that too;” as the ξένοι were Christians, they cannot be distinguished from the ἀδελφοί; Lücke takes καί in a specializing sense: “and particularly or especially;” but it is not brotherly love in general, but just the φιλοξενία, that is the subject here. That is to say, the apostle in this praise has specially in view what Caius had done to the brethren who had come to him (the Ap.: 3 John 1:3), and who are also spoken of in 3 John 1:6-7; these, however, were ξένοι.[18]—3 John 1:6. ΟἻ ἘΜΑΡΤΎΡΗΣΆΝ ΣΟΥ Τῇ ἈΓΆΠῌ ἘΝΏΠΙΟΝ ἘΚΚΛΗΣΊΑς] That ΟἽ “dissociates the concrete representation of some from the generic representation of ΞΈΝΟΙ” (de Wette) is incorrect; it rather refers directly to the previously-mentioned strange brethren. By ἐνώπιον ἐκκλησίας we are not to think of the Church to which Caius belonged, but of that in which John was sojourning.

ΟὛς ΚΑΛῶς ΠΟΙΉΣΕΙς Κ.Τ.Λ.] The same brethren that had come from Caius to John wanted to return thither again, in order from thence to continue their missionary journey (3 John 1:7). John now recommends them to the loving care of Caius.

ΟὝς are not others (de Wette), but the same as were spoken of in the preceding sentence. The combination of the future ΠΟΙΉΣΕΙς and the aorist participle ΠΡΟΠΈΜΨΑς is strange, as the two verbs do not denote two different actions, but the ΚΑΛῶς ΠΟΙΕῖΝ consists in the ΠΡΟΈΜΠΕΙΝ; it is different in Mark 13:13, Acts 24:25, Romans 15:28, where two different actions are placed in connection with one another, and the aorist participle is used in the sense of the fut. exacti (see Winer, p. 306; VII. p. 321). This has not been properly noticed by the commentators. The explanation of Düsterdieck: “The aorist form is to be explained by the fact that the good deed will consist in this, that Caius will have worthily brought the brethren forward,” does not solve the difficulty, as the good deed consists in the bringing them forward itself. The apostle may have used the aorist, however, in the feeling that “the action of Caius is only completed when he has accomplished the equipment and escort of the brethren” (Braune). The same connection is found in Eurip. Orest. 1210 ff.: εὐτυχήσομενἑλόντες, which Matthiae (Ausf. Gramm., 2d ed. p. 1087) translates: “if we are so fortunate as to take;”[19] in accordance with which we may translate here also: “thou shalt act worthily to accompany them.” Luther incorrectly: “thou hast done well that thou hast sent them on their journey;” in the revised ed. 1867 correctly: “thou shalt do well if thou sendest them on their journey.” Ebrard arbitrarily conjectures: ἐποίησας.

It is quite evident from the connection with the sequel, that by καλῶς ποιήσεις John wants to encourage Caius to the προπέμπειν. The reading ποιήσας προπέμψεις means: “whom thou, after thou hast treated them well, shalt bring forward on their journey.”

With καλῶς ποιεῖν, comp. Acts 10:13, Php 4:14; with προπέμπειν = “to fit out for a journey,” Romans 15:24, 1 Corinthians 16:6; 1 Corinthians 16:16, Titus 3:13.

ἀξίως τοῦ Θεοῦ (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Colossians 1:10) does not belong to καλ. ποιήσεις, but to προπέμψας = “as worthy of God, with all care and love” (Lücke).

[18] The present ποιεῖς is not opposed to this view, as it would seem to be; it is explained by the fact that the apostle regards the single, special case, as an evidence of the φιλοξενία of Caius in general.

[19] The whole passage in Euripides runs:—

ἥξει δʼ ἐς οἴκους Ἑρμιόνη τίνος χρόνου;

ὡς τἄλλα γʼ εἶπας, εἴπερ εὐτυχήσομεν,

κάλλισθʼ, ἑλόντες σκύμνον ἀνοσίου δοκῶ.3 John 1:5-8. The Duty of Entertaining Itinerant Preachers. “Beloved, it is a work of faith that thou art doing in thy treatment of the brethren, strangers withal. They testified to thy love before the Church; and thou wilt do well in speeding them on their way worthily of God. For it was for the sake of the Name that they went forth, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We therefore are bound to undertake for such, that we may prove fellow-workers with the Truth.”

A company of reisende Brüder had returned to Ephesus, and in reporting of their mission at a meeting of the Church had made special mention of the hospitality of Gaius. The Apostle commends him and bids him continue his good offices.5–8. Gaius praised for his Hospitality: Its special Value

5. Beloved] The affectionate address marks a new section (comp. 3 John 1:3; 3 John 1:11), but here again the fresh subject grows quite naturally out of what precedes, without any abrupt transition. The good report, which caused the Apostle such joy, testified in particular to the Christian hospitality of Gaius.

thou doest faithfully] So the Vulgate; fideliter facis: Wiclif, Tyndale, and other English Versions take the same view. So also Luther: du thust treulich. The Greek is literally, thou doest a faithful (thing), whatsoever thou workest (same verb as is rendered ‘wrought’ in 2 John 1:8) unto the brethren: which is intolerably clumsy as a piece of English. R.V. makes a compromise; thou doest a faithful work in whatsoever thou doest; which is closer to the Greek than A.V., but not exact. ‘To do a faithful act’ (πιστὸν ποιεῖν) possibly means to do what is worthy of a faithful man or of a believer, ostendens ex operibus fidem (Bede); and ‘to do faithfully’ expresses this fairly well: thou doest faithfully in all thou workest towards the brethren. But this use of πιστὸν ποιεῖν is unsupported by examples, and therefore Westcott would translate Thou makest sure whatsoever thou workest; i.e. ‘such an act will not be lost, will not fail of its due issue and reward’. The change of verb should at any rate be kept, not only on account of 2 John 1:8, but also of Matthew 26:10, where ‘she hath wrought a good work upon Me’ (εἰργάσατο εἰς ἐμέ) is singularly parallel to ‘thou workest toward the brethren’ (ἐργάσῃ εἰς τοὺς ἀδελφούς).

and to the strangers] The true text (אABC) gives, and that strangers (καὶ τοῦτο ξένους); i.e. towards the brethren, and those brethren strangers. Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:6; Php 1:28; Ephesians 2:8. The brethren and the strangers are not two classes, but one and the same. It enhanced the hospitality of Gaius that the Christians whom he entertained were personally unknown to him: Fideliter facis quidquid operaris in fratres, et hoc in peregrinos. Comp. Matthew 25:35.3 John 1:5. Πιστὸν ποιεῖς, thou doest faithfully) thou doest something, which I readily promised myself and the brethren from you. Thus whatever harmonises.—ἐργάσῃ, thou shalt do) in the labour of love.—καὶ) and, that which is of the greatest consequence, to strangers in particular.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. Thou doest faithfully (πιστὸν ποιεῖς)

Rev., thou doest a faithful work. A third interpretation is thou givest a pledge or guaranty, and a fourth, akin to this, thou makest sure. The Rev. is best. There is no parallel to justify the third and fourth.

Thou doest (ἐργάσῃ)

Or lit., according to the eymology, workest (ἔργον work). See on James 2:9. The distinction between this verb and others signifying to do, such as ποιεῖν, πράσσειν, δρᾶν, which last does not occur in the New Testament, is not sharply maintained in Attic Greek. In certain connections the difference between them is great, in others, it is hardly perceptible. On ποιεῖν and πρα.σσειν, see on John 3:21. Ἐργάζομαι, like πράσσειν, contemplates the process rather than the end of action, carrying the ideas of continuity and repetition. It means to labor, to be active, to perform, with the idea of continued exertion, and therefore is used of servants, or of those who have an assigned business or office. See Matthew 21:28; Matthew 25:26; Luke 13:14; John 5:17; John 6:27; John 9:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:9. For the phrase ἐργάσῃ εἰς thou doest toward (Rev.), see Matthew 26:10.

And to strangers (καὶ εἰς τοὺς ξένους)

The best texts read, instead of εἰς τοὺς to the (strangers), τοῦτο, that; so that the sentence is, literally, "to them that are brethren, and that strangers." For the phrase and that, compare 1 Corinthians 6:6; Philippians 1:28; Ephesians 2:8.

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