3 John 1:6
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:
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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.Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church - It would seem that they had returned to John, and borne honorable testimony to the love manifested to them by Gaius. Before what church they had borne this testimony is unknown. Perhaps it was the church in Ephesus.

Whom if thou bring forward on their journey - οὕς προπέμψας hous propempsas. "Whom bringing forward, or having brought forward." The word refers to aid rendered to them in their journey, in facilitating their travels, either by personally accompanying them, by furnishing them the means of prosecuting their journey, or by hospitably entertaining them. Gaius probably aided them in every way in which it was practicable. It has been made a question whether this refer, to the fact that he had thus aided them in some visit which they had made to the church where Gaius was, or to a visit which they purposed to make. The Greek would seem to favor the latter construction, and yet it would appear from the Epistle, that the "brethren and strangers" actually had been with him that they had been rejected by the church through the influence of Diotrephes, and had been thrown upon the hospitality of Gaius, and that they had returned, and had borne honorable testimony to his hospitality. These views can be reconciled by supposing, as Lucke does, that having been once on their travels, and having shared the hospitality of Gaius, they were purposing to visit that region again, and that John, praising him for his former hospitality, commends them again to him, stating the reason 3 John 1:9-10 why he did not, in accordance with the usual custom, recommend them to the care of the church. They had now gone out 3 John 1:7 on the same errand upon which they had formerly gone, and they had now equal claims to the hospitality of the friends of religion.

After a godly sort - Margin, as in Greek, "worthy of God." The meaning is, As becomes those who serve God; or as becomes those who are professors of his religion.

Thou shalt do well - You will do what religion requires in these circumstances.

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.

After a godly sort; i.e. after a manner (as the Greek expression is) worthy of God, viz. as becomes them who bear the name of God, as thou dost, or are intent upon his work, as they are; which latter notion is confirmed by what follows.

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.

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

(c) He commends to Gaius, either those same men whom he had entertained before returning to him, about the affairs of the Church, or else some other who had similar business.

3 John 1:6. On the anarthrous ἐκκλησίας, see note on 2 John 1:10. καλῶς ποιήσεις has the sense of “please” in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri; e.g., 300, 3–6: ἔπεμψά σοι διὰ τοῦ καμηλείτου Ταυρείνου τὸ πανάριον, περὶ οὗ καλῶς ποιήσεις ἀντιφωνήσασά μοι ὅτι ἐκομίσου, “I sent you the bread-basket by the cameleer Taurinus; please let me have word again that you got it”. προπέμψας: when a Rabbi visited a town, it was customary on his departure to escort him on his way (Lightfoot, Hor. Heb., on Matthew 5:41). The gracious usage was observed in the primitive Church, and it appears to have included the furnishing of provision for the journey (cf. Titus 3:13). Cf. Hom. Od. xv., 74: χρὴ ξεῖνον παρεόντα φιλεῖν, ἐθέλοντα δὲ πέμπειν. “welcome the coming, speed the parting guest”. ἀξίως τοῦ Θεοῦ, “in a manner worthy of God,” i.e. (1) “Since they are God’s representatives (John 13:20), weil ihr evangelistenwerk Gottes Werk ist (Holtzm.), treat them as you would treat God”; (2) “Since you are God’s representatives, treat them as God would treat them”.

6. Which have borne witness of thy charity] Rather, as R.V., Who hare witness to thy love. There is no need here to turn the aorist into the perfect; and certainly in S. John’s writings (whatever may be our view of 1 Corinthians 13) ἀγάπη must always be rendered ‘love.’ In a text like this, moreover, ‘charity’ is specially likely to be understood in the vulgar sense of almsgiving.

before the church] Probably at Ephesus; but wherever S. John was when he wrote the letter. Only in this Third Epistle does he use the word ‘church.’

whom … thou shalt do well] The verb comes immediately after the relative in the Greek, and may as well remain there; whom thou wilt do well to forward on their journey: literally, whom thou wilt do well having sent on. The word for ‘send on’ or ‘forward’ occurs Acts 15:3; Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5; Romans 15:24; 1 Corinthians 16:6; 1 Corinthians 16:11; 2 Corinthians 1:16; Titus 3:13. There would be abundant opportunity in the early Church for such friendly acts; and in telling Gaius that he will do a good deed in helping Christians on their way the Apostle gently urges him to continue such work. Comp. Php 4:14; Acts 10:33.

after a godly sort] This is vague and rather wide of the Greek, which means, worthily of God (R.V.), or, in a manner worthy of God (Rhemish), or as it beseemeth God (Tyndale and Genevan). ‘Help them forward in a way worthy of Him whose servants they and you are.’ Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Colossians 1:10.

3 John 1:6. Ἐνώπιον ἐκκλησίας, before the Church) These examples were publicly mentioned, for encouragement, [in a very familiar method.—V. g.]—καλῶς ποιήσεις, thou shalt do well) A characteristic [polite] form of exhortation. Thus it is used in the past and the present time, to express approbation: Thou hast spoken wellThou hast done well, etc., Luke 20:39; Acts 10:33; Mark 7:37; John 4:17; John 13:13; Jam 2:8; Jam 2:19; 2 Peter 1:19.—προπέμψας, bringing forward on their journey) with provision for the way, Titus 3:13. Continue to afford benefits even to the end.—ἀξίως τοῦ Θεοῦ, as is worthy of God) He, who honours such as are described in the following verse, honours God.

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." 3 John 1:6The Church (ἐκκλησίας)

See on Matthew 16:18.

If thou bring forward on their journey (προπέμψας)

Lit., having sent forward. The aorist tense represents the act as accomplished. Compare Acts 15:3; Titus 3:13. Rev., set forward.

After a godly sort (ἀξίως τοῦ Θεοῦ)

Lit., worthily of God. So Rev. Compare 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Colossians 1:10.

Thou shalt do well (καλῶς ποιὴσεις)

For the phrase, see Acts 10:33; Philippians 4:14; James 2:8, James 2:19; 2 Peter 1:19. Rev., renders the whole: whom thou wilt do well to set forward on their journey worthily of God.

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