Third Epistle of John

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The Third Epistle of John, commonly written III John, is a letter that was canonized into the vast majority of Christian bibles. It is a brief letter about internal affairs of the early Christian church.

Authorship

Even though the author does not identify himself, most Christians believe the letter was written by John the Evangelist. Their belief is primarily based on a supposed similar writing style to the other two epistles and the Gospel of John. Personally, I don't see it, and many scholars have demonstrated stark contrasts between the writing styles. Also, historians widely doubt that John the Evangelist is the author of the Gospel that bears his name. The letter is dated by scholars to around 95-110 CE. John the Evangelist is believed to have died in 100 CE.

Content

The letter is addressed to a person named Gaius, warning him about a heretical gossip named Diotrephes, while promoting a person named Demetrius. The epistle does not mention Jesus, and only briefly talks about Yahweh.

Status

I have several translations of this letter from various bibles, and have read the NIV and KJV translations.

Review

Good

  • Nothing.

Bad

  • The short letter is little more than administrative talk between church members. The three men mentioned in the letter, Gaius, Diotrephes, and Diotrephes, are such minor people we know practically nothing about them. The letter is boring, and doesn't contribute to Christian theology at all. The New Testament would be better without it.
  • At best, it can be used as an example of hospitality between Christians, but, it has that obnoxious superlative language common to Christian writers. For example, the author says "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health." (1:2 KJV) Really? You can think of a single greater wish than having your friend prosper? Sure, we still have starvation, poverty, and disease, but who cares about wishing for those problems to be solved when your friend is feeling fine, am I right?
  • The passage "Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God." (1:11 NIV) implies that good people have seen the the Christian god, but this conflicts with John 1:18 which states that nobody has ever seen their god. Also, if you take the logical conclusion of the Christian belief that everyone sins, i.e., does evil, then the author is saying that nobody has seen their god!

Ugly

  • Nothing.

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