3 John 1
1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
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:
7 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.
13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.
When you or I write an e-mail, we might italicize a word that we want the recipient to notice. Or we might use bold or ALL CAPS. Bible writers didn’t have such options. Instead, they used repetition. John’s short letter to Gaius in 3 John contains an interesting repetition. Four times in just 14 verses, John refers to Gaius as “beloved.”
The word “beloved,” from the Greek word “agape,” is a term of affection used not only by John but also by other New Testament writers, including Paul, Peter, James, and Jude. Significantly, God used the word twice to describe His love for Jesus. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased,” God said at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:17). On the Mount of Transfiguration, He reiterated, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5).
We know little about Gaius other than what John wrote in 3 John. But one thing that is clear: John loved Gaius deeply.
Do you show a similar amount of affection? Are you as emphatic in your love to God? Write a letter to someone special today. Use repetition to express your love. Write, like John, that you are praying for the recipient. Then pray.
Editor, Adventist Mission, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists