Author: The apostle John
Audience: Gaius, a prominent Christian in one of the churches known to John
Date Written: Approximately A.D. 90 from Ephesus
Background: Church leaders traveled from town to town helping to establish new congregations. They depended on the hospitality of fellow believers. Gaius was one who welcomed these leaders into his home.
Purpose: To commend Gaius for his hospitality and to encourage him in his Christian life
John’s purpose in writing this third epistle is threefold.
First, he writes to commend and encourage his beloved co-worker, Gaius, in his ministry of hospitality to the itinerant messengers who were going from place to place to preach the Gospel of Christ.
Second, John exhorts him to continue to do good and not to imitate evil, as in the example of Diotrephes. This man had taken over the leadership of a church in Asia and not only refused to recognize John’s authority as an apostle but also to receive his letters and submit to his directions. He also circulated malicious slanders against John and excommunicated members who showed support and hospitality to John’s messengers.
John wrote to encourage those who were kind to others. Genuine hospitality for traveling Christian workers was needed then and is still important today.