1-4 The Pastor, to my good friend Gaius: How truly I love you! We’re the best of friends, and I pray for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health—that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul! I was most happy when some friends arrived and brought the news that you persist in following the way of Truth. Nothing could make me happier than getting reports that my children continue diligently in the way of Truth!
Model the Good
5-8 Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible. They’ve made a full report back to the church here, a message about your love. It’s good work you’re doing, helping these travelers on their way, hospitality worthy of God himself! They set out under the banner of the Name, and get no help from unbelievers. So they deserve any support we can give them. In providing meals and a bed, we become their companions in spreading the Truth.
9-10 Earlier I wrote something along this line to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves being in charge, denigrates my counsel. If I come, you can be sure I’ll hold him to account for spreading vicious rumors about us.
As if that weren’t bad enough, he not only refuses hospitality to traveling Christians but tries to stop others from welcoming them. Worse yet, instead of inviting them in he throws them out.
11 Friend, don’t go along with evil. Model the good. The person who does good does God’s work. The person who does evil falsifies God, doesn’t know the first thing about God.
12 Everyone has a good word for Demetrius—the Truth itself stands up for Demetrius! We concur, and you know we don’t hand out endorsements lightly.
13-14 I have a lot more things to tell you, but I’d rather not use pen and ink. I hope to be there soon in person and have a heart-to-heart talk.
Peace to you. The friends here say hello. Greet our friends there by name.
You Walk in the Truth
1 The elder [of the church addresses this letter] to the beloved and esteemed Gaius, whom I love in truth.
2 Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually]. 3 For I was greatly pleased when [some of the] brothers came [from time to time] and testified to your [faithfulness to the] truth [of the gospel message], that is, how you are walking in truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my [spiritual] children are living [their lives] in the truth.
5 Beloved, you are acting faithfully in what you are providing for the brothers, and especially when they are strangers; 6 and they have testified before the church of your love and friendship. You will do well to [assist them and] send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 For these [traveling missionaries] went out for the sake of the Name [of Christ], accepting nothing [in the way of assistance] from the Gentiles. 8 So we ought to support such people [welcoming them as guests and providing for them], so that we may be fellow workers for the truth [that is, for the gospel message of salvation].
9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to put himself first, does not accept what we say and refuses to recognize my authority. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, unjustly accusing us with wicked words and unjustified charges. And not satisfied with this, he refuses to receive the [missionary] brothers himself, and also forbids those who want to [welcome them] and puts them out of the church.
11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but [imitate] what is good. The one who practices good [exhibiting godly character, moral courage and personal integrity] is of God; the one who practices [or permits or tolerates] evil has not seen God [he has no personal experience with Him and does not know Him at all]. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony and commendation from everyone—and from the truth [the standard of God’s word] itself; and we add our testimony and speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.
15 Peace be to you. The friends [here] greet you. Greet the friends [personally] by name.