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Stewardship Bible Study Notes (3 John)
John’s third epistle was written to encourage a man named Gaius. Like 2 John earlier, the apostle’s final letter emphasizes the importance of hospitality and Christian partnership. John warns against the sins of selfishness, exclusion and gossip in the church, warning that anyone who does such things is not from God.
Our study of 3 John consists of two parts. In the first section, readers will find our stewardship study notes. These notes analyze, in a passage-by-passage fashion, the implications of the book’s teaching for Christian generosity and related issues. The second section consists of short essays describing the book’s major stewardship themes. These notes and essays are not intended to be comprehensive explanations of John’s goals in writing this book, nor do they exhaust the book’s possible applications in matters related to stewardship and generosity.
While Generous Giving’s Bible study material will aid anyone who is searching the Scriptures for guidance, they may prove especially useful as sermon helps for pastors and as a resource for teachers, advisors and lay leaders interested in obeying and teaching the message of Scripture in matters of generosity and stewardship. We readily acknowledge our fallibility in writing these study notes, for they are the work of humans, not God. Please search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11) as you read this material critically, carefully and prayerfully. May God bless you in your studies.
3 John 1:5 — Servants of the gospel are called to be generous and hospitable to everyone they encounter, even strangers. Fellow believers have a special responsibility to care for other Christians and fellow workers because we are members of the same body and serve the same Lord. We especially ought to show love and hospitality to those who work to spread the gospel—doing all that we can to send them on in “a manner worthy of God,” lacking nothing for their task (3 John 1:6). See 1, 2 and 3 John theme essays Joy in Fellowship and Hospitality.
3 John 1:7 — In this life, stewards of the gospel often are called to suffer for Christ’s sake.
3 John 1:8 — Christians have a special obligation to care for the needs of other Christians, especially those who work and suffer for the sake of the gospel. John says that we ought to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the “truth.” See 1, 2 and 3 John theme essays Joy in Fellowship and Hospitality.
3 John 1:9-10 (Key Passage) — Selfishness: Selfishness and the love of being first hinder the work of the church and should be rebuked faithfully (especially by the overseers of the church). Pastors must be faithful in preaching against attitudes of arrogance, greed, selfishness and idolatry.
Study Notes by Chapter
Major Giving Themes
Joy in Fellowship
Love and Gift
Doers, Not Just
Resources by Chapter