3 John 1:1
The elder to the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
This is not a salutation in the sense of Christian greeting usual at the beginning of the Epistles of Paul and Peter, but a simple address, to point out the person for whom the Epistle was intended.
I. THE TRUE CHARACTERISTIC OF A BELIEVER IN JESUS CHRIST — "Beloved." This term is applied both to the Son of God and to the saints, and frequently used by the apostles. It is a term of endearment, and implies a relationship and an affinity of the highest order.
1. Loved. One with a renewed heart, one of tenderness and sympathy instead of hardness, ill-feeling, and cruelty.
2. Loving. The love of God in his heart was not a stagnant pool, but a running rill. Take the Christian life in its composite character, and it will be seen that love permeates the whole. As to the inner resources of thought and desire, there is in them a sweetness which reveals the well of love in the heart. In the life of Gaius, St. John saw the reflection of the greater love which laid down its life for its friends.
3. Lovable. It is almost unnecessary to state that the object of God's love will have attractions for all pure minds.
II. THE RECIPROCAL AFFINITY — "Whom I love in truth." The remembrance of the beloved Gaius awakens the love of the beloved John.
1. Whom I love by the power of truth. The gospel reveals in us the force of love, and in our fellow-Christians the worthy object of that force. The Christian character draws to itself our esteem.
2. Whom I love for the sake of truth. No effect has a greater influence on the Christian heart than the saving influence of the gospel. A more effective spectacle to win the affection of an apostle could not be found.
3. Whom I love in furtherance of truth. Tell the Christian worker that you honour him and love him for his work's sake, and you will strengthen his hands and rejoice his heart.
(T. Davies, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.