Theological Themes in 3 John
Authority in the church
What kind of authority did John the Elder possess? He does not seem to have been an official leader, but an older Christian A disciple is a person who accepts and follows the pronouncements of a teacher. Jesus chose twelve disciples (also called “apostles” in some of the Gospels) to follow him and bear witness to his message Anyone who (like them) follows Jesus is engaged in Christian… More (perhaps an Derived from a Greek word meaning “one who is sent,” an apostle is a person who embraces and advocates another person’s idea or beliefs. At the beginning of his ministry Jesus called twelve apostles to follow and serve him. Paul became an apostle of Jesus… More) with informal authority. How shall we understand the authority of individual ministers in the larger church today? The relationship between formal office, informal authority, and the gifts of the Spirit are still key to Christian leadership.
The ethics of hospitality in early Christian communities are strong concerns in this short letter. How shall we best practice hospitality today in our churches? Welcoming the stranger, including those who are quite different from ourselves, remains an important mark of true Christianity. A central issue in this letter is hospitality to visiting foreign missionaries from other local churches.