Lesson 5 of 6
In Progress

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 disciple (perhaps an apostle) 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.