Hospitality

3 John 1-8


  • Share your stories of receiving help and support from a friend or loved-one in a time of need. Who has done you a big favour?

  • Do you have any stories where a stranger has done you a big favour? How did you feel about that?

3 John is a short personal letter tucked away at the back of the bible. It was written by ‘John the elder’ to his friend Gaius. All we know about Gaius is that he was a church leader in the late-first-century, and he was probably discipled by John.

Read 3 John 1-8

  • What does John commend Gaius for?

  • Why do you think these traits are particularly valuable?

  • John’s ‘brothers and sisters’ who were strangers to Gaius were probably missionaries or itinerant preachers.

  • Do you think Gaius and his church responsible for supporting these people, or were they going ‘above and beyond’?

  • What does it cost to be hospitable? How would you feel if you were asked to give food and shelter to someone visiting our church from interstate or overseas?[1]

Read 3 John 9-15

It seems like John had already written a public letter to the church, but Diotrephes had blocked that, so now John is writing privately to Gaius.

  • What does John accuse Diotrephes of?

  • How do these traits contrast with what John has just said about Gaius?

  • Why do you think Diotrephes’ self-love made him unwilling to welcome John or the other brothers and sisters?

Throughout the New Testament, we are encouraged to offer hospitality, and not just to visiting missionaries. Look at these four quick examples together:

Read Matthew 10:40-42, Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:2, 1 Peter 4:9

  • What might it look like in our day to be as hospitable as these verses tell us to be?

  • What do you find most challenging about the command to be hospitable and welcoming to strangers?


Final thoughts:

See if you can make a plan to practice hospitality in some way this week. You could invite someone over for a meal, or shout someone a coffee, or come up with some other creative ideas!

[1] Not that hospitality only includes hosting someone in your home, of course!

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