The Third Letter of John is one of seven catholic or universal letters of the New Testament of the Bible, which includes the Letters of James, the First and Second Letters of St. Peter, the First, Second, and Third Letters of John, and Jude. These letters are so called because they are addressed to the universal Church in general, and not to a specific community such as, for example, the Philippians. The Third Letter of John is followed by the Book of Jude.
In this letter, John is writing a letter of recommendation to Gaius about the missionary Demetrius. The letter shows the inner workings of Christianity during its difficult beginning. Letters of recommendation would often accompany Christian missionaries (Romans 16:1, Second Corinthians 3:1). The letter provides some background to the historical circumstances present in the First and Second Letters of St. John.
The following Scripture is from the Douay-Rheims Bible, now in the public domain. The Douay-Rheims Bible was the standard English Bible for Catholics for over 300 years, and still remains in use today. The Douay-Rheims Bible was the first approved English translation of St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate Bible. The Old Testament translation was completed at the English College of Douai, France in 1609, and the New Testament at the English College of Rheims, France in 1582. The Douay-Rheims Bible was revised by Bishop Challoner in England from 1749 to 1752. The Haydock Douay-Rheims Bible of 1814 was the one upon which President John F. Kennedy took the oath of office on January 20, 1961 to become the 35th President of the United States.
1 The ancient to the dearly beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. 2 Dearly beloved, concerning all things I make it my prayer that thou mayest proceed prosperously, and fare well as thy soul doth prosperously.
3 I was exceedingly glad when the brethren came and gave testimony to the truth in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4 I have no greater grace than this, to hear that my children walk in truth. 5 Dearly beloved, thou dost faithfully whatever thou dost for the brethren, and that for strangers, 6 Who have given testimony to thy charity in the sight of the church: whom thou shalt do well to bring forward on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 Because, for his name they went out, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we may be fellow helpers of the truth.
9 I had written perhaps to the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, doth not receive us. 10 For this cause, if I come, I will advertise his works which he doth, with malicious words prating against us. And as if these things were not enough for him, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and them that do receive them he forbiddeth, and casteth out of the church. 11 Dearly beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doth good, is of God: he that doth evil, hath not seen God.
12 To Demetrius testimony is given by all, and by the truth itself, yea and we also give testimony: and thou knowest that our testimony is true. 13 I had many things to write unto thee: but I would not by ink and pen write to thee. 14 But I hope speedily to see thee, and we will speak mouth to mouth. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Salute the friends by name.