You are on page 1of 22











Lesson l
Chapter One

INTRODUCTION: Throughout history, the church has had to contend with false prophets and
false doctrine. This was no less true in the Apostle John’s day. At the time John wrote, an
influential group began to trouble the church. They claimed to know all the mysteries of the
universe, but denied much of what our Lord and His Apostles taught. They denied that Christ
had “come in the flesh” (I John 4:3). Without going into great detail about this heresy, suffice it
to say that false doctrines die hard.
Even today, we are combating certain elements of this same heresy. There are those who
deny the Virgin Birth, who say it is impossible for there to have been a “God-man”. John says
this is the “spirit of anti-Christ” (I John 4:3b). Others say, as they did in John’s day, that it is
possible to live above sin, to be completely sinless. “No”, John said. “No one is totally without
sin”, (I John 1:8, 10). Against all false teachers, we are to be on our guard; and if a teacher or
teaching is questionable, we are to “try the spirits whether they are of God” (I John 4:1).


A. John’s message is of Jesus Christ. He has four great things to say in these verses about

l. He was from the beginning. Beyond time in eternity past.

2. God took upon Himself an actual human body. One that could be seen and
felt (see also John 1:1 - 14).
3. He is the Word of Life. The source and fountain of life.
4. He is eternal. He had always been with the Father (John 1:1, 2).
B. John also presents four evidences from his own personal experience of
l. He says that he has heard Him. "Faith cometh by hearing...”
2. He says that he has seen Him. “Look and live”
3. He says that he has looked (gazed) on Him. To look saved, to gaze makes one
4. He says that his hands actually touched Christ. He was no phantom or mere

Lesson 1 (cont’d)


A. We can only have fellowship with God when we walk in the light (verses 5 - 7).
“God is light”, which means He is absolutely holy and without any trace of evil. Sin
cannot exist in His presence anymore than darkness can exist in the presence of physical
light. Light is life-giving (John 1:4).
Verse six does not mean that a man must be perfect before he can have fellowship
with God; if that were the case, all of us would be shut out. But it does mean that he will
never think light of sin and the nearer he comes to God, the more terrible sin will be to
Any believer who walks in the light of the Word of God discovers sin in his life.
But he knows that the same blood that cleansed him at the beginning of his Christian life,
daily cleanses him from all sin (verse 7).
B. We can only have fellowship with God when we confess our sins, (verses 8-10).
There are multitudes of people today who have deceived themselves. They actually
believe they have no sin. But it is all a deception. They are living a lie. The sad part of
this deception is that when a person has fooled himself into believing that there is no sin
in him, he cannot commit sins and justify himself, saying that he can commit no sin. It is
the same as saying that sin does not exist; but is only an error of the mind (Christian

CONCLUSION: Before we are willing to confess our sins, we must readily acknowledge that
we have sinned (verse 10). To “confess” means to acknowledge and tell God our true state.
“Tell it like it is”, in other words. The sin could be spelled out. What is the end result when we
come clean with God and forsake our sins? God forgives us and cleanses us through the Blood
of Christ and restores our fellowship.

1. Throughout history, the church had to contend with what?

2. What are we to do with teachers/teaching, that is questionable?

3. John's message is of whom?

4. Who took upon Himself a human today?

5. If God took on a human body, then who is Jesus Christ?

6. If we say we fellowship with God and walk in darkness, we do what?

7. We discover sin in our lives when we do what?

8. Can we fellowship with God with unconfessed sin in our lives?

Lesson #1
Answer Key
Epistle of Love

1. False Prophets and False Doctrine

2. “Try them whether they be of God”

3. Jesus Christ

4. God

5. God

6. Lie and do not the truth

7. Walk in the light of God’s Word

8. No

Lesson 2
Chapter Two

INTRODUCTION: We have already seen that God is light and in order to have fellowship with
Him, we cannot walk in darkness (1:5). Our lives must be above reproach. On the other hand,
we must face up to the reality of sin in our lives. If we do wrong, as sometimes God’s people
do, we must acknowledge it and confess it. Only in doing so, can fellowship with our Heavenly
Father be restored (Amos 3:3).

If fellowship is only to be maintained by walking in the light, how may we do so?


A. We are told not to sin (verse 1). This is very plain language. It is no more plain though,
than what a loving parent would tell a child. A child is told not to steal, not to tell a lie,
not to speak ill of another person. What would you think of a parent who would do
otherwise? Suppose God had said here in this verse, “Don’t sin unless you have to; or, let
the situation determine whether a thing is right or wrong” (situation ethics). If the
Scriptures are plain on anything, it is that we are not to sin, that sin is against God, it
brings sorrow and heartbreak and its wages is death.

B. Our provision if we should sin, (verse 2). It has already been noted that no
Christian is absolutely perfect. In spite of his best intentions, he may, at times, be guilty
of sins of omission or commission. What then? The answer is that we have an advocate
(attorney) with the Father who is none other than Jesus Christ. Just as an attorney is
called to the side of a client in trouble, so the Lord Jesus is in heaven to defend the
sinning Christian from the charge of the accuser of the brethren. Paul speaks of Christ as
being at the right hand of God making intercession for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25;
9:24). “Propitiation” means atonement or covering.


Obedience to the commands of Christ is proof of a truly converted person, one who is
walking in the light (verse 3).
If a man professes to know Christ, yet refuses to submit to His commands, he is a liar
(verses 4 - 6). This is a very solemn statement. It would lead us to believe that many professing
Christians, those to whom the Word and example of Christ are of less value than the morning
newspaper, are living a lie.

III. BY LOVING THE BRETHREN (verses 9 - 11).

Hatred of a fellow believer is evidence that a person is not in the light. Love, on the
other hand, belongs to the realm of light where fellowship with God and with our brethren
flourishes. The Christian who loves will never be a stumbling block in the path of a fellow
believer. Hatred not only kills fellowship, but breeds spiritual ignorance and blindness.
Lesson 2 (cont’d)


The last sentence of verse 14 gives the secret to walking in light and overcoming the
world. “The world” in this instance means, not the world of nature, but the world system which
is under the control of Satan (Matthew 4:8, 9; Ephesians 2:2; 6:2). Man is subject either to
Satan’s world system or to God’s (Galatians 6:14; II Peter 2:20).
Behind all false doctrine is the spirit of anti-Christ. The word “Antichrist” is found only
in I and II John and nowhere else in the Bible (2:18, 22; 4:3; II John 7). This is the man of sin
that shall appear in the last days (II Thessalonians 2:1 - 12). The many antichrist spoken of by
John in I John 2:18 will culminate in the coming of the Antichrist, at some future time.
“Antichrist” means one who is opposed to Christ, but is under the guise of Christ.

CONCLUSION: Notice the stress in these verses on letting the truth abide in us in the person of
Christ (verses 24, 27, 28; compare John 15:5 - 7). Verses 20 and 27 teach us that the Holy Spirit
is the teacher of the believer as well as His final authority in spiritual matters. When we are
yielded to Him, we will not be swept aside by the winds of false doctrine.

1. If we occasionally sin, we can still have fellowship with God. True or False

2. What are we to do when we sin?

3. In our lesson, what are the scriptures plain about?

4. What is Christ doing in Heaven on our behalf?

5. In our lesson, what is “a very solemn statement”?

6. The Christian who loves will never be a _________ to others.

7. What is the secret to walking in the light / overcome the world?

8. What is behind all false doctrine?

9. What does “Antichrist” mean?

Lesson #2
Answer Key
Epistle of Love

1. False

2. Acknowledge and confess sin to God

3. Not to sin

4. Making intercession for us

5. If a man professes to know Christ, yet refuses to submit to His commands, he is a liar.

6. Stumbling Block

7. The Word of God, (verse 14)

8. The spirit of antichrist

9. One who is opposed to Christ but is under the guise of Christ.

Lesson 3
Chapter Three

INTRODUCTION: The third chapter of I John warns us that there are counterfeit Christians,
“children of the devil” (verse 10). A true child of God lives a righteous life and loves his fellow
Christians. The first ten verses of the chapter deal with righteous living and the remainder of
verses deal with brotherly love.

I. RIGHTEOUS LIVING (verses 1 - 10).

A. God’s love is an incentive to live a holy life (verse 1). While we were His
enemies, God loved us and sent His Son to die for us. His matchless love in making us
His children should lead us to behavior which is befitting to the family likeness. Such a
relationship is unknown by the world because it does not know the Savior, and such
knowledge comes only through personal experience.
B. Christ’s return is an incentive to a holy life (verses 2, 3). Verse l tells us what
we are and verse 2 tells us what we shall be. When our Lord appears, all true believers
will see Him and will become like Him (Philippians 3:20, 21). This means that they will
have new, glorified bodies, suited to heaven. In view of this, we should keep our lives
clean (verse 3).
C. Two reasons why Jesus came and died:
1. To take away our sins (verses 4 - 6). Note the definition of sin in verse 4. Sin is
lawlessness or rebellion. The Scriptures make it clear that we have all sinned (Romans
3:23). Christ appeared as the answer to the sin problem; to remove sins and make a clean
life possible. He is our example (verse 5). This does not mean that once a person is
saved, he never sins again. This would be a contradiction of I John 1:8, 10). What it
does mean is that he no longer lives in sins; his life is no longer characterized by sin.
2. To destroy the works of the devil (verses 7, 8). A life characterized by sin
shows that a person has not really seen or truly known God. Sin is characteristic of the
devil and Christ came to destroy the works of the devil. Christians cannot practice what
their Lord and Savior came to destroy.
D. A new nature is within us (verses 9, 10). The Christian does not practice sin
because he has a new nature within him, and that new nature cannot sin. John calls this
new nature God’s “seed”. Of course, the old nature is still a part of us, and when we
yield to it, we stumble and fall (Galatians 6:1, 2).
Lesson 3 (cont’d)

II. BROTHERLY LOVE (verses 11, 12).

A. Christians love one another because they have all been born of God; they are
all in the same family. Love for one another is an identifying characteristic of Christians.
The example of Cain is given as an illustration and warning of one who was “of that
wicked one” (a child of the devil) and thus without God’s love (verse 12). His hatred
found its logical outcome in murder.
B. The attitude of the world toward Christians is generally one of hate (verse
13). This attitude originated with satan who is the father of hate (verse 10). Love gives
evidence of a new life (verses 14) while hate furnishes evidence of spiritual death (verse
C. The supreme example of love was Christ’s death on our behalf (verse 16a).
Christian love involves sacrifice and service (verses 16b, 17). Loving “in word or
tongue” without deed is hypocrisy, not genuine love (verse 18; see James 1:22).
D. John names three wonderful blessings that will come to a believer who practices
Christian love:
1. Assurance (verses 19, 20). A Christian who practices love grows in his
understanding of God’s truth and enjoys a heart filled with confidence before
God. Sometimes our heart accuses us wrongly, but God will never make such a
mistake (II Timothy 2:19). Once you confess your sin and it is forgiven, you
need not condemn yourself. No Christian should treat sin lightly; but no
Christian should be harder on himself than God is.
2. Answered prayer (verses 21, 22). If we expect to have our prayers answered,
we must live a life of obedience to God’s will.
3. God abides in us by His Spirit (verses 23, 24). We ought to abide in Him by
yielding to the Spirit and obeying the Word.

1. What two incentives are given to live a righteous life?

2. What two reasons did Jesus come and die for?
3. The Christian doesn’t ______ sin because he has a ______ ______ within, and that new
nature _______ sin.

4. Why do Christians love one another?

5. Love gives evidence of a _______ _____.
6. What was the supreme example of love the world has ever seen?
7. What is involved in Christian love?
8. Name three blessings that come to those who practice Christian love.

Lesson #3
Answer Key
Epistle of Love

1. a. God’s love
b. Christ’s return

2. a. To take away our sins

b. To destroy the works of the devil

3. Practice - new nature - cannot

4. They’ve been born of God

5. New life

6. Christ’s death

7. Sacrifice and service

8. a. Assurance
b. Answered prayers
c. The abiding Spirit of God within us
Lesson 4
Chapter Four

INTRODUCTION: This chapter has to do primarily with our attitude toward our brothers and
sisters in Christ. John is also careful to point out how we may recognize not only the true
Christian message, but those who profess and practice it. There are three important truths
that stand out in this chapter.


A. A warning (verse 1). In Biblical times men realized the perils of false prophets.
Deuteronomy 13:1 - 5 states that the false prophet may promise signs and wonders and
perform them. The spiritual power is there, but it is evil and misdirected. Thus, we are
admonished to “try the spirits whether they are of God”. False prophets are everywhere.
Because they work in the spiritual realm, they are deceptive and we must be constantly
on our guard.
B. The two tests of belief (verses 2, 3)
1. To be of God a spirit must acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.
To deny this is to deny that He is the fulfillment of the promises of God and that
He is the Son of God (deity).
2. To be of God, a spirit must acknowledge that Jesus has come in the flesh. To
deny this is to deny His incarnation. Scripture is clear on this point (John 1:14).
Every Christian heresy can be traced to a faulty view of Christ’s person and work.
C. We need not fear the heretic (verses 4 - 6). The true Christian is “of
God”, which means he has the Spirit of God within him and this Spirit is greater
than all the evil spirits which surround us and seek to lead us into error.
A. Love has its origin in God (7, 8). God is by His very nature love and
therefore to be like God and be what he was meant to be, man must love. If this
love comes from God, he will love the right things.
B. Love is a family characteristic (verses 7, 8, 16). Love is the great bond
of fellowship which binds believers to one another and to their Lord.
C. God’s love is demonstrated in Jesus Christ (verse 9). The great proof
of God’s love for humans was His giving of His only begotten Son (John 3:16).
Lesson 4 (cont’d)

D. When love comes, fear goes (verses 17, 19). When we love God with all
our hearts, we have no reason to fear either the unpleasant circumstances of this
life or the judgment to come. (NOTE: Fear entered the world along with sin).
E. Our love for others proves our love for God (verses 20, 21). How
inconsistent to say that we love God, but hate our brother. With characteristic
bluntness, John says that a man who claims to love God and hates his brother is
nothing other than a liar. The way to prove that we love God is to love the ones
whom He loves.
A. He is the bread of life (verse 9). All men have existence, but all do not
have life -- spiritual life. The eagerness with which men seek pleasure shows that
there is something missing in their lives (John 14:6; Galatians 2:20).
B. He is the restorer of the lost relationship with God (verse 10). In Old
Testament times, when a man sinned, his relationship with God was broken and
the sacrifice of an innocent animal was an expression of sorrow for sin, designed
to restore the lost relationship. Jesus, the “lamb of God”, by His life and death,
made it possible for man to enter into a new relationship with God.
C. He is the Savior of the world (verse 14). Sinners need to be saved and
they need to look no further than to Jesus for this transaction (Luke 19:10; Acts
D. He is the Son of God (verse 15). Jesus was the unique and “only
begotten Son of God”. He was God manifest in human flesh. To confess that
Jesus is the Son of God means more than to acknowledge that He was a great
religious declares that you believe Him to be “Immanuel”, the one true
God and Savior of the world.

1. What are three important truths that stand out in this chapter?

2. List the two tests of belief.

3. Love has its origin in who?

4. When love comes, what leaves?

5. Our love for others proves what?

6. Who brought fulfilling life to mankind?

7. We lost our _____ with _____ and through _____ it is ______.

8. Jesus was _____ manifest in _____ _____.

Lesson #4
Answer Key
Epistle of Love

1. a. Truths concerning false prophets

b. Truths concerning human and Divine love
c. Truths concerning Jesus Christ

2. a. That Jesus is the Christ; the Messiah

b. That Jesus has come in the flesh

3. God

4. Fear

5. That we love God

6. Jesus

7. Relationship - God - Christ - restored

8. God - human - flesh

Lesson 5
Chapter Five

INTRODUCTION: “What do you know for sure?” is a question we frequently hear asked. The
desire for certainty goes deep into the heart of every human being. What does Christianity have
to offer in the way of certainty?
Christians have many certainties upon which they may anchor their hopes. They are not
afraid to say “We know!” This word occurs 39 times in John’s brief letter; eight times in this
fifth chapter. In these 21 verses, John points out six certainties on which we can build our lives
with confidence.


The verb used is in the present tense - “is”. This contradicts certain cult groups such as
Herbert W. Armstrong’s, who teaches we are born again at the time of the resurrection of our
bodies. A person is born again immediately upon believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Jesus made it clear that without such an experience, it is impossible to enter the Kingdom of God
(John 3:1 - 8).

In these verses, John emphasized three things to look for in the born again believer:
1) a love for the children of God;
2) a willingness to keep God's commandments;
3) and the ability to overcome the world.
II. JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD (verses 5-10).
A. Water (verse 6). This refers to His baptism in the Jordan (Matthew 3:13 -
17). When Jesus was baptized, the Spirit descended like a dove and rested upon
Him; then the voice of the Father said, “This is my beloved Son”, the Father thus
attested to the uniqueness of Jesus.
B. Blood (verse 6). This refers to Christ’s death on the cross by which
redemption from sin was accomplished (Hebrews 9:12).
C. The Spirit (verses 6 - 10). The Spirit was given to bear witness to Christ
(John 15:26; 16:14). We can trust the Spirit’s witness because “the Spirit is
truth” (Romans 8:15). These three earthly witnesses - the Spirit, the water and
the blood - all agree (verse 8). They attest the same truth, just as the three
heavenly witnesses agree (verse 7). NOTE: The undeniable proof of the trinity
Lesson 5 (cont’d)


Eternal life is a gift - not something we earn (Ephesians 2:8, 9; John 10:27 - 29). John is
saying that God’s true children have the certainty that when their earthly life on earth is ended,
they have a heavenly home awaiting them (II Corinthians 5:1).
IV. GOD ANSWERS PRAYER (verses 14, 15).
Just as we have confidence that we are God’s children, so we have confidence when we
bring our petitions to our heavenly Father in prayer. The one condition John points out here is
that, when we pray, we must pray according to God’s will (Matthew 6:10). Since God has
revealed His will through His Word, the study of the Word is a necessary prerequisite to a
successful prayer life.
The expression “sinneth not” (verse 18) means that a believer does not make a practice of
sinning. He has new desires and appetites and is not under the bondage of sin.
“A sin unto death” (verse 17) refers to persistent, willful sinning in a believer which
leads to physical, not spiritual, death (see I Corinthians 5:1 - 5; Acts 5:1 - 11; I Corinthians
11:3). Sin has different degrees of seriousness (verse 17). “All unrighteousness is sin, but there
is a sin which is unto (physical) death” - meaning it results in a lesser punishment.
Jesus Christ is the true God. We know Him who is true and we are in Him who is true.
We are in contact with reality. Unsaved people live in an atmosphere of pretense and unreality.
Christians do not choose simply between good and bad; they choose between true and false. A
person who lives for idols (verse 21 - money, pleasure, etc.) is living for that which is false and

1. Can a person know for certain he is saved?

2. What three things do you look for in a person who says they are saved?

3. What three witnesses in heaven and earth prove Jesus is God?

4. Do you earn eternal life?

5. Eternal life is in Christ, if you have Christ, you have what?

6. If we pray according to God’s will, will He answer our prayers?

7. What does “sinneth not” in verse 18 mean?

Lesson #5
Answer Key
Epistle of Love
1. Yes

2. a. Love for the children of God

b. A willingness to keep God’s commandments
c. The ability to overcome the world

3. a. Water
b. Blood
c. Spirit

4. No

5. Eternal life

6. Yes

7. That a believer does not make it a practice of sinning.

Lesson 1
II John

INTRODUCTION: John the Apostle was an old man when he wrote this epistle, for he refers
to himself as “the elder” (verse 1). The emphasis and style of this letter is very similar to John’s
other writings. When news reached him that one of his dear friends was threatened with trouble
and heresy, he wrote her a word of encouragement and a word of warning.


This brief letter is addressed to "the elect lady". Though her name is not mentioned, she
must have been a close personal friend of John’s and one whom he loved “in the truth”. She
must have lived somewhere in the circuit of churches over which the apostle John had the
In the first three verses of the chapter, the words “truth” and “love” are used repeatedly.
In the teaching of the Scriptures, these two virtues are inseparably connected. True Christian
love rests on “the truth”, that is, the Word of God which lives and abides forever. In Christ’s
day, just as in these days, people were searching for truth. One of the most remarkable
statements of our Lord while on earth was when He said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6). The
search for truth is ended when one comes to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
In the peculiar circumstances that prompted this letter, there are things to make John’s
heart glad and things to make it sad. This is seen in verses 4 - 6. He “rejoices greatly” (verse
4) that some of these people are walking in the truth, but that very statement implies that
some are not. For all things John has one remedy, and that is love (verses 5, 6). It is no
new remedy and no new commandment; it is the word of Jesus Himself (John 13:34, 35).
This is no soft sentimental love that John talks about here. It is not a love of sin and
pleasure and ease. It is a love for God and God’s children. The only proof of our love for God
is our love for the brethren and for the truth.
II. A WORD OF WARNING (verses 7 - 14).
There is a great contrast between these verses and the ones preceding them. John renews
the theme which occupied a good portion of his first epistle and that is that the spirit of anti-
Christ was already at work in the world (verse 7). “Many deceivers” are said to have entered
into that first century world.
Deceivers came then and they come today, in many different guises. The most deceptive
are those who pretend to be the friends of Christ but deny His claims of Deity (Jehovah’s
Witnesses, Moonies, Modernists, etc.). Jesus warned us to beware of such false prophets
(Matthew 7:15 - 20).
The expression “look to yourselves” (verse 8) indicates the need for self-examination and
watchfulness on the part of believers. A true follower of Christ is not apt to be “blown about by
every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). The danger John speaks of is not loss of salvation,
but loss of reward. The fullness of their reward was threatened by the subversion of the anti-
Christs (I Corinthians 3:11 - 15).

Lesson 1 (cont’d)

The word “transgresseth” (verse 9) means “to go on ahead”. The false teachers claimed
that they were the progressive ones, the advanced thinkers. But when anyone takes you beyond
what is written in Scriptures, he is going too far. We have all we need for our spiritual
growth and development with the 66 books of the Bible. Devotional books and
commentaries can be excellent tools to aid us in our understanding of the Word, but we do not
need new revelations such as certain groups claim to have received (Mormons, Christian
Science, etc.).
What are we to do when a propagator of false doctrine comes to our home? John is very
clear on the matter. They are to be given no hospitality (verse 10). This is the most effective
way of stopping their work. They are not to be bidden God’s speed, for to do so would make
us partakers of their evil deeds.

1. To whom was II John written?

2. What two virtues are used in Scriptures repeatedly and are inseparably connected?

3. Who is the truth?

4. When does the search for truth end?

5. What is the remedy for all things? And is it a new remedy and commandment?

6. How can the world know we are the children of God?

(Read: John 13:34, 35 for the answer)

7. What is our only proof of our love to God?

8. Are there many deceivers in the world today? List some.

9. A true follower of Christ is not apt to be what?

10. The 66 books of the Bible gives us all we need for what?

11. Are we to bid God’s speed to those who come to our homes to teach false doctrine?
Lesson #1
Answer Key
Epistle of Warning
II John

1. “The elect lady”

2. Truth and love

3. Jesus

4. When we come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior

5. a. Love
b. No

6. That we love one another

7. Love for the brethren and for the truth

8. Yes

9. “Blown about by every wind of doctrine”

10. Our spiritual growth and development

11. No
Lesson 1
III John

INTRODUCTION: This is the third and last epistle of John the Apostle. It is written to a
Christian whose name was Gaius. Nothing more is known of Gaius than what is related here.
Two other men undoubtedly members of the same church as Gaius, are also mentioned:
Diotrephes and Demetrius. In our study today we will look at each of these three men to learn
lessons that should help us to be better, stronger Christians.

I. GAIUS (verses 1 - 8).

Gaius must have been a close personal friend of John’s and a man of strong Christian
convictions. Four times John uses the word “beloved” when referring to him (verses 1, 2, 5, 11).
Verse 2 suggests that Gaius may have been in failing health, although we cannot be
certain of this. One thing we do know is that Gaius enjoyed “soul prosperity” - that is, he was
living as a Christian ought to live. He was growing in grace and advancing in his knowledge
of the truth (I Peter 3:18).
In verses 3 and 4, John tells us of a teacher’s greatest joy. It is to see his pupils
walking in the truth. The language used in these verses implies that Gaius had been converted
under the ministry of John. Our concern should not only be for the conversion of our friends but
that they might walk in the truth as Gaius did.
In verses 5 - 8, we come to John’s main object in writing. A group of traveling
evangelists is on their way to the church of which Gaius is a member and John urges him to
receive them and to give them support. The importance of showing hospitality is demonstrated
by the following verses (I Peter 4:9; Hebrews 13:2; Romans 12:13; Titus 1:8). In the early
church the Christian home was the place for Bible study and Christian fellowship. By showing
hospitality to our fellow Christians, we become “fellow helpers to the truth” (verse 10). Such
was this wonderful man, Gaius.
II. DIOTREPHES (verses 9 - 11).
Diotrephes, though a church member was the very opposite of the two other men
mentioned in this letter. He “loved to have preeminence” - to be the boss. It he could not be the
leader of something he would not be its supporter. He refused to acknowledge the authority of
the pastor (verse 9b). This is an illustration of the bad influence of one ambitious and
arrogant man in the church. Hebrews 13:7 and 17 tell us what is to be the attitude of church
members toward their leaders.
Diotrephes with his “prating” (to talk much to little purpose) constantly undermined
John's influence, and injured his character. Not only that, he refused to treat his Christian
brethren with the hospitality they deserved. He even used his influence to dismiss from the
church those with whom he disagreed (verse 10). John's advice is that we follow not men
such as Diotrephes. but "that which is good" (verse 11).

Lesson 1 (cont’d)

III. DEMETRIUS (verses 12 - 14).

Though little is known of Demetrius, enough is stated here to cause us to want to be like
him. He had “a good report of all”. He put his Christianity into practice in the presence of his
friends. The expression, “of the truth itself”, means that his reputation was not based on
“appearance”, but in truth and reality. It is possible for men to be deceived in the estimate of
someone’s character. Such was not the case with Demetrius. Everything about his life bore
testimony to the fact that he was a genuine Christian.

CONCLUSION: We have before us here three examples.

1. Let us follow the example of Gaius, the hospitable Christian whose soul prospered.
2. Let us shun men like Diotrephes, and not be led astray by their empty talk.
3. Let us imitate Demetrius whose life was above reproach, and who was held in high
esteem by his fellows.

1. This letter is about three men. list them.

2. To whom was this letter written?

3. What is a teacher’s greatest joy?

4. What was John's main objective in writing this letter to Gaius?

5. By showing hospitality to our fellow Christians, we become what?

6. What was Diotrephes main problem?

7. He refused to acknowledge the authority of who?

8. What happened to they that disagreed with Diotrephes?

9. What was John’s advice in dealing with men like Diotrephes?

10. What does the expression “of the truth itself” mean?

11. Did the bad character and power of Diotrephes change Demetrius’s Christian character?
Lesson #1
Answer Key
Epistle of Examples
III John

1. a. Gaius
b. Diotrephes
c. Demetrius

2. Gaius

3. To see his pupils walking in the truth

4. To receive and support some traveling evangelists

5. “Fellow helpers to the truth”

6. “He loved to have the preeminence”

7. Pastor

8. He kicked them out of the church

9. Don’t follow them

10. That his reputation was not based on “appearance” but in truth and reality

11. No