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The elder sends this personal letter to his very dear friend Gaius with love in the truth.

I thank God for you and pray for you

2-4 My heartfelt prayer for you, my very dear friend, is that you may be as healthy and prosperous in every way are you are in soul. I was delighted when the brothers arrived and spoke so highly of the sincerity of your life—obviously you are living in the truth. Nothing brings me greater joy nowadays than hearing that “my children” are living “in the truth”.

Your actions have been just right

5-8 You are doing a fine faithful piece of work, my dear friend, in looking after the brothers who come your way, especially when you have never seen them before. They have testified to your love before the Church. It is a fine thing to help them on their way—it shows you realise the importance of what they are doing. They set out on this work, as you know for the sake of “the name” and they accept no help from non-Christians. We ought to give such men a real welcome and prove that we too are co-operating with the truth.

I know about Diotrephes

9-10 I did write a letter to the church, but Diotrephes, who wants to be head of everything, does not recognise us! If I do come to you, I shall not forget his actions nor the slanderous things he has said against us. And it doesn’t stop there, alas, for although he wants to be leader he refuses the duty of welcoming the brothers himself, and stops those who would like to do so—he even excommunicates them!

A little piece of advice: and I shall soon be seeing you personally

11 Never let evil be your example, dear friend of mine, but always good. The man who does good is God’s man, but the man who does evil does not know God at all.

12 Everyone has a good word to say for Demetrius and the very truth speaks well of him. He has our warm recommendation also, and you know you can trust what we say about anyone.

13-14 There is a great deal I want to say to you but I can’t put it down in black and white. I hope to see you before long, and we will have a heart-to-heart talk. Peace be with you. All our friends here send love: please give ours personally to all our friends at your end.