3 John 1:1 the wellbeloved Gaius
The Bible Dictionary identifies this Gaius as "a wealthy layman living near Ephesus." The context of the epistle makes it clear that Gaius was converted through John's preaching. John speaks of him as his son in the same vein that Paul spoke of his convert, Timothy, saying, "Timothy, my own son in the faith." (1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 1: 2)
Therefore, when John writes that he has no greater joy than to hear that his children walk in truth, he is not speaking of his biological children but his spiritual children in the faith. Although the scripture is frequently and appropriately applied to raising a righteous posterity, John is expressing the joy promised to missionaries, "if it so be that you should... bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father." (D&C 18:15)
3 John 1:4 no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth
James E. Faust
While few human challenges are greater than that of being good parents, few opportunities offer greater potential for joy. Surely no more important work is to be done in this world than preparing our children to be God-fearing, happy, honorable, and productive adults. Parents will find no more fulfilling happiness than to have their children honor them and their teachings. That blessing is the glory of parenthood. John testified, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (3 John 1:4).
In my opinion, the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life. This is especially so when moral foundations of honor and decency are eroding around us. If we are to have successful homes, values must be taught. There must be rules, there must be standards, and there must be absolutes. Many societies give parents very little support in teaching and honoring moral values. A number of cultures are becoming essentially valueless, and many of the younger people in those societies are becoming moral cynics.
As societies as a whole have decayed and lost their moral identity and as so many homes are broken, the best hope is to turn greater attention and effort to the teaching of the next generation-our children. In order to do this, we must first reinforce the primary teachers of children. Chief among these are the parents and other family members, and the best environment for this teaching should be the home. Somehow, some way, we must try harder to make our homes stronger so that they will stand as sanctuaries against the unwholesome, pervasive moral dry rot around us. Harmony, happiness, peace, and love in the home can help give children the required inner strength to cope with life's challenges. (Finding Light in a Dark World [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 90.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
I think we little estimate the vast good that will come of this [Family Home Evening] program. I commend it to our people, and I commend it to every parent in the land and say that we stand ready to assist you who may not be of our faith. We shall be happy to send you suggestions and materials on how to conduct a weekly family home evening, and I do not hesitate to promise you that both you and your children will become increasingly grateful for the observance of this practice. It was John who declared: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." (3 John 4.) This will be your blessing.
And it was Isaiah who said: ". . . all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." (Isa. 54:13.)
We cannot afford to disregard the sacred mandate laid upon us to teach our children, first by the example of our own living, and secondly, by those precepts which, if followed, will bring peace to their lives. Every child is entitled to the blessing of a good home. (Conference Report, October 1965, Second Day-Morning Meeting 51.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
I thank the Lord for the many good parents of the Church who are impressive examples of honesty and integrity before their children and before the world. I thank him for their faith and their faithfulness. I thank him for their great desire to nurture their children in light and truth as the Lord has commanded. May his blessings crown their efforts and may each someday be able to say, as said John of old, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." (3 John 1:4.) (Faith: The Essence of True Religion [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 72.)
3 John 1:9 Diatrophes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not
"John's third letter is a letter of apostasy. In it he made reference to one Diotrephes, a local church leader who had refused to receive John. Diotrephes, according to John, 'loveth to have the preeminence' among the saints (3 John 1:9). John - the presiding authority of the church - had written to him; but Diotrephes would not receive John. Neither would he receive 'the brethren,' and he would not let his congregation do so either. In fact, he excommunicated those who would (3 John 1:10).
"This was apostasy by any definition. It was rebellion against divinely instituted authority. John promised to deal with the offending leader when he could, but if Diotrephes did not recognize John's authority, no doubt he would not have responded to his discipline either.
"We have no way of knowing to what extent this type of rebellion characterized the Christian church at that time. Yet if, as we learn from John's other letters, rebellion against true doctrine was commonplace, undoubtedly the struggle against those who opposed that rebellion was equally widespread. The Diotrephes incident may have been one of many such events, as people of the rising third generation of Christian history had no loyalty to John, the last remaining witness of the first. For those who rejected John, the final legitimate link of doctrinal and priesthood authority between Christ and the church that bore his name in that day was broken." (John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., By Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday, 27 March 1990, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1990], 1: 111 - 112.)
Neal A. Maxwell
Failures of faith may reflect failures to submit to the "Lord's anointed," perhaps out of resentment that they not "rule over us" (2 Nephi 5:3; see also Numbers 16:13). Apostasy is more than doubt; it is sometimes actual "mutiny," just as the Apostle John experienced it from Diotrephes (see 3 John 1:9-10). (Lord, Increase Our Faith [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 92.)
Neal A. Maxwell
No wonder President Brigham Young observed: "It is said the Priesthood was taken from the Church, but it is not so, the Church went from the Priesthood" (in Journal of Discourses, 12:69). ("From the Beginning," Ensign, Nov. 1993, 18-19)