Verse 5: Hospitality was very much needed in the first century. Consider some reasons:
- Inn-keepers were notoriously hard to deal with.
- Josephus records that there were no fixed payments at check-in and disputes almost always ensued at check-out.
- According to the Mishna the word of an innkeeper could be doubted.
- Roman laws even acknowledged their dishonesty.
Verse 6 Those who preached were dependent upon brethren to support them as they preached the gospel. They didn’t want to take help from Gentiles or unbelievers to avoid the appearance of evil.
Gaius helped friend and stranger alike (3 John 5). Hospitality literally means “love of strangers.” Gaius had a record of faithfulness. Brethren had borne witness of Gaius’ charity before the church (3 John 1:6). Clearly, it is Biblical for a missionary to give an account of a missionary trip to the church.
By receiving travelling preachers into his home, Gaius was a fellow helper or partner in the truth (3 John 1:8; cf. 1 Cor. 3:9). Fellow helper comes from a word (sunergos) used by Paul in 1 Cor. 3:9 and translated as “laborers together.”
Verses 7 & 8 It should be noted that hospitality involved more than taking someone into your home. It included bringing them forward on their journey (3 John 6). In other words, it meant supplying them with whatever they needed to help them to get to where they were going next (cf. Rom. 15:24; Tit. 3:13; Acts 21:25). Churches that have missionaries in should do the same today.
Furthermore, showing hospitality involved taking care of them after “a godly sort” (KJV); “a manner worthy of God” (NKJV & ESV). (3 John 1:6). In other words, you were to treat them as you would have treated God if he were staying with you (Mt. 25:34-40).
In Our next lesson we will talk about the 2 remaining men named in the book; one commended and one condemned. There is also more on how Gaius is to interact with these 2.
Also, we will be talking about the Apostle John a little more.