Welcome to Bible Answers
DOCTRINE QUESTION 61
Who or what is the elder of 3 John 1:1?
The "elder" here is John, himself. He wrote this epistle late in life and he is now an old man, probably in his nineties. He was the last of the original twelve. However, he was an elder in another way. Elders were the spiritual shepherds of God's flock. (Acts 20:17) Paul met the "elders of the church at Ephesus." He exhorts them in Acts 20:28 to, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God." John was one of three elders in the church at Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9). Clergyism, as we know it, was totally unknown in the New Testament churches. We never read of the "elder" of the church. It is always in the plural and the church singular. (James 5:14) "...let him call the elders of the church." In Acts 20:17, Paul called the "elders of the church." In Acts 14:23, "elders in every church." In Acts 11:30 the "elders at Jerusalem." In Acts 15:4, they were received by the "elders of the church. The word means "one who is older and experienced in the things of God. It is interchangeable with the word "bishop."
Dear reader, what about your destiny? Where are you going to spend eternity? What you do WITH and not FOR Christ will determine that. Trust Him and be saved. Neglect Him and be lost. "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation." (Hebrews 2:3)
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen