Wednesday, July 20, 2011
An Open Letter to Gaius?
III John is addressed to a believer named Gaius (III John 1:1). Before being canonized, III John was simply a letter encouraging Gaius in a dispute with a man named Diotrephes (III John 1:9-11). It also served as a cover letter for Demetrius, whom the author was sending to support Gaius (III John 1:12).
It has been assumed that Gaius was a member of one of the churches in the region of Asia Minor. In the epistle, he is described as an “elder” and “beloved” (III John 1:1). Little else can be said of him with any certainty. Gaius was a common Roman name and appears in four books of the New Testament (Acts 19:29, 20:4; Romans 16:23; I Corinthians 1:14; III John 1:1). Whether or not III John’s Gaius correlates to any of the others is unknown.
III John is one of eight New Testament books addressed to individuals.(Luke 1:3, Acts 1:1, Philemon 1:1, I Timothy 1:2; II Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; II John 1:1; III John 1:1).
Do you think these personal letters were intended for public consumption? Why? Why not? What information should be made public?
Christians have the eight New Testament books addressed to individuals because their addressees treated them as open letters. With social networking becoming the norm, much of our information is now public. Correspondence is instantaneous and can be circulated on a grand scale with the click of a button. Like the New Testament, the internet has proven to be a good place to preserve writing.
A 2010 study by Consumer Reports surveyed 2000 households in regards to social media use. Their research showed that 52% (yes, more than half) of the people on social networking sites are posting some form of personal information online that falls under the umbrella of risky social media behavior.
What are you posting online? How do you decide what you post online? Is the lasting effect your writing may have a factor?
Is any of your online writing intended to glorify God? Should it?