THE WORD: Short and to the point

“Saint John the Evangelist” by El Greco (circa 1605) is a painting in the Prado Museum, Madrid. (Public Domain)

The King James Version of the Bible has over 780,000 words. With over 32,000 words, the Book of Jeremiah is the longest, followed by Genesis and Psalms, which also top 30,000 words each. Psalms has the most chapters. Overlooked sometimes are the shortest books of the Bible. There are five books with fewer than 500 words: Third John, Second John, Philemon, Obadiah, and Jude. Over the next five weeks, we will take a look at these succinct books, starting with Third John, which contains less than 300 words and has only 14 verses.

The Third Epistle of John is the third-to-last book of the Bible, with only Jude and Revelation following. This book is a personal letter send from John to a man named Gaius. The letter encourages Gaius, telling him to “follow not that which is evil, but that which is good” and warns him of a man named Diotrephes who John accuses of “prating against us with malicious words.” Ultimately, this short book teaches us that when Christians “walk in truth” there is joy and that unlike Diotrephes, we should welcome everyone to the church.

3 John 11

Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.