2 Beloved, I wish above all things [ peri pantoon, "concerning all things] that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul [life] prospereth.

The word translated "soul" is ψυχη psuche, which is rightly translated "soul" if "soul" be understood in its simple original sense of life; but wrongly, if soul is read as the symbol of an immortal entity, for there is no such idea connected with the Greek word.

But how comes it, it may be asked, that John should make a distinction between the "life" of his "well-beloved Gaius" and Gaius himself and his health? The answer is that this distinction belongs more to the English translation of John's words than to the words that John wrote.

The phrase translated "above all things" as written by John is περι παντων, peri pantoon, the strict sense of which is about (with reference to, or concerning) all things. If he had meant "above all things," in the English sense of that phrase, he would have written προ παντων pro pantoon, as in 1 Peter 4:8, "above all things (προ παντων) have fervent charity among yourselves."

But he wrote peri pantoon, "concerning all things." This has a different sense: "Beloved, I wish concerning all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as prospers thy ψυχη."

This was a wish that Gaius in all his affairs might have the same prosperity and health that he had in his spiritual life; for observe what follows:

"For I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee even as thou walkest in the truth. For I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth."

To "walk in the truth," then, is for a man's life to prosper according to John's view of it. And no wonder, for away from this walk in the truth, a man is drawing near to the gates of death. His temporal surroundings may be developing, but his own well-being is slowly setting in the murky clouds of the divine displeasure, while

"the path of the just is as the shining light, shining brighter and brighter unto the perfect day."

Death to them is but a rest which in a moment, as it were to them, ends in the glorious awaking of the blessed who shall rise to vigour, and life, and joy for ever. Gaius was prospering so well in this matter, by the reports that reached John, that he makes this prosperity the measure of his good wishes concerning his temporal affairs.

The Christadelphian, Nov 1872

5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

Cordiality to Strangers

In some sectarian places, it is made a rule to be attentive to strangers who step into a place of meeting. This is well, when it is not overdone. It is overdone frequently with the effect of repelling intelligent visitors who wish to be left to the power of conviction and not to be embarrassed with personal importunity. But it is possible to go to the other extreme.

We have heard of meeting places of the brethren where no one speaks to visitors, and where even brethren visiting have thus been overlooked, and been obliged to go away without making themselves known. This is certainly inconsistent with the cordial urbanity that belongs to the House of Christ.

The Christadelphian, Feb 1886

9 I wrote unto the ecclesia: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

Brother Thomas answered his critics who accused him of wanting to be the head of a sect:

"As to desiring to be the head of a religious party in this country, I scorn the position as unworthy a Christian man. When I reflect upon who have been the heads of the religious parties in the world, I feel that I should be degraded were I to be added to their coterie. A man can attain to no higher honour in this state, than to that of being an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ of the promise made to Abraham. The head of a sect! Contemptible! I leave such vanities to those whose empty heads are best pleased therewith; they have no charms for me."

Life and Works of Dr Thomas.