“Beloved, I wish above all things that you shall prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 (NKjv)
I attended a Christian University in the late 1990s wherein my relationship with the Lord flourished and I forged lifelong relationships. Like most universities, there were a few classes required for all students to take, in which several Bible passages were assigned to students to be memorized. In one of my classes 3 John 2 was one such passage. The emphasis in the course curriculum was that God wants good things for His children and desires that we should prosper. Undoubtedly, many took this as a proof-text that all Christians should do nothing but prosper in all things and in all ways. I came to the following conclusion: First, we’re to have a balanced view on biblical prosperity. Second, God indeed is a good God and is the source of all life and prosperity.
Many Bible commentators have persuasively made the case that the phrase “prosper and be in good health” should be understood as one collective thought. That is, John desires for the “beloved” to prosper in physical terms, abounding in vibrant, good health. Think about it. In a day and age when life expectancy rarely saw individuals into their 60s, having good health was is everyone’s dream. We should indeed notice how John puts a high premium on the value of physical health, but we should also note his emphasis on the importance of the immaterial dimension of our being. In his well-wishing, John makes it clear he desires for the “beloved” to abound in physical health (ie. external well-being) as well as in spiritual health (ie. internal well-being). As we know, there’s more to us than meets the eye. John’s heart is abundantly clear: he wants God’s best for the “beloved,” and it includes their entire being, inside and out.
Finally, notice that the recipients of this prayerful greeting are the “beloved.” “Beloved” is a rarely used word these days, but it’s an apt word, a biblical word. John is writing to his fellow believers. He demonstrates his love for his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in this very verse. He models for us what disposition we are to have toward our fellow believers. May we be people who would take time today to reach out to a brother or sister in Christ and to let them know we desire God’s best to be unleashed in their life, physically and spiritually.
Word for the Way:
I am a “beloved.”