For the next few weeks, five to be exact, we will look at these and share a little about them with you. It is advised that first we must decide what method we wish to apply to arrive at the number of words.Should we count verses or actual number of words. Now the length of verses can differ quite a bit. We will get the best results  counting the words. We should consider if we count the number of words in English, Hebrew or Greek. The languages used to record God’s word were primarily Hebrew and Greek. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

So using Hebrew or Greek our count puts the five shortest books of the Bible as follows…. 3 John, 219 words. 2 John, 245 words. The third shortest book of the Bible is Philemon with 335 words in Greek. The fourth shortest book of the Bible, and shortest book of the entire Old Testament, is Obadiah with 440 Hebrew words. The fifth shortest book of the Bible is Jude with a count of 461 words.

These facts were taken from One of my favorite sites for biblical information. They also add this note and I pass it along to you…Special thanks goes to Logos Bible Software for making the determination of the shortest book of the Bible by Hebrew or Greek word count much easier.

Let’s take a closer look at this smallest of the books of the Bible. While 3 John does not say who is its writer and over time there has been some speculation it has always been attributed to the apostle John. It was preceded by 1 & 2 John, with all three having been written between A.D. 85-95.

All things have a purpose and a place…and so it is with 3 John. He writes to lift up his friend and co-worker Gaius.

(Gaius of Corinth. Paul baptized a man named Gaius in Corinth—one of only two he baptized there (1 Corinthians 1:14). Later, toward the end of his third missionary journey, when Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans, he was staying in Gaius’s home, and Gaius is included in his greetings to the church in Rome (Romans 16:23).) …(*)

Gaius was involved in a ministry of helping itinerant messengers traveling from place to place to preach the Good News. He warns the people about the behavior of one Diotrephes, a dictatorial leader who had taken over a church in the province of Asia. Diotrephes behavior and thinking was directly opposed to that of the apostle and what his Gospel stood for. In 3 John he also commends Demetrius whom John had been receiving good testimony about.

Two Key Verses

3 John 4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

3 John 11: “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”

Gaius, is a layman of some wealth and distinction and lives in a city near Ephesus. John strongly stresses the importance of truth in the Gospel. He thanks him for his concern and care of those whose mission it is to take the Gospel from place to place. John encourages him to continue to do the good work of the Gospel and not to follow the example of Diotrephes. Examples of hospitality abound in Old Testament Israel.There was always a warm welcome extended to aliens into homes there where the were given food, lodging and protection***.

Short Summary For A Short Book

From John we learn that we should always walk in the truth of the Gospel and be aware of the needs of those around us, especially those of the faith. We should be discerning enough to be aware of those such as Diotrephes whose behavior is far from being like that which Jesus taught.

Life is Good


*Got Questions

***  (Genesis 18:2-8, 19:1-8; Job 31:16-23, 31-32).