Gaius was an exceptionally prevalent name in the Bible during the period of the Old and New Testament writings, with multiple men carrying it. Whether it was Gaius of Macedonia, who was a young convert to the Apostle Paul, or Gaius of Derbe, who was among Paul’s traveling companions, each of them played an important part in proclaiming the gospel.
Many of them assisted in preaching the good news in ways that continue to echo through the actions of modern-day Christians. But who was Gaius in the Bible? What is his importance in ancient history or the early church? What good characteristics did Gaius have? And how did he inspire Christianity today?
Who Is Gaius In The Bible?
In John’s final letter, generally known as the third or last epistle in the Bible, we hear about the great characteristics of a righteous man named Gaius through the said passages.
There are multiple individuals named “Gaius” in the Word of God, and one of them was a man who knew the Apostle John so well that even John’s sincere affection for him was revealed in his letter. In the third epistle of John, Gaius is repeatedly mentioned as “beloved” four times and as “whom I love” once (3 John 1:1, 2, 5, 11).
John appointed the writer as the bishop of Pergamum, and the writer himself is communicating his intentions for an excellent life for Gaius. He uses the Greek term euchomai, which translates to “pray” or “wish.” This message reflects John’s desire for Gaius to thrive in everything he does, for his physical wellness to be good, and for his soul to be prosperous.
The Greek word euodoo, used by John in his letter about Gaius, also means “to grant a prosperous and expeditious journey.” In others, John wishes for Gaius “to succeed” or “to go along the road well.”
Initially, he emphasizes his wish for Gaius to do well in everything. This is perhaps related to the hard work he is delivering. This encompassed all the work God commanded Gaius to do.
On another note, there was also a man named Gaius whom Paul baptized. Paul referred to Gaius of Corinth as the “host” of the whole church. Later, when Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, he was presumably staying in Gaius’s home.
Luke also mentioned “Gaius of Derbe” in Acts 20:4, who was known to have accompanied Paul during his third missionary journey, perhaps to distinguish him from the Gaius mentioned in Acts 19.
What Is The Significance Of Gaius In Biblical History?
Gaius positively contributes to spreading the “good news” to his fellow wandering Christians. 3 John 1:5–8 said:
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God.
It was for the sake of the name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.
There are many Christians who have traveled across borders to share the word about our Savior’s glory. A handful of them made their way to John with accounts of Gaius’s support. Because Gaius was unfamiliar with some of them, they were described as “strangers.”
The Scripture wants us to take good care of others, especially these “strangers.” God said that showing hospitality is a good person’s responsibility (Job 31:32; 2 Samuel 12:4; Matthew 25:31–46; Hebrews 13:2).
John encourages Gaius to keep assisting in sending out individuals to share Christ’s teachings. They informed others that Jesus was the real fulfillment (the Savior) of the covenant. Undoubtedly, we become certified fellow laborers of God’s word by helping out those who promote the message of Jesus and other Christians who have God-given callings.
The Lord utilizes not just teachers but also those who lend help to these church workers. The Levites counted on the rest of Israel to supply them with food. The Levites were in charge of teaching Israel the commandments and directing religious worship.
The sharing of labor in the church necessitates a certain degree of interdependence. Whenever we work perfectly as God’s children, we grow in spirit, and God gets glory and praise.
As Christians, we each have different responsibilities. We must be engaged in uplifting our loved ones, looking out for the elderly and disabled, and motivating every person in our church community. We might not all be proclaimed as Christian missionaries or priests. However, as people of faith, we are all called to carry out God’s magnificence and share the true gospel with others in every aspect of our lives.
What Virtues Are Associated With Gaius In The Bible?
The trust, optimism, and devotion that Gaius showed have been a source of encouragement to many Christians. They inspire us on our spiritual path and give us direction. As Christians, we should therefore take a moment to pause and reflect on the qualities that Gaius embodies.
Gaius was a well-liked person. In John 3:3, the elder wrote to him and addressed him as “the beloved Gaius” and “whom I love in truth.” Gaius’ devotion and love were authentically exceptional; it became so well-known that all those who came to see him wanted to be “fellow workers for the truth” (3 John 1:8), just like Gaius.
However, we need to recognize that with the present translation of the Bible, its emphasis has shifted, albeit subtle. It doesn’t refer to Gaius as “the loving Gaius,” saying that he loved those around him. It refers to him as “the beloved Gaius,” implying that others dearly loved him. The change drastically creates a different viewpoint on the strength of Gaius’ love.
The name Gaius translates as “one who rejoices” or “happy,” and the characters bearing that name in the Bible are seen to have understood the joy that stems from honoring God.
Gaius showed hospitality and kindness to others, regardless of his circumstances. Diotraphes, a man similarly depicted in the Bible, refused to help and care for those travelers promoting Christ’s message. On the contrary, Gaius revealed his power by serving God and others, despite his earthly tribulations.
Gaius’ hospitality acted as an indication and affirmation that he was living in God’s truth. His dedication and love for Christ went far beyond his words. It was very clear in his actions and service to others; he moved like a good follower of God, which John commended.
Colossians 1:9–10 reads: “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
How Has Gaius’ Legacy Influenced Modern Christianity?
Gaius was a man with unparalleled faithfulness. He carried out his mission with love and dedication. He was, without a doubt, a good servant of grace and God’s truth. Even though the details of Gaius’ ministry are unknown, his dedication and goodwill radiate through John’s letter, which makes him an ideal representation of what one must do to follow God faithfully.
Today, the Christian community continues to grow. Outreach programs and full-time Christian church missions require the assistance and support of many people.
Helping our local churches and taking part in these programs as they aim to share the gospel is very important. Through these, we can build a thriving community in areas with a lot of people in need.
As ordinary followers, we can also be actively involved in supporting some of these full-time church servants (Christian leaders and missionaries) by offering them shelter or food as they proclaim the good news to different communities.
Because certain groups and organizations advocate things that don’t seem legitimate, we as ordinary followers must count on God’s word to determine the good causes to advance the Kingdom of God. As we perform, we also participate in the goodness of Christ’s effort.
In the Scriptures, Gaius was an individual who actively showed trust, enthusiasm, and devotion to God with his actions. Faith, as laid out in James 2:20, remains incomplete without deeds. Gaius was a living example of this, showcasing that if our love, faith, and hope are conveyed through action, they become complete.
Even when we work hard, it could seem as if all we do to support the church is worthless and inadequate. However, as John pointed out, what is essential is that we strive to serve consistently and wholeheartedly. We can undoubtedly leave a good legacy that lasts as we strive to be good and faithful followers of Christ.
As such, let us never forget the character of Gaius. He positively displayed the value of hospitality and goodwill through his actions. Gaius always gave selflessly, whether he was providing a place to live or food to eat. Gaius’s life became an example of what it’s like to lead a Christ-filled life that we ought to emulate.