“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (III John 2)
Controversy surrounds this little verse, as proponents of the prosperity gospel attempt to use it to promote their doctrines. Although Christians versed in the whole counsel of the word of God will reject the idea that every believer will be healthy and wealthy, it would do everyone well to consider yet another question first: DOES YOUR SOUL PROSPER?
John indicated in his prayer here that he prayed that Gaius would prosper just as his soul prospered. What is implied here is that John knew that Gaius’ soul DID indeed prosper — therefore he could ask the Lord that if it was His will, that his brother might prosper physically and materially to the same degree.
But what about YOU? What about your loved ones? Can you pray “that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers”? Or would that be akin to praying a curse upon your souls, because in fact your souls are NOT well?! The primary focus of one’s prayers should be their own SOUL, and the souls of others. Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
Thus the most important question of III John verse 2 is NOT “in all physical and material respects are you prospering?”, but “Is your SOUL truly prospering?” Do you know that Jesus is your Lord and that you have eternal life? Is your soul healthy, because you are nourishing yourself each day in God’s word and prayer? Are you growing spiritually? Is your soul prospering, so that if someone were to pray this prayer for you, it would indeed be a blessing, and not a curse?!