Questions about Bible Misinterpretations: 3 John 2—Does this verse indicate that God desires us to be financially prosperous, as Word-Faith teachers argue?


Misinterpretation: Third John 2 says, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (nasb). Word-Faith teachers cite this verse in support of the prosperity gospel.

Correcting the Misinterpretation: The Greek word for “prosper” in this verse does not refer to financial prosperity but simply means “to go well with someone.” In fact, the niv translation correctly reflects this idea in its rendering of the verse: “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” In biblical times the wish for “things to go well,” along with the wish for “good health,” was a standard form of greeting. Financial prosperity is completely foreign to both this ancient greeting and 3 John 2.[1]



[1] Geisler, N. L., & Rhodes, R. (1997). When cultists ask: a popular handbook on cultic misinterpretations (p. 303). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

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