The beloved (τωι αγαπητωι tōi agapētōi). Four times in this short letter this verbal adjective is used of Gaius (here, 3 John 1:2, 3 John 1:5, 3 John 1:11). See 2 John 1:1 for the same phrase here, “whom I love in truth.”
I pray (ευχομαι euchomai). Here only in John‘s writings. See Romans 9:3.In all things (περι παντων peri pantōn). To be taken with ευοδουσται euodousthai and like περι peri in 1 Corinthians 16:1, “concerning all things.” Thou mayest prosper (σε ευοδουσται se euodousthai). Infinitive in indirect discourse (object infinitive) after ευχομαι euchomai with accusative of general reference σε se (as to thee). Ευοδοω Euodoō is old verb (from ευοδος euodos ευ eu and οδος hodos prosperous in a journey), to have a good journey, to prosper, in lxx, in N.T. only this verse (twice), 1 Corinthians 16:2; Romans 1:10. Be in health (υγιαινειν hugiainein). In Paul this word always means sound teaching (1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3), but here and in Luke 5:31; Luke 7:10; Luke 15:27, of bodily health. Brooke wonders if Gaius‘ health had caused his friends anxiety. Even as thy soul prospereth (κατως ευοδουται σου η πσυχη kathōs euodoutai sou hē psuchē). A remarkable comparison which assumes the welfare (present middle indicative of ευοδοω euodoō) of his soul (πσυχη psuchē here as the principle of the higher life as in John 12:27, not of the natural life as in Matthew 6:25).
I rejoiced greatly (εχαρην λιαν echarēn lian). As in 2 John 1:4; Philippians 4:10, not epistolary aorist, but reference to his emotions at the good tidings about Gaius.When brethren came (ερχομενων αδελπων erchomenōn adelphōn). Genitive absolute with present middle participle of ερχομαι erchomai and so with μαρτυρουντων marturountōn (bare witness, present active participle of μαρτυρεω martureō). Present participle here denotes repetition, from time to time. To the truth (τηι αλητειαι tēi alētheiāi). Dative case. “As always in the Johannine writings, ‹truth‘ covers every sphere of life, moral, intellectual, spiritual” (Brooke). Even as thou walkest in truth (κατως συ εν αλητειαι περιπατεις kathōs su en alētheiāi peripateis). “Thou” in contrast to Diotrephes (3 John 1:9) and others like him. On περιπατεω peripateō see 1 John 1:6 and on εν αλητειαι en alētheiāi see 2 John 1:4.
Greater (μειζοτεραν meizoteran). A double comparative with τερος ̇teros added to μειζων meizōn like our “lesser” and like μαλλον κρεισσον mallon kreisson (more better) in Philemon 1:23. In Ephesians 3:8 we have ελαχιστοτερωι elachistoterōi a comparative on a superlative. Like forms occur in the vernacular papyri and even in Homer (χειροτερος cheiroteros more worse) as also in Shakespeare.Joy (χαραν charan). B reads χαριν charin (grace). Than this (τουτων toutōn). Ablative neuter plural after the comparative. To hear of (ινα ακουω hina akouō). Object clause (epexegetic) with ινα hina and ακουω akouō the present active subjunctive (keep on hearing of) in apposition with τουτων toutōn in truth (εν αλητειαι περιπατουντα en alētheiāi peripatounta). As in 2 John 1:4, which see. By the use of τεκνα tekna John may mean that Gaius is one of his converts (1 Timothy 1:1).
A faithful work (πιστον piston). Either thus or “thou makest sure,” after an example in Xenophon quoted by Wettstein (ποιειν πιστα poiein pista) and parallel to καινα ποιεω kaina poieō in Revelation 21:5. But it is not certain.In whatsoever thou doest (ο εαν εργασηι ho ean ergasēi). Indefinite relative with modal εαν ean (= αν an) and the first aorist middle subjunctive of εργαζομαι ergazomai See Colossians 3:23 for both ποιεω poieō and εργαζομαι ergazomai in the same sentence. And strangers withal (και τουτο χενους kai touto xenous). “And that too” (accusative of general reference as in 1 Corinthians 6:6; Philemon 1:28; Ephesians 2:8). This praise of hospitality (Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9; 1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Timothy 5:10; Titus 1:8; Hebrews 13:2) shows that in 2 John 1:10 John has a peculiar case in mind.
Before the church (ενωπιον εκκλησιας enōpion ekklēsias). Public meeting as the anarthrous use of εκκλησια ekklēsia indicates, like εν εκκλησιαι en ekklēsiāi in 1 Corinthians 14:19, 1 Corinthians 14:35.Thou wilt do well (καλως ποιησεις kalōs poiēseis). Future active of ποιεω poieō with adverb καλως kalōs a common polite phrase in letters (papyri) like our “please.” See also Acts 10:33; James 2:19; 1 Corinthians 7:37.; Philippians 4:14; 2 Peter 1:19. To set forward on their journey (προπεμπσας propempsas). First aorist active participle (simultaneous action) of προπεμπω propempō to send forward, “sending forward,” old word, in N.T. in Acts 15:3; Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5; 1 Corinthians 16:6, 1 Corinthians 16:11; 2 Corinthians 1:16; Romans 15:24; Titus 3:13. Worthily of God (αχιως του τεου axiōs tou theou). Precisely this phrase in 1 Thessalonians 2:12 and the genitive with αχιως axiōs also in Romans 16:2; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1. See John 13:20 for Christ‘s words on the subject. “Since they are God‘s representatives, treat them as you would God” (Holtzmann). From Homer‘s time (Od. XV. 74) it was customary to speed the parting guest, sometimes accompanying him, sometimes providing money and food. Rabbis were so escorted and Paul alludes to the same gracious custom in Romans 15:24; Titus 3:13.
For the sake of the Name (υπερ του ονοματος huper tou onomatos). The name of Jesus. See Acts 5:4; Romans 1:5 for υπερ του ονοματος huper tou onomatos and James 2:7 for the absolute use of “the name” as in 1 Peter 4:16. “This name is in essence the sum of the Christian creed” (Westcott) as in 1 Corinthians 12:3; Romans 10:9. It is like the absolute use of “the Way” (Acts 9:2; Acts 19:9, Acts 19:23; Acts 24:22).Taking nothing (μηδεν λαμβανοντες mēden lambanontes). Present active participle with the usual negative with participles (1 John 2:4). Of the Gentiles (απο των ετνικων apo tōn ethnikōn). Instead of the usual ετνων ethnōn (Luke 2:32), late adjective for what is peculiar to a people (ετνος ethnos) and then for the people themselves (Polybius, Diodorus, not in lxx), in N.T. only here, Matthew 5:47; Matthew 6:7; Matthew 18:17. Like our heathen, pagan. John is anxious that Christian missionaries receive nothing from the heathen, as our missionaries have to watch against the charge of being after money. There were many travelling lecturers out for money. Paul in 1 Cor 9 defends the right of preachers to pay, but refuses himself to accept it from Corinth because it would be misunderstood (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:6.; 2 Corinthians 12:16.). Note απο apo here as in collecting taxes (Matthew 17:25) rather than παρα para which may be suggestive.
Ought (οπειλομεν opheilomen). See for this word 1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:11.To welcome (υπολαμβανειν hupolambanein). Present active infinitive (habit of welcoming) of υπολαμβανω hupolambanō old word, to take up under, to carry off (Acts 1:9), to reply (Luke 10:30), to suppose (Acts 2:15), only here in N.T. in this sense of receiving hospitably or to take under one‘s protection like υποδεχομαι hupodechomai (Luke 10:38). Such (τους τοιουτους tous toioutous). “The such” according to the Greek idiom (1 Corinthians 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:18). That we may be (ινα γινωμετα hina ginōmetha). Purpose clause with ινα hina and the present middle subjunctive of γινομαι ginomai “that we may keep on becoming.” Fellow-workers (συνεργοι sunergoi). Old compound (συν εργον sunτηι αλητειαι ergon). With the truth (συν tēi alētheiāi). So associative instrumental case with συνεργοι sun in συνεργεω sunergoi but it is not certain that this is the idea, though εργοις sunergeō is so used with Συνεργος ergois in James 2:22. τεου συνεργοι Sunergos itself occurs with the genitive of the person as in της χαρας theou sunergoi (1 Corinthians 3:9) or with genitive of the thing tēs charās (1 Corinthians 3:9). So then here the meaning may be either “co-workers with such brethren for the truth” (dative of advantage) or “co-workers with the truth” (associative instrumental case).
I wrote somewhat unto the church (εγραπσα τι τηι εκκλησιαι egrapsa ti tēi ekklēsiāi). A few MSS. add αν an to indicate that he had not written (conclusion of second-class condition), clearly spurious. Not epistolary aorist nor a reference to 2 John as Findlay holds, but an allusion to a brief letter of commendation (Acts 18:27; 2 Corinthians 3:1; Colossians 4:10) sent along with the brethren in 3 John 1:5-7 or to some other itinerant brethren. Westcott wrongly thinks that τι ti is never used of anything important in the N.T. (Acts 8:9; Galatians 6:3), and hence that this lost letter was unimportant. It may have been brief and a mere introduction. Διοτρεπες Diotrephes (Διος Dios and τρεπω trephō nourished by Zeus). This ambitious leader and sympathiser with the Gnostics would probably prevent the letter referred to being read to the church, whether it was 2 John condemning the Gnostics or another letter commending Demetrius and John‘s missionaries. Hence he sends Gaius this personal letter warning against Diotrephes.Who loveth to have the preeminence among them (ο πιλοπρωτευων αυτων ho philoprōteuōn autōn). Present active articular participle of a late verb, so far found only here and in ecclesiastical writers (the example cited by Blass being an error, Deissmann, Light etc., p. 76), from πιλοπρωτος philoprōtos fond of being first (Plutarch), and made like πιλοπονεω philoponeō (papyri), to be fond of toil. This ambition of Diotrephes does not prove that he was a bishop over elders, as was true in the second century (as Ignatius shows). He may have been an elder (bishop) or deacon, but clearly desired to rule the whole church. Some forty years ago I wrote an article on Diotrephes for a denominational paper. The editor told me that twenty-five deacons stopped the paper to show their resentment against being personally attacked in the paper. Receiveth us not (ουκ επιδεχεται ημας ouk epidechetai hēmās). Present active indicative of this old compound, in N.T. only here and 3 John 1:10. Diotrephes refused to accept John‘s authority or those who sided with him, John‘s missionaries or delegates (cf. Matthew 10:40).
If I come (εαν ελτω ean elthō). Condition of third class with εαν ean and second aorist active subjunctive of ερχομαι erchomai He hopes to come (3 John 1:14), as he had said in 2 John 1:12 (one argument for identifying 2 John with the letter in 3 John 1:9).I will bring to remembrance (υπομνησω hupomnēsō). Future active indicative of υπομιμνησκω hupomimnēskō old compound (John 14:26; 2 Peter 1:12). The aged apostle is not afraid of Diotrephes and here defies him. Which he doeth (α ποιει ha poiei). Present active indicative, “which he keeps on doing.” Prating against us (πλυαρων ημας phluarōn hēmās). Present active participle of old verb (from πλυαρος phluaros babbling 1 Timothy 5:13), to accuse idly and so falsely, here only in N.T. with accusative ημας hēmās (us). With wicked words (λογοις πονηροις logois ponērois). Instrumental case. Not simply foolish chatter, but malevolent words. Not content (μη αρκουμενος mē arkoumenos). Present passive participle of αρκεω arkeō with usual negative μη mē For this verb in this sense see 1 Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5, only there επι epi is absent. John knows that the conduct of Diotrephes will not stand the light. See Paul‘s threats of exposure (1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Corinthians 13:1-3). And John is the apostle of love all the same. He himself (αυτος autos). That was bad enough. Them that would (τους βουλομενους tous boulomenous). “Those willing or wishing or receive the brethren” from John. He forbiddeth (κωλυει kōluei). “He hinders.” Present active indicative of κωλυω kōluō and means either actual success in one case (punctiliar use of the present indicative) or repetition in several instances (linear action) or conative action attempted, but not successful as in Matthew 3:14 (this same verb) and John 10:32. Casteth them out of the church (εκ της εκκλησιας εκβαλλει ek tēs ekklēsias ekballei). Here again εκβαλλει ekballei can be understood in various ways, like κωλυει kōluei This verb occurs in John 2:15 for casting out of the temple the profaners of it and for casting the blind man out of the synagogue (John 9:34.). If this ancient “church-boss” did not succeed in expelling John‘s adherents from the church, he certainly tried to do it.
Imitate not (μη μιμου mē mimou). Present middle imperative in prohibition (do not have the habit of imitating) of μιμεομαι mimeomai (from μιμος mimos actor, mimic), old word, in N.T. only here, 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Hebrews 13:7.That which is evil (το κακον to kakon). “The bad,” as in Romans 12:21 (neuter singular abstract). But that which is good (αλλα το αγατον alla to agathon). “But the good.” As in Romans 12:21 again. Probably by the contrast between Diotrephes and Demetrius. He that doeth good (ο αγατοποιων ho agathopoiōn). Articular present active participle of αγατοποιεω agathopoieō late and rare verb, in contrast with ο κακοποιων ho kakopoiōn (old and common verb) as in Mark 3:4; Luke 6:9; 1 Peter 3:17. Is of God (εκ του τεου εστιν ek tou theou estin). As in 1 John 3:9. Hath not seen God (ουχ εωρακεν τον τεον ouch heōraken ton theon). As in 1 John 3:6. He does not say εκ του διαβολου ek tou diabolou as Jesus does in John 8:44, but he means it.
Demetrius hath the witness of all men (Δημητριωι μεμαρτυρηται υπο παντων Dēmētriōi memarturētai hupo pantōn). Perfect passive indicative of μαρτυρεω martureō “it has been witnessed to Demetrius (dative case) by all.” We know nothing else about him, unless, as is unlikely, he be identified with Demas as a shortened form (Philemon 1:24; Colossians 4:4; 2 Timothy 4:10), who has come back after his desertion or with the Ephesian silversmith (Acts 19:21.), who may have been converted under John‘s ministry, which one would like to believe, though there is no evidence for it. He may indeed be the bearer of this letter from Ephesus to Gaius and may also have come under suspicion for some reason and hence John‘s warm commendation.And of the truth itself (και υπο αυτης της αλητειας kai hupo autēs tēs alētheias). A second commendation of Demetrius. It is possible, in view of 1 John 5:6 (the Spirit is the truth), that John means the Holy Spirit and not a mere personification of the truth. Yea we also (και ημεις δε kai hēmeis de). A third witness to Demetrius, that is John himself (literary plural). Thou knowest (οιδας oidas). “The words in John 21:24 sound like an echo of this sentence” (Westcott). John knew Demetrius well in Ephesus.
I had (ειχον eichon). Imperfect active of εχω echō when I began to write (γραπσαι grapsai ingressive aorist active infinitive of γραπω graphō).I am unwilling to write (ου τελω γραπειν ou thelō graphein). “I do not wish to go on writing them.” With ink and pen (δια μελανος και καλαμου dia melanos kai kalamou), “by means of (δια dia) black (ink) and reed (used as pen).” See 2 John 1:12 for μελανος melanos and Matthew 11:7 for καλαμος kalamos used for papyrus and parchment, as γραπειον grapheion (a sharp stilus) for wax tablets.
I hope (ελπιζω elpizō) - We shall speak (λαλησομεν lalēsomen). Literary plural really singular like ελπιζω elpizō to face (στομα προς στομα stoma pros stoma). As in 2 John 1:12.Peace to thee (ειρηνη σοι eirēnē soi). Pax tibi like the Jewish greeting οι πιλοι shalōm (Luke 10:5; Luke 24:36; John 20:19, John 20:21). The friends (κατ ονομα hoi philoi). Those in Ephesus. By name (κατ ονομα kat' onoma). John knew the friends in the church (at Pergamum or wherever it was) as the good shepherd calls his sheep by name (John 10:3, the only other N.T. example of kat' onoma). The idiom is common in the papyri letters (Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 193, note 21).
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 3 John 1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany