Gwydyr Rd, Crieff, UK, PH7 4BS

Questions for discussion (from Good Word Online):

Observations for discussion and questions:

Once again the text has been translated directly from the Greek to get a more literal wording. This letter is more in line with Greco-Roman letter conventions than any other letter in the NT, i.e. the brief prescript, and especially with the reference to the recipient’s health in the prayer and joy report. There is no evidence of word and phrase recurrences as found in the style of 1 and 2 John. Parallels to 2 John consist of the expression “whom I love in truth” in both prescripts, of references to church members as ‘children walking in the light’ (2 John 1:4, 3 John 1:4), ‘walking in the truth’ (2 John 1:4; 3 John 1:3), and the closing references in each of having much to communicate but not in writing, and the promise of a visit face-to-face (2 John 1:12; 3 John 1:13-14). With 1 John there is a parallel to the sinner/evil doer not ‘seeing God’ (1 John 3:2, 6; 3 John 1:11) and the frequent address to the recipients as ‘children’ throughout 1 John.

1:1 The elder to Ga’ius the beloved, whom I love in truth.

Prayer and Joy Report
2 Beloved, I pray concerning all things that they may go well with you and that you may be in health, just as your soul is prospering. 3 For I greatly rejoiced when brethren arrived and testified to the truth of you, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 4 No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

5 Beloved, you have acted faithfully in what you have done for the brethren, especially to strangers, 6 who have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner that is worthy before God, 7 in behalf of whose name they have gone out and have accepted nothing from the heathen. 8 Therefore we ought to support such men, that we may be fellow workers in the truth.

9 I have written something to the church; but Diot’rephes, who likes to put himself first, does not recognize us. 10 So if I come, I will remind him of what he is doing, slandering us with evil words. And not content with that, he himself refuses to welcome the brethren, and also hinders those who want to welcome them and puts them out of the church.

11 Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen God.

12 Deme’trius is testified to by all, and by the truth itself; I testify to him too, and you know my testimony is true.

13 I have had many things to write to you, but I do not wish to write with pen and ink; 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.


It appears that the same procedure of disassociation prescribed by the Elder in 2 John regarding false teachers is practiced here in reverse! Diotrephes not only refuses fellowship with visiting brethren, but even excludes those who welcome them!

  • Was Gaius possibly one of those who was excluded from fellowship? Is Demetrius the preferred leader for the church and is Gaius being encouraged to work to get him in and Diotrephes out? To read these letters is like listening to one side of a phone conversation. You get enough to surmise what is going on, but rarely enough to be sure.

Given human nature there is not a church that is exempt from power struggles. Even when there are legitimate issues that need to be resolved, all too often they are not resolved in ways based on integrity and openness.

  • How can Christian love confront with integrity? How can the conflict of egos best be defused among official leaders and among lay members of the church? What practical steps can they and others use to engender resolution and peace?
  • How can one differ and still hold fellowship together? It has been said that theology divides, but worship unites? Is this true?
  • Is it always necessary or practical for a church not to split?
  • How can one deal with church politics without becoming cynical and bitter?