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3 John 1:9 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— I wrote somewhat unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— I wrote to the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— I wrote something to the assembly; but Diotrephes, who loves to have the first place among them, receives us not.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— I wrote something unto the assembly; but, he who is fond of taking the first place among them—Diotrephes, doth not make us welcome.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— I did write to the assembly, but he who is loving the first place among them—Diotrephes—doth not receive us;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— I had written perhaps to the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, doth not receive us.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— I wrote vnto the Church, but Diotrephes, who loueth to haue the preeminence among them, receiueth vs not.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— I would have written to the church; but he who loveth to be foremost of you, Diotrapas, receiveth us not.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— I was desirous of writing to the church; but he who loveth to be foremost among them, Diotrephes, receiveth us not.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
I wrote 1125
{1125} Prime
A primary verb; to 'grave', especially to write; figuratively to describe.
<5656> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 2319
unto the x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
church: 1577
{1577} Prime
From a compound of G1537 and a derivative of G2564; a calling out, that is, (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both).
but 235
{0235} Prime
Neuter plural of G0243; properly other things, that is, (adverbially) contrariwise (in many relations).
Diotrephes, 1361
{1361} Prime
From the alternate of G2203 and G5142; Jove nourished; Diotrephes, an opponent of Christianity.
who y3588
[3588] Standard

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
loveth to have the preeminence 5383
{5383} Prime
From a compound of G5384 and G4413; to be fond of being first, that is, ambitious of distinction.
<5723> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 2549
among them, y846
[0846] Standard
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
(0848) Complement
Contraction for G1438; self (in some oblique case or reflexive relation).
receiveth 1926
{1926} Prime
From G1909 and G1209; to admit (as a guest or [figuratively] teacher).
<5736> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Middle or Passive Deponent (See G5790)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 618
us 2248
{2248} Prime
Accusative plural of G1473; us.
not. 3756
{3756} Prime
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

3 John 1:9

_ _ I wrote — The oldest manuscripts add “something”: a communication, probably, on the subject of receiving the brethren with brotherly love (3 John 1:8, 3 John 1:10). That Epistle was not designed by the Spirit for the universal Church, or else it would have been preserved.

_ _ unto the church — of which Gaius is a member.

_ _ loveth ... pre-eminence — through ambition. Evidently occupying a high place in the Church where Gaius was (3 John 1:10).

_ _ among themover the members of the Church.

_ _ receiveth us not — virtually, namely, by not receiving with love the brethren whom we recommended to be received (3 John 1:8, 3 John 1:10; compare Matthew 10:40).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

3 John 1:9-11

_ _ I. Here is a very different example and character, an officer, a minister in the church, less generous, catholic, and communicative than the private Christians. Ministers may sometimes be out-shone, out-done. In reference to this minister, we see,

_ _ 1. His name — a Gentile name: Diotrephes, attended with an unchristian spirit.

_ _ 2. His temper and spirit — full of pride and ambition: He loves to have the pre-eminence. This ferment sprang and wrought betimes. It is an ill unbeseeming character of Christ's ministers to love pre-eminence, to affect presidency in the church of God.

_ _ 3. His contempt of the apostle's authority, and letter, and friends. (1.) Of his authority: The deeds which he doeth contrary to our appointment, prating against us with malicious words. Strange that the contempt should run so high! But ambition will breed malice against those who oppose it. Malice and ill-will in the heart will be apt to vent themselves by the lips. The heart and mouth are both to be watched. (2.) Of his letter: “I wrote to the church (3 John 1:9), namely, in recommendation of such and such brethren. But Diotrephes receiveth us not, admits not our letter and testimony therein.” This seems to be the church of which Gaius was a member. A gospel church seems to be such a society as to which a letter may be written and communicated. Gospel churches may well expect and be allowed credentials with the strangers who desire to be admitted among them. The apostle seems to write by and with these brethren. To an ambitious aspiring spirit apostolical authority or epistle signifies but little. (3.) Of his friends, the brethren he recommended: Neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth those that would, and casteth them out of the church, 3 John 1:10. There might be some differences or different customs between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. Pastors should seriously consider what differences are tolerable. The pastor is not at absolute liberty, nor lord over God's heritage. It is bad to do no good ourselves; but it is worse to hinder those who would. Church-power and church-censures are often abused. Many are cast out of the church who should be received there with satisfaction and welcome. But woe to those who cast out the brethren whom the Lord Christ will take into his own communion and kingdom!

_ _ 4. The apostle's menace of this proud domineerer: Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth (3 John 1:10), will remember to censure them. This seems to intimate apostolical authority. But the apostle seems not to hold an episcopal court, to which Diotrephes must be summoned; but he will come to take cognizance of this affair in the church to which it belongs. Acts of ecclesiastical domination and tyranny ought to be animadverted upon. May it be better agreed to whom that power belongs!

_ _ II. Here is counsel upon that different character, dissuasion from copying such a pattern, and indeed any evil at all: Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good, 3 John 1:11. Imitate not such unchristian pernicious evil; but pursue the contrary good, in wisdom, purity, peace, and love. Caution and counsel are not needless to those who are good already. Those cautions and counsels are most likely to be accepted that are seasoned with love. Beloved, follow not that which is evil. To this caution and counsel a reason is respectively subjoined. 1. To the counsel: Follow that which is good; for he that doeth good (naturally and genuinely doeth good, as delighting therein) is of God, is born of God. The practice of goodness is the evidence of our filial happy relation to God. 2. To the caution: Follow not that which is evil, for he that doeth evil (with bent of mind pursues it) hath not seen God, is not duly sensible of his holy nature and will. Evil-workers vainly pretend or boast an acquaintance with God.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

3 John 1:9

I wrote to the church — Probably that to which they came. But Diotrephes — Perhaps the pastor of it. Who loveth to have the preeminence among them — To govern all things according to his own will. Receiveth us not — Neither them nor me. So did the mystery of iniquity already work!

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

3 John 1:9

(2) I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

(2) Ambition and covetousness, two pestilent sins (especially in those who have any church responsibilities) are condemned in Diotrephes.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
who loveth:
Ο φιλοπρωτευων "who loveth the presidency," or chief place, doubtless in the church, of which Diotrephes was most probably an officer; and being one, magnified himself in his office: he loved such pre-eminence, and behaved haughtily in it.
Matthew 20:20-28 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping [him], and desiring a certain thing of him. ... Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Matthew 23:4-8 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay [them] on men's shoulders; but they [themselves] will not move them with one of their fingers. ... But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren.
Mark 9:34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who [should be] the greatest.
Mark 10:35-45 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. ... For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Luke 22:24-27 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. ... For whether [is] greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? [is] not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
Romans 12:10 [Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Philippians 2:3-5 [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. ... Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Titus 1:7-16 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; ... They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.


3 John 1:8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
Matthew 10:40-42 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. ... And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold [water] only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
Mark 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
Luke 9:48 And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.
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Mt 10:40; 20:20; 23:4. Mk 9:34, 37; 10:35. Lk 9:48; 22:24. Ro 12:10. Php 2:3. Tit 1:7. 3Jn 1:8.

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