2 & 3 John – Part 2: Love & Truth in Ministry Support

Translation & Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS, 8 Oct. 2017


·         In 2 John v.3, we see that “[T]he ‘conventional’ blessings of ‘grace, mercy and peace’ that we looked at last week are accompanied by truth and love. The revelation of God in Jesus takes place in truth and love (cf. Jn. 1:14, 17) and its effect is to lead believers into truth[1] and love…” ~Howard Marshall, New International Commentary on the New Testament

·         It is that truth and love that I want to focus on in this sermon, particularly truth and love practically expressed in discerning support of Christian ministry.

·         We know God’s command to love from what we recently studied in 1 John 2:7-8, “Loved ones, no new commandment am I writing to you, but [this is] an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. (The old commandment is the word which you [have already] heard.) Then again, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, for the darkness is leading itself away and the true light is already shining.” The command to love came from the authority of God’s word from long ago in the Old Testament, and the New Testament Apostles remind us of the same principle.

·         Paul said the same thing in 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 “…you yourselves are taught of God to love one another… But we beseech you, brethren (and sisters), that you increase more and more” (cf. Romans 13:8–10 “love is the fulfillment of the law”)

·         And one of the love commands repeated in the Bible is to practice hospitality and to offer support to Christian ministers, for instance, Romans 12:13, “Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (NIV) Boom, that’s God’s command to you.

·         And yet, at the same time we need to regulate our love with truth. Not every Tom, Dick, and Harry who claims to be doing Christian ministry is a legitimate minister. We need to sort out who is telling the truth before we support them.

·         I’d like to combine the rest of the books of 2 John and 3 John that I hadn’t covered yet from the last two sermons because I see in 3 John an example of how to show Christian love through giving support to Christian ministers, but I see in 2 John a corresponding warning that this kind of supportive love must be regulated by truth and discernment. I’ll start with the negative first:

2 John 5 “And now I askbeseech of you, lady, not as though writing to you a new command, but rather that which we have had from the beginning, namely that we should love one another.” 6 And this is love: that we should walk accord­ing to His commands. This is the command[2], just as y’all heard from the be­ginning that y’all should walk in it, 7 because many erroneous mendeceivers have gone out into the world, those who are not confessing Jesus Christ having come in a physical bodyflesh: this is the erroneous one and the antichrist.

·         Once again we see the command to love, and that love is in the context of the “truth” that has been mentioned five times in the first four verses. Why? Notice the word that starts verse 7 “for/because” (the Greek word οτι is there, even if the NIV omitted it). “You have need to maintain your love, for there are destroyers of it in the world.’ Those who subvert the faith destroy the love.” ~M. Henry[3]

·         The Greek phrase translated “gone out into the world” (or “entered into the world” if you're reading a KJV - which followed the majority of Greek manuscripts) is paralleled by the Greek phrase later on in v.9 translated “launches forth/transgresseth/goes too far/ runs-/goes on ahead.” Both phrases paint a picture of a man launching out the door of his house into a teaching ministry abroad, bringing his ideas out into the public[4].

·         The problem is that there are all-too-many who were not going out to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ but rather to promote alternate views about who Jesus was that result in messed-up views of how to relate to God.

o       Some in John’s day were teaching that God was too pure to mingle with humanity and therefore the Christ (the ultimate mediator between God and man) couldn't have been both God and man:

§         One man named Cerinthus taught that “after his baptism Christ descended upon (Jesus) in the form of a dove, from the power that is over all things, and then he proclaimed the unknown Father and accomplished miracles. But, at the last supper, Christ separated again from Jesus, and it was merely Jesus who suffered and was raised again...”

§         Another teacher named Basilides is said to have taught that, “The…Father…sent his first-bornthe Christ to liberate those who believe in him from the power of those who made the world. … He appeared on earth as a man and performed miracles. … He did not suffer, but a certain Simon of Cyrene was compelled to carry his cross for him; and this [Simon] was transformed… so that he was thought to be Jesus himself, and was crucified instead…” (Ireneas, quoted by Marshall) [Later on, Mohammed promoted this same idea in the Koran.]

o       How do we know who is a true teacher – who is worthy of our support? John brushes past all the other things that Christians debate over and makes the doctrine of Christ the central issue to distinguish between true and false religion, and John says that anyone who doesn’t teach that Jesus is coming (Present tense[5]) in flesh (that is, with a physical body), is in error. Jesus became a human in order to be born of Mary, and He continues to have a physical (albeit glorified) body.

o       If Jesus was not God, then He couldn't do any more than any other man could do to help us;
and if he was not a human – didn't come in flesh, then He could not unite God and man,
and if He did not die, then we would have to die for our own sins; we would have no savior.

o       Cf. 1 John 4:1-3 “Loved ones… many false prophets have come out into the world. By this y’all know the Spirit of God: every spirit which agrees that Jesus Christ has come in a physical-body is out of God, and every spirit which does not agree with Jesus Christ [having come in a physical-body] is not out of God, and this is the [spirit] of the anti­christ, which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is in the world already.” (NAW)

2 John 8 Watchlook out for yourselves[6] in order that y’all might not lose what we worked forwrought/accomplished, but instead y’all may get backreceive/win a full reward[7]. 9 Every one who launches forth while not remainingabiding/continuing in the teachingdoctrine of Christ does not have God; the one who remains in the teaching [of Christ], this one has both the Father and the Son[8].

·         v.8 Some of the Greek manuscripts of 2 John read “we” (first person plural) and others read “you” (sec­ond person plural), but it doesn't end up making a theological difference whether the loss is viewed from the perspective of the Christian leader or from the perspective of the lay Christians[9].

·         What is the “doctrine/teaching of Christ” that a minister must remain in? John Gill wrote a good summary in his commentary: “the doctrine which is concerning his person as the Son of God, and as truly God, and the union of the two natures, divine and human, in his one person; and concerning his office, as the Mediator, surety, and messenger of the covenant, and as the prophet, priest, and King of his church; and concerning his incarnation, obedience, sufferings, death, resurrection from the dead, ascension to heaven, session at God's right hand, intercession for his people, and second coming to judgment; concerning peace and pardon by his blood, atonement by his sacrifice, justification by his right­eousness, & complete salvation by him: this is… [the doctrine of Christ -] the Messiah's Talmud, to use the Jewish phrase.”

·         A.T. Robertson wrote in his Word Pictures In The New Testament about the false teachers who “run ahead” of the doctrine of Christ: “These Gnostics claimed to be the progressives, the advanced thinkers, and were anxious to relegate Christ to the past in their onward march. This struggle goes on always among those who approach the study of Christ. Is He a ‘landmark’ merely, or is He our goal and pattern?” In the New International Commentary, Howard Marshall noted that we should watch out when somebody says that “…the teaching of the Bible needs to be supplemented by some ‘key’ to the Bible or by some new revelation...”

2 John 10 When someone comes to y’all and does not carrybring this teaching, don’t y’all receive him into a house[10] and don’t y’all speakbid to impart cheer to him, 11 for the one who speaks to him to impart cheer is entering into partner­ship withshares in his evil works.

·         The Greek is indicative, not subjunctive; implying that such persons do actually come, and are sure to come” (Fausset)

·         The early church father Irenaeus related a story told to him by John’s disciple Polycarp, where John was on his way to the bath house when someone told him that Cerinthus was there in the bath house. (Remember, Cerinthus was the guy who taught that the divine Christ was a different person from the human Jesus.) Well, John got so upset that he turned around and stamped back home muttering, “That bathhouse is going to fall in ruins becaue the enemy of the truth is in there.”

·         The false teacher shouldn't be received into the house of God to teach - or into your house to use your house as a lodging place or base of operations for local ministry.

·         Now in this age where messages can be broadcasted into your house over the airwaves and the internet, more people than ever are knocking virtually at your doors asking you to listen to their message, watch their TV show, follow their podcasts or their YouTube channels. We need to carefully screen out all who do not bring us the doctrine of Christ – don't even give them a chance to influence you and your children.

·         We should also exercise caution not to recommend to others sensational media items which, while entertaining, have no edifying value.

·         And for those of you on Facebook, that includes being careful with your 'likes.'

·         There should not even be any well-wishes placed upon deceivers. The Greek text reads lit­erally not to “speak joy to him.” He is not to be cheered on in his error by pleasant greetings or wishing him “God speed.”

o       Practically, it wouldn't be appropriate to say, “good luck; have a great day!” when you part from a cult member who is seek­ing to proselytize you.

o       You don't have to be ugly towards them (John didn’t say to persecute false teachers); you can still disagree politely – and even lovingly.

o       Perhaps, when you take your leave, you could say something like, “Take care,” or “I’ll be praying for God to reveal the truth to you.”

·         “Doubtless such may be relieved in their pressing necessities, but not encouraged for ill service. Deniers of the faith are destroyers of souls; and it is supposed that even ladies themselves [and their children] should have good understanding in the affairs of religion.” ~M. Henry (2 John v.8 commands a woman and her children to “watch out for yourselves” – would your children be able to identify a false teacher? If not, it might be time for a family devotional series on cults!)

·         “There are few arts more profound than that of leading people into error; few that are studied more, or with greater success. Every Christian, therefore, should be on his or her guard against such arts; and while he should (upon all subjects) be open to conviction, and be ready to yield his own opinions when convinced that they are wrong, yet he should yield to truth, not to people; to argument, not to the influence of the personal character of the professed religious teacher... we are in no way to become the patrons of error.” ~Albert Barnes

·         This is about partnership/sharing/ fellowship/ koinonea. But there is a converse to all of this cau­tion, and that is to be enthusiastic patrons of faithful Gospel ministers: That is what we see in…

3 John 1. The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. 2. Beloved, I’m hoping for you to have good progress regarding all things and to be healthy, just as your soul is making good progress! 3. For I was so excited when brothers came and gave a good reference about you being in the truth – just that you yourself are continuing to walk in truth. 4. I have no source of joy greater than these things, namely, [when] I hear of my children walking in [the] truth.

Notice how prominent truth is again in the third epistle, but I want to focus here on the positive examples of practical love shown in support of fellow Christians in 3 John. The three practical ways of loving support that I see in 3 John are Prayer, Financial Support, and Hospitality. Let’s look at each:

1) Prayer Support:

·         The verb root eu-hoda-w which occurs twice in verse 2 literally means “good road,” and it is used in 1 Cor. 16:2 to indicate making a financial profit from business – a good business trip!

·         The first-person verb euxomai indicates that John has been literally “thinking good thoughts about” this dear friend while they’ve been apart, “hoping/praying” for God’s blessing on him.

·         By the way, would it be a curse or a blessing to you for an apostle to wish that you might prosper physically as much as your soul is prospering? Tend to that soul of yours!

·         Anyway, here we have an apostolic example to follow: During the day, when you think of a friend, express to God your hopes for blessing on their lives in every way – their health, their work, their spiritual lives – everything!

·         Remember the story of Aaron and Hur at the battle of Rephadim against the Amelikites in Ex. 17? Joshua and the soldiers were the ones out there on the battlefield swinging swords, but the reason they were winning was because Moses was up on the mountain praying for each soldier in the battle to beat his opponent, and when Moses got tired, the soldiers started losing against their opponents, so Moses’ brother and brother-in-law came and literally held him up so he could keep praying and lifting his staff. When Moses & Aaron & Hur came home that night, do you think anybody said, “What a bunch of wusses; all they did was stay out of the battle and hold their hands up; we sure don’t need deadbeats like that around!” No way! Even though they weren’t in the fight, they were the reason the soldiers won the day; every soldier coming off the field owed their thanks to these prayer-warriors!

·         Thinking of the welfare of others and being concerned for their physical as well as their spiritual welfare and praying about it is the foundation of loving support for fellow Christians!

·         I encourage you to develop a list of pastors and missionaries to pray for regularly.

·         But we don’t stop with just praying…

2) Financial Support

3 John 5. Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever work you happen to do for the brothers - even this for outsiders - 6. who themselves gave a good reference concerning your love before the church, [and] whom you will do well to send forward in a manner worthy of God, 7. because they went abroad under [the auspices] of His Name, taking nothing from the pagans[11]. 8. Therefore, as for our part, we ought to support such men, in order that we may become co-workers in the truth.

·         After profiling the itinerant preacher (the “outsider/stranger” that Gaius had helped), John turns in v.8 to the role of those not called to go out but to stay. He employs an emphatic subject to change the focus to “us.” As for us, what shall we do who stay home and do normal, everyday stuff? What is our part to play? John says that “stayers” are not useless, we are not couch-potatoes; we are not mere consumers of spiritual benefits, no we OUGHT to “support/receive/ show hospitality to” those who go forth, and in so doing, we become “co-laborers,” as though we were side-by-side with those frontline workers!

·         The Greek word hupolambanein (which I prefer over the Textus Receptus reading apolamban­ein) pictures people getting underneath that minister and lifting him up, supporting him so he can do his ministry[12].

·         This, by the way, validates that there is more than one way to handle the financing of ministry. Full-timers like those supported by Gaius, who completely depend upon support are just as valid a financing model as Tentmakers or Business-as-mission folks like Paul was in Corinth. Both are Biblical models, so it is just a matter of wisdom as to which model to apply in a given situation.

·         The main verb in verse 8 is “owe/ought” – what do we “owe” to those who go out into the world to preach the Gospel? We ought to be praying, hosting them and financially supporting them!

o       “Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious, give of thy wealth to speed them on their way. Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious, and all thou spendest Jesus will repay. Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace, tidings of Jesus, redemption and release.” (Mary Thompson, “O Zion Haste”)

·         John is saying to Gaius – and to every one of us who have conscientiously partnered with others in the spread of the gospel, “Attaboy, laboring to help those folks is exactly what you ought to have done. That makes you every bit as much a part of God’s kingdom purposes as any missionary or evangelist. Keep up the good work!”

o       “[T]hose who are freely communicative of Christ's gospel should be assisted by those who are communicative of their purses.” ~Matthew Henry

o        “[A]s we in Christian lands owe the blessings which we enjoy to the fact that in former times there were those who were willing thus to go forth, so it will be true that the richest blessings which are to descend upon India, and Africa, and the islands of the sea, will be traced in future times to the fact that there are in our age those who are willing to follow the example of the apostles in going forth to do good to a dying world… If the churches value the gospel enough to send their brethren among the pagan to propagate it, they should value it enough to minister to their needs while there.” ~Albert Barnes

3) Hospitality Support

3 John 9. I wrote something to the church, but the guy who loves being their president – Diotrephes – isn’t having anything to do with us. 10. On account of this, if ever I come, I will remember his works which he is doing: blabbing about us using wicked words and not even content with these, he himself both doesn’t have anything to do with the brothers, and he prevents those who desire to - and kicks them out of the church! 11. Beloved, don’t mimic the evil, but rather the good…

·         You may remember from the Gospels that Jesus set a pattern for itinerant ministry for his disciples to follow in the early church.

·         But what if you couldn’t find anybody willing to put you up for the night or to offer you supper? In Gaius’ church, it appears that there was a man named Diotrephes who was at the top of the church leadership structure and who would do anything it took to keep himself in that top position because he liked it that way. This Diotrephes apparently shut down competition for his leadership spot in the church by bad-mouthing other Christian leaders and refusing to let Christian speakers who came through town to speak to his church. Furthermore, if anybody from his church complained about what he was doing and tried to go listen to another Christian leader, he would try to prevent them from seeing any of those other Christian speakers, and if he couldn’t stop them, he would kick them out of his church. You can see how this would make it very difficult for itinerant Christian teachers to survive or conduct ministry in that town!

o       Now, you might wonder how any church at all could put up with such a tyrant in its eldership, but people are easily-deceived, and history is littered with examples of cult leaders controlling their little flock of people and setting up ingenious systems psychologically and sociologically for keeping the truth out and protecting their own selfish interests.

o       In the 1890’s, the great American New Testament Greek scholar A.T. Robertson, wrote an article on Diotrephes for a Baptist magazine. Twenty-five deacons contacted the editor of that magazine complaining that Robertson had personally attacked them! The spirit of Diotrephes is alive and well, which is why loving support needs to be regulated by truth.

o       So sometimes you’ll have to do a little bit of research before you really know what’s going on in a particular ministry and know whether or not to support it[14].

·         As someone who has been on the receiving end of a lot of hospitality, I can tell you that practicing hospitality thoughtfully, generously, and enthusiastically “in a manner worthy of God” not only impacts how a guest feels physically, but it also impacts how a missionary feels emotionally about his calling and the message he has to share. Of course there will be hardship and suffering, but on those delightful occasions where I was treated like royalty, the host sent a message that said, “The mission work you’re doing is of tremendous importance; keep up the good work, it is worth every ounce of this lavish hospitality I’m offering, because you are representing the Lord Jesus!” That speaks such encouragement to the heart of a beleaguered Christian worker on the road!

o       There were times when my family stayed with a host who had obviously not put much thought into hosting us.

§         One family put my family in their unfinished basement and pretty much left us there with very little further interaction.

§         Another time, I remember speaking at a church in Florida where they didn’t offer to put us up overnight, and the honorarium check they gave me wasn’t even enough to pay for a hotel that night. I remember feeling pretty low that weekend.

o       Other times we could tell that our hosts were putting real effort into supporting us:

§         Some hosts gave out of their poverty – they obviously didn’t have much food, but they gave us what they had, they didn’t have many bedrooms so they gave us their own beds and they slept on the couches. We fell in love with them because they made us part of their family!

§         Other times we were pampered by wealthy hosts who really went all-out to entertain us as guests – private swimming pools and saunas, comfort food galore, and eager listening to all we had to share.

·         What if Jesus Himself were to visit your house? That’s how we are to think of our guests. Matthew Henry wrote of this in his commentary, “Christians should consider not only what they must do, but what they may do, what they may most honourably and laudably do: ‘the liberal mind deviseth liberal things’. Christians should do even the common actions of life and of good-will ‘after a godly sort’, as serving God therein, and designing his glory.”

·         Find ways to take your hospitality to the next level as a way of showing the worthiness of God!

o       A treat when they arrive,

o       taking time off work to listen and do stuff with them,

o       explaining things that might not be obvious about your schedule or about how to operate your appliances or the wi-fi,

o       paying attention to the temperature and humidity of their bedroom, the covers on the bed

o       even putting an Andes mint on the pillow and fresh flowers on the table,

o       all this and more are ways of practicing hospitality in a manner “worthy of God.”


·         All these forms of supportive ministry: prayer, financial support, and hospitality, to be Christian, must be motivated by love.

o       John repeatedly speaks of his love for Gaius (the Greek word for “beloved” has “love” as the root word, although the NIV renders it “dear.”).

o       To love in truth rather than to love in order to receive some benefit in return is the essence of the love which characterizes God and which God gives to us. (M. Henry)

o       Showing hospitality to people from afar who have no way to pay you back and whom you may never see again gives us the opportunity to practice this very kind of unselfish love.

·         All the same, the generosity of hospitality and missionary support must be tempered by truth. We need to know the truth about who we are hosting, whether they have the character of freeloaders and charlatans or whether they are genuine Christians truly on mission with God, but when they are on mission with God, what a joy to become fellow-laborers with them!

2 John 1:1-6 Greek edition and English Translation by Nate Wilson

Greek NT



1 ῾Ο πρεσβύτερος ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτῆς, οὓς ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος, ἀλλὰ καὶ πάντες οἱ ἐγνωκότες τὴν ἀλήθειαν,

1 The elder to the electchosen lady and to her children, whom I myself love in truth – and not I alone but also all those who know the truth,

1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in [the] truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

2 διὰ τὴν ἀλήθειαν τὴν μένουσαν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν ἔσται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα·

2 throughbecause/for the sake of the truth that remainsabides/dwells in us and will be with us forever.

2 For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

3 ἔσται μεθ᾿ ἡμῶνS=υμων χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη παρὰ Θεοῦ πατρός καὶ παρὰ [Κυρίουא,TR,Maj] ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ πατρός, ἐν ἀληθείᾳ καὶ ἀγάπῃ.

3 Grace, mercy, [and] peace will be with us from God the Father and from [the Lord] Jesus Christ (the Son of the Father), along with truth and love.

3 Grace be with youScrivner, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

4 ᾿Εχάρην λίαν ὅτι εὕρηκα ἐκ τῶν τέκνων σου περιπατοῦντας ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καθὼς ἐντολὴν ἐλάβομεν παρὰ τοῦ πατρός.

4 I got so excitedglad/rejoiced because I found amongof/some your children those who are walking in truth just as we received command from the Father.

4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

5 καὶ νῦν ἐρωτῶ σε, κυρία, οὐχ ὡς ἐντολὴν γράφων σοι καινὴν, ἀλλὰ ἣν εἴχομεν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς, ἵνα ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους.

5 And now I askbeseech of you, lady, not as though writing to you a new command, but rather that which we have had from the beginning, namely that we should love one another.

5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

6 καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ ἀγάπη, ἵνα περιπατῶμεν κατὰ τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ. αὕτη ἐστιν ἡ ἐντολή, καθὼς ἠκούσατε ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς, ἵνα ἐν αὐτῇ περιπατῆτε.

6 And this is love: that we should walk according to His commands. This is the command, just as y’all heard from the beginning that y’all should walk in it.

6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.





7 ὅτι πολλοὶ πλάνοι [εξא,A,B,0232+9,vg,sy,UBS/εισMaj,TR/ἐσPat]-ῆλθον εἰς τὸν κόσμον, οἱ μὴ ὁμολογοῦντες ᾿Ιησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐρχόμενον ἐν σαρκί· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ πλάνος καὶ ὁ ἀντίχριστος.

7 Because many erroneous mendeceivers have gone out into the world, those who are not confessing Jesus Christ coming with a physical bodyflesh: this is the erroneous one and the antichrist.

7 For many deceivers are enteredTR into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

8 βλέπετε ἑαυτούς, ἵνα μὴ ἀπολέσητε-ωμεν=Maj,TR εἰργασά­μεθα-σασθε=א,A,0232+10,latt,sy, ἀλλὰ μισθὸν πλήρη ἀπολάβητε-ωμεν=Maj,TR.

8 Watchlook out for your­selves in order that y’all might not loose what we worked for wrought/accomp­lished, but instead y’all may get backreceive/win a full reward.

8 Look to your­selves, that weTR lose not those things which we have wrought, but that weTR receive a full reward.

9 πᾶς ὁ παραβαίνων­Maj,TR/ προαγωνא,A,B,0232,vulg,copt,UBS καὶ μὴ μένων ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ Θεὸν οὐκ ἔχει· ὁ μένων ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ [τοῦ Χριστοῦ]Maj,Vulg,TR, οὗτος καὶ τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὸν υἱὸν ἔχει.

9 Every one who launches forth[A] while not remainingabiding/ continuing in the teaching doctrine of Christ does not have God; the one who remains in the teaching [of Christ], this one has both the Father and the Son.

9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of ChristTR, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10 εἴ τις ἔρχεται πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ ταύτην τὴν διδαχὴν οὐ φέρει, μὴ λαμβάνετε αὐτὸν εἰς οἰκίαν, καὶ χαίρειν αὐτῷ μὴ λέγετε·

10 When someone comes to y’all and does not carrybring this teaching, don’t y’all receive him into a house and don’t y’all speakbid to impart cheer to him,

10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

11 ὁ γὰρ λέγων αὐτῷ χαίρειν κοινωνεῖ τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ τοῖς πονηροῖς.

11 for the one who speaks to him to im­part cheer is enter­ing into partnership withshares in his evil works.

11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

12 Πολλὰ ἔχων ὑμῖν γράφειν, οὐκ ἠβουλή­θην διὰ χάρτου καὶ μέλανος, ἀλλὰ ἐλπί­ζω ἐλθεῖνUBS,B,א=γενεσθαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ στόμα πρὸς στόμα λαλῆσαι, ἵνα ἡ χαρὰ ἡμῶν(2 pl. in A,B+13,lat) ͅ πεπληρωμένη.

12 I do not want to write [the] many things I have for y’all using paper and ink,  rather I hope to come to y’all and to speaktalk face-to-face, so that our joy might be made fullcomplete.

12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

13 ἀσπάζεταί σε τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἀδελφῆς σου τῆς ἐκλεκτῆς· ἀμήν-א,A,B,+17,vulg,copt,USB.

13 The children of your electchosen sister greet you. [Amen.]

13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. AmenMaj.


3 John Greek Edition and English Translation by Nate Wilson

Greek NT



1 ῾Ο πρεσβύτερος Γαΐῳ τῷ ἀγαπητῷ, ὃν ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ.

1. The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

1 The elder [un]to the [well]-beloved Gaius, whom I love in [the] truth.

2 ᾿Αγαπητέ, περὶ πάντων εὔχομαί σε εὐοδοῦσθαι καὶ ὑγιαίνειν, καθὼς εὐοδοῦταί σου ἡ ψυχή.

2. Beloved, I’m hoping for you to have good pro­gress regarding all things and to be healthy, just as your soul is mak­ing good progress!

2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

3 ἐχάρην γὰρ λίαν ἐρχομένων ἀδελφῶν καὶ μαρτυρούντων σου τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, καθὼς σὺ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ περιπατεῖς.

3. For I was so excited when bro­thers came and gave a good refer­ence about you being in the truth, just that you your­self are continuing to walk in truth.

3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth [that is] in thee, even as thou walkest in [the] truth.

4 μειζοτέραν τούτων οὐκ ἔχω χαράν, ἵνα[B] ἀκούω τὰ ἐμὰ τέκνα ἐν [τῇ-א,TR,Maj] ἀληθείᾳ περιπατοῦντα.

4. I have no source of joy greater than these things, name­ly, [when] I hear of my child­ren walk­ing in [the] truth.

4 I have no greater joy than X [to] hear that my children walk in truth.

5 ᾿Αγαπητέ, πιστὸν[C] ποιεῖς ἐὰν ἐργάσῃ εἰς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς καὶ τουτο[D] ξένους,

5. Beloved, you are acting faith­fully in whatever work you happen to do for the bro­thers - even this for outsiders -

5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and toTR strangers;

6 οἳ ἐμαρτύρησάν σου τῇ ἀγάπῃ ἐνώπιον ἐκκλησίας, οὓς καλῶς ποιήσεις προπέμψας ἀξίως τοῦ Θεοῦ.

6. who them­selves gave a good reference concerning your love before the church, [and] whom you will do well to send for­ward in a man­ner worthy of God,

6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward [on their journey] after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:

7 ὑπὲρ γὰρ τοῦ ὀνόματος [E]ἐξῆλθον, μηδὲν λαμβάνοντες ἀπὸ τῶν ἐθνικῶν[F].

7. because they went abroad under [the auspi­ces] of His Name, taking nothing from the pagans.

7 Because [that] for [hisTR] name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.

8 ἡμεῖς οὖν ὀφείλομεν ὑπολαμβάνειν[G] τοὺς τοιούτους, ἵνα συνεργοὶ γινώμεθα τῇ ἀληθείᾳ.

8. Therefore, as for our part, we ought to support such men, in order that we may become co-work­ers in the truth.

8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow-helpers to the truth.

9 ῎Εγραψά [τι-C,Maj,TR] τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ· ἀλλ᾿ ὁ φιλοπρωτεύων αὐτῶν Διοτρεφής οὐκ ἐπιδέχεται ἡμᾶς.

9. I wrote some­thing to the church, but the guy who loves being their presi­dent - (yeah, Dio­trephes) isn’t having anything to do with[H] us.

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

10 διὰ τοῦτο, ἐὰν ἔλθω, ὑπομνήσω αὐτοῦ τὰ ἔργα ποιεῖ, λόγοις πονηροῖς φλυαρῶν[I] ἡμᾶς· καὶ μὴ ἀρκούμενος ἐπὶ τούτοις, οὔτε αὐτὸς ἐπιδέχεται τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς καὶ τοὺς βουλομένους κωλύει καὶ ἐκ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐκβάλλει[J].

10. On account of this, if ever I come, I will remember his works[K] which he is doing: spout­ing off about us, using wicked words, and not even content with these, he him­self both doesn’t have anything to do with the brothers, and he prevents those who desire to - and kicks them out of the church!

10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

11 ᾿Αγαπητέ, μὴ μιμοῦ τὸ κακὸν, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἀγαθόν. ὁ ἀγαθοποιῶν ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐστιν· ὁ[L] κακοποιῶν οὐχ ἑώρακε τὸν Θεόν.

11. Beloved, don’t be mimick­ing the evil, but rather the good. The one who is a doer of good is from God; the one who is a doer of bad hasn’t seen God.[M]

11 Beloved, follow not that [which is] evil, but that [which is] good. He that doeth good is of God: [butTR] he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

12 Δημητρίῳ[N] μεμαρτύρηται ὑπὸ πάντων καὶ ὑπ᾿ αὐτῆς τῆς ἀληθείας[O]· καὶ ἡμεῖς δὲ μαρτυροῦμεν, καὶ οἶδας[P] ὅτι ἡ μαρτυρία ἡμῶν ἀληθής ἐστι.




12. Demetrius has been well-refer­enced by all [con­cerned] - and by the truth itself, and also we our­selves are giving a good ref­erence (and you know that our ref­er­ence is a truthful one).

12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and yeTR know that our record is true.

13 Πολλὰ εἶχον γράψαι [σοι-TR,Pat], ἀλλ᾿ οὐ θέλω διὰ μέλανος καὶ καλάμου σοι γράφειν[Q]·

13. I had many things to write to you, but I’m not wanting to write with pen and ink to you,

13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:

14 ἐλπίζω δὲ εὐθέως σε ἰδεῖν σε, καὶ στόμα πρὸς στόμα λαλήσομεν.
(15) ειρηνη σοι ασπαζονται σε οι φιλοι ασπαζου τους φιλους κατ ονομα[R]

14. instead I am hoping to see you shortly, and then we will talk face-to-face!

15. Peace be with you. Our friends greet you. Greet our friends by name!

14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.


[1] “For the elder ‘truth’ signifies what is ultimately real, namely God himself. Hence it can refer to the expression of God in his incarnate Son and in the Christian message. In 2 John 2 it becomes evident that the truth is tantamount to the Spirit of truth who can enter into the believer… The point here might simply be that Christians love because the revelation of the truth contains the command, ‘Love one another,’ but the elder’s point is deeper. The truth is something which has come to stay in the members of the church, and it exercises an inner dynamic on them to love.” ~ Marshall (cf. John 14:15-17)

[2] “‘[T]he command’ [singular] is that we should love one another, while ‘the commands’ [plural] are the detailed requirements which unfold the structure of this central command.” ~Marshall

[3] I'm of Henry's persuasion, although Albert Barnes claimed otherwise: “Because it is a truth that many deceivers have appeared, or since it has occurred that many such are abroad, look to yourselves lest you be betrayed and ruined.”

[4] Although ATR suggested that it was “an allusion to the crisis when they left the churches” in 1 John 2:19.

[5] A.R. Fausset: “They denied the possibility of a Messiah’s appearing, or coming, in the flesh [Neander]. I think the Greek present participle implies both the first and the second advent of Christ. He is often elsewhere called the Coming One (Greek), Matt. 11:3; Heb. 10:37.”

[6] cf. 24:4 Jesus said to them, “See to it that nobody shall cause y’all to wander astray”

[7] “Reward” cf. Mat. 5:12; John 4:36; 1Cor. 3:8; Rev. 11:18; 22:12.

[8] cf. John 1:18, 5:23, 14:7-11, 15:23, 17:3, 1 John 2:23

[9] cf. Barnes: “nothing was more natural than that he, as a Christian friend, should group himself with them, and speak of himself as having the same need of caution, and express the feeling that he ought to strive also to obtain the full reward, thus showing that he was not disposed to address an exhortation to them which he was not willing to regard as applicable to himself.

[10] cf. Didache (11) “Now whoever cometh and teacheth you all these things before spoken, receive him; but if the teacher himself turn aside and teach another teaching, so as to overthrow this, do not hear him”

[11] Marshall: “In not claiming support from the people whom they evangelized they were motivated by Jesus’ principle: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Mt. 10:8). To take payment for the gospel would be to nullify the offer of free grace. At the same time it would have reduced the missionaries to the level of the various popular philosophers and religious preachers who sought payment for their services.”

[12] or perhaps Gaius taking in that man “under” his roof to house him. ~Hanna

[13] Cf. the first century Didache: “Let every apostle, when he cometh to you, be received as the Lord; but he shall not abide more than a single day, or if there be need, a second likewise; but if he abide three days, he is a false prophet. And when he departeth let the apostle receive nothing save bread, until he findeth shelter; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet.…And whosoever shall say in the Spirit, ‘Give me silver’ or anything else, ye shall not listen to him; but if he tell you to give on behalf of others that are in want, let no man judge him.”

[14] Barnes commented: “Some of the best men on earth have been thus disowned by the church; and it is no certain evidence against a man when he is denounced as a heretic, or disowned as a member, by those who bear the Christian name. If we are satisfied that a man is a Christian, we should receive him as such, however he may be regarded by others; nor should we hesitate to help him forward in his Christian course, or in any way to assist him to do good.”

[A]   I think that the word proagwn here is a synonym to exerchomai in v.7,both refer to launching out the door of their house into a teaching ministry abroad, bring their case out into the public eye. Although that is not always the meaning of proagwn, it is consistently so throughout the book of Acts (12:6; 16:30; 17:5; 25:26). If this is the case, it doesn't necessarily have the negative connotation which the modern versions give it of “going too far ahead.” The problem is not that they went too far ahead, but that they were teaching something other than the Gospel. An additional complication concerning this word is the odd fact that although all four of the pre-sixth-century Greek manuscripts of this verse (as well as the early Latin and Coptic translations also from that earliest period) all read proagwn (literally “leading forward”) whereas all the manuscripts after the sixth century read parabainwn (literally “going aside”). The KJV translation reflects the latter with its rendering “transgress­seth,” whereas the NASB, ESV, and NIV reflect the former. The meaning is not all that different however.

[B] Nowhere else in the NT is hina related to a comparative as in “greater {meizon}...than {hina},” but this is not a statement of purpose (“I have no joy in order to hear of my children”), nor is it a statement of result (“I don’t have joy... in order to obtain the result that I hear of my children...”). The “identificational” meaning (Louw & Nida #91.15) seems to fit because there is an identity between toutwn and “my children walking in the truth,” the latter clause explaining what John meant by the pronoun.

[C] The Accusative Neuter Singular forms match piston and touto together: “whatever you happen to perform for the brothers” = “you are doing faithfulness” = “and this for strangers.”

[D] The Majority of Greek manuscripts read είς τοὺς “to the,” and so the Patristic and Textus Receptus editions read, followed by the KJV, but every one of the pre-6th century manuscripts (א, A, B, C, 048) reads τουτο - literally “this” (rendered “especially/though/as” in other English translations) followed by all the oldest translations – Latin, Coptic, Syriac. The former would seem to indicate that the “strangers” are different from the “brothers” whereas the latter seems to identify them together. The following verses of 3rd John make clear that they are the same, so I prefer the reading of the modern critical editions of the GNT here.

[E] Five late Greek manuscripts add the word “his” to describe “the name,” and somehow this made it into Scrivner’s later edition (although it wasn’t in earlier editions) of the Textus Receptus – and thus into the KJV (and also into the Greek Orthodox Patristic edition of the GNT). The context of the word “God” ending the previous verse makes God the referent of the definite article here in Greek, justifying the translation of the definite article as the possessive pronoun “His.” So it can be accurately translated “His name” whether or not the Greek text has the pronoun explicitly there, so this variant makes no difference in translation. Even without the “His,” “the Name” denotes “the person and reputation of the one true God.” Adam Clarke makes a case for this meaning that they were persecuted and driven out of their homes instead of voluntarily embarking on itinerant ministry.

[F] The Majority of Greek manuscripts (and therefore the T.R.) have the contracted spelling ἐθνῶν which means more generally “nations/ethnicities,” and that seems to be the reading of the Vulgate translation, but the Patri­archal edition of the GNT as well as almost all of the pre-6th century manuscripts (א, A, B, C) have the longer form ἐθνικῶν which has a stronger connotation of “heathen/pagan/Gentile,” and there is a string of Greek manuscripts through the centuries after which retained the longer spelling, plus the majority of the pre-Vulgate Latin translations are considered to be in the tradition of the longer form of the word too, so I kept the longer form. The idea is that of a contrast between being commissioned by the LORD (and provided for by Him – and His people) versus being just another religious huckster from among the pagans, making a living as a charlatan.

[G] The UBS and Patristic editions read hupolambanein, following 9 manuscripts, including all the oldest-known (א, A, B, C). The Textus Receptus followed the overall majority of manuscripts which read apolambanein, which means close to the same thing. Hupo- emphasizes “lifting up/supporting” as part of “receiving,” and the closest parallel to it in the NT is Acts 1:9, where the clouds “received” Jesus. Apo- emphasizes the movement “from” one place to another in the “receiving,” and the closest parallel to its use in the NT is in Luke 15:27, where the father speaks of receiving his prodigal son back. I prefer the former since this is talking about financial support.

[H] The Greek word epidexomai behind this English word “receive/accept/have to do with/acknowledge” only occurs one other place in the Greek Bible, and that is in the very next verse, where English Bibles tend to give it a whole new meaning of “welcome;” only the KJV is consistent with rendering both “receive.” Epidexomai is a compound of the Greek verb that means “receive” and the Greek preposition that means “upon.” “Take on,” in the sense of “accepting the responsibility to take care of someone,” might be a more literal way to render it in English, except that “take on” has another meaning of “fighting against,” and that would be the opposite meaning. “Take in,” as in “to drink in their words and let them into your home;” would also work except that “take in” has an opposite meaning of being deceived.

[I] This verb occurs nowhere else in the Greek Bible, but seems to have to do with a “bubbling up” sound.

[J] It seems that this could mean, “what they [the brothers not accepted by Diotrephes] were planning to do, even [by?] kicking them out of the Church of Jesus Christ,” or it could mean, “the ones who meant [to accept the brothers rejected by Diotrepehes] even kicking them [the ones in Diotrephes’ congregation who wanted to welcome the brothers when Diotrephes didn’t] out of the congregation.”

Fausset passed on an interesting suggestion from Neander that the reason for Diotrephes’ antipathy was ethnic, in other words, that these itinerant evangelists were Jews whereas Diotrephes is a Greek name. He supports this theory by John’s reference to the itinerants taking nothing from Gentiles and from the beliefs of the Marcionites who rejected John and only followed Paul’s teachings. This is one of the more-plausible alternative explanations I ran across.

[K] The erga “works” of Diotrephes listed here form a contrast with the erga of Gaius listed in v.5.

[L] The converse relationship between the two clauses here is clear from the context, but only a couple of Greek texts (L & 1852, from the 9th and 13th centuries respectively) actually contain the word “but” here. Nevertheless, it was these manuscripts that made it into the Textus Receptus edition, and that’s why there is a “but” in the KJV.

[M] 1 John 2:19 & 3:20

[N] The possibility of this indicating a backstory of the salvation of Demetrius the silversmith in Ephesus (Acts 19:24 – or perhaps Demas the turncoat from Paul’s ministry Col. 4:14; 2Ti. 4:10; Phm. 1:24.), as well as the possibility that Paul is pointing the way to the replacement of a presiding elder in a local church is tantalizing.

[O] Half of the oldest-known Greek manuscripts (P74, A, C) read “church” instead of “truth.” The church was mentioned up in v.6, and in Greek, these two words share over half of the same letters in the same order.

[P] Although all five pre-6th century Greek manuscripts (as well as the ancient Latin and Coptic translations) render this word singular, and although all of the other “you’s” in this letter are singular in this letter addressed to Gaius, the overall majority of Greek manuscripts (and therefore the Textus Receptus and Patriarchal editions) render it plural, as though John were aware that his letter would make it into the NT canon and, like an actor on stage speaking an aside to the audience, turns to all of us, his readers, to affirm his reliability.

[Q] Although all five pre-6th century Greek manuscripts render “to write” first in the Aorist tense, then in the Present tense in this verse, the overall majority of Greek manuscripts (and therefore the Textus Receptus and Patriarchal editions of the GNT) switch the tenses and do not include the first “to you” – (I find it curious that the NIV and ESV side against the critical text by including only one “you” in this verse.) It makes no difference in meaning, though. The context makes it obvious that John was writing to Gaius and addressing him as “you,” and the difference in meaning of the tenses of Greek infinitives is infinitesimal (which is why English doesn’t give tenses to infinitives, and why John could use both tenses to refer to basically the same action).

[R] John’s friends in Ephesus wanted to also greet Gaius and other friends at the church (in Corinth). The only other occurrence of this phrase in John 10:3 “…he calls his own sheep by name…” – Gaius wouldn’t be able to just get up in the pulpit and read John’s letter to everybody because Diotrephes wouldn’t allow it, so Gaius would have to make the contacts one by one with the church members.