3 Yochanan, Jewish New Testament and comment David H. Stern
1. From: The Elder
To: Dear Gaius, whom I love in truth:
The Elder. See 2 Yn 1&N.
Gaius. A common name in the New Testament; sec 1С 1:14—17N. Because of Yochanan's language in v. 7.1 take it that this Gaius was a Messianic Jew.
Truth. Used five limes in vv. 1-4, 12; see 2 Yn 1&N.
2. Dear friend, I am praying that everything prosper with you and that you be in good health, as I know you are prospering spiritually.
3. For I was so happy when some brothers came and testified how faithful you are to the truth, as you continue living in the truth.
4. Nothing gives me greater joy than hearing that my children are living in the truth.
5. Dear friend, you are faithful in all the work you are doing for the brothers, even when they are strangers to you.
6. They have testified to your love in front of the congregation. You will be doing well if you send them on their way in a manner worthy of God,
7. since it was for the sake of HaShem that they went out without accepting anything from the Goyim.
For the sake of HaShem, literally, "for the sake of the name." "HaShem" like "Adonai" (see Mt l:20N), is a Jewish euphemism lor "YHVH" God's personal name. Hence Yochanan means "for the sake of God." Alternatively, "the name" may be a code for "Yeshua," reflecting the danger of referring to him explicitly in a written message (2 Yn l&N). Also see Ac 5:41 &N.
They. Messianic Jews, went out without accepting anything from the Goyim, that is, from pagans; Messianic Gentiles are surely not counted as Goyim in this context. And that is as it should be. since the middle wall of partition has been broken down (Ep 2:11-16&NN), and in the Messiah there is neither Jew nor Gentile (Ga 3:28&N). It is we, therefore, who should support such people, we Jews and Gentiles who believe in Yeshua. In colloquial language, we should put our money where our mouth is.
8. It is we, therefore, who should support such people; so that we may share in their work for the truth.
9. I wrote something to the congregation; but Diotrephes, who likes to be the macher among them, doesn’t recognize our authority.
10. So if I come, I will bring up everything he is doing, including his spiteful and groundless gossip about us. And as if that weren’t enough for him, he refuses to recognize the brothers’ authority either; moreover, he stops those who want to do so and tries to drive them out of the congregation!
Macher, Yiddish for "big shot, real operator"; see 1 Ke 5:3&N. Diotrephes is the perfect example of one. Not only doesn't he recognize Yochanan's authority, but he uses against him the weapon of lashon hara', gossip which is not only spiteful but groundless (see Ya 3:8&N). He won't submit to the other brothers' authority either; indeed he will not have anyone around him who accepts the biblical principle of submission to authority (Ep 5:21, MJ 13:17). Unless Diotrephes is stopped, only blind followers will be left in this congregation; and he will turn it into a cult, in the modern sense of the term.
11. Dear friend, don’t imitate the bad, but the good. Those who do what is good are from God; those who do what is bad are not from God.
12. Everyone speaks well of Demetrius, and so does the truth itself. We vouch for him, and you know that our testimony is true.
Demetrius may have given ordinances to the community which were not accepted by Diotrephes and his claque. Or he may have brought the letter to Gaius. According to an early Christian writing, Kefa ordained as first bishop in Philadelphia a man called Demetrius (Apostolic Constitutions 7:46).
You know that our testimony is true. Compare Yn 21:24.
13. I have much to write you, but I don’t want to write with pen and ink;
I don't want to write with pen and ink. See 2 Yn 1N.
14. however, I am hoping to see you very soon, and we will speak face to face.
Shalom to you. Your friends send you their greetings. Greet each of our friends by name.
- chapter 1