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View Full Version : John really didn't like Diotrephes. What do we know about him?



Nick
Dec 9th 2013, 06:24 AM
3 John 1:9-10 "I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church."

MacArthur notes:

3 John 9 I have written . . . to the church. John apparently had written a previous letter to the church, perhaps on the subject of hospitality, but it was lost. Perhaps Diotrephes never read it to the church because he rejected John’s authority (cf. vv.9–10). Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first. In the second part of his epistle, John condemned the violation of hospitality toward faithful ministers of the word. The word “first” conveys the idea of someone who is selfish, self-centered, and self-seeking. The language suggests a self-promoting demagogue who served no one, but wanted all to serve only him. Diotrephes’ actions directly contradict Jesus’ and the NT’s teaching on servant-leadership in the church (cf. Matt. 20:20–28; Phil. 2:5–11; 1 Tim. 3:3; 1 Pet. 5:3). does not acknowledge our authority. Diotrephes modeled the opposite of kindness and hospitality to God’s servants, even denying John’s apostolic authority over the local congregation, and as a result, denying the revelation of God that came through that authority. His pride endeavored to supplant the rule of Christ through John in the church. Diotrephes’ character was the very opposite of the gentle and loving Gaius, who readily showed hospitality.

Theme:
The theme of 3 John is steadfastness in the face of opposition. The recipient of the letter, Gaius, faces a troublemaker named Diotrephes. By “walking in the truth” (vv. 3, 4), Christians can embrace and live out the apostolic message that John conveys in all his letters.

Purpose, Occasion, and Background

It has been suggested that 2 and 3 John were originally preserved because they were part of a single packet containing all three Johannine letters. On this view, 3 John was a personal letter to Gaius commending the courier of the shipment, Demetrius (v. 12); 2 John was to be read aloud to Gaius’s church; and 1 John was a sermon for general distribution and not a letter in the strict sense. This scenario cannot be verified but is a useful hypothesis in envisioning how John’s letters could have arisen and been preserved in early Christianity. Unfortunately, no other information about Gaius has survived.

Walls
Dec 9th 2013, 07:29 AM
Nearly every Assembly I have been part of, or visited for a while, had at least one Diotrephes. They are the ambitious men (and women) who want leadership, not for the edification of the saints, but for position. In 1st Corinthians 12 and 14 we see how a Christian meeting should be, according to scripture. The gifted ones should be allowed to function unhindered. "You may ALL prophesy" (1st Cor.14:31). All the gifts are "speaking" gifts except miracles. But have you noticed that in a contemporary Christian assembly, only certain people may speak. Try going into your local Baptist, or Assemblies of God Assembly and start giving a short message on what the Holy Spirit has put on your heart, and see how quickly you will be silenced. The "Diotrepheses" of the modern assembly refuse the gifted and ban them from meetings, and anyone who wants to hear their treasures, and protests because they are forbidden, is also banned from the meetings.

LandShark
Dec 9th 2013, 02:06 PM
I agree with Walls but add that this issue, which we do see today, is about authority. There is an authority structure God put into place and we are to operate within it. In fact, operating in his authority is one form of "walking in his name." Sounds to me like Diotrephes had an issue submitting to authority.

Nick
Dec 10th 2013, 06:33 AM
Nearly every Assembly I have been part of, or visited for a while, had at least one Diotrephes. They are the ambitious men (and women) who want leadership, not for the edification of the saints, but for position. In 1st Corinthians 12 and 14 we see how a Christian meeting should be, according to scripture. The gifted ones should be allowed to function unhindered. "You may ALL prophesy" (1st Cor.14:31). All the gifts are "speaking" gifts except miracles. But have you noticed that in a contemporary Christian assembly, only certain people may speak. Try going into your local Baptist, or Assemblies of God Assembly and start giving a short message on what the Holy Spirit has put on your heart, and see how quickly you will be silenced. The "Diotrepheses" of the modern assembly refuse the gifted and ban them from meetings, and anyone who wants to hear their treasures, and protests because they are forbidden, is also banned from the meetings.

Well, fortunately I'm no longer part of those assemblies. I've learned through trial and error that seeking a church leadership position could have the wrong motive attached to it. I like the concept of a worker amongst workers.

Walls
Dec 10th 2013, 07:52 AM
Well, fortunately I'm no longer part of those assemblies. I've learned through trial and error that seeking a church leadership position could have the wrong motive attached to it. I like the concept of a worker amongst workers.

Very good. That's very close to the biblical concept. In Matthew 20:24-28 our Lord Jesus says;
"And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'”

See a progression?