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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

3 John 1



Verse 1

The elder

See on 2 John 1:1.


The name occurs several times in the New Testament, as Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14. The person addressed here cannot be identified.

The well-beloved

Rev., the beloved. In the Greek order the name comes first. Gaius the beloved.

In the truth ( ἐν αληθείᾳ )

Rev., properly, omitting the article, in truth. See on 2 John 1:4.

Verse 2


Compare the plural, 1 John 3:2, 1 John 3:21; 1 John 4:1, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:11.

I wish above all things ( περὶ πάντων εὔχομαι )

Wrong. This sense of περί is contrary to New Testament usage. The preposition means concerning. So Rev. “I pray that in all things thou mayst prosper.” Εὔχομαι Ipray or wish, occurs only here in John's writings, and not often elsewhere. See Acts 26:29; Romans 9:3; James 5:16.

Mayst prosper ( εὐοδοῦσθαι )

Lit., have a prosperous journey. From ἐν welland ὁδός away. In this original sense, Romans 1:10. The word occurs only three times in the New Testament. See 1 Corinthians 16:2.

Be in health ( ὑγιαίνειν )

Used in the New Testament both in a physical and moral sense. The former is found only here and in Luke's Gospel. See Luke 5:31; Luke 7:10; Luke 15:27. Paul uses it of soundness in faith or doctrine. See 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13; Titus 2:2. Here of Gaius' bodily health, as is shown by soul in the next clause.

Soul ( ψυχή )

See on Mark 12:30; see on Luke 1:46. The soul ( ψυχή ) is the principle of individuality, the seat of personal impressions. It has a side in contact with both the material and the spiritual element of humanity, and is thus the mediating organ between body and spirit. Its meaning, therefore, constantly rises above life or the living individual, and takes color from its relation to either the emotional or the spiritual side of life, from the fact of its being the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions, and the bearer and manifester of the divine life-principle ( πνεῦμα ). Consequently ψυχή is often used in our sense of heart (Luke 1:46; Luke 2:35; John 10:24; Acts 14:2); and the meanings of ψυχή souland πνεῦμα spiritoccasionally approach each other very closely. Compare John 12:27, and John 11:33; Matthew 11:29, and 1 Corinthians 16:18. Also both words in Luke 1:47. In this passage ψυχή soulexpresses the soul regarded as moral being designed for everlasting life. See Hebrews 6:19; Hebrews 10:39; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 4:19. John commonly uses the word to denote the principle of the natural life. See John 10:11, John 10:15; John 13:37; John 15:13; 1 John 3:16; Revelation 8:9; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 16:3.

Verse 3

Rejoiced greatly

See on 2 John 1:4.

Brethren came ( ἐρχομένων ἀδελφῶν )

Lit., coming. The present participle denotes coming from time to time, and not coming on a single occasion, which would require the aorist. On brethren, see on 1 John 2:9.

Thou walkest in truth

See on 1 John 1:8. for the phrase walk in, see on 2 John 1:6. Thou is emphatic, suggesting a contrast with less faithful ones, as Diotrephes, 3 John 1:9.

Verse 4

Joy ( χαρὰν )

The texts vary; some reading χάριν graceor favor from God, on which see 2 John 1:3. Note the Greek order: greater joy than this have I not.

My children ( τὰ ἐμὰ τέκνα )

Lit., mine own children.

Walk ( περιπατοῦντα )

Rev., rightly, walking. The participle expresses something habitual.

Verse 5

Thou doest faithfully ( πιστὸν ποιεῖς )

Rev., thou doest a faithful work. A third interpretation is thou givest a pledge or guaranty, and a fourth, akin to this, thou makest sure. The Rev. is best. There is no parallel to justify the third and fourth.

Thou doest ( ἐργάσῃ )

Or lit., according to the eymology, workest ( ἔργον work). See on James 2:9. The distinction between this verb and others signifying to do, such as ποιεῖν , πράσσειν , δρᾶν , which last does not occur in the New Testament, is not sharply maintained in Attic Greek. In certain connections the difference between them is great, in others, it is hardly perceptible. On ποιεῖν and πρα.σσειν , see on John 3:21. Ἐργάζομαι , like πράσσειν , contemplates the process rather than the end of action, carrying the ideas of continuity and repetition. It means to labor, to be active, to perform, with the idea of continued exertion, and therefore is used of servants, or of those who have an assigned business or office. See Matthew 21:28; Matthew 25:26; Luke 13:14; John 5:17; John 6:27; John 9:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:9. For the phrase ἐργάσῃ εἰς thoudoest toward (Rev.), see Matthew 26:10.

And to strangers ( καὶ εἰς τοὺς ξένους )

The best texts read, instead of εἰς τοὺς tothe (strangers), τοῦτο , that; so that the sentence is, literally, “to them that are brethren, and that strangers.” For the phrase and that, compare 1 Corinthians 6:6; Philemon 1:28; Ephesians 2:8.

Verse 6

The Church ( ἐκκλησίας )

See on Matthew 16:18.

If thou bring forward on their journey ( προπέμψας )

Lit., having sent forward. The aorist tense represents the act as accomplished. Compare Acts 15:3; Titus 3:13. Rev., set forward.

After a godly sort ( ἀξίως τοῦ Θεοῦ )

Lit., worthily of God. So Rev. Compare 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Colossians 1:10.

Thou shalt do well ( καλῶς ποιὴσεις )

For the phrase, see Acts 10:33; Philemon 4:14; James 2:8, James 2:19; 2 Peter 1:19. Rev., renders the whole: whom thou wilt do well to set forward on their journey worthily of God.

Verse 7

For His Name's sake ( ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος )

His is supplied by the A.V. It is not in the text. Rev., correctly, for the sake of the Name. The Name (Jesus Christ) is used thus absolutely in Acts 5:41; compare James 2:7. For a similar absolute use of the way, see on Acts 4:2. See on 1 John 1:7.

Taking nothing of ( μηδὲν λαμβάνοντες ἀπὸ )

For the phrase taking of, or from, see on 1 John 1:5.

The Gentiles ( ἐθνικῶν )

This word occurs elsewhere only in the Gospel of Matthew. The more common word is ἔθνη , which is the reading of the Tex. Rec. here: ἐθνῶν . See on Luke 2:32.

Verse 8

Ought ( ὀφείλομεν )

See on 1 John 2:6.

To receive ( ἀπολαμβάνειν )

The best texts read ὑπολαμβάνειν tosupport; i.e., to welcome with the provision of hospitality. Rev., welcome. The verb means, originally, to take underneath in order to raise. Hence, to support. Figuratively, to take upon the mind, to suppose, as Luke 7:43; Acts 2:15: to take up or follow in speech; hence to answer, as Luke 10:30.

Fellow-helpers to the truth ( συνεργοὶ τῇ ἀληθείᾳ )

Lit., fellow-workers. The expression is explained in two ways: either fellow-workers with the teachers ( τοιούτους such) in support of the truth; or fellow-workers with the truth. Adopt the latter, as Rev.

Verse 9

I wrote unto the Church

The best texts insert τι somewhatwhich indicates that the apostle did not regard the communication as specially important.

Diotrephes ( Διοτρεφὴς )

The name is from Δίος ofZeus (Jove), and τρέφω tonourish, and means Jove-nursed.

Who loveth to have the pre-eminence ( ὁ φιλοπρωτεύων )

From the adjective φιλόπρωτος fondof being first. The word occurs here only.

Verse 10

Prating ( φλυαρῶν )

From φλύω tobubble up or boil over. Hence of talk which is both fluent and empty. Compare the kindred adjective φλύαροι tattlers 1 Timothy 5:13.

Them that would

Those who were disposed to receive the strangers.

Casteth them out

By excommunication, which, through his influence, he had power to bring about.

Verse 11

Follow ( μιμοῦ )

More correctly, as Rev., imitate. Elsewhere only 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Hebrews 13:7. The kindred word μιμητής imitatoruniformly rendered follower in A.V., occurs 1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1. Hence our word mimic; also pantomime. Μῖμος means both an actor and a kind of prose drama, intended as a familiar representation of life and character, and without any distinct plot.

That which is evil - that which is good ( τὸ κακὸν - τὸ ἀγαθόν ).

Compare τὰ ἀγαθά good τὰ φαῦλα evil John 5:29.

Verse 12

Demetrius hath good report ( Δημητρίῳ μεμαρτύρηται )

Lit., unto Demetrius witness hath been born. See John 3:26.

Verse 13

I had ( εἷχον )

The imperfect tense: I was having, when I began to write.

Pen ( καλάμου )

Lit., reed. See Matthew 11:7. The staff or scepter placed in mockery in Jesus' hand, Matthew 27:29. A measuring-reed, Revelation 11:1.

Verse 14

Face to face

See on 2 John 1:12.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 3 John 1:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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