Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
3 John 1

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

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Verse 1

The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

Unto the wellbeloved Gaius — A rich Corinthian, rich in this world and rich in good works; a rare bird, at Corinth especially, where St Paul found them the richer the harder, and far behind the poor Macedonians in works of charity, Romans 16:23 ; 1 Corinthians 1:14 .

Verse 2

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

That thou mayest prosper — Gr. ευοδουσθαι , that thou mayest make a good voyage of it, and come safe and sound to thy journey’s end.

Even as thy soul prospereth — By the blessing of him that dwelt in the bush, Deuteronomy 33:16 . Now the soul prospereth when it hath close communion with God, and enjoys the light of his loving countenance, preferring his favour before the world’s warm sun.

Verse 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.

Testified of the truth — This was their ingenuity, thus, at least, to requite their host by giving testimony of his liberality, and this his liberality proved the truth of his faith, and his good estate to Godward, as did Dorcas’s garments made for the poor. Lipsius conqueritur desiisse homines non modo laudanda facere, sed laudare. (l. ii. Epis. 70.)

Verse 4

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

I have no greater joySee Trapp on " 2 John 1:4 "

Walk in truth — Not walk to the alehouse, walk about with tales to shed blood, walk after the flesh, as too many of our hearers do, to our singular heartbreak.

Verse 5

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

Thou dost faithfully — That is, out of faith, and as beseemeth a faithful Christian. They that give alms, …, and not out of faith, they do worse than lose their labour, for they commit sin.

And to strangers — Though they be not yet converted to the faith, and made brethren, thy liberality may work upon them, and win them, as Alban.

Verse 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:

After a godly sort — Gr. αξιως του Θεου , worthy of God, as seeing God in them, and as beseemeth his servants, who are princes in all lands, Psalms 45:16 .

Verse 7

Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.

They went forth — To preach and gain souls to God. And this they did gratis, as Paul, because the false apostles did so at Corinth, seeking occasion against the true teachers, 2 Corinthians 11:12 .

Verse 8

We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

That we might be fellowhelpers — And so receive a prophet’s reward. See Trapp on " Matthew 10:41 "

Verse 9

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

I wrote unto the churchsc. Of Corinth, where Paul baptized Gaius, and where Diotrephes seems to have been a great sect-master, and chief of those deceitful workers that there so much disparaged Paul.

Diotrephes, who loveth, … — Ambition is like the crocodile, which groweth as long as it liveth. What stirs made proud Paulus Samosatenus in the primitive Church! What continual quarrelings were there between the bishops of Constantinople and of Rome for the primacy, and between the archbishops of Canterbury and of York for precedence! What a deal suffered learned Zanchy at Argentina from his ambitious colleagues; and various of our English divines and others, from the lordly prelates! Pareus was wont to say that the chief cause of all the Church’s troubles was the Churchmen’s affectation of dominion. This trouble town if we could cast out of the Church, said he, great hopes there were that we should all εις το θειον κηρυγμα ομοφρονως και ορθοδοξως συνδραμειν , concur and consent in one and the same truth. (Isidor. Pelus. iv. eph 54.)

Verse 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.

Prating against us — One would wonder what he could prate against St John, and yet he did, and that maliciously. True it is, he did but trifle and play the fool (as the Greek word φλυαρων signifies) in that he prated; but he showed his malice nevertheless. So do the Jesuits, as in many other their practices, so in this, that in their writings against us they confirm that with glorious words and arguments which we stick not at; to make the world believe that we deny all that which they so busily and so bravely prove, and so to make us odious; whereas they leave the main matter in controversy utterly unproven, thinking to carry it away with outfacing and great words. The word signifieth pompose sed nugaciter loqui, to talk big bubbles of words, saith Aretius; who also telleth us that it is a metaphor taken from over-seething pots, that send forth a foam; or (as others will have it) from overcharged stomachs, that must needs belch.

Forbiddeth them that would — Such as Gaius was; that himself only might have the prick and the praise. This is the property of envy, as we see in Saul, in the Pharisees, in Tiberius Caesar, who, tiger-like, laid hold with his teeth on all the excellent spirits of his times. Nero etiam omnium erat aemulus, … He forbad Lucan the poet to make verses, only because he could do it very excellently.

Verse 11

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

Follow not — Make not such a man as Diotrephes your pattern for imitation; though he ruffle it among you, and will needs be the only man.

Hath not seen Godsc. With the eyes of his mind, whatever he may boast of visions or revelations; believe him not.

Verse 12

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

Of all men — Of all good men; for God reckons of men according to their goodness. As a good name only is a name, Ecclesiastes 7:1 , and a good wife only a wife,Proverbs 8:22; Proverbs 8:22 .

And of the truth itself — That is enough. Doth the truth report well of a man? then he needs not care what the world can say.

And ye know that our record is true — This is one of John the Evangelist’s praises, John 21:24 , and may confirm that he was the author of this and the two former Epistles. For this truth, we may better say of him than Sophronius doth of John Chrysostom, Nunquam eum mentitum fuisse, that he never told lie; and that he was eximium orbis terrarum luminare, as Theodoret styles him.

Yea, and we also — Which we do not use to do without special caution. It is a fault to be too forward to testify of any.

Verse 13

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

I will not with ink — In vain is the word written in books, unless it be also written in our hearts, Jeremiah 31:33 .

With paper — Which was of old made of a certain plant of Nile called Papyrus, but now it is made of rags, miro ingenio, et utili rebus mortalium, to the great benefit of mankind. (Aretius.)

Verse 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.

But I trust — He could promise nothing peremptorily, but submits to God. See Trapp on " James 4:15 "

Face to face — As iron whets iron, so doth the face of a man his friend.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 3 John 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/3-john-1.html. 1865-1868.
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