Contrasting Gaius and Diotrophes

Verse 9: In contrast to Gaius was Diotrophes:

  • Gaius received the brethren, Diotrophes cast them out
  • Gaius spoke truth, Diotrophes spoke lies.
  • Gaius spread love, Diotrophes spread fear.

It is possible that the church met in Diotrophes’ home which would have given him more power.

  • He SOUGHT the PLACE of CHRIST. He loved to have the preeminence (3 John 1:9). Preeminence means to be first. Diotrophes wanted the chief seat (Mt. 23:6). He wanted to be served (Mt. 20:20-25; Phil. 2:5-8; Rom. 12:3). In seeking the preeminence, he was seeking the place of Christ (Col. 1:18; cf. John 3:30; Mt. 3:11).

Preeminence is made up of two verbs. The second one is only used one other time in the N.T. of Christ (Col. 1:18). Diotrophes put himself into the place of Christ. He was acting like the head of the church. James & John wanted seats on left hand and right hand of Christ (Mt. 20:20-23). That was bad enough. Diotrophes wanted the actual seat of Christ.

Verse 9 & 10 – John MacArthur writes, “The word ‘preeminence’ has the idea of ‘desiring to be first.’ It conveys the idea of someone who is selfish. Self-centered, and self-seeking.

  • He SPURNED the PRECEPTS of CHRIST. John wrote unto the church but Diotrophes intercepted it and rejected it (3 John 1:9; cf. John 12:48).
  • He SLANDERED the PREACHERS of CHRIST. He prated (NKJV) (“Talking against us”) (ESV) against them with malicious words (3 John 1:9). “Prating” means “to be a babbler or trifler, to berate idly” (5396; Prov. 10:8, 10; 1 Tim. 5:13). Furthermore, it means to “overflow with words.” “Malicious” means “hurtful, evil, vicious” (4190; Rom. 3:8).
  • He SHUNNED the PEOPLE of CHRIST. He didn’t receive the brethren and punished those that did (3 John 1:9). “Receive” means “to admit as a guest or teacher” (1926). Those who opposed the rule of Diotrophes weren’t welcome. Worse yet, he refused to allow the brethren to receive anyone either. The word “forbiddeth” means “to prevent by word or act, withstand” (2967).
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