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3 John 9-12 Translation

Posted by on Dec 26, 2009 in translation | 3 comments

My translation:

I wrote something previously to the church, but Diotrephes – who has to be “first” among them – would not accept our letter. Because of his actions, when I come there I will remind the church what he’s doing when he brings up evil matters against us. And, not satisfied with that, he also refuses to help brothers and sisters who are traveling through his area. He even hinders others who want to help these brothers and sisters and tries to throw them out of the church! My dear friend, don’t follow Diotrephes’ bad example, but follow a good example. The one who does good is from God, while the one who does bad things has never experienced God. Demetrius has a good reputation among everyone and according to the truth itself! We also think highly of Demetrius, and you know that what we say about him is true. (3 John 9-12)

Greek Text:

Ἔγραψά τι τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ: ἀλλ’ ὁ φιλοπρωτεύων αὐτῶν Διοτρέφης οὐκ ἐπιδέχεται ἡμᾶς. διὰ τοῦτο, ἐὰν ἔλθω, ὑπομνήσω αὐτοῦ Ï„á½° ἔργα ἃ ποιεῖ, λόγοις πονηροῖς φλυαρῶν ἡμᾶς: καὶ μὴ ἀρκούμενος ἐπὶ τούτοις οὔτε αὐτὸς ἐπιδέχεται τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς καὶ τοὺς βουλομένους κωλύει καὶ ἐκ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐκβάλλει. Ἀγαπητέ, μὴ μιμοῦ τὸ κακὸν ἀλλὰ τὸ ἀγαθόν. ὁ ἀγαθοποιῶν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν: ὁ κακοποιῶν οὐχ ἑώρακεν τὸν θεόν. Δημητρίῳ μεμαρτύρηται ὑπὸ πάντων καὶ ὑπὸ αὐτῆς τῆς ἀληθείας: καὶ ἡμεῖς δὲ μαρτυροῦμεν, καὶ οἶδας ὅτι ἡ μαρτυρία ἡμῶν ἀληθής ἐστιν.

Here is another translation for comparison:

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 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. Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true. (3 John 9-12 ESV)


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  1. 12-26-2009

    I think I’ve met Diotrephes. It seems that men who have assumed positions of authority in the church and who have an unbiblical understanding of eldership and authority emulate Diotrephes example, not Pauls’ or Christ’s example.

  2. 12-26-2009

    Thanks for the translation. Your Greek script looks even better than it used to! The only thing about your translation is how you said, “Diotrophes has to be first.” I see your point, but I guess the old familiar “loves to be first” is hard to beat.

  3. 12-26-2009


    I’ve been Diotrephes… at times, I still have a tendency to want to be first.


    Yes, the verb is literally “loves to be first”, or something like that. I like the more idiomatic “has to be first”.