To the Christians who knew him, the apostle John was not “Saint John,” but a man. For a certain Diotrephes, to whom John gave the responsibility of a community that we do not know, John was a bothersome old man. In order to better dominate his church, Diotrephes was cutting off the relationship.
John, however, in his three letters, as in the Gospel, speaks of the “communion” which must exist among Christians. Any church or group must remain open to others, maintaining constant contact with them. Paul also insists on this responsibility: to welcome in their homes all Christians coming from other places in order to strengthen the bonds of the common faith.
1I, the elder, to my dear friend Gaius, whom I love sincerely.
2Dear friend, may everything go well with you and may you enjoy health of body and soul. 3I greatly rejoiced with the friends who arrived and testified to your faithfulness to the truth, namely how you walk in the truth. 4Nothing gives me greater joy than to know that my children live in the truth.
5Beloved, you do well to care for the brothers and sisters as you do. I mean those coming from other places. 6They spoke of your charity before the assembled Church. It will be well to provide them with what they need to continue their journey, as if you did it for God. 7In reality, they have set out on the road for his name without accepting anything from the pagans. 8We should receive such per-sons, making ourselves their cooperators in the work of the truth.
9I have written these words to the Church. But Diotrephes, who is anxious to preside over it, does not ac-knowledge our authority. 10So when I come, I will not cease re-proaching his manner of acting, since he dis-credited us with words of evil intent. And not content with that, he does not receive the friends and even restrains those who want to re-ceive them, and expels them from the Church.
11Dear friend, do not imitate evil, but only the good. Whoever does good is of God. Whoever does evil does not know God. 12Now about Demetrius: everyone praises him, even the truth itself. We, too, praise him, and you know that our testimony is true. 13I have many things to tell you, but I do not want to do it in writing. 14I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
15Peace be with you. Your friends greet you. Greet the friends for me, each one by name.