Verse 11 — Follow means to imitate. From this Greek word comes our English word “mimic.”

  • We must be careful who we imitate. Even in Christian circles there are bad examples like Diotrophes. Demetrius was worthy of imitation, but not Diotrophes. This was probably encouragement from John not to give in to Diotrophes or to descend to his level of dirty “politics.”

Verse 12 – Demetrius had a threefold recommendation – all men, the truth, and John.

  • Some have the recommendation of men, but not of the truth.
  • The note in the ESV Study Bible sheds some light on why John entrusted Demetrius with task of probably delivering the letter to Gaius: ‘Normal postal service could not be entrusted with Christian correspondence like this letter (and possibly other letters from John as well. Demetrius served as a courier. Phoebe probably served this function delivering Romans (Rom. 16:1-2), and Tychicus likely hand-carried Ephesians (Eph. 6:21-22) and Colossians (Col. 4:7-8).

Verse 13 – John trusted that he would shortly see Gaius. The word “shortly” suggest that John has placed this visit high on his list of things to do. 3rd John is, in reality, a bare outline of many more things John wanted to communicate.

Verse 14— John is planning on coming to see the church there. I’m sure that Gaius was happy; but not Diotrophes.

Verse 15: Friends An unusual term for fellow believers; but see John 15:15. “Every one of them.” Literally this means “by name.” John’s pastoral care is not remote and bureaucratic but personal, as Jesus commended and modeled (John 10:3,14)

What can we learn from the character of these 3 men?


Larry Miles is Co-Editor of Word & Work and attends Cherry St. Church of Christ in New Albany,