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THE THIRD EPISTLE OF ST. JOHN.
THIS Epistle is of a moral and disciplinarian character. In it the holy Apostle, who has revealed to the Church the sublimest mysteries of Christian doctrine, applies those principles to matters of practical detail in the regimen of the Church.
Gaius, or Caius, the beloved is commended for walking in the Truth, and for bringing forth the fruits of the Truth, in a life of love to the brethren and to strangers. Especially does St. John confide in the Christian charity of Gaius towards the Ministers of the Gospel, who go forth preaching to the Gentiles, without claiming maintenance from them.
The character of Gaius is contrasted with that of Diotrephes who had resisted the authority of St. John, and would not receive the brethren, who were probably recommended by the Apostle himself, but even ejected from the Church those who received them.
But St. John announces his intention of bringing Diotrephes to a sense of his duty by a speedy visitation, and by an exercise of his Apostolic authority.
Even in Apostolic times, the spirit of pride and the lust of power made themselves felt in the Church of Christ. God suffered His holy Apostles to be tried by the unruly temper and refractory conduct of false brethren. St. Paul had to contend with an Hymenæus, an Alexander, a Philetus', an Hermogenes, and a Phygellus; even St. John had a Diotrephes. No wonder that a like spirit should show itself in later days. Here is the test of loyalty and love. "Beloved, do not imitate 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 3." The Divine Lord and Master of St. John will come and call all men to account, who, in despising those whom He has sent, have despised Him; and He will salute "His friends by name," with a greeting of everlasting peace.
1 1 Tim. i. 20. 2 Tim. ii. 17.
3 3 John 11.
? 2 Tim. i. 15. Cp. Tertullian, Præscr. Hær. 3.
VOL. II.-PART IV.
a 2 John 4.
· Ὁ ΠΡΕΣΒΥΤΕΡΟΣ Γαΐῳ τῷ ἀγαπητῷ, ὃν ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ. 2 ̓Αγαπητέ, περὶ πάντων εὔχομαί σε εὐοδοῦσθαι καὶ ὑγιαίνειν, καθὼς εὐοδοῦταί σου ἡ ψυχή· 3 · ἐχάρην γὰρ λίαν ἐρχομένων ἀδελφῶν καὶ μαρτυρούντων σου τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, καθὼς σὺ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ περιπατεῖς. 4 Μειζοτέραν τούτων οὐκ ἔχω χαρὰν, ἵνα ἀκούω τὰ ἐμὰ τέκνα ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ περιπατοῦντα.
5 ̓Αγαπητέ, πιστὸν ποιεῖς, ὃ ἐὰν ἐργάσῃ εἰς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς καὶ τοῦτο ξένους, 6 οἱ ἐμαρτύρησάν σου τῇ ἀγάπῃ ἐνώπιον ἐκκλησίας, οὓς καλῶς ποιήσεις προπέμψας ἀξίως τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ὑπὲρ γὰρ τοῦ ὀνόματος ἐξῆλθον μηδὲν λαμβάνοντες ἀπὸ τῶν ἐθνικῶν. 8 Ἡμεῖς οὖν ὀφείλομεν ὑπολαμβάνειν τοὺς τοιούτους, ἵνα συνεργοί γινώμεθα τῇ ἀληθείᾳ.
· Εγραψα τι τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ· ἀλλ' ὁ φιλοπρωτεύων αὐτῶν Διοτρεφής οὐκ ἐπι
1. ὁ πρεσβύτερος] The elder: on this title adopted by St. John, see 2 John 1.
Γαΐῳ τῷ ἀγαπητῷ] to Gaius, or Caius the beloved. He seems to have borne much resemblance in character and acts (see v. 5) to Gaius of Corinth (Rom. xvi. 23), and to Philemon the Colossian friend of St. Paul (Philem. 7). A Gaius was appointed by St. John to be Bishop of Pergamum. Constit. Apost. vii. 46.
The word ἀγαπητός, beloved, is repeated four times in this short Epistle; the word ἀγαπᾶν, to love, occurs twenty-eight times, and the word ἀγάπη, eighteen times in St. John's First Epistle. The sternness of his language in condemnation of the Heretics of his age, is made more striking by its contrast with this inculcation of the duty of love; which shows that the words of rebuke are uttered in a spirit of love for the souls of those committed to his care, and of those also whom he reproves. Cp. St. Stephen's language, Acts vii. 60, and above, pp. 102, 103.
2. περὶ πάντων] in all respects. This translation seems preferable to the other rendering, “ above all things;” for which sense of περὶ there is no authority in Prose writers. Cp. Winer, § 47, p. 334. Lücke (2nd ed.), and Huther, p. 246.
εὐοδοῦσθαι] prosper, literally, on a journey (οδός). Cp. Rom. i. 10. 1 Cor. xvi. 2. St. John wishes that in all things the affairs of Gaius may go well, as they do in spiritual respects.
3. ἐχάρην γὰρ λίαν] for I rejoiced greatly. See 2 John 4. 4. μειζοτέραν] On this form of the comparative, see Eph. iii. 8. Winer, § 11, p. 65. Greater joy have I not, than these things, that I hear my children are walking in the truth. On the use of iva, compare Luke i. 43. Cp. John xv. 8. 13; xvii. 3. 1 John iv. 17. Winer, § 44, p. 303.
5. πιστὸν ποιεῖς] thou art doing a faithful part, in whatever thou mayest have wrought (epydon, the reading of B, C, G, K) towards the brethren, and that also towards persons who are strangers to thee.
This is the only example of TOTÒ Tolev in the New Testament. Cp. τὸ καλὸν ποιεῖν, Rom. vii. 21 ; xiii. 3, 4. Gal. vi. 9 ; and the combination used by St. John of Toleiv with a substantive, such as δικαιοσύνην: 1 John ii. 29; iii. 7. 10 ; and Rev. xxii. 15, ποιῶν ψεῦδος.
St. John expresses his confidence that whatever labours Gaius may have performed, or may be performing, toward the brethren, they are done by him as a faithful workman and servant of Christ.
The tense of ἐργάσῃ, thou mayest have wrought, implies, that though St. John has heard enough of the good deeds of Gaius to justify his general confidence in his character, yet he is
aware that Gaius may have done much more good than has reached his ears.
The words καὶ τοῦτο, and this too (the reading of A, B, C-Elz. has καὶ εἰς τοὺς), enhance the praise of Gaius. He was affectionate and helpful toward the brethren, and that also to strangers who were unknown to him. On this use of καὶ τοῦτο and καὶ ταῦτα, see Rom. xiii. 11, and on 1 Cor. vi. 6. 8, καὶ τοῦτο ἀδελφούς. Matthia, Gr. Gr. § 471. 7.
6. ἐνώπιον ἐκκλησίας] in the presence of the Church, in the public congregation; probably at Ephesus, where St. John dwelt: see Introduction to his Gospel, pp. 266, 267.
οὓς καλῶς ποιήσεις ] whom if thou speedest on their journey in a manner meet for God (whose servants they are), thou shalt do well. On προπέμπειν, cp. Titus iii. 13; on ἀξίως τοῦ Θεοῦ, cp. 1 Thess. ii. 12. Col. i. 10.
7. ὑπὲρ γὰρ τοῦ ὀνόματος ἐξῆλθον] for they went forth on behalf of the Name-the adorable NAME of Jesus Christ, "the Name that is above every Name," Phil. ii. 9. See on Acts v. 41, ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος ἀτιμασθῆναι, and the words of St. John's disciple, S. Ignatius, to St. John's Church of Ephesus, εἰώθασι γάρ τινες δόλῳ πονηρῷ τὸ ὄνομα περιφέρειν, ἄλλα τινὰ πράσσοντες ἀνάξια Θεοῦ, and then he proceeds to declare the Person and Natures of Christ. Ignat. ad Eph. 7. These words of S. Ignatius seem to have been suggested by St. John's language in these two verses, vv. 6, 7.
μηδὲν λαμβάνοντες] taking no wages from the Gentile (plural, adjective); i. e., the Gentile Christians. Elz. has ἐθνῶν, but ἐθνικῶν is in A, B, C, and received by Lach. Tisch.
On the purport of these words-intimating that they, to whom St. John refers, demanded no ministerial maintenance from the Gentile Christians, to whom they ministered the Word and Sacraments-see note above, on 1 Cor. ix. 6.
8. ὑπολαμβάνειν] to receive, entertain, and treat them hospitably, with reverence and love. There seems to be a slight paronomasia between λαμβάνοντες and ὑπολαμβάνειν : cp. Philem. 20. Elz. has ἀπολαμβάνειν; but ὑπολαμβάνειν is in A, B, C*, and is received by Lach., Tisch.
ἵνα συνεργοὶ γινώμεθα] in order that we may be fellowlabourers with them in the Truth. By receiving God's Ministers we become fellow-workers with them in the Truth which they preach, and "he that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward." Matt. x. 41.
9. ἔγραψα τι] I wrote somewhat to the Church. Elz. omits TI, which is in A, B, C, and so Lach., Tisch.
The purport probably of this writing was to exhort those of
δέχεται ἡμᾶς· 10 διὰ τοῦτο, ἐὰν ἔλθω, ὑπομνήσω αὐτοῦ τὰ ἔργα ἃ ποιεί, λόγοις πονηροῖς φλυαρῶν ἡμᾶς· καὶ μὴ ἀρκούμενος ἐπὶ τούτοις οὔτε αὐτὸς ἐπιδέχεται τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς, καὶ τοὺς βουλομένους κωλύει, καὶ ἐκ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐκβάλλει. Η Αγαπητέ, μὴ μιμοῦ τὸ κακὸν, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἀγαθόν. Ὁ ἀγαθοποιῶν ἐκ τοῦ b Ps. 37 27. Θεοῦ ἐστιν· ὁ κακοποιῶν οὐχ ἑώρακε τὸν Θεόν. 12 Δημητρίῳ μεμαρτύρηται και ὑπὸ πάντων, καὶ ὑπ ̓ αὐτῆς τῆς ἀληθείας· καὶ ἡμεῖς δὲ μαρτυροῦμεν, καὶ οἴδατε ὅτι ἡ μαρτυρία ἡμῶν ἀληθής ἐστι.
Isa. 1. 16.
13 Πολλὰ εἶχον γράψαι σοι, ἀλλ ̓ οὐ θέλω διὰ μέλανος καὶ καλάμου σοι c 2 John 12. γράφειν· ἐλπίζω δὲ εὐθέως σε ἰδεῖν, καὶ στόμα πρὸς στόμα λαλήσομεν.
15 Εἰρήνη σοι· ἀσπάζονται σε οἱ φίλοι· ἀσπάζου τοὺς φίλους κατ ̓ ὄνομα.
the Church, of which Gaius was a member, to receive the brethren who laboured in the Gospel. But Diotrephes, who aspired to have the pre-eminence there, took advantage of St. John's absence, and conducted himself in a very different temper to that of Gaius (see v. 5), and would not obey St. John's commands, and would neither receive the brethren commended by St. John, nor would he allow others to receive them, and was casting out of the Church those who did receive them. Wherefore, says the Apostle, if I come, as I intend to do very soon (see v. 14), to the place where you and he are, I will call to remembrance (see John xiv. 26) his works which he doeth, prating vainly against us with wicked words.
On the word φιλοπρωτεύων, see Wetstein, p. 731; and on φλυαρών, see ibid., p. 343, and on 1 Tim. v. 13. It has properly a neuter sense, to prate idly, but like some other neuter verbs in the New Testament, it is here put intransitively (Winer, § 38, p. 225); and so it implies that the idle words are uttered by the speaker in a contemptuous tone against another person.
What St. John wrote to the Church is no longer extant. Cp. note on 1 Cor. v. 9, where St. Paul refers to an Epistle written by himself which is not now in existence.
10. ἐκ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐκβάλλει] he casteth out of the Church, by excommunication. S. Hippolytus, Bishop of Portus, speaks of some who were ἔκβλητοι τῆς ἐκκλησίας, by his own spiritual authority. Philosoph. p. 290.
It seems that Diotrephes was a Minister of the Church in which Gaius resided; and that this Epistle was written to maintain in that Church the authority of St. John as an Apostle and Metropolitan of Asia, in which character he was commissioned by Christ to write the Epistles to the Asiatic churches in the Apocalypse, Rev. i. 11, and chaps. ii. and iii.
11. μὴ μιμοῦ τὸ κακόν] Do not imitate that which is evil, as the example of Diotrephes is; but that which is good. Cp. Heb. xiii. 7. 1 Pet. iii. 13, and Martyr. Polycarp. 19, τὸ μαρτύριον μια μεῖσθαι.
St. John, as their spiritual superior, dispenses praise and blame to each respectively.
The Truth here is no other than the Spirit of Truth abiding in St. John. Christ promised to send to His Apostles "the Spirit of Truth to guide them into all Truth” (John xvi. 13), and He did send the Spirit to them on the Day of Pentecost, and that Spirit enabled them to discern the spirits of men (1 Cor. xii. 10), as St. Peter discerned the spirit of Ananias (Acts v. 3), and to pronounce judgment upon them.
The Spirit, says St. John, is Truth (1 John v. 6). And since St. John himself had the Spirit, he asserts, that “ whoever knoweth God heareth us; and whoever is not of God heareth not us.” (1 John iv. 6.) Hence St. John was able to bear testimony to Demetrius, who perhaps carried the Epistle, and the testimony which St. John bears, was the testimony of the Truth itself.
καὶ ἡμεῖς δὲ μαρτυροῦμεν] and not only so, but we bear testimony, and ye know that our testimony is true.
The Spirit of Truth in us bears testimony, and we, the human ministers by whom the Spirit speaks, bear testimony. So the Apostles speak at the Council of Jerusalem, “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us." Acts xv. 28.
13. διὰ μέλανος καὶ καλάμου] with ink and pen, properly reed. Cp. above, 2 John 12. It does not follow from these expressions that St. John wrote his Epistle with his own hand. He may have done so. Cp. note above on Gal. vi. 11. 2 Thess. iii. 17. Col.
γράψαι σοι] to write to thee now at this time.
So A, B, C.-Elz. has ypάpei; and vice versâ, at the end of the paragraph Elz. has γράψαι, and A, B, C have γράφειν, which expresses a habit.
I had many things to write to you now, but I am not willing to write them with ink and pen, under such circumstances as these, when I hope very soon to see you to whom I am writing. Cp. 2 John 12.
15. ἀσπάζονται—ὄνομα] salute the friends by name. The good pastor imitates that Good Shepherd, who "calleth His sheep by
12. Δημητρίῳ] A good testimony has been given to Demetrius by all men, and by the Truth itself. A contrast to Diotrephes.name." John x. 3.
THE EPISTLE GENERAL OF ST. JUDE.
THE Epistle of St. Jude bears a remarkable resemblance in matter and language, and also in order of arrangement, to the Second Epistle of St. Peter; as will appear from the passages placed at the foot of this page 1.
From a comparison of these passages it seems most probable that the Epistle of St. Jude was subsequent to that of St. Peter.
For example, St. Peter speaks prophetically of the false Teachers who would " privily bring in destructive heresies, denying the Lord that bought them"." But St. Jude describes these false Teachers as already in existence and full operation. "Certain men (he says) crept in, who were long ago foreordained to this condemnation "."
Besides, St. Jude appears to make a special reference to St. Peter's Second Epistle. "Beloved, remember the words that were spoken before by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they told you, that in the last time there shall be scoffers walking according to their own lusts of unholiness"." Hence, as was observed by Ecumenius in ancient times, this Epistle appears to have been written after the Second Epistle of St. Peter.
This opinion has been adopted by many learned men of later days". If it is correct, then the Epistle of St. Jude cannot have been written before A.D. 66 or 67, the date of St. Peter's Second Epistle.
Indeed, on an examination of internal evidence, it seems to be later than that time. The picture which is drawn in this Epistle, of the heretical doctrines and licentious practices of the false Teachers, represents them as developed in the fulness and boldness of inveterate and dominant malignity, after a previous growth of some years.
At first sight, it may perhaps seem surprising, that an Epistle should have been written so similar to the Second Epistle of St. Peter, as this Epistle of St. Jude is; and have been received into the Canon of the New Testament.
But, on consideration, it will be perceived, that such a procedure as this is in perfect harmony with the general structure of Holy Writ.
It would be erroneous to assert, that St. Jude had merely copied a large portion of the Epistle of St. Peter. It ought rather to be said, that the Holy Spirit often repeated by one Prophet what He had said by another, and that He often repeated by a third Evangelist what He had written before by the other two'; and that He does this for greater confirmation of what He has said, and in order to authenticate the writings in which His words are contained, and to show their great importance to the world, and to inculcate them more forcibly on the mind of the Church; and so, for like reasons, He repeats by St. Jude, not however without some modifications and additions, what He had already declared by St. Peter. He has thus set His seal on St. Peter's Second Epistle, and has shown that the prophecies, which He Himself there uttered, have been fulfilled.
Besides, in opposition to the various forms of false and conflicting doctrines, which are there condemned, He has displayed to the world an exemplary pattern of Apostolic unity in confuting heresy and maintaining the Truth.
The forms of heretical Teaching and Practice which were present to the mind of St. Jude, when he wrote this Epistle, have already been described in the Introduction to the Second Epistle of St. Peter', and in the notes on the parallel passages of that Epistle.
On the authorship of this Epistle, it may be observed, that the writer calls himself "Jude the brother of James "."
He would not have used such a designation, unless James had been a well-known person, and unless the James to whom he refers was the person who was best known by that name at that time. It has therefore been rightly concluded by ancient and modern authors, that the James who is here mentioned by St. Jude, was James "the Lord's brother " or cousin, the Bishop of Jerusalem.
This conclusion is confirmed by the testimony of the Gospels, where we find that our Lord had a brother called Jude, as well as a brother called James ".
The question, whether James the Lord's brother, or cousin, was also an Apostle, and the same person as "James, the son of Alphæus," in the catalogue of the Apostles, has been already considered; and an opinion has been expressed that the balance of probabilities is in favour of their identity.
This conclusion is confirmed by the fact, that, after the mention of "James the son of Alphæus," in the catalogue of the Apostles, we have two persons placed next in order, Simon Zelotes, or the Cananite (a word which has the same sense as Zelotes), and Jude—of James.
A question has been raised, what word is here to be supplied after Jude-whether it is to be son, or brother, of James ?
But on this point there seems little reason for doubt. The James who is connected in the Apostolic Catalogue with Jude, cannot be a different person from "James, the son of Alphaus," who is mentioned just before in the catalogue. And none of the Apostles of Christ, as far as we find, were far advanced in years when they were called to the Apostleship; and it is not probable that James the son of Alphæus (who is probably the same as Clopas, whose wife was living, and a follower of our Lord'), was old enough, when he was called to the Apostleship, to have a son of sufficient age to be an Apostle. It is therefore most likely that the words 'Ioúdas 'Iaкßov signify, as our Translators render them, "Jude brother of James "."
Accordingly, we find that Jude, the author of this Epistle, is designated as an Apostle by very
7 See above, Introduction to the Epistle of St. James, pp. 6-9; and cp. Lardner, ch. xxi. Tillemont, p. 171. Winer, R. W. B., p. 633, art. Judas.
8 See Matt. x. 3. John xix. 25. She was probably His Mother's sister, or cousin. See above, p. 11.
9 And so Winer, Gr. Gr., § 30. 3, p. 171; and R. W. B., p. 655, art. Judas. It is observable that all the three Evangelists prefix the definite article, ô, to the genitive, when they mean "son" of; but there is no definite article before 'lakúßou here.