O. C. Birdwell
Columbia, Tennessee

"I wrote somewhat unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not" (3 John 9)

These are the words of the New Testament writer John, the beloved apostle of the Lord.

The character of the man Diotrephes is set forth in clear and simple terms and in the briefest way possible. He "loveth to have the preeminence." His character is illustrated in his conduct. (1) He rejected the highest commendation. John had written to the church, but said he "receiveth us not." (2) He defamed John's character. John said he was guilty of "prating against us with wicked words" (v. 10). Prating is running on with idle speech that is mere tattle and worth nothing. Diotrephes had nothing against John, but if he talked enough about him, although there was no substance in what he said, obviously some would listen. (3) He prohibited others from receiving faithful brethren (v. 10).

The position of Diotrephes was one of arrogance and censorship. He closed the door against one who stood with the Lord and against the truth of the gospel which John taught. He placed himself and his own judgment above divine revelation. He would not allow others to even hear what John had to say.

The account of Diotrephes should caution all to be on guard against a closed mind and a closed pulpit. Men ought to be allowed to read and discuss the scriptures. In most cases, when a church has shut off discussion of specific Bible subjects and discourages the members from going anywhere else to hear the subjects discussed, truth has been sacrificed to a Diotrephes.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 12, pp. 12-13
January 28, 1971