Diotrephes

DIOTREPHES (dī-ŏt'rĕ-fēz, Gr. Diotrephēs, nurtured by Zeus). A leading member, perhaps the bishop, of the church to which Gaius belonged, to whom John wrote his third letter. Few facts are known about him. His domineering attitude made him an obstacle to the progress of the church. The facts, though sad, have been a great blessing and comfort to many a minister who has had to serve a “one-man church.” Pride and love of preeminence (Diotrephes loved “to be first” [3 John 9]) are of the devil and are exactly opposite to that unselfish humility that the Holy Spirit demands (Phil.2.3-Phil.2.8).


DIOTREPHES dī ŏt’ rə fez (Διοτρέφης, G1485, nourished by Zeus or foster-child of Zeus). The lone Biblical reference to Diotrephes is 3 John 9 where he is reprimanded for his failure to receive the representatives sent by the author, John. Evidently he had resisted the receiving of a former letter from John (v. 9), had maligned John, refused to grant hospitality to the brethren, and urged that all others of the congregation do likewise (v. 10). John characterizes him as loving “to have the preeminence.”

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A person mentioned in 3Joh 1:9,10 as contentiously resisting the writer’s authority and forbidding others from exercising the Christian hospitality which he himself refused to show.

The words "who loveth to have the preeminence, among them" may indicate that he was a church official, abusing his position, chief stars in the constellation of the Twins. Some 4,000 years BC they served as pointers to mark the beginning of the new year by setting together with the first new moon of springtime. The constellation of the Twins was supposed to be especially favorable to sailors, hence, ships were often placed under the protection of the twin gods.