3 John 9

I have written something to the assembly. But Diotrephes, who wants to be the most important person there, refuses to acknowledge us.

So-called Christian leaders who lack humility, who want to be the most important, who desire attention, who do not submit to authority, are not true Christian leaders.

It does not matter what Church they are part of, what ministry, what seminary.

Diotrephes was a church leader with some authority. The passage does not say he was off in his doctrine or lacked in leadership, but where he was lacking was most important–charity and humility.

As C.H. Dodd put it: “There is no religious experience which does not express itself in charity.”

I’ll leave us with some commentary by William Barclay because it’s really good, straightforward, and needs no clarification from me. (This comes right after the Dodd quote):

That is why, for all his powers of leadership and for all his dominance of character, Diotrephes was not a real Christian, as John saw it. The true Christian leader must always remember that strength and gentleness must go together and that leading and loving must go hand in hand. Diotrephes was like so many leaders in the church. He may well have been right, but he took the wrong way to achieve his end, for no amount of strength of mind can take the place of love of heart.

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