“I have written
To the church.
To put himself first,
Does not acknowledge
Ἔγραψά τι τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ· ἀλλ’ ὁ φιλοπρωτεύων αὐτῶν Διοτρεφὴς οὐκ ἐπιδέχεται ἡμᾶς.
This author said, “I have written something (Ἔγραψά τι) to the church (τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ). But (ἀλλ’) Diotrephes (Διοτρεφὴς), who likes to put himself first (ὁ φιλοπρωτεύων αὐτῶν), does not acknowledge our authority (οὐκ ἐπιδέχεται ἡμᾶς).” This is the only time in the canonical NT that these two words are used, here in 3 John, the word φιλοπρωτεύων, that means to strive to be first, loves the chief place, or desires preeminence, and the word ἐπιδέχεται, that means to accept as true, to receive besides, admit, or welcome. Next this author turned to a problem about Diotrephes, who seems to be a fellow Christian leader who does not accept or welcome this author. He said that he had already written something to that Christian church. Perhaps this was 2 John or a letter that was lost. However, there was a troublemaker there. This Diotrephes only appears here in this letter, and nowhere elsewhere in the NT literature. Diotrephes thought that he was more preeminent. He loved being first. He would not accept or welcome anything from this author. Thus, this author felt that Diotrephes was insubordinate. Do you know someone who does not accept your authority?