Diotrephes and Demetrius

In the apostle John’s letter to Gaius he specifically names two members of the church. Each name is fairly long and begins with “D”, but similarities end there. The two saints were very different in the eyes of the congregation and the Lord.

Diotrephes did the church much harm. He sins were both of commission and omission. That is, he did things he should have left undone and he did not do things he should have done. Diotrephes should have accepted what John had said, but he rejected it (3 John 9). Diotrephes should have been a humble servant, but he loved the preeminence. He should have valued the truth and hated falsehood, but he falsely accused the apostle and others. Diotrephes should have received brethren, but he did not (vs. 10). And when others were willing to receive brethren, Diotrephes forbade it. If others received brethren after Diotrephes refused, he put them out of the church (3 John 10).

Diotrephes was petty, paranoid, power-hungry, and domineering. John summarized Diotrephes’ actions as evil and urged the brethren not to imitate him (3 John 11). 

In contrast, John used Demetrius as an example of good behavior. Members agreed that Demetrius was a good man. The truth itself testified that he was good. And John added his approbation to the others’.

Similar in name; polar opposites in their relationship with and effect on the church to which Gaius belonged. Each man endures as an example for us. Imitate Demetrius not Diotrephes.