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The Diagramming of 3 JOHN

A verse-by-verse explanation of the diagram




In the 3 John "diagram," the first thing you should note is that I have tried to link, in one way or other, concepts or phrases that go together. These may be parallel, making similar statements about the same thing, or they may be opposites. For instance, in verse 1, "my dear friend" and "whom I truly love" tell us two things about Gaius. In verse 11, we see two phrases which express a contrast between doing good and doing evil.

Observing such parallels or contrasts can be quite important when we are studying and applying the Bible. Even though we might not immediately see the importance - and we definitely don't want to "invent" a reason when we don't see one - our awareness of it may be an important "building block" for a future discovery.

Certain words and phrases are repeated in this passage. I have marked some of them by using upper-case letters. Some examples include the phrase "dear friend" (in verses 1, 2, 5 and 11), and the words "joy," "truth" and "live," found in verses 3 and 4. I also used upper-case letters to emphasize the connection between the phrase "go well with you" and "going well with your soul" (verse 2), but in your analysis you might wish to use some other method to point this out. There are a few other repeated words and phrases that I have not marked, which you would probably want to identify. You could point out the contrast between Diotrephes (verses 9-10) and Demetrius (verse 12) - and their connection to verse 11.

Words which connect phrases together are very important, because they show the relationships between different parts of a sentence or paragraph. This would include words such as "and," "but," "so," "therefore," "also," and other similar words. Prepositional phrases will also show relationships between different parts of a sentence. These are a few of the things you could look for, and as you practice observing the way different parts of a verse connect together, you will learn to identify more. (A person who has studied the structure of language will benefit greatly from what he has learned and may find it very easy to use this technique. However, anybody who has a basic understanding of sentence structure can benefit, even if he does not understand some of the technical details that an advanced English student might have learned.)

Below are some observations about the relationships between parts of the sentences in 3 John. The main purpose here is to help you understand why I wrote this outline or diagram the way I did. If it already makes sense to you, then there is no need for you to read them.




Here we will examine the technical details which explain the various aspects of this diagram of 3 John. Words or phrases that are quoted from 3 John itself will be shown in underlined italics.

Verse 1

Verse 2

Verses 3 and 4

Verse 3

There are two things we need to know about the phrase "Christian brothers."

Verse 4

 Verses 5 through 8

Verses 5 and 6

 Verses 7 and 8

 Verse 7

 Verse 8

 Verses 9

 Verse 10

Alternate diagram variation 

             So   I will point out   if I visit, 
                                     what he is doing, 

 Verse 10 (continued)

 Verse 11

              Imitate...  not what is evil 
                          but what is good 

 Verses 12 through 14

 Verse 12


 Verses 13 and 14



Final Comment

After I finished this study, I focused on the application of what it says. Some of my thoughts about how the message of this book can be applied to one's life can be seen in the Study Guide for 3 John, located here:


Dennis Hinks © 2004