3 John 1:13
I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
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(3) (13) I had many things to write.—Rather, There were many things which I wished to write.

But I will not.—Comp. 2John 1:12.

(14) Peace be to thee.—The best wish which the Apostle can form, instead of the usual Greek ending, “Be strong,” or “Farewell!” It was our Lord’s resurrection greeting; the internal peace of a good conscience, the external peace of universal friendship, the heavenly peace of future glory begun even in this life. (Comp. John 20:19; John 20:26; Rom. 5:33; Galatians 6:16; Ephesians 6:23; 2Thessalonians 3:16; 1Peter 5:14.)

Our friends salute thee.—Rather, The friends. By this appellation, uncommon in the New Testament, St. John recalls our Lord’s words in John 15:13-15.

Greet the friends by name.—Each friend was to receive a personal message from the Apostle, and Caius would know who they were as well as if St. John wrote them down. In a short private Letter it would be unsuitable to have a long list of special messages as in a Pauline Epistle, especially as the Apostle hoped shortly to see them. John perhaps thinks of his Master’s ideal in John 10:3.

3 John 1:13-14. I had many other things to write — To communicate to thee concerning the affairs of your church, and concerning Diotrephes; but I will not — I am not minded; to write unto thee with ink and pen — Meaning, probably, lest this letter should fall into hands who might make an improper use of it. But I trust I shall shortly see thee — Lardner conjectures that John did actually visit Gaius; and adds, I please myself with the supposition that his journey was not in vain, but that Diotrephes submitted and acquiesced in the advices and admonitions of the apostle. Peace be to thee — And every desirable blessing, from God our Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord. Our friends salute thee — Our translators have inserted the word our in this clause without any authority. The apostle’s words are οι φιλοι, the friends, an expression nowhere else found in Scripture; but it applies excellently to the primitive Christians, as it denotes, in the strongest manner, the love which, in the first ages, subsisted among the true disciples of Christ. Greet the friends by name — That is, in the same manner as if I had named them one by one. The apostle, by sending a salutation to the faithful disciples of Christ, who were in the church of which Gaius was a member, and who were living together in great love, showed his paternal and affectionate regard for them, and encouraged them to be steadfast in their adherence to the truth and grace of the gospel, and to walk worthy of it.

1:13,14 Here is the character of Demetrius. A name in the gospel, or a good report in the churches, is better than worldly honour. Few are well spoken of by all; and sometimes it is ill to be so. Happy those whose spirit and conduct commend them before God and men. We must be ready to bear our testimony to them; and it is well when those who commend, can appeal to the consciences of such as know most of those who are commended. A personal conversation together often spares time and trouble, and mistakes which rise from letters; and good Christians may well be glad to see one another. The blessing is, Peace be to you; all happiness attend you. Those may well salute and greet one another on earth, who hope to live together in heaven. By associating with and copying the example of such Christians, we shall have peace within, and live at peace with the brethren; our communications with the Lord's people on earth will be pleasing, and we shall be numbered with them in glory everlasting.I had many things to write ... - This Epistle closes, as the second does, with a statement that he had many things to say, but that he preferred waiting until he should see him rather than put them on paper. Perhaps there were some things which he wished to say which he would not like to have exposed to the possibility of being seen by the public eye.

But I will not with ink and pen ... - Notes at 2 John 1:12.

13. I will not—rather as Greek, "I wish not … to write" more. Having much more to say, as 2Jo 1:12, he resolved on a more immediate, grateful, and effectual way of imparting and even impressing his sense, as the term, writing, is used in a greater latitude, Proverbs 3:3, and elsewhere.

I have many things to write,.... With regard to churches, and particular persons, and concerning hospitality to the poor brethren:

but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee; suggesting he should take another method of communicating his mind to him, which he next mentions.

I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
3 John 1:13-14. The same thoughts as in 2 John 1:12; even the expression is little different; this agreement is most naturally explained by the contemporaneousness of the two Epistles.

πολλὰ εἶχον γράψαι] “I would have many things to write to thee, but …;” as in Acts 25:22; comp. Winer, p. 253; VII. p. 265; A. Buttmann, p. 187 (de Wette); an ἄν is not omitted. Düsterdieck and Ebrard translate: “I had much to write,” unsuitably, because the apostle is not speaking of the past, but of the present.

Instead of paper (Second John), it is the κάλαμος, “the writing-reed,” that is mentioned as the writing material along with the ink.

On ἐλπίζω δὲ κ.τ.λ., see ἐὰν ἔλθω, 3 John 1:10.

3 John 1:15. εἰρήνη σοι] The blessing at the end of the First Epistle of Peter runs similarly; comp. besides, Galatians 6:16; Ephesians 6:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (also Romans 15:33; 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20).

ἀσπάζονταί σε οἱ φίλοι κ.τ.λ.] It is in harmony with the character of the Epistle, as a private communication, that John does not send greetings from the whole Church, but from the special friends of Caius, and so also commissions him with greetings only to his (the apostle’s) φίλοι. The latter was the more natural, as indeed a part of the Church was at enmity with John.

On κατʼ ὄνομα, comp. John 10:3; it belongs to ἀσπάζου, and is = ὀνομαστί (see Meyer on this passage); the personal relationship is thereby emphasized, as Caius is to greet every one of the friends specially (by name).

3 John 1:13-14. The Conclusion. “I had many things to write to thee, but I am not minded to be writing to thee by pen and ink. However, I hope presently to see thee, and we shall talk face to face. Peace to thee! The friends salute thee. Salute the friends by name.”

Cf. 2 John 1:12-13. The similarity of the conclusions suggests that the two epistles were written at the same time. The Apostle meditated a visitational circuit (see Introd. p. 155) in the course of which he would see both Kyria and Gaius.

13. I had many things to write] With R. V., following אABC and all ancient Versions, we must add to thee. ‘I had’ is imperfect: at the time of my writing there were many things which I had to communicate to thee.

but I will not] ‘Will’ is not the sign of the future tense auxiliary to ‘write,’ but the present of the verb ‘to will:’ but I will not to write to thee; I do not care to write. See on John 6:67; John 7:17; John 8:44.

with ink and pen] In the Second Epistle we had ‘with paper and ink.’ The word for ‘pen’ (κάλαμος) occurs in this sense nowhere else in N. T. It signifies the reed, calamus, commonly used for the purpose. In LXX. of Psalm 44:2, ‘My tongue is the pen of a ready writer’, the same word is used; so also in Matthew 11:7 and Revelation 11:1, but in the sense of reed, not of pen.

13, 14. Conclusion

13, 14. The marked similarity to the Conclusion of the Second Epistle is strong evidence that the two letters were written about the same time. See notes on 2 John 1:12-13.

Vers. 13, 14. - 3. CONCLUSION (see notes on 2 John 12, 13). Here the pen or reed κάλαμος is mentioned instead of the paper, as a means of writing. The word is found nowhere else in the New Testament in this sense Note the ἀλλά and the δέ, each with its right force, the former expressing a strongcr opposition than the latter: "I had many things to write to thee; nevertheless, I do not care ἀλλ οὐ θέλω with ink and pen to write to thee: but I hope ἐλπίζω δέ straightway to see thee, and we shall speak mouth to mouth." "The friends" are perhaps so called in contrast to the hostility of Diotrephes and his party. Instead of warfare, "peace be to thee;" instead of the wicked prating of enemies, the salutations of friends. The elder concludes with his own personal salutation to all the members of his flock who reside near to Gaius (comp. John 10:3).

3 John 1:13I had (εἷχον)

The imperfect tense: I was having, when I began to write.

Pen (καλάμου)

Lit., reed. See Matthew 11:7. The staff or scepter placed in mockery in Jesus' hand, Matthew 27:29. A measuring-reed, Revelation 11:1.

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