3 Joh 1:1-14 chiastic structure
1a) 3 Joh 1:1-2, Greeting: The Elder, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth: Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers;
1b) 3 Joh 1:3-4, For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth;
1c) 3 Joh 1:5-10, The evil testimony of Diotrephes;
1a) 3 Joh 1:5-6a, Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren + for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church;
1b) 3 Joh 1:6b, If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well;
central axis) 3 Joh 1:7, Because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles;
2b) 3 Joh 1:8, We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth;
2a) 3 Joh 1:9-10, The evil testimony of Diotrephes;
1a) 3 Joh 1:9a, I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them;
1b) 3 Joh 1:9b, Does not receive us;
central axis) 3 Joh 1:10a, Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words;
2b) 3 Joh 1:10b, And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren;
2a) 3 Joh 1:10c, And forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church;
central axis) 3 Joh 1:11, Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God;
2c) 3 Joh 1:12a, Demetrius has a good testimony from all;
2b) 3 Joh 1:12b, And from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true;
2a) 3 Joh 1:13-14, Salutation: I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.
The heart of John’s letter: not to imitate what is evil, but what is good, for good is of God, while evil has no place with God, is surrounded by a comparison and contrast between those whose testimony is good: Gaius, and Demetrius, and those whose testimony is evil, Diotrephes.
Apparently this Diotrephes had exalted himself to a place of authority in the church (1c.2a.1a) issuing orders and accepting or rejecting fellowship with the brethren (1c.2a.2a). It had gotten so bad that Diotrephes did not receive John’s emissaries (1c.2a.1b) or those who bore witness that John and his emissaries were of the truth (1c.2a.2b). Can you imagine exalting yourself above the last living apostle who was one of the original twelve? If John himself is able to come to restore order to the church, it will be by reminding the church of Diotrephes’ evil deeds, in speaking maliciously against himself and the brethren (1c.2a.central axis).
Let the lying lips be put to silence,
Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. Psa 31:18.
So the evil testimony that Diotrephes has, is in both his own evil words, in speaking maliciously against John, but also in the testimony of his evil deeds, that of not receiving the brethren, of putting believers out of the church who would receive them (who, in essence, countermand his false authority), and in exalting himself, loving preeminence, in the first place.
The good testimony that Gaius has is, incidentally, not from his own words. But brethren from the church, when they came to John, told him good things about Gaius (1b, and again in 1c.1a). Likewise, the good testimony that Demetrius has is not from his own words, but from all the others, who speak well of his deeds (2c).
So we see that those who do evil, who have not seen God (nor, we infer, do not have a relationship with Him in Jesus Christ), like Diotrephes, have the testimony of at least two witnesses: his evil words, and his evil deeds, even if others are afraid to speak against him. Those who do good, like Gaius and Demetrius, likewise have the testimony of two witnesses: their good deeds, and the good reports of others about them. And they have a third testimony as well: the silence of their own lips in heaping praise on their own heads.