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3 John 1:7

Context
1:7 For they have gone forth 1  on behalf of “The Name,” 2  accepting nothing from the pagans. 3 

1 sn The verb gone forth (ἐξέρχομαι, exercomai) almost certainly refers to some form of missionary activity. This verb is used of Paul’s travels in Acts 14:20, and of his setting out on his second missionary journey in Acts 15:40.

2 sn Three possibilities for the identification of ‘The Name’ have been suggested: (1) the name of God, suggested by the unqualified noun with the Greek article. In Rabbinic literature “the Name” is a frequent substitute for the Tetragrammaton YHWH, the name of God, which was too sacred to be pronounced. This would make good logical sense in 3 John, because in the previous verse the author has instructed Gaius to send the missionaries on their way “in a manner worthy of God.” (2) Some have understood “the Name” as the self-designation of the Johannine community, or as a reference to the Christian cause at large, or as a way of designating Christians before the title “Christian” came into common usage. (3) The interpretation favored by most commentators is that this is a reference to Jesus’ name. Paul uses a similar phrase in Rom 1:5, and in 1 John 2:12 the author wrote, “your sins are forgiven on account of His (Christ’s) name.” John’s Gospel also makes reference to believing “in the name of Jesus” (John 1:12, 3:18).

3 tn The word ἐθνικός (eqniko") occurs only 4 times in the NT (the other three are in Matt 5:47; 6:7; and 18:17). It is virtually synonymous here with the far more common ἔθνος (eqno", used some 162 times in the NT). Both refer to the Gentiles (that is, pagans).

sn Since the issue here is support for the traveling missionaries, and there is no indication that the author would want to forbid receiving support from Gentile converts to Christianity, the word pagans must refer to Gentile unbelievers, i.e., pagans. The traveling missionaries sent out to combat the false teaching of the secessionist opponents have been accepting nothing by way of support from non-Christians.



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