CSB 3 John 1:14: Peace to you. The friends send you greetings. Greet the friends by name.

mGNT 3 John 1:14: εἰρήνη σοι ἀσπάζονταί σε οἱ φίλοι ἀσπάζου τοὺς φίλους κατ’ ὄνομα

What does he mean by "Greet the friends by name"?

The Greek has κατ’ ὄνομα ("according to name") but I can't picture what that means. Does he mean "See the attached list"? Or does he want them to say "Festus, greetings from Paul". "Claudius, greetings from Paul", etc.)

Or does it simply mean "each"?

What I might have guessed from the English is "Greet the friends in my name" but the κατ’ before ὄνομα makes that unlikely.

The translations vary somewhat.

So what does the elder gentleman want Gaius to do when he says "Greet the friends by name"?


Romans 16 is full of personal greetings.

One of the names is Gaius (the same name as the recipient of the letter) who sends the following "shout out":

KJV Romans 16:23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.


There are several possible understandings of 3 John 14/15 (some versions vary). I have trouble choosing between them.

  1. The "by/according to name" could literally mean just that - greet each individually
  2. Barnes suggests: "Greet the friends by name - That is, each one individually. He remembered them as individuals, but did not deem it proper to specify them."
  3. Gill suggests a slight variation on this: "greet the friends by name; meaning those that were where Gaius lived, to whom the apostle sends his salutation, and desires it might be delivered to each of them, as if they had been mentioned by name."
  4. It is an allusion to the only other occurrence of this phrase "by name" in the NT, John 10:3 where the Good Shepherd call His sheep by name and John wished to do something similar
  5. The New Greek-English Interlinear NT (Tr R K Brown & P W Comfort, Tyndale House, 1990) has an interesting suggestion. "By Name" is shorthand idiom for "name by name", which means "person by person".

I do not know which (if any) of these is most correct and it may be combination. My personal preference is a combination of 3 & 5, but 4 is a distinct possibility.

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