I was doing some amateur translating of 3 John using the Abridged BDB, and it seems to me that 3 John 1:2 should be translated as

Beloved, I pray that you flourish in all things and are healthy to the degree that your soul flourishes.

Other translations seem to take a less explicit approach to the verse and translate it as:

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. (NIV)

The Greek reads as

Ἀγαπητέ εὔχομαί σε εὐοδοῦσθαι περὶ πάντων καὶ ὑγιαίνειν καθὼς σου ψυχή εὐοδοῦταί

My reasoning goes as such: Ἀγαπητέ is an adjective variant of ἀγαπητῷ and in this context more clearly resolves to “the one I love” or a general term of endearment. εὔχομαί is a first person present passive singular term that translates to pray. To maintain the grammatical structure of the word it will resolve to I pray. σε is a personal second person accusative singular word that translates as you; clearly the Elder is directly praying for Gaius. εὐοδοῦσθαι is a present passive infinitive (untied to tense) verb meaning prosper, succeed. περὶ is a proposition that translates to concerning with, with regard, on account of. Πάντων translates to every, every kind of, the whole, all things. καὶ works similarly to how we use and. ὑγιαίνειν is also a present tense infinitive which means healthy, in good health. καθὼς is a conjunction that translates to according to the manner in which, in the degree that. Σου is a genitive form of σε and therefore implies possession and will translate to your. Ψυχή is a complex word that would normally be translated as soul, life force, animating principle. εὐοδοῦταί is an indicative third person form of εὐοδοῦσθαι implying that the Ψυχή is it’s own thing apart from Γαΐῳ himself; the word translates then also to prosper, succeed.

Am I missing something? Is this just the English sounding different, or did I make a mistake in translating καθὼς with ὑγιαίνειν and Ψυχή?

  • beloved, concerning all things I desire thee to prosper, and to be in health, even as thy soul doth prosper, Young's Literal Translation,
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 23, 2021 at 17:02
  • I am not sure what you are asking here - could you make the question more pointed? Or do you want a confirmation of your thinking? In my judgement, most versions translate this text well and accurately.
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 23, 2021 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


Consider the questions:

What is the difference between ζωὴ and ψυχὴ?

The following translation looks similar to yours:

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

The only difference between the above and your translations seems to be that the ESV seems to simplify the English and make it flow smoother. Thus, your translation looks OK. The ESV was translated by a group of scholars as are many of the translations.

P.S. The reason for point to the question related to ψυχή is it is often translated life. However, with John it tends to mean eternal life which beginnings now for those who believe/depend upon Christ. Thus, translators may leave it as soul to not limit it as only life hear on Earth.
(3 Jn 2, ESV)

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