Originally Posted by Nejifan
A: do you honestly think that something is only true of explicitly stated by a character? There have been more than enough scenes of orochimaru fighting to know that he is capable of quite a bit. On the contrary, we saw the third go all out in his fight against the edo tensei'd kage's and he honestly was not that impressive (the kage's orochi revived were only a fraction of their normal power.) Therefore, it is a reasonable assessment that Orochimaru is stronger than the third hokage. The same reasoning can be applied to the Jiraiya vs Orochimaru idea. It does not require a direct combat scene between the two in order to accurately assess the power each possesses. For example, we know that orochimaru has less chakra than jiraiya. he also has less potent chakra, as, to our knowledge, he does not possess the sage mode that kabuto did. We also know that the only thing orochimaru has summoned in combat is snakes, and manda is dead, whereby the giant toads that jiraiya summons are alive and well. In addition, no jutsu we have ever seen orochimaru use (save for edo tensei) has been as potent as jiraya's sage jutsu. Now, granted, orochimaru DOES have a wider variety, and the ability to grow out of his own skin (ecdysis or something I believe it's called). But jiraiya has both more power and more stamina from what we have scene. Whether that fact was explicitly stated in the manga is completely irrelevant. Not sure why you have such a hard time with that concept.
It's call logical inference based on previous evidence. You should give it a try sometime. The idea that "It's only true if kishimoto said it's true" is no different than saying that the earth is not round until I prove it is. The earth is round no matter if there is evidence or not. If we could look at the other planets, and monitor space, and see that they were round, we could logically infer that the earth is round because that makes the most sense. Whether or not we could actually see that the earth is round is not at all relevant.
B: "Power" is a slightly ambiguous term, however, when you say that so and so is more powerful than so and so, in general, people are referring to the fact that they could defeat them in a 1v1 fight to the death. That is what I am saying Jiraiya is capable of. He could defeat orochimaru if they fought to the death, no holds barred, no items, just their skills.
C: as for sarutobi being the weakest kage, it was already said that he was weaker than the first and second hokage's, because it was said that they were the two strongest (and i'm not quite as sure about this, but I seem to recall that the first and second are nearly on par when it comes to "power"). We also know that the 4th is capable of defeating the 3rd, based on the fact that the third hokage isn't that fast, and that even raikage, with his speed, couldn't do anything to Minato. Therefore, the only possibility is that the 3rd is the weakest of the four.