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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

John 14

Verse 1

Heart [καρδια] . Never used in the New Testament, as in the Septuagint, of the mere physical organ, though sometimes of the vigor and sense of physical life (Acts 14:17; James 5:5; Luke 21:34). Generally, the center of our complex being - physical, moral, spiritual, and intellectual. See on Mark 12:30. The immediate organ by which man lives his personal life, and where that entire personal life concentrates itself. It is thus used sometimes as parallel to yuch, the individual life, and to pneuma the principle of life, which manifests itself in the yuch. Strictly, kardia is the immediate organ of yuch, occupying a mediating position between it and pneuma. In the heart [καρδια] the spirit [πνευμα] , which is the distinctive principle of the life or soul [ψυχη] , has the seat of its activity. Emotions of joy or sorrow are thus ascribed both to the heart and to the soul. Compare John 14:27, "Let not your heart [καρδια] be troubled;" and John 12:27, "Now is my soul [ψυχη] troubled." The heart is the focus of the religious life (Matthew 22:37; Luke 6:45; 2 Timothy 2:22). It is the sphere of the operation of grace (Matthew 13:19; Luke 8:15; Luke 24:32; Acts 2:37; Romans 10:9, Romans 10:10). Also of the opposite principle (John 13:2; Acts 5:3). Used also as the seat of the understanding; the faculty of intelligence as applied to divine things (Matthew 13:15; Romans 1:21; Mark 8:17). Ye believe - believe also [πιστευετε και πιστευετε] . The verbs may be taken either as indicatives or as imperatives. Thus we may render : ye believe in God, ye believe also in me; or, believe in God and ye believe in me; or, believe in God and believe in me; or again, as A. V. The third of these renderings corresponds best with the hortatory character of the discourse.

Verse 2

House [οικια] . The dwelling - place. Used primarily of the edifice (Matthew 7:24; Matthew 8:14; Matthew 9:10; Acts 4:34). Of the family or all the persons inhabiting the house (Matthew 12:25; John 4:53; 1 Corinthians 16:15; Matthew 10:13). Of property (Matthew 23:14; Mark 12:40). Here meaning heaven.

Mansions [μοναι] . Only here and ver. 23. From menw to stay or abide. Originally a staying or abiding or delay. Thus Thucydides, of Pausanias : "He settled at Colonae in Troas, and was reported to the Ephors to be negotiating with the Barbarians, and to be staying there (thn monhn poioumenov, Literally, making a stay) for no good purpose" (i. 131). Thence, a staying or abiding - place; an abode. The word mansion has a similar etymology and follows the same course of development, being derived from manere, to remain. Mansio is thus, first, a staying, and then a dwelling - place. A later meaning of both mansio and monh is a halting - place or station on a journey. Some expositors, as Trench and Westcott, explain the word here according to this later meaning, as indicating the combination of the contrasted notions of progress and repose in the vision of the future. 47 This is quite untenable. The word means here abodes. Compare Homer's description of Priam's palace :

"A palace built with graceful porticoes, And fifty chambers near each other, walled With polished stone, the rooms of Priam's sons And of their wives; and opposite to these Twelve chambers for his daughters, also near Each other; and, with polished marble walls, The sleeping - rooms of Priam's sons - in - law And their unblemished consorts." " Iliad, " 6, 242 - 250.

Godet remarks : "The image is derived from those vast oriental palaces, in which there is an abode not only for the sovereign and the heir to the throne, but also for all the sons of the king, however numerous they may be."

If it were not so, I would have told you [ει δε μη ειπον αν υμιν] . Wyc., If anything less, I had said to you.

I go to prepare, etc. Many earlier interpreters refer I would have told you to these words, and render I would have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. But this is inadmissible, because Jesus says (ver. 3) that He is actually going to prepare a place. The better rendering regards if it were not so, I would have told you, as parenthetical, and connects the following sentence with are many mansions, by means of oti, for or because, which the best texts insert. "In my Father 's house are many mansions (if it were not so, I would have told you), for I go to prepare a place for you."

I go to prepare. Compare Numbers 10:33. Also Hebrews 6:20, "whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus."

A place [τοπον] . See on 11 48. The heavenly dwelling is thus described by three words : house, abode, place.

Verse 3

If I go [εαν πορευθω] . Poreuomai, go, of going with a definite object. See on 8 21.

I will come again [παλιν ερχομαι] . The present tense; I come, so Rev. Not to be limited to the Lord 's second and glorious coming at the last day, nor to any special coming, such as Pentecost, though these are all included in the expression; rather to be taken of His continual coming and presence by the Holy Spirit. "Christ is, in fact, from the moment of His resurrection, ever coming into the world and to the Church, and to men as the risen Lord" (Westcott).

And receive [παραληψομαι] . Here the future tense, will receive. Rev., therefore, much better : I come again and will receive you. The change of tense is intentional, the future pointing to the future personal reception of the believer through death. Christ is with the disciple alway, continually "coming" to him, unto the end of the world. Then He will receive him into that immediate fellowship, where he "shall see Him as He is." The verb paralambanw is used in the New Testament of taking along with (Matthew 4:5; Matthew 17:1; Acts 16:33, on all which see notes) : of taking to (Matthew 1:20; John 14:3) : of taking from, receiving by transmission; so mostly in Paul (Galatians 1:12; Colossians. Galatians 2:6; Galatians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13, etc. See also Matthew 24:40, Matthew 24:41). It is scarcely fanciful to see the first two meanings blended in the use of the verb in this passage. Jesus, by the Spirit, takes His own along with Him through life, and then takes them to His side at death. He himself conducts them to Himself.

I am. See on 7 34.

Verse 4

I go [υπαγω] . Withdraw from you. See on 8 21.

Ye know, and the way ye know [οιδατε, και την οδον οιδατε] . The best texts omit the second ye know, and the and before the way; reading, whither I go ye know the way.

Verse 5

And how can we know [και πως δυναμεθα την οδον ειδεναι] . The best texts substitute oidamen, know we, for dunameqa, can we; reading, how know we the way. So Rev. Some also omit and before how.

Verse 6

I am the way. The disciples are engrossed with the thought of separation from Jesus. To Thomas, ignorance of whither Jesus is going involves ignorance of the way. "Therefore, with loving condescension the figure is taken up, and they are assured that He is Himself, if we may so speak, this distance to be traversed" (Milligan and Moulton). All along the course to the Father 's house they are still with Him.

The truth. As being the perfect revelation of God the Father : combining in Himself and manifesting all divine reality, whether in the being, the law, or the character of God. He embodies what men ought to know and believe of God; what they should do as children of God, and what they should be.

The life. Not only life in the future world. He is "the principle and source of life in its temporal development and future consummation, so that whoever has not received Him into himself by faith, has become a prey to spiritual and eternal death" (Meyer). "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." Compare Colossians 3:4; John 6:50, John 6:51; John 11:25, John 11:26. "I am the way, the truth, and the life. Without the way there is no going; without the truth there is no knowing; without the life there is no living. I am the way which thou shouldst pursue; the truth which thou shouldst believe; the life which thou shouldst hope for" (Thomas a Kempis, "Imitation of Christ," 3 56). On zwh, life, see on 1 4.

Unto the Father. The end of the way.

Verse 7

Had known [εγνωκειτε] . Rather, had learned to know, through my successive revelations of myself.

Ye should have known [εγωκειτε αν] . The same verb as above. Some editors, however, read hdeite, the verb signifying absolute knowledge, the knowledge of intuition and satisfied conviction. If this is adopted, it marks a contrast with the progressive knowledge indicated by ejgnwkeite. See on 2 24.

My Father. Not the Father, as ver. 6. It is the knowledge of the Father in His relation to the Son. Through this knowledge the knowledge of God as the Father, "in the deepest verity of His being," is attained. This latter knowledge is better expressed by oi=da. See on 4 21.

Have seen. See on 1 18.

Verse 9

Have I been [ειμι] . Literally, am I

Known [εγνωκας] . Come to know.

Sayest thou [συ] . Emphatic. Thou who didst say, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write" (i. 46). Omit and before how sayest thou.

Verse 10

Of myself [απ εμαυτου] . Rev., better, from myself. See on 7 17. The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works [ο δε πατηρ ο εν εμοι μενων, αυτος ποιει τα εργα] . The best texts read, oJ de pathr ejn ejmoi menwn poiei ta erga autou; the Father abiding in me doeth His works. Philip doubts whether Christ is in the Father, and the Father in Him. The answer is twofold, corresponding to the two phases of the doubt. His words, spoken not from Himself, are from the Father, and therefore He utters them from within the Father, and is Himself in the Father. His works are the works of the Father abiding in Him; therefore the Father is in Him.

Verse 11

Believe me [πιστευετε μοι] . The plural of the imperative : "believe ye me." Compare believest thou, ver. 10. These words are addressed to the disciples collectively, whose thought Philip had voiced.

Or else [ει δε μη] . Literally, but if not. If you do not believe on the authority of my personal statement.

For the very works' sake [δια τα εργα αυτα] . Literally, on account of the works themselves, irrespective of my oral testimony.

Verse 12

Greater works. Not more remarkable miracles, but referring to the wider work of the apostolic ministry under the dispensation of the Spirit. This work was of a higher nature than mere bodily cures. Godet truthfully says : "That which was done by St. Peter at Pentecost, by St. Paul all over the world, that which is effected by an ordinary preacher, a single believer, by bringing the Spirit into the heart, could not be done by Jesus during His sojourn in this world." Jesus ' personal ministry in the flesh must be a local ministry. Only under the dispensation of the Spirit could it be universal.

Verse 13

In my name. The first occurrence of the phrase. See on Matthew 28:19. Prayer is made in the name of Jesus, "if this name, Jesus Christ, as the full substance of the saving faith and confession of him who prays, is, in his consciousness, the element in which the prayerful activity moves; so that thus that Name, embracing the whole revelation of redemption, is that which specifically measures and defines the disposition, feeling, object, and contents of prayer. The express use of the name of Jesus therein is no specific token; the question is of the spirit and mind of him who prays" (Meyer). Westcott cites Augustine to the effect that the prayer in Christ 's name must be consistent with Christ 's character, and that He fulfills it as Savior, and therefore just so far as it conduces to salvation.

Verse 14

If ye shall ask anything. Some authorities insert me. So Rev. This implies prayer to Christ.

Verse 15

Keep [τηρησατε] . The best tests read thrhsete, ye will keep. Lay up in your hearts and preserve by careful watching. See on reserved, 1 Peter 1:4.

My commandments [τας εντολας τας εμας] . Literally, the commandments which are mine. See on 10 27.

Verse 16

I will pray [ερωτησω] . See on 11 22.

Comforter [παρακλητον] . Only in John's Gospel and First Epistle (xiv. 16, 26; 1Pe 14:26; 1Pe 16:7; 1 Ephesians 2:13. From para, to the side of, and kalew, to summon. Hence, originally, one who is called to another's side to aid him, as an advocate in a court of justice. The later, Hellenistic use of parakalein and paraklhsiv, to denote the act of consoling and consolation, gave rise to the rendering Comforter, which is given in every instance in the Gospel, but is changed to advocate in 1 John 2:1, agreeably to its uniform signification in classical Greek. The argument in favor of this rendering throughout is conclusive. It is urged that the rendering Comforter is justified by the fact that, in its original sense, it means more than a mere consoler, being derived from the Latin confortare, to strengthen, and that the Comforter is therefore one who strengthens the cause and the courage of his client at the bar : but, as Bishop Lightfoot observes, the history of this interpretation shows that it is not reached by this process, but grew out of a grammatical error, and that therefore this account can only be accepted as an apology after the fact, and not as an explanation of the fact. The Holy Spirit is, therefore, by the word paraklhtov, of which Paraclete is a transcription, represented as our Advocate or Counsel, "who suggests true reasonings to our minds, and true courses of action for our lives, who convicts our adversary, the world, of wrong, and pleads our cause before God our Father." It is to be noted that Jesus as well as the Holy Spirit is represented as Paraclete. The Holy Spirit is to be another Paraclete, and this falls in with the statement in the First Epistle, "we have an advocate with God, even Jesus Christ." Compare Romans 8:26. See on Luke 6:24. Note also that the word another is allon, and not eteron, which means different. The advocate who is to be sent is not different from Christ, but another similar to Himself. See on Matthew 6:24. Matthew 6:48 With you [μεθ υμων] . Notice the three prepositions used in this verse to describe the Spirit's relation to the believer. With you [μετα] , in fellowship; by you [παρα] , in His personal presence; in you [εν] , as an indwelling personal energy, at the springs of the life.

Verse 17

The Spirit of Truth. "A most exquisite title," says Bengel. The Spirit, who has the truth, reveals it, by knowledge in the understanding; confers it by practical proof and taste in the will; testifies of it to others also through those to whom He has revealed it; and defends that truth, of which ch. 1 17 speaks, grace and truth.... The truth makes all our virtues true. Otherwise there is a kind of false knowledge, false faith, false hope, false love; but there is no such thing as false truth. "

The world. See on 1 9.

Shall be in you. Some editors read, ejstin, is in you.

Verse 18

Leave [αφησω] . See on 4 3.

Comfortless [ορφανους] . Literally, bereft or orphans. Only here and James 1:27, where it is rendered fatherless. Compare my little children (xiii. 33). "He hath not left us without a rule (xiii. 34); nor without an example (xiii. 15); nor without a motive (xiv. 15); nor without a strength (xv. 5); nor without a warning (xv. 2, 6); nor without a Comforter (xiv. 18); nor without a reward (xiv. 2) (James Ford," The Gospel of St. John Illustrated ").

I will come [ερχομαι] . Present tense, I come. See on ver. 3.

Verse 19

Ye shall live also [και υμεις ζησεσθε] . This may also be rendered, and ye shall live, explaining the former statement, ye behold me. So Rev., in margin. This is better. John is not arguing for the dependence of their life on Christ 's, but for fellowship with Christ as the ground of spiritual vision.

Verse 21

Hath. "Who has in memory and keeps in life" (Augustine).

Will manifest [εμφανισω] . Properly, of manifestation to the sight, as distinguished from dhlow, to make evident to the mind (1 Corinthians 3:13; Colossians 1:8, etc.). A clear, conspicuous manifestation is indicated. Compare ye see me (ver. 19). "It conveys more than the disclosing of an undiscovered presence [αποκαλυπτω] , or the manifesting of a hidden one [φανεροω] " (Westcott).

Verse 22

Judas. See on Thaddaeus, Mark 3:18.

Not Iscariot. The Rev. improves the translation by placing these words immediately after Judas. "He distinguishes the godly Judas, not by his own surname, but by the negation of the other's; marking at the same time the traitor as present again after his negotiation with the adversaries, but as having no sympathy with such a question" (Bengel).

How is it [τι γεγ ονεν] . Literally, what has come to pass. Implying that Judas thought that some change had taken place in Jesus ' plans. He had assumed that Jesus would, as the Messiah, reveal Himself publicly.

Verse 23

My word [λογον μου] . The entire gospel message, as distinguished from its separate parts or commandments.

We will come. Compare John 10:30; Revelation 3:20.

Abode [μονην] . See on ver. 2. Compare 1 John 2:24; 1 John 5:15.

Verse 24

My sayings [λογους] . Rev., words. Compare word, ver. 23. The constituent parts of the one word.

Verse 25

Being yet present [μενων] . Rev., stronger and more literally, while yet abiding.

Verse 26

In my name. See on ver. 13.

He [εκεινος] . Setting the Advocate distinctly and sharply before the hearers. The pronoun is used in John's First Epistle, distinctively of our Lord. See 1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:3, 1 John 3:5, 1 John 3:7, 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:17.

I have said [ειπον] . The aorist tense, I said.

Verse 27

Peace. "These are last words, as of one who is about to go away and says 'good - night ' or gives his blessing" [λυτηερ] . Peace ! was the ordinary oriental greeting at parting. Compare John 20:21.

My peace I give. Compare 1 John 3:1. "It is of his own that one gives" (Godet).

Let it be afraid [δειλιατω] . Only here in the New Testament. Properly it signifies cowardly fear. Rev., fearful. The kindred adjective deilov fearful, is used by Matthew of the disciples in the storm (viii. 26), and in Revelation of those who deny the faith through fear of persecution (xxi. 8). The kindred noun, deilia, occurs only in 2 Timothy 1:7, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear," contrasted with the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.

Verse 28

I said. Omit, and read, ye would have rejoiced because I go unto the Father.

Verse 30

Hereafter I will not talk [ουκ επι λαλησω] . Rev., more correctly, I will no more speak.

The prince of this world. The best texts read, "of the world."

Hath nothing in me. No right nor power over Christ which sin in Him could give. The Greek order is, in me he hath nothing.

Verse 31

But that the world may know, etc. The connection in this verse is much disputed. Some explain, Arise, let us go hence, that the world may know that I love the Father, and that even as the Father commanded me so I do. Others, So I do, that the world may know - and even as the Father, etc. Others, again, take the opening phrase as elliptical, supplying either, he cometh, i e., Satan, in order that the world may know - and that as the Father, etc.; or, I surrender myself to suffering and death that the world may know, etc. In this case, Arise, etc., will form, as in A. V. and Rev., an independent sentence. I incline to adopt this. The phrase ajll' ina, but in order that, with an ellipsis, is common in John. See John 1:8, John 1:31; John 9:3; John 13:18; John 14:25; 1 John 2:19. ===John 15:0


Where the following discourses were uttered is a matter of uncertainty. Some suppose that after the words, Arise, let us go hence, the disciples still lingered at the table. Others, that the discourses were spoken on the way to the Mount of Olives; and others, again, in the court of the temple. Assuming that the figure of the vine was suggested by some external object, that object is explained according to the different views of the scene of the discourses. Those who think that it was the chamber which the company had not yet left, suggest the cup of wine of which they had recently partaken (Meyer); or a vine whose tendrils had crept into the room (Tholuck); or the view of vineyards outside in the light of the moon [στορρ] . Those who assign the discourses to the walk to the Mount of Olives, down to Kedron through the vineyards, draw the figure from the vineyards, and the fires burning along the sides of the Kedron valley in order to consume the vine - cuttings (Lange, Godet). Those who place the discourses in the court of the temple, find the suggestion in the great golden vine over the temple - gate (Westcott, Lampe). Others, again, think that the similitude was not drawn from any external object, but was suggested by the familiar Old Testament symbolism of the vineyard and the vine, as in Psalms 80:8-19; Isaiah 5:1 sqq.; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 19:10 sqq. (So Lucke, Alford, Milligan and Moulton, and Trench).

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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 14". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.