Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

John 17

Verse 1

These words ( ταῦτα )

Literally, these things. So Rev.


John nowhere says that Jesus prayed, as the other Evangelists do.

Thy Son - thy Son ( σοῦ τὸν υἱὸν - ὁ υἱός )

Properly, thy Son - the Son. The second phrase marks a change from the thought of personal relationship to that of the relation in which Jesus manifests the Father's glory.

Verse 2

Power ( ἐξουσίαν )

Rev., rightly, authority. See on John 1:12.

All flesh

A Hebrew phrase, denoting the whole of humanity in its imperfection. See Genesis 6:12; Psalm 65:2; Isaiah 40:5, etc.

That He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him ( ἵνα πᾶν ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ, δώσῃ αὐτοῖς ζωὴν αἰώνιον )

Literally, that all that Thou hast given Him, to them He should give eternal life. All ( πᾶν ), singular number, regards the body of Christian disciples collectively: to them, individually.

Verse 3

Life eternal

With the article: the life eternal. Defining the words in the previous verse. The life eternal (of which I spoke) is this.

That ( ἵνα )

Expressing the aim.

Might know ( γινώσκωσι )

Might recognize or perceive. This is striking, that eternal life consists in knowledge, or rather the pursuit of knowledge, since the present tense marks a continuance, a progressive perception of God in Christ. That they might learn to know. Compare John 17:23; John 10:38; 1 John 5:20; 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:8.

“I say, the acknowledgment of God in Christ

Accepted by thy reason, solves for thee

All questions in the earth and out of it,

And has so far advanced thee to be wise.

Wouldst thou improve this to reprove the proved?

In life's mere minute, with power to use that proof,

Leave knowledge and revert to how it sprung?

Thou hast it; use it, and forthwith, or die.

For this I say is death, and the sole death,

When a man's loss comes to him from his gain,

Darkness from light, from knowledge ignorance,

And lack of love from love made manifest.”

Robert Browning, “A Death in the Desert.”

The relation of perception of God to character is stated in 1 John 3:2, on which see note.

True ( ἀληθινὸν )

See on John 1:9. Compare 1 Corinthians 8:4; 1 Timothy 6:15.

Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent

The Rev. brings out better the emphasis of the Greek order: and Him whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ. Didst send ( ἀπέστειλας ). The aorist tense, emphasizing the historic fact of Christ's mission.

Verse 4

I have glorified - I have finished ( ἐδόξασα - ἐτελείωσα )

The best texts read, τελειώσας , having finished; the participle defining the manner in which He had glorified the Father upon earth. So Rev.

To do ( ἵνα ποιήσω )

Literally, in order that I should do (it ).

Verse 5

With Thyself ( παρὰ σεαυτῷ )

In fellowship with Thyself. So with Thee ( παρὰ σοί ).

I had

Actually possessed.

Verse 8

The words ( τὰ ῥήματα )

Compare thy word ( λόγον ), John 17:6. That signified the gospel message in its entirety. This, the message considered in its constituent parts. See on Luke 1:37. Compare John 5:38, John 5:47; John 6:60, John 6:63, John 6:68; John 8:43, John 8:47, John 8:51; John 12:47, John 12:48; John 15:3, John 15:7.

Verse 9

I pray ( ἐρωτῶ )

More strictly, I make request. See on John 16:23. The I is emphatic, as throughout the prayer.

Verse 10

All mine ( τὰ ἐμὰ πάντα )

All things that are mine. So Rev.

Verse 11

I come ( ἔρχομαι )

I am coming. Spoken of His departure to the Father.

Holy ( ἅγιε )

See on saints, Acts 26:10; also see on 1 Peter 1:15. Compare 1 John 2:20, and righteous Father ( δίκαιε ), John 17:25. This epithet, now first applied to the Father, contemplates God, the holy One, as the agent of that which Christ desires for His disciples - holiness of heart and life; being kept from this evil world.

Those whom ( οὓς )

The correct reading is ᾧ , referring to name. Thy name which Thou hast given me. So in John 17:12. Compare Philippians 2:9, Philippians 2:10; Revelation 2:17; Revelation 19:12; Revelation 22:4.

Verse 12

In the world


I kept ( ἐτήρουν )

Imperfect tense. I continued to keep. The I is emphatic: I kept them, now do Thou keep them.

I kept ( ἐτήρουν )

Rev., rightly, I guarded. The A.V. overlooks the distinction between the two words for keeping. The former word means, I preserved them; the latter, I guarded them as a means to their preservation. See on reserved, 1 Peter 1:4.

Is lost - perdition ( ἀπώλετο - ἀπωλείας )

A play of words: “None of them perished, but the son of perishing ” (Westcott).

The scripture ( ἡ γραφὴ )

See close of note on John 5:47, and see on Mark 12:10.

Verse 15

From the evil ( τοῦ πονηροῦ )

Or, the evil one. This rendering is according to John's usage. See 1 John 2:13, 1 John 2:14; 1 John 3:12; 1 John 5:18, 1 John 5:19; and compare John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11. From ( ἐκ ), literally, out of, means out of the hands of.

Verse 17

Sanctify ( ἁγίασον )

Constantly used in the Septuagint to express the entire dedication and consecration of both persons and things to God. See Exodus 29:1, Exodus 29:36; Exodus 40:13; Leviticus 22:2, Leviticus 22:3. Rev., in margin, consecrate. See on John 10:36.

Through thy truth ( ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ σου )

The best texts omit thy. Through ( ἐν ) is to be rendered literally, in, marking the sphere or element of consecration. Rev., sanctify them in the truth.

Thy word ( ὁ λόγος ο σὸς )

Properly, the word which is thine. See on John 15:9.

Verse 18

Sent ( ἀπέστειλας - ἀπέστειλα )

On a mission. See on Matthew 10:16.


See on John 17:17.

Verse 20

Shall believe ( πιστευσόντων )

The best texts read πιστευόντων , the present participle, that believe. The future body of believers is conceived as actually existing.

On me through their word

The Greek order is, believe through their word on me. “Believe through their word” forms a compound idea.

Verse 21



Verse 24

They - whom ( οὓς )

The best texts read ὃ , that which. The construction is similar to that in John 17:2, “that He should give eternal life,” etc. Like πᾶν , all, in that passage, that which here refers to the body of believers taken collectively.

I will ( θέλω )

See on Matthew 1:19.

My glory

The glory which is mine.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 17". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.