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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

John 20

Verse 2

Loved [εφιλει] . The word for personal affection. In John 13:23; John 21:7, John 21:20, hjgapa is used. See on 5 20.

We know not. The plural indicates that Mary was not alone, though she alone is mentioned as coming to the tomb. She may have preceded the others.

Verse 3

Came to [ηρχοντο εις] . Wrong. The tense is the imperfect; they were coming. Rev., they went toward.

Verse 4

They ran [ετρεχον] . Still the imperfect, they were running. How much the A. V. loses by its persistent ignoring of the force of this tense. Did outrun [προεδραμε ταχιον] . Literally, ran on in front more quickly. Dante, addressing the spirit of John in Paradise says :

"O holy father, spirit who beholdest What thou believedst so that thou o'ercamest, Toward the sepulchre, more youthful feet." " Paradise, " 24 124 - 126.

Verse 5

Stooping down [παρακυψας] . See on James. James 1:25, and compare 1 Peter 1:12. See also Song of Solomon, Song of Solomon 2:9 (Sept.). "He looketh forth [παρακυπτων] at the windows."

Seeth [βλεπει] . Simple sight. Compare the intent gaze of Peter [θεωρει] , ver. 6, which discovered the napkin, not seen by John.

Verse 7

Napkin [σουδαριον] . See on Luke 19:20.

Wrapped together [εντετυλιγμενον] . Rev., much better, rolled up. The orderly arrangement of everything in the tomb marks the absence of haste and precipitation in the awakening and rising from the dead.

Verse 8

Believed. This word is explained by what follows. He believed (at length) that Jesus was risen; for up to this time [ουδεπω] he, with his fellow - disciple (plural, hdeisan) knew not, etc. The singular number, he believed, as Meyer profoundly remarks, "only satisfies the never - to - be - forgotten personal experience of that moment, though it does not exclude the contemporaneous faith of Peter also." On knew [ηδεισαν] , see on 2 24.

Verse 9

The scripture [την γραφην] . The passage of scripture. See on 5 47. The reference may be to Psalms 16:10.

Must. On this necessity attaching in the divine counsel to the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus, see Matthew 26:54; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22; Luke 17:25; Luke 22:37; Luke 24:7, Luke 24:26, Luke 24:44; John 3:14; John 12:34; Acts 1:16.

11 - 18. Compare Mark 16:12, Mark 16:13; Luke 24:13-35.

Verse 11

Stood. Imperfect, was standing, or continued standing, after the two apostles had gone away.

Verse 12

Seeth [θεωρει] . Rev., beholdeth. See on ver. 5.

Angels. Angels are rarely mentioned in John's narrative. See John 1:51; John 12:29; John 20:12.

Verse 13

She saith. She is so absorbed in her grief and love that she is not appalled by the supernatural manifestation which, under ordinary circumstances, would have terrified her, but enters into conversation as if addressed by a human being.

Verse 14

Turned herself back. Canon Westcott, with that beautiful subtilty of perception which so eminently characterizes him, remarks : "We can imagine also that she became conscious of another Presence, as we often feel the approach of a visitor without distinctly seeing or hearing him. It may be, too, that the angels, looking toward the Lord, showed some sign of His coming."

Saw [θεωρει] . Present tense. Rev., beholdeth. She looks at Him steadfastly and inquiringly as at a stranger. The observance of these distinctions between verbs of seeing, is very important to the perception of the more delicate shading of the narrative.

Knew not [ηδει] . Indicating a knowledge based on spiritual fellowship and affinity, an inward, conscious, sure conviction of His identity.

Verse 16

Saith unto Him, Rabboni. Insert, as Rev., after Him, in Hebrew.

Verse 17

Touch me not [μη μου απτου] . The verb, primarily, means to fasten to. Hence it implies here, not a mere momentary touch, but a clinging to. Mary thought that the old relations between her Lord and herself were to be renewed; that the old intercourse, by means of sight, sound, and touch, would go on as before. Christ says, "the time for this kind of intercourse is over. Henceforth your communion with me will be by faith through the Spirit. This communion will become possible through my ascending to the Father."

My Father. The best texts omit the pronoun and read the Father. See on 12 26. This expression, emphasizing the relation of God to humanity rather than to Christ himself, is explained by what follows - "my Father and your Father."

My brethren. The word brethren, applied to the disciples, occurs before (vii. 3, 5, 10), but not the phrase my brethren, which follows from my Father and your Father. Compare Matthew 28:10.

I ascend [αναβαινω] . The present tense is used, not in the sense of the near future, but implying that He had already entered upon that new stage of being which the actual ascension formally inaugurated. The resurrection was really the beginning of the ascension.

Verse 18

Came and told [ερχεται αγγελλουσα] . Literally, cometh telling.

19 - 23. Compare Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:36-49.

Verse 19

Assembled. Omit.

Verse 21

Hath sent [απεσταλκεν] . Note the distinction between this verb and that applied to the sending of the disciples [πεμπω] . See on 1 6.

Verse 22

Breathed on them [ενεφυσησεν] . Only here in the New Testament. The act was symbolic, after the manner of the Hebrew prophets. Compare Ezekiel 37:5.

The Holy Ghost. The article is wanting. The gift bestowed was not that of the personal Holy Spirit, but rather an earnest of that gift; an effusion of the Spirit.

Verse 23

Remit [αφητε] . Only here in this Gospel in connection with sins. Often in the Synoptists (Matthew 6:12; Matthew 9:5; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:23, etc.).

Verse 25

Print [τυπον] . See on 1 Peter 5:3.

Put - thrust [βαλω] . The same verb in both cases. Hence better, as Rev., put for thrust.

I will not [ου μη] . Double negative : in nowise.

Verse 26

Then came Jesus. There is no connecting particle, then, and the verb is in the present tense. The abrupt Jesus cometh is more graphic.

Verse 27

Be not [μη γινου] . Literally, become not. Thomas was in a fair way to become unbelieving, through his doubt of the resurrection.

Faithless - believing [απιστος - πιστος] . There is a correspondence of the words here, to which, perhaps, the nearest approach in English is unbelieving, believing.

Verse 29

Thomas. Omit.

Verse 31

Are written [γεγραπται] . Have been or stand written. The perfect tense. John's intent was to write a gospel rather than a biography.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 20". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.