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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
John 16

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 16

John 16:3. After ποιήσ. Elz. has ὑμῖν, against decisive testimony.

John 16:4. ὤρα] Lachm.: ὤρα αὐτῶν, according to A. B., a few Cursives, Syr.; also L., Cursives, Vulg. It. Arr. Cypr. Aug., who, however, omit the αὐτῶν that follows. This betrays an already ancient variation in the position of the αὐτῶν, which was only at one time original, which, placed before μνημον., was readily drawn to ὥρα, and then also again restored after μνημον. D. 68, Arm. have no αὐτῶν at all, which is explained from its original position after μνημον., in which it appeared superfluous.

John 16:7. ἐὰν γὰρ ἐγώ] ἐγώ, which is wanting in Elz. Tisch., has important testimony against (B.D. L. א.) and for it (A. E. G. H. K. M. U. δ. λ.). It was, however, because unnecessary, and also as not standing in opposition, more readily passed over than added.

John 16:13. εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν] Lachm.: εἰς τὴν ἀλήθ. πᾶσαν (A. B. Y. Or. Eus.); Tisch.: ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ πάσῃ (D. L. א. Cursives, Verss. Fathers). The reading of Lachm. has stronger attestation, and is, in respect of the position of the words, supported by the reading of Tisch., which latter may have arisen through a comparison of the construction of ὁδηγ. with ἐν in the LXX. (Psalms 86:10; Psalms 119:35, et al.; Sap. John 9:11, John 10:17).

John 16:15. λαμβάνει] Elz.: λήψεται, against decisive testimony; from John 16:14.

John 16:16. οὐ] B. D. L. λ. א. Curss. Verss. (including Vulg. It.) Or. et al.: οὐκέτι. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. An interpretation in conformity with John 16:10; John 14:19.

ὅτι ὑπάγω πρὸς τ. πατ.] is wanting in B. D. L. Copt. Sahid. Cant. 16 :Verc. Corb. Bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch. An addition from John 16:17, whence also the ἐγώ in Elz. after ὅτι,—which ἐγώ, however, is in John 16:17, with Lachm. and Tisch., to be deleted, in conformity with A. B. L. M. λ. א. Curss. Verss., since it is supported by only very weak testimony in the above addition in John 16:16.

John 16:19. After ἔγνω, Elz. Lachm. have οὖν. A connective addition, instead of which δέ is also found.

John 16:20. The second δέ has been justly deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. in conformity with B. D. λ. א. 1, It. Copt. Arm. Syr. Goth. Cypr. It was added in mechanical repetition of the antithesis.

John 16:22. The order νῦν μὲν οὖν λύπ. ἔχ. is, with Tisch., to be preferred on preponderating testimony. But instead of ἔχετε, read with Lachm. ἔξετε, after A. D. L. Curss. Verss. Fathers; the present was mechanically introduced after ἔχει, John 16:21, and on occasion of the νῦν.

αἴρει] Lachm.: ἀρεῖ, according to B. D.* γ. Vulg. Codd. It. Cypr. Hil. Explanatory alteration in accordance with the preceding futures.

John 16:23. ὅτι ὅσα ἄν] Many variations. As original appears the reading in A., τι ἄν (so Lachm. in the margin), in connection with which copyists were induced, through the preceding λέγω ὑμῖν, to take OTI (differently from John 14:13) recitatively, which thus led to the readings ἄν τι (so Lachm. and Tisch., comp. John 20:23), ἐάν τι, ὅσα ἄν, and thus the ὅτι, which had now become superfluous, disappeared in many copies (not א., which has ὅτι ἄν).

ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. μου] is placed by Tisch. after δώσειμε͂ ν, in conformity with B. C.* L. X. Y. δ. א. Sahid. Or. Cyr. Rightly; the ordinary position after πατέρα is determined by John 14:13, John 15:16, and appeared to be required by John 16:24.

John 16:25. Before ἔρχεται, Elz. and Lachm. (the latter in brackets) have ἀλλʼ, contrary to important testimony. A connective addition.

Instead of ἀναγγελῶ, ἀπαγγελῶ is, with Lachm. and Tisch., to be adopted on decisive testimony. The former flowed from John 16:13-15.

John 16:27. θεοῦ] B. C.* D. L. X. א.** Verss. Cyr. Did.: πατρός. A gloss by way of more precise definition (Verss. have: a deo patre).

John 16:28. παρά] Lachm. and Tisch.: ἐκ, which is sufficiently attested by B. C.* L. X. Copt. Epiph. Hil. (in D. is wanting ἐξῆλθονπατρός), and, in conformity with what immediately precedes, was dislodged by παρά.

John 16:29. παῤῥησ.] Lachm. and Tisch.: ἐν παῤῥησ., in conformity with B. C. D. א. Rightly; ἐν, because unnecessary, after John 16:25, came to be dropped, and the more readily after νυν.

John 16:32. νῦν] is, in conformity with decisive testimony, with Lachm. and Tisch., to be deleted.

John 16:33. ἔχετε] So also Tisch. But Elz. Lachm.: ἕξετε only, after D. Verss. (including Vulg. It.) and Fathers. The present is so decisively attested, that the future appears to be simply a closer definition of the meaning (comp. John 16:22).


Verse 1

John 16:1. ταῦτα λελάλ. ὑμῖν] As the same expression, John 15:11, pointed back to the preceding section, John 16:1-10, and then ταῦτα ἐντέλλομαι ὑμῖν, John 16:17, to John 16:11-16, so here ταῦτα λελ. ὑμ. refers to John 15:18-27, so that the substantial contents of this section are intended, namely, that which had been said of the hatred of the world.

ἵνα μὴ σκανδαλ.] Comp. Matthew 13:21; Matthew 24:10; Matthew 11:6. Prepared beforehand, and armed by Christ’s communications, they were not to be made to stumble at Him, but were to oppose to the hatred of the world all the greater efficiency and constancy of faith.


Verse 2-3

John 16:2-3. Of the ταῦτα, John 16:1, He now gives certain concrete manifestations, which might tend to their becoming offended.

ἀποσυναγ.] See on John 9:22, John 12:42.

ἀλλʼ] At, i.e. nay, further! it introduces the antithesis of a yet far heavier, of a bloody fate. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 7:11. To take ἀποσυναγ. ποιήσ. ὑμ. interrogatively (Ewald), is unnecessarily artificial.

ἵνα] That which will take place in the ὥρα is conceived as the object of its coming: there is coming an hour, in order that, etc. Comp. on John 12:23.

πᾶς ἀποκτ., κ. τ. λ.] that every one, who shall have put you to death, may think that he offers a sacrificial service to God (namely, through the shedding of your blood). On λατρεία, cultus (Plat. Apol. p. 23 C, Phaedr. p. 224 E Romans 9:4), here, by means of the προσφέρειν, the standing word used of sacrifices (see Matthew 5:23; Matthew 8:4; Acts 7:32; Hebrews 5:1; Schleusner, Thes. IV. p. 504), in the special reference of sacrificial divine service, comp. Romans 13:1; Hebrews 9:1; Hebrews 9:6. The maxim of Jewish fanaticism is well known (and how often was the pagan enmity against the apostles no better!): “Omnis effundens sanguinem improborum, aequalis est illi, qui sacrificium facit,” Bammidbar Rabba, f. 329. 1. On this δοκεῖν, comp. Saul’s example, Acts 26:9; Galatians 1:13-14.

On John 16:3, comp. John 15:21. Jesus once more recalls with profound sadness this tragic source of such conduct, the inexcusableness of which, however, He had already decisively brought to light (John 15:22 ff.). The supposed purpose of making the adversaries contemptible in the eyes of the disciples (Calvin, Hengstenberg) must have been indicated had it existed.


Verse 4

John 16:4. ἀλλά] At, breaks off the enumeration (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 15). Jesus will not go further into details, and recurs to the thought in John 16:1. The explanation: “although it is not to be expected otherwise, I have nevertheless foretold it to you” (Lücke, De Wette), is the less agreeable to the text, since ταῦτα λελάλ. had just been already said, and that without any antithetic reference of the kind. The explanations of Tholuck and Lange, again, are importations: “but so little would I terrify (?) you hereby, that I have only (?) said it to you,” etc.

ταῦτα] What was said in John 16:2-3.

αὐτῶν, ὅτι ἐγὼ εἶπ. ὑμ.] Attraction. See Winer, p. 581 f. [E. T. p. 665 ff.]

ἐγώ] with weighty emphasis: I, the Person, with whom your faith is concerned. Comp. John 16:1, ἵνα μὴ σκανδαλ.

ἐξ ἀρχῆς] John 15:27. The question, how this declaration of Jesus may be reconciled with the announcements found in the Synoptics, even from the time of the Sermon on the Mount, of predestined sufferings (Matthew 5:10 ff.; Luke 6:22 ff.; Matthew 10:16 ff.; Luke 12:4 ff.; Matthew 21:12 ff; Matthew 24:9), is not solved by saying that here φοβερώτερα ἐκείνων (Euth. Zigabenus, comp. also Chrysostom) are announced (see, on the contrary, Matthew 10:16-18; Matthew 10:28); or that Christ spoke at an earlier period minus aperte et parcius (Bengel, comp. Grotius), and in much more general terms (Ebrard), but now more expressly set forth in its principles the character of the world’s attitude towards the disciples (Tholuck, comp. Lange); or, that He has now stated more definitely the cause of the hatred (Lampe); or, that He utters it here as a parting word (Luthardt); or even, that at an earlier period, because the thoughts of the disciples had not yet dwelt upon it, it was “for them as good as not said” (Hengstenberg); but the difference lies clearly before us, and is simply to be recognised (comp. also Godet), to be explained, however, from the fact that in the Synoptics more general and less definite allusions belonging to the earlier time appear with the more definite form and stamp of later expressions. The living recollection of John must here also preponderate as against the Synoptics so that his relation to theirs here is that of a corrector.

ὅτι μεθʼ ὑμῶν ἤμην] It would have been unnecessary in the time of my personal association with you, since it is not till after my departure that your persecution (up to that time the hatred of the world affected Himself) is to commence. “Because you have me with you, they cannot well but leave you in peace, and can do nothing to you, they must have done it to me previously, but now it will begin,” etc., Luther. Comp. Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus, Grotius. As yet they had suffered no persecution; hence the thought, “I could console you” (Lücke, De Wette, and older expositors), is not to be introduced. The interpretation also: “now first, when I promise you the Spirit, can I thus openly speak to you” (Bengel, Tholuck), is not in harmony with the words.


Verse 5-6

John 16:5-6. Now, however, this my μεθʼ ὑμᾶν εἶναι is past! Now I go away to Him who has sent me, and in what a mood of mind are you at the prospect of this my impending departure! None of you asks me: whither dost Thou go away? but because I have spoken this to you, namely, that after my departure such sufferings shall befall you, grief has filled your heart, so that you have become quite dumb from sorrow, and blunted to the higher interest which lies in my going home to Him who sent me. According to De Wette and Lücke, there is said to be a want of exactness in the entire presentation, resting on the fact that John 16:6 does not stand before καὶ οὐδείς. The incorrectness of this assumption, in itself quite unnecessary, lies in this, that the first proposition of John 16:5 is thus completed: “But now at my departure I could not keep silence concerning it,” by which the 6th verse is anticipated. According to Kuinoel and Olshausen, a full point should be placed after πέμψ. με, and a pause is to be assumed, in which Jesus in vain awaited a question, so that He continued subsequently with an interrogation: “Nullusne vestrum me amplius interrogat, quo abiturus sim?” But the assumption of pauses (others, including De Wette, make the pause after John 16:5) is, when the correlation of the conjunctions is so definitely progressive, unwarranted.

The fact that already in John 13:36 the question had been put by Peter ποῦ ὑπάγεις (comp. the question of Thomas, John 14:5), does not stand in contradiction with the present passage; but Jesus censures simply the degree of distress, which they had now reached, in which none among them fixed his eye on the goal of the departing One, and could come to a question for more definite information respecting it.

λύπη] simply, in abstracto: sadness.


Verse 7

John 16:7. Nevertheless, how should you raise yourselves above this λύπη! How is my departure your own gain! By its means the Paraclete indeed will be imparted to you as a support against the hatred of the world.

ἐγώ] in the consciousness of this personal guarantee.

ἵνα ἐγὼ ἀπέλθω] ἐγώ in contradistinction to the Paraclete, who is to come in His place (John 14:16); ἵνα expresses the δεῖ as divinum, as in John 11:50. On the dependence of the mission of the Paraclete upon the departure of Jesus, see on John 7:39.


Verse 8

John 16:8.(171) The threefold ministry of the Paraclete towards the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. Thus will He be your counsel against the κόσμος!

ἐλέγξει] convict, namely, through His testimony of me, John 15:26. This ἔλεγξις, of which the apostles were to be the bearers in their office, is the activity which convinces the person concerned (arguendi ratio exprobans), which reveals to him his unrighteousness, and puts him to shame (John 3:20, John 8:9; John 8:46; 1 Corinthians 14:24; Titus 1:9; Matthew 18:15; Luke 3:19, et al.), and the consequence of which may be in the different subjects either conversion (1 Corinthians 14:24), or hardening and condemnation (Acts 24:25; Romans 11:7 ff.). To apprehend it only of the latter side of the matter (Erasmus and many others, including De Wette, Brückner, and especially Wetzel, following the Fathers), is not justified by περὶ κρίσεως, since the κρίσις is intended, not of the κόσμος, but of the devil, and stands opposed to the Johannean view of the deliverance of the world through Christ; the unbelieving world (John 16:9) is to be convicted of the sin of unbelief; and this, to him who is not hardened, is the way to faith (comp. John 17:20-21), and therewith to separation from the world. Godet well designates the threefold ἔλεγξις as the moral victory of the Spirit through the preaching of the apostles. As the first prominent example, see the discourse of Peter, Acts 2, with its consequences.

περὶ ἁμαρτίας, κ. τ. λ.] The objective contents of the ἔλεγξις set forth separately in three parts (themata). See, respecting the individual points, on John 16:9-11.


Verse 9

John 16:9. First part: in reference to sin He will convince them. The more exact definition, as to how far He will convince them περὶ ἁμαρτίας; so far as they, namely ( ὅτι, equivalent to εἰς ἐκεῖνο ὅτι, John 2:18, John 9:17, John 11:51), do not believe on me, which He will reveal to them as sin, and will bring them to a consciousness of guilt; ὅτι ἁμαρτάνουσι μὴ πιστεύνοτες ἔτι, Euth. Zigabenus. Following Calvin (comp. already Apollinarius, Ammonius, and also Luther), De Wette and Brückner (comp. also Ebrard) interpret not of the conviction of sin, so far as the unbelief of the world will be brought to its consciousness as sin, but of sin generally (“qualis in se sit hominum natura,” Calvin), of the condition under the wrath of God, in which the world, as opposed to the ever-increasing multitude of believers, who are victorious through the power of truth, appears involved, because it does not believe, for faith is the bond between the sinful world and God. Comp. Lange, who understands the rejection of Christ as the essential manifestation of all sin, as also Wetzel and Godet; which, however, does not correspond to the simplicity of the words.(172) On the ἔλεγξις of the world περὶ ἁ΄αρτ., and that with regard to its converting power, comp. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25. Tholuck makes out of the simple ἁ΄αρτίας the guilt of sin, and that the unpardonable (John 9:41).

Note further that ὅτι is the exponent, not of ἁ΄αρτίας, but of ἐλέγξει περὶ ἁ΄.


Verse 10

John 16:10. The second particular: in reference to righteousness, accordingly to the opposite of ἁμαρτία. As, however, in ἁμαρτίας the subject is the world itself, the ἔλεγξις of which is described, so the subject of δικαιοσύνη is Christ; hence the more exact definition: so far as I, namely, go to my Father, and you see me no more; δικαίου γὰρ γνώρισμα τὸ πορεύεσθαι πρὸς τὸν θεὸν κ. συνεῖναι αὐτῷ, Euth. Zigabenus; δικαιοσύνη, since it thus, in virtue of the context, is necessarily an attribute of Christ, denotes His guiltlessness and holy moral perfection. The unbelieving held Him to be an ἁμαρτωλός (comp. John 9:24), and put Him to death as such (John 18:30); He was, however, the δίκαιος (1 John 2:1; 1 John 2:29; 1 John 3:7; comp. Acts 3:14; Acts 7:52; 1 Peter 3:18), and was proved to be such by the testimony of the Paraclete, in virtue of which the apostles preached the exaltation of Christ to the Father (comp. Acts 2:33 ff.), and thereby the world was convicted as guilty περὶ δικαιοσύνης, the opposite of which the unbelieving assumed in Christ, and thought to be confirmed by the σκάνδαλον of His cross. So substantially Chrysostom and his successors, Beza, Maldonatus, Bengel, Morus, Tittmann, and several others, including Lücke, Klee, Olshausen, De Wette, B. Crusius, Maier, Godet, Baeumlein. Since, according to the analogy of the remaining parts, Christ must be the subject of δικαιοσύνη, then already on this ground we must reject not only the interpretation of Grotius of the compensatory justice of God,(173) and that of the Socinians and Kuinoel, quod jus et fas est (Matthew 12:15), but also that of Augustine, Erasmus, Luther,(174) Melanchthon, Calvin, Calovius, Jansen, Lampe, Storr, Hengstenberg, and several others, that the righteousness of man through faith in the Pauline sense is intended,(175) which also De Wette (with the modification that it is its victorious power in the world which is spoken of) inappropriately mixes up with the other interpretation. The form which Luthardt gives to the interpretation of Augustine, etc., that the passage does not indeed express that Christ has by means of His departure acquired righteousness, but rather that He has rendered righteousness possible, because faith in Himself as invisible, is likewise opposed by the fact that Christ would not be the subject to which δικαιοσύνη was ascribed; and it contains, moreover, too artificial a reflection, which is not even appropriate, since faith in Christ cannot be conditioned by His invisibility, although faith must exist in spite of the invisibility of Christ (John 20:29). The thought is rather: “The fact that I go to the Father, and that I shall then be removed from your eyes, will serve to the Spirit in His ἔλεγξις of the world as a demonstration of the fact that I am δίκαιος.”(176) And thus the by no means idle, but tender and sympathetic expression, κ. οὐκέτι δεωρεῖτέ με, as denoting the translation into the invisible world, is an outflow of the thoughtful and feeling interest of Jesus in the approaching pain of separation which the disciples were to experience, to whom this grief, in view of the higher object of that ἔλεγξις of the world, could not be spared. A reference to the scorn of the world to be expected on the removal of Jesus, as if He were thereby to be manifested an impostor (Linder, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1867, p. 514 ff.), is remote from the connection. De Wette’s remark is incorrect: that κ. ὑμεῖς θεωρεῖτέ με was rather to be expected. That must have been expected if, with Tholuck, it had to be explained of the moral purity (= ζωή) only to be found in Christ, the revelation of which was completed by the spiritual communication of the exalted One, who now may be contemplated spiritually instead of bodily. But thus all essential points would have been read between the lines.


Verse 11

John 16:11. If the Paraclete by means of His testimony convinces the world of its sin of unbelief, and of Christ’s righteousness, then the third ἔλεγξις also cannot be wanting, which must refer to him, who rules the unbelieving world, and is the original enemy of Christ and His kingdom, to the devil. He is judged, i.e. actually condemned, by the fact that Christ has accomplished His world-redeeming work, whereby in truth every one who becomes a believer is withdrawn from the sway of the devil, so that his cause in and with the fulfilment of the redemptive work is objectively a lost one. Comp. on John 12:30-31. Of this the Paraclete will penally convict the world, dependent on the dominion of the devil, in order that the world, in acknowledgment of the sinfulness of its unbelief (John 16:9), and of the holy righteousness of the Christ rejected by it (John 16:10), may turn its back in penitence on the prince of the world, over whom already sentence has been pronounced (John 16:10). Thus, by means of the apostolic preaching is accomplished on the κόσμος the officium Spiritus s. elenchticum.

NOTE.

The three more precise definitions with ὅτι (John 16:9-11) express the relations from the standpoint of the presence of the speaker. Hence, in John 16:9, the present πιστεύουσιν (which was altered at a very early period—so Vulg. and It.—into ἐπίστευσαν); hence also in John 16:10 the present ὑπάγω and the second person θεωρεῖτε, because Jesus is speaking to the disciples, and it is in fact His departure from them which is filling His mind, which lively directness of style De Wette unjustly criticizes as surprisingly inappropriate; hence, finally, in John 16:11 the perfect κέκριται, because Jesus sees Himself at the end of His work, and therewith the actual condemnation of Satan already completed and secured. Comp. John 16:33.


Verse 12

John 16:12. Jesus breaks off, and states the reason.

πολλά] Much, that belongs to the entirety of the divine ἀλήθεια (John 16:13). That He means only further developments (Luther, Melanchthon, and many others, including Lücke, De Wette), is not to be deduced (see in loc.) from John 15:15, comp. John 14:26. Nevertheless, the portions of doctrine themselves, which may belong to the πολλά, although they are in general to be sought for in the letters and discourses of the apostles, cannot be completely determined; but neither are they, with Grotius (comp. Beza), to be limited to the “cognitio eorum, quae ad ecclesias constituendas pertinent” (spirituality of the kingdom of Christ, abolition of the law, apostolic decrees), because we are not fully acquainted with the instructions of Jesus to His disciples. In general, it is certain that information respecting the further development of His work, and particularly matters of knowledge which, as history attests, still necessitated special revelation, as the immediate calling of the Gentiles, Acts 10, and eschatological disclosures like 1 Corinthians 15:51, Romans 11:25, 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ff., form part of their contents. The non-apostolical Apocalypse (against Hengstenberg and others), as likewise the ἀποκαλύψεις granted to Christian prophets in the N. T., are here, where Jesus is concerned with the circle of apostles, left out of consideration. Augustine, however, is already correct generally: “cum Christus ipse ea tacuerit, quis nostrum dicat: illa vel illa sunt?” Since, however, we cannot demonstrate that even the oral instruction of the apostles was completely deposited in their writings (especially as undoubted epistles are lost, while very few of the original apostles left behind them any writing), Tradition in and of itself (in thesi) cannot be rejected, although its reality in regard to given cases (in hypothesi) can never be proved, and it must therefore remain generally without normative validity. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 11:34. In opposition to tradition, Luther limited πολλά, in entire contradiction of the context, to the sufferings that were to be endured.

ἔχω] I have in readiness, John 8:6; 2 John 1:12; 3 John 1:13.

βαστάζειν] That which is too heavy, for the spiritual strength, for understanding, temper, strength of will, cannot be borne. Comp. Kypke, I. p. 404 f. On the thing: 2 Corinthians 3:2. Note, further, Bengel’s appropriate remark, to the effect that the Romish traditions can least be borne by those who have the Spirit.

ἄρτι] at the end, as in John 13:33.


Verse 13

John 16:13. τὸ πν. τ. ἀλ.] See on John 14:17.

ὁδηγ. ὑμ. εἰς τ. ἀλ. πᾶσαν] He will be to you a guide into all the truth. Comp. John 16:23; πᾶσαν, according to its position after τ. ἀλ. (see critical notes), does not belong to the verb, as if it expressed the complete introduction (Lücke), but describes, as in John 5:22, divine truth in its entirety, according to its collective contents. Comp. John 5:22 : τ. κρίσιν πᾶσαν, Plat. Theaet. p. 147 E, τὸν ἀριθμὸν πάντα δίχα διελάβομεν; Krüger, § 50. 11. 11. As to the thing, πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν, Mark 5:33 (Krüger on Thuc. vi. 87. 1), would not be different; only in the present passage, ἀλήθεια is the idea immediately prominent.

οὐ γὰρ, κ. τ. λ.] Reason, from the origin and compass of His communications.

ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ] αὐτοκέλευστος, ἀνήκοος, Nonnus. This negative definition is, indeed, the denial of anything conceived of after a human manner, which absolutely cannot be (“spiritus enim, qui a semet ipso loquitur, non spiritus veritatis, sed spiritus est mendacii,” Ruperti; comp. already Ignatius, ad Eph. interpol. 9), but serves completely to set forth the unity of the Spirit’s teaching with that of the Lord.(177) Comp. John 5:19.

ὅσα ἂν ἁκούσῃ] All, whatsoever He shall have heard from God, so that He will withhold from you nothing of that which has been divinely heard by Him.(178) The Spirit, however, hears from God not externally as a Subject separated from God, but (comp. 1 Corinthians 2:11) through an interna acceptio; for He is in God, and proceeds from Him, John 15:26. That the hearing from God, not from Christ (Olshausen, Kling, B. Crusius, Luthardt, Hengstenberg, Godet: from both), is meant, is to be already assumed on account of the absolute ἀκούσῃ, and John 16:15 renders it certain. On ἀκούσῃ itself, comp. also Luther: “The faith must make its way universally over all creatures, and not cleave to thoughts of listening to bodily preaching, but lay hold of a preaching, word, and hearing in essence.”

τὰ ἐρχόμενα] So that you, through the ἀποκάλυψις of the Spirit, will also become acquainted with the future ( δʼ ἐρχομένα μοῖρα, Soph. Trach. 846), the knowledge of which belongs to the whole ἀλήθεια (particularly the eschatological developments). Comp. Isaiah 41:22-23; Isaiah 44:7; Isaiah 45:11 : τὰ ἐπερχόμενα. Further, τὰ ἐρχόμενα belongs also to that denoted by ὅσα ἂν ἀκούσῃ and is related to it as species to genus, so that καί brings into relief from that which is general, something further that is particular.


Verse 14-15

John 16:14-15. For me, with a view to glorify me ( ἐμέ, with emphasis), will the Paraclete, as is said in John 16:13, operate, for the advancement of my δόξα among men, since He will announce to you nothing else than what is mine, what according to the identity of substance is my truth, of which I am the possessor and disposer.(179) Justly do I designate the divine truth, which He is to announce, as my property, since all that the Father has, i.e. according to the context, the whole truth possessed by the Father (Colossians 2:3), belongs properly to me, as to the Son, who was in intuitive fellowship with the Father (John 1:18), went forth from the Father (John 8:42), was consecrated (John 10:36) and sent for the accomplishment of His work, and, moreover, continually lives and moves in the Father, and the Father in Him. Comp. John 17:10. Calvin, in opposition to the ontological interpretation, well observes, that Christ speaks: “de injuncto sibi erga nos officio.” Note further, the emphatic, all-embracing πάντα ὅσα, κ. τ. λ., as major premiss in the argument from the universal to the particular; hence all the less is John 16:14 to be referred, with Grotius and Hengstenberg, merely to the announcement of what is future.

λαμβάνει] Conceived as a constant relation.


Verse 16

John 16:16. Soon, after a short separation, will this arrival of the Paraclete, and in it our spiritual reunion, take place. Comp. John 14:19.

κ. ὄψεσθέ με] As in John 14:18-19, not to be referred to the resurrection (as Lange, Ebrard, Hengstenberg, Ewald, Weiss still maintain, in spite of John 16:23, comp. with Acts 1:5-6), nor to the Parousia,(180) but to the spiritual vision of Christ in the ministry of the Paraclete, which they experience, and that without any double meaning. See on John 14:18.

Were ὅτι ὑπάγω πρὸς τ. πατ. genuine (but see the critical notes), it would assign the reason for the promise ὄψεσθέ ΄ε, since the seeing again here intended is conditioned by the departure to the Father (John 16:7).


Verse 17-18

John 16:17-18. Jesus makes a pause; some of His disciples ( ἐκ τ. μαθ. αὐτ. sc. τινές, as in John 7:40) express (in a whisper) to one another, how enigmatic this language, John 16:16, is to them. They indicate, accordingly (John 16:18), the μικρόν that was mentioned as the point of unintelligibility: “what shall this be, what does He mean by μικρόν?” Note τοῦτο placed first with emphasis, as well as the article with μικρόν, pointing backwards.

καὶ ὅτι ὑπάγω πρ. τ. πατ.] ὅτι is recitative. Since the words in John 16:16 are not genuine, we must assume that the disciples place what Jesus said in John 16:10, in connection with these enigmatic words, John 16:16, and here take up along with the point there expressed in their seeing Him no more:

ὑπάγω πρ. τ. πατ.—in order to receive an explanation regarding it, probably feeling that this explanation must necessarily serve for the clearing up of the obscure words before them.


Verse 19

John 16:19. Jesus observes what they would ask (comp. John 6:6), and extracts from them (as one who knows the heart, John 2:25; see subsequently John 16:30) the inquiry, not, however, setting aside the point, which they had also introduced from His earlier discourse ( ὑπάγω πρ. τ. π.), but deferring it till the solemn conclusion of His instruction, John 16:28.


Verses 20-22

John 16:20-22. He gives no explanation of the meaning, but depicts the interchange of sorrow and joy, which the not seeing and seeing again will bring with them. In this way they might, with the correct apprehension and hope, advance towards the approaching development.

κλαύσετε κ. θρηνήσ. ὑμεῖς] ὑμεῖς with peculiar emphasis, moved to the end, and placed immediately before δὲ κόσμ. The mourning and lamentation, this loud outburst of the λύπη of the disciples over the death of Jesus (not: “over the community of Christ given up to death,” Luthardt), becomes yet more tragic through the contrast of the joy of the world.

εἰς χαρὰν γενήσεται] will be turned into joy, namely, when that ὄψεσθέ με takes place.

John 16:21. γυνή] the woman; the article is generic, comp. δοῦλος, John 15:15.

ὅταν τίκτῃ] when she is on the point of bringing forth.

ὥρα αὐτῆς] her hour of distress, ὥρα βαρυώδινος, Nonnus. Comp. afterwards τῆς θλίψεως, which denotes the distress during the occurrence of birth.

ἄνθρωπος] a man. In this lies a self-consciousness of the maternal joy.

εἰς τὸν κόσμ.] born and therewith come into the world (John 1:9, John 18:37). An appeal to the Rabbinical בוֹא בעוֹלָם is not required.

The picture of the woman bringing forth, to set forth the sorrow which issues in joy, is also frequent in the O. T. (Isaiah 21:3; Isaiah 26:17; Isaiah 66:7; Hosea 13:13; Micah 4:9-10). Its importance in the present passage Jesus Himself states, John 16:22, definitely and clearly, and in regard to it no further exposition is to be attempted. In accordance with this view, the grief and the joy of the disciples is the sole thing depicted, not also the passage of Christ through death to life (Brückner), as the birth of the new fellowship for the disciples, and the like. There is much arbitrary interpretation in Chrysostom, Apollinarius, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Ruperti, and several others, including Olshausen, according to whom the death of Christ is said to appear as the sorrowful birth-act of humanity, out of which the God-man comes forth, glorified to the eternal joy of the whole; even in De Wette the living Christ is subjectively a child of the spiritual productivity of the disciples. Similarly Tholuck, also Lange, in conformity with his explanation of Christ’s resurrection, understanding this as involving the birth of the new humanity out of the birth-sorrow of the theocracy; comp. Ebrard, who finds depicted the resurrection of the Lord as the birth of the community, which is begotten and suckled from His heavenly life. Since, further on, the Parousia is not referred to, and the ὑμεῖς, John 16:22, are the disciples, we must not, with Luthardt, explain it of the passage of the community into the state of glorification at the future coming of Christ (Revelation 21:4), so that the community is to be thought of as “bringing forth in its death-throes the new state of things.”

John 16:22. According to the amended reading (see the critical notes): you also will consequently (corresponding to this παροιμία) now indeed (over my death, which is immediately impending) have sorrow; but again I shall see you, etc. That here Christ does not again say ὄψεσθέ με, as in John 16:19, is only a change in the correlate designation of the same fact (Godet’s explanation is an artificial refinement, which, expressed in John 16:19; John 16:22 according to both its aspects, is, by means of vers. 23 and 25, obviously designated, neither as the Parousia,(181) nor as the return by the resurrection, or at least as taking its beginning from this (see on John 14:18), but as the communication of the Paraclete). The exalted Christ, returning to them and the Holy Ghost, sees them again.

αἴρει] represents the certain future as present. Climax of the representation. Then your joy will be incapable of being taken from you, on account of the renewed fellowship, like this itself (Matthew 28:20).


Verse 23-24

John 16:23-24. Happy result of this spiritual reunion in reference to the disciples’ official relationship: illuminationgranting of prayer.

ἐν ἐκείνῃ τ. ἡμ.] On the day that I shall again be seen by you (spiritually), not: “if the disciples shall spiritually have given birth in themselves to the living Christ” (De Wette); not: on the never-ending day which is to begin with Easter in their souls (Lange), to which the interpretations of Ebrard and Hengstenberg also substantially amount, comp. Brückner.

ἐμὲ οὐκ ἐρωτ. οὐδέν] Because, that is, the enlightenment through the Paraclete will secure you so high a sufficiency of divine knowledge, that you would have no need to question me (note the emphatic ἐμέ) about anything (as hitherto has been the case so frequently and so recently, John 16:19). The discourse of Peter, Acts 2:14 ff., is a living testimony of this divine certainty here promised, which took the place of the want of understanding.(182) Chrysostom, Grotius, and several others, including Weizsäcker and Weiss, incorrectly take ἐρωτ. to mean pray. Comp. John 16:19; John 16:30.

ἀμὴν ἀμὴν, κ. τ. λ.] The further good to be promised is introduced with emphatic asseveration in the consciousness of its great importance.

In adopting the reading δώσει ὑ΄ῖν ἐν τῷ ὀνό΄. ΄ου (see the critical notes), we must explain: He will give it you, in virtue of my name, by its power as the determining motive (Winer, p. 362 [E. T. p. 575]), because then you have not prayed otherwise than in my name (see on John 14:13). The interpretation: in my stead (Weiss), yields a paradoxical idea, and has opposed to it John 16:24.

ἕως ἄρτι, κ. τ. λ.] Because, that is, the higher illumination was wanting to you, which belongs thereto, and which will be imparted to you through the medium of the Paraclete only after my departure. You are wanting up to this time in the spiritual ripeness and maturity of age for such praying, as the highest step of prayer that may be heard. This reason appears in harmony with the text from the reciprocal relation of ἐν ἐκείνῃ τ. ἡ΄έρᾳ and ἕως ἄρτι, if we note that by ἐ΄έ οὐκ ἐρωτ. οὐδέν that very divine clearness and certainty is expressed, which is still wanting to them ἕως ἄρτι. The reason, therefore, is not to be determined in this wise, that Christ had not yet been glorified (Luthardt), and had accordingly not yet become to the disciples that which He was to become (Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 358, comp. Hengstenberg).

ἵνα] Divinely ordained object of the λήψεσθε.

χαρὰ ὑ΄] John 16:22. It is to be filled up, i.e. to be complete, that nothing may be wanting to it. Comp. John 15:11. There is thus fulfilled in the disciples, after their reception of the Spirit through the granting of their prayers, the consolatory picture of the bearing woman in her joy after the sorrow she has surmounted. Luthardt also transposes John 16:23-24 into the time before the last future; but necessitated to this, he should not have referred John 16:16 ff. to the Parousia.


Verse 25

John 16:25. ταῦτα] that, namely, after which the disciples, in John 16:17-18, had asked, and what He Himself, John 16:20 ff., had more fully carried out; that, consequently, which had been spoken of His departure and of His being seen again, and its circumstances and consequences. He has uttered this in improper, allegorical expressions ( ἐν παροιμ., comp. on John 10:6, and on the generic plur., Mark 12:1), proportioned to their capacity of comprehension; but when the hour of the fulfilment of the promise of the Paraclete shall have arrived, He will then, and that by means of the Paraclete, no longer speak to them under such sensuous veils of thought, but without circumlocution, and directly, frankly and freely ( παῤῥησίᾳ, adverbial instrumental dative, as in John 11:14), give them tidings of the Father. In answer to Luthardt, who refers ταῦτα to all that was previously said, including the discourse on the vine (comp. also Godet), John 16:1 is already decisive, and also the fact that before John 16:19 the disciples have spoken.


Verse 26-27

John 16:26-27. ἐν ἐκ τ. ἡμ. ἐν τῷ ὀν. μ. αἰτήσ.] Because enlightened by the Paraclete. Comp. John 16:24. Bengel’s remark is apt: “Cognitio parit orationem,” and that the prayer to be heard in the name of Jesus.(183)

καὶ οὐ λέγω, κ. τ. λ.] and I say not, etc.; I would therewith promise something for that coming time that may be dispensed with. For on my part ( ἐγώ) an intercession on your behalf in order to the hearing of these your prayers will not at all be needed, because, that is, they are just prayers in my name (see on John 14:14). The opposite meaning is deduced by Aretius, Grotius, Wolf, Rosenmüller, Kuinoel: that οὐ λέγω ΄. means: I will not mention at all, so that the intercession is thus designated as a matter of course. Against this the following αὐτὸς γὰρ, κ. τ. λ., is decisive. There is no contradiction, however, with John 14:16, John 17:9, since in these places the intercession of Christ belongs to the time prior to the communication of the Paraclete.

αὐτός] ipse, from the proper divine impulse of love, without my intercessory mediation being required to that end.

φιλεῖ] “amat vos, adeoque vos exaudit,” Bengel. The present denotes that the future is represented as present. They have then the πνεῦμα υἱοθεσίας, Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6; along with which, however, the intercession intended in 1 John 2:1, Hebrews 7:25, Romans 8:34, on the part of the exalted Jesus, is not excluded. This intercession is not required in order to the hearing of prayer, if it is made in virtue of the Spirit in the name of Jesus, but rather generally in order to the continued efficacy of the atonement on behalf of believers.

The reason of that αὐτὸς φιλεῖ ὑ΄ᾶς is: ὅτι ὑ΄εῖς, κ. τ. λ.: “for He will not thus remove Himself out of the midst, that they should pray without and exclusive of Him,” Luther. Note ὑ΄εῖς ἐ΄έ: because ye are they who have loved me. πεφιλ. is placed first as the correlate of φιλεῖ; and with logical correctness, since faith, in this definiteness of development ( ὅτι ἐξῆλθον), could in its progress gradually unfold itself only in their loving bond to Christ, by means of the exercise and experience of this love. On the perfects, as the presents of the completed act, Bengel says, and rightly: “amore et fide prehensum habetis.” Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 543, incorrectly explains them from the standpoint of the Parousia, from which a glance is taken backwards to the love that has been borne to the close. The entire promise has nothing to do with the Parousia; see on John 16:16; John 16:22; John 14:18.

ἐξῆλθον] See on John 8:42.


Verse 28

John 16:28. With ἐξῆλθον, solemnly, and with still more definite precision by means of ἐκ τοῦ πατρός, a fresh confirmation of these fundamental contents of faith is commenced, and the return to the Father is subjoined,—and with this a conclusion is made with the same thought,—now, however, by means of the intervening explanatory clauses, brought nearer to the understanding of the disciples—from which the whole discussion, John 16:16-17, took its rise. A simple and grand summary of His entire personal life.


Verse 29-30

John 16:29-30. The disciples, aroused, nay, astonished ( ἴδε), by the clearness of the last great declaration, now find the teachings contained in John 16:20-28 so opened to their understanding, and thereby the enigmatical character of John 16:16-17 so solved, that they judge, even now, that in this instruction just communicated He speaks so openly and clearly, so entirely without allegorical disguise, that He is at the present time doing for them (not merely a prelude thereof, as Hengstenberg tones down the meaning) that, for the attainment of which He had in John 16:25 pointed them to a future hour. But as He, by this teaching in John 16:20-28, had anticipated (John 16:19) the questions which they, according to John 16:16-17, had upon their heart, they are also in this respect so surprised, that they at the same time feel certain that He knows all things, and needs not first to be inquired of, since He replies unasked to the questions on which information was desired; hence the future things promised by Him in the words ἐν ἐκείνῃ to οὐδέν, John 16:23, may likewise already exist as present, on account of His unlimited knowledge. “Exultant ergo ante tempus perinde acsi quis nummo uno aureo divitem se putaret” (Calvin); but however incomplete their understanding was as yet, it was sufficient for them to experience a deep and vivid impression therefrom, and to lead up to the expression of the decided confession of faith, ἐν τούτῳ πιστεύομεν, κ. τ. λ. Augustine exaggerates when he says: “Illi usque adeo non intelligunt, ut nec saltem se non intelligere intelligant. Parvuli enim erant.” Schweizer has very arbitrarily declared John 16:30 to be spurious; but Lange maintains that the disciples regarded a ray of light from the Spirit, which they now received as the beginning of an uninterrupted holiday of the Spirit. This is least of all to be established by ἐν τούτῳ, κ. τ. λ.

John 16:29. νῦν] Now, what Thou first didst promise as future, John 16:25.

John 16:30. νῦν] What we, according to thy declaration, John 16:23, should first become aware of at a future time. The obvious retrospective reference, given in the words themselves that are employed, of John 16:29 to John 16:25, and of John 16:30 to John 16:23, is neither to be concealed nor denied.

ἵνα] as in John 2:25.

ἐν τούτῳ] propter hoc, Acts 24:16. Comp. ἐν , quoniam (Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 93). ἐν denotes causal dependence (Bernhardy, p. 211). Not now for the first time does their faith begin, that ( ὅτι) Christ came forth from God (see John 16:27), and not for the first time do they believe it on the ground that He knows all things; but for their present faith in the divine origin of Christ they acknowledge to have found a new and peculiar ground of certainty in that which they said in John 16:30; comp. on John 2:11. Lange erroneously says that ὅτι denotes because; “in this our faith is rooted, because Thou,” etc. The procession of Christ from His pre-human existence with God was indeed not the ground of faith (this were His words and works, John 14:10-11, John 10:38), but the grand subject of faith (John 16:27; John 17:8; John 20:31). Comp. 1 John 4:2-3; 2 John 1:7. According to Ewald, ἐν τούτῳ would express that in which they believe, namely, in the fact that ( ὅτι), etc. But John never designates the object of faith by ἐν (Mark 1:15); he would probably have written τοῦτο πιστ. (John 11:26).


Verse 31-32

John 16:31-32. Since ἄρτι must bear the emphasis, and since Jesus could not and would not doubt of(184) the faith of the disciples at this moment, ἄρτι πιστ. is not to be taken interrogatively, with Euth. Zigabenus, Calvin, Wetstein, and several others, including Kuinoel, Olshausen, De Wette, B. Crusius, Tischendorf, Hengstenberg, Ewald (according to the analogy of John 1:51, John 13:38, John 20:29), but concessively:Now, just now, ye believe, but how soon will ye become vacillating?” οἱ λέγοντες πιστεύειν φεύξεσθε ΄ικρὸν ὓστερον, κινηθείσης ὑ΄ῶν ὑπὸ τοῦ φόβου τῆς πίστεως, Apollinarius. The faith itself did not pass away (hence there is no contradiction to John 16:27, comp. Luke 22:32), but it did not stand the test of self-denial and of heroism. This must first appear in the school of conflict and experience.

καὶ ἐλήλυθεν] so immediately at hand is it.

ἵνα] See on John 16:2.

εἰς τὰ ἴδια] into His own, i.e. His own place of sojourn (John 19:27; Plat. Pol. 8, p. 543 B). Opposite of κοινωνία, which is thus rent asunder: ἀπόσσυτος ἄλλος ἀπʼ ἄλλου, Nonnus, comp. Plat. Gorg. p. 502 E: ἕνεκα τοῦ ἰδίου τοῦ αὑτῶν ὀλιγωροῦντες τοῦ κοινοῦ. On the prediction itself comp. Matthew 26:31, and on its fulfilment Matthew 26:56.

καί] The emphatic and …, which (with a pause to be supplied in thought) unexpectedly introduces the contrast. See on John 7:28.

οὐκ εἰμὶ μό νος, κ. τ. λ.] The calm, clear self-consciousness of the Father’s protection, elevated above all human desertion, comp. John 8:29. The momentary feeling which appears in Matthew 27:46 is not in conflict with this.


Verse 33

John 16:33. “That is the last word given, and struck into their hand by way of good-night. But He concludes very forcibly with this, and therefore has He finished the entire discourse,” Luther.

ταῦτα] pointing back, at the close of the whole discourses again resumed from John 14:31, to chap. John 15:16.

ἐν ἐμοὶ εἰρήνηνἐν τῷ κόσμῳ θλῖψιν] exact correlates: in me (living and moving), i.e. in vital fellowship with me: Peace, rest of soul, peace of heart (comp. John 14:27); in the world, i.e. in your intercourse with the unbelieving; affliction (John 16:21, and see John 15:18 ff.).

ἐγώ] Luther aptly remarks: “He does not say: Be comforted, you have overcome the world, but this is your consolation, that I, I have overcome the world; my victory is your salvation.” And upon this victor rests the imperishability of the church.

νενίκ. τ. κόσμ.] The perfect states the victory immediately impending, which is to be gained through His glorification by means of death, as already completed. Prolepsis of the certain conqueror on the boundary of His work. Comp. John 12:31, John 13:31. But if He has overcome the anti-Messianic power of the world, how could His own, in spite of all θλῖψις, become dispirited, as though He would give up His work, which was to be continued by their means, and suffer His victory to fall to the ground? Comp. rather 1 John 5:4-5; 1 John 4:4. Therefore θαρσεῖτε. Paul especially is a living commentary on this θαρσεῖν. See e.g. Romans 8:37; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:7 ff; 2 Corinthians 6:4 ff; 2 Corinthians 12:9, his discourse before Felix and Festus, etc. Comp. Luther’s triumphant exposition.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 16:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-16.html. 1832.

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Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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