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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
John 1

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

John 1:1. ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν λόγος, καὶ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεὸν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν λόγος· In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God) This is the thunder brought down to us by a “Son of Thunder;”(2) this is a voice from heaven, which man’s conjecturing in vain starts objections against. By no reasoning of his could any orthodox believer better establish the truth of this palmary [capital] text, or more effectually refute Artemonism, than has Artemon’s(3) modern follower himself, i.e. Samuel Crellius, whilst maintaining throughout the whole of his book, which he has entitled, “The Beginning of the Gospel of John restored according to ecclesiastical antiquity,” that, instead of θεός, there ought to be written θεοῦ. His whole system, both in the foundation and the superstructure, is mere conjecture: and the more I call to mind the contexture of his reasonings, the more I feel confirmed in the truth, which has been assailed by this foremost veteran of Unitarianism on such trifling grounds. To avow this again and again, I regard as the part of piety. In my Introduction [‘Apparatus’], page 559, line 11, there has crept in by mistake, “if you read θεοῦ” [si θεοῦ legas], whereas the thing speaks for itself, that it ought to have been written, “if you read θεός” [si θεός legas]. The easier such a lapse is, the more ought we to follow the steady agreement of all the transcribers, who happily retain the reading θεός. The book of Artemonius contains two parts, the first of which is more of a critical character; the second, which is furnished with four Dissertations, more refers to the subject itself. The former we have of course examined in the Critical Introduction; whereas the second is a subject for the Gnomon, in which, as we stated in the Introduction, we would discuss Artemonius’ views, independently of the mere critical point of view. For in truth the divine honour of our God and Saviour is at stake; and this citadel of the Christian faith is every day more and more assailed; and this book of Artemonius (which is pronounced in the Biblioth. Angl., T. xv., p. 539, to be one of the weightiest of this class ever published) finds more numerous readers than is desirable. We shall therefore take the five or six first verses of John 1, and we shall make on them such remarks as are applicable, not merely for the refutation of Artemonius, but also for the explanation of John.— ἐν ἀρχῇ in principio) John’s style, especially in this passage, is pre-eminent for its simplicity, nicety [acute refinement, ‘subtilitas’], and sublimity. The Beginning here means that time, when all things began to be and were created by the Word, John 1:3. ἐν ἀρχῇ, he says; that is, In the beginning, as the Septuagint Greek version of Genesis 1:1, and Proverbs 8:23. That by The Beginning in this passage no more recent time is meant, is proved by the whole series of things in the context; for the beginning of the Gospel [which some allege is meant here] was made, when John the Baptist went forth preaching, Mark 1:1 : but the ‘Beginning,’ which is here spoken of, is more ancient than the Incarnation of the Word. In like manner, none is higher [goes further back]. In the beginning of the heaven and the earth, God created the heaven and the earth: in the same beginning of the heaven and the earth, and of the world, John 1:10, already, the Word was in existence, without any beginning or commencement of itself. The Word itself is purely eternal; for it is in the same manner that the eternity of the Word and of the Father is described. He was, at the time when first were made whatsoever things began to be. Artemonius maintained that it is the beginning of the Gospel which is meant by John; and he thus explains the verse: in the beginning of the Gospel was the Word; and the Word, through His first ascension to heaven, was, in the same beginning, with God, etc. [Socinians have invented the figment of Jesus having ascended, to heaven for instruction before entering on His prophetic office.] This explanation he attempts to give colour to, by the authority of some of the ancients, Photinus, and such like. We shall examine his arguments. He lays it down, that the first epistle of John was written before his Gospel; and that the beginning of his Epistle is vindicated from the perversions of Cerinthus, by the beginning of his Gospel. Thence he infers, that the ‘Beginning,’ 1 John 2:13, etc., is the beginning of Gospel-preaching; and accordingly, that in ch. John 1:1 of the same Ep., and in ch. John 1:1 of his Gospel, ‘beginning’ is used in the same sense.—Part ii. c. 13. First [in answer we observe], John certainly wrote the Gospel before the destruction of Jerusalem, as we show at ch. John 5:2. Even Artemonius cannot assert this of the Epistle. The Gospel teaches the truth, ch. John 20:31. The Epistle goes further and refutes errors, and indicates that a great turn in affairs had taken place. John wrote the Gospel, according to the testimony of Irenæu(4) [PROVIDENS blasphemas regulas quæ dividunt Dominum], FORESEEING the blasphemous systems which rend the Lord’s body.—B. iii. c. 18. Such at least was the system even of Cerinthus, which Irenæu(5) pronounces to be not older than the Gospel of John, when, B. iii. c. 11, he says, that in the Gospel of John is refuted THE ERROR WHICH WAS DISSEMINATED [“inseminatus erat”] AMONG MEN BY CERINTHUS, AND MUCH EARLIER BY THE NICOLAITANS [errorem, qui a Cerintho et MULTO PRIUS a Nicolaitis inseminatus erat hominibus]. For the translator, whose authority otherwise is justly entitled to support, readily made a pluperfect “inseminatus erat” out of the Greek past participle, which is found in the fragments of Irenæu(6) collected out of Greek fathers of later ages. A comparison of chapter 11 with chapter 18, both of which we have here quoted in the author’s very words, will import the force of the tense to be perfect, rather than pluperfect. Certainly Irenæu(7) has not a word as to any perversion [alleged by Artemonius] of John’s Epistle by Cerinthus: and he himself, B. iii. c. 18, has so woven together quotations of the Gospel and of the Epistle, as to imply no obscure recognition of the fact, that the Gospel was written before the Epistle. Accordingly, as Peter condemned mockers, and Paul apostates, so John in his Gospel has condemned the false teachers about to arise; and in his Epistle, when they had actually come, he more openly stigmatized them. Thus we have shown that at least the foundation on which Artemonius builds so much, viz. the theory of the Epistle having been written before the Gospel, is uncertain conjecture; though it does not much concern our side of the question which of the two works was first in point of time. Not even in the Epistle itself is ‘Beginning’ always used in one signification: nay, in the opening of the Epistle, ‘Beginning’ is used absolutely, the beginning of all things, of heaven and earth; and so also in the opening of the Gospel. This is the only difference, that in the latter it is expressed, “In the beginning;” in the former, “From the beginning.” Artemonius, P. ii. c. 18, supposes that Cerinthus, who had perverted the words, “From the beginning,” is more expressly refuted by the words, “In the beginning;” but the Valentinians perverted the words, “In the beginning,” in just the same manner. It would be a more simple explanation to say, that “In the beginning” is rather used absolutely; “From the beginning” relatively, in this sense, In the beginning and thenceforward. In that beginning was the Word, in such a way, as that also before the beginning the Word was. See Proverbs 8:22, etc., “The Lord possessed me In the beginning of His way, before His works of old: I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was;” where mem, set down [occurring] four times in the Heb., the Septuagint render, at least in the second and fourth place of its occurrence, πρό, and rightly so (although Artem. Diss. i. stoutly denies it): for in the passage there follow in parallel correspondence, באין πρό, בטרם πρό, לפני πρό, עד לא. See below, John 1:30, ch. John 3:13, John 6:62, John 8:58, John 17:5; John 17:24 [all proving His pre-existence with the Father]. Artemonius, page 76, and everywhere throughout his book, urges that Justin Martyr was the first who taught that Jesus was the Son of God, before that the world was made. But the truth is, Justin praises that doctrine as new, not that it was recently invented, but because it was unknown to Trypho, and such like persons. We will bring forward in this place the single testimony of Ignatius, who, in his Ep. to the Magnesians, § 8, says, εἷς θεός ἐστιν φανερώσας ἑαυτὸν διὰ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ τοῦ υἰοῦ αὐτοῦ, ὅς ἐστιν αὐτοῦ λογοσ αιδιοσ, οὖκ ἀπὸ σιγῆς προελθών. “There is one God, who manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son, Who is the Eternal Word of Himself, not having come forth from silence” [i.e. Always having been The Word]. The objections, by which Artemonius tries to turn aside the force of this passage, P. ii. ch. 36, etc., are so far-fetched, that their effect ought to be, not to carry away the reader with them, but to confirm him in the truth.— ἦν, was) Not, was made. See the difference of the words marked, John 1:10; John 1:14-15, ch. John 8:58. The Father also is called ὤν, κ. τ. λ., Revelation 1:4. The Word was before the world was made, in which He afterwards was, John 1:10.— λόγος) Speech [sermo], Word [Verbum]; it is also found written in Latin, Logos: see notes on Gregor. Thaum. Paneg., § 50.(8) That Logos, of whom John 1:14 speaks. Whence is it that John calls Him The Word? From the beginning of his first Epistle, says Artemonius, P. ii. ch. 14 and 19. More rightly, as is plain from what was said above, the expression may be regarded as derived [copied] from the Gospel into the Epistle. In both writings he uses the term Logos before he comes to the appellation of Jesus Christ. But he so terms Him, not copying Philo, much less Plato; but by the same Spirit which taught the inspired authors of the Old Testament so to express themselves. See Genesis 1:3; Psalms 33:6, “By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth,” where the Septuagint has τῷ λόγῳ κυρίου οἱ οὐρανοὶ ἐστερεώθησαν: Psalms 107:20, “He sent His word,” ἀπέστειλε τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ. Hence the very frequent appellation, The Word of God, in the Chaldaic Paraphrase: also Wisdom of Solomon 16:12; Wisdom of Solomon 18:15. The one and the same mystery in the Old and in the New Testament is expressed in similar terms. God is a Spirit, or eternal Mind: the Son of God is the Logos, the inmost, and yet at the same time the most fully manifested [exsertissimum, the most fully put forth] Word of the eternal Mind. He who spiritually knows the spiritual nature of God, knows also the spiritual nature of His Word: and understands why He is also called the Word, before He is called the Light and the Life; see 1 John 1:1, etc. Hence just as often the apostles, speaking of Christ, contradistinguish flesh and spirit; So He, whom John terms Logos, the same is termed by Clemens Romanus, a father of the Apostolic age, Spirit, εἷς χριστὸς κύριος σώσας ἡμᾶς, ὢν μὲν τὸ πρῶτον πνεῦμα, ἐγένετο σὰρξ, κ. τ. λ.: that is, The one Lord Christ, who hath saved us, although previously He was Spirit, yet was made flesh, etc.; which passage the objections of Artemonius, P. ii. ch. 44, etc., cannot rob us of. The Logos is He, whom the Father has begotten, or spoken, as His only-begotten Son, by Whom the Father speaking makes all things; who speaks of the things of the Father to us. The reason why He is called Logos, and the actual Description of what is the Logos, is given, John 1:18. He is the only-begotten Son of God, who was in the bosom of the Father, and acted most expressively the part of His Exponent [exegetam egit, the Declarer of Him, John 1:18, ἐξηγήσατο]. The idea in this clause receives additional emphasis and clearness from the two clauses that follow in this verse.— πρὸς τὸν θεόν, with God) Therefore distinct [in personality] from the Father. πρός for παρά [Latin apud, French chez], as εἰς for ἐν, John 1:18, denotes a perpetual, as it were, tendency of the Son to the Father in the unity of essence. He was with God in a peculiar and unique sense [singly and exclusively, ‘unicè’], because there was then nothing outside of God. Again, John speaks in this place more absolutely than in 1 Ep. ch. John 1:2, where he says, The Eternal Life was with the FATHER, in antithesis to the manifestation of Him made to believers, in order that they might become Sons. Thus we dispose of the difference, which Artemonius, P. ii. c. 18, tries to establish between the expression in the Epistle, and that in the Gospel: He also in Diss. ii., and elsewhere throughout his book, interprets the words, to be with God, of an ascension of Christ to heaven before His baptism. But this interpretation, when once the phrase, “In the beginning,” is rightly explained, forthwith falls to the ground. If Christ, before His passion, had trodden the way to life by an ascension of this kind, He would not have had it in His power subsequently to say, “THOU HAST MADE KNOWN to Me the ways of life;” and His whole journey, from His birth to that ascension, would have been of no benefit to us: but the plans, on which our salvation rests, would only begin to come into effect simultaneously with the descent, subsequent on the supposed ascension: whereby the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke would lose all their point. The words of Ignatius, in the Ep. already quoted, § 6, are clear: Jesus Christ before all ages, πρὸ αἰώνων, was with the Father, and in the end, ἐν τέλει, appeared: also the words of Hermas, The Son of God is elder than all creation, so that He TOOK PART IN His Father’s counsels for founding creation. These words Artemonius quotes, p. 404, etc., and cannot weaken their force.— θεός, God) Not only was He with God, but also was God. The absence of the Greek article, especially in the predicate, does not weaken its signification, as meaning the true God. The Septuagint, 1 Kings 18:24, βασιλ. γ. ἔσται θεὸς, ὃς ἂν ἐπακούσῃ ἐν πυρὶ, οὗτος θεός. Moreover, when the predicate is placed before the subject, there is an emphasis on the word, ch. John 4:24, πνεῦμα θεός. Further, in this passage the same signification is confirmed from the fact, that there was then no creature, in relation to which the Word could be called God [in a lower sense]; it must therefore be here meant in an absolute sense. This fact presses hard against Artemonius; and on that account the more precious in our esteem ought this reading to be, which we have defended in our Critical Introduction. In this stronghold of the faith, in this most sure centre, we stand unmoved, and we fortify ourselves against all enticements which try to draw us off in a quite contrary direction [to other and irrelevant arguments]. There is no expedient to which Artemonius docs not resort, that he may prove Christ in Scripture is nowhere called or regarded as God; and, that we may take a cursory view of the second part of his book, especially in this passage, in Chap. I. he attacks the words, John 5:17, etc., John 10:29, etc., Philippians 2:6, etc.: in all which passages, the sentiment [sense] is not only vindicated as worthy of the Divine majesty of Jesus Christ, by the pious zeal of competent [able] interpreters, but even is shown to be so by the weakness of the Artemonian objections. Chap. II. denies that Christ was accounted as God by His disciples before His passion. But see John 1:14, “We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father;” 2 Peter 1:16, “We were eye-witnesses of His majesty,” etc. He denies that Jesus was accounted God after the Resurrection: but see John 20:28, “My Lord, and my God” [Thomas]; Acts 20:28, “The Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood;”(9), Romans 9:15, “Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever;” 1 Timothy 3:16, “God manifest in the flesh;”(10), Titus 2:13, “The glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:” comp. notes, Ephesians 5:5, “The kingdom of Christ and of God;” Hebrews 1:10; Hebrews 3:4 [comp. with John 1:6, “Christ, a Son over His own house”], “He that built all things is God.” Even this one passage, John 1:1, would be enough for a soul hungering and thirsting, simple and candid. In Chap. III. he objects, that Christ is always contradistinguished from God. We reply: Not always, but for the most part, and that without compromising the Deity of the Son. The instance, 1 Timothy 1:1, “The commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ,”(11) Artemonius felt to be irresistible; for in that passage even God the Father is called Saviour, and yet the Son is not by that fact excluded. So also when the Father is called God, that is not done in contradistinction to Jesus. See the writer himself, how frigid is his reply on the passage! Chap. IV. extends too far the parallelism, John 1:1; John 20:31. Chap. V. discusses why Christ is not called God, when He is really God, inferior to the Father alone; but he produces such reasons as prove unanswerably, since Christ is really also called God, that Christ is called God, not in the sense in which the name is assigned to creatures, but in the sense in which it is assigned to the Father. Chap. VI., in order to escape the argument from the passage, Isaiah 9:5, when Christ is called by one name, compounded of twice four words, Wonderful, Counsellor, [the] Mighty GOD, [the] everlasting Father, [the] Prince [of] Peace, does open violence to the parallel passage, Isaiah 10:21, as to the Father, disguises the agreeing soundness [the sound agreement] of old versions in the appellation, the Mighty God, and exaggerates the variations of these same versions, which are quite alien to the subject. In Chap. VII. the passage, Ezekiel 28:2; Ezekiel 28:9, is transferred from the King of Tyre to the God-man [ τὸν θεάνθρωπον].

In Chap. VIII. and the following, Artemonius has many discussions as to Cerinthus, as to the Nicolaitans, and as to the design of John in opposition to both. But first, to such a degree it is now proved that the book of Artemonius has but little accordance with truth, that what the book approves must deservedly be postponed meantime as doubtful, whilst the case is being decided by arguments: next, a knowledge, no doubt, of the errors which the apostles refute, ought to be obtained from ecclesiastical history, as far as is possible; but the question of sound interpretation does not depend on such knowledge, much less does the genuine reading: nor ought any fallacies, forged out of the dark mass of most ancient heresies, turn off the eyes of simple-minded believers from the rays of Scripture, which are most clear of themselves. Let those who despise the short way, the King’s highway, wander at large into labyrinths, since such is their pleasure, and let them lie there. As regards the design of John in opposition to Cerinthus, B. Buddeus has refuted Artemonius in his Ecclesia Apostolica, p. 425, etc.; comp. p. 378 as to the Nicolaitans. We make one observation: That the question is not, in what particular sense Cerinthus himself may have allowed the Word to be called God [see Artemon. p. 340], but in what sense the whole section of John, in spite of Cerinthus, so frequently calls the Word God. Cerinthus, I fancy, had no higher idea of Christ than Artemonius shows he has: why, then, should not the words of John, so hateful to Artemonius, not strike Cerinthus? I have thought of several reasons; but these words of Artemonius, p. 381, set me at my ease on this head: It was not necessary that John should follow Cerinthus through all his absurdities; for even those in which he does follow him [refuting them], he does so only incidentally, and whilst engaged in a different object. By this one erasure, Artemonius declares his whole treatise about Cerinthus to be useless [lost labour]. For, since John did not set down that assertion, And the Word was God, for the sake of refuting Cerinthus, he must have set it down for other reasons: no doubt in order that he might refute Socinians and Artemonius, and that he might fortify believers in their faith. If you have the time to spare, let there be formed out of all the sentiments which John puts forth, contradictory sentiments, such as perverted reasoning has either produced among ancient heretics, or can produce among any heretics whatever, what will be gained by it?

In Chap. XXIV. and the following ones, he brings up the Alogi, and in their character [on their part] discusses, in what way this Gospel, which the Alogi alleged was not John’s writing but that of Cerinthus, could, or could not, have been by them forced into accordance with the mind of Cerinthus. We reply: The Alogi either thought this very assertion, And the Word was God, came from Cerinthus, or they did not. If they did not think it, to dispute, in the name of the Alogi, as to the Cerinthic character of the assertion, is useless; but if they did think it, then the sense [sentiment] which they attributed to Cerinthus, they must have either considered to be true or false: If true, they must for other reasons have ascribed the Gospel to Cerinthus; but if false, then they regarded Cerinthus as entertaining unworthy sentiments as to the Logos under specious words, as Artemonius acknowledges, p. 426, etc. What prejudice to John do these particulars produce? What use moreover does it serve, to turn the eye aside, with such obliquity of vision, and to look at John’s assertion through the glass of the Alogi and Cerinthus, when one can look at it directly? In Chap. XXXVI. and the following, he examines a passage of Ignatius against Cerinthus, on which see above, on the words, “In the Beginning.” In Chap. XL., he attempts to steal away [get rid of, set aside] all the passages of Ignatius wherein Christ is called God, by comparing Ignatius himself and his interpolator with one another, as also [he tries to set aside] the passage of Clemens Romanus, where the παθήματα θεοῦ are mentioned. We reply: 1. As Artemonius treats the apostles, so he treats apostolic fathers. 2. John is quite enough for us, even though we had not the additional testimony of Ignatius and Clemens. 3. Interpolators might have as readily in some passages of Ignatius erased the name of God, as in others (for this is what Artemonius contends to have happened) inserted it. Already, p. 131, etc., he had attacked [unsettled] the passage of his Epistle to the Ephesians, where he says, that Christ is called by Ignatius, ἐν σαρκὶ γενόμενον θεόν, not before He took our flesh, but after He was made God in the flesh. But Ignatius’ construction is not, after He was made God, but, after He was made in the flesh, i.e. having become incarnate [Constr. γενόμενον with ἐν σαρκί, not with θεόν].

In Chap. XLI. and the following ones, he guards against it being supposed, that John wrote with the view of opposing the Ebionites, And the Word was God. We reply: That John wrote his Gospel against the Ebionites, Epiphanius and Jerome have laid down as a fact: no doubt he wrote against all, who either then denied, or were afterwards about to deny, that the Word is God. Buddeus has several remarks about the Ebionites in opposition to Artemonius, B. quot., pp. 501, etc., 518, etc. In Chap. XLIV. and the following, he discusses the passage of Clemens Romanus, as to which, see above at the first mention made by John of the Word. Lastly, in Chap. XLVII., he gives a paraphrase of the whole passage, John 1:1-18, which corresponds to what had gone before, as a conclusion to premisses; and as the premisses have been refuted, so is the conclusion. At the same time he expresses admiration at the sagacity of Lælius Socinus, who had already explained the introduction of John, as referring to the beginning of the Gospel History; and adds, that Andr. Osiander may have supplied him with the first suggestion of the idea, as that writer, in his Gospel Harmony, has joined together the Baptism of Christ and the “Word in the beginning.” If this supplied the suggestion, then Socinus took in a heterodox sense, what Osiander had laid down in an orthodox sense. So Ammonius had previously laid it down. So G. Kohlreiffius, in Chronol., p. 90, laid it down not long ago. So also D. Hauber in his Gospel Harmony, not to speak of my own. See also the remarks which we make below at John 1:6.

There are added four Dissertations; the two first of which we have touched upon above; the two remaining ones are elsewhere examined at Hebrews 1, and at John 8:58. The whole work of Artemonius is on the whole ingenious and learned; but it is also insidious, strained, full of conjectural suspicions, sometimes even ludicrously so; and owing to the vivid colours in which the inner divine economy is painted, a point in which the common herd of Socinians are quite strangers, it speaks fair; but withal it remains bound in death-like iciness. By means of the answers we have given to his arguments, the rest of the latter may be easily answered. We the less regret our brevity in this respect, since, besides Wesseling, who is noticed favourably in our Introduction, several other distinguished writers have refuted Artemonius. D. Weismann has given to the world, in A.D. 1731, “Specimens of the exegetic brawlings of the Socinian party continued and augmented by L. M. Artemonius:” next the celebrated Wolf pounded at the same anvil in vol. ii. at the end of Cur. in N. T., and in vol. iii. and iv. everywhere. And in the year 1735, John Phil. Baraterius, when hardly more than fourteen years old, published Antiartemonius.— ἦν, erat) Was, not made God, but the true God. The Word was God, and that in the beginning.— λόγος, the Word) This is set down a third time, with the greatest force. The three clauses are arranged in a gradation [an ascending climax: The Word was in the beginning; the Word was with God; the Word was God]: the Article here is the distinguishing mark of the Subject. The Godhead of the Saviour had been openly declared in the Old Testament: Jeremiah 23:6, “The Lord our righteousness,” Jehovah-Tsidkenu; Hosea 1:7, “I will save them by the Lord their God;” Psalms 23:1, “The Lord, Jehovah, is my Shepherd;” and the proofs of it are taken for granted in the New Testament, for instance, Hebrews 1. Accordingly Matthew, Mark, and Luke make their aim, rather to prove that Jesus, who is real man, is the Christ. And when in consequence some began at last to doubt as to the Godhead of Christ, John asserted it, and wrote in this book a kind of supplement to the Gospels, as in the Apocalypse he wrote one supplementary to the prophets.


Verse 2

John 1:2. οὗτος, He) He alone. The He comprises [includes in its application] the whole of the verse immediately preceding it, as He, in the 7th verse, comprises the 6th verse.— πρὸς τὸν θεόν, with God) This, being repeated [from John 1:1], is now put in antithesis to His subsequent mission to men. The three weighty truths, put dividedly in the preceding verse, are repeated and brought together in one in this verse. He, the Logos, who was God, was in the beginning, and was with God. A remarkable antithesis, comp. John 1:14, as also 1 John 2:1 [which contain the same antithetic contrast.]

the word

Was in the beginning God:

Was made flesh,

With God:

And dwelt among us.

Moreover the very congeries of this second verse manifestly supports this antithesis, the appellation of Logos being intermitted between John 1:2; John 1:14.


Verse 3

John 1:3. πάντα, all things) A large word, by which the world, i.e. the whole totality of things created is denoted, John 1:10. All things, which are outside of God, were made; and all things which were made, were made by the Logos. Now at last the Theologian is come from the Being [Esse] of the Word to the Being made [Fieri] of all things. In verses 1, 2, is described [His] state before the world was made; in John 1:3, in the making of the world; in John 1:4, in the time of man’s innocency; in John 1:5, in the time of man’s degeneracy.— δἰ αὐτοῦ, by Him) In opposition to without Him.— ἐγένετο, were made) That in some measure is earlier than the κτίσις, founding of all things, and evidently implies, as an inference, the making of all things out of nothing. Thus the all things sounds as if it were something earlier than the κόσμος, the world, wholly completed, and especially mankind; to which John comes down in the 9th and 10th verses.— καὶ χωρίς, and without) This sentence expresses something more than that immediately preceding. The Subject is, Not even one thing: The Predicate is, without Him was made, which was made. And the , which, is evidently used similarly to the , 1 Corinthians 15:10, By the grace of God I am what I am.— οὐδὲ ἕν, not even one thing) However superlatively excellent.— γέγονεν, which was made) “after its kind:” Genesis 1:11; Genesis 1:21; Genesis 1:24. The Preterite γέγονεν [is in existence] implies something more absolute than the Aorist ἐγένετο [was brought into existence], though in Latin both are expressed by factum est. Those fancies, which Artemonius, p. 333, 402, etc., invents according to his own theories, have been refuted, together with the theories themselves.


Verse 4

John 1:4. ἐν, in) First, John says, In Him was life: (comp. ch. John 5:26, “For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself”). Then he calls Him the Life. So in 1 John 1:1-2, first he calls Him the Word of Life, then the Life; and in the same chapter, John 1:5; John 1:7, God is said to be Light, and to be in the light. John especially imitates the expressions of the Lord Jesus.(12)ζωή, life) After the consideration of being [esse], the next consideration is as to living [vivere]. Then [the result of life entering the world] there is no death, there is then no nature devoid of grace.— καὶ ζωή, and the Life) The Subject: the Life, bestowing life on all things, which were alive.— ἦν τὸ φῶς, was the Light) Light and Life together: ch. John 8:12, “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life: 1 Timothy 6:16, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto:” Philippians 2:15-16, “Ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life.” As on the opposite side, צלמות, Darkness and death. Quickening is, however, prior to illumination.— τῶν ἀνθρώπων, of men) Of all men in the state of innocency, from which there ought not to be separated the consideration as to the Logos.(13) Men: nowhere is this expression used for Adam and his wife; so it denotes mankind. The evangelist here is come from the whole to the part—from those things which were made, or which were alive, to rational beings. In relation to the several particulars, λογος, the Speech [Sermo], has the signification suited to each.


Verse 5

John 1:5. καὶ, and) From this verse the doctrine of evil and its rise, receives much light.— τῇ σκοτίᾳ, in darkness) This darkness is not said to be made. For it is a privation, which men have incurred [To wit, that state of the human race is expressed by this word, which has prevailed since Adams transgression down to the appearance of the true Light.—V. g.] It is in the darkness that the glory of the Light is the more conspicuously seen.— φαίνει, shines) The present time has the same force as in φωτίζει, John 1:9. It always φαίνει, shineth. The Light was always nigh at hand, even in the Old Testament, ready to apply a remedy to darkness and sin. The same word φαίνει, shineth, as regards the New Testament, 1 John 2:8, “The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.”— καὶοὐ, and—not) Similarly and—not, John 1:10-11.— σκοτία, the darkness) i.e. men wrapt in darkness.— αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν, [comprehended it not] did not attain to it) Men, it seems, were too much averse from the Light, as well as too deeply sunk in darkness. When they did not comprehend the λόγον ἄσαρκον, The Word unclothed in flesh, “He was made flesh,” John 1:14.


Verse 6

John 1:6. ἐγένετο) not ἦν. The Evangelist does not say, was of John, but was made [fiebat: εἶναι is to be, γίνεσθαι, to begin to be]. The question is asked, how far the opening introduction to this book extends. The answer is. There is no introduction: the treatise itself [ipsa tractatio, the handling of the subject itself] begins with the beginning of the book. For in John 1:6 the Evangelist already describes the office of John, in bearing witness of the Light: and in the first five verses, he records what before had always been the nature and principle of the Light. Therefore up to this point a summary has been given of those things, which evidently preceded John; nor can these by any means be referred to the action of Jesus immediately succeeding John, as Artemonius, p. 412, refers it; and now there is unfolded by the Evangelist a more copious description of recent [new] events. Both [the things preceding John, and the things then from that point occurring] are most orderly in their arrangement.— ἄνθρωπος, a man) God deals with men through agents similar to themselves, namely, men; in order that they may the more readily take [‘capiant,’ take in, understand] and accept [His offers of love].— ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, sent from God) The definition of a prophet. Comp. Matthew 11:9-10 [A prophet? Yea—and more than a prophet. For this is He, of whom it is written, Behold I send My messenger,” etc.] The Participle is here in immediate connection with the noun a man: and in mediate connection with the verb, was made [ ἐγένετο began to be].— παρὰ θεοῦ, from God, John 1:33.— ἰωάννης, John) That is, an interpreter [exponent] of the grace of God. The greatness of John [is hereby implied], of whom mention is made immediately after the preceding statements [John 1:1-5]. Greater knowledge was brought into the world through John, than had been in all previous ages.


Verse 7

John 1:7. εἰς μαρτυρίαν, for a witness) The evangelist again touches on this, John 1:15, and again, John 1:19. But with the fullest and most tender feeling he interweaves with this testimony of the Forerunner his own testimony as an apostle, by means of most noble digressions, in which he states the nature and grounds of the Baptist’s office, and partly premises, partly subjoins an explanation of his [the Baptist’s] brief sentences, and declares the full complement of his testimony [gives a clear filling up of it]: [thus forming a kind of succinct prelude to our Lord’s own speeches, which He was about to set forth in this very Gospel.—Harm., p. 153.] What Matthew, Mark, and Luke term a Gospel, this John for the most part terms a testimony or witness: the former term expresses the relation to the promise, that went before: the latter expresses the altogether certain knowledge of him, who announces it: the former is used in reference to Christ as He was manifested; the latter, with reference to the Glory of Jesus Christ, the Son of GOD, when raised from the dead: accordingly, in the Acts and Epistles of the Apostles, both are often employed. Testimony applies to a thing, known for certain by witnesses, a thing not falling under the eyes at least of the hearers, and yet all important to them: accordingly to it answers faith. There follows immediately the declaration, that he might bear witness of the Light: and the words, that he might bear witness, are handled forthwith: the words, of the Light, are handled at John 1:9.— ἳνα μαρτυρήσῃ, that he might bear witness) The sum of his testimony was: He, who comes after me, etc., John 1:15.— περί τοῦ θωτός, concerning the Light) John comprises under the appellation of the Light, the things which he wrote, John 1:1-5.— ἳνα, in order that) They need Testimony, who were in darkness.— πάντες, all men) to whom He had come.(14)δἰ αὐτοῦ, through him) through John, not εἰς αὐτόν, not in John, but in Christ, John 1:12.(15) The power of John’s testimony extended itself so as even to come under the knowledge of the Gentiles, Acts 10:37 [Peter addressing the Gentiles, Cornelius and others, “That word ye know, which was published throughout all Judea, etc., after the baptism, which John preached.”] διά, through, in a higher sense, is said of Christ, 1 Peter 1:21 [Who by Him do believe in God.]


Verse 8

John 1:8. ἐκεῖνος, That One) Some had suspected, that John was the Light: ἐκεῖνος, that One points out a more remote object.


Verse 9

John 1:9. ἦν, was) The Light itself, moreover, was that true light, which enlighteneth. The Effect shows the Subject, to whom the name of Light is most applicable [whose attributes entitle Him best to the name.]— τὸ ἀληθινόν, the true) There follows immediately the declaration, which enlighteneth, etc. This forms an antithesis to John, [who was only] a lamp, a witness. Comp. concerning the Truth, John 1:14; John 1:17.— φωτίζει, which enlighteneth) It is proved by the effect, that this is the true light. It enlightens, the Present, in relation to the time, in which He came, as opposed to the former time, John 1:5.— πάντα, every one) every one, and wholly, so far as a man doth not withdraw himself from His influence: whosoever is enlightened at all, is enlightened by this Light. The singular number here has great force. Comp. Colossians 1:28 [Warning every man and teaching every man, and that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus] Romans 3:4 [Let God be true, but every man a liar]. Not even one is excluded.— ἄνθρωπον, man) Who by himself [when left to himself] is in darkness: every man has a more august sound, than all men, John 1:7. John was but a man, John 1:6. The Light, so far as it is light, is contradistinguished from man.— ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον, coming into the world) ἐρχόμενον, coming is nominative, and depends on ἦν, was. A striking antithesis is thus presented: [ ἐγενέτο] was made, [ ἀπεσταλμένος] sent, John 1:6, and [ ἦν] was, [ ἐρχόμενον] coming [in this verse]: in which last word the Participle present, as often, has the force of an imperfect. Comp. ὤν, ch. John 9:25 [ τυφλὸς ὢν, ἄρτι βλέπω, whereas I was blind, now I see] Notes: and elsewhere. Among the Hebrews it is a frequent periphrasis for a man. הבא בעולם, coming [a comer] into the world: but in the New Testament, and especially in this book, this phrase is used of Christ alone, and in an exalted sense. For He was, even before that He came. Thus evidently the phrase is applied ch. John 3:19, Light is come into the world: ch. John 12:46, I am come a light into the world. Presently after this John 1:9, succeeds the mention of the world and of His coming, repeated, John 1:10-11. The Son is also said to be sent by the Father, but not in the same way, as John is said to have been sent. Moreover the Son came, being sent and given, Matthew 21:37 “Last of all He sent unto them His Son;” John 3:16, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son;” ch. John 11:27, Martha, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world;” Romans 8:3; Romans 8:32, “God sending His own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh—He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all;” 1 John 3:8, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested;” John 4:9, “God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” Therefore it was not at last after His mission [it was not then first], that He was made Son, but evidently before His being born of a woman; Galatians 4:4, “God sent forth His Son, made of a woman.”


Verse 10

John 1:10. ἐν τῷ κόσμῷ ἦν, He was in the world) The evangelist adds this, lest any one should so understand the expression, coming into the world, as if the Light had not been previously in the world at all. Three times in this verse world is repeated; three times it is said of the human race, as in the previous verse, but not to the exclusion of the other creatures, at least in the first place.— δἰ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, was made by Him) αὐτοῦ, masculine, as presently after αὐτόν. It is referred to the sense,(16) though φῶς is neuter. Artemonius, p. 439, 450, etc., maintains that there is meant here the dissolution of all things, which was now about to have taken place, at the time when Christ suffered, had it not been turned aside [removed] by His own sacrifice, and for that purpose he quotes the passage, Hebrews 9:26, “Now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” But in that passage συντέλεια τῶν αἰώνων does not mean the putting off of the end of the world on [subject to] a condition, but categorically denotes the last times of the world, as opposed to the many ages that have elapsed since the foundation of the world. If such an interpretation [as Artemonius’] holds good, Israel too might be said to be made by Moses; inasmuch as he averted its dissolution. With the same purpose in view, Artemonius, p. 455, urges the order of time in the clauses of this verse, but without reason. There is rather in it a gradation, wherein the world is urged to the acknowledgment of the Light by that [first] reason He was in the world, but more so by this [second reason] and the world was made by Him; or in other words, began to be.— καὶ, and) and yet.— κόσμος, the world) The name world in the sacred writings implies THE IMPIOUS SILLINESS [futilitatem, emptiness] OF THE HUMAN RACE. Camer. note in John 17.


Verse 11

John 1:11. τὰ ἴδια, His own) From the world, the whole, the discourse goes down to the part. Formerly there belonged to Messiah, as peculiarly His own, τὰ ἴδια, whatsoever belonged to Israel—its land, city, and temple: οἱ ἴδιοι, His own people, the Israelites; Matthew 8:12, “The children of the kingdom.” The time, moreover, of His coming into the world and to His own is one and the same, namely after the coming of John; John 1:6-7.


Verse 12

John 1:12. ὅσοι, as many as) even [including also] such as previously had not been ἴδιοι, His own.— ἔλαβον) This verb differs from καταλαμβάνειν, John 1:5, and from παραλαμβάνειν, John 1:11. καταλαμβανω is applied to that which is close by: παραλαμβάνω, that which is offered: λαμβάνω, of my own accord. παραλαμβάνειν was the part of the Jews, whom the Truth was appertaining to [spectabat]; λαμβάνειν is the part also of the Gentiles, whom grace appertaineth to [spectat]. In John 1:12-13 mere external differences are taken away most effectually. Galatians 3:26, etc., “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”— ἔδωκεν, He gave) This is the Glory of Christ, the Only-begotten Son. It belongs to the Divine authority to make Sons OF GOD: as it belongs to the Light, to make sons of light, ch. John 12:36, “Believe in the Light, that ye may be the children of light.”— ἐξουσίαν, power) The power(17) does not precede the γένεσιν τέκνων or filiation, as if they were two distinct things: but the filiation itself is this power, or, in other words, dignity. A great fact! John 8:36.(18)τέκνα θεοῦτοῖς πιστεύουσιν,) sons OF GOD—to them that believe) Two weighty truths are set before us, of which the former is elucidated in John 1:13; the second in John 1:14, where the manifestation of the Word in the flesh is not so much recorded as it was accomplished, but rather as it was believed: which view the series of things down from John 1:6 proves.— γἐνεσθαι, to become) whereas Jesus is the Son of God.— ὄνομα, the name) The name of the Only-begotten. For to this is to be referred John 1:14. The connection is inferred from the kindred term τέκνα, children [sons].


Verse 13

John 1:13. οἱ, who) This is to be referred to τέκνα, children. For as the words [ ἐλαβον] received and to them that believe [ τοῖς πιστεύουσιν] correspond to one another, and denote the cause: so the effect is denoted in that expression to become children, and it is further explained in this verse.— οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων, not of bloods) דמים αἵματα, the Hebrew idiom often has bloods in the Plural number, even when only one man is spoken of: but when the subject treated of is generation, it does not call it the blood or bloods of the parents. But for the commendation of a noble lineage, the term blood is frequent among the ancient writers, as it is in the usage of the present day: and thence it is that bloods denote variety of origins, in consequence of which various prerogatives [privileges] are either sought after, or even enjoyed, in the world.— οὐδε ἐκ θελήματος σαρκός, nor of the will of the flesh) Husband and wife are Flesh, and that one flesh: and the will of the wedded pair, חפץ, gives birth to the children, who being born of the flesh are flesh, and sons of the flesh. John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh;” Romans 9:8, “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God.” With propriety the term, the will, is used as moving midway between holy [pure] love, and grovelling lust, ὄρεξιν. Nor does John use the softer word, of which the flesh considered in itself is unworthy: nor the harsher, lest those born of holy [pure] parents should except themselves [i.e. Had John said, The children of God were born not of lust, then those men who are born of a pure marriage union might think themselves excepted from the children of the flesh].— οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρός, nor of the will of man) The will of man is contained in the will of the flesh: and yet it is mentioned separately, as if it were the greater, and in some measure, the more guilty part of it. For Christ had a mother, but one who knew not man. Luke 1:34, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man.” [Mary to the angel].

These three things, bloods, the will of the flesh, the will of man, bring to the sons of men ἐξουσίαν, power and rank, which are noble, but natural and human. For, indeed, it was on these three the Jews used to lean, being wont to boast either of their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, Israel, Juda, Benjamin, Levi, Aaron, David, etc., or of both parents, but more especially of their fathers, and fancied that owing to these they could not but be pleasing to God; but John declares that these very things have no weight [with Him].— ἀλλʼ ἐκ θεοῦ, but of God) To the natural generation of men is opposed generation of God. And although the former, as the latter, is in reality single, yet the former being expressed in a threefold manner [“infert,” causes] carries with it a threefold mode of viewing the latter. We are therefore taught, that they become Sons of God, who are born, not as the sons of men, such as themselves also were by original descent, after the manner of men, but of God: that is, 1) not of bloods, but of the heavenly and supreme Father, from whom the whole of the blessed and holy family is named: 2) not of the will of the flesh, but of that love, of which the Son is Himself the first-begotten of every creature; Colossians 1:13; Colossians 1:15, “His dear Son, Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature:” and of that will which hath begotten us as a “[a kind of] first fruits of His creatures;” James 1:18, אב father, and אבה he willed, he loved, are kindred words. 3) Not of the will of man, but of the Holy Spirit. A similar antithesis occurs, Luke 1:34-35, Mary, “I know not a man.” The angel, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, etc., therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” These indeed are the sons of God, and of such sons Adam was a type, since he was begotten not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, and in consequence he stood in a peculiar relation to God; Luke 3:38, “Adam, which was the son of God;” and Isaac, Galatians 4:23; Galatians 4:29, “He who was of the bond-woman was born after the flesh, but He of the free-woman was by promise;—He, that was born after the flesh, persecuted Him that was born after the Spirit:” but John uses this phraseology, of the sons of God, in a higher sense.— ἐγεννήθησαν, were born) This as to regeneration is not merely a mode of speaking peculiar to this evangelist; but a doctrine frequently and emphatically dwelt upon in the writings of the Prophets and Apostles. Believers are sons of God by a generation peculiarly so called, deriving their life from Himself, reproducing [referentes, exhibiting in themselves traits of] His character, shining in His image: how much more so the Only-begotten One, μονογενής? They are sons through Him by adoption. In all ways God claims as to Himself.


Verse 14

John 1:14.(19)) σάρξ, flesh) Flesh (besides that it denotes as to us our corrupt nature, estranged from the Spirit of God, John 1:13), denotes the human body, or, as in this place, the man himself, denominated from his visible part. Comp. 1 Timothy 3:16, “Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh.”— ἐγένετο, was made) not was, as Artemonius maintains, p. 332, 387, etc., 472. [It is not said here; there was made another man, sent by God, whose name was Jesus, comp. John 1:6; but The Word was made flesh. John Baptist, before that he was born of Elizabeth, had no existence: but the Word was, before that His mother Mary—before that Abraham—before that the world at all was brought into being: and in His own time the Word was made flesh: i.e. assumed a human nature, in such a way, however, that there were not two Messiahs, but one; not two sons of God, but one.—V. g.] Nowhere in the whole range of literature will any passage be found under the sun, wherein the difference of the words εἰμί and γίνομαι is more studiously observed than John 1. Read from the beginning the whole context, from John 1:1-30, and you will agree with this assertion. Since Artemonius, p. 464, acknowledges that the tenses of the verbs are set down by John with great accuracy [discrimination], why not also the verbs themselves?— καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν, and dwelt) From this point to the end of the verse there are four sentences; to the first of which the fourth has reference, by χιασμός: to the second, the third has reference; in very apposite order.

1) And dwelt among us;

2) and we saw His glory,

3) the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father:

4) full of grace and truth

σκηνή, a tabernacle [tent]; whence σκηνόω [I tabernacle]: He dwelt as in a tabernacle [tent] with as; truly, but not long, giving us a view of [the opportunity of seeing] Himself. The verbs are akin; ἐσκήνωσεν and ἐθεασάμεθα, as a stage-scene [ σκηνή] and a theatre. The Dweller was λόγος, the Word: the flesh was His tabernacle and temple: Hebrews 9:11 [Christ being come, an high-priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say not of this building]; John 2:21 [“The temple of His body” destroyed, and then in three days raised up again by Him]. The same letters are in שכינה and σκηνή.— ἡμῖν, us) men who are flesh.— ἐθεασάμεθα, we beheld) we, the apostles, especially Peter, James, and John, Luke 9:32. [These three, at the transfiguration, “saw His glory.”] The apostles, in speaking of that which they had seen, are wont to speak in the plural number: a usage which tends to the greater confirmation [of the things which they attest]. 1 John 1:1, “That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled.” 2 Peter 1:16, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of His majesty.” Paul uses the singular number, 1 Corinthians 9:2, “Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” and John the Baptist, John 1:32, “I saw the Spirit descending, etc., and it abode upon Him.”— τὴν δόξαν) His glory, His Godhead, ch. John 2:11, “Jesus manifested forth His glory.”— ὡς, as) This particle does not compare, but declares. For He, the λόγος, the Word, is Himself the Only-begotten.— μονογενοῦς, the only begotten) There is hereby intimated the reality and unity of the Divine generation. There is reference chiefly to the baptism of Jesus Christ; John 1:34, “I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God;” Matthew 3:17, “Lo a voice from heaven saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;” although the history itself of Jesus’ baptism, as being fully described by the other Evangelists, John fittingly omits. Comp. Matthew 3:14, “John forbade Him, saying, I have need to be baptised of Thee, and comest Thou to me?”— παρὰ, by [or of]) Construe with μονογενοῦς, the Only-begotten: alone, not only-begotten by the Father, but even sent [by Him]: ch. John 6:46, “He which is of God;” ch. John 7:29, “I am not come of Myself, but He that sent Me.”— πλήρης, full) not πεπληρωμένος, filled, which, however, in another point of view, is said of Jesus, Luke 2:40.(20) [We ought to construe the passage thus, The Word dwelt with us full of grace and truth: inasmuch as this was properly the very point intended to be indicated in this verse: for the fact of His being made flesh is repeated from the previous verses.—V. g.]— χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας, grace and truth) The whole of this is repeated, John 1:17 : Grace alone is named, John 1:16, [of which if destitute we could not have endured His glory.—V. g.] Truth is grace clad with a promise, and put forth in exercise. Heb. ואמת חסד, Exodus 34:6. Thence Psalms 25:5, etc., “Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation;” Psalms 25:10, “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth;” Psalms 26:3, “I have walked in Thy truth;” Psalms 33:4-5, “All His works are done in truth: He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord;” Psalms 36:6, “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains;” Psalms 85:11, “Truth shall spring out of the earth: and righteousness shall look down from heaven:” Psalms 89:2-3, “Mercy shall be built up for ever: Thy faithfulness shalt Thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn unto David My servant;” Psalms 89:5; Psalms 89:8, “Thy faithfulness;” Psalms 89:14, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne; mercy and truth shall go before Thy face;” Psalms 89:24, “My faithfulness and mercy shall be with Him;” Psalms 89:33, “My loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail;” Psalms 89:49, “Lord, where are Thy former loving-kindnesses, which Thou swarest unto David in Thy truth?” Psalms 92:2, “To show forth Thy loving-kindness every morning, and Thy faithfulness every night;” Psalms 98:3, “He hath remembered His mercy and truth toward the house of Israel;” Psalms 100:5, “The Lord is good: His mercy is everlasting: and His truth endureth for ever;” Psalms 115:1, “Not unto us, O Lord, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and for Thy truth’s sake;” Psalms 117:2, “His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.” Add Romans 15:8-9, “Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy;” Colossians 1:5-6, “the word of the truth of the Gospel,—which bringeth forth fruit—in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.” This grace and truth is by nature unknown to the sons of wrath, and to the untruthful: but it falls to us [is bestowed on us] in the well-beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased, Matthew 3:17. It is called the grace [of God] in truth, Colossians 1:6; 2 John 1:3, “Grace be with you, mercy and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of the Father, in truth and love;” the true grace [of God], 1 Peter 5:12.


Verse 15

John 1:15. ΄αρτυρεῖ, bears witness) From this point the testimony of John is described more at large; and the whole passage, from John 1:15-28, is indeed composed of two members, but, however, both parts fall on the one day: for, in John 1:19, it is not said on the following day, or any like expression: and the discourse, John 1:29, etc., which John spake on the following day, has reference to the former part of the whole passage, rather than to the latter. Moreover, the following days are so closely connected with this one day, that the baptism of the Lord, and His sojourn in the wilderness, ought not to be interposed or subjoined, but be placed before. Therefore John in testifying of Him, and crying out [John 1:15], This is He of whom I spake, must either then have had Jesus before his eyes, after He had returned from the wilderness—comp. John 1:29; John 1:36, “John seeth Jesus coming unto Him: looking upon Jesus as He walked”—or at least have heard previously striking reports concerning Him.— κέκραγε, cried [cries]) This has the force of a present, as John 1:19, this is the record: because it is connected with μαρτυρεῖ, bears witness, and this itself, in its turn, is put instead of the Preterite. Some compare with this passage Aristides, who says, πόλις αὐτὴ συνομολογεῖ καὶ κέκραγε. John cries with confidence and joy, as becomes a great preacher [herald]: John 1:23 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord,” in order that all might hear and believe, John 1:7 [to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe].— λέγων, saying) After the baptism of Jesus.— οὗτος, This) Jesus. John had spoken indefinitely before the baptism of the Lord, concerning the Christ coming after John, and he had not himself known Him by face: but in His baptism he recognised Him first, and immediately after bare witness that this Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.— εἶπον, I spake) Before the baptism of Jesus. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, describe what John the Baptist said before the baptism of Jesus: but the Evangelist John records what John the Baptist said after the baptism of Jesus, in such a way, however, that at the same time he refers himself to what had been said previously. In John 1:15 the expression is, ὃν εἶπὸν, whom I spake of, not περὶ οὗ εἶπον, respecting whom I said: wherefore there is no need to suppose that the whole subsequent discourse is here referred to, as if uttered by John before the baptism of the Lord. It is enough that he said, that after him comes One much more powerful, ἰσχυρότερος. The other words, ἔμπροσθεν, κ. τ. λ., the evangelist has appended, as promulgated by John the Baptist after that baptism. The speech is concise [in mode of expression] as often, in this sense: I spake, that there is one who is to come after me. And This is the very person who is come after me. This is the very person, saith he, who was made [is preferred] before me. (A similar mode of expression occurs Deuteronomy 33:18, “And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents,” where similarly, under the title [lemmate] And to [or of] Zebulun he said, that also which he spake to Issachar is narrated). But, in verse 30, it is περὶ οὗ, concerning whom: and in the same passage the εἶπον, I said, now [no longer bearing the meaning it had in John 1:15] denotes those things which John the Baptist, at the actual time of the baptism, and immediately after and previously.— γέγονεν, was made) This is not said of His Divine nature, but of the office of the Christ: and it is said again, John 1:27, and a third time, John 1:30, where He is called ανήρ, a man. In this sense: He who was behind my back is now before my face, and has outstripped me, and left me behind Him. Jesus obtained this priority in His baptism [wherein He was proclaimed by GOD Himself to be the Son of GOD, before that He had any disciple.—V. g.]; John 1:31; John 1:34, “I knew Him not, but that He should be made manifest to Israel—I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God;” ch. John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease;” comp. Philippians 3:13, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,” where ὀπίσω and ἔμπροσθε are contrasted: nor does ἔμπροσθεν ever mean before [prius], in reference to time; in which case there would be nothing else asserted in this clause than what is asserted in the following [for He was before me]: but it means before [ante], in reference to position, and here in reference to grade. γίνεσθαι καὶ εἶναι, to become, and to be, with an adverb, often change the signification of the adverb into that of a noun: ch. John 6:25 [ πότε ὧδε γέγονας]; Acts 13:5 [ γενόμενοι ἐν σαλαμῖνι]; Ephesians 2:13 [ οἵ ποτε ὄντες μακρὰν ἐγγὺς ἐγενήθητε]; 2 Thessalonians 2:7 [ ἔως ἐκ μέσου γένηται]; 2 Timothy 1:17 [ γενόμενος ἐν ῥώμῃ]; Romans 7:3 [ εἂν γένηται ἀνδρὶ ἑτέρῷ]; ch. John 16:7 [ γέγονασίν ἐν χρίστῳ.] So 2 Samuel 11:23, ἐγενήθημεν ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς; Acts 5:34, ἔξω ποιῆσαι. E. Schmid has collected more examples, at Mark 4:10 [ ἐγένετο κατὰ μόνας].— ὅτι, because) This is the idea: [I said that] He who was coming after me outstripped and left me behind, because He was far before me. The infinite excellence of His person is the foundation of His precedency, so to speak, in office.— πρῶτος μου) Before me [nay, even prior to Abraham; yea, also prior to the world.—V. g.] A parallel expression is that: I am not worthy to unloose His shoe’s latchet [thong], John 1:27.


Verse 16

John 1:16. καί, and) [But (21)(22)*(23)(24)(25), the Latin ante-Hieronymic Versions (26)(27), the Memphitic, and Orige(28) thrice, read ὅτι for καὶ] The evangelist confirms the fact, that to this prediction of John the Baptist the event corresponded, and that the priority of office fell to Christ; for the statement in this verse is that of the Evangelist; since the Baptist would not be likely to call Jesus the Christ so openly as John 1:17 does: moreover the fulness, John 1:16, has reference to the word full, John 1:14; [and so John 1:16 is to be regarded as a continuation of those things which were begun, John 1:14.—V. g.]— ἡμεῖς πάντες, all we) Not all beheld, John 1:14, but all received,—Apostles and all the rest [of His disciples] received,(29) Jews and Gentiles.— ἐλάβο΄εν, καί, we received, even) The Accusative is understood, all that was to be received out of His fulness, and [specially] grace for grace.— χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος, grace for grace) Each last portion of grace [though itself], indeed large enough, the subsequent grace by accumulation and by its own fulness, as it were, overwhelms [buries under the load of its own fulness]. See an instance, John 1:51 [Jesus to Nathaniel, Because I said, I saw, see under the fig-tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these,—Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man]. A very similar use of ἀντί occurs in Æschyl. Agam. ὄνειδος ἥκει τό δʼ ἀντʼ ὀνείδοῦς; and Book VI. of Chrysostom, concerning the priesthood, ch. 13, where he makes his Basilius speak thus: σὺ δέ ΄ε ἐκπέ΄πεις, ἑτέραν ἀνθʼ ἑτέρας φροντίδα ἐνθείς; thou dost dismiss me, imposing one anxiety on another: wherein the former care, and that the less one, had not been removed, but a new one had been thrown in [in addition], and that so great a one, as to throw into the shade the former one, and as to seem not to have been added to it, but to have succeeded it. Examine the passage itself, if you please, and what comments we have collected upon it, p. 516. The Hebrews use על as שבר על שבר, Jeremiah 4:20; Jeremiah 45:3; Ezekiel 7:26; Psalms 69:27.


Verse 17

John 1:17. νόμος, the law) producing wrath [Romans 4:15], and having a shadow [Hebrews 10:1]: the moral and ceremonial law.— ἐδόθη, was given) No philosopher so accurately employs words, and observes their distinctions, as John, and especially in this chapter: afterwards he says, ἐγένετο [Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ; for]. The law is not Moses’ own: [but] grace and truth are Christ’s own.— χάρις, grace) The conjunction is elegantly omitted; for both an adversative and copulative, had place [“locum habebat;” a ‘but’ was to be looked for here]. To grace and truth the law gives way, ch. John 4:23 [The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him]. Concerning grace, an explanation was given at John 1:16 : concerning truth, see below, John 1:18 [Comp. 2 John 1:3, Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love].— ιἠσοῦ, Jesus) John when once he had made mention of the incarnation, John 1:14, never afterwards puts the noun λόγος, the word, in this signification, throughout this whole book: comp. 1 John 1:1 with 3 [That—which we have heard, which we have seen,—of the word of life. That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ] where also he begins with the name λόγος; but as he goes onward, he names Him Jesus Christ.— ἐγένετο, were made [came into being]) Previously the world had neither known, nor had had grace.


Verse 18

John 1:18. θεόν, God) Whom grace and truth exhibit as love [in essence].— οὐδείς, no one) not even Moses, much less those earlier than the time of Moses, nor Jacob, nor Isaiah, nor Ezekiel: not even the angels saw Him in such manner as the Son. See the note on Romans 16:25, etc. [The revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began].— εὥρακε, hath seen) no one hath seen: no one hath declared [God]: The Son hath seen, the Son hath declared, [God] ch. John 3:32 [What He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth].— ὤν, who was) Comp. John 5:1, and still more, John 6:62 [What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up, where He was before?]; 1 John 1:2 [That eternal life which was with the Father, and has been manifested unto us]. So ὤν for was, ch. John 9:25 [whereas I was blind, now I see; τυφλὸς ὤν]: So Heb. יונק, who sucked, Song Song of Solomon 8:1. εἰς τὸν κόλπον, in the bosom) ch. John 6:46 [Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father]. Proverbs 8:30 [Then I was by Him as one brought up with Him, I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him]. Zechariah 13:7 “My shepherd, and the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts.” The bosom here is divine, paternal, fruitful, mild, secret, spiritual. Men are said to be in the loins, who are about to be born: they are in the bosom, who have been born. The Son was in the bosom of the Father; because He was never not-born. The highest degree of unity, and the most intimate knowledge are signified by immediate sight [the seeing God face to face].— εκεῖνος [That Being] He) An epithet of excellency and distance [implying the vast interval that separates Him above all others].— ἐξηγήσατο, hath explained [declared God]) both by His words and by the sight of Himself [as God manifest in the flesh].


Verse 19

John 1:19. οἰ ἰουδᾶιοι, the Jews) Matthew, Mark, and Luke rarely employ the appellation Jews; John most frequently: no doubt the cause is, they supposed, as their first readers, Jews: John, believers of the Gentiles.— ἐξ ιἑροσολύμων, from Jerusalem) that seat of religion.— ιἑρεῖς καὶ λευίτας, priests and Levites) With the testimony of John to the people is interwoven his testimony to the rulers. This embassy, sent forty days at least after the baptism of Jesus [to allow for the forty days’ temptation subsequent to the baptism], indicates, that the preaching of John began not at a long interval before the baptism of Jesus. Otherwise the embassy would have been sent earlier.— ἐρωτήσωσιν, that they should ask) in the public name, ch. John 5:33 [Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth].— σὺ τὶς εἶ; who art thou?) with that baptism of thine, John 1:25. [Why baptizeth thou then?]


Verse 20

John 1:20. ὡμολόγησε, he confessed) the truth. Comp. John 1:8; ch. John 5:33.— οὐκ ἠρνήσατο, he denied not) Whilst he denied himself, he did not deny Christ [Psalms 118:15-16 (Perhaps Beng. means Ps. 119 = 118 in the Septuag.)]— ἐγώ, I) By thus limiting his speech [to the denial that he was the Christ] he gives a handle to the thought arising, that the Christ is not far off.— χριστός, the Christ) they had suspected that John was the Christ.


Verse 21

John 1:21. σύ, thou?) John had said, I am not the Christ. They persevere in asking about the subject: it would have been better for them to have asked about the prædicate, Who is the Christ? Where is He? But John presently leads on the conversation to this.— οὐκ εἰμί, I am not) He was a second Elijah; he was not the Tishbite himself, about whom their enquiry was. He rejects from himself all things [all the characters, which their conjectures attributed to him], in order that he may confess Christ, and bring the enquirers to Christ.— προφήτης, the Prophet) that one, of whom Deuteronomy 18:15; Deuteronomy 18:18, spake [The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken, etc.] The article has reference to the promise of the prophet, who was about to teach all things, and to the expectation of the people. Yet they supposed Him not only to be distinct from Christ, but even inferior to Elias, as is evident from the gradually descending climax here, and in John 1:25 [Christ—Elias—that prophet]: although the people afterwards regarded the prophet as the same as Messiah the King, ch. John 6:14-15 [Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world; When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make him a king, etc.]; and again, on the contrary, they looked on the prophet as a distinct person from the Christ, ch. John 7:40-41. [Many said, Of a truth this is the Prophet; others said, This is the Christ.]— εἶ σύ, art thou) they enumerate all those of whose coming prophecy had foretold.


Verse 22

John 1:22. ἀπόκρισιν δῶμεν, may give an answer) The people had demanded an answer, and especially the Jewish chief priests.— περί, concerning) Each man himself ought) to know himself [and, if he has any undertaking in particular, he ought to have in readiness a reason [to give] of his undertaking.—V. g.]


Verse 23

John 1:23. ἐγὼ φωνή, I the Voice) An abbreviated mode of expression; I am that person, of whom it has been said; the Voice of one crying. John was also himself crying.— εὐθύνατε) ἑτοιμάσατεεὐθείας ποιεῖτε, Luke 3:4, notes.— ἡσαΐας προφήτης, Isaiah the prophet) Formerly, saith he, there were prophets: now the kingdom of God is nearer at hand.


Verse 24

John 1:24. ἐκ τῶν φαρισαίων, of the Pharisees) who made a great point of Jewish baptism; and acknowledged the baptism of John to be a thing of great moment, not to be administered except by one having a Divine mission. The evangelist is wont to set down certain, as it were, parentheses, as to causes, as to place, as to occasions, as to ends, as to effects, as to hindrances, of things, actions and speeches, and similar decisions, by means of which the subjects, which are in hand, may the more clearly be understood, John 1:28; John 1:45; John 3:24; John 4:8; John 6:4; John 7:5; John 7:39; John 8:20; John 8:27; John 9:14; John 9:22; John 10:22-23; John 11:13; John 11:30; John 12:33.


Verse 26

John 1:26. ΄έσος(30)) ὑμῶν, in the midst of you) especially at the time of His baptism.— ἕστηκεν) Hath taken His stand [statuit sese].— οὐκ οἴδατε, ye know not) He addresses the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who had not been present at the baptism of Jesus: and he whets their desires, that they may be anxious to become acquainted with Him.


Verse 27

John 1:27. αὐτός) Himself.


Verse 28

John 1:28. ἐν βηθαβαρᾶ, in Bethabara) Therefore they had come a long way, John 1:19.— πέραν) beyond, in relation to Jerusalem.— ὁποῦ, where) Where he was wont to baptize. [ βηθανίᾳ is the reading of the mass of authorities, (31)(32)(33)*(34)(35)(36). βηθαβαρᾶ was a conjecture of Orige(37). The Bethany here was one beyond Jordan, which had ceased to exist before Orige(38)’s time.]


Verse 29

John 1:29. εῤχόμενον πρὸς αὐτόν, coming to him) after His baptism, as we have seen [and indeed not on the very day of His baptism, on which Jesus was immediately led up into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1.) In this place, it seems, Jesus began to walk publickly, John 1:36; John 1:43, after His return from the wilderness full of victory (we say flushed with victory, victoriæ plenum) Jesus came to John in such a way, that John could point Him out close at hand: and yet Jesus did not begin the conversation with him.—V. g.]— ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, the Lamb of God) He calls Him the Iamb, [as being] innocent, [and] about to be immolated;[One] who renders active and passive obedience, 1 Peter 1:19 [the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot]. , the article has respect to the prophecy delivered concerning Him under this figure, Isaiah 53:7 [He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth]; also under the type of the Paschal lamb. Moreover the passover itself was then near, ch. John 2:13. John being divinely instructed, calls Him the Lamb of God: although at that early time the exact understanding of this appellation would escape, if not John himself, at least his hearers. [Having first asserted his knowledge as to the exalted nature of the person of Jesus Christ, to wit, as to the Word which was made Flesh; next John describes His office and His chief benefit. In like manner Jesus Christ first presented Himself to be acknowledged by the disciples as Son of God; then He instructed them as to His sufferings, etc.—V. g.]— τοῦ θεοῦ, of God) The Lamb of God, whom God gave and approved of; and concerning whom He Himself bears such testimony, This is the only Lamb, this is the only victim pleasing to Me, Hebrews 10:5, etc. “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldst not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure, Then said I, Lo I come to do Thy will O God.” So Psalms 51:17, The sacrifices of God [mean those] which God acknowledges [as pleasing to Him], Luke 2:26, the Lord’s Christ.— αἴρων,) Chrysost. John says, ἀμνὸν και οτι αἴρει, κ. τ. λ. “Behold the Lamb, and that He takes away,” etc. The Vulgate has Ecce Agnus Dei, ECCE qui tollit, etc. [Behold the Lamb, behold Him who takes away]. Both understood the words ἀμνὸς, αἴρων, not in the construction of substantive and adjective, but as in apposition. The Lamb of God, i.e., He who takes away, etc. And this second clause was added by either the Baptist, or the Evangelist, as ch. John 4:25 [Messias cometh, which is called Christ]. The Lamb of God first took the load of sin off the world on Himself, then rolled it off from Himself. [The same expression evidently, as 1 John 3:5 (He was manifested to take away our sins).—V. g.]— τὴν ἁμαρτίαν, the sin) The singular number, with the article, [gives it] the greatest force. [There was] the one plague, which seized on all; He bore the whole; He did not so bear one part [of our sin], as not to bear the other. The same singular number is interposed between Plurals, Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 53:8; Isaiah 53:12, “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all:” whereas in John 1:5, “He was wounded for our transgressions;”—“for the transgression of My people was He stricken;” “He bare the sin of many.” Sin and the world are equally widely extended.


Verse 30

John 1:30. ἀνήρ, a man) Great, peerless.— πρῶτος, prior [to me]) Notes, John 1:15.


Verse 31

John 1:31. οὐκ ᾔδειν) I knew Him not by face, just as yourselves [knew Him not], John 1:26. “There standeth one among you, whom ye know not;” at the time that I said, There cometh after me: see Matthew 3:14, notes. This manifestly tends to prove that John was divinely instructed to testify as to Christ Jesus.— ἵνα, that) expresses not the sole end, but still the primary one, why he came baptizing with water; Acts 19:4 : “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”— βαπτίζων, baptizing) The connecting link of [i.e. of the previous words with] the words of John the Baptist, after the parenthesis of the Evangelist, presently to be observed.


Verse 32

John 1:32. ἐμαρτύρησεν, bare record) as concerning a fact seen by himself and not by the people. The words which follow [comp. John 1:34] were part of his record [testimony]: the words which are spoken, John 1:29, etc. [comp. John 1:15; John 1:27], were part of his demonstration [the clear proof of Jesus’ Messiahship, which John demonstrated] from the record. The Evangelist interposes this in the midst of the connected words of the Baptist, as a sort of parenthesis; ἐμαρτύρησενὅτι, John bare record, saying.— τεθέαμαι) I beheld.— ἐξούρανοῦ, from heaven) Construe this with καταβαῖνον, descending. The descent, at least in its last and lowest part, was equally determinate [in its direction] towards Jesus, as its abiding on Him.— ἔμεινεν, it abode) with a considerable stay [continuance].


Verse 33

John 1:33. οὐκ ᾔδειν) I knew Him not, before that I saw the Spirit descending.— πέμψας με, He that sent me) God.


Verse 34

John 1:34. ἑώρακα) I saw the Spirit descending.— καὶ) and thence [in consequence].— μεμαρτύρηκα) I became a witness [I bare record].— ὑιὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, the Son of God) And so the Messiah. The reference is to that which is stated: Matthew 3:7. [Namely, how Jesus in His baptism, teas proclaimed the Son of GOD, and in His temptation asserted Himself to be the Son of GOD: thus this very truth, that He is the Son of GOD, is explained more at length in the first verses. Also these verses have a fitting place here, as intended to designate that Person, of whom John the Baptist bare record, by the mission divinely entrusted to him. The events which precede the entrance (the coming forward) of John the Baptist, namely, the nativity and baptism of Christ, etc., these the Evangelist has most dexterously interwoven with the rest.—Harm., p. 154.]


Verse 35

John 1:35. τῇ ἐπαύριον, on the following day) Great days! The first the day of the record borne as to Jesus being Messiah; John 1:15-16; the second, the day of his testimony concerning the same Person, and at the same time as to His suffering [passion]; John 1:29-30; the third, this day, that of the three disciples joining Him; the fourth, that of Philip and Nathanael being brought over to Him, John 1:43. Add ch. John 2:1; John 2:12 [on the third day;—after this He went to Capernaum, etc., and continued there not many days]. The care of this Evangelist in marking times is remarkable.— δυό, two) about to be witnesses.


Verse 36

John 1:36. περιπατοῦντι, as He walked) He was not now coming to John, as He was, John 1:29 : for [to have come] oftener, would not have been becoming. To have done so once was condescension enough.


Verse 37

John 1:37. ἠκολούθησαν, followed) of their own accord from behind. [Here were] the first commencements of the Christian Church. At the beginning Jesus invited disciples with a kind of milk-like [‘lacteâ,’ alluring] sweetness. [You will not find that He appointed certain hours for instructing disciples; but all His conversation presented [the aspect of one] continued instruction and lasting training, at one time the handle [for instruction] being given by a marriage; at another time, in overwhelming straits on the water; at another time in a case of household need; at another time when some one was sick; at another time, on the occasion of some lapse on the part of the disciples. Immediately, as it were, on the highway (before the public, and on the spot “in trivio”) He taught, reproved, bent, bore with, admonished, tried, strengthened, established them, and opened out to them one part of the truth after another, and freed them from one false conception after another, commencing from these first [earliest] times all along to His ascension.—Harm., p. 157.]


Verse 38

John 1:38. τὶ ζητεῖτε, what seek ye?) He was aware it was Himself they sought. He means therefore. What seek ye with Me? not, Whom seek ye? By this question He touched their heart. He showed that He knew that they were seeking something; and He gives them the opportunity of begging [from Him] what they would.— ῥαββί, Rabbi) Seasonably they give this title to Jesus; John 1:49.(39) Also the interpretation being added, shows that the disciples assigned it to Him in the restricted signification.— ποῦ μένεις) we ask, where thou art stopping, where thou hast thy μονή [mansion, residence]. They are desirous of His intimacy.


Verse 39

John 1:39. εἶδον, they saw) They might have seen proofs of the Messiah in His dwelling; which was simple, quiet, neat, silent, and frugal, without any costly array of vases and books, (comp. 2 Kings 4:10 [Elisha’s “little chamber on the wall” of the Shunammite, containing “a bed, table, stool, and candlestick,”]) in a word, worthy of Himself and of Him alone.— ἔμειναν, they abode) Constancy becomes disciples.— ἡμέραν, day) O happy day!— ὥρα, hour) Andrew made haste, even though late in the evening, to tell the [glad] tidings to his brother.[These incidents preceded sunset by two hours,—V. g.]


Verse 41

John 1:41. εὑρίσκει, findeth) With the festival-like [joyous] freshness of those days beautifully corresponds the word findeth, which is used here more frequently [than elsewhere].— πρῶτος, first) It is to be presumed, that both of them sought Simon by different roads.(40)τὸν ἀδελφὸν, his brother) He afterwards became superior to Andrew, who, it is probable, was the elder born; John 1:44 [the order there is, “Andrew and Peter”].— εὑρήκαμεν, we have found) John 1:45, “We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write” [Philip to Nathanael]. A great and joyful εὓρημα, treasure-found, expected by the world for about forty centuries. They had learned from John, that He was close at hand.— , which) This is an addition of the Evangelist, as at John 1:42.


Verse 42

John 1:42. ἐμβλέψας, having gazed earnestly at him [fixing His eye upon him] An effectual look.— σίμων υἱὸς ἰωνᾶ, Simon, son of Jona) These names no one had told the Saviour: and so by this address by name He took complete possession of Peter; comp. John 1:48 [His similarly winning Nathanael by showing His omniscience, “Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.”]— κηφᾶς, Cephas) Peter was ever afterwards called by this name, which is a Syriac one, especially when he was staying in Syria.


Verse 43

John 1:43. ἠθέλησεν ἐξελθεῖν, would go forth) and He did go forth, which ch. John 2:1 implies. By comparing with this ch. 2, especially the 11th verse, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory,” etc., it is evident that the word for going forth is significant. He went forth to action, to the carrying on of His work.


Verse 44

John 1:44. βηθσαϊδά, Bethsaida) This seems to be mentioned for this reason, because Nathanael’s native country was neighbouring, John 1:45,(41) ch. John 21:2, “Nathanael of Cana in Galilee.”(42)


Verse 45

John 1:45. εὑρίσκει, findeth) Philip, after being called, immediately sets himself to gain another [makes a gain on his talent, ‘lucrifacit’].— τὸν ναθαναήλ, Nathanael) It is probable that he was admitted among the apostles, and that he was the same person as he who is called Bartholomew, by a secondary name derived from his father, Tolomæus, as Simon from Jona [Bar-Jona], James and John from Zebedee [“the sons of Zebedee”]: For Judas also was called Lebbæus or Thaddæus. Certainly at Matthew 10:3 [the list of the apostles], he is joined to Philip; and at John 21:2, Nathanael is put down in the midst of the apostles, immediately after Thomas; comp. Acts 1:13, “Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew:” and it seems likely, that his name would have been submitted to the apostles casting of lots [as a candidate for the vacant apostleship, to which Matthew was elected by lot], Acts 1:23, [whereas Barsabas and Matthias were the only two submitted to it], had he not been already among the apostles. lie was certainly a friend of the Lord equally dear [to Him], as a friend can be dear to a prince, though not employed on his embassies.— λέγει, saith) with a loud voice, John 1:48,(43) and a joyous voice. [ ΄ωσῆς, Moses) John 5:39; John 5:46, “Search the Scriptures, for,” etc., “and they are they which testify of Me:—“Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me; for he wrote of Me.”—V. g.]— εὑρήκαμεν, we have found) I, Andrew, and Peter.


Verse 46

John 1:46. δύναταί τι) can anything? Therefore there were many worthless characters. Comp. as to that whole region, ch. John 7:52, “Search and look; for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet” [the Pharisees to Nicodemus]. Nathanael’s question is however more modest and cautious, than if he categorically denied [that anything good could come from Galilee]. Christ did not owe His excellency to His native land on earth [His excellency was not to be set down to the account of His earthly country]. He came from heaven.— ἀγαθόν, good) But how great a Good, Christ! ch. John 7:12, “Some said, He is a good man.”— ἔρχου καὶ ἴδε, come and see) The best remedy against preconceived opinions. What Jesus the day before had replied to the disciples [John 1:39], “Come and see”: that now Philip replies to others, ἴδε, see, i.e. you will see. Often an imperative after an imperative has the force of a future; Genesis 17:1, “Walk before Me, and be thou perfect”= and thus thou shall be, Amos 5:4, “Seek ye Me and ye shall live.” See Glass. Phil. Can. xliii, de Verbo.


Verse 47

John 1:47. περὶ αὐτοῦ) concerning Him, not immediately to Himἀληθῶς, truly) An affirmation showing intimate knowledge.— ἰσραηλίτης, an Israelite)(44) one worthy to see angels ascending and descending, as Jacob did [on the ladder in his dream], John 1:51; comp. Genesis 28:12. No mere creature could bear the name, Israel, unless it were divinely given him; so vast [comprehensive] it is: the guileless, ἄδολοι, are worthy of it. [A pre-eminent virtue truly is guilelessness.—V. g.] This speech contains a proof 1) of His omniscience; 2) of His benignity. Nathanael had been hasty; John 1:46, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” The Lord gives to him Himself as the Good.


Verse 48

John 1:48. πόθεν whence) Jesus does not answer this question, but shows that He knows even more about Nathanael.— συκῆν, a fig-tree) An emblem of peace and Gospel security [1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4].— εἶδόν δε, I saw thee) with the Divine eye. Nathanael is reminded of the meditations, which he had had at that time, truly worthy of an Israelite and free from guile.


Verse 49

John 1:49. ἀπεκρίθη, he answered) Considerate quickness in believing brings with it a blessed [sumptuous] portion: slowness is censured, Luke 24:25, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe.”— σὺ εἶ ὑιος τοῦ θεοῦ, Thou art the Son of God) ch. John 6:69, “We believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” Now Nathanael himself confesses more than he had heard from Philip: and retracts his doubt as to the goodness of Jesus.— ὑιός βασιλεύς, the Son—the King) A confession as to the person and office of Christ. σὺ εἶ βασιλεὺς τοῦ ἰσραήλ, Thou art the King of Israel) and so my King also, since Thou dost acknowledge me to be a genuine Israelite.


Verse 50

John 1:50. εἶδον, I saw) The repetition confirms [the assertion]: as at ch. John 4:17-18.— πιστεύεις) Others read it without the interrogation, which however the succeeding sentence, as being without the particle οὖν or any other such like particle, requires, μείζω τούτων ὄψει. The same figure [the interrogation expressing surprise, rather than a query] occurs, Luke 22:52. At the same time the admiration of the Lord at the prompt faith of Nathanael is expressed; as in Matthew 8:10, at the faith of the centurion; and the Lord shows by a new proof, that Nathanael is intimately known to Him, and He [thereby] confirms his faith.— μείζω, greater things) concerning which [see what is contained] in the following verse, and in ch. John 21:25 [There are also many other things, which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written]. [To him that hath it is given. There is a perpetual (principle of) increase (in the case) of Divine gifts, works, and testimonies: ch. John 5:20; John 5:35 (The Father showeth Him all things, that Himself doeth: and He will show Him greater works than these:—John was a burning and a shining light, etc., But I have greater witness than that of John). Ch. John 14:12 “He that believeth on Me, the works that I do, shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto the Father.” Avail yourself of the means which first offer themselves: if you do not so, you are wanting to yourself by delaying.—V. g.]— ὄψει, thou shah see) In this word is contained [the assurance of] Nathanael’s staying with Jesus.


Verse 51

John 1:51. ἀμὴν, ἀμήν, verily, verily) Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in the speeches of Jesus, are wont to set down ἀμήν once, John twice [repeating the word], upon which see Jac. Gaillius tr. de Filio hom. qu. 11, 12, p. 231–239. The others indeed do so too in those passages, which are not parallel; but yet even in parallels too, Matthew 26:21; Matthew 26:34 [ ἀμήν, once]; John 13:21; John 13:38 [ ἀμήν, twice]: whence it appears, that the Saviour either always used this prefatory affirmation, ἀμήν, once, or, as we rather think, always twice. At the time of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it was not yet the seasonable time to record it [the double ἀμήν]: when John wrote, it was seasonable. But why [is it repeated] twice? Jesus spake in the name of the Father and in His own: add the note on 2 Corinthians 1:20 [The promises of God—are in Him, Amen]: and His Word is Truth with the Speaker and with believers; 1 John 2:8 [A new commandment,—which thing is true in Him and in you]: [both] in substance and in words. Matthew 5:37 “Let your communication be yea, yea; nay nay:” They are λόγοι ἀληθινοὶ καὶ πιστοὶ [words], faithful and true: comp. Revelation 19:11 [He that sat upon the horse was called Faithful and True], This is a Hebrew epizeuxis, as Psalms 41:13; Psalms 89:52; Psalms 72:19 [Amen and Amen]: as מאד מאד, very, very.— ὑμῖν, you) [Plur.] To thee and the rest.— ὄψεσθε, ye shall see) Answering to ὄψει, thou shalt see) John 1:50. Great faith, and [a decided] profession on the part of one, obtains even for others greater gifts.— τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνεῳγότα, heaven open) i.e. Ye shall see the greatest signs, which are to show, that heaven is open. The Lord has descended scended from heaven, and now stays on [“versatur in,” walks familiarly on] earth: and thence His heavenly messengers will have much to do; for they will have to attend on their Lord.— ἀνεῳγότα, opened) The præterite, properly, comp. Matthew 3:16, ἀνεῴχθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ οὐρανοί; and with [i.e. implying also] continuance to the time subsequent, John 3:13, “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven;” Acts 7:56, [The dying Stephen] “I see the heavens opened;” Revelation 11:12, “A great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud.”— τοὺς ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ, the angels of God) The same beings, whom the Only-begotten Son of GOD has as His ministering servants.— ἀναβαίνοντας καὶ καταβαίνοντας, ascending and descending) Ascending is put in the first place: therefore there will be a staving of angels on earth. Jacob saw some such vision, Genesis 28:12. How much more [shall] Israelites without guile under the New Testament [see it].— τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, the Son of man) See note on Matthew 16:13.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 1:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-1.html. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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