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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
John 16

 

 

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Verse 1

John 16:1. ἵνα μὴ σκανδαλισθῆτε, that ye be not offended) owing to the hatred of the world.


Verse 2

John 16:2. ἀλλʼ) Nayἵνα) that) whosoever killeth you, will think that he thus doeth God service. So John 16:32, ἔρχεται ὥρα ἵνα, κ. τ. λδόξῃ [will think] will appear) to himself and to those who are like him.— λατρείαν προσφέρειν) that he offers a gift or service. In the present day still the Jews, as Hensius observes, call the killing of a Christian קרבן, a gift, or service, in the case of which there is need of no expiation being made.


Verse 4

John 16:4. ΄νημονεύητε) ye may remember, with faith: ch. John 13:19, “Now I tell you before it come, that when it is come to pass ye may believe that I am He.”— οὐκ εἶπον) I said not, although knowing it. A most wise method of Christ was this. He had told them, even a little before, of the hatred of the world, but less openly, and more sparingly. [Now that they were fortified by the promise of the Holy Spirit against that hatred He speaks more openly concerning that subject.—V. g.] Matthew 10:17; Matthew 10:21; Matthew 10:25; Matthew 24:9.


Verse 5

John 16:5. [ νῦν δὲ, but now) Now at the proper season, saith He, the fact is declared to you.—V. g.]— οὐδεὶς) None of you now proceeds to ask Me, whereas ye ought to do so especially. They had often asked questions on many subjects: and on this very subject in ch. John 13:36. But their question had more reference in their thoughts to His departure, than to the place, whither the Lord was going. Afterwards they ceased to ask the question. Therefore the Lord here teaches them even to ask, which if they had done of their own accord, it would have very much pleased Him.


Verse 6

John 16:6. λύπη) that sorrow, which already was felt by them, became increased and prevented their asking the question.— καρδίαν, heart) John 16:22, “Ye now therefore have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.”


Verse 7

John 16:7. ἐγὼ, I) who am not asked by you, and who know not to lie (who am incapable of deceiving you).— ἀλήθειαν, the truth) although ye do not comprehend the truth of this thing, which I tell you. All truth [though it seem painful] is good to the saints.— συμφέρει) It is expedient for you, in respect of the Paraclete (Comforter), John 16:7-8, “If I depart, I will send Him unto you;” and in respect of Myself, John 16:16-17, “Ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father;” and in respect of the Father, John 16:23-24, “In that day, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you.”— γὰρ, for) The office of the Paraclete is twofold, viz., towards the world in this place, and towards believers in John 16:12-13, “He will guide you into all truth.”— ἀπέλθω, πορευθῶ, if I depart not; if I go) These verbs differ: the former has more reference to the terminus a quo (the place from which the departure takes place); the latter, to the terminus ad quem (the place to which one goes his way).— οὐκ, not) It was not suitable that Jesus should be present in weakness, and the Holy Spirit present in power at the same time; ch. John 7:39, “The Holy Ghost was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified;” Acts 2:33, “Being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this;” and it was the province of Jesus to send Him, not to call Him to Himself (whilst still on earth).— πρὸς ὑμᾶς) unto you, not unto the world, although the world shall feel His ‘reproof,’ John 16:8.


Verse 8

John 16:8. ἐκεῖνος ἐλέγξει, He will reprove or convict) through your preaching, and through works of conversions and healings: which reproof the world will partly submit itself to, partly resist, but its resistance will be but “a kicking against the pricks.” Appropriately after the verb μαρτυρήσει, He shall testify, ch. John 15:26, is put the verb ἐλέγξει, He shall reprove, here. Ammonius says, μάρτυς is taken in a good sense, ἔλεγχος in a bad sense. Christ is good, the world is bad.— τὸν κόσμον, the world) which is hostile to you, the whole of it universally, including those who are accounted the most holy and most powerful in the world, and who do not believe in Me: the Jews and the perverse Gentiles.— περὶ, concerning) Three remarkable heads are mentioned, concerning sin, concerning righteousness, concerning judgment. Righteousness is opposed to sin: righteousness belongs to Christ: Satan is condemned in judgment. He who is “convicted concerning sin,” subsequently either passes over to the righteousness of Christ, or has his share in judgment (condemnation) with Satan. The fulfilment of this passage is to be found in the Acts of the Apostles. See there an example of the Holy Spirit’s ‘reproving,’ concerning the sin of unbelief, ch. Acts 3:13-14, Peter in Solomon’s porch, “Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you:” concerning righteousness, ch. Acts 13:39, Paul at Antioch, “By Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law,” which comp. with what goes before; concerning judgment, ch. Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,” etc.


Verse 9

John 16:9. περὶ ἁμαρτίας, concerning sin) He is speaking not of sin generally, but concerning the sin of unbelief, ch. John 15:22, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin,” etc., which sin is an aberration from the primitive truth; ch. John 8:46, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” [i.e. that I am in error, and have wandered from the truth: He appeals to their conscience]. And again, unbelief is the confluence of all sins, and the worst of them all, Matthew 10:15, note, “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha than,” etc. Therefore not to believe the Gospel, is worse than to imitate the men of Sodom. Through it a man departs from (falls short of) all the will of God. Hebrews 3:12, “Take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.”— ὅτι) [because, Engl. Vers.], namely that; and so in the following verses, as is evident from the conjugates ( κρίσεωςκέκριται),(363) in John 16:11.


Verse 10

John 16:10. δικαιοσύνης, of righteousness) The world had accounted Jesus as most guilty [Comp. John 16:2-3].— ὅτιὑπάγω [‘because’], that—I go) as “the Righteous,” 1 John 2:1, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous,” thereby obtaining access for believers. The departure of Christ to the Father was confirmed by the advent of the Paraclete.— καὶ οὐκ ἔτι θεωρεῖτέ με, and ye see Me no more) that is to say, and I come into that state, wherein ye no longer see Me. There is a change of person; i.e. I no more am seen: and yet it is not without reason that the language is framed in the second person; for if it were the privilege of any one to see Jesus, it would be that of the apostles; and yet it was the part even of these themselves (not to see, but) to believe, and to invite all to believe. Acts 10:41; Luke 24:52; Romans 4:18-19, “Abraham—against hope believed in hope,” etc. Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the evidence of things not seen;” John 16:27, “Moses endured as seeing Him, who is invisible;” ch. John 6:19; 1 Peter 1:8, “Whom not having seen ye love, in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable,” etc., John 21 : 2 Corinthians 5:16, “Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more;” 21, “He hath made Him sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him,” wherein we ought to weigh well the righteousness spoken of. On the other hand, so long as Christ could be beheld among men, righteousness was not yet obtained. Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 9:28, “Now once—hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself;—to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” 1 Timothy 3:16, note, “Manifest in the flash, justified in the Spirit.” [So long as He was manifest in the flesh among sinners, He was regarded as like themselves, and in fact did bear their sins; but afterwards by His death He abolished sin which was laid on Him, and claimed for Himself and for His people eternal righteousness, with the full approbation of the Father]—[Righteousness and glory are things conjoined. Romans 8:30, “Whom He justified, them He also glorified.”—V. g.] Previously to His death, He had been exposed to the eyes of mortals; not so also after His resurrection, except in so for as it was necessary that the witnesses of the resurrection should be confirmed; and even to these very persons He was not visible during the whole of that period, but only appeared at occasional times, much less was He visible to the world. And the sight of His glory, which accompanied His righteousness (“His justification in the Spirit”), would be intolerable to those living in the flesh.


Verse 11

John 16:11. ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, the prince of this world) Satan has been (is) judged upon the ground (principle) that he is prince of the world.— κέκριται, has been (is) judged) all the power under which the human race has been subjected having been taken from him; and a return under the sceptre of Christ’s righteousness having been thrown open to men, even to the Gentiles who were most alien to God and absorbed in idolatry: whilst those who refuse to avail themselves of the opportunity of a return, are doomed to have at last the same portion assigned them as the prince of the world. It was a most momentous judicial Process which was to be followed by the execution of it.


Verse 12

John 16:12. πολλὰ, many things) concerning the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord, and concerning those things which are touched upon in John 16:8, et seq., and are presently after brought to an abrupt close. These many things are not to be sought for in the traditions of Rome, which are more than elementary, and now even in a less degree can be borne by those who have the Paraclete (Comforter). But they are to be sought for in the Acts and Epistles of the Apostles, and in the Apocalypse, all which are to be on this very account highly estimated. They are also indicated in the close of the following verse, “He will show you things to come.” Comp. note, ch. John 14:16.— οὐ δύνασθε, ye cannot) either on account of the very multitude of the many things, or on account of their momentous character.— βαστάζειν) bear the things which I have to say. The Paraclete shall speak (of them, John 16:13).


Verse 13

John 16:13. ὁδηγήσει, He shall guide) gradually, as you shall have need.— πᾶσαν) all, not merely that, which I tell you now as suited to your present capacity, John 16:7; or that truth concerning which the Paraclete shall reprove the world, John 16:8-9; 1 John 2:20, “Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things;” 1 Corinthians 5:5, “In every thing ye are enriched by Him in all utterance and in all knowledge:” John 2:9, et seq., “Eye hath not seen, etc.; but God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God.”— τὴν) The demonstrative article; all that truth which I was now “having to say to you.” The same phrase occurs in Mark 5:33, πᾶσαν τὴν ἀληθείαν, all the truth.— ἀληθείαν, truth) The Scripture is not wont to say in the Plural, ἀληθείαι, truths, ‘Truth’ is one, and a whole. The things whatsoever He shall hear and the things to come, are no doubt true things (but are not called truths in the Plural).— οὐ γὰρ λαλήσει ἀφʼ εἁυτοῦ, for He shall not speak of Himself) So also the Son speaks concerning Himself in ch. John 12:49, “I have not spoken of Myself, but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say and what I should speak.” Concerning hearing, comp. ch. John 8:40, “A man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God.”— τὰ ἐρχόμενα, the things to come) These also are true; otherwise they would not come. There were then coming the Saviour’s cross, death, life, and glory. The present, things coming, is used as of things about which the prophets had foretold: Acts 3:21, “The times of the restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” The marvellous works of the Holy Spirit were already then close at hand. The Apostles foretold many things even in their Epistles, but the Apocalypse written by John is what this especially refers to.— ἀναγγελεῖ, He will announce) This is the cause why Jesus, before His passion, predicted almost nothing of the things about to be, except the first and last of them, the overthrow of Jerusalem and the last judgment. The fountain of prophetical Theology is the revelation of the Holy Spirit. ἀναγγελεῖ, He will announce, is thrice repeated, John 16:13-15.


Verse 14

John 16:14. ἐκεῖνος ἐμὲ δοξάσει, He shall glorify me) This is the economy of the Three Witnesses: the Son glorifies the Father; the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son. See ch. John 14:13, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son;” John 17:4, “I have glorified Thee on the earth”— ἐκ τοῦ ἐμοῦ, of Mine) Hence it was the Holy Spirit who taught the apostles to say and do all things in the name of Jesus Christ.


Verse 15

John 16:15. λήψεται, A considerable number of manuscripts read λαμβάνει.(364) The ἔχει and ἐστι, John 16:15, accords with λαμβάνει, giving a magnificent signification in the use of the present tense: and the receiving certainly precedes the announcing, ἀναγγελεῖ.


Verse 16

John 16:16. ΄ικρὸνκαὶ πάλιν μικρὸν, a little while—and again a little while) viz. it is. In all, four days. Comp. the expression hour, John 16:21 : and now, John 16:22. He speaks most gently (mildly) of His Passion.— οὐ θεωρεῖτεὄψεσθε, ye do not contemplate or behold—ye shall see [have Me before your eyes]) The Present and Future. θεωρεῖν, and ὄπτεσθαι differ. For the latter is more associated with feeling and affection: John 16:22, “I will see ( ὄψομαι) you again, and your heart shall rejoice,” etc.(365)ὅτι, because) This is the cause both of their not beholding ( θεωρεῖτε), and after a little while again seeing (i.e. by faith and through the Spirit sent down on them: ὄψεσθε; not literal seeing.) Comp. John 16:10.


Verse 17

John 16:17. ἐκ) Understand τινἑς.— καὶ ὅτι, and because) The disciples disjoin two sentences that were conjoined, and which they did not understand.


Verse 18

John 16:18. ἐλεγον, they were saying) Severally and individually. Inasmuch as they were perplexed when speaking among themselves, John 16:17, they were doubtful when thinking on it separately and apart.— τοῦτο, this) The pronoun in this passage is strongly demonstrative, as if they were to say, this in particular: there is nothing that we have less understood this long time, than this. We truly after the event readily understand: but not so they at that time.— οὐκ ὄιδαμεν, we know not) They lay aside all hope and the attempt to interpret His words.


Verse 19

John 16:19. ὅτι ἤθελον, that they were wishing) with a praiseworthy wish. The good Saviour anticipated their questioning Him.— μικρὸν, a little while) Not without reason this is so often repeated.


Verse 20

John 16:20. εἰς, into) Sorrow not merely shall beget joy; but shall itself be turned into joy, as the water into the wine. This very thing, which now seems sorrowful to you, shall be perceived to be matter for joy.


Verse 21

John 16:21. ὅταν τίκτῃ, when she is about to bring forth) Here there is not yet added, offspring, because the woman is then rather held fast in the throes of actual labour.— ἄνθρωπος, a human being) whether a son or a daughter.— εἰς τὸν κόσμον into the world) How much greater will be your joy, to sec Jesus, restored alive to you, John 16:22.


Verse 22

John 16:22. ὄψομαι, I will see) John 16:16, ye shall see Me. The two are correlative.— χαρήσεται ὑμῶν καρδιά) Isaiah 66:14, καὶ ὄψεσθε καὶ χαρήσεται καρδιά ὑμῶν.— οὐδεὶς αἴρει, no man taketh away) The Present, by which it is signified that the joy is sure, a joy which can be thwarted by no enemy, whatever may be now for the present impending: John 16:32.


Verse 23

John 16:23. ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, in that day) This expression is also applied to prayer in John 16:26, which is the subject presently after treated of in this verse.— οὐκ ἐρωτήσετε) ye shall not ask questions, viz. ye shall not ask them under the influence of sorrow, as in John 16:6, but from joy.(366) A foretaste of this αὐταρκεία, and satisfied acquiescence [mental tranquility, as having within all needful knowledge] follows presently in John 16:30. Ye will not have occasion to ask or solicit Me for answers: ye shall clearly perceive all things. Comp. John 16:19; John 16:25; ch. John 21:12, “None of the disciples durst ask Him, Who art Thou? knowing that it was the Lord.” The reality itself will be ready to your hand. Ye will apply to the Father Himself.— οὐδὲν, nothing) as to these subjects. They questioned Him about “the time of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel” in Acts 1:6.— ἀμὴν, ἀμὴν, verily, verily) Once and again He had somewhat touched upon the subject of prayer, declaring that they who would pray in the name of Jesus, should experimentally know the unity of the Father and the Son, ch. John 14:13,“Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son;” and that whoever would “abide in Christ and bear fruit,” whatsoever they would ask,” they should receive, ch. John 15:7; John 15:16. Now He treats of prayer in pursuance, of His design (in a more formal and systematic way than before).— ὅσα ἂν, whatsoever things) We have afforded to us a carte blanche, as Spener expresses it.— αἰτήσητε, ye shall have asked [prayed for]) even as regards those things, about which ye now desire, ἐρωτᾷν, to ask Me questions. Praying is a something more evident, and as it were more palpable than faith; therefore Jesus in instructing His disciples in regard to prayer, leads them on thereby to faith.— τὸν πατέρα, the Father) This answers to ἐμὲ, Me, in the beginning of this verse. Jesus instructs His disciples, that having laid aside their yearnings for the visible presence of Jesus, they should approach the Father (avail themselves of their access to the Father).— δώσει, He will give it) I will do it, He had said in ch. John 14:13-14, where He was speaking of their recognising the Father as being in the Son: now when speaking of the love of the Father, viz. towards believers, He saith, He will give it.


Verse 24

John 16:24. ἕως ἄρτι, hitherto) As often soever as they prayed, Our Father, so ought they hereafter to say in the name of Jesus Christ.— αἰτεῖτε, ask) in My name.— ἵνα, that) This assigns the cause, why He desires them to ask.


Verse 25

John 16:25. ἐν παροιμίαις, in more covert words, in somewhat dark sayings) In antithesis to παῤῥησίᾳ, openly, plainly, without a veil: πάροιμος, is one who is somewhere about the way ( οἴμη), but not in the way, whence παροιμία (ch. John 10:6) is a mode of speaking whereby is meant not the literal thing, which the words express to the ear, but yet something not unlike it (from which notion also the term παραβολὴ, משל, is formed). Such was that expression, μικρὸν, a little while; John 16:16, whereupon the disciples said, What is this? John 16:18.— περὶ, concerning) The same particle occurs in the following verse. I shall show you concerning the Father, and in John 16:26, I will pray (request) the Father concerning (for) you, are sweetly correlative.


Verse 26

John 16:26. ὀνόματι, in My name) knowledge of God [which they were to have in that coming day] produces prayer.— οὐ λέγω, I do not say [I say not]) comp. οὐ λέγω, 1 John 5:16, where, I do not say, is similarly used for, I say that He is not to, etc.; a courteous (i.e. expressive of affection) and Attic mode of expression. Jesus declares that the love of the Father needs not then, as if for the first time, be conciliated for them by His request, so as that they should be heard. It is rather owing to the very fact that they belonged to the Father, that now He makes request for them: ch. John 17:9, “I pray for them, whom Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine.”(367)


Verse 27

John 16:27. αὐτὸς, Himself) of His own accord.— φιλεῖ ὑμᾶς, loveth you) and therefore hearkens to you.— ὅτι, because) This gives the reason why the Father loves and hears them.— πεφιλήκατε, καὶ πεπιστεύκατε) ye have taken hold of (embraced) Me with love and faith. Love is both posterior and prior to faith. For they mutually sustain each other. Nay, faith itself imbibes love and the embracing of the heavenly gift. In this passage love is put first, in order that these words may the better answer to one another, viz. loveth, ye have loved. Ye believe that I came out from God. These words the Lord puts into the mouth of the disciples, in order that there may be echoed back by them the words, We believe that Thou earnest forth from God, in John 16:30.


Verse 28

John 16:28. ἐξῆλθον, I came forth) This verse contains the most important recapitulation. The Socinians wrongly understand these words as spoken in the way of a παροιμία (John 16:25) or parabolic and dark saying.


Verse 29

John 16:29. νῦν, now) They have not to wait for another hour: John 16:25, “The hour ( ὥρα) cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs.” They see that Jesus fulfilled His promise more speedily than He would have been thought likely to have made the promise.


Verse 30

John 16:30. πάντα, all things) even the state of men’s hearts. Even though thou art asked no question by any man, yet thy words are adapted to all.— καὶ οὐ, and thou needest not) There is one Teacher alone, who, without being asked, satisfies the wants of His disciples. Many in our days learn but little, because they are not wont to ask any questions of their teachers, who certainly are not omniscient [so as to know their wants without being told them].— πιστεύομεν, ὅτι ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἐξῆλθες, we believe that Thou earnest forth from God) i.e. we “believe in God, and believe also in Thee.” And so Jesus has convinced them. Comp. ch. John 14:1, Believe (Imperative, not Indic. as Engl. Vers. See Beng., note).


Verse 31

John 16:31. ἄρτι πιστεύετε, ye now believe)(368) An Epiphonema [Exclamation subjoined after the demonstration of some weighty truth.—Append.] in reference to the whole doctrine of Christ [given utterance to with great gratification of mind.—V. g.] Your faith is ἄρτιος, perfected, suitable or apt. Now I have what I wished (when I said, Believe ye, in ch. John 14:1), and still wish, ye believe, John 16:30; John 16:27; ch. John 17:7, “Now ( νῦν) they have known that all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me are of Thee;” ch. John 20:29, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” I now proceed forwards. [The Imperative is the prevalent form, wherewith He urges them, from ch. John 14:1, until in this passage there results the altogether absolute Indicative.—Not. Crit. As often as aught of the Divine power puts itself forth in a soul, there may be frequently observed a turning point of this kind.—V. g.]


Verse 32

John 16:32. ἰδοὺ, behold) The Saviour fortifies the faith of the disciples against the impending storm.— εἰς τὰ ἴδια, to His own) which previously ye have left for My sake. The treachery of Judas, who had carried the purse, was added to the other greater causes of their being scattered.


Verse 33

John 16:33. ἵνα, that) expressing the scope of ‘these’ words which Jesus had ‘spoken.’— εἰρήνην, peace) which belongs to the ‘heart’ that is “not troubled:” ch. John 14:1.— νενίκηκα) I have overcome, even for you [ τὸν κόσμον, the world) and so have overcome your ‘tribulations’ (straits), along with overcoming the world.—V. g.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 16:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-16.html. 1897.

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Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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