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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
John 17

 

 

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Verse 1

John 17:1. ταῦτα, these things) He prays respecting Himself, John 17:1-2; respecting the apostles, John 17:6-7; and again, John 17:24-25; respecting those about to believe, John 17:20-23; and in this prayer comprises all things which He spake from ch. John 8:31, and sets His seal on all that He has heretofore done, having in His view the past, present, and future. The new Pentecost, now close at hand, is tacitly meant. Who is there that would not rejoice, that these words which Jesus spake to the Father, are extant in writing? This chapter, of all the chapters in Scripture, is the easiest in regard to the words, the most profound in regard to the ideas meant.— καὶ ἐπῆρε, and lifted up) forthwith [in continuation].— εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν, to heaven) Thither He was now directing all His thoughts.— εἶπε, spake) He prays the Father, and at the same time teaches His disciples.— πάτερ) So Jesus addresses Him by the appellation, Father, absolutely, four times in this sweet and lengthened prayer; and twice, accompanied with an epithet; in all only six times, and that generally when a new part of the discourse is being begun: John 17:1; John 17:5; John 17:11; John 17:21; John 17:24-25. The names of God ought not to be accumulated together in prayer, but are to be addressed to Him sparingly and with religious reverence: as Hottinger shows that the Hebrews also inculcate, where he is treating of the names of God among the people of the East. Such simplicity in His mode of address was above all becoming in the Son of God: and accordingly as each believer has his soul in the best state of readiness for confidence in prayer, so he can most fully follow in the steps of His Master’s simplicity,— ὥρα) the hour of glorification.— δόξασον, glorify) This verb and the noun δόξα, glory, throughout the whole of this prayer, have the same force, and that the highest degree of force. Both before His glorification, and after it, the Son glorified the Father. Hence arises the various alternations in the mutual glorification [the Son glorifying the Father, and then as the consequence, the Father glorifying the Son, and vice versâ]: John 17:4-5; John 5:1.— σοῦ τὸν ὑιὸν, Thy Son) By this appellation it is expressed that Jesus is to be glorified, as it is becoming that the Son should be; and for this very reason, because He is the Son. Here, in treating with (where He is having to do with) the Father, He does not call Himself the Son of Man.


Verse 2

John 17:2. καθὼς, even as) This clause answers to the former member, glorify, etc.— ἐξουσίαν, power) against the enemy, who had brought into subjection all flesh. Colossians 1:13, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”— ἵνα πᾶν, that all, etc.) This clause answers to the former member, ἵνα, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee.— πᾶναὐτοῖς, all—to them) See note on ch. John 6:37, πᾶν δίδωσίν μοι πατὴρ, all that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me [In the discourses of Jesus, what the Father gave to Him is called in the singular number and neuter gender πᾶν, all, everything: those who come to the Son Himself are described in the masculine or even in the plural, πᾶς, every one, or they. The Father gave the whole mass, as it were, in order that they all whom He gave should be one, ἕν, one whole: this whole the Son evolves in detail, and singly (one by one) in the execution. What some would call a solecism of construction in the Greek here, really contains beneath it a divine elegance of style, which would never seem harsh to Hebrews]. The collective singular πᾶν, all, everything, and the ἓν, one, one thing, John 17:11 (That they may be one) accord one with another.— δώσῃ) The Future Subjunctive, as θεωρήσωσι, ch. John 7:3, “Go into Judea that Thy disciples also may see.” For if it were not the Future, the Evangelist would probably have written θεωρῶσι, after the Present ὕπαγε. So we have θήσω, ἔσῃ, καυθήσωμαι, κερδηθήσωμαι used as Future Subjunctives. Comp. ἵνα ἔσται, in order that there may be to them. Others read δώσει.(369)


Verse 3

John 17:3. ἔστιν) is; not merely brings with it.— γινώσκωσι, that they may know) Knowledge in the matter of our salvation is of the greatest moment: John 17:26, “The world hath not known Thee, but I have known Thee, and these have known,” etc.— μόνον, the only, the alone) The Son and Holy Spirit are not excluded by this word. Comp. μόνος, ch. John 8:9, “Jesus was left alone, and the woman.” But those meant to be excluded are the false gods, with the idolatrous worship of which the world was crowded. And Jesus in this place speaks of Himself, as the Apostle of the Father [ ἀπέστειλας: Hebrews 3:1].— ὃν ἀπέστειλας, whom Thou hast sent) The aspect (relation) under which (the ground upon which) Jesus Christ is to be acknowledged. His being ‘sent,’ presupposes the Son to be one with the Father.— χριστὸν, Christ) A most open (plain) appellation, which subsequently became altogether prevalent.


Verse 4

John 17:4. ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, upon earth) In antithesis to παρὰ σεαυτῷ, with Thine own self, viz., in heaven, John 17:5. The earth had revolted from God.— ἐτελείωσα, I have consummated [finished]) Hereby is explained the expression, I have glorified Thee.


Verse 5

John 17:5. εἶχον, I had) Here He does not say, I received. He always was having it, was in possession of it; He never began to have it.— πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι, before that the world was) In the appellation, “the world,” in this place angels also are included. Even before that the world was made, the Son was having that glory; John 17:24, “Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world;” but when the world was made, that glory began to put itself forth. Herein is implied the eternity of the Son of God. The beginning of the world and of time were coincident. Whatever is before the world is before time. Whatever is before time is eternal.— παρὰ σόι, with Thee) because there was then nothing external to God. Construe the words with εἶχον, “I was having with Thee.”


Verse 6

John 17:6. ἐφανέρωσα, I have manifested) in a new and unprecedented manner; ch. John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time, the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.”— ὄνομα.) Thy name, viz., that of Father: John 17:11, “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those,” etc.— οὕς, whom) The apostles are meant, as in John 17:12 [Before choosing whom, Jesus had made preparation with especial prayer, Luke 6:12, “He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” After those prayers of His were finished, the Father gave them to Him. And these wry persons constitute as it were the basis of the whole multitude of believers, even to the end of the world.—V. g.]— σοὶ) Thine, as in John 17:9-10, “all Mine are Thine.” They were Thine by the faith of the Old Testament.— ἐμοὶ) Thou hast given them to Me, that they may be New Testament believers.— τετηρήκασι, they have kept) This is an honourable testimony to them [To this word refer τήρησον, τηρήσῃς, keep, that Thou shouldest keep, John 17:11; John 17:15.—V. g.]


Verse 7

John 17:7. πάντα, all things) This is taken up in the following verse, “the words, which Thou gavest Me.”— παρὰ σοῦ, of or from Thee) and therefore true and solid.


Verse 8

John 17:8. ἔλαβον, they have received) by faith.— ἐπίστευσαν, they have believed) Thrice in this prayer faith is mentioned; that of the apostles in this place; that of those who are about to believe through their word, in John 17:20; that of the world, John 17:21.


Verse 9

John 17:9. περὶ αὐτῶν, for [concerning] them) Jesus prays for believers: He Himself and believers pray for the world.— οὐ περὶ τοῦ κόσμου, not for the world) This ought not to be taken absolutely: Comp. v. 21, 23, “That the world may believe—know—that Thou hast sent Me.”(370) But what is meant is that Jesus does not pray for the world at this time, and in this place, and with these words, which were applicable to believers alone, John 17:11; John 17:15; John 17:17. Christ says the same things in Psalms 16:3-4, “The saints that are in the earth, and the excellent in whom is all My delight;” and of the ungodly, “I will not take up their names into My lips.” He does not, however, exclude the world [from His prayers], when He commends the disciples chosen out of the world.


Verse 10

John 17:10. τὰ ἐμὰ, all things that are Mine) and all persons that are Mine.— σά ἐστι, are Thine) are “from Thee” (John 17:7), and are referred back by Me to Thee.— ἐμὰ, Mine) because Thou hast given them to Me.— δεδόξασμαι, I am glorified) They have shown themselves of such a character as that I should be glorified in them; they have recognised My glory: i.e. they believe that all things which are Mine are Thine, and Thine Mine.— ἐν αὐτοῖς, in them) in their case. So ἐν αὐτοῖς, in their case, ch. John 15:24.


Verse 11

John 17:11. εἰσί, are) and that too, attended with danger. Therefore there follows τήρησον, keep.— τρός σε ἔρχομαι, I come to Thee) with the access that belongs to “the great High Priest” John 17:19, “I sanctify (consecrate) Myself” [Hebrews 4:14].— πάτερ ἅγιε, Holy Father) A most apposite appellation, Jude John 17:1. note.(371) God’s sanctity as the Father, and His holy Paternity, made the approach to Him both delightful to Christ and sure to believers, John 17:17; John 17:19, and closed against the world, whilst it remains in its evil state. He addresses the Father by the title, Righteous Father, John 17:25.— ἐν τῷ ὁνόματί σου, through or in Thine own name) that they may still continue Thine, and still answer to the name of those given by Thee to Me.— οὓς, whom) The Cantabr. MS. with others reads .(372) yields a most admirable sense: αὐτοὺς is said in the same way as πᾶναὐτοῖς, John 17:2, where see the note, and the ἓν, “one body,” or ‘thing, a unity, presently after accords with this. Owing to their not understanding this phrase, some have changed into οὓς, the sense not being much different; others have changed it into , as if or were to be referred to ὀνόματι as the antecedent. In like manner in John 17:24, , not οὓς, is found in the Cantabr. MS. ((373)) and the Copt. (Memp(374)). and Goth. Versions: and in John 17:12, , not οὓς, is the reading of some, unless it too crept in instead of .(375)ἓν,) Jesus does not ask, that He Himself may be ‘one’ with the Father; what He asks is that believers may be ‘one.’ The former unity is so by nature; the latter by grace: Therefore the latter is like the former, not equal to it. Comp. the καθῶς, even as, John 17:16; John 17:18, and with respect to the same thing, John 17:21 [in all which passages the even as expresses similarity, not identity or equality].— ἡμεῖς, we) So also He speaks in John 17:21-22. The Son is ὁμοούσιος, of the same essence with the Father. Moses could not have said, in speaking of God and of himself either to God or to the people, we. Yet it does not appear that on account of this very ὁμοουσία, consubstantiality, it is fitting, that believers should say, in praying to the Father and the Son, Ye: a mode of expression however, which some practical theologians use.


Verse 12

John 17:12. ἐγῶ ἐτήρουν· ἐφύλαξε, I kept them all the time: I guarded them) Jesus settles accounts (as it were) with the Father: ἐτήρουν has respect to τήρησον, John 17:11, “Keep through Thine own name.” What I have heretofore done, saith He, do thou hereafter: ἐτήρουν, I was keeping, I kept the whole time, viz. by My power: ἐφύλαξα, I guarded, viz. by My watchfulness [The Engl. Vers. loses the distinction by translating both verbs, kept]. The same verbs occur in 1 John 5:18; 1 John 5:21, “He who is begotten of God keepeth ( τηρεῖ) himself:” “Little children, guard ( φύλαξατε) yourselves from (be on your guard against) idols.”— οὐδεὶς, none) This too has reference to the future; ch. John 18:9, [Jesus to those apprehending Him saith, “I am He, if therefore ye seek Me, let these go their way. That the saying might be fulfilled, ‘Of them which Thou gavest Me, have I lost none.’ ”]— εἰ μὴ, except) A sad exception.— υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας) The article is strongly demonstrative, “that son of perdition;” he of whom the prediction has been given; who has destroyed himself. Acts 1:25, “Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place;” for whom it would have been good that he had not been born. He does not name Judas. Comp. Psalms 16:4, “I will not take up their names into my lips.” We indeed shall have to render an account of the individuals whom we have suffered to be lost by our neglect.—[ γραφὴ, the Scripture) Of such moment is the Scripture, that Christ Himself, even in His address to the Father, appeals to it.—V. g.]


Verse 13

John 17:13. δὲ, but) In antithesis to, I was with them. He now saith, I come to Thee.— λαλῶ, I speak) Without doubt the disciples were hearing Him whilst He was speaking.— ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, in the world) already now, before My departure.— ἔχωσι, that they may have) whilst I teach them and pray for them.— τὴν χαρὰν τὴν ἐμὴν, My joy) ch. John 15:11, note [“the joy which I have at My departure to the Father, a joy flowing from love”].


Verse 14

John 17:14. καὶ, and) The things connected are, to receive the word of God, and, to be hated by the world.


Verse 15

John 17:15. ἄρῃς, that Thou shouldest take them out) now; for hereafter, I will or wish it, John 17:24.— ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ, from the evil) This means the Wicked one, πονηρὸς, under (in) whom the world lieth; who “is in the world,” 1 John 4:4. The world is estranged from the truth: John 17:17.


Verse 16

John 17:16. ἐκ, of) This sentiment is expressed also in John 17:14, but in a different order of the words (in John 17:14, ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου comes after οὐκ εἰσὶν, in John 17:16, before); which order (viz. that in John 17:14) simply shows the cause of the world’s hatred, and accords with the following verse, 15. But here in John 17:16, the ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου, of the world, being put twice in the first place, bears the emphasis of the sentence, in antithesis to ἁγίασον, sanctify, John 17:17. From John 17:16, John 17:17 is deduced; and from John 17:18, John 17:19.


Verse 17

John 17:17. ἁγίασον, sanctify) claim wholly to Thyself.


Verse 18

John 17:18. ἀπέστειλας, Thou hast sent) The foundation of the sending is the ‘sanctification:’ ch. John 10:36, “Him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world.”— ἀπέστειλα, I have sent) I have commenced to send, I have bestowed the apostleship [ch. John 20:21, “As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you;” Matthew 28:19, “Go ye, and teach all nations,” etc.; Mark 16:15].


Verse 19

John 17:19. ἐγὼ ἁγιάζω ἐμαυτὸν, I sanctify Myself) I dedicate and consecrate Myself wholly to Thee. They are going out into the world for My sake; I, moreover, am going to Thee, also for their good. An Euphemism, appropriate to the love of Christ: I sanctify Myself, in enduring death, and that the death of the cross.— ἡγιασμένοι, sanctified) It is of such as these, and of them only, that the Canonisation is truly being made by the Lord Himself: 1 Peter 3:18, “Christ hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God;” 2 Corinthians 5:15, “He died for all, that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them and rose again.”— ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, in [through] the truth) even though it may not appear externally. This is contrasted with ceremonial sanctimony.


Verse 20

John 17:20. ἀλλὰ καὶ, but also) Christ, the Wisdom, is קהלת, the Preacher in the congregations (Ecclesiastes; Psalms 40:9; Psalms 22:25).—[ περὶ τῶν πιστευσόντων, for them who shall believe) Those about to believe, in this passage, come under the name of believers. In a similar manner, it is said in John 17:22, I have given them glory; with which comp. ch. John 11:52, “Not for that nation only, but that He should gather in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”—V. g.]


Verse 21

John 17:21. ἵνα πάντες, that they all) So, ἵνα ὦσιν, that they may be, in John 17:22-23.— πάντες, all) who believe through the word of the apostles. [Those being included in the meaning, who were led to the faith not by the ministry of those Twelve; for instance, Paul, and the multitude won over by him.—V. g.] The same blessedness is obtained for all believers as was for the apostles.— ἵνα καὶ, that also) ἵνα, that, is here repeated, as if after a parenthesis, from the beginning of the verse.— ἐν ἡμῖν ἕν, one in us) The words ἐν ἡμῖν, in us, add emphasis to that ἕν, one, repeated: and those words, ἐν ἡμῖν, in us, are deduced from καθὼς, even as, etc.— κόσμος) the whole world at last.— πιστεύσῃ, may believe) when it shall see believers full of us [filled with the abiding Spirit of the Father and the Son]. There follows by gradation, γινώσκῃ may know, in John 17:23. Comp. John 17:8, “They have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed.” With the world, the first stamina (groundwork) of faith precede the further and fuller knowledge, which follow. With actual believers, full faith follows close upon solid knowledge.


Verse 22

John 17:22. δόξαν, the glory) The glory of the Only-begotten shines forth through the believing sons of God.— δέδωκα, I have given) Oh! how great is the majesty of Christians! I have given, already although secretly.


Verse 23

John 17:23. ἐγὼ, I) viz. am.— τετελειωμένοι εἰς ἕν, consummated [“made perfect”] in one) being brought on to perfect unity.


Verse 24

John 17:24. οὓς, whom) He returns to the apostles: in John 17:25, these.— θέλω, I will) He had said in John 17:9; John 17:15; John 17:20, ἐρωτῶ, I ask; now His language assumes an increase in force. It is to be interpreted, I will; for, I would desire, is too weak a rendering. Jesus asks with the right of a claim, and demands with confidence, as the Son, not a servant. Comp. Psalms 2:8, “Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee,” etc.; Mark 10:35, James and John say, “Master, we would ( θέλομεν) that Thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire;” John 6:25, the daughter of Herodias to Herod, “I will ( θέλω) that thou give me forthwith.” [In a different tone from what He used in behalf of Himself at the Mount of Olives, Matthew 26:39, “Let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”]— θεωρῶσι) that they may behold, viz. in enjoying it.— πρὸ, before) Construe with, Thou lovedst Me. The economy of salvation flows from eternity to eternity. Between eternity and the foundation of the world no intervening period is admissible (is given). For in the beginning God created, etc. [John 17:5].


Verse 25

John 17:25. πάτερ δίκαιε, Righteous Father) It is from His righteousness that the admission of believers, as contrasted with the world, to God through Christ flows: καὶ, καὶ, both, and.


Verse 26

John 17:26. γνωρίσω, I will make known [‘declare’]) He did so, for instance, ch. John 20:17, “I ascend unto My Father and your Father;” with which comp. Hebrews 2:12, “I will declare Thy name unto My brethren; in the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto Thee.”— τὸ ὄνομά σου, Thy name) as Father, a most loving name.— ἀγάπηκἀγὼ, the love—and I) i.e. Thou and Thy love; and I and My love.— ἐν αὐτοῖς , may be in them) that Thou mayest love them in themselves with the same love wherewith Thou lovest Me: that their heart may be the theatre and scene wherein is to be exercised this love.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 17:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-17.html. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, July 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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