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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 1:10

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.


Adam Clarke Commentary

He was in the world - From its very commencement - he governed the universe - regulated his Church - spake by his prophets - and often, as the angel or messenger of Jehovah, appeared to them, and to the patriarchs.

The world knew him not - Αυτον ουκ εγνω - Did not acknowledge him; for the Jewish rulers knew well enough that he was a teacher come from God; but they did not choose to acknowledge him as such. Men love the world, and this love hinders them from knowing him who made it, though he made it only to make himself known. Christ, by whom all things were made, John 1:3, and by whom all things are continually supported, Colossians 1:16, Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3, has way every where, is continually manifesting himself by his providence and by his grace, and yet the foolish heart of man regardeth it not! See the reason, John 3:19; (note).


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 1:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He was in the world - This refers, probably, not to his pre-existence, but to the fact that he became incarnate; that he dwelt among human beings.

And the world was made by him - This is a repetition of what is said in John 1:3. Not only “men,” but all material things, were made by him. These facts are mentioned here to make what is said immediately after more striking, to wit, that men did not receive him. The proofs which he furnished that they ought to receive him were:

1.Those given while he was “in the world” - the miracles that he performed and his instructions; and,

2.The fact that the “world was made by him.” It was remarkable that the world did not know or approve its own Maker.

The world knew him not - The word “knew” is sometimes used in the sense of “approving” or “loving,” Psalm 1:6; Matthew 7:23. In this sense it may be used here. The world did not love or approve him, but rejected him and put him to death. Or it may mean that they did not understand or know that he was the Messiah; for had the Jews known and believed that he was the Messiah, they would not have put him to death, 1 Corinthians 2:8; “Had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Yet they might have known it, and therefore they were not the less to blame.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not.

These words bluntly state a near incredibility. That the very Creator of the world should cast aside the glory of His eternal existence and choose to enter earth life as a man subject to all the inconveniences and limitations of the flesh - that is a fact of awesome wonder; but added to that is the obstinate and rebellious refusal of the Lord's creation to acknowledge Him when he came! As the prophet cried out so long ago, "Lord, who hath believed our report?" (Isaiah 53:1). God was not taken by surprise by man's refusal to know the Lord, for His prophets had faithfully foretold it. The repetition of "world" in these lines dramatizes the marvel of humanity's not knowing Jesus when he came.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He was in the world,.... This is to be understood, not of his incarnation; for the word was denotes past existence in the world, even all the time past from the creation of the world; and the world intends the world in general, as opposed to Judea, and the people of the Jews in the next verse; besides, the incarnation of the word is spoken of in John 1:14 as a new and distinct thing from this: but of his being in the world, when first made, and since, by his essence, by which he fills the whole world; and by his power, upholding and preserving it; and by his providence, ordering and managing all the affairs of it, and influencing and governing all things in it: he was in it as the light and life of it, giving natural life and light to creatures in it, and filling it, and them, with various blessings of goodness; and he was in the promise and type before, as well as after the Jews were distinguished from other nations, as his peculiar people; and he was frequently visible in the world, in an human form, before his incarnation, as in Eden's garden to our first parents, to Abraham, Jacob, Manoah, and his wife, and others,

And the world was made by him: so Philo the Jew often ascribes the making of the world to the Logos, or word, as before observed on John 1:3 and this regards the whole universe, and all created beings in it, and therefore cannot design the new creation: besides, if all men in the world were anew created by Christ, they would know him; for a considerable branch of the new creation lies in knowledge; whereas, in the very next clause, it is asserted, that the world knew him not; and they would also love him, and obey him, which the generality of the world do not; they would appear to be in him, and so not be condemned by him, as multitudes will. To understand this of the old creation, best suits the context, and proves the deity of Christ, and his pre-existence, as the word, and Son of God, to his incarnation,

And the world knew him not; that is, the inhabitants of the world knew him not as their Creator: nor did they acknowledge the mercies they received from him; nor did they worship, serve, and obey him, or love and fear him; nor did they, the greater part of them, know him as the Messiah, Mediator, Saviour, and Redeemer. There was, at first, a general knowledge of Christ throughout the world among all the sons of Adam, after the first promise of him, and which, for a while, continued; but this, in process of time, being neglected and slighted, it was forgot, and utterly lost, as to the greater part of mankind; for the Gentiles, for many hundreds of years, as they knew not the true God, so they were without Christ, without any notion of the Messiah; and this their ignorance, as it was first their sin, became their punishment.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 1:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

q He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

(q) The person of the Word was made manifest even at that time when the world was made.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 1:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-1.html. 1599-1645.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

He was in the world (εν τωι κοσμωι ηνen tōi kosmōi ēn). Imperfect tense of continuous existence in the universe before the Incarnation as in John 1:1 and John 1:2.

Was made by him (δι αυτου εγενετοdi' autou egeneto). “Through him.” Same statement here of “the world” (ο κοσμοςho kosmos) as that made in John 1:3 of πανταpanta

Knew him not
(αυτον ουκ εγνωauton ouk egnō). Second aorist active indicative of common verb γινοσκωginoskō what Gildersleeve called a negative aorist, refused or failed to recognize him, his world that he had created and that was held together by him (Colossians 1:16). Not only did the world fail to know the Pre-incarnate Logos, but it failed to recognize him when he became Incarnate (John 1:26). Two examples in this sentence of John‘s fondness for καιkai as in John 1:1, John 1:4, John 1:5, and John 1:14, the paratactic rather than the hypotactic construction, like the common Hebrew use of wav f0).


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

He was in the world

Not merely at His advent, but before His incarnation no less than after it. See on John 1:4, John 1:5.

Was made ( ἐγένετο )

Came into being. See on John 1:3.

By Him. Or through Him ( διά )

See on John 1:3.

Knew ( ἔγνω )

Recognized. Though He was in the world and was its Creator, yet the world did not recognize him. This is the relation of ideas in these three clauses, but John expresses this relation after the Hebrew manner, by simply putting the three side by side, and connecting them by καὶ , and. This construction is characteristic of John. Compare John 8:20, where the point of the passage is, that though Jesus was teaching publicly, where He might easily have been seized, yet no man attempted his seizure. This is expressed by two parallel clauses with the simple copulative. “These words spake Jesus,” etc., “and no man laid hands on Him.”

Him ( αὐτὸν )

The preceding him ( αὐτοῦ ) is, in itself, ambiguous as to gender. So far as its form is concerned, it might be neuter, in which case it would refer to the light, “the Word regarded as a luminous principle,” as it, in John 1:5. But αὐτὸν is masculine, Him, so that the Word now appears as a person. This determines the gender of the preceding αὐτοῦ .

On the enlightened and unenlightened nature, compare the allegory in Plato's “Republic,” at the beginning of Book 7, where he pictures men confined from childhood in an underground den, chained so that they can only see before them, and with no light save from a fire behind them. They mistake shadows for substance, and echoes for voices. When they are liberated and compelled to look at the light, either of the fire or of the sun, their unaccustomed eyes are pained, and they imagine that the shadows which they formerly saw are truer than the real objects which are now shown them. Finally, they will be able to see the sun, and will recognize him as the giver of the seasons and years, and the guardian of all that is in the visible world. “When the eye of the soul is turned round, the whole soul must be turned round from the world of becoming into that of being, and of the brightest and best of being, or, in other words, of the good.”

Notice also the appropriateness of the two verbs joined with the neuter and the masculine pronouns. In John 1:5, with it, the Word, as a principle of light, κατέλαβεν , apprehended. Here, with Him, the Word, as a person, ἔγνω , recognized.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

He was in the world — Even from the creation.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 1:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-1.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

He was in the world1, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not2.

  1. He was in the world. Invisibly, present, renewing and sustaining his creation.

  2. And the world knew him not. Though it might and should have known him (Romans 1:18-21; Acts 14:16,17).


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 1:10". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-1.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

10.He was in the world. He accuses men of ingratitude, because of their own accord, as it were, they were so blinded, that the cause of the light which they enjoyed was unknown to them. This extends to every age of the world; for before Christ was manifested in the flesh, his power was everywhere displayed; and therefore those daily effects ought to correct the stupidity of men. What can be more unreasonable than to draw water from a running stream, and never to think of the fountain from which that stream flows? It follows that no proper excuse can be found for the ignorance of the world in not knowing Christ, before he was manifested in the flesh; for it arose from the indolence and wicked stupidity of those who had opportunities of seeing Him always present by his power. The whole may be summed up by saying, that never was Christ in such a manner absent from the world, but that men, aroused by his rays, ought to have raised their eyes towards him. Hence it follows, that the blame must be imputed to themselves.


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-1.html. 1840-57.

[See also the "General Considerations on the Prologue" in the comments of John 1:18.]

Ver. 10. "He was in the world and the world had been made by Him, and the world knew Him not."

A contrast is evidently intended between the first words of this verse and the last words of John 1:9. This contrast is the occasion of the asyndeton. "The Logos came into the world" (John 1:9); "and yet he had long been there" (John 1:10 a); "and also the world was His work" (John 1:10 b). The first two propositions set forth that which is incredible, apparently impossible, in the result which is stated in the third (John 1:10 c): "and the world did not know him." Weiss regards thebeing in the world (John 1:10 a) as the consequence of coming into the world indicated in John 1:9. But the asyndetonbetween the two John 1:9-10 does not suit this logical relation (see Keil); and, in this case, to what fact does the expression: "He was in the world" refer? It must necessarily be to a fact posterior to the birth of Jesus. This is held, indeed, by de Wette, Meyer, Astie, Weiss, and others; they apply the first proposition (John 1:10 a) to the presence of Jesus in Israel at the moment when John the Baptist was carrying on his ministry, and the third (John 1:10 c) to the ignorance in which the Jews still were at that moment of the fact—so important—of the presence of the Messiah; so, in the same sense, where John himself says to them (John 1:26): "There is present in the midst of you one whom you do not know."

I do not believe it possible to suggest a more inadmissible interpretation. In the first place, that ignorance in which the people then were with regard to the presence of the Messiah had nothing reprehensible in it, since this presence had not yet been disclosed to them by the forerunner; it could not therefore be the ground of the tone of reproach which attaches to this solemn phrase: "And the world knew him not!" Then, the imperfect would have been necessary: "And the world was not knowing him," and not the aorist, which denotes an accomplished and definite fact. Moreover, it would be necessary to give to the word world an infinitely narrower meaning than in the preceding clause, where it was said: "and the world (the universe) had been made by him." Finally, how are we to justify the juxtaposition of two facts so heterogeneous as that of the creation of the world by the Word (John 1:10 b) and that of His presence, then momentarily unknown, in Israel! There is no harmony between the three clauses of this verse except by referring the first and the third to facts which are no less cosmic and universal than that of the creation of the world, mentioned in the second. This is the reason why we do not hesitate to refer the first to the presence and action of the Logos in humanity before His coming in the flesh, and the third to the criminal want of understanding in humanity, which, in its entirety, failed to recognize in Christ the Logos, its creator and illuminator, who had appeared in its midst. This return backward to that which the Logos is for the universe (comp. John 1:3), and especially for man (comp. John 1:4), is intended to make conspicuous the unnatural character of the rejection of which He was the object here on earth. The world was His work, bearing the stamp of His intelligence, as the master-piece bears the stamp of the genius of the artist who has conceived and executed it; He was filling it with His invisible presence, and especially with the moral light with which He was enlightening the human soul...and behold, when He appears, this world created and enlightened by Him did not recognize Him! One might be tempted to apply the words: "did not know him," to the fact indicated in Romans 1:21-23; Acts 14:16; Acts 17:30; 1 Corinthians 1:21, the voluntary ignorance of the heathen world with respect to God as revealed in nature and conscience. In that case we should be obliged to translate: "had not known him," and to see in this sin of the heathen world the prelude to that of the Jewish world, indicated in the following verse. But the non-recognition and rejection of the Logos as such cannot be made a reproach to the world before His personal incarnation in Jesus Christ. The matter in question, then, is the rejection of the Logos in His earthly appearance. This general and cosmic rejection was already regarded by Jesus as a consummated fact in the time of His ministry (John 3:19; John 15:18); how much more must it have seemed so at the moment when John was writing! The Church formed among mankind only an imperceptible minority, and this proportion between the true believers and the unbelievers has remained the same in all times and in all places.

The masculine pronoun αὐτόν, him, refers to the neuter term τὸ φῶς, the light, which proves that αὐτοῦ also must be taken as masculine. This grammatical anomaly arises from the fact that the apostle has now in view the light in so far as it had personally appeared in Jesus. This is, likewise, the reason why he substitutes the word ἔγνωknew, for κατέλαβε laid hold of (John 1:5), although the idea is fundamentally the same. One lays hold of a principle, one recognizes a person.

The failure to recognize the Logos as He appeared in Jesus is stated at first, in the third proposition of John 1:10, in an abstract and summary way as a general fact. Then, the fact is described in John 1:11 under the form of its most striking historical and concrete realization.


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Bibliography
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-1.html.

Scofield's Reference Notes

world

kosmos = mankind. (See Scofield "Matthew 4:8")


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on John 1:10". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/john-1.html. 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

BLINDNESS OF HEART

‘He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.’

John 1:10

These are the words in which the last of the Apostles summed up the direct and visible results of the Incarnation. He is above all impressed with the awful paradox that, when God became man, men were so blind as not to perceive it.

A sad text, and yet it has its consolations.

I. It teaches us that the Presence of our Lord does not depend on our faith, or our love, or our keenness of spiritual vision. He is in the world, although the world knows Him not; and therein have we our best hope for its daily progress from strength to strength.

II. So it is in the discipline of common life; so it is, above all, in that most sacred and blessed ordinance in which He has pledged His Presence to every weary and penitent soul. For in the tenderness of His unfaltering compassion He is there for grace and blessing, although we do not see His Face, although faith is too weak to realise how great a Guest is in our midst.

III. The measure of our power of recognition is not yet the measure of his grace.—That shall only be in that great Epiphany hereafter, when faith is lost in sight. But even here and now we may pray for a lesser yet a true Epiphany, an Epiphany which may enlighten our own poor lives; for we pray that we may have grace to count all that is good and bright and true as the blessing of that Son of God who became the Son of Man, that we, the sons of men, might claim the heritage of the sons of God.

Dean J. H. Bernard.

Illustration

‘We are ready enough to attribute our follies and failures and sins to some evil power external to ourselves which we say we cannot resist. But we are slow to recognise the working of God’s grace in anything that we may think or do which is honourable or patient or unselfish or brave. The temptation of the devil is an excuse which we seize upon with readiness; but the grace of God, which is so much greater a power in life, we pass by as if we at least were in no wise indebted to it in our own persons.’


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on John 1:10". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/john-1.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

Ver. 10. He was in the world] Here the evangelist goes on where he left: resumes, and proceeds in his former argument, John 1:5.

And the world was made by him] This is the second time here set forth, and reinforced, that we may the better observe and improve it. See the like, Revelation 4:11; "For thou hast created all things, and by thee they are and were created," without help, tool, or tiresomeness, Isaiah 60:18. That one word of his, fiat, made all: shall we not admire his architecture?

And the world knew him not] Man is here called "the world," and Mark 16:15, he is called "every creature." This little world knew not Christ, for God had hid him under the carpenter’s son; his glory was inward, his kingdom came not by observation. And because the world knew not him, therefore it knoweth not us, 1 John 3:1. Princes the saints are in all lands, Psalms 45:16, but they he obscured, as did Melchizedek. The moon (say astronomers) hath at all times as much light as in the full; but often a great part of the bright side is turned to heaven, and a lesser part to the earth. So it is with the Church.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 1:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 1:10. He was in the world, &c.— The Word and Son of God came down to earth; and though the world was made by him, all the inhabitants thereof being the work of his hands, yet that very world, that is, those inhabitants of it, did not know and acknowledge him as their Creator, and as the Word sent to reveal the will of God to them. This is in opposition to the doctrine of Cerinthus, (article 5.) See the Inferences and Reflections on this chapter.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 1:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-1.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

He was in the world, that is, he that was God from eternity, made himself visible to the world in the fulness of time. The evangelist repeats it again, that the world was made by him, to show his omnipotency and divinity; and then adds, that the world knew him not, as an evidence of the world's blindness and ingratitude.

Learn hence, That notwithstanding the eternal Son of God appeared in the world, and the world was made and created by him, yet the generality of the world did not know him;. that is, did not own and acknowledge him, did not receive and obey him. They neither knew him as creator, nor accepted of him as mediator. Yea, he came to his own; that is, his own kindred and country, the church and people of the Jews; but the generality of them gave him cold entertainment. It was the sin of the Jewish nation, that though they were Christ's own peculiar people, his own by choice, his own by purchase, his own by covenant, by kindred, yet the generality of them did reject him, and would not own him for the true and promised Messias.

Learn hence, That the Lord Jesus Christ met with manifest and shameful rejection even at the hands of those that were nearest to him by flesh and nature, Neither did his brethren believe on him. John 11:1-45.


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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 1:10". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-1.html. 1700-1703.

Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospels

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

AUG. The Light which lightens every man that comes into the world, came here in the flesh; because while He was here in His Divinity alone, the foolish, blind, and unrighteous could not discern Him; those of whom it is said above, The darkness comprehended it not. Hence the text; He was in the world.

ORIGEN For as, when a person leaves off speaking, his voice ceases to be, and vanishes; so if the Heavenly Father should cease to speak His Word, the effect of that Word, i.e. the universe which is created in the Word, shall cease to exist.

AUG. You must not suppose however, that He was in the world in tile same sense in w which the earth, cattle, men, are in the world; but in the sense in which an artificer controls his own work; whence the text, And the world was made by Him. Nor again did He make it after the manner of all artificer; for whereas an artificer is external to what he fabricates, God pervades the world, carrying on the work of creation in every part, and never absent from any part: by the presence of His Majesty He both makes and controls what is made. Thus He was in the world, as He by Whom the world w as made.

CHRYS. And again, because He was in the world, but not coeval with the world, for this cause he introduced the words, and the world was made by Him: thus taking you back again to the eternal existence of the Only-Begotten. For when we are told that the whole of creation was made by Him, we must be very dull not to acknowledge that the Maker existed before the work.

THEOPHYL. Here he overthrows at once the insane notion of the Manichaean, who says that the world is the work of a malignant creature, and the opinion of the Arian, that the Son of God is a creature.

AUG. But what means this, The world was made by Him? The earth, sky, and sea, and all that are therein, are called the world. But in another sense, the lovers of the world are called the world, of whom he says, And the world knew Him not. For did the sky, or Angels, not know their Creator, Whom the very devils confess, Whom the whole universe has borne witness to? Who then did not know Him? Those who, from their love of the world, are called the world; for such live in heart in the world, while those who do not love it, have their body in the world, but their heart in heaven; as said the Apostle, our conversation is in heaven. By their love of the world, such men merit being called by the name of the place where they live. And just as in speaking of a bad house, or good house, we do not mean praise or blame to the walls, but to the inhabitants; so when we talk of the world, we mean those who live there in the love of it.

CHRYS. But they who were the friends of God, knew Him even before His presence in the body; whence Christ said below, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day. When the Gentiles then interrupt us with the question, Why has He come in these last times to work our salvation, having neglected us so long? we reply, that He was in the world before, superintending what He had made, and was known to all who were worthy of Him; and that, if the world knew Him not, those of whom the world was not worthy knew Him. The reason follows, why the world knew Him not. The Evangelist calls those men the world, who are tied to the world, and savor of worldly things; for there is nothing that disturbs the mind so much, as this melting with the love of present things.


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Bibliography
Aquinas, Thomas. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gcc/john-1.html.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

10.] The κόσμος is the created world, into which He came (John 1:9), which was made by Him (John 1:3), which nevertheless (i.e. as here represented by man, the only creature who γινώσκει) knew, recognized Him not.

καί is as in John 1:5.

αὐτόν, not αὐτό, because though τὸ φῶς has been the subject, yet the διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο brings in again the creative λόγος, Who is the Light. The three members of the sentence form a climax;—He was in the world (and therefore the world should have known Him), and the world was made by Him (much more then should it have known Him), and the world knew Him not.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 1:10". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-1.html. 1863-1878.

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

John 1:10. What here follows is linked on to the preceding by ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, following upon εἰς τ. κόσμ. This is a fuller definition of the emphatic ἦν of John 1:9 : “It was in the world”, viz. in the person of Jesus, when John was bearing witness. There is no mention here of its continual presence in humanity (B. Crusius, Lange), nor of the “lumière innée” (Godet) of every man; see on John 1:5. The repetition of κόσμος three times, where, on the last occasion, the word has the narrower sense of the world of mankind, gives prominence to the mournful antithesis; Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 341 [E. T. p. 398].

ἦν] not pluperfect (“It had been already always in the world, but was not recognised by it”), as Herder, Tholuck, Olshausen, and Klee maintain, but like ἦν in John 1:9.

καὶ κόσμος διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγέν.] Further preparation, by way of climax, for the antithesis with reference to John 1:3. If the Light was in the world, and the world was made by it, the latter could and ought all the more to have recognised the former: it could, because it needed only not to close the inner eye against the Light, and to follow the impulse of its original necessary moral affinity with the creative Light; it ought, because the Light, shining within the world, and having even given existence to the world, could demand that recognition, the non-bestowal of which was ingratitude, originating in culpable delusion and moral obduracy. Comp. Romans 1:19 ff. We need not attach to the καί, which is simply conjunctive, either the signification although (Kuinoel, Schott), nor the force of the relative (which was made by it, Bleek).

αὐτόν] the Logos, which is identified with the Light, which is being spoken of as its possessor, according to John 1:4 ff.; αὐτοῦ was still neuter, but the antithesis passes over into the masculine, because the object which was not recognised was this very personal manifestation of the Logos.

With regard to the last καί, observe: “cum vi pronuntiandum est, ut saepe in sententiis oppositionem continentibus, ubi frustra fuere qui καίτοι requirerent,” Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apol. p. 29 B. Comp. Hartung, Partikell. p. 147. Very often in John.


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 1:10". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

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.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 1:10". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He was in the world; he was in the place called the world, and amongst the men of the world; for so the term world is often taken, John 16:28 2 Peter 3:6. Christ, before he came in the flesh, was in it; filling both the heavens and the earth, and sustaining it by the word of his power, and manifesting his will to it, more immediately to Moses and to the prophets, and more mediately by Moses and by the prophets.

And the world was made by him; and the heavens and the earth, all things visible and invisible, (as was said before), were made by him.

And the world knew him not; and the men of the world took no notice of him, did not acknowledge him, believe in him, nor were subject to him; so the word knew often signifies, (according to the Hebrew idiom), John 10:14,15,27; not a bare comprehension of an object in the understanding, but suitable affections: so Matthew 7:23 1 John 3:1. This is not to be understood of all individual persons in the world; for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and David, and many particular persons, did in this sense know him; but the generality of the world did not. The heathens did not, (who are sometimes called the world, distinctively from the Jews, 1 John 2:2 1 Corinthians 1:21), and most of the Jews did not, though some did.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 1:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-1.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

In the world; as its Creator, Instructor, and Redeemer.

Knew him not; did not apprehend his true character.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

10. καὶ ὁ κόσμος. Close connexion obtained by repetition, as in John 1:4-5; also the tragic tone, as in John 1:5. Moreover, there is a climax: ‘He was in the world;’ (therefore it should have known Him;) ‘and the world was His creature;’ (therefore it should have known Him;) ‘and (yet) the world knew Him not.’ Καί = καίτοι is very frequent in S. John, but it is best to translate simply ‘and,’ not ‘and yet:’ cf. John 1:5; John 1:11. It is erroneous to suppose that καί ever means ‘but’ either in S. John or elsewhere. Ὁ κόσμος is another of the expressions characteristic of S. John: it occurs nearly 80 times in the Gospel, and 22 times in the First Epistle.

Observe that ὁ κόσμος has not exactly the same meaning John 1:9-10 : throughout the New Testament it is most important to distinguish the various meanings of κόσμος. Connected with κομεῖν and comere, it means [1] ‘ornament;’ 1 Peter 3:3 : [2] ‘the ordered universe,’ mundus; Romans 1:20 : [3] ‘the earth;’ John 1:9; Matthew 4:8 : [4] ‘the inhabitants of the earth;’ John 1:29; John 4:42 : [5] ‘the world outside the Church,’ those alienated from God; John 12:31, John 14:17 and frequently. In this verse the meaning slips from [3] to [5].

αὐτόν. The masculine shews that S. John is again speaking of Christ as ὁ Λόγος, not (as in John 1:9) as τὸ Φῶς.

οὐκ ἔγνω. ‘Did not acquire knowledge’ of its Creator. Γιγνώσκειν is ‘to get to know, recognise, acknowledge.’ Cf. Acts 19:15.


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"Commentary on John 1:10". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/john-1.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10. He was in the world—This clause confirms the interpretation just given of the previous verse, which refers the coming into the world to the Logos.

Made by him—The Creator came into the world which he had created, but was unrecognized by the world; partly because he was disguised in the incarnation, and partly because the world, that is, the natural heart of man, refused to use the light mentioned in the ninth verse, and so became the darkness which comprehended not the light.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-1.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world did not know him.’

This verse reflects the different meanings of the word ‘world’ in the Gospel. In the Gospel ‘the world’ generally refers to the whole of mankind in contrast with God and His true people. God loved ‘the world’ and wanted to save them (John 3:16). The Pharisees were ‘of this world’ (John 8:23-24). Jesus’ disciples were ‘not of the world’ (John 17:14; John 17:16). The ‘world’ does not know God (John 17:25, and here). Christ’s kingdom is ‘not of this world’ (John 18:36). In general ‘the world’ is seen to be in darkness and separate from God.

But here the true light was ‘in the world’. The world was being given a unique opportunity. Yet John tells us that although He had in fact ‘made the world’, the world did not know Him. Thus we see different nuances to the term ‘world’, the one gliding into the other. In the first case ‘the world’ consists of all that is created, in the second it combines both meanings, for both the created world and the unbelieving world were made by Him, but in the third case ‘the world’ is the world of unbelieving men, the world of human affairs as opposed to God, the world in darkness, as is more normal in John. John thus moves smoothly from the idea of the created world as a whole to the world without God. That is why we are told later that we are to be in it (John 17:11), but not of it (John 15:19; John 17:14; John 17:16).

‘The world did not know him.’ ‘Know’ could mean ‘recognise’ or it could mean ‘personal response’. The word ginosko used here suggests something of the latter. But why did they not respond? Because they were blind? Because they were too busy and He got in the way? Because He did not fit in with their preconceived notions? All of these were true, and more. The Creator was rejected because they did not want His kind of world. In other words they were not just blind, they were guilty. They deliberately closed their eyes to the light.


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-1.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Jesus entered the world that He had created in the Incarnation. Yet the world did not recognize Him for who He was because people"s minds had become darkened by the Fall and sin ( John 12:37). Even the Light of the World was incomprehensible to them (cf. Matthew 13:55). The Light shines on everyone even though most people do not see it because they are spiritually blind. He shines even on those who have never heard of Him in that when He came He brought revelation of God that is now available to everyone.

John drew attention to the world by repeating this word three times. However the meaning shifts a bit from the world and all that is in it, in the first two occurrences of the word, to the people in the world who came in contact with Jesus, in the third occurrence.

"The world"s characteristic reaction to the Word is one of indifference." [Note: Ibid, p85. See his additional note on "the world," pp111-13.]


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-1.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 1:10. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, and the world knew him not. The subject is still the Light, which (John 1:9) was existent, and was ‘coming into the world.’ In the world, indeed, it was already (though the complete manifestation was yet to come), and—here the figure passes imperceptibly away, giving place to the thought of the Person—the world, though brought into being through Him, recognised not His presence. Note the simplicity of John’s style, in which the three thoughts of the verse, though very various in their mutual relations, are, so to speak, placed side by side. These words relate both to the Pre-incarnate and to the Incarnate Word. The development is rather of thought than of time. Alike before His manifestation in the flesh and after it, the Word was ‘in the world.’ The statement must not be limited to the manifestation of Christ in Israel. This verse is a repetition, in a more concrete form, of John 1:3-5 (in part).


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-1.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 1:10. ἐν τῷ κόσμῳοὐκ ἔγνω. John 1:10-11 briefly summarise what happened when the Logos, the Light, came into the world. John has said: “The Light was coming into the world”; take now a further step, ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, and let us see what happened. Primarily rejection. The simplicity of the statement, the thrice repeated κόσμος, and the connecting of the clauses by a mere καί, deepens the pathos. The Logos is the subject, as is shown by both the second and the third clause.

Westcott thinks that the action of the Light which has been comprehensively viewed in John 1:9 is in John 1:10-11 divided into two parts. “The first part (John 1:10) gathers up the facts and issues of the manifestation of the Light as immanent. The second part (John 1:11) contains an account of the special personal manifestation of the Light to a chosen race.” That is possible; only the obvious advance from the ἐρχόμενον of John 1:9 to the ἦν of John 1:10 is thus obscured. Certainly Westcott goes too far when he says: “It is impossible to refer these words simply to the historical presence of the Word in Jesus as witnessed to by the Baptist”.


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 1:10". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-1.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

He was in the world, &c. Many of the ancient interpreters understand this verse of Christ as God, who was in the world from its first creation, producing and governing all things: but the blind sinful world did not know and worship him. Others apply these words to the Son of God made man; whom even God's own chosen people, the Jews, at his coming, refused to receive and believe in him. (Witham)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 1:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

was made = came into being.

knew. Greek. ginosko. App-132. One of the characteristic words of this Gospel. See p. 1511.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 1:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

He was in the world (as already hinted, and presently to be more explicitly announced), and the world was made by him - for, as has been said "all things were made by him,"

And the world (that is, the intelligent world), knew him not. The language here is hardly less wonderful than the thought. Observe its compact simplicity and grand sonorousness - "the world" resounding in each successive member of the sentence, and the enigmatic form in which it is couched startling the reader, and setting his ingenuity a-working to solve the vast enigma of 'The world's Maker treading on and yet ignored by the world He made!


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) In the world.—This manifestation in the flesh recalls the pre-incarnate existence during the whole history of the world, and the creative act itself. (Comp. John 1:2-3, Note). The two facts are the constant presence of the true Light, and the creation of the world by Him. The world, then, in its highest creature man, with spiritual power for seeing the true Light, ought to have recognised Him. Spirit ought to have felt and known His presence. In this would have been the exercise of its true power and its highest good. But the world was sense-bound, and lost its spiritual perception, and “knew Him not.” This verse brings back again the thought of John 1:3-5, to prepare for the deeper gloom which follows.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 1:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
was in
18; 5:17; Genesis 11:6-9; 16:13; 17:1; 18:33; Exodus 3:4-6; Acts 14:17; 17:24-27; Hebrews 1:3
and the world was
See note on "Joh 1:3"
Jeremiah 10:11,12; Hebrews 1:2; 11:3
knew
5; 17:25; Matthew 11:27; 1 Corinthians 1:21; 2:8; 1 John 3:1

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 1:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-1.html.

Ver. 10. "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not."

The words, "He was in the world," resume the contents of the previous verse, which tells us of the coming of the Light, the Saviour, into the world: so then He was in the world. Before the special scene of the Saviour's advent, the covenant people, the Evangelist places the general scene, the world; because, even on account of the creation by Him, Christ had a right, in whatever part of the world He might appear, to be joyfully welcomed: how should not creatures meet their Creator with rejoicing, when He comes to redeem them! The Jews, in rejecting Christ, not only refused redeeming grace, but showed themselves ungrateful towards creating grace, as every man still does who despises Christ. According to many expositors, the words, "He was in the world," refer to the time before the incarnation. "The Evangelist adds this," says Bengel, "that no one may so understand the coming mentioned in the verse preceding, as though the Light had not been previously in the world." But we have already shown that this—viz., that the Light was not in the world before the advent of Christ—is, in fact, the conception of the Evangelist; after it has been said just before, that the Light has come into the world, it cannot be said without further explanation, that it was already in the world,—then there must in some way be designated the difference of the being in the world before the coming, from the later being in the world: in any case, however, the words, already before, which all expositors insert, would necessarily have been expressed in the text. Finally, the λόγος was, according to ver. 1 , with God before his advent in the flesh. Even in the previous verse, the coming into the world forms the antithesis to being with God. That κόσμος here is the sublunary world, the abode of men, is clear from the last clause. On this the Logos could certainly operate, while still being with God: but the Evangelist could not attribute to Him an existence in the world previous to the incarnation, without being false to his fundamental conception. On the words, "and the world was made by Him," Luther remarks: "Because the Scripture ascribes the same title and divine almighty power to Christ our Lord, the Virgins natural Son, and that the world was made by Him, it follows unquestionably, that He is real very God and Creator of all things, and that therefore two natures, divine and human, are inseparably united in one Person, even in Christ."


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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 1:10". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-1.html.

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