Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 17:11

I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.
New American Standard Version
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Adam Clarke Commentary

I am no more in the world - I am just going to leave the world, and therefore they shall stand in need of peculiar assistance and support. They have need of all the influence of my intercession, that they may be preserved in thy truth.

Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me - Instead of οὑς δεδωκας μοι, Those whom thou hast given me, ABCEHLMS, Mt. BHV, and nearly one hundred others, read ᾡ, which refers to the τῳ ονοματι σου, thy name, immediately preceding. The whole passage should be read thus: Holy Father, keep them through thy own name Which thou hast given me, that they may be one, etc. By the name, here, it is evident that the doctrine or knowledge of the true God is intended; as if our Lord had said, Keep them in that doctrine Which thou hast given me, that they may be one, etc. This reading is supported by the most ample evidence and indisputable authority. Griesbach has admitted it into the text, and Professor White in his CRISEΩ S says of it, Lectio indubie genuina, "It is, without doubt, the genuine reading."

That they may be One - That they, and all that believe through their word, (the doctrine which I have given them), may be one body, united by one Spirit to me their living head. The union which Christ recommends here, and prays for, is so complete and glorious as to be fitly represented by that union which subsists between the Father and the Son.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 17:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

I am no more in the world - I have finished my work among men, and am about to leave the world. See John 17:4.

These are in the world - They will be among wicked men and malignant foes. They will be subject to trials and persecutions. They will need the same protection which I could give them if I were with them.

Keep - Preserve, defend, sustain them in trials, and save them from apostasy.

Through thine own name - Our translators seem to have understood this expression as meaning “keep by thy power,” but this probably is not its meaning. It is literally “keep in thy name.” And if the term name be taken to denote God himself and his perfections (see the note at John 17:6), it means “keep in the knowledge of thyself. Preserve them in obedience to thee and to thy cause. Suffer them not to fall away from thee and to become apostates.”

That they may be one - That they may be united.

As we are - This refers not to a union of nature, but of feeling, plan, purpose. Any other union between Christians is impossible; but a union of affection is what the Saviour sought, and this he desired might be so strong as to be an illustration of the unchanging love between the Father and the Son. See John 17:21-23.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 17:11

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world

Christ and His disciples

CHRIST IS NO MORE IN THE WORLD. All the purposes for which He came are accomplished. There is no further employment, therefore, for Him here.

1. His humiliation is past and His glory begun.

2. His work is finished, and now His reward is received.

3. His warfare is accomplished and now He enjoys the spoils of victory.

4. His sacrifice is offered and He departs to plead its merits before the throne.

II. CHRISTIANS ARE IS THE WORLD. Like their Lord’s, their’s is

1. A state of humiliation.

2. A life of work.

3. A course of conflict.


1. Waits to receive them into His glory.

2. Imparts to them the benefits of His atonement and intercession.

3. Is their Master and co-worker.

4. Is their Leader to victory.

Christians in the world

1. Full of imperfections and infirmities.

2. Surrounded by temptations and snares.

3. Burdened with cares and afflictions.

4. Witnesses of Christ’s glory.

5. Labourers for its moral regeneration. (J. O. Keen, D. D.)

Holy Father, keep through Thine own name

The character of the Father

What formula could more thoroughly express the intensity and purity of Divine love. There is more spiritual philosophy and force in the two words, “Holy Father,” than in the cream of all literature. Jesus alone knew how holy that love is that comes down to save man. In this name there is

I. A GLIMPSE OF A GREAT CHARACTER. We ask, “What’s in a name?” The man on ’Change answers, “Five per cent.;” the expectant might say there is a passport in it; another that there is in it a prophecy of failure, of doom. A name is something, but in what name is there so much that is transcendently glorious as in “Holy Father.” The disturbed condition of humanity has made us so familiar with unholy paternity, that it is an immense elevation of spirit to have the idea of an absolutely Holy Father. Parentage in man ought thus to be a holy thing.

II. FULNESS OF HELPING POWER. We know what it is for sons to be respected and befriended for their father’s sake. The social position open to many a young man, the manner in which he is treated on the public platform, the safe, yet prosperous circles to which he is admitted is owing to his father’s name. But all this is increased in an infinite degree when we think of the name of the Holy Father. His name is good for any amount of helping power our souls require.

III. A GROUND OF GREATEST CONFIDENCE--that the affairs of the vast family, the interests of the vast home, will have that management which will secure the highest interests of every child. How often are families divided by paternal partialities, fortunes squandered by paternal weaknesses and sins; and children beggared through lack of that in the father that could bind the home in one. But the strong band that binds the childlike hearts together is this father-name.

IV. A GREAT ARGUMENT FOR CHILDLIKE CONDUCT. Blessed is the child who, when he looks at a human father, feels that he knows no more upright man than he. Such a father has a right to expect that his child should be good. Well, the “Holy Father,” who is conscious of doing everything before His children that is fitted to command their love, has a right to expect that like Himself they shall be holy. We know what it is for the young man going to business, college, public life, to resolve on good behaviour and success if it were only for his father’s sake. Such is the aspiration which the Holy Father expects of His children. (R. Mitchell.)

The Holy Father

The appellation “Holy Father” is in relation with the petition presented. With man holiness is the consecration of his whole being to the task assigned him by the Divine will. In God holiness is the free, deliberate, calm, and immutable affirmation of Himself, who is goodness, or of goodness, which is Himself. The holiness of God, then, so soon as we are associated therewith, draws a deep line of demarcation between us and those who live under the dominion of their natural instincts, and whom Scripture calls the world. The term “Holy Father” here characterizes God as Him who has traced this line of separation between the disciples and the world. “Keep them” has in view the maintenance of this separation. “In Thy name” makes the revelation of the Divine character the enclosing wall in which the disciples are to be kept. (F. Godet, D. D.)

The preciousness of the Divine name

I. THE CONTEMPLATED CONDITION OF THE DISCIPLES, the peculiar ground of their need. “I am no more in the world,” &c. The fact of His going to the Father could not but be to Him a satisfaction and joy. But He could not forget His friends. His thoughts went forth to their condition without His bodily presence, on which they had been so much accustomed to lean. His words suggest the thought of

1. Their bereavement (Matthew 9:15). It is impossible for us to form an adequate conception of their loss.

2. Their exposure: “These are in the ungodly, careless, unbelieving world.” Jesus knew well what it was to be in the world; hence His concern John 16:33). Christ Jesus, in His bodily and visible presence, is absent from the world still, but His disciples are in it. It is well to know that His prayer and intercession for them are better than His human presence.

II. THE BLESSING REQUESTED FOR THEM--“Keep through Thine own name,” &c. Here, for the only time recorded, Jesus addresses God as Holy Father. He appealed to the holiness of God; and surely no appeal could be more appropriate and beautiful, when preservation from the world and from evil was asked for. Holiness is the halo of unutterable splendour which surrounds the nature and character of the Almighty. This very designation suggests at once the power and the disposition of the Father to keep these disciples. It was the pledge of the preservation, and the guarantee of the safe keeping of all God’s children now (Psalms 30:4; Psa_97:12). Two remarks are here necessary. The Authorised Version says “through,” but the preposition in the original is “in.” According to the most ancient manuscripts, the petition reads, “Keep them in Thy name, that name which Thou hast given Me.” Jesus alone had fully manifested the name of God. And the point is that His disciples might be kept in the name of God, not in a vague indefinite sense, but in that name as personally embodied in Christ. The Saviour prays for His disciples, that they might be kept

1. In the knowledge of this name. Many temptations would assail them from Jewish prejudice and Gentile philosophy, from various forms of worldly wisdom and human speculation. They could only be kept right in their views of God, as they were kept by Him. It is human to err; and on no theme have men, when left to themselves, wandered more widely and disastrously than in their views of God.

2. In the experience of that name. This knowledge was not a barren truth, but mighty, formative, and fertilizing (John 1:12). As Jews, they had a knowledge of God as the God of Israel before; but the Divine name never had such power over them as when they came to realize its glory in Christ. It arrested, subdued, melted, purified them; it was in them a power for spiritual renewal and moral transformation. These disciples left in the world would be exposed to manifold malign influences; and only so long as they were kept in the consciousness of the power of God’s name, could they continue true to their mission.

3. In the consolation of that name. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe”--safe from the accusations of conscience and the thunder of law, the perils of life and the fears of death. Just as a child in darkness, trembling for fear, is cheered by the sound of his mother’s voice or the certainty of his father’s presence, even though unseen, so does the name of God, as revealed in Christ, sustain and encourage the souls of His people in the dreary and often trying pilgrimage to heaven.

III. THE OBJECT DESIRED. “That they may be one, as we are.” How much depended on their union, strength, safety, and success. Discord and disunion could not fail to bring disaster and failure at the very beginning of the Christian history.

1. The model of this union: “as we are one.” Jesus does not ask that He may be one with the Father, but asserts this oneness as a fact. There was a oneness with the Father existing from eternity. But He here prays as the “Man Christ Jesus,” whose purposes and plans, desires and hopes, were the same as the Father’s.

2. What then would be the manifestation of this oneness? Unity of mind, will, and affection in relation to their Master and His work, a unity resulting from participation in His life and devotion to His glory? Only suppose that these disciples were to go forth with differing views and discordant purposes in their commission. Or, suppose that they were to go forth with clashing opinions about the claims of Christ Himself; one holding His supreme Godhead, another viewing Him as the highest of created beings, and a third regarding Him merely as a man, and so on; the issue in such a case could only be spiritual disaster and failure. There might be, and there were, differences between them in many things, but touching the character and claims of the Christ of God they were as one. And this oneness of view and feeling binding them to the Saviour, and pervading all their work for Him, was to be maintained by their being kept in the Father’s name as revealed in Jesus. (J. Spence, D. D.)

Saints Divinely kept

Our text is all about keeping. Three or four times over we have some tense of the word “keep.” Greatly do we need keeping. You have been redeemed and regenerated; you are pure in heart and hands; you have aspirations after the holiest things; you are near the gates of glory; hut you must be kept. Here is

I. A CHOICE PROTECTORATE. “I kept them.” This care

1. Was continuous. He made this the chief employment of His life. In this chapter you have “the ruling passion strong in death.” He has kept them in life, and now He says, “I am no more in the world,” &c.; and the one thought of His heart is, “What is to become of them?” He closes His life by commending them to the keeping of His heavenly Father.

2. Is ever needed. Sheep never outgrow this necessity. If the disciples always required keeping, you and I do.

3. Was ever personal. The Good Shepherd kept the sheep, not by proxy, but by His own hands. What must have been the effect of the personality of Christ upon those eleven? There are some men whose influence upon others has, for want of a better word, been called “magical.” History tells us of warriors who have inspired their soldiers with boundless loyalty, grappling them to themselves with hooks of steel. The influence of the Christ upon those who actually lived with Him must have been superlative.

4. Was most successful. Of the eleven not one was lost. They were very fickle at first, extremely ignorant, and strongly tempted. Influences which made some go back would naturally have had the same power over them if Jesus had not kept them: yet of those whom the Father gave Him not one of them was lost.

5. Was attended with an awful sorrow. “None of them is lost, but the son of perdition.” He knew that often people would say, “Can this Christianity be true which has such false-hearted traitors in its midst?” He allowed that objection to come up at the very first. But the Watcher over the sons of men could not lose even Judas without deep regrets.

II. A TEMPORARY PRIVILEGE. The eleven were not to have Christ with them always. They were to fall back on another mode of living common to all saints.

1. Now, why was Christ with them at all? It was because they were very weak. They wanted fostering and nurturing. You had great joys in your early days. You have not had them lately, it may be; for you have travelled to heaven at a steadier pace. Certain spiritual joys are the privilege and the necessity of our religions babyhood, and we outgrow them. The Lord went away that the disciples might grow to spiritual manhood.

2. Choice as the privilege was of having Jesus Himself to be their Pastor, apart from the grace of God, this special boon had no power in it. The Lord Jesus Christ might preach, but He could not touch the heart of the son of perdition. No ministry of itself can turn a heart of stone into flesh. “You must be born from above.” Let this be a warning to such as are not profited under the Word when faithfully preached. Beware lest ye perish under the gospel.

III. A BLESSED PRAYER. “Holy Father, keep,” &c.

1. “Father.” It is the Father who keeps us! The Lord Jesus was tender to us when He selected that title, and did not say “Jehovah” or “Elohim.”

2. “Holy Father.” The keeping means keep us holy; and who can make us and keep us holy but He who is Himself holy?

3. “Keep them.” We need keeping

4. Through God’s own name. It requires the very name of God to keep a Christian. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Kept of God


1. You have seen a beautiful garden planted and filled with rarest flowers, and all in such beautiful order. The explanation is to be found in the keeper, who moves among the flowers, pulling up a stray weed here, clipping off a branch there, training up a fallen vine, tying up a drooping plant, digging about the roots of that rosebush that seems a little weak, and bestowing a little extra care upon it with such tenderness as though he loved it. And from admiring the flowers, you turn to admire and love the faithful keeper, and ascribe the praise to him.

2. On the other hand, you have seen other gardens just as large, filled with the same precious variety of flowers. But how sad to look at the paths that are filled with grass! The vines have fallen down, and many beautiful plants have succumbed to the rude crowding of the rank weeds and are both dying and dead. How is this sad condition of things to be accounted for? The gardener was called in to plant it, but the owner of the garden dismissed him, thinking he could do it himself. For a while he did very well; but the pressure of business, &c., &c., and a general ignorance of flower culture, all interfered, and so the garden was allowed to run to waste. Occasionally he would rally and go vigorously to work, and things would look better for a while; but, alas I all too soon the same neglect would fall upon it.

3. These two gardens are two lives, one of which is kept and the other unkept. And I am sure there are more than a few Christians who see in the latter garden a picture of their own spiritual life. What is the matter? You need a keeper and to place in his hands your life.

II. WHO IS TO KEEP US? Our Holy Father.

1. The holiness of God, instead of being opposed to the salvation of the sinful, is the very ground of that salvation, and is put forth as the reason above all others why sinners should hope in God.

2. We find this holiness of God active against sin, hating and consuming it, and often afflicting His people for it. But that side of His holiness is only another side of His love (Psalms 99:8). He hates sin because it is the destroyer of the people whom He loves.


1. He will keep us unto the end--unto the salvation ready to be revealed at the last day. Many are deterred from confessing Christ lest they should not hold out. But against all these fears God has left exceeding great and precious promises (1 Peter 1:3-5; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2Ti Jude 1:24).

2. With others it is not so much the fear of being finally lost as the dread of being left alone on the way, of “falling into sin and trouble,” &c. Listen to the promises (Genesis 28:15; Isaiah 43:2).

3. It is not that I am afraid of being deserted in affliction, but that in the ordinary course of life I shall wander from the right way. God said to those of old, “Behold I send an angel before thee,” &c. (Exodus 23:20). “When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will lead,” &c. So in this God makes ample promise.

4. So God is pledged to provide for all our wants, and keep us in the world. “The Lord God is a sword and a shield,” &c. “The Lord is my Shepherd.” “My God shall supply all your need.”

5. But the temporal keeping is not what I want so much as to have my own life kept--to be delivered and kept from doubt, and fears, and anxiety, and vexation, and care (read Philippians 4:7; Isaiah 26:3).

6. But will He keep from sin? I know He will pardon sin, but will He keep me from it? Yes.

IV. THIS KEEPING INVOLVES MANY TRIALS, AND, IT MAY BE, MUCH SUFFERING. To be freed from sin is a painful process. It is crucifixion, it is purging, it is refining. It is having your wills subdued, but it means holiness and godliness, with peace as our portion for ever.

V. HOW ARE WE KEPT? In the holy name of God.

1. As in a tower (Proverbs 18:20; Psalms 18:2).

2. As in a bank (2 Timothy 1:12).

3. As in a sheep fold (Psalms 23:1; Psa_80:1).

4. As behind a shield (Psalms 84:11).

VI. TO BE KEPT WE MUST PUT OURSELVES IN GOD’S HANDS, nor must we draw back. He is a Tower, we must keep ourselves in it. A Shepherd, we must be near Him. A Bank, we must commit ourselves to it as a treasure deposited therein. A Shield, we must keep ourselves behind it. (G. F. Pentecost, D. D.)

That they may be one, as we are

The pathway to unity

The final state of the Church of God is to be a state of perfect unity; and that being so, their present state should be one of growing unity. Alas! how lamentably far from this are we, who profess the name of Christ at this time and in this country! In the text you have four points respecting it.


1. Unity, wherever it exists, flows from God. If you have union in your families, with your relatives and friends, this is from Him. How much more, then, must the unity of His Church derive itself from Him, as its only head and centre (1 Corinthians 11:3). God the Father is the source whence the sacred oil of unity, shed in copious showers on the head of our Aaron, diffuses itself in fragrant streams over His whole body mystical--the

Church--and goes down to the skirts of His garments (Psalms 133:2-3).

2. He is also the exclusive maintainer of unity. He not only giveth His people the blessing of peace, but also keeps their hearts and minds in peace through Christ Jesus (Psalms 29:11; Philippians 4:7). Did He for one instant abandon His children, or cease to fold them to His bosom, every soul of them would become an Ishmael; strife and contention would split the holy camp into a thousand factions, and deliver them an easy prey into the hand of the powers of darkness. And it is to His guardianship of the world that we owe the shadows of Divine unity which we find in it. Peace and unity in families, among nations, between contending parties, whether in the State or in the Church.


1. What is meant by the name of God? In olden times the names of persons were very different from what they are now. Most of our modern names have no meaning at all; but, anciently, the name of a person almost always expressed some property or character attaching to the person who bore it. Thus the name of Jacob signifies “supplanter,” and has reference to his having supplanted his brother. Israel means “Prince of God,” because as a prince he had power with God in wrestling, and prevailed. So then “Name of God” stands for the nature, property, and character of the Most High.

2. What is this name and character? From Exodus 33:19-20, cf Exodus 34:58, we gather that the moral attributes of God are of two kinds--mercy and justice. Let us illustrate. Light (as seen in a rainbow, resolved into two different classes of colours, four of a bright and three of a grave tint) affords some faint idea of these two classes of perfections. Mercy, love, goodness, forbearance, and so forth, on the one hand--holiness, justice, truth, on the other. The latter are as essential as the former to the surpassing beauty and loveliness of the Divine character. God would be no God if He were not perfectly just and holy, as well as perfectly loving--even as the sunlight would not be that beautiful and delicate thing it is if it were not chastened and subdued by its three graver tints, On the one hand, sin will be visited by Him; on the other, He yearns over all His creatures with the tenderest mercy. And He will be known to each individual soul, and acknowledged by each individual heart, in both these characters. For He has signally glorified both His justice and His love in Jesus Christ, so as to keep the believer wakefully alive to both of them. For what shall keep him more wakefully alive both to the love and justice of God than the reflection that His justice could not consent to our acquittal before it had fastened upon a Divine victim, and that this boundless sacrifice which justice demanded, love was not slow to make? In the Cross of Jesus, behold the name of Jehovah--the goodness and severity of God--portrayed at once. And it is this unfeigned acknowledgment of Divine love on one hand, and Divine justice on the other, in which our Saviour here prays that God would keep His chosen. The effect is obvious. The little bickerings and animosities and party feelings--unclean creatures that hovered about in the darkness--will vanish as we sun ourselves in the light. Truly acknowledging the true God, we shall truly acknowledge our brethren also.

III. THE PERSONS BETWEEN WHOM THIS UNITY MAY BE EXPECTED TO SUBSIST. It is not represented as subsisting in the visible Church, but in the invisible, among God’s elect--“those whom Thou hast given Me.” How can unity, being a spirit and not a form, subsist in the visible Church, within whose pale there are (and must be) many hypocrites? If, indeed, it were a form, it might then be imposed from without upon a visible body. But it is a living spirit, which might indeed develop itself in a certain similarity of outward worship, if all the persons animated by it were gathered together, as one day they shall be, and not separated from one another by time and space, as now they are. Let us not look for it, then, or expect it where it is not and where it cannot be. Union, real vital union, cannot exist among or with those who are ignorant of God. It is idle for men who walk on still in darkness to talk of, to meddle with, unity. Their ceaseless petition must be, “Lord, that I may receive my sight!” For those who do thus know Him, they, by growing in that knowledge, will grow in unity. They will have fellowship with one another in exact proportion as they walk more strictly in His fear, more lovingly and enjoyably in His comfort.

IV. HOW CLOSE WILL BE THE BOND OF THAT FELLOWSHIP! “That they may be one, as we are.” The whole body will be fitly joined together and compacted in an unity, like that subsisting between the Father and the Son. And what mortal shall comprehend the exceeding closeness of that unity--perfect unity of counsels, of will, of ends, of nature. And even such a bond shall clasp the elect together, nay, is now clasping them, and being gradually drawn more closely around them. To this state they will verge continually while they walk more and more in the light, as God is in the light. (Dean Goulburn.)

Kept for Jesus Christ

(Jude 1:1.):--

I. WHO? The saints; those given by the Father to Christ.

II. WHAT? Keep them. As it were, Christ, having obtained them from the Father for safe keeping for Him, replaces them in the Father’s hands for safe keeping for Himself.

III. HOW? In Thy name, i.e., by graciously revealing in them Thy name, which I have outwardly manifested to them.

IV. WHY? Because Christ was returning to the Father (1 Peter 1:5).

V. WHEREFORE? That they might be one. Unless the Father keeps the saints they never will be one. (T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

The preservation of Christians

There is an aged Christian in Dublin with whom I have often spoken who passed through the following eventful experience:--“Some years since,” he said, “I was travelling on horseback in one of the country districts, when the sudden report of a pistol-shot reached me. I was satisfied that I had been aimed at, but nevertheless thankfully conscious that I had escaped. Hastening onwards, I reached my home in safety, and went into the house. It had been my custom for years to carry a small Bible in the breast pocket of my coat. Taking it out on this occasion, judge my surprise at finding a leaden bullet imbedded in the leaves. It had penetrated as far as the Gospel of John. Removing the bullet, and opening the book at the spot where it rested, my eye fell upon the words, ‘Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me.’” (Henry Varley.)

Christian union

I wish all names among the saints of God were swallowed up in that one of Christian. I long for professors to leave off placing religion in saying, “I am a Churchman,” “I am a Dissenter.” My language to such is, “Are you of Christ? If so, I love you with all my heart.” (G. Whitefield.)

Union and Christian life

Christians are like the several flowers in a garden, that have upon each of them the dew of heaven, while, being shaken with the wind, they let fall their dews at each other’s roots, whereby they are jointly nourished and become nourishers of each other. (John Bunyan.)

Christian union attainable only in Christ

The union of Christians to Christ their common head, and, by means of the influence which they derive from Him, one to another, may be illustrated by the loadstone: it not only attracts the particles of iron to itself by the magnetic virtue, but, by this virtue, it unites them one among another. (R. Cecil, M. A.)

Work aids Christian unity

When I was in the army before Port Hudson I remember that night after night, when our campfires were built, we boys used to sit around them and discuss various matters; and sometimes our discussions became very heated, and sometimes we lost our tempers, and sometimes we said angry words. But one night, right in the midst of a discussion, there broke upon us that awful, startling sound which, once heard, is never forgotten. Away off, on the right of the line, it began; but it rolled in a thundering, awful echo, until it chilled our hearts. It was the long roll, and every man was on his feet, and every man shook hands with his comrade and said, “Forgive me. When we were idle we could afford to discuss; but now there is work to do, it finds us brothers.” (G. Hepworth.)

Union in the face of foes

On the day before the battle of Trafalgar, Nelson took Collingwood and Rotherham, who were at variance, to a spot where they could see the fleet opposed to them. “Yonder,” said the Admiral, “are your enemies; shake hands and be good friends, like good Englishmen.”

Influence of union

Separate the atoms which make the hammer, and each would fall on the stone as a snowflake; but welded into one, and wielded by the firm arm of the quarryman, it will break the massive rocks asunder. Divide the waters of Niagara into distinct and individual drops, and they would be no more than the falling rain; but, in their united body, they would quench the fires of Vesuvius and have some to spare for other volcanoes. (T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Power of union

Union is power. The most attenuated thread, when sufficiently multiplied, will form the strongest cable. A single drop of water is a weak and powerless thing; but an infinite number of drops united by the force of attraction will form a stream, and many streams combined will form a river; till rivers pour their water into the mighty oceans, whose proud waves, defying the power of man, none can stay but He who formed them. And thus forces, which, acting singly, are utterly impotent, are, when acting in combination, resistless in their energies, mighty in power. (H. G.Salter.)

Union is strength

When it was once demanded of Agesilaus why Lacedaemon had no walls, he replied, “The concord of the citizens is its strength.” (J. Harris.)

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name

Christ’s care for His disciples

Our Saviour had just passed through the agony when Judas came upon Him “with a band of men and officers” John 18:1-9). Whatever might be the reason for mustering so large an array, in order to seize one who seemed so little likely to offer resistance, our Lord quickly showed how unavailing would have been the assault, had He not chosen to surrender Himself to the will of His enemies. By merely acknowledging Himself to be the party of whom they were in quest, Christ prostrated the whole host. But, as our Lord had no intention of delivering Himself from His adversaries, why did He give this signal evidence of having them completely in His power? For the sake of His disciples. “Let these go their way.” The Evangelist still further limits the design of the miracle, that the very saying of the text might be fulfilled. These words must have had respect to more than a mere temporal deliverance. Christ had been praying, “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name,” &c., and “the son of perdition,” was not lost in any mere temporal respect. But what was the amount of the keeping which our Lord secured for His disciples on the occasion? Simply that they should not be made prisoners with Himself, and perhaps be condemned with Himself to an ignominious death. Here then is a promise which would contemplate nothing short of everlasting salvation, declared to be fulfilled by a deliverance from present danger and calamity. Had His followers been required at that moment to suffer with Him, we can hardly doubt, knowing what their conduct was on a far less amount of trial, that they would have apostatized in such a way as to have jeopardized their final salvation. Sooner or later these disciples were to die. Christ would not, then, have lost them by their dying at that moment, “except” St. Augustine says, “because they had not then the faith in Himself which was needful to secure them from everlasting death.” So that we may believe that our Lord interfered miraculously on behalf of His disciples, because He foresaw that if He now required them to bear the Cross with Him, the trial would be too great for their strength. Let us see what special truths are suggested by this fact.


STRENGTH There is often a fear, on the part of the disciple, that such or such a trial would be more than he could bear. And the fear may be altogether just, so far as it arises from comparing the strength then possessed with the danger then supposed. But the fear is altogether unjust, so far as it assumes the possibility of God’s exposing His people to a trial, for which He does not communicate adequate grace. We might not be able always to die for Christ; but we are not always called to die for Christ. If we were called to die for Him, then we may be confident that we should be strengthened to die, even as martyrs died, with a smile upon the cheek, with a song upon the lip. We may not always feel as if we could in a moment resign without a murmur this or that object of devoted affection; but wait till we are actually called upon to resign it, and then, if we be truly of those who acknowledge God in all their ways, we shall find ourselves enabled to exclaim, “The Lord gave,” &c. Trials are not accidents; they may be often unexpected by us, they are never unprovided for by God. God holds the balances in His hand. In one scale He puts the trials, in the other the strength; but the trial does not come to our share till outweighed by the strength which He sees fit to communicate. And, if anything can, this should encourage us to “patient continuance in well doing.” So then, whilst there is everything to encourage the meek, there is nothing to warrant the presumptuous. God keeps His people by enabling them to keep themselves. When you read in Jeremiah, “I will not turn away from them, to do them good,” it might seem to you as though good were secured, be your conduct what it may; but when you-read on, “I will put My fear in their hearts, that they should not depart from Me,” you should learn that God’s not turning from us is through the withholding us from turning from Him, and that, therefore, he who strives not against sin has no promise of salvation. And when we have thus warned you against expecting to be kept, though you are not diligent to keep yourselves--for whilst it is most true “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain,” think ye not that it is also true, that the Lord will not keep the city where the watchman sleeps?--having done this, we may yet by the miracle wrought on behalf of the disciples, encourage you to the building confidently on that most blessed truth, “God will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.”

II. BUT in place of procuring for His followers an opportunity for escape, MIGHT NOT CHRIST HAVE IMPARTED AN ABILITY TO ENDURE? The saying would thus have been only the more evidently fulfilled. Of course, He might had it accorded with His dealings and purposes. But He could not consistently with the laws which prescribe His dealings with accountable creatures. It would have taken more grace than could be bestowed without destroying all freedom of will. Remember that grace is that in which you are bidden to grow; and in spiritual stature no more than in bodily is the infant made the giant with no stage between. You must pass from point to point, improving what you have as the condition of your receiving more. Ye are to present yourselves “a living sacrifice,” otherwise it will be a compulsory, and not a “reasonable service.” Thus also with apostles. They have not yet grown into fitness for the honours of martyrdom; they might have been presented in sacrifice--they would not, in the true sense, have presented themselves. They had yet a long discipline to pass through, of “taking up the cross daily.” So that, though there are some dangers which at one time God turns away from His people, because too great for such a measure of grace as would consist with present spiritual stature, He would have them faced at another time, because the spiritual stature is such as accords with the requisite strength. And the great practical truth to be derived from this is, that you are not to expect to become Christians by any sudden leap, but step by step. The spiritual temple rises stone by stone, as beneath the hands of a builder; it does not soar at once--wall, dome, pinnacle, complete--as beneath the wand of an enchanter.

III. IN COVENANTING TO KEEP US TO ETERNAL LIFE, CHRIST HATH ALSO COVENANTED THAT WE MAY BE KEPT FROM ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY. And it is delightful to think of the one covenant as including the other; so that we have the same reason for believing that nothing really hurtful shall be suffered to happen to us of a temporal kind, as that nothing shall finally separate the believer from the “love of God which is in Christ Jesus.”

IV. The saving of the disciples from bodily danger might be taken as AN ASSURANCE THAT CHRIST WOULD NOT FAIL TO CONDUCT THEM SAFELY TO HEAVEN and therefore was it a sort of primary accomplishment of the gracious purpose that none of them should be lost. And what a brightness would it shed over present deliverances, what a sweetness would it give to present mercies, were all in the habit of regarding them as so many earnests of a rich inheritance above! Then might every day of life be to us a sort of herald of eternity. We should not receive blessings as merely to he enjoyed and then forgotten; for they would serve to us for even more than the Ebenezer of old, a stone on which to inscribe, “Hitherto the Lord bath helped us,” but on which also to engrave afresh the most comforting declaration, “Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost.” Truly a most comforting declaration, forasmuch as it shows that our safety is in better keeping than our own. The Christian will be disquieted and harassed, a prey to frequent doubts and fears, till he come to regard the Redeemer as having taken upon Himself the work of his salvation, and bound up His own glory with the carrying him through. “I know whom I have believed,” &c. (H. Melvill, B. D.)

The nature of the Divine keeping

“Have guarded,” not the same word as that rendered “kept” in the first clause. This is an intensified expression of His vigilant care. “Kept as with a military guard.” The first “kept” points to their preservation in the truth revealed to them; the second to the watchfulness by means of which the result was obtained. The former may be compared to the feeding of a flock, the latter to the care which protects from the wild beasts around. (W. H. Van Doren, D. D.)

The Divine guardianship

I. THE SAVOUR’S GRACIOUS CARE FOR HIS DISCIPLES. While He was with them, He had done all that was needful to keep them in the name of God. The second word, translated “kept,” is not the same as the first, and expresses more fully the idea of guardianship, the result of which was successful preservation. Thus we have suggested to us that the disciples were in danger even while their Master was with them, from their weakness, Jewish prejudices, and spiritual pride.

1. He kept them by

(l) His teaching. The whole bearing of His instructions was that they might discern the perfection of the Father’s character, and apprehend the saving power of His love.

2. But was there not a painful, an awful exception to the success of His guardianship? We must regard the giving here as applicable to Judas as well as to the others. They were all given to Jesus as disciples, and He taught and guarded them all; but Judas did not respond to His teaching and care. But Jesus did not lose him; he lost or rather destroyed himself, and in his perdition the Scripture was fulfilled. The quotation cannot imply that he perished for the sake of fulfilling the word of God, but to show that all things are foreknown to the omniscient God.

3. Does Christ not with equal zeal and care preserve His followers now? Are not His instruction, example, and influence available for us? True, we do not hear His voice, nor see His face, but His advocacy, with the promised presence of the Comforter, is mightier and better for our preservation than if we could actually gaze upon Him.


1. The object which He sought was that “His joy might be fulfilled in themselves;” not that His joy in them, as His disciples, might be fulfilled; but that they might realize something of His own personal and perfect joy. How great and blessed and pure must have been His joy, as the incarnate Son of God! It was the joy

This joy, then, Christ wishes His disciples to realize in themselves, that it might be their strength and protection. The world gives sorrow, anxiety, disappointment, bitterness, and trouble; but to share in Christ’s own joy must ever be sunshine in the soul: for the human heart it is a joy unspeakable and full of glory. Participation in this joy, then, comes down to us, and we must rejoice in the Lord, not only as a privilege, but as a duty.

2. The means adopted to produce this joy. “These things I speak in the world.” Jesus might have presented His petitions for them silently. How was this audible prayer calculated to minister to their joy? We feel how important it is in daily life to have feeling made known. Sometimes you may have gone in doubt, in heaviness of spirit and sadness of heart, when a word spoken in love would have relieved your gloom, lifted your load, and cheered your path. The Saviour was more lovingly thoughtful for His disciples. It would have made no real difference to their safety if His prayer had been unheard by them; but it would have made a great difference to the cheerfulness of their hearts. Christian thoughtfulness therefore should ever prompt us to let those whom we love hear or know of our interest in them and our affection for them. This audible prayer would minister to their joy

The Divine keeping

Concerning all saints it is implied



III. THAT THEIR SALVATION IS DESIGNED, for it is that to which they are 1 Peter 1:5).


V. THAT THEY ARE KEPT IN HARMONY WITH THEM MORAL FREEDOM, “kept by the power of God through faith.” (M. Henry.)

None of them is lost but the son of perdition.

A son of perdition implies the quality expressed by perdition--“None of them perished but him whose nature it was to perish.” The term is a well-known Hebrew idiom by which the lack of qualitative adjectives is supplied by abstract substantives which express that quality. Thus a disobedient child is “a son of disobedience,” and so “children of light” and “of darkness.” Judas lost himself. Even after the betrayal he might have been saved had he fled to the cross. There is no “keeping in God’s name” independently of “keeping God’s word.” This Judas did not do. (W. H. Fan Doren, D. D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 17:11". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are.

No more in the world ... refers to the physical absence of Jesus after the resurrection and ascension. Spiritually, the Lord continues to be with his disciples (Matthew 18:20).

And these are in the world ... refers to the mortal state of the apostles who would continue to be the object of Satan's bitterest hatred and opposition. Jesus' physical departure would make them even more the object of Satan's attack and their status even more precarious. These considerations prompted the fervent prayer on their behalf.

Holy Father ... is one of three terms of address directed to God in this prayer, the others being "Father" (John 17:1,4, and John 17:11), and "O Righteous Father" (John 17:25).

Keep them in thy name ... There is no way to avoid respect of the importance attached to the sacred name of "Jesus Christ," and it is likely that here is a reference to that compound title introduced in John 17:3. Let men face it, salvation is accomplished in an all-powerful name, a fact which the apostles strongly emphasized. "Neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Immediately after that statement, Peter pronounced that sacred name, and, significantly, it was the compound title found in this prayer, "Jesus Christ."

That they may be one ... was a plea for unity, primarily of the apostles, but, by extension, applicable to all Christians. See under John 17:22 where this admonition is repeated.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And now I am no more in the world,.... In the earth; which is no contradiction to his resurrection from the dead, and stay with his disciples for a while; nor to his return to judge the world at the last day; nor to his reigning on earth with his saints a thousand years; since it will not be the world as it now is, but it will be a new earth, renewed, purified and refined, and clear of the wicked inhabitants of it; and in which will only dwell righteous persons: besides, Christ was to be, and will be no more in the world, in such circumstances, and doing such work as he then was: the meaning is, that whereas he had been in the world, and had done, or as good as done the work he came about, he was now just going out of it; it was but a very little while he had to stay in it; nor should he continue long with his disciples when he rose from the dead; and whereas his bodily presence had been a guard unto them, a protection of them, and he had bore the heat and burden of the day for them, and had took all reproaches and persecutions upon himself, now he was going from them:

but these are in the world; and will continue for some time, they having much work to do, and be exposed to the evils, snares and temptations of it; where they were hated, and were liable to great hardships, afflictions and persecutions; which shows that Christ was not so intent on his own glory, as to neglect the good of his people, and to be unconcerned for them:

and I come to thee; signifying his death; the deposition of his soul into his Father's hands; his ascension in soul and body to him; his entrance into heaven, and session at the right hand of God; and therefore had nothing to ask for on his own account: but his disciples he was parting with lay near his heart, and therefore he prays;

holy Father, keep, through thine own name, those whom thou hast given me: the person prayed unto is God the Father, the Father of Christ, and of his people; a very proper relation to consider God in and under in prayer to him: since it must give freedom, boldness, and hope of success: the epithet "holy" is exceeding suitable, as it perfectly agrees with him who is essentially so; and since it was holiness and an increase of it Christ prays for; and that there his disciples might be kept from the evil of sin: the persons prayed for are those that were given to Christ in election, and in the covenant, to be kept by him, and therefore he is the more solicitous for their preservation: his request is, that his Father would keep them from the evil of the world; from sinking under temptations and afflictions; faithful to him and to his Gospel, and in unity among themselves; and that "through" or "in" his own name; in it, in the doctrine of the Gospel, and in the worship of God, and profession of him; "through" it, through himself, as a wall of fire about them, and by his power through faith unto salvation:

that they may be one as we are; in nature, will, affection and understanding; which must be understood not of equality, but of likeness; and designs not their union to Christ, but to one another; abiding together, cleaving to each other, standing fast in one Spirit, having the same designs, and the interest of a Redeemer in view, and at heart.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 17:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be c one, as we [are].

(c) He prays that his people may peaceably agree and be joined together in one, that as the Godhead is one, so they may be of one mind and one consent together.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 17:11". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

I am no more in the world — (See on John 17:4).

but these are in the world — that is, Though My struggles are at an end, theirs are not; though I have gotten beyond the scene of strife, I cannot sever Myself in spirit from them, left behind and only just entering on their great conflict.

Holy Father — an expression He nowhere else uses. “Father” is His wonted appellation, but “Holy” is here prefixed, because His appeal was to that perfection of the Father‘s nature, to “keep” or preserve them from being tainted by the unholy atmosphere of “the world” they were still in.

keep through thine own name — rather, “in thy name”; in the exercise of that gracious and holy character for which He was known.

that they may be one — (See on John 17:21).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

People's New Testament

I am no more in the world, but these are in the world. He now goes to the Father; these are left behind to preach the gospel, establish his kingdom, manifest his glory. Hence, he pleads that he may "{keep them} through his name," or power and love. He especially pleads that they may be kept "one," united as the Father and the Son.

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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.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 17:11". "People's New Testament". 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

And these (και ουτοιkai houtoi or αυτοιautoi they). Note adversative use of καιkai (= but these).

I come (ερεομαιerehomai). Futuristic present, “I am coming.” Cf. John 13:3; John 14:12; John 17:13. Christ will no longer be visibly present to the world, but he will be with the believers through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:20).

Holy Father
(πατερ αγιεpater hagie). Only here in the N.T., but see 1 John 2:20; Luke 1:49 for the holiness of God, a thoroughly Jewish conception. See John 6:69 where Peter calls Jesus ο αγιος του τεουho hagios tou theou For the word applied to saints see Acts 9:13. See John 17:25 for πατηρ δικαιεpatēr dikaie (Righteous Father).

Keep them
(τηρησον αυτουςtērēson autous). First aorist (constative) active imperative of τηρεωtēreō as now specially needing the Father‘s care with Jesus gone (urgency of the aorist tense in prayer).

(ωιhōi). Locative case of the neuter relative singular, attracted from the accusative οho to the case of the antecedent ονοματιonomati (name).

That they may be one
(ινα ωσιν ενhina ōsin hen). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the present active subjunctive of ειμιeimi (that they may keep on being). Oneness of will and spirit (ενhen neuter singular), not one person (ειςheis masculine singular) for which Christ does not pray. Each time Jesus uses ενhen (John 17:11, John 17:21, John 17:22) and once, εις ενeis hen “into one” (John 17:23). This is Christ‘s prayer for all believers, for unity, not for organic union of which we hear so much. The disciples had union, but lacked unity or oneness of spirit as was shown this very evening at the supper (Luke 22:24; John 13:4-15). Jesus offers the unity in the Trinity (three persons, but one God) as the model for believers. The witness of the disciples will fail without harmony (John 17:21).

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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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

I come ( ἔρχομαι )

I am coming. Spoken of His departure to the Father.

Holy ( ἅγιε )

See on saints, Acts 26:10; also see on 1 Peter 1:15. Compare 1 John 2:20, and righteous Father ( δίκαιε ), John 17:25. This epithet, now first applied to the Father, contemplates God, the holy One, as the agent of that which Christ desires for His disciples - holiness of heart and life; being kept from this evil world.

Those whom ( οὓς )

The correct reading is ᾧ , referring to name. Thy name which Thou hast given me. So in John 17:12. Compare Philippians 2:9, Philippians 2:10; Revelation 2:17; Revelation 19:12; Revelation 22:4.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Keep them through thy name — Thy power, mercy, wisdom, that they may be one - with us and with each other; one body, separate from the world: as we are - By resemblance to us, though not equality.

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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.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 17:11". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee1. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we [are]2.

  1. And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. As a last plea he urges the necessity of the Father's care over the disciples since the Son will be no longer in the world.

  2. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we [are]. Our Lord's first petition grows out of his last plea. His departure would tend to scatter the disciples; they had been united by faith in the name of Christ, that is, by the divine power given of God and revealed in Christ (Exodus 23:21; Isaiah 9:6 their unity may be as perfect as that subsisting between the Father and the Son.

Copyright Statement
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.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 17:11". "The Fourfold Gospel". Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

No more in the world; no more to remain in it.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Я уже не в мире. Христос приводит и другую причину, почему столь усердно молится за учеников: вскоре они лишатся Его телесного присутствия, в котором до этого получали успокоение. Покуда Христос жил среди них, Он подобно наседке держал их под Своими крыльями. Теперь же, уходя от них, Он молит Отца принять их под Свою защиту. И делает это именно ради них. Он предлагает врачевство против их страха, дабы они успокоились в Самом Боге, Которому Он передает их словно из рук в руки. Отсюда мы черпаем немалое утешение: Сын Божий, покидая учеников телесно, еще больше стал заботиться об их спасении. Отсюда мы заключаем: Он следит и за нами, теми, кто сегодня труждается в этом мире, и, находясь в небесной славе, помогает нам в тяготах.

Отче Святый! Вся Его молитва направлена к тому, чтобы ученики не пали духом, словно их положение могло ухудшиться из-за телесного отсутствия Учителя. Ведь Христос был дан им Отцом для защиты, но лишь на время. Теперь же, исполнив Свое служение, Христос вверил их в руки Отца, дабы впредь они хранились под Его защитой. Итог же таков: ученики лишатся телесного лицезрения Христова, но это ничем им не грозит. Ведь Бог принял их под Свою опеку, а сила Его вечна. Христос описывает и способ их сохранения: «да будут едино». Ведь тех, кого Небесный Отец постановил сохранить, Он собирает в единство святой веры и Духа. Поскольку же недостаточно, если люди просто будут друг с другом соглашаться, Христос добавляет: «как и Мы». Так что единство наше будет счастливым лишь тогда, когда несет в себе образ единства Отца и Сына. Подобно тому, как воск, притиснутый печатью, воспринимает ее начертание. Каким же образом Христос составляет с Отцом одно целое, я объясню впоследствии.




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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Ver. 11. "And I am no more in the world; but they are in the world; and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, them whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are."

At the moment of asking God more specially for His protection for His disciples, the thought of Jesus naturally turns towards the dangers to which they will be exposed in the state of desertion in which His departure is about to leave them: "Keep them, these precious vessels (John 17:6-10), which are from this moment so exposed (John 17:11-15)." Jesus is no longer with them, in the world, to keep them, and He is not yet with God so as to be able to protect them from the midst of His heavenly glory. There is a sorrowful interval, during which His Father must charge Himself with this care. This reason would be absolutely incomprehensible, if the Fourth Gospel really taught, as Reuss thinks, that the Logos is susceptible neither of humiliation nor of exaltation, or, as Baur affirms, that death is for Him only the divesting of bodily appearances. John 17:5 has proved that, when once His divine state is abandoned, there remains for Him, as a mode of existence, only His earthly presence with His own, and John 17:11-12 prove that, when this presence comes to an end, there is nothing else to do for them except to lay them in the arms of the Father. Weiss thinks that even in His state of exaltation He will do nothing except through asking it of the Father. The passages which he alleges do not seem to me to prove this (John 14:13; John 14:16); and this idea is in direct contradiction to Matthew 28:20.

The title: Holy Father, must be used in connection with the petition presented. Holiness, in man, is the consecration of his whole being to the task which the divine will assigns to him. Holiness, in God, is the free, deliberate, calm, immutable affirmation of Himself who is the good, or of the good which is Himself. The holiness of God, therefore, as soon as we are associated therewith, draws a deep line of demarcation between us and the men who live under the sway of their natural instincts, and whom the Scriptures call the world. The term: Holy Father, here characterizes God as the one who has drawn this line of separation between the disciples and the world.

And the petition: keep them, has in view the maintenance of this separation. Jesus supplicates His Father to keep the disciples in this sphere of consecration, which is foreign to the life of the world, and of which God is Himself the centre and the author. The words: in thy name, make the relation of the divine character which is granted to the apostles as it were the inclosing wall of this sacred domain in which they are to be kept.

The reading which nearly all the Mjj. present would signify: "in thy name which thou hast given me." But where in the Scriptures is the name of God spoken of as given to the Son? The expression: "My name is in him" (Exodus 23:21), is very different. I do not accept this reading even though it is so strongly supported; comp. John 17:12, where it is even far more improbable. Since the received reading: those whom ( οὕς) thou hast given me, has in its favor only Mnn., I think that the reading ὃ δέδωκας, "that which thou hast given me," must be preferred, which is preserved in the Cambridge MS., but that we must make these words the explanatory apposition of αὐτούς, them, which precedes; it is the reverse construction of that in John 17:2, where the plural αὐτοῖς is the explanatory apposition of the singular πᾶν.

Comp. also John 17:24 (in case the reading for οὕς must be adopted in that verse): "Keep them in my name, them, that which thou hast given me." This reading gives the same sense as that of the T. R. ( οὕς); and it easily explains the origin of the Alexandrian reading ( substituted for which was referred to ὀνόματι). The conjunction that may depend either on δέδωκας, or, what is the only possible meaning with the reading which we prefer, on keep them: "Keep them in the sphere of thy knowledge (those whom thou hast given to me to introduce into it), that they may remain one as we are, and that no one of them may be lost in isolation by means of the rupture of the bundle which my care had formed." What indeed would have become of Thomas if, after the resurrection, he had persisted in keeping himself separated from his brethren?

The words as we are signify that, as it is by the common possession of the divine nature that the Father and the Son are one, it is by the common knowledge of this nature (the name), that the disciples may remain closely united among themselves and may each one of them be individually kept.

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James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘That they may be one.’

John 17:11

The duty of unity is the hardest duty to fulfil. After all the teaching of the centuries the Lord’s Prayer in text has not been fulfilled. Divisions have become deeper, more permanent, more real. What is the real binding power for drawing men together? There must be—

I. Union with Christ.—To live in Christ is the beginning and the completion of carrying out the Lord’s desire.

II. Charity between man and man.—Charity is the bond of peace. With a spirit of mutual trust each will endeavour to follow his own conscience, and if cause of separation come, will still place a sure confidence in another’s truth and desire for service.

III. Perpetual labour for the truth.—The divisions of Christendom damage the Christian cause. Christ has set before this Church and nation a special opportunity of doing His will. Shall we pass by this glorious call? Our divisions are the saddest spectacle for angels and for Him Who died to save men. Of all the things the Church aims at, peace within herself is now the most necessary.

Archbishop Temple.


‘It would in no way surprise or interest the world, the outsiders, to see professors of a faith all holding precisely the same opinions and adopting precisely the same definitions and externals, living amicably together. They would have no excuse for discord. That which would arrest the attention of outsiders would be the spectacle of professors of the same fundamental belief, widely differing as to details, definitions, dogmas, and external methods, so bound together by the magnitude and reality of their common fundamental belief that they were content to suffer each other to worship precisely according to the preference of each, because they recognised beneath all externals a “unity of the spirit” so profound, so real, so intense, that it transcended all human sects, methods, and denominations. This would be an exhibition that would interest and astonish the outsiders, and their conclusion would be that the fundamental truth which could thus weld together those widely separated by distinctions of creed, method, and sect, must be a reality. It is to this kind of unity, surely, that St. Paul referred when he bid us “keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” The fact is that “the Church,” in its essence, is a spiritual and invisible body, existing wholly independent of its external manifestations and methods, which may be national, geographical, almost even climatic, and with regard to which there may be, and ought to be, room for almost unlimited divergence of opinion without any rupture of true spiritual unity. If the Lord Christ were to-morrow visibly to return, after the manner in which some Christians expect Him to return, and call to Himself His Church, His Body, is there any one in his right senses who believes that it is only the particular denomination to which he belongs that the Lord would call? Would it not be that “great multitude which no man can number, of all nations and kindreds and peoples and tongues” and sects and eras who are united by faith in the Incarnate Lord? And if that would be true in the event expected by some, it is true to-day.’

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John Trapp Complete Commentary

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Ver. 11. Keep through thine own name] "The name of the Lord is a strong tower," Proverbs 18:10; "A munition of rocks," Isaiah 33:16. Hither the saints run for the securing of their comforts and safe guarding of their persons, as conies do to their burrows, all creatures to their refuges, as the Shechemites fled to their tower, when their city was beaten down to the ground, 9:51. The lame and blind, the most shiftless creatures, when they had gotten the stronghold of Sion over their heads, thought then they might securely scorn David and his host, and yet their hold failed them, 2 Samuel 5:6-7. So doth not God those that fly to his name. Pray to be kept by it.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 17:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 17:11

I. The Author and maintainer of Unity. "Holy Father, keep." Unity wherever it exists flows from God. He is the cloud whence the drops of peace distil first upon crowning Hermon, and then flow down to all the lower heights. And as He is the exclusive author, so is He also the exclusive maintainer of unity. Peace and unity in families—unity, peace and concord among nations—harmony between contending parties, whether in the state or in the church—all these are the result of that maintenance and support which God as the Eternal Father is continually ministering to His creatures, and accordingly must be traced to Him as their origin.

II. Note the method by which God maintains this unity through His own Name. It is an unfeigned acknowledgment of Divine love on one hand, and Divine justice on the other, in which our Saviour here prays that God would keep His chosen. Keep their hearts ever alive to all the attributes which constitute Thy Name or character. Proclaim Thou Thy name before them, and give them to walk conformably to it, yielding Thee an obedience, strict indeed, as with One who will not suffer sin upon them; but at the same time free and princely, and hearty and loving—the obedience not of slaves, but of dear children.

III. Note the persons between whom this unity may be expected to subsist: "Those whom Thou hast given Me." Union, real vital union, cannot exist among and with those who are ignorant of God.

IV. How close will be the bond of the fellowship; that "They may be one, as We are." What mortal shall tell, what mortal shall comprehend the exceeding closeness of that unity, perfect unity of counsels—perfect unity of will—perfect unity of ends—perfect unity of nature? And even such a bond shall clasp the elect together, nay is now clasping them, and being gradually drawn more closely around them.

E. M. Goulburn, Sermons at Holywell, p. 182.

References: John 17:11.—New Outlines on the New Testament, p. 72; G. W. McCree, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 46; J. Keble, Sermons from Ascension to Trinity, p. 21; Church of England Pulpit, vol. v., p. 241.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 17:11. And now I am no more in the world, "Having finished the work thou gavest me to do, I am no longer to continue in the world:—But these are in the world. My apostles are to continue in the world, to carry on the gracious design of redemption, and I am coming to thee." It is very plain that this clause could not be intended as an additional argument to introduce the following petition; for Christ's coming to the Father was the great security of his faithful people; but seems rather to be a short reflection on that pleasing subject, so familiar to his mind, with which he refreshed himself for a moment in the course of his humble and pathetic address: immediately after which, he goes on to intercede for his apostles, Holy Father, preserve, &c. "O thou, who art the Source of all truth and righteousness, let those men, whom thou hast given me for assistance, be for ever preserved by thy power, in the firm faith of the doctrines that I have taught them, and in the uninterrupted practice of the precepts which I have delivered unto them; that, when they go abroad into the world, they may teach the same things, and be ever united in thesame blessed design, after the pattern of that most perfect union of counsels and designs which subsists between me and thee."

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 17:11". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Here observe, 1. Our Saviour's present condition: I am no more in the world: that is, I shall continue on earth but a small time longer, and then ascend to my Father in heaven.

Learn thence, that Jesus Christ, as he is man, he is gone out of this lower world into the immediate presence of his Father; he had been abased before, he must be exalted now; he had no more work to do on earth, but much to do in heaven, therefore he left this earth to go to heaven.

Observe, 2. Our Saviour's prayer to his Father for his apostles, before he left the world: Holy Father, keep them; that is, preserve them by thy divine power and goodness, for the glory of thy holy name.

Here note, 1. The title and appellation given to God, Holy Father.

Thence learn, that when we go to God in pryaer, especially for grace and sanctification, we must look upon him as an holy Father, as essentially and originally holy, as infinitely and independently holy.

Note, 2. The supplication requested of God: Keep through thy name those whom thou hast given me.

Thence learn, that the perseverance of the saints in a state of grace, is the sweet effect and fruit of Christ's prayer: Christ has begged it, and it cannot be denied; there being such an harmony and sweet consent betwixt the will of the Father the will of the Son.

Three things concur to the believer's perseverance.

On the Father's part there is everlasting love, and all sufficient power.

On the Son's part, there is everlasting merit, and constant intercession.

On the Spirit's part, there is a perpetual inhabitation, and continued influence.

Observe, 3. The end of Christ's supplication on behalf of his people: That they may be one, as we are one.

Here note, 1. That the heart of Christ is exceedingly set upon the unity and oneness of his members. The believers' union with Christ their head, and one with another, has some resemblance to that unity that is betwixt the Father and the Son. For it is an holy and Spiritual union, a close and intimate union, an indissoluble and inseparable union.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 17:11". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

11.] The occasion, and substance of His prayer for them.

οὐκ ἔτι εἰμὶ ἐν τῷ κ.] This shews us that ὁ κόσμ. is not said of place alone, for the Lord Jesus is still here; but of state, the state of men in the flesh; sometimes viewed on its darker side, as overcoming men and bringing in spiritual death,—sometimes, as here, used in the most general sense.

καί, not but; it expresses the simultaneous state of the Lord and His, see ch. John 16:32, and note.

ἅγιε] Holy, as applied to God, peculiarly expresses that penetration of all His attributes by LOVE, which He only who here uttered it sees through in its length, breadth, and height:—which angels (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8) feel and express:—which men are privileged to utter, but can never worthily feel:—but which devils can neither feel nor worthily utter (see Mark 1:24). They know His Power and His Justice only. But His Holiness is especially employed in this work of τηρεῖν now spoken of.

ἐν τῷ ὀν. σου, not ‘through Thine own Name,’ as E. V. which yet renders ‘in Thy Name’ John 17:12 (so Chrys., Theophyl., Euthym(234)),—but in the ὄνομα of John 17:6; John 17:12 : see below.

] Not only the best supported, but the best reading, though Stier maintains that it can bear no meaning χριστοπρεπῶς.

The Name of God is that which was to be in the Angel of the Covenant, Exodus 23:21, see also Isaiah 9:6; Jeremiah 23:6.

This Name,—not the essential God-head, but the covenant name, JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS,—the Father hath given to Christ, see Philippians 2:9; and it is the being kept in this, the truth and confession of this, for which He here prays. “That which the Son has given to His disciples is no other than that which He himself has received from the Father, viz. the essential revelation of the Father.” Luthardt. Cf. Matthew 10:27.

ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθ. ἡμεῖς] The oneness here is not merely harmony of will or of love,—as some have interpreted it, and then tried to weaken the Oneness of the Godhead by the καθώς,—but oneness by the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ, the gift of the covenant (1 Corinthians 6:17), and ultimately [as the close union implied by καθώς requires] oneness of nature, 2 Peter 1:4, where the ἐπαγγέλματα δεδώρηται answers to the ὄνομα ὃ δέδωκάς μοι here. “Non ait, ut nobiscum sint unum,—aut simus unum ipsi et nos, sicut unum sumus nos,—sed ait, ut sint unum sicut et nos.” Aug(235) Tract, cvii. 5.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 17:11". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

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

John 17:11. Before He now gives expression to the special supplication itself ( πάτερ ἅγιε, τήρησον, κ. τ. λ.), He first brings forward the peculiar ground of need, connecting in profound emotion its individual members unperiodically by καί.

οὐκέτι εἰμὶ, κ. τ. λ.] Thus He speaks, “nunc quasi provincia sua defunctus,” Calvin.

καὶ οὗτοι, κ. τ. λ.] “hos relinquam in tantis fluctibus,” Grotius.

ἅγιε] As in John 17:25, δίκαιε, so here ἅγιε is added significantly; for to guarantee that which Jesus would now pray ( τήρησον, κ. τ. λ.) is in harmony with the holiness of His Father, which has been revealed to Him in entire fulness, a holiness which is the absolute antithesis of the ungodly nature of the profane world.(192) Placed by their calling in this unholy κόσμος, they shall be guarded by the holy God so as to abide faithfully in His name. In harmony with this antithesis of the holiness of God to the nature of the world, stands the petition, “hallowed be Thy name,” at the head of the Lord’s Prayer. Comp. also 1 John 2:20; Hebrews 12:10; 1 Peter 1:16; Revelation 6:10. Thus the Father discharges the obligation lying on Himself, if He keeps the disciples of the Son in His name.

ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. σ.] Specific sphere, in which they are to remain through being so kept; the name of the Father is made known to them (John 17:6; John 17:26), and with a happy result (John 17:6-8); thus are they to persevere in His living acquaintance and believing confession, not to depart out of this holy element of their life.

δέδωκ. μοι] by attraction, instead of , which, however, does not stand instead of οὕς (Bengel, comp. Ewald and Godet, who would read , see the critical notes), but: God has given His name to Christ, and that not in the sense of the divine nature entering into manifestation, as Hengstenberg here drags in from Exodus 23:21, but rather in the sense of John 17:6, for revelation to the disciples; He has for such a purpose delivered His name to Him as the object of a holy commission. In conformity with this, the Lord prays that God would keep them in this His name, in order that they, in virtue of the one common faith and confession resting on the name of God, may be one (in the spiritual fellowship, of like mind and love, comp. John 17:22-23), in conformity with the archetype(193) of the ethical unity of the Father and the Son (comp. the Pauline εἷς θεὸς κ. πατὴρ πάντων, κ. τ. λ., Ephesians 4:6). Hence ἵνα expresses the object of τήρησον, κ. τ. λ., not of δέδωκ. μοι.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 17:11". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

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.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 17:11". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The term world in this verse signifies not the men of the world, nor any particular party of them, (as it often signifies), but the habitable part of the earth. Our Saviour saith he is

no more in the world, because he was to continue on the earth but a very small time; but (saith he) these any disciples are like to abide in the world when I have left it; they will stand in need of this help, to be armed against all the temptations they will meet with from the world. I am coming to thee, therefore I commend them to thee, beseeching thee, that thou through thy power wouldst keep those, who, in giving themselves up to me, have also given themselves up to thee; let their owning thy name (which is as a strong tower, Proverbs 18:10) keep them from all the temptations and dangers to which they will be exposed in the world, wherein they are to live and converse; that they may be one, one body, and in one Spirit: that they may own one Lord, one faith, one baptism, &c.; that they may be one in love and affection,

as we are; in some proportion to that union which is between thee and me, though not in an equality. This prayer of our Saviour’s doth both oblige all those who in any sincerity own Christ, to study union both in opinion and affection; and also give us ground of hopes, that there is a time coming, when there shall be greater measure of it than we have seen in those miserably divided times wherein we have lived, and do yet live.

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Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Я уже не в мире Смерть Иисуса и Его возвращение к Отцу были для Иисуса настолько бесспорными, что Он относился к Своему отшествию как к уже совершившемуся факту. Сейчас Он молился за учеников, потому что они должны будут столкнуться с искушением мира и ненавистью, не имея Его непосредственного присутствия и защиты (15:18–16:4). Иисус молился за вечную защиту уверовавших на основании неизменной сущности Бога. Он молился о том, чтобы верующие испытали то вечное единство, какое имеет Троица. См. Рим. 8:31-39.

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Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Through thine own name; see note to verse John 17:6.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11.I am no more in the world—As above noted, his standpoint is after his ascension.

Holy Father—The first petition for his apostles. The opening address, the first, is to Father simply; here, where holy preservation is petitioned, the address is Holy Father; in John 17:25, where retribution in the world is indicated, it is Righteous Father. Stier elaborately argues that God’s holiness is identical with his absolute love. It may be, indeed, admitted that of God’s primary love, pure and absolute righteousness, mercy, and purity are the perfect forms. Yet that love is rather holy than holiness itself. That love is holy because it is absolutely right; and holiness consists in rightness, with all the intensity of infinite emotion, and all the firmness of an infinite Will eternally determining.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world and I come to you. Holy Father, keep those whom you have given me in your name that they may be one even as we are.”

Jesus stresses the disciples’ predicament. They are still in the world which is at enmity with God, while He will no longer be with them but will have gone to the Father. He knows what the world is about to do to Him. And He is leaving them in the world knowing that the world will seek to do the same to them. So He prays the Father to keep them in His name. The Shepherd has temporarily to leave them and commits the sheep into the hands of the Gatekeeper and His large fold. The work of the Holy Spirit, enlarged on in chapters 14-16, is assumed.

‘Holy Father’. This is a unique title for One Who is unique. It stresses that He is the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy (Isaiah 57:15). He is ‘Holy’ because He is set apart from all others in His uniqueness, and is above all others because of what He essentially is. Thus He dwells in the high and holy place. But He is nevertheless Father to His own. He dwells there with those who are of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirits of the humble and to revive the hearts of the contrite (Isaiah 57:15). The title ‘Father’ tells of His high authority and His loving concern, ‘Holy’ warns that we must not presume upon it. We must never forget that God is holy and that we should tremble before Him, while at the same time finding joy in His presence.

‘Keep them in your name.’ The Father, the Holy One, will keep them with Him (keep them in His Name) and maintain them in His high and lofty place (‘the heavenly places’ of Ephesians 1:19 to Ephesians 2:6) in accordance with His name. Their lives will be hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). Thus separated to Him they will be one in holiness.

Alternatively this may signify their being kept faithful to His truth, so that they are one in the truth, but this is anyway presupposed in their being with Him.

‘That they may be one even as We are.’ It is Jesus’ great concern that the full spiritual unity of the Apostles be maintained, a unity like that between the Son and the Father, working together as one. Jesus recognises how vital that will be for the fulfilment of their task. In the past there have been jealousies and self-seeking, but through oneness with God’s holiness He prays that such things will cease.

This is not just a matter of simply getting all denominations together, for it does not refer to an outward form of ‘unity’ which would but conceal many differences. Rather it is a unity of heart and spirit that can, and should, exist between members of differing denominations as they all see themselves primarily as ‘Christians’.

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Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The title "Holy Father" appears only here in the fourth Gospel and is a reminder of both aspects of God"s nature. It balances ideas of ultimate purity with intimate paternity and so prepares for what lies ahead, namely, the need for loving sanctification ( John 17:17-19). The Father"s holiness serves as a model for the holiness of disciples (cf. Leviticus 11:44; Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:16). The reason Jesus and disciples can be holy is that the Father is holy.

Jesus asked His Father to keep these disciples "in your name" (Gr. en to onomati sou). The NIV interpreted this phrase to mean "by the power of your name" (cf. Psalm 20:1; Psalm 54:1; Proverbs 18:10). [Note: Bruce, p332.] However the preposition en may be locative instead of instrumental in mood. In that case the idea would be "keep them in your name," meaning keep them loyal to you. [Note: Lindars, p524.] Some commentators argued that both ideas were in Jesus" mind. [Note: E.g, Brown, 2:759.] The context favors the second view. Loyalty seems to be the objective of the keeping and the dominant idea, not the means to it, namely, the Father"s power. The name that the Father had given to the Son probably refers to the revelation of God"s character that Jesus had manifested ( John 17:6-8; cf. John 1:18; John 14:9).

The ultimate end of God keeping these disciples loyal to the revelation that Jesus had given them was that they might experience unity. They would be one with one another as well as one with the Son and the Father if they remained loyal to Jesus" revelations. Projecting this idea further we can see that the Scriptures are the basis for the unity of believers with one another and with God.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 17:11. And I am no longer in the world, and they are in the world, and I come to thee. One thought rising before the mind of Jesus now deepens His earnestness of entreaty on behalf of His disciples,—the contrast between their condition and His own. His labours and sorrows are over, but they are left behind in the struggle which He is leaving. The very greatness of His joy in the thought of His own glorious return to His Father rouses His tenderest sympathy for those who have so much to do and to suffer before they can share His joy.

Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one even as we are. In John 17:1 we had simply ‘Father:’ we have now ‘Holy’ prefixed to that name. The reason is obvious. ‘Holy’ does not express mere freedom from sin; He who is holy is entirely separated from all that is carnal and outward in this present world, so that pure spirituality and heavenliness alone rule in Him. As, therefore, a state similar to this is that to which God would raise His people, the epithet ‘Holy’ brings this thought prominently into view, and strengthens the argument of the prayer. The petition is that, for the purpose mentioned in the last words of the verse, they may be kept in the Father’s name which He has given to the Son. Light is again thrown upon the word ‘name.’ It cannot be simply the name ‘Father,’ for that could not be given to another: it is His revelation of Himself in Jesus. That revelation had been given to the Son; it had been appropriated by the disciples; they were living in it; the prayer is that, amidst all the temptations of the world, they may he kept in it. Then follows the purpose, that they may be one ‘even as’ are the Father and the Son. It is the Divine unity of love that is referred to, all wills bowing in the same direction, all affections burning with the same flame, all aims directed to the same end—one blessed harmony of love.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 17:11. . The circumstances necessitating the prayer are now stated. Jesus is no longer in the world, already He has bid farewell to it, but the disciples remain in it, exposed without His accustomed counsel and defence, , “Holy Father”; this unique designation is suggested by the Divine attribute which would naturally assert itself in defending from the world’s corruptions those who were exposed to them. , “preserve them in [the knowledge of] Thy name, which Thou gavest me”. is attracted into dative by . This was the fundamental petition. The retention of the knowledge which Christ had imparted to them of the Father would effect . Without harmony among themselves, so that they should exist as a manifest unity differentiated from the world, their witness would fail; John 15:8; John 15:12. is explained by John 15:9-10.



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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 17:11". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary



Serva eos in nomine tuo, quos dedisti mihi. Some Greek manuscripts have in nomine tuo, quod dedisti mihi, Greek: o dedokas moi. Or, as St. Cyril reads, Greek: en onomati sou o dedokas moi. which is the same by a Grecism, as Greek: o dedokas. --- Ut sint unum sicut & nos. St. John Chrysostom says, non æqualitate, sed pro homana facultate, or quantum hominibus fas est, Greek: os anthropois dunaton. (hom. Greek: pb. p. 484.) nov. Ed. Ben.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 17:11". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

now . . . no more = no longer. Greek. ouketi.

to = unto. Greek. pros. App-104.

Holy Father. When speaking of Himself, the Lord says, "Father", verses: John 1:5, John 1:21, John 1:24; when speaking of His disciples, "Holy Father"; when speaking of the world, "Righteous Father", John 17:25. The holiness of God has separated the disciples from the world. Compare 1 John 2:15, 1 John 2:16.

through = in. Greek. en, as in John 17:12.

whom. All the texts read "which", referring to "name": i.e. "Keep them through Thy name which Thou hast given Me. "Compare Exodus 23:21. Isaiah 9:6. Philippians 1:2, Philippians 1:9, Philippians 1:10. Revelation 19:12.

one. Greek. en. Neut. as in John 10:30. This request is made five times (App-6) in this chapter: here, verses: John 21:21, John 21:22, John 21:23.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 17:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

And [now] I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. 'Though My struggles are at an end, theirs are not: though I have gotten beyond the scene of strife, I cannot sever Myself in spirit from them, left behind, and only just entering on their great conflict.'

Holy Father - an expression He nowhere else uses. "Father" is His wonted appellation, but "holy" is here prefixed, because His appeal was to that perfection of the Father's nature, to "keep" or preserve them from being tainted by the unholy atmosphere of "the world" they were still in.

Keep through thine own name, [ en (Greek #1722) too (Greek #3588) onomati (Greek #3686) sou (Greek #4675)] - rather, in 'Thy name;' in the exercise of that gracious and holy character which, as revealed, is the "name" by which God is known to men.

Those whom thou hast given me. The true reading clearly is 'what thou hast given me' [ hoo (Greek #3739), instead of hous (Greek #3739)]. So Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Tregelles, with whom the best critics concur.

That they may be one, as we are. See the note at John 17:21.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

11. But they are in the world. “Christ has no hands but our hands, to do his work today.” So they may be one. See John 17:21.




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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 17:11". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(11) And now I am no more in the world.—The immediate future is still regarded as present. The words have a special reference to the interval between His death and the day of Pentecost, which would be for the disciples a time of darkness and danger, when they would have special need of the Father’s care.

Holy Father.—Comp. John 17:1; John 17:24-25. There is a special fitness in the word “Holy” here, as in opposition to the world. The disciples were left in the world, but they were not of the world (John 17:14). These were spiritually God’s children, separated from the world (John 17:6), and He commits them to the Holy Father, that He may keep them from the evil of the world.

Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me.—The reading is slightly doubtful, but if we take what would certainly seem to be the true text, the rendering should be, Keep them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me. (Comp. John 17:12.) The Authorised version renders the same words by “through Thy name” in this verse, and by “in Thy name” in John 17:12. The thought appears to be that the revelation of the nature of God by Christ to the world (John 17:6), was that which He Himself received from the Father. “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.” (Comp. Note on John 12:49.)

That they may be one, as we are.—This clause depends upon the words, “Keep them in Thy name.” They had so far realised the revelation of God that they had known Christ’s whole life to be the utterance of God to their spirits (John 17:6-8). He prays that they may be kept in this knowledge in order that they may so know the Father through Him, as to become themselves one with the Father.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
I am
13; 13:1,3; 16:28; Acts 1:9-11; 3:21; Hebrews 1:3; 9:24
14-18; 15:18-21; 16:33; Matthew 10:16; James 4:4; 1 John 3:12; 5:19
25; Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15-17; Revelation 4:8; 15:4
12,15; 10:29,30; Psalms 17:8,9; Isaiah 27:3; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1:1,24
Psalms 79:9; Proverbs 18:10; Isaiah 64:2; Jeremiah 14:7,21; Ezekiel 20:9,22,44; Matthew 6:9; Romans 9:17
21,22; 10:30; 14:20; Romans 15:5,6; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 12:12,13; Ephesians 4:4
Reciprocal: Numbers 6:24 - keep thee;  Deuteronomy 33:3 - all his saints;  Psalm 86:2 - Preserve;  Psalm 89:24 - in my;  Psalm 99:3 - for it;  Matthew 26:11 - but;  Mark 2:20 - be taken;  Mark 14:7 - but;  Luke 5:35 - when;  Luke 9:51 - that;  Luke 17:22 - when;  Luke 24:44 - while;  John 6:37 - that;  John 6:62 - GeneralJohn 7:33 - Yet;  John 10:28 - neither;  John 10:38 - that ye;  John 17:6 - the men;  John 20:17 - I ascend;  Acts 4:32 - the multitude;  2 Timothy 1:12 - keep;  1 John 1:3 - our fellowship

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 17:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 11. "And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as we are."

From the reference to the worthiness of the disciples the Lord turns, in the words "I am no more in the world, but come to Thee," to the necessities of their condition. That which is here simply hinted is in ver. 12 seq., after the petition uttered, more largely developed. Thence we see that the world is here regarded as a tempting power, and that the words "I am no more in the world" were intended to suggest that the defence which they had hitherto enjoyed would be withdrawn through the departure of Christ, near at hand, and therefore anticipated as already come.

It is not a contradiction that Jesus here says, "I am no more in the world;" while elsewhere He says, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world," and, "Wherever two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." This latter presence with His disciples belongs to a higher order of things. He is now no longer with them in the world; He visits them from above. This belongs to the domain of the πάτερ ἅγιε.

The holiness of God is His absolute supremacy over all things created and temporal (comp. my comm. on Psalms 22:3; Revelation 4:8; Clark's Trans.). An erroneous notion has been entertained, that by the holiness of God is meant His condescension and mercy; and for this the designation in Isaiah, "The Holy One of Israel," has been appealed to. But the idea of love is there imported simply and alone by the relation of status constructionis. The Holy One of Israel is the Sovereign God, separate from all that is creature, and independent of all that is creaturely, the absolute and unending One, who belongs to Israel, and from whom an endless fulness of power, in opposition to the world, flows to Israel His people. The passage in Hosea 11:9 is no stronger as an argument: "I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city"

I will not be like men who go in and out of the city. The idea of mercy lies no more in that of the Holy One, as such, than in that of God; although freedom from human outbreaks of wrath is certainly included in the notion of separation from everything creaturely. But here the holiness of God, as the connection shows, comes into consideration only as excluding every idea of want of power. Calvin: "That out of His heavenly glory He may help our weaknesses. The whole prayer tends to this, to prevent the disciples' minds from sinking, as if their condition would be worse on account of the bodily absence of their Master." As the Holy One, God has absolutely in His hands the means of granting what was prayed for. The allusion to the Holy Father intimated to the disciples, that the departure of Jesus, their Protector in the past, need not fill their souls with anxiety. They were given over to a mightier One, who could do and who possessed all things. We may compare "My Father is greater than I," in ch. John 14:28. What Jesus in His state of humiliation petitioned of the Father, the disciples might all the more confidently expect, inasmuch as He Himself entered into the fellowship of the Father's glory: comp. ch. John 1:5.

The ᾧ δέδωκάς μοι, "through Thy own name, which Thou hast given Me," is now pretty generally acknowledged to be the right one: that of οὓς, which Luther [and the English translation] follows, sprang from a misapprehension of the meaning. The , by attraction for , which many authorities substitute, points to Exodus 23:21. There Jehovah says concerning His Angel, "My name is in Him" (comp. Christ. vol. i.). The Angel, in whom was the name of God, was the Angel on whom it was incumbent to make a name for God—whose nature is repugnant to being nameless—by manifesting through His glorious acts the nature of God dwelling in Him. The name was, as it were, proleptically used for that aspect of the Divine nature in which the name of God culminates, which impels Him, as it were, out of Himself, and moves Him to manifestation and impartation of Himself: comp. on ver. 6. The addition only makes more expressly prominent that which already lay in ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου. The name of God is His character as forming history. His nature as issuing into manifestation; and the unfolding of this name is to be sought only in Christ (comp. ver. 6): only in Him has God a name. The disciples stood in no direct relation to the Father; they belonged to the Father only through the Son; they were kept in the name of the Father, only in so far as the name of the Father was at the same time the name of the Son. Around the name of God in Christ the disciples had gathered. This name alone builds up the Church. In this centre the Holy Father would keep His people. If they should fall out of that name, the Church would cease to exist. According to the connection with what precedes, the world was the power which would make every effort to rend the disciples from the name of the Father and of the Son, thus destroying their unity. Against their persecutions and seductions the Saviour appeals to the power of the Father: asking of Him what He Himself in the fellowship of the Father would do.

That the name of the Father is to be conceived as actually indwelling in Christ,—that we must not interpret it, "which Thou hast given Me to declare"—is evident from the original text, Exodus 23:21. There "My name is in Him" indicates equal Divine glory. For the words were used to enforce a warning against dishonour done to Him: "Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in Him." The proclamation of the name of the Lord was not incumbent on that Angel; it was His rather to make for God a glorious name by His acts.—"That they may be one, as we are." The unity of the disciples among themselves was only secondary; it was not to be independently laboured for, but it was to approve itself as real when God fulfilled the petition here uttered. That unity would be precious only if it was not enforced, but should grow out of their abiding in the name of God and Christ, just as spontaneously as the union between the Father and the Son. The type of all those attempts at unity which should be substitutes for this natural union, we have in the Babel of primitive times. That tended only to increase division. He who looks more deeply will not be deluded by it. Luther: "But it is no other than that which Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:12, and many other passages, says, to wit that we are one body in Christ; not merely of one opinion or one thought, but of one nature.

But this we can attain in no other way than by this, that God keep us in His name: that is, that we abide in the word which we have received concerning Christ. For the word holds us together, so that we all abide in one Head, and depend on Him alone.

The devil tries hard to break this bond, and by his cunning devices to rend us away from the word."

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 17:11". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

11.And I am no longer in the world. He assigns another reason why he prays so earnestly for the disciples, namely, because they will very soon be deprived of his bodily presence, under which they had reposed till now. So long as he dwelt with them, he cherished them,

as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,
Matthew 23:37;)

but now that he is about to depart, he asks that the Father will guard them by his protection. And he does so on their account; for he provides a remedy for their trembling, that they may rely on God himself, to whose hands, as it were, he now commits them. It yields no small consolation to us, when we learn that the Son of God becomes so much the more earnest about the salvation of his people, when he leaves them as to his bodily presence; for we ought to conclude from it, that, while we are labouring under difficulties in the world, he keeps his eye on us, to send down, from his heavenly glory, relief from our distresses.

Holy Father. The whole prayer is directed to this object, that the disciples may not lose courage, as if their condition were made worse on account of the bodily absence of their Master. For Christ, having been appointed by the Father to be their guardian for a time, and having now discharged the duties of that office gives them back again, as it were, into the hands of the Father, that henceforth they may enjoy his protection, and may be upheld by his power. It amounts therefore to this, that, when the disciples are deprived of Christ’s bodily presence they suffer no loss, because God receives them under his guardianship, the efficacy of which shall never cease.

That they may be one. This points out the way in which they shall be kept; for those whom the Heavenly Father has decreed to keep, he brings together in a holy unity of faith and of the Spirit. But as it is not enough that men be agreed in some manner, he adds, As we are. Then will our unity be truly happy, when it shall bear the image of God the Father and of Christ, as the wax takes the form of the seal which is impressed upon it. But in what manner the Father, and Jesus Christ (117) his Son, are one, I shall shortly afterwards explain.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 17:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.