Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 18:20

Jesus answered him, "I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Court;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Priest;   Prisoners;   Synagogue;   Temple;   Thompson Chain Reference - Synagogues;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Jerusalem;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Caiaphas;   Synagogue;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Persecution;   Priest, Priesthood;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Annas;   Synagogue;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Caiaphas, Joseph;   John the Apostle;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Trial of Jesus;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Annas;   Preaching;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Annas ;   Annas (2);   Peter;   Pilate;   Prayer (2);   Synagogue (2);   Temple (2);   Trial of Jesus;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Officer;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Synagogue;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Annas;   Jesus Christ, the Arrest and Trial of;   Lawyer;   Ostraca;   Peter, Simon;   Synagogue;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Bet Ha-Midrash;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I spake openly to the world - To every person in the land indiscriminately - to the people at large: the τῳ κοσμῳ, here, is tantamount to the French tout le monde, all the world, i.e. every person within reach. This is another proof that St. John uses the term world to mean the Jewish people only; for it is certain our Lord did not preach to the Gentiles. The answer of our Lord, mentioned in this and the following verse, is such as became a person conscious of his own innocence, and confident in the righteousness of his cause. I have taught in the temple, in the synagogues, in all the principal cities, towns, and villages, and through all the country. I have had no secret school. You and your emissaries have watched me every where. No doctrine has ever proceeded from my lips, but what was agreeable to the righteousness of the law and the purity of God. My disciples, when they have taught, have taught in the same way, and had the same witnesses. Ask those who have attended our public ministrations, and hear whether they can prove that I or my disciples have preached any false doctrines, have ever troubled society, or disturbed the state. Attend to the ordinary course of justice, call witnesses, let them make their depositions, and then proceed to judge according to the evidence brought before you.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 18:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-18.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Openly to the world - If his doctrine had tended to excite sedition and tumult, if he had aimed to overthrow the government, he would have trained his friends in secret; he would have retired from public view, and would have laid his plans in private. This is the case with all who attempt to subvert existing establishments. Instead of that, he had proclaimed his views to all. He had done it in every place of public concourse in the synagogue and in the temple. He here speaks the language of one conscious of innocence and determined to insist on his rights.

Always resort - Constantly assemble. They were required to assemble there three times in a year, and great multitudes were there constantly.

In secret … - He had taught no private or concealed doctrine. He had taught nothing to his disciples which he had not himself taught in public and commanded them to do, Matthew 10:27; Luke 12:3.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 18:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-18.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Jesus answered him, I have spoken openly to the world; I ever taught in synagogues, and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and in secret I spake nothing.

Jesus well knew that the wily old hypocrite, Annas, was merely on a fishing expedition and quite properly refused to tell him anything. Besides that, Annas was not the legal high priest; and Jesus had already decided to make his formal testimony concerning his Messiahship before the Sanhedrin in formal assembly. In addition, the Pharisees' spies had been following Jesus diligently for months; and everything that Jesus had publicly stated was, in all probability, already known to Annas, as was also Caiaphas' determination to put Jesus to death.

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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 18:20". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-18.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Jesus answered him,.... Not to the first of these questions, concerning his disciples; not because they had all now forsaken him, and one was denying him; nor because he would not betray them; nor because he would suffer alone; but because if his doctrine was good; it could not be blameworthy to have disciples, and to teach them: and the charge of sedition, blasphemy, and idolatry, they wanted to fasten on him, would sufficiently appear to be groundless by the doctrine he preached; and as to that he answers not directly what he taught, but declares the manner in which he delivered it, and which was such, that they that heard him could not be strangers to it.

I spake openly to the world; with all plainness, freedom, and boldness, without any reserve or ambiguity; and that not to a few persons only, to his own particular disciples, but to all the people of the Jews, who crowded in great numbers to hear him; insomuch that it was said by his enemies, that the world was gone after him.

I ever taught in the synagogue; the Arabic, "the synagogues"; the places of public worship in all parts of the nation, where the Jews met to pray, and read, and hear the word:

and in the temple; at Jerusalem, whenever he was in that city;

whither the Jews always resort; for prayer, and to offer sacrifice, and particularly at the three grand festivals of the year, the passover, Pentecost, and feast of tabernacles, when all the males from all parts appeared before the Lord. Accordingly, the Alexandrian copy, and some others, read, "whither all the Jews resort"; and so read the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions.

And in secret have I said nothing; not but that our Lord taught in other places than what are here mentioned, as on mountains, in deserts, by the sea shore, and in private houses, yet generally to great multitudes; and though he sometimes conversed alone, and in secret with his disciples, yet what he taught them was either an explanation of what he had said in public, or was perfectly agreeable to it.

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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 18:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-18.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

I spake — have spoken.

openly to the world — See John 7:4.

I ever taught in the synagogues and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort — courting publicity, though with sublime noiselessness.

in secret have I said — spake I.

nothing — that is, nothing of any different nature; all His private communications with the Twelve being but explanations and developments of His public teaching. (Compare Isaiah 45:19; Isaiah 48:16). (Also see on Mark 14:54.)

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 18:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-18.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Openly (παρρησιαιparrēsiāi). As already shown (John 7:4; John 8:26; John 10:24, John 10:39; John 16:25, John 16:29. See John 7:4 for same contrast between εν παρρησιαιen parrēsiāi and εν κρυπτωιen kruptōi

I ever taught (εγω παντοτε εδιδαχαegō pantote edidaxa). Constative aorist active indicative. For the temple teaching see John 2:19; John 7:14, John 7:28; John 8:20, John 19:23; Mark 14:49 and John 6:59 for the synagogue teaching (often in the Synoptics). Examples of private teaching are Nicodemus (John 3) and the woman of Samaria (John 4). Jesus ignores the sneer at his disciples, but challenges the inquiry about his teaching as needless.

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 18:20". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-18.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

In the synagogue ( ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ )

The best texts omit the article. Render, in synagogue: when the people were assembled. Like our phrase, in church.

Always resort ( πάντοτε συνέρχονται )

For πάντοτε alwaysread πάντες all Συνέρχονται is rather come together, assemble. Rev., where all the Jews come together.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 18:20". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-18.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.

I spake openly — As to the manner: continually - As to the time: in the synagogue and temple - As to the place.

In secret have I said nothing — No point of doctrine which I have not taught in public.

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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 18:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-18.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Jesus answered him, I have spoken openly to the world; I ever taught in synagogues1, and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and in secret spake I nothing2.

  1. I ever taught in synagogues. See .

  2. And in secret spake I nothing. Jesus indeed spoke some things privately (Matthew 13:10,11), but he did not do so for the purposes of concealment (Matthew 10:27). Jesus was the light of the world; addressing his teachings to all flesh, he chose the most public places to utter them--places, however, dedicated to the worship of the true God.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 18:20". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-18.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The meaning is, that the open and public manner in which Jesus had always taught, was sufficient proof that he entertained no treasonable designs.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 18:20". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-18.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Я говорил явно миру. Некоторые впадают в детское заблуждение. Они думают, что Христос этим ответом осудил тех, кто тайно толкует Слово Божие, когда его нельзя толковать открыто из-за тирании нечестивых. Но Христос рассуждает не о том, что позволительно, а что нет. Его цель – опровергнуть безумную злобу Каиафы. Кажется, это место противоречит другому утверждению Христа (Мф.10:27), где Он приказывает апостолам проповедовать на крышах то, что Он скажет им на ухо. Также Он говорит, что не всем дано слышать тайны Царства Божия, и поэтому удостоивает сей благодати только двенадцать учеников (там же, 13:11). Отвечаю: отрицая, что Он что-то говорил тайно, Христос имеет в виду само существо Его учения, которое оставалось неизменным, хотя и преподавалось в различной форме. Не так, чтобы Он говорил ученикам одно, а прочим людям другое. Он не хитрил, и не хотел скрыть от народа то, что под крышею говорил лишь немногим. Посему Христос мог засвидетельствовать с доброй совестью, что с готовностью проповедал и честно обнародовал итог Своего учения.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 18:20". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-18.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

world

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

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on John 18:20". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/john-18.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

20 Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.

Ver. 20. I spake openly to the world] Truth is bold and barefaced; when heresy hides itself, and loathes the light, Veritas abscondi erubescit truth loaths to hide. What said John Frith, martyr, to the archbishop’s men, that would have let him go and shift for himself? If you should both leave me here, and go to Croydon, declaring to the bishops that you had lost Frith, I would surely follow as fast after as I might, and bring them news that I had found and brought Frith again. Do ye think that I am afraid to declare my opinion to the bishops of England in a manifest truth?

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 18:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-18.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

20.] ἐγώ, emphatic: q. d. I am one, who …

παῤῥησίᾳ, plainly (subjective): not openly, in an objective sense, which the word will not bear (Mey(245).).

ὁ κόσμος here = πάντες οἱ ἰουδ., or perhaps rather, all who were there to hear.

By the omission of the art. before συναγ., the distinction is made between synagogues, of which there were many, and τὸ ἱερόν, which was but one.

ἐν κρ. ἐλ. οὐδ.] Stier thinks there was an allusion in these words to Isaiah 45:19; Isaiah 48:16,—in the last of which places the Messiah is speaking.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 18:20". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-18.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 18:20. τῷ κόσμῳ, to the world) Language (i.e. His speaking) very comprehensive. παῤῥησίᾳ, openly, signifies the manner; πάντοτε, ever, or always, the time; in synagogue and in the temple, the place.— ἐν συναγωγῇ) Editions have ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ: as presently after we have the expression, ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ. But it is not without good reason that the Evangelist has omitted the article τῇ. Joh. Harduin lays it down that there were only two synagogues at Jerusalem, the one for native Jews, the other for the ‘Libertines,’ Acts 6:9; and attempts to infer from this passage of John, that there was but one synagogue of native-born Jews.—Op. Sel. p. 904.(383) But the Lord is speaking of the synagogues of the whole country, not merely of the city; and so, therefore, from this passage the oneness of the synagogue in the city neither is refuted, nor is to be inferred. The noun in the Singular number, ἐν συναγωγῇ, acquires a distributive force [in synagogue, wherever it might happen to be, in every one]: and thence the article τῷ, added to “the temple,” forms an Epitasis [an emphatic addition, in repeating the previous ἐν].— ἐν κρυπτῷ) in secret, nothing, as far as concerns My doctrine (teaching) before the people. For He also apart taught His disciples many things; the main substance of which, however, He now confessed, even in presence of the Council (Sanhedrim). Matthew 26:64, “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 18:20". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-18.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I spake openly to the world; to all sorts of men, my enemies as well as my friends.

I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; the Jews for instruction do use to resort to the temple, which was in Jerusalem, and whither three times in the year all the males were wont to come from all parts of the country: and in the public assemblies of the Jews, and in the places where they use to meet.

And in secret have I said nothing; I have said nothing in secret contrary to the doctrine which I have publicly taught; though I have preached in other places, yet it hath been the same thing which I have said in public.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 18:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-18.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Openly; Matthew 26:55.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 18:20". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-18.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20.Jesus answered—Jesus, though before a magistrate, is not before a legitimate court, and so he might deny the jurisdiction and refuse to answer. He does answer, by at once refusing any specific account, and yet asserting his own openness and innocency.

Openly’ synagogue’ temple—He has said nothing in his teachings which all the honest world might not hear. His preaching has been in the regular public sacred places, the synagogue and the temple.

In secret’ nothing—He has no conspiracy, no secret society. On the contrary, whatever confidential utterances he has made among his friends, his actual doctrines he would have all the world hear and receive.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 18:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-18.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

spake. The texts read "have spoken".

openly. Greek parrhesia. Compare John 7:4.

world. Greek. kosmos. App-129.

in. Greek. en. App-104.

synagogue. See App-120. Omit "the". It is general, applying to more than one.

temple = temple courts. Greek. hieron. See Matthew 23:16.

have I said = I said.

nothing. Greek ouden, neutral of oudeis.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 18:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-18.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) I spake openly to the world.—He does not distinctly answer the question about His disciples, but His words imply that all may have been His disciples. The pronoun is strongly emphatic; “I am one,” His words mean, “who spake plainly and to all men.” “My followers have not been initiated into secret mysteries, nor made conspirators in any political organisation.” “I have not been a leader, and they have not been members, of a party.”

I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort.—The better reading omits the article before “synagogue,” as in John 6:59, and reads for the last clause, where all the Jews resort. “In synagogue” is an adverbial phrase, as we say “in church.” His constant custom was to teach “in synagogue,” and in Jerusalem He taught in the temple itself, which was the resort of all the leaders of the people. This refers to His general custom, and does not, of course, exclude His teaching in other places. The point is that during His public ministry He was constantly in the habit of teaching under the authority of the officers of the synagogues and the temple. That was the answer as to what His doctrine had been.

And in secret have I said nothing.—His private teaching of the disciples is, of course, not excluded, but that was only the exposition of His public doctrine. There was nothing in it such as they understood by “secret teaching.” It was unlike “the leaven of the Pharisees which was hypocrisy;” for in it there was “nothing covered,” “nothing hid.” (Comp. John 12:1-3.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 18:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-18.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
I spake
7:14,26,28; 8:2; 10:23-39; Psalms 22:22; 40:9; Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 21:23-27; Matthew 26:65; Luke 4:15; 19:45-47; 20:1-8; 21:37
and in
7:4; Isaiah 45:19; 48:16; Matthew 24:26; Acts 26:26
Reciprocal: Proverbs 1:21 - GeneralProverbs 8:3 - GeneralProverbs 9:3 - she crieth;  Jeremiah 7:2 - Stand;  Jeremiah 26:2 - Stand;  Matthew 26:55 - I sat;  Mark 10:1 - he taught;  Mark 11:27 - as he;  Mark 12:35 - while;  Mark 14:49 - was;  Luke 4:16 - as;  Luke 19:47 - taught;  John 6:59 - in the;  John 11:54 - walked;  Acts 5:20 - stand;  Acts 17:2 - as;  Hebrews 2:12 - in

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 18:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-18.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

20.I spoke openly in the world. It is a childish error into which some have fallen, who think that this reply of Christ condemns those who expound the word of God in private apartments, when the tyranny of wieked men does not allow them to expound it publicly; for Christ does not argue as to what is lawful and what is not lawful, but his intention was to put down the insolent malice of Caiaphas.

This passage, however, appears to be inconsistent with another saying of Christ, where he enjoins the apostles to

proclaim on the house-tops what he had whispered in their ear,
(
Matthew 10:27;)

and again, when he declares that

it is not given to all to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,
(
Matthew 13:14)

and that he therefore confers this favor on none but the twelve apostles. I answer, when he says in the passage now under review, that he spoke nothing in secret, this refers to the substance of the doctrine, which was always the same, though the form of teaching it was various; for he did not speak differently among the disciples, so as to instruct them in something different; nor did he act cunningly, as if he purposely intended to conceal from the people what he spoke to a small number of persons in the house. He could, therefore, testify with a good conscience that he had openly declared and honestly proclaimed the substance of his doctrine.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 18:20". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-18.html. 1840-57.