Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 18:37

Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Faith;   Jesus, the Christ;   Pilate, Pontius;   Prisoners;   Slander;   Truth;   Wisdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - Courts;   King;   Kingship, Divine;   Mission;   Silence-Speech;   Sovereignty of God;   Truth;   Truth-Falsehood;   Voice;   Witness;   The Topic Concordance - Hearing;   Jesus Christ;   Truth;   Witness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Christ, the King;   Prophecies Respecting Christ;   Truth;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Kingdom of Heaven;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Confession;   King;   Messiah;   Rome;   Truth;   Witness;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Biblical Theology;   Persecution;   Testimony;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jesus Christ;   Paul;   Pilate;   Thieves;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Archaeology and Biblical Study;   Roman Law;   Trial of Jesus;   Truth;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - King;   Kingdom of God;   Pilate;   Truth;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Attributes of Christ;   Authority of Christ;   Deceit, Deception, Guile;   Dominion (2);   Endurance;   Error;   Faith ;   Humanity of Christ;   Individualism;   John, Gospel of (Ii. Contents);   Man;   Names and Titles of Christ;   Obedience (2);   Palestine;   Pilate;   Poet;   Power;   Questions and Answers;   Self-Control;   Sincerity;   Son of God;   Teaching of Jesus;   Truth (2);   Voice (2);   Witness (2);   Worldliness (2);   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Kingdom;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cause;   Christ, Offices of;   End;   Jesus Christ, the Arrest and Trial of;   King, Christ as;   Pilate, Pontius;   Sayest;   Truth;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for June 29;   Today's Word from Skip Moen - Devotion for December 24;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thou sayest - A common form of expression for, yes, it is so. I was born into the world that I might set up and maintain a spiritual government: but this government is established in and by truth. All that love truth, hear my voice and attend to the spiritual doctrines I preach. It is by truth alone that I influence the minds and govern the manners of my subjects.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 18:37". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-18.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Art thou a king then? - Dost thou admit the charge in any sense, or dost thou lay claim to a kingdom of any kind?

Thou sayest … - This is a form of expression denoting affirmation. It is equivalent to yes.

That I am a king - This does not mean simply that Pilate affirmed that he was a king; it does not appear that he had done this; but it means, “Thou affirmest the truth; thou declarest what is correct, for I am a king.” I am a king in a certain sense, and do not deny it.

To this end … - Compare John 3:11-12, etc. Jesus does not here affirm that he was born to reign, or that this was the design of his coming; but it was to bear witness to and to exhibit the truth. By this he showed what was the nature of his kingdom. It was not to assert power; not to collect armies; not to subdue nations in battle. It was simply to present truth to men, and to exercise dominion only by the truth. Hence, the only power put forth in restraining the wicked, in convincing the sinner, in converting the heart, in guiding and leading his people, and in sanctifying them, is that which is produced by applying truth to the mind. Men are not forced or compelled to be Christians. They are made to see that they are stoners, that God is merciful, that they need a Redeemer, and that the Lord Jesus is fitted to their case, and yield themselves then wholly to his reign. This is all the power ever used in the kingdom of Christ, and no men in his church have a right to use any other. Alas! how little have persecutors remembered this! And how often, under the pretence of great regard for the kingdom of Jesus, have bigots attempted by force and flames to make all men think as they do! We see here the importance which Jesus attached to truth. It was his sole business in coming into the world. He had no other end than to establish it. We therefore should value it, and seek for it as for hid treasures, Proverbs 23:23.

Every one … - See John 8:47.

sa40

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 18:37". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-18.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Pilate did not understand what Jesus meant, but one thing was crystal clear: here was no seditionist.

Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice ... This had its personal application to Pilate, who was not of the truth. His life-style, habits, political posture as Caesar's representative in that city, his willingness to sacrifice even the innocent to avoid any political damage to himself - all such things in Pilate prevented his acceptance of the Saviour's words in their higher context or meaning. Despite this, his inherent cunning and political astuteness enabled him to see at a glance how crooked and groundless were the false charges of the Pharisees.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 18:37". "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

Pilate therefore said unto him,.... Upon this free and full declaration of Christ, concerning his kingly office, and the nature of his kingdom:

art thou a king then? or thou art a king then: for, from his having a kingdom, it might be very justly inferred that he was a king:

Jesus answered, thou sayest that I am a king; and which was very rightly said; and Christ by these words owns and confesses, that he was one: adding,

to this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. The end of Christ's being born, which was of a virgin, in a very miraculous manner, and of his coming into the world, which was by the assumption of human nature, among many other things, was to bear testimony to truth in general; to the whole Gospel, the word of truth, and every branch of it, which he brought with him, constantly preached in life, and confirmed by his death; and particularly to this truth, that he was a King, and had a kingdom in a spiritual sense:

everyone that is of the truth; that is of God, belongs to the sheep of Christ, knows the truth as it is in Jesus, and is on the side of truth, and stands by it:

heareth my voice; the voice of his Gospel; and that not only externally, but internally; so as to approve of it, rejoice at it, and distinguish it; and the voice of his commands, so as cheerfully to obey them from a principle of love to him.

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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 18:37". "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

Art thou a king then? — There was no sarcasm or disdain in this question (as Tholuck, Alford, and others, allege), else our Lord‘s answer would have been different. Putting emphasis upon “thou,” his question betrays a mixture of surprise and uneasiness, partly at the possibility of there being, after all, something dangerous under the claim, and partly from a certain awe which our Lord‘s demeanor probably struck into him.

Thou sayest that I am a king — It is even so.

To this end was I — “have I been.”

born and for this cause came I — am I come.

into the world, that I may bear witness to the truth — His birth expresses His manhood; His coming into the world, His existence before assuming humanity: The truth, then, here affirmed, though Pilate would catch little of it, was that His Incarnation was expressly in order to the assumption of Royalty in our nature. Yet, instead of saying, He came to be a King, which is His meaning, He says He came to testify to the truth. Why this? Because, in such circumstances it required a noble courage not to flinch from His royal claims; and our Lord, conscious that He was putting forth that courage, gives a turn to His confession expressive of it. It is to this that Paul alludes, in those remarkable words to Timothy: “I charge thee before God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who, in the presence of Pontius Pilate, witnessed the good confession” (1 Timothy 6:13). This one act of our Lord‘s life, His courageous witness-bearing before the governor, was selected as an encouraging example of the fidelity which Timothy ought to display. As the Lord (says Olshausen beautifully) owned Himself the Son of God before the most exalted theocratic council, so He confessed His regal dignity in presence of the representative of the highest political authority on earth.

Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice — Our Lord here not only affirms that His word had in it a self-evidencing, self-recommending power, but gently insinuated the true secret of the growth and grandeur of His kingdom - as A KINGDOM OF TRUTH, in its highest sense, into which all souls who have learned to live and count all things but loss for the truth are, by a most heavenly attraction, drawn as into their proper element; THE KING of whom Jesus is, fetching them in and ruling them by His captivating power over their hearts.

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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 18:37". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-18.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

Art thou a king then? If Christ has a kingdom he must be a King.

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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 18:37". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-18.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Art thou a king then? (ουκουν βασιλευς ει συoukoun basileus ei su). Compound of ουκouk and ουνoun and is clearly ironical expecting an affirmative answer, only here in the N.T., and in lxx only in A text in 2Kings 5:23.

Thou sayest that (συ λεγεις οτιsu legeis hoti). In Matthew 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3, συ λεγειςsu legeis clearly means “yes,” as συ ειπαςsu eipas (thou saidst) does in Matthew 26:64 (= “I am,” εγω ειμιegō eimi in Mark 14:62). Hence here οτιhoti had best be taken to mean “because”: “Yes, because I am a king.”

Have I been born
(εγω γεγεννημαιegō gegennēmai). Perfect passive indicative of γενναωgennaō The Incarnation was for this purpose. Note repetition of εις τουτοeis touto (for this purpose), explained by ινα μαρτυρησω τηι αλητειαιhina marturēsō tēi alētheiāi (that I may bear witness to the truth), ιναhina with first aorist active subjunctive of μαρτυρεωmartureō Paul (1 Timothy 6:13) alludes to this good confession when Christ bore witness (μαρτυρησαντοςmarturēsantos) before Pilate. Jesus bore such witness always (John 3:11, John 3:32; John 7:7; John 8:14; Revelation 1:5).

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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 18:37". "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

Art thou then ( οὐκοῦν εἷ σύ )

The interrogative particle οὐκοῦν , not therefore, occurs only here in the New Testament. It is ironical. In John 18:33the emphasis is on thou: here upon king. So then, after all, thou art a king.

Was I born - came I ( γεγέννημαι - ἐλήλυθα )

Both perfects. Have I been born - am I come. So Rev. The Greek order is I for this have been born, etc., throwing the emphasis on Christ's person and destiny. The perfect describes His birth and coming not merely as historical facts, but as abiding in their results. Compare this confession before Pilate (1 Timothy 6:13) with the corresponding confession before the high-priest (Matthew 26:64). “The one, addressed to the Jews, is framed in the language of prophecy; the other, addressed to a Roman, appeals to the universal testimony of conscience. The one speaks of a future manifestation of glory, the other speaking of a present manifestation of truth. The one looks forward to the Return, the other looks backward to the Incarnation” (Westcott).

Of the truth ( ἐκ τῆς ἀληθείας )

Literally, out of: sprung from: whose life and words issue from the truth. See on John 14:6, and compare John 8:47.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 18:37". "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

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Thou sayest — The truth.

To this end was I born — Speaking of his human origin: his Divine was above Pilate's comprehension. Yet it is intimated in the following words, I came into the world, that I might witness to the truth - Which was both declared to the Jews, and in the process of his passion to the princes of the Gentiles also.

Every one that is of the truth — That is, a lover of it, heareth my voice - A universal maxim. Every sincere lover of truth will hear him, so as to understand and practise what he saith.

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 18:37". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-18.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king1. To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth2. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

  1. Thou sayest that I am a king. See .

  2. To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Jesus here enlightens Pilate as to the nature of his kingdom. He, the King, was the incarnation of truth, and all those who derive the inspiration of their life from truth were his subjects. For the purpose of thus bearing witness to and revealing truth Jesus had been born, thus entering a new state of being, and he had come into the world in this changed condition, thus entering a new sphere of action. The words clearly imply the pre-existence of Christ and no doubt aroused that state of uneasiness or fear which was increased by the words of the Jewish rulers (John 19:7,8).

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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.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 18:37". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-18.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Heareth my voice; obeyeth me; is my subject. The meaning is, that what he called his kingdom was only a spiritual kingdom, comprising all those that loved the truth.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 18:37". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-18.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Ты говоришь, что Я Царь. Уже из первого ответа Пилат понял, что Христос отстаивает Себе какое-то царство. Но теперь Христос яснее говорит об этом, как бы ставя печать на Своих словах. Отсюда мы выводим: учение о Царстве Христовом не что-то обычное и повседневное. Ведь Христос удостаивает его торжественного подтверждения. Общее положение звучит так: Я на то родился, чтобы свидетельствовать об истине. Но его следует приспособить к текущим обстоятельствам. Далее, этим доказывается, что Христу естественно быть истинным. В этом состоит Его миссия от Отца, и посему – свойственное Ему служение. Так что, веруя Ему, мы не можем обмануться. Невозможно Христу говорить что-либо, кроме истины. Ведь Бог вручил Ему служение утверждать истину, и усердие к ней врожденно Его природе.

Всякий, кто от истины. Христос добавляет это не для ободрения Пилата (Он знал, что это бессмысленно), но для защиты Своего учения от клеветы. Он как бы говорит: Меня винят в том, что Я провозглашаю Себя Царем. Однако это – несомненная истина, которую безоговорочно принимают все, наделенные правым судом и здравым разумением. Происходящими же от истины Он зовет не тех, кто любит ее по природе, но тех, кем правит Божий Дух.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 18:37". "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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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on John 18:37". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/john-18.html. 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE KING JESUS

‘Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art Thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king.’

John 18:37

It was not as the Son of God that Jesus said this, but as the Son of Man. It would have been nothing that the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity should have been ‘a King.’ Of course He was; and much more than ‘a King.’ But that poor, weak, despised Man—that was standing there before Pontius Pilate—that was ‘a King.’ And all Scripture confirms it. It was the manhood of Christ that was there. This is the marvel, and here is the comfort.

I. God having elected Christ to His throne, put all that is in heaven and earth under His feet.—‘For when He saith, All things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted’—that is, the Father—‘which did put all things under Him.’ This reign of Christ will certainly be to the end of this dispensation. When this dispensation will end, and what will come after it, we do not know. It is safest here to keep to the exact letter of God’s Word. Now see it.

II. The subjugation of the universe to the King Christ is now going on.—And it is very gradual. ‘We see not yet all things put under Him.’ Little by little it is extending itself. ‘One of a city, two of a family.’ The increase will grow rapid and immense. When He comes again, at once, to Him ‘every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear.’ The promise to Abraham and to David will be fulfilled to the seed, even to the world’s end. ‘There will be one Lord, and His name one.’

III. ‘Thy kingdom come.’—How much of that rich prayer is yet answered? how much are we waiting for? Three things it means. ‘Thy kingdom’ in my heart: ‘Thy kingdom’ over all the nations: ‘Thy kingdom’ at the Second Advent.

(a) The throne of God is set up for me. Sin is there. But now sin is only a rebel. It does not reign—as it once did.

(b) It is being accomplished; and God bless the missions!

(c) We long and look for it with outstretched neck, and hail each gleam of the horizon.

IV. Mercy dwells with the King.—At His throne ‘mercy and truth have met together; and righteousness and peace have kissed each other.’ Appeal only to the anointed ‘King’ of the whole earth. Remind Him of His own absolute will and power. Tell Him that He is ‘King’ to this very end, that mercy may prevail over judgment; and that He is gone up to ‘receive gifts’—the precious gift of life—‘for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them’; and see, see whether He will not stretch out His sceptre to you, and say, ‘Live.’ ‘Shall any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over all Israel?’ ‘Deliver Him from going down to the pit—I have found a ransom.’

And when you go to this King in prayer—as you may always—for He always sits in His audience chamber to hear the suit of His meanest subjects—remind Him that ‘you are going to a King’;—a ‘King’ of power illimitable, and love with no bound; a ‘King,’ Who has once purchased to Himself, with His own Blood, the right to be ‘Head over His Church.’ And expect, and command it to your heart. He will give royally. Not according to the mean giving of poor, puny, upbraiding men—but after His own large heart and unbounded sway.’

—Rev. James Vaughan.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on John 18:37". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/john-18.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Ver. 37. That I should bear witness of the truth] Our Saviour speaketh religiously to a profane person; so doth Jacob to Esau, Genesis 33:5. Each countryman is known by his language. God will turn to all his people a pure lip, Zephaniah 3:9. They are none of his that can shift their sails to the setting of every wind, tune their fiddles to other men’s bass, and as the planet Mercury, be good in conjunction with good, and bad with bad.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 18:37". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-18.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 18:37

It was not as the Son of God that Jesus said this, but as the Son of man. It would have been nothing that the second Person in the Blessed Trinity should have been a King; of course He was, and much more than a King. But that poor, weak, despised man, that was standing there before Pontius Pilate, that was a King; and all Scripture confirms it. It was the manhood of Christ that was there. This is the marvel, and here is, the comfort.

I. The subjugation of the universe to the King Christ is now going on, and it is very gradual; we see not yet all things put under Him. Little by little it is extending itself: "One of a city, ten of a family." The increase will grow rapid and immense. When He comes again, at once to Him every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear: "For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Grand and awful! rather to be felt, than understood; where our little thoughts drift and drift for ever, on an ocean without a shore.

II. We pray: "Thy kingdom come." How much of that rich prayer is yet answered? how much are we waiting for? Three things it means: Thy kingdom in my heart; Thy kingdom over all the nations; Thy kingdom in the Second Advent. (1) The throne of God is set up in me. Sin is there, but now sin is only a rebel. It does not reign as it once did. (2) The second; it is being accomplished, and God bless the missions. (3) The third; we long and look for it with outstretched neck, and hail each gleam on the horizon.

III. When you go to this King in prayer, do not stint yourselves before His throne. Seek regal bounties. Ask for largesses worthy of a king. Not after your own little measure, but after His, according to that great name, which is above every name that is named in earth or heaven; and prove Him, on His heavenly throne, whether He will not open now the windows of heaven, and pour a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 4th series, p. 156.


One man, so obscure that scarcely one historian thinks it worth while to mention His name—one man achieved an empire such as the world has never seen over the hearts and spirits of men. Such an empire, I suppose, rested on some principle. As the history of a worldly kingdom is the history of arms, of laws, or art, so must this kingdom have some secret spring of power through which it subjugates so many souls. The explanation is this. It is the mystery of Christ's suffering, working with the mystery of our conscience, from which His power proceeds.

I. The evangelists do not, it is clear, mean to represent the death of Christ as a mere termination of life. The storm that girdled round him is no new, unlooked-for thing. About to ascend to the throne above, He is a king still—I ought to have said He is therefore a king. To this end was He born. But for His assent the powers that slew Him could have had no power at all against Him; and, putting aside for a moment all consideration of effects resulting to others, I think we cannot, as men, be insensible to the greatness of this spectacle of a man, able to wield great influence over others by word and act, renouncing all this that He may die in a certain way because the duty has been laid upon Him by His Father so to die. He is more fit to reign as a king in men's hearts than if we had seen Him ride forth in majesty, amid the clang of martial music and the glittering of helmets, and the cheers of those who, in the flush of past successes, counted for certain the victory yet unachieved.

II. And yet there is something wanting. This devotion to God's will, this love to man, this beautiful calm and constancy, make Him admirable; they do not make Him mine. The mystery of Divine suffering requires the mystery of human conscience to explain it. Now, that mystery of human consciousness is simply this. Man attaches to his own actions the sense of responsibility. Out of the fact that man does praise and blame his own conduct, comes, if you will consider it, this surest evidence for God's existence and for your own immortality. A deep appreciation of what Jesus actually did for the sinful is the cause of our admitting Him to our hearts and minds to be our Friend, King, Saviour, Redeemer, Lord, and God.

Archbishop Thomson, Penny Pulpit, No. 427 (new series).

References: John 18:37.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xviii., No. 1086; L. Campbell, Some Aspects of the Christian Ideal, p. 236; Homiletic Magazine, vol. vii., p. 1; vol. xvii., p. 302; A. P. Peabody, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 296; E. W. Shalders, Ibid., vol. xiv., p. 406; J. Keble, Sermons for Holy Week, p. 57; E. Bersier, Sermons, 1st series, p. 198; T. Birkett Dover, A Lent Manual, p. 120; J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 1874, p. 156.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 18:37". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/john-18.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 18:37. Thou sayest that I am a king. Some would read this, Thou sayest [the truth]: For I am a king. "I came into the world for this end; that by explaining and proving the truth in general, and this great and fundamental branch of it in particular, Imight impress it upon men's consciences, and make them obedient to its laws. In this consisteth my kingdom; and all the lovers of truth obey me, and are my subjects." What our Lord here says incidentally, is to be regarded as an universal maxim. All sincere lovers of truth will hear him: and accordingly, St. John, with all simplicity, dependingon the evidences which he and his brethren had given of their mission from Christ, lays down the same testimony, We are of God; he that knoweth God heareth us; 1 John 4:6. In this conference between our Saviour and Pilate we may observe, first, that our Lord being asked whether he were King of the Jews, answers so, that he denies it not, yet avoids giving the least umbrage, as if he had any design upon the government. For though he allows himself to be a King, yet, to obviate any suspense, he tells Pilate his kingdom is not of this world; and evidences it by this, that if he had pretended to any title to that country, his followers would have fought for him, had he been inclined to have set up his kingdom by force, or were his kingdom to be erected in that manner; But my kingdom, says he, is not from hence,—is not of that kind or nature: Secondly, that Pilate, by the words and circumstances of Christ, being satisfied that He laid no claim to his province, nor meant any disturbance of the government, was yet a little surprised to hear a man in that poor garb, without retinue, or so much as a servant or a friend, own himself to be a King; and therefore asked him, with some kind of wonder, and possibly with no small degree of contempt, Art thou a king then? Βασιλευς ει συ :—Thirdly, we may observe, our Saviour declares that his great business of coming into the world, was to testify and make good this important and fundamental truth,—that he was a king; or in other words, that he was the Messiah: Fourthly, that whoever were followers of truth, and got into the way of truth and happiness, would receive this doctrine concerning him, that he was the Messiah. This is what St. Paul calls thegood confession, which he tells Timothy, Jesus witnessed before Pontius Pilate. 1 Timothy 6:13. And justly does he so call it; for our Lord did not deny the truth to save his own life, but gave all hisfollowers an example most worthy of their imitation. A careful attention to, and imitation of, his good confession, will be the best proof we can give, that we love the truth, and the best method we can take to make ourselves acquainted with it: And of such infinite importance is the truth to all our best and dearest interests, that it surely deserves the attentive inquiry and zealous patronage of the greatest and the busiest of mankind.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 18:37". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-18.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Pilate asks him again directly and expressly, Art thou a king or not?

Our Saviour answers, "Thou sayest that I am a king, and so it is indeed as thou sayest, I am a king, and the king of the Jews too; but not a temporal king, to rule over them after the manner of earthly kings with temporal power, and worldly pomp and splendour: but I am a spiritual king, to rule and govern, not only the Jews, but my whole church, consisting both of Jews and Gentiles, after a spiritual manner."

Observe here, 1. The dominion and sovereignty of Jesus Christ; he has a kingdom: My kingdom.

Observe, 2. The condition and qualification of this kingdom, negatively expressed: My kingdom is not of this world.

Observe, 3. The use and end of this kingdom: that the truth may have place among the children of men for their salvation: To this end was I born, and came into the world, to bear witness unto the truth.

Observe, 4. The subjects of Christ's kingdom declared: Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice; that is, every one who is by divine grace disposed to believe and love the truth, will hear and obey Christ's doctrine.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 18:37". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-18.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

37.] It is best to take οὐκοῦν β. εἶ σύ as interrogative, Art Thou then a King? on account of what follows.

σύ, emphatic and sarcastic.

σὺ λέγεις] A formula neither classical nor found in the LXX, but frequent in the Rabbinical writings: see Schöttgen, Hor. Hebr. on Matthew 26:25. It seems best to punctuate at λέγεις, and regard ὅτι as the reason for the affirmation conveyed in σὺ λέγεις. This agrees best with the order of the words, β. εἰμ. [ ἐγώ], and with the continued affirmation which follows. The first ἐγώ, if genuine, refers to Pilate’s σύ.

ἐγὼ τῇ ἀληθείᾳ] Our Lord here preached the Truth of his mission, upholding that side of it best calculated for the doubting philosophic mind of the day, of which Pilate was a partaker. He declares the unity and objectivity of Truth;—and that Truth must come from above, and must come through a Person sent by God, and that that Person was Himself.

ἐγώ, both times emphatic, and majestically set (see above) against the preceding scornful σύ.

εἰς τοῦτο γεγέννημαι implies that He was born a King, and that He was born with a definite purpose. The words are a pregnant proof of an Incarnation of the Son of God. This great truth is further expressed by ἐλήλυθα εἰς τ. κ.: ‘I have been born, but not therein commencing my being—I have come into the world.’ Thus certainly are the words to be understood, and not of his public appearance, his ἀνάδειξις (as Lücke, De Wette), nor as synonymous with γεγέννημαι. It is this saying which began the fear in Pilate, which the charge of the Jews, ch. John 19:7, increased.

τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, not τὴν ἀλήθειαν: not ‘the truth,’ so that what He said should be true,—but to the Truth, in its objective reality: see ch. John 17:17; John 17:19, of which deep saying this is the popular exposition for his present hearer.

The Lord, besides, sets forth here in the depth of these words, the very idea of all kinghood. The King is the representative of the truth: the truth of dealing between man and man;—the truth of that power, which in its inmost truth belongs to the great and only Potentate, the King of Kings.

Again, the Lord, the King of manhood and the world, the second Adam, came to testify to the truth of manhood and the world, which sin and Satan had concealed. This testimony to the Truth is to be the weapon whereby His Kingdom will be spread;—‘every one who is of the truth,’ i.e. here in the most general sense, every one who is a true dealer with his own heart, who has an ear to hear,—‘of such are my subjects composed:—they hear my voice.’ But for the putting this true dealing on its proper and only ground, see ch. John 8:47; John 6:44.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 18:37". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-18.html. 1863-1878.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 1719

CHRIST’S GOOD CONFESSION

John 18:37. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

IN the whole of our Saviour’s life there was a strong apparent contradiction between the character he professed, and that which he visibly sustained. At his introduction into the world he was announced as a most exalted personage, even as “the King of the Jews [Note: Luke 2:11-12.];” yet was he found born in a stable, and laid in a manger. When he entered triumphantly into Jerusalem, and was welcomed with loud hosannas as the Son of David, he did not assume the pomp of earthly monarchs, but rode thither, in a meek and lowly manner, seated on a young ass [Note: Zechariah 9:9. with Matthew 21:2-9.]. But this opposition between his mean appearance and his high pretensions never was more visible than when he stood before the bar of Pilate. He was like any other poor man; except indeed that he was bound as a criminal, and held by his whole nation as more execrable than even a robber or a murderer: yet at this time did he assert his claim to kingly authority, or, as St. Paul expresses it, “witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate [Note: 1 Timothy 6:13.].”

In his answer to Pilate, there are two things to be considered;

I. His confession—

The Jews had already condemned him, for making himself the Son of God [Note: Matthew 26:63-65.]. But he could not be executed, unless Pilate also should condemn him. But Pilate did not regard any questions relating to the Jewish law; and therefore the Jews brought a different charge against him before Pilate; affirming that he had set up himself as a King against C ζsar. On this charge Pilate questioned him, and received the answer which we have just read.

In this answer we notice,

1. The boldness of it—

[Our Lord had already told Pilate, that he disclaimed any idea of establishing an earthly kingdom; and that there was no ground for fear or jealousy, as if he was invading the rights of C ζsar, or attempting to rescue his country from the Roman yoke. He appealed to the prohibition which he had just before given to his Disciples respecting their using the sword in his defence; and declared, that the kingdom to which he aspired was not of a worldly nature; not established on worldly principles, nor supported by worldly force, nor governed by worldly policy, nor in any respect interfering with the interests of other monarchs. Yet even in thus rectifying the misapprehensions of Pilate, he thrice used the words, “My kingdom.” He might have satisfied himself with simply denying his interference with human governments: but he would on no account conceal what it was of importance to the world to know: and therefore, though he foresaw all the consequences of his confession, he answered plainly to the next interrogation, “Thou sayest truly; I am a King.”]

2. The truth of it—

[The prophets had abundantly testified of the regal dignity of the Messiah [Note: Isaiah 9:6-7. Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:13-14; Daniel 9:25 and Psalms 72:1; Psalms 72:11.] — — — and in the New Testament it had been confirmed by the testimony both of men and angels [Note: Matthew 2:2. Luke 1:32-33.]. The very works also which he had wrought, bore witness to him [Note: John 10:25.]. The difference which subsisted between his government and earthly kingdoms, so far from invalidating his claim, served only to establish it on the firmest basis: for, whereas other kings had dominion only over the bodies of men, he reigned over their souls: others had their territories bounded by seas or mountains; but his extended over all the earth.]

But we shall have a further insight into the truth of his confession, while we consider,

II. His explanation of it—

The connexion between the two parts of our Lord’s answer is not obvious at first sight: but, on comparing them with attention, we shall find, that in the latter he explains,

1. The manner in which he exercises his kingly office—

[Satan is “the god of this world,” “the prince that ruleth in all the children of disobedience [Note: 2 Corinthians 4:4. Ephesians 2:2.].” He has usurped a power over the whole race of mankind, and he governs them all as his vassals [Note: 2 Timothy 2:26.].

Now Jesus has not, like other kings, any persons who are his subjects by birth: every one of his subjects is rescued from under the dominion of Satan, and constrained to submit to him.

But with what weapons does our blessed Lord invade the kingdom of Satan? not with those which are used in earthly wars, but with the force of truth. It is by darkness and falsehood that Satan retains men in his service; and it is by the light of truth that Christ delivers them from their bondage. Satan makes men believe that “God is even such an one as themselves;” that they have no reason to fear his displeasure; that their own good works or repentance will save them; and that it is sufficient for them to maintain a moral and decent conduct. Our blessed Lord, on the contrary, proclaims that God is a just and holy Being; that sinners are obnoxious to his wrath; that there is no reconciliation with God but through him; and that they who would be happy in the next world, must now devote themselves wholly to the service of their God. It had been foretold that He should be “a witness to the people [Note: Isaiah 55:4.]:” and he came agreeably to the prediction, “to bear witness to the truth.” “For this very end was he born;” and by executing this office, he prevailed, and still does prevail, on thousands to renounce their allegiance to Satan, and to “take upon them his light and easy yoke.”]

2. The distinguishing character of his subjects—

[Those are said to be “of the truth,” who have been begotten, or converted, by it: just as those are said to be “of God,” who have been born of God [Note: Compare James 1:18. with 1 John 3:19.]. Now every one that has experienced the influence of truth in “bringing him out of darkness into light,” and “in translating him from the power of Satan into the kingdom of God’s dear Son [Note: 1 Peter 2:9. Colossians 1:13.],” from that time “hears the voice of Christ,” and obeys it without reserve. “Other lords had dominion over him before:” the world governed him by its maxims; the flesh captivated him by its allurements; the devil enslaved him by his temptations: but from henceforth he will not listen to the syren voice of pleasure, or regard the calls of interest or reputation: he has sworn allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ; and for him he is determined to sacrifice every other consideration.

This designates the character of Christ’s subjects. Wherever such persons are found, these are the subjects of his kingdom. Other kings exercise their sway over those only who are born in a particular country: but in whatever country these persons live, they belong to Christ; to Christ supremely, to Christ only. All other authorities are subservient to his; and are to be obeyed so far only as shall be agreeable to his laws, and conducive to his honour.

At the same time, none are his subjects, who do not correspond— with the character here given. Whatever they may profess, they are not his: they may call themselves Christians; but he calls them traitors, rebels, enemies.]

Address—

1. Those who never yet submitted to Christ’s government—

[Whose are ye? There are but two monarchs, who divide the whole world between them; and these are, Christ and Satan. If then you have never been smitten with that “two-edged sword, the word of truth;” if you have never been so deeply wounded, that nothing but the “balm of Gilead” could heal you; if you have never cast down the anus of your rebellion, and surrendered up yourselves to Christ, we must say of you, as Christ himself did of the Jews, “Ye are of your father the devil [Note: John 8:44.].” And if you are Satan’s vassals, from whom, and with whom, must you expect your reward? Let this question come home to your hearts; and choose ye this day “whose ye will be, and whom ye will serve [Note: Joshua 24:14.].”]

2. Those who are afraid to yield themselves up to Christ—

[Alas! that any should be deterred by fear or shame from acknowledging Christ; when he braved even the most cruel death, rather than deny the office which he bore for us! What can be your loss or pain, when compared with his? What is the contempt poured upon you, when compared with the accursed death of the cross to which he submitted for your sakes? Perhaps you expect to be acknowledged as his subjects, though you shun the odium of acknowledging him as your king. But this cannot be; for those who deny him shall be denied by him; and those only who confess him, shall be confessed by him in the presence of his Father, and of his holy angels [Note: Matthew 10:32-33.].]

3. Those who call themselves his subjects—

[What our heavenly King said of himself, may be fitly applied to all his subjects; “For this end were ye born, and for this cause came ye into the world, that ye should bear witness unto the truth.” Ye are to be God’s witnesses in the world: “ye are to be as lights,” and “as a city set on a hill.” Let it appear then that “the truth has made you free [Note: John 8:32.].” Let it be seen in you, that truth will rectify, not only the errors of the mind, but the propensities of the heart; and that, when it is “mighty through God, it will bring every thought and desire into captivity to the obedience of Christ [Note: 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.].”]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on John 18:37". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/john-18.html. 1832.

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

John 18:37. A βασιλεία Jesus had actually ascribed to Himself in John 18:36, which Pilate certainly did not expect; hence he asks, in surprise and not without a flash of haughty scorn: Nonne igitur rex tu es? since thou, that is, speakest of thy βασιλεία. On οὐκοῦν, not elsewhere found in the N. T., see Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. Exc. III. p. 517 ff.; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 198. The sentence is an inference, but asking (is it not then true, that thou art a king?) whether the questioned person agrees.

ὅτι] Confirmation of the assertion expressed by σὺ λέγεις (comp. Matthew 26:25).

ἐγώ] Corresponding to the contemptuously emphasized σύ at the end of Pilate’s question, emphasized with noble self-consciousness, and still more emphatically brought into prominence by the ἐγώ, which immediately begins the next sentence (“potens anadiplosis,” Bengel); the repetition of εἰς τοῦτο twice also adds weight.

γεγένν. and ἐλήλ. εἰς τ. κόσμ.] must, according to Grotius, Lücke, and De Wette, designate the birth and the official appearance; a separation which is not justified by the Johannean ἔρχεσθαι εἰς τ. κόσμ., in which the birth is substantially included (John 3:17, John 9:39, John 11:27, John 12:47, John 16:28, John 1:9). The ἐλήλ. εἰς τ. κόσμ. sets forth the birth once again, but in relation to its specific higher nature, as the entrance of the sent of God into the world, so that the divine ἀποστέλλειν εἰς τὸν κόσμον (John 3:17, John 10:36, John 17:18) is correlative.(232) The coming into the world is related to the conception of being born, as the leaving of the world (John 16:28) and going to the Father to the conception of dying.

ἵνα μαρτυρ. τῇ ἀληθ.] He was to bear testimony on behalf of the divine truth; for He had seen and heard it with God. Comp. John 3:11; John 3:32, John 1:17-18.

ὤν ἐκ τ. ἀληθ.] Genetic designation (comp. on Galatians 3:7) of the adherents of His kingdom; their origin is the divine truth, i.e. their entire spiritual nature is so constituted, that divine truth exercises its formative influence upon them. These are the souls drawn by the Father (John 6:44 ff.), and given to Christ as His own. Comp. John 8:47. Bengel correctly observes: “Esse ex veritate praecedit, audire sequitur.”

ἀκούει μου τ. φωνῆς] hears from me the voice, i.e. (otherwise, John 12:47), he gives ear to that which I speak, follows my call, command, etc. With this Jesus has declared Himself regarding His kingdom, to the effect partly that He is a king, and with what definition He is so, partly as to what subjects He has; and thus He has completely answered the question; in no sense, however, as Hengstenberg thinks, has He omitted to answer it as too difficult for Pilate’s comprehension, and expressed Himself instead concerning His prophetic office. The πᾶς ὢν, κ. τ. λ. belongs essentially to the characteristic of His kingdom; a special design, however, entertained in this point, with reference to Pilate (an appeal to his religious consciousness, Chrysostom, Olshausen, Neander; justification as to why Jesus has not more adherents, Calvin; a reminder for Pilate, how he would have to lay hold upon salvation), lies entirely remote from the sense, equally remote with an appeal “a caecitate Pilati ad captum fidelium,” Bengel, or from the judge to the man (Hengstenberg).

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 18:37". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-18.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 18:37. ἐγώ. ἐγὼ, I. I) A powerful Anadiplosis [The repetition of the same word in the end of the preceding and beginning of the following member of a sentence. Append.]— εἰς τοῦτο, for this) So twice. The first εἰς τοῦτο may be referred to the preceding clause, concerning His being “a King,” in order to intimate that He was born a King: Matthew 2:2, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?” The second may be referred to what follows as to “bearing witness unto the truth.” Comp. οὗτοι, καὶ οὗτοι in Deuteronomy 27:12-13, “These shall stand upon Mount Gerizim to bless—and these upon—Ebal to curse.”— γεγέννημαι, I was born) Herein His human nativity is signified. Pilate was not capable of comprehending His divine Sonship. Yet it is declared here, notwithstanding, that not the whole origin of Jesus is contained in His human nativity, when there is subjoined, I came into the world.— τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, unto the truth) The truth, which previously had been told to the people (Jewish), in His passion is preached to princes also, and to the Gentiles. This then is the crowning point of His preaching. All heard and saw the Christ: the truth was offered even to Pilate. The kingdom of the truth is opposed to the kingdom of this world.— πᾶς, every one) Jesus appeals from the blindness of Pilate to the capability of comprehension existing on the part of believers.— ὢν ἐκ τῆς ἀληθείας, he who is of the truth) To be of the truth precedes: to hear follows.— ἀκούει, heareth) with pleasure and intelligence. And these are the citizens of the kingdom of Christ.— τῆς φωνῆς, My voice) which is true, in its assertion of My kingdom.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 18:37". 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

Art thou a king then? Pilate seems to have spoken this rather in derision and mockery, than out of any desire to catch him in his words. Christ neither owneth himself to be a king, nor yet denieth it, but tells Pilate that he said so; and to this end he was born, and for this cause he came into the world, to bear testimony to the truth: i.e. I cannot deny but that I have a spiritual kingdom, that is truth, and I must attest the truth; it was a part of my errand into the world; and every one who is by Divine grace disposed to believe and love the truth, will hear and obey my doctrine.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 18:37". 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

Art thou a king then? a king of any sort? Thou sayest; this was equivalent to replying, I am a king. He then proceeded to show what kind of a king he was; one who came into the world to make known the truth, and to govern men not by force, but by spiritual influence. Pilate saw that his claims were no crime against the Roman government, and hence said,

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 18:37". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-18.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

37.Was I born—Alluding to his human birth.

Came I into the worldAlluding to his origin from God.

Bear witness unto the truth—The truth that overlies all earthly and political truth; the truth verified by the highest intuitions of the human soul; the truth of God and eternal life.

Bear witness—Confirm its reality as revealed in the Old Testament, and as written on the heart of man, both by reassertion and new revelation, demonstrated by miracle and by the perfection of my own character.

Every one that is of the truth—Wherever there is a human spirit anxious to attain to the possession of truth and righteousness, let his eye be directed to me.

Heareth my voice—Such an earnest, convicted inquirer will at once feel that my voice answers his inquiries. Wherever, in all lands and in all ages, there is a human soul that aspires to holiness, my voice will be to him a divine response; and thus my subjects are attracted to me from all the world by a secret power that has nothing to do with warlike force. And thus I am truly a Divine King, ruling in the realm of truth over countless millions of true-hearted subjects; and this kingdom, immaterial and invisible, pervades and overlies all other kingdoms. It exerts a mighty power over them, and, perhaps, will yet dissolve them all into one universal kingdom of truth. But for all this the Roman had but little ear. Such a kingdom for him is but a phantasm; and true, genuine imperial power is the only fact that is fact. Inasmuch as this kingdom of righteousness is over all, it condemns all wickedness, whether of individuals, of princes, of administrations, or of political parties. Sin is sin, and condemned by the laws of Christ’s kingdom, whether committed by a single man, by a government, or by a people. The Church and the ministry have indeed nothing to do with purely secular measures, involving no moral question. But whenever an administration or party adopts sin into its platform or its measures, it is none the less the duty of the Christian Church to “bear witness to the truth.”

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 18:37". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-18.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Pilate did not understand the distinctions between Jesus" kingdom and his own that Jesus was making. He did understand that Jesus was claiming to have a kingdom. Consequently he next tried to get Jesus to claim unequivocally that He was a king. Jesus admitted that He was a king, but He needed to say more about His reign if Pilate was to understand the nature of His kingship. Jesus had defined His kingdom negatively ( John 18:36). Now He defined His mission as a king positively.

The main reason Jesus had come into the world was to bear witness to the truth. By this He meant that He came to reveal God (cf14:6). Jesus made subjects for His kingdom by revealing God, by calling on people to believe on Him, and by giving them eternal life. This prepared them to participate in His kingdom. Everyone who truly wanted the truth followed Jesus because His teachings had the ring of truth. Jesus" words were an invitation for Pilate to listen to Him and to learn the truth. Jesus showed more interest in appealing to Pilate than in defending Himself. This desire for the welfare of others marks all of Jesus" interviews in the fourth Gospel. [Note: Tenney, " John," p177.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 18:37". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-18.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 18:37. Pilate therefore said unto him, A king art thou then? It is of importance to notice the difference of construction between the question as put here and at John 18:33. There ‘Thou’ stands in the first place, here the ‘King.’ The difference corresponds exactly to the course of thought which we have endeavoured to trace. In the first passage ‘thou’ is emphatic; ‘thou so poor, so humbled, thou a King?’ In the second ‘King’ is emphatic; ‘a King then, high as that is, art thou?’ In the first the thing is regarded as impossible; in the second the possibility has dawned upon the mind.

Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a King. It is hardly possible to understand these words as a directly affirmative reply to the question of Pilate, for Pilate had not acknowledged that Jesus was a King. It seems better to understand them in the sense, ‘Thou usest the word king in regard to Me, but not in the right sense’; and then the following words point out what it was that really conferred on Jesus the empire that He claimed.

To this end have I been born, and to this end have I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth: every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. The transition here from the thought of kingship to that of ‘witnessing’ is very remarkable. It is to be explained by the consideration that, as ‘the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,’ and as the true glory of His work lay in submission to the demands of self-denying love, so His kingdom consists in witnessing to that eternal truth which is the foundation of all existence, which all were created to own, and in which alone is life. The word ‘witness’ must be taken in a very emphatic sense. Jesus is not only the perfect, He is also the free and willing, Exponent or Revealer of all this truth to men. It is in His entire and voluntary surrender to it that His kingdom lies: His service is really His authority and power. In this respect, too, His dominion is universal over all who will own the truth: bowing to it, they must bow to Him in whom it is contained and by whom it is ‘declared.’ Thus in His witnessing He is King. We cannot fail to notice how the absoluteness of this witnessing is brought out by means of the formula used by Jewish writers, ‘I have been born and am come,’ as well as by the twice repeated ‘to this end.’ For this Jesus had become incarnate: for this He was still standing there. Was not such a witness to ‘the truth’ in all its glorious range of meaning in reality the universal King?

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 18:37". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-18.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 18:37. Pilate understands only so far as to interrupt with ; “So then you are a king?” On see Klotz’s Devarius, p. 173. To which Jesus replies with the explicit statement: . “Thou sayest.” This, says Schoettgen (Matthew 26:25), is “solennis adfirmantium apud Judaeos formula”; so that must be rendered with R.V[92] marg. “because” I am a king. Erasmus, Westcott, Plummer, and others render, “Thou sayest that I am a king,” neither definitely accepting nor rejecting the title. But this interpretation seems impossible in the face of the simple of the synoptists, Matthew 27:2, Mark 15:2, Luke 23:3. We must then render, “Thou art right, for a king I am”. In what sense a king, He explains: . . . “For this end have I been born, and for this end am I come into the world;” the latter expression, by being added to the former, certainly seems to suggest a prior state. Cf.John 1:9. The end is expressed in , “that I might witness to the truth,” especially regarding God and His relation to men. The consequence is that every one who belongs to the truth (moral affinity expressed by ) obeys Him, in a pregnant sense, cf.John 10:8-16. They become His subjects, and form His kingdom, a kingdom of truth. For which Pilate has only impatient scorn: ;—“Tush, what is Aletheia?” It was a kingdom which could not injure the empire. What have I to do with provinces that can yield no tribute, and threaten no armed rebellion?

[92] Revised Version.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 18:37". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-18.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Art thou a king then? = Is it not then (Greek. oukoun. Occurs only here) that Thou art a king? or, So then a king Thou art?

To this end = To (Greek. eis. App-104.) this, i.e. for this purpose.

for this cause. Exactly the same words, eis touto, as in previous clause.

bear witness = testify. Greek. martureo. See on John 1:7,

the truth. See on John 14:6, and p. 1511.

My voice. See John 8:47; John 10:3, John 10:4, John 10:16, John 10:27.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 18:37". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-18.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? There was no sarcasm or disdain in this question, as Tholuck, Alford, etc., allege, else our Lord's answer would have been different. Putting emphasis upon "thou," his question betrays a mixture of surprise and uneasiness, partly at the possibility of there being, after all, something dangerous under the claim, and partly from a certain awe which our Lord's demeanour probably struck into him.

Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king, [ Su (Greek #4771) legeis (Greek #3004) hoti (Greek #3754) basileus (Greek #935) eimi (Greek #1510) Egoo (Greek #1473)] - or rather, 'Thou sayest [it], for a king I am.'

To this end was I ('have I been') born, and for this cause came I ('to this end am I come') into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. His birth expresses His manhood; His coming into the world, His existence before assuming humanity: the truth, then, here affirmed, though Pilate would catch little of it, was, that 'His Incarnation was expressly in order to the assumption of Royalty in our nature.' Yet, instead of saying He came to be a king, which is His meaning, He says He came to testify to the truth. Why this? Because, in such circumstances, it required a noble courage not to flinch from His royal claims; and our Lord, conscious that He was putting forth that courage, gives a turn to His confession expressive of it. It is to this that Paul is commonly understood to allude, in those remarkable words to Timothy: "I charge thee before God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed the good confession" [ teen (Greek #3588) kaleen (Greek #2570) homologian (Greek #3671)] (1 Timothy 6:13). But we have given our opinion (page 206, first column) that the reference is to the solemn confession which He witnessed before the supreme ecclesiastical council, that He was "THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE BLESSED," which the apostle would hold up to Timothy as a sublime example of the fidelity courage which he himself should display. These two confessions, however, are complements of each other. For, in the beautiful words of Olshausen, 'As the Lord owned Himself the Son of God before the most exalted theocratic council, so He confessed His regal dignity in presence of the representative of the highest political authority on earth.'

Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice. Our Lord here not only affirms that His word had in it a self-evidencing, self-recommending power, but gently insinuates the true secret of the growth and grandeur of His kingdom: it is a KINGDOM OF TRUTH, in its highest sense, into which all souls who have learnt to live and count all things but loss for the truth are, by a most heavenly attraction, drawn as into their proper element; whose KING Jesus is, fetching them in and ruling them by His captivating power over their hearts.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 18:37". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-18.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(37) Art thou a king then?—The sentence is both a question and an inference from the word “kingdom” of the previous verse. There is a strong emphasis, and it may be sarcasm, expressed in the pronoun, “Does it not follow then that Thou art a king?”

Thou sayest that I am a king.—Or, perhaps, Thou sayest; for I am a king. (Comp. Matthew 26:25.)

To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world.—Better, Unto this end have I been born, and unto this end am I come unto the world. Our translators have rendered the same Greek words by different English words—“To this end,” “for this cause,” intending probably that the first phrase should be understood of the words which precede, and the second of those which follow: “To this end (that I may be a king) was I born, and for this (that I may bear witness unto the truth) came I into the world.” Had this been the meaning, it would have been almost certainly expressed by the usual distinction in Greek; and in the absence of any such distinction, the natural interpretation is, “To be king have I been born, and to be a king came I into the world, in order that I may bear witness unto the truth.” The birth and the entrance into the world both refer to the Incarnation, but make emphatic the thought that the birth in time of Him who existed with the Father before all time, was the manifestation in the world of Him who came forth from the Father. This thought of “coming into the world” is frequent in St. John. (Comp. especially John 10:36; John 16:28.)

That I should bear witness unto the truth.—Comp. Note on John 1:8. He has indeed a kingdom, and He came into the world to be a king; but His rule is that of the majesty of Truth, and His kingdom is to be established by His witness of the eternal truth which He had known with His Father, and which He alone could declare to man. (Comp. Notes on John 1:18; John 16:13.) He came to be a witness—a martyr—to the truth, and to send forth others to be witnesses and martyrs to the same truth, through the Holy Spirit, who should guide them into all truth. Such was His kingdom; such the power by which it was to rule. It was not of this world: it possessed neither land nor treasury, neither senate nor legions, neither consuls nor procurators; but it was to extend its sceptre over all the kingdoms of the earth.

Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.—He has spoken of His kingdom. Who are its subjects, and what its power over them? Every one is included who, following the light which God has placed in his soul, comes to “the true Light which lighteth every man;” who, made in the image of God, and with capacities for knowing God, seeks truly to know Him; every one who, in an honest and true heart, is of the truth, and-therefore hears the voice of Him who is the Truth. The thought is familiar to us from the earlier chapters of the Gospel. (Comp. e.g., John 3:21; John 7:17; John 8:47; John 10:16.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 18:37". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-18.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
Thou
Matthew 26:64; 27:11; Mark 14:62; 15:2; Luke 23:3; 1 Timothy 6:13
that I should
8:14; 14:6; Isaiah 55:4; Revelation 1:4; 3:14
Every
7:17; 8:47; 10:26,27; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:14,19; 4:6; 5:20
Reciprocal: Proverbs 8:7 - my mouth;  Jeremiah 30:21 - governor;  Daniel 11:2 - will I;  Daniel 12:10 - but the wise;  Hosea 14:9 - wise;  Matthew 2:2 - born;  Matthew 22:16 - true;  Matthew 26:25 - Thou;  Matthew 26:63 - that;  Mark 14:61 - Art;  Luke 19:12 - to;  Luke 22:70 - Ye say;  John 1:49 - the King;  John 10:4 - for;  John 12:27 - but;  John 18:33 - and said;  Acts 2:30 - he;  Acts 7:27 - Who;  Acts 7:37 - him;  1 Timothy 3:15 - the truth;  Revelation 1:5 - who is

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 18:37". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-18.html.

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

Ver. 37. "Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that Is of the truth heareth My voice."

Jesus had declined to be a king in the Jewish sense; it was not His ambition to be a king. Yet He had spoken of His kingdom. This was ground enough for Pilate's deeper investigation, although he was convinced that there was nothing politically dangerous in Christ, and that the matter Was more that of the man than of the judge. οὐκοῦν, so, is conclusive with regard to the foregoing words: Accordingly, thou art then a king. The notion of an "ironical by-meaning" is altogether to be excluded. In all Pilate's intercourse with Jesus, there is not the slightest trace of mockery. The impression of Christ's person was so powerful, that such feelings could not but be suppressed.

Jesus answered, "Thou sayest it, that I am a king," according to My own declarations: so let it be; I have nothing to oppose to this, but avow Myself freely and publicly a king. This was the "good confession" which Jesus witnessed before Pilate, 1 Timothy 6:13. Luke 22:70 is similar: "Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? He said unto them, Ye say that I am." The point before on, is to be rejected in both cases. For the avoidance of ambiguity a "this" would, according to that pointing, have been necessary after "ye say," since λέγω commonly has what is said connected with it by ὅτι. Certainly the formula σὺ λέγεις of itself affirms perfectly and unambiguously; but, considering the high importance of the confession of Christ, it was proper that the object of the avowal should not be derived from what precedes, but that it should be expressly stated: Yea, I am a King.

According to the current exposition, Jesus, in the words, "Therefore was I born," etc., defines more closely the nature of His kingdom. Bengel: To a kingdom of this world is opposed the kingdom of truth. Lücke: "Assuredly I am a King, but My kingdom is the truth." But in fact there is not the slightest reference to the kingdom. The words refer rather to the prophetic office of Christ. Our Lord, after having avowed His royal dignity, turns the discourse from a subject which Pilate could scarcely apprehend, to another aspect of His nature and vocation which would be easier of apprehension to Pilate. It is true that the right understanding of this would serve materially to make the kingship more intelligible, and to place it in a true light. He who describes the immediate end of His mission to be the annunciation of the truth, would not be a king in the ordinary sense, in that sense in which the Jews had falsely charged Him with assuming it; nor could He condescend descend to involve Himself with mere political insurrectionary movements. The transition from the kingly to the prophetic office of Christ was all the more obvious, inasmuch as Isaiah, ch. John 4:4, described the Messiah as at once the Witness and the Leader and Lawgiver of the nations: the μαρτυρήσω here evidently refers to the witness there. So, in Revelation 1:5, Jesus Christ "the faithful Witness" distinguished from Christ "the Prince of the kings of the earth." If we would set in a closer connection the two offices of testimony and ruling, we cannot do that without establishing the fact that the testimony paves the way for the dominion. But in the present colloquy, that would have required to be more clearly intimated. On μαρτυρήσω, comp. John 3:32-33. The words, "for this end was I born," of themselves point beyond the common sphere of humanity. No one born in the ordinary way of mortals could ever say that he was born for any particular destiny or vocation. The other words, "for this end am I come into the world," do the same still more emphatically: they show that the being of Christ in time and upon earth was preceded by another being. Jesus came into the world in order to bear testimony to the truth, that truth about which Gentile thinkers had made so much stir, but which could be truly known only through the communication of Him who came down from a higher sphere, and testified what He had seen and heard: comp. ch. John 3:31-32. In the words, "Every one that is of the truth," the Lord turns, like Paul before Felix and Festus, from the judge to the man. Bengel is wrong here: "Jesus here appeals from the blindness of Pilate to the intelligence of believers." Under the general statement we incline rather to see, "If thou art of the truth." The very fact that our Lord entered into such close conversation with Pilate, of itself shows that he must have stood in some relation to the truth. Jesus made no answer to Herod, Luke 23:18; His answer to Caiaphas, at the first hearing in the chambers of Annas, was a refusal, vers. 20, 21; before the High Council He at first kept silence; and the answer which He at length gave, under the high priest's adjuration, was manifestly meant only for publicity. Pilate was the only one with whom He really held discourse; and the circumstance that He afterwards denied him an answer, ch. John 19:9, shows that previously, and while He did enter into discourse with him, there was something in him yet to be worked upon. He then freely presented the side of his nature which gave a point of connection for the truth. But at the moment when he gave the preference to his own lower interest, Jesus turned away from him. The portion which Pilate had in the truth was this especially, that he did not count himself good, and did not, like the Pharisees, justify himself. He was a man of the world, but he had no desire to be or to appear anything else. He was no hypocrite: like Nathanael, he was free from guile, ch. John 1:48. Although he did not think much of the sin which he admitted, yet it sometimes enforced itself upon him: when he came in contact with personal truth, he was seized with its awe; and the desire stirred within him to unite himself with that truth, and so reach a higher element.

"Every one that is of the truth:" the truth appears as a domain from which those spring who, in any sense whatever, partake of truth. A similar kind of expression we have in "of nothing and vanity," Isaiah 40:17; "of nothing," Isaiah 41:24;" of vanity," Psalms 62:10; ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ, of the region of evil. Matthew 5:37; ἐξ ἐριθείας, Romans 2:8. In 1 John 3:19, "being of the truth" refers to the full possession of truth, as that is the privilege of Christians. In our present passage, the limitation is given by the connection. It cannot mean, in this context, the full possession of truth—that could be attained only by the testimony of Christ—but only a susceptible disposition. The beginning of this was in Pilate. But in order to be of the truth, he must have released that disposition from all its entanglements, and mightily striven against the impulses which would check it. That he failed to do this was his condemnation.

Jesus speaks categorically: "Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice." Accordingly, the man who loudly boasts of his striving after truth, and yet heareth not Christ's voice, but glories in the free spirit of his illumination, is not of the truth, is no philosopher, but the opposite.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 18:37". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-18.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

37.Thou sayest that I am a king. Although Pilate had already learned, from the former answer, that Christ claims for himself some sort of kingdom, yet now Christ asserts the same thing more firmly; and, not satisfied with this, he makes an additional statement, which serves for a seal, as it were, to ratify what he had said. Hence we infer, that the doctrine concerning Christ’s kingdom is of no ordinary importance, since he has deemed it worthy of so solemn an affirmation.

For this cause was I born, that I may bear witness to the truth. This is, no doubt, a general sentiment; but it must be viewed in relation to the place which it holds in the present passage. The words mean, that it is natural for Christ to speak the truth; and, next, that he was sent for this purpose by the Father; and, consequently, that this is his peculiar office. There is no danger, therefore, that we shall be deceived by trusting him, since it is impossible that he who has been commissioned by God, and whose natural disposition leads him to maintain the truth, shall teach any thing that is not true.

Every one that is of the truth. Christ added this, not so much for the purpose of exhorting Pilate, (for he knew that he would gain nothing by doing so,) as of defending his doctrine against the base reproaches which had been east on it; as if he had said, “It is imputed to me as a crime that I have asserted that I am a king; and yet this is an unquestionable truth, which is received with reverence and without hesitation by all who have a correct judgment and a sound understanding.” When he says, that they are of the truth he does not mean that they naturally know the truth, but that they are directed by the Spirit of God.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 18:37". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-18.html. 1840-57.