Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 2:21

But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Resurrection;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Christ Is God;   Power of Christ, the;   Resurrection of Christ, the;   Temple, the First;   Types of Christ;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Resurrection;   Signs;   Temple;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Body;   Church, the;   Jesus Christ;   Temple;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Marriage;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Resurrection of Christ;   Temple;   Temple, Herod's;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Engraver;   Jordan;   Miracles;   Veil of the Temple;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Father's House;   Fulfill;   Jesus, Life and Ministry of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Faith;   Marriage;   Mary;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Caesarea Philippi;   Dates (2);   John, Gospel of (Ii. Contents);   Luke, Gospel According to;   Manliness;   Mission;   Temple (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - New Testament;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Cana;   Christ;   Passover;   Resurrection;   Temple;   Veil;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Body;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Body;   Jesus Christ, the Arrest and Trial of;   Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for June 4;   Every Day Light - Devotion for June 2;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Of the temple of his body - Rather, the temple, his body: his body had no particular temple: but it was the temple of his Divinity - the place in which, as in the ancient temple, his Godhead dwelt; See how the Jews perverted these words, Matthew 26:60; (note), and the notes there.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 2:21". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-2.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

But he spake of the temple of his body.

See under preceding verses.

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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 2:21". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But he spoke of the temple of his body. Which was the antitype of the material temple; and might well be called so, since the bodies of the saints are called temples, 1 Corinthians 3:16 2 Corinthians 6:16; and the human nature of Christ is called a tabernacle, Hebrews 8:2; and he himself, in prophecy, is said to be למקדש, "for a sanctuary", or temple, Isaiah 8:14, and that because the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily, the train of the divine perfections filled the temple of his human nature, Colossians 2:9. And because here, as in the temple, God grants his presence, and communes with his saints, accepts of their prayers and praises, and all their spiritual sacrifices through him; and who is the oracle, the true "Urim" and "Thummim", by whom he delivers his whole mind and will to his people.

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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 2:21". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

But he spake of the i temple of his body.

(i) That is, of his body.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 2:21". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

temple of his body — in which was enshrined the glory of the eternal Word. (See on John 1:14). By its resurrection the true Temple of God upon earth was reared up, of which the stone one was but a shadow; so that the allusion is not quite exclusively to Himself, but takes in that Temple of which He is the foundation, and all believers are the “lively stones.” (1 Peter 2:4, 1 Peter 2:5).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 2:21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-2.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

21. But he spake of the temple of his body.

[But he spake of the temple of his body.] If we consider how much the second Temple came behind that of the first, it will the more easily appear why our blessed Saviour should call his body the Temple.

"In the second Temple there wanted the Fire from heaven, the Ark with the Propitiatory and Cherubims, Urim and Thummim, the Divine Glory, the Holy Ghost, and the anointing Oil."

These things were all in Solomon's Temple, which therefore was accounted a full and plenary type of the Messiah: but so long as the second Temple had them not, it wanted what more particularly shadowed and represented him.

I. There was indeed in the second Temple a certain ark in the Holy of Holies; but this was neither Moses' ark nor the ark of the covenant: which may not unfitly come to mind when we read that passage, Revelation 11:19, "The Temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his Temple the ark of his testament." It was not seen, nor indeed was it at all in the second Temple.

The Jews have a tradition, that Josias hid the ark before the Babylonish captivity, lest it should fall into the hands of the enemy, as once it did amongst the Philistines; but there is no mention that it was ever found and restored again.

II. In Moses' Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple the divine presence sat visibly over the Ark in the Propitiatory, in a cloud of glory: but when the destruction of that Temple drew near, it went up from the Propitiatory, Ezekiel 10:4, and never returned into the second Temple, where neither the Ark nor the Propitiatory was ever restored.

III. The high priest, indeed, ministered in the second Temple as in the first, in eight several garments. Amongst these was the pectoral, or breastplate, wherein the precious stones were put (out of which the jasper chanced to fall and was lost): but the oracle by Urim and Thummim was never restored: see Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:63. And if not restored in the days of Ezra or Nehemiah, much less certainly in the ages following, when the spirit of prophecy had forsaken and taken leave of that people. For that is a great truth amongst the Talmudists; "Things are not asked or inquired after now [by Urim and Thummim] by the high priest, because he doth not speak by the Holy Ghost, nor does there any divine afflatus breathe on him."

This, to omit other things, was the state of Zorobabel's Temple with respect to those things which were the peculiar glory of it. And these things being wanting, how much inferior must this needs be to that of Solomon's!

But there was one thing that degraded Herod's Temple still lower; and that was the person of Herod himself, to whom it is ascribed. It was not without scruple, even amongst the Jews themselves, that it was built and repaired by such a one: (and who knew not what Herod was?) and they dispute whether by right such a person ought to have meddled with it; and invent arguments for their own satisfaction as to the lawfulness of the thing.

They object first, It is not permitted to any one to demolish one synagogue till he hath built another: much less to demolish the Temple. But Herod demolished the Temple before he had built another. Ergo,

They answer, "Baba Ben Buta gave Herod that counsel, that he should pull it down." Now this Baba was reckoned amongst the great wise men, and he did not rashly move Herod to such a work; for he saw such clefts and breaches in the Temple that threatened its ruin.

They object, secondly, concerning the person of Herod, that he was a servant to the Asmonean family, that he rose up against his masters and killed them, and had killed the Sanhedrim.

They answer, We were under his power, and could not resist it. And if those hands stained with blood would be building, it was not in their power to hinder it.

These and other things they apologize for their Temple; adding this invention for the greater honour of the thing--that all that space of time wherein it was a building, it never once rained by day, that the work might not be interrupted.

The Rabbins take a great deal of pains, but to no purpose, upon those words, Haggai 2:9, "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former." "R. Jochanan and R. Eliezer say; one, that it was a greater for the fabric; the other, that it was greater for the duration." As if the glory of the Temple consisted in any mathematical reasons of space, dimension, or duration; as if it lay in walls, gilding, or ornament. The glory of the first Temple was the Ark, the divine cloud over the Ark, the Urim and the Thummim, &c. Now where or in what can consist the greater glory of the second Temple when these are gone?

Herein it is indeed that the Lord of the Temple was himself present in his Temple: he himself was present in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, Colossian 2:9; as the divine glory of old was over the ark typically, or by way of shadow only.

This is the glory, when he himself is present who is the great High Priest and the Prophet; who, answerably to the Urim and Thummim of old, reveals the counsels and will of God; he who is the true and living Temple, whom that Temple shadowed out. "This Temple of yours, O ye Jews, does not answer its first pattern and exemplar: there are wanting in that, what were the chief glory of the former; which very defect intimates that there is another Temple to be expected, that in all things may fall in with its first type, as it is necessary the antitype should do. And this is the Temple of my body." No further did he think fit to reply to them at that time.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 2:21". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/john-2.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

But he spake of the temple of his body (εκεινος δε ελεγεν περι του ναου του σωματος αυτουekeinos de elegen peri tou naou tou sōmatos autou). Emphatic he (εκεινοςekeinos) and imperfect tense (he had been speaking). This is John‘s view as he looks back at it, not what he understood when Jesus spoke the words.

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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 2:21". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

He ( ἐκεῖνος )

See on John 1:18. Emphatic, and marking the contrast between the deeper meaning of Jesus and the literalism of the Jews and of His disciples (see next verse). For other illustrations of John's pointing out the meaning of words of Jesus which were not at first understood, see John 7:39; John 12:33; John 21:19.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 2:21". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

The Fourfold Gospel

But he spake of the temple of his body1.

  1. But he spake of the temple of his body. John differs from the other three evangelists, in that he frequently comments upon the facts which he records. Both history and commentary are inspired.

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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 2:21". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-2.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Ver. 21. "But he spoke of the temple of his body."

By ἐκεῖνος, ille vero, he opposed to every other, John strongly contrasts the thought of Jesus with the interpretation of the Jews and the want of understanding of the apostles. Only He comprehends perfectly the true sense of His own saying.

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 2:21". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-2.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

Ver. 21. The temple of his body] Wherein the "Godhead dwelt bodily," Colossians 2:9, that is, personally, as he dwelt in the material temple sacramentally, and doth dwell in the hearts of his people spiritually. This tabernacle of Christ’s body was not made with hands, nor built by the power of nature, Hebrews 9:2.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 2:21". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-2.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 2:21. περὶ τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ σώματος, concerning the temple of His body) that is, concerning the temple, which was the body of Jesus. Let the expression be compared, which is found ch. John 11:13, “Howbeit Jesus spake of His death; but they thought that He had spoken of taking rest in sleep.”

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 2:21". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-2.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

But, alas, our Saviour spoke not of their material temple, but of the temple of his body; which yet was proper speaking: for if the apostle calleth our bodies the temple of God, as he doth, 1 Corinthians 3:16 6:19 2 Corinthians 6:16; it much more may be said so of the body of Christ: for as God dwelt in the temple, and there revealed his will, and would be there worshipped; how properly must the notion of the temple agree to Christ, in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily, Colossians 2:9, who revealeth his Father’s nature and will to men, Matthew 11:27, and in whom all must worship him? So as the temple at Jerusalem was every way a most illustrious type of Christ, and Christ might well, speaking concerning his body, say, Destroy this temple; and thus Christ (would these blind Jews have seen it) drew off the Jews from glorying in their temple, Jeremiah 7:4; and from the temple, which was but a type, (as the tabernacle was before, Acts 7:44 Hebrews 9:23,24), to himself, prefigured by those houses, Hebrews 9:11. Nor doth he think fit at this time to speak more plainly; for as he knew that the perverse Jews, in seeing would not see, nor bear any such doctrine; so he also knew, that his better disciples were as yet weak in faith; and none putteth new wine into old bottles.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 2:21". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-2.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

21.Temple of his body—That the body is a building has been recognized by both the science and the literature of all the world. And religious thought specially recognizes that it should be a temple; the temple of the Holy Spirit. And Christ’s body was the temple; of which the Jewish material temple was the type. When, therefore, the disciples subsequently found that after three days of destruction Christ revived his bodily temple, a new inner meaning flashed upon their minds. The meaning now is, Destroy, ye Jews, this sacred frame, (as you surely will,) and in three days it shall by my divine power rise again. Before fulfilment it would indeed have taken a prophet to extract this inner meaning; yet, none the less we see, after the fulfilment, that none but a prophet could have uttered the prediction. And to us may they not bear a third still deeper meaning? Destroy this old dispensation of which this temple is the symbol, and my three days of death will build it anew. Abolish old Judaism, and in brief time I will rear young Christianity. So that there are in these words three strata of meaning: an outside, an inner, and an inmost sense; each true for its own class of searchers.

 

 

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 2:21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-2.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘But he spoke of the temple of his body’.

Here Jesus’ meaning is explained to the readers. He was aware already that at some stage they would be ready to destroy Him, as they had the prophets before Him. But His further point here is that by destroying Him they will in effect destroy the Temple, even though the actual destruction may be delayed, but that then within three days of their destroying Him He will rise again, replacing the Temple and its sacrifices. This reply demonstrates that He is already aware that His acceptance among these bigoted men will not be positive.

Here we have another of John’s double meanings. On the one hand Jesus offered them a sign, a great sign. If they wanted one He would give them one. Only let them destroy the Temple, this Temple that was so corrupt, thus by their act revealing their agreement with His verdict on it, and He would rebuild it for them within three days. Let them show by their actions that they were ready to follow Him in every respect, and then they would have their sign. It was a subtle reply for they could now no longer claim that He had refused a sign, nor was there any likelihood that they would take Him up on it. It prevented them from constantly pestering Him for signs, for they knew that if they did they would receive the same reply.

But it held the deeper significance that when He was raised from the dead His disciples would realise what Temple He had meant. And it also contained within it the inference that the physical Temple itself was doomed once He had been crucified.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 2:21". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-2.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 2:21. See above on John 2:19.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 2:21". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-2.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

But He spake, &c. Figure of speech Epitrechon (App-6). For other examples, See John 7:39; John 12:33; John 21:19.

he. Greek. ekeinos. Emph. in contrast with "thou" in John 2:20. See note on John 1:18.

spake = was speaking. Greek. legoof -se concerning. Greek. peri. App-104.

of = that is to say. Genitive of Apposition. App-17.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 2:21". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But he spake of the temple of his body.

But he spake of the temple of his body - in which was enshrined the glory of the eternal Word. (See the note at John 1:14.) By its resurrection the true Temple of God upon earth was reared up, of which the stone temple was but a shadow; so that the allusion, though to Himself, may be said to take in that temple of which He is the Foundation, and all believers are the "lively stones" (1 Peter 2:4-5).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 2:21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(21) But he spake.—Literally, was speaking. This is the solution of the enigma as the disciples read it in the after history. It is remarkable that we have the interpretation of the spiritual temple in Mark 14:58 (see Note there, and comp. John 4:21; John 4:23).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 2:21". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But he spake of the temple of his body.
he
1:14; *Gr:; Colossians 1:19; 2:9; Hebrews 8:2
temple
1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:20-22; 1 Peter 2:4,5
Reciprocal: Exodus 26:1 - the tabernacle with ten curtains

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 2:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-2.html.

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

Ver. 21. "But He spake of the temple of His body."

The body of Christ is here put, according to the correct remark of Lampe, instead of His whole humanity, because over this alone was power granted to His enemies. If Christ is here designated as the true temple, as that to which the temple at Jerusalem is related only as the shadow to the substance, then in this is included the impending destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, or at least the removal of its essential quality; and thus the condemnation of those who dream of a restoration of this temple, since in the passages on which they found their dream, it is just this essential quality which is taken into view. On this side, our text is coincident with John 4:23, as was already perceived by Luther: "But now in the New Testament, God has erected another temple, where God will dwell; that is, the dear humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. There will God be found, and nowhere else. He calls Christ's body the temple of God, wherein God dwells, in order that the hearts and eyes of all of us may be directed to Christ, that we may worship Him only who sits at the right hand of God in heaven.

God is no longer bound to one place, as He was at that time, when He would dwell at Jerusalem, before the true temple, the Lord Christ, came; as is said also in John 4:23. The temple at Jerusalem has ceased to be; and now men may worship God at whatever place they may be, and turn their heart and eyes in faith to the person of Christ, where there is both God and man." In harmony with our text is Revelation 21:22, "And I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it." Here also Christ is the antitype of the temple,

He, on whose advent the continued existence of the temple became impossible; because the emblematic residence of God among His people, which formed the essential characteristic of the temple, had found its truth in Christ, and will find it most perfectly in the New Jerusalem. John also, in John 1:14, hints at the typical relation in which the tabernacle and the temple stand to the appearance of Christ. When, elsewhere, the Church is represented as the antitype of the temple, there is no opposition to these passages; for the Church is the body of Christ, and in it are continued His theanthropic nature and rule. Not the Church in distinction from Christ is the temple of God, but the Church in so far as it is under Christ as its Head.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 2:21". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-2.html.