Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 20:4

The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first;
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   John;   Love;   Peter;   Thompson Chain Reference - Dead, the;   Mortality-Immortality;   Resurrection;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - John the apostle;   Mary;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Burial;   Grave;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Peter;   Resurrection of Christ;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - John the Apostle;   John, the Gospel According to;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Beloved Disciple;   Footwashing;   Hour;   John;   John, the Gospel of;   Mary;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - John, Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Cave ;   Indolence;   Peter;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Grave;   Mary Magdalene ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Smith Bible Dictionary - John the Apostle;   John, Gospel of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - John, Gospel of;   Peter, Simon;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 20;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Outrun Peter - Not because he had a greater desire to see into the truth of these things; but because he was younger, and lighter of foot.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 20:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-20.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And they ran both together: and the other disciple outran Peter, and came first to the tomb.

John's outrunning Peter should have been expected, as Peter was much the older.

Copyright Statement
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 20:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

So they ran both together,.... At first setting out, and for a while; not content to walk, they ran, being eagerly desirous to know the truth of things:

and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre; John was a younger man than Peter, and so more nimble, and swift of foot, and got to the sepulchre before him; and besides, had not that concern of mind to retard him, Peter might have; as, supposing Christ was risen, and he should see him, how he should be able to look him in the face, whom he had so shamefully denied.

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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 20:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-20.html. 1999.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

They both (οι δυοhoi duo). “The two” (Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved).

Ran together (ετρεχον ομουetrechon homou). Imperfect active of τρεχωtrechō It was a race in eagerness to reach the tomb of Jesus.

Outran Peter
(προεδραμεν ταχειον του Πετρουproedramen tacheion tou Petrou). Second aorist active indicative of προτρεχωprotrechō old verb, in N.T. only here and Luke 19:4, to run on before (ahead). “He ran ahead more swiftly (see John 13:27) than Peter” (ablative case after comparative adverb ταχειονtacheion Koiné for older τασσονthāsson).

First
(πρωτοςprōtos). Predicative nominative (not adverb προτονproton) and superlative used where only two involved. John won the race.

Copyright Statement
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 20:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-20.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

They ran ( ἔτρεχον )

Still the imperfect, they were running. How much the A.V. loses by its persistent ignoring of the force of this tense.

Did outrun ( προέδραμε τάχιον )

Literally, ran on in front more quickly. Dante, addressing the spirit of John in Paradise says:

“O holy father, spirit who beholdest

What thou believedst so that thou o'ercamest,

Toward the sepulchre, more youthful feet.”

Paradise,” xxiv., 124-126.

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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 20:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-20.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

Ver. 4. So they ran both together] But the swifter of foot they were, the slower in faith; for "he that believeth maketh not haste," Isaiah 28:16. They believed not fully the resurrection; when they heard the news of it, and from the angels too, they stirred not, but rejected it as a fable. Now that they hear (though but by a woman only) that the Lord’s body was removed to another sepulchre (though that were but a rash report, and nothing so) they run amain. Oh the dullness that is found in the best!

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 20:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-20.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 20:4. προέδραμε, did run before) Here there may be sweetly observed the distinguishing characteristics of the two disciples: faith in Peter, and love in John.— τάχιον, more quickly) Greater speed was appropriate in John, the younger of the two; greater gravity (sedateness) was appropriate in Peter, the elder. Neither, in his movements, has regard to the other; the regard of both is directed to the thing itself.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 20:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-20.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "John 20:3"

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 20:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-20.html. 1685.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 20:4. And they ran both together, and the other disciple did outran Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. It is extremely probable that John was the younger and thus also the more active of the two. The same supposition throws light on the next verse.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 20:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-20.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 20:4. , “and the two ran together”: equally eager; but , “the other disciple ran on before more quickly than Peter”; probably John was the younger man. [Lampe suggests two other reasons: either Peter’s steps were slower “ob conscientiam culpae,” or “forte via Joanni magis nota erat”.] Consequently John ’ “came first to the tomb”.

 

 

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 20:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-20.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

ran = were running,

did outrun = ran ahead, more quickly than. This affords no ground for the assumption by so many commentators, even Alford, that John was younger than Peter.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 20:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

So they ran both together: and the other disciple (being the younger of the two), did outrun Peter - but love, too, haply supplying swifter wings. How lively is the mention of this little particular, and at such a distance of time! Yet how could the very least particular of such a visit be ever forgotten?

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 20:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter.—This is simply the result of the greater activity of John, who was probably younger than his companion. The thought that love outran doubt or fear, which has often been connected with the words, is not in harmony with the context, for “Peter therefore went forth” as soon as he heard Mary’s words (John 20:3); and Peter it was who first entered into the sepulchre (John 20:6).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 20:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
outrun
2 Samuel 18:23; Leviticus 13:30; 1 Corinthians 9:24; 2 Corinthians 8:12
Reciprocal: Matthew 28:6 - Come

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 20:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-20.html.

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

Ver. 4. "So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre."

Augustin: "After he had said that they came to the sepulchre, he returns back to say how they went." We have here John's supplement to Luke's word, "Peter ran." That it may be very plain where his more copious and exact narrative is to be inserted, John takes almost all the words of the summary account in Luke, and adapts his additions to them: Luke says, that Peter ran to the grave; John, that Peter and John ran, the latter faster than the former: Luke, that he stooped down and beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves; John uses the very same words, so that there can be no idea of mere accident in the matter: Luke speaks of the linen clothes alone; John says, that the napkin did not lie with the linen clothes: Luke, that he went home ( ἀπῆλθε πρὸς ἑαυτόν); and John uses the very same words, "went away again unto their own home" ( ἀπῆλθov πρὸς ἑαυτούς). If we attach their real value to these designed allusions, we shall not be misled by John's ver. 8, "And he saw and believed," in its plain reference to Luke's ver. 11, "And they believed them not." Now, says John, the earlier unbelief of the disciples gave way in the case of at least one of those disciples. It was not fortuitous that John in this way linked his narrative to Luke among the three Evangelists. Matthew breaks off his account of the holy women, after recording how the Lord appeared to them, and gave them a commission to the disciples; Mark still earlier, after his communications on the appearance and commission of the angel. Both fail to narrate the reception which they and their tidings concerning the resurrection and their message met with from the Apostles. Luke alone of the three Evangelists mentions this. Now, as it was John's design to furnish supplements to the first three accounts, it was natural that he should take up the thread where that Evangelist laid it down who had carried the common narrative furthest. There was all the more reason why John should refer to Luke, because Luke had not, like the other Evangelists, passed over in silence the event which John wished to record fully, the journey of the two to the sepulchre, but had related it imperfectly; so that it was of moment, in order to obviate the semblance of contradiction, to take up the earlier account again, and to indicate the places where the additions were to be inserted.

What made John run faster? We must reject all such external reasons as the more advanced age of Peter. If the difference had rested upon that ground, it would have been a trifling thing to mention. It is opposed also by the analogy of the following incident, where John yields in turn to Peter: John does not go into the sepulchre, Peter does. If in this the difference must be referred to the spiritual sphere, so also in the case of the running. The true interpretation will approve itself true, by referring both differences between the two Apostles to the same grounds. The reason why John ran faster was this, that he was the disciple whom Jesus loved. Personal love to Jesus, which kept pace with the love of Jesus to him, gave wings to his feet. (Quesnel: John must outrun Peter; we must be loved before we can love or run.) If the matter had been one of duty in his vocation, had there been anything to do or to suffer for Jesus and His Church, Peter would certainly not have been behindhand. Hence the reason was the same for which the Lord committed His mother, not to Peter, but to John. The Apostle had, in fact, in ver. 2, all but expressly assigned the reason, by there designating himself the disciple whom Jesus loved, ὃν ἐφίλει ὁ ἰησοῦςφιλεῖν, stronger than the ἀγαπᾷν, used elsewhere.

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Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 20:4". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-20.html.