Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 3:11

Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blindness;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Life;   Mysteries;   Salvation;   Unbelief;   Thompson Chain Reference - Distrust;   Experience (Knowledge Experimental);   Faith-Unbelief;   Infidelity;   Knowledge;   Knowledge, Experimental;   Knowledge-Ignorance;   Scepticism;   Unbelief;   Witness;   The Topic Concordance - Unbelief;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Nicodemus;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - John, gospel of;   Teacher;   Witness;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Disciple, Discipleship;   Salvation;   Testimony;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Episcopacy;   Unbelief;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Nicodemus;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Amen;   Jesus Christ;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Holy Spirit;   Knowledge;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gospels;   John, Gospel of;   John, Theology of;   Mss;   Nicodemus;   Scribes;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Authority of Christ;   Certainty (2);   Character of Christ;   Communion (2);   Discourse;   Holy Spirit;   Humanity of Christ;   Incarnation (2);   Individuality;   Influence;   Love (2);   Mental Characteristics;   Originality;   Property (2);   Righteous, Righteousness;   Sacrifice (2);   Son of God;   Teaching of Jesus;   Trinity (2);   Witness (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - 48 To Know, Perceive, Understand;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Regeneration;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Amen;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Heart;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Tabernacle, the;   Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - John, Gospel of;   Nicodemus;   Verily;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Nicodemus;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for September 24;   Every Day Light - Devotion for December 4;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

We speak that we do know - I and my disciples do not profess to teach a religion which we do not understand, nor exemplify in our conduct. A strong but delicate reproof to Nicodemus, who, though a master of Israel, did not understand the very rudiments of the doctrine of salvation. He was ignorant of the nature of the new birth. How wretched is the lot of that minister, who, while he professes to recommend the salvation of God to others, is all the while dealing in the meagre, unfruitful traffic of an unfelt truth! Let such either acquire the knowledge of the grace of God themselves, or cease to proclaim it.

Ye receive not our witness - It was deemed criminal among the Jews to question or depart from the authority of their teachers. Nicodemus grants that our Lord is a teacher come from God, and yet scruples to receive his testimony relative to the new birth, and the spiritual nature of the Messiah's kingdom.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 3:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

We speak - Jesus here speaks in the plural number, including himself and those engaged with him in preaching the gospel. Nicodemus had said John 3:2, “we know that thou art,” etc., including himself and those with whom he acted. Jesus in reply said, we, who are engaged in spreading the new doctrines about which you have come to inquire, speak what we know. We do not deliver doctrines which we do not practically understand. This is a positive affirmation of Jesus, which he had a right to make about his new doctrine. he knew its truth, and those who came into his kingdom knew it also. We learn here:

1.That the Pharisees taught doctrines which they did not practically understand. They taught much truth Matthew 23:2, but they were deplorably ignorant of the plainest matters in their practical application.

2.Every minister of the gospel ought to be able to appeal to his own experience, and to say that he knows the truth which he is communicating to others.

3.Every Sunday school teacher should be able to say, “I Know what I am communicating; I have experienced what is meant by the new birth, and the love of God, and the religion which I am teaching.”

Testify - Bear witness to.

That we have seen - Jesus had seen by his omniscient eye all the operations of the Spirit on the hearts of men. His ministers have seen its effects as we see the effects of the wind, and, having seen men changed from sin to holiness, they are qualified to bear witness to the truth and reality of the change. Every successful minister of the gospel thus becomes a witness of the saving power of the gospel.

Ye receive not - Ye Pharisees. Though we give evidence of the truth of the new religion; though miracles are performed, and proof is given that this doctrine came from heaven, yet you reject it.

Our witness - Our testimony. The evidence which is furnished by miracles and by the saving power of the gospel. Men reject revelation though it is attested by the strongest evidence, and though it is constantly producing the most desirable changes in the hearts and lives of men.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-3.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 3:11

We speak that we do know

Divine certainties

I.
Consider THE PLACE THE BIBLE HOLDS as an evidence of Christianity.

1. The Bible is the history of the Jewish people, and their existence to-day is a guarantee that the basis of the book is firm and undeniable.

2. Every contemporaneous and collateral witness adds to this assurance. The remains of Egypt and Assyria, the traditions of the Jews, allusions in Greek and Roman monuments and classic authors are grounds upon which we are assured of the historic character of the Scriptures.

3. The Bible is a whole literature.

4. It is the history of a religion. The fundamental ideas of the various books are the same--but there is a manifest progress. The earlier writers look forward to a greater revelation. The ideas become clearer and clearer. The advancing faith never contradicts the past, and at length the culmination appears in Jesus.

II. THE ADAPTATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO THE SPIRITUAL NEEDS OF MAN. Christ makes great assertions, but never attempts to prove them. Here He makes His heater’s hesitation the consequence, not of defect in the evidence, but of defect in the man. For such a truth as the new birth admitted of no other evidence than its own light. Salvation must be based on a voluntary self-surrender. No more proof must be given therefore than will leave room for doubt, if men desire to doubt. Mathematical truth admits of perfect demonstration, but if religious truth leaves no room for doubt, then faith ceases to be religious. Its evidence is a probation for man. The force of this evidence varies according to spiritual condition. If a man is debased by sin, he will not readily open his heart, but if he is convicted of sinfulness, he will respond to the gospel and perceive how exactly Divine revelation is adapted to his need. Then its certainty will be felt in proportion to what he has found of peace and gladness. Just as the correspondence between the eye and light makes it absolutely certain that the one was made for the other, so it is with Christianity. Water cannot rise above the level of its source, and that men should of their own accord produce the Bible, and infuse into it such a marvellous power of raising men near its standard, is incredible. We shall feel the force of this far more if we can bring our own experience forward as a testimony. In this way each Christian becomes a living proof. (P. W. Darnton, B. A.)

Christian faith a reality

It seems a moderate claim that the alleged truths of our religion should be respected as realities But this demand covers the whole ground. Admit

1. That God is a real Father and Sovereign.

2. That each soul is His child and subject.

3. That separation from Him is the most terrible of disasters, to be healed at any cost.

4. That Jesus is the Christ who achieves that reconciliation.

5. That a righteous life is the fulfilment of human destiny. Admit this, and you have granted the whole conclusion. The terms imply something more than intellectual assent. There is such a thing as an ineffectual creed. To realize a doctrine is to have it wrought into the roots of our life. This realization only takes place when the truth emerges from the nebulous haze of conjecture into clear, sharp light--when it takes hold of feeling and is taken hold of by faith. This is needed now for the true efficiency of religion. For our religion is not dogma, or theory, or dream, but a spiritual power. Let us examine a few facts, in the Christian faith which authenticate its claim as a religion of realities.

I. THE IDEA OF GOD. Christianity did not create this. It simply places itself on the basis of a natural reality affirmed by the consenting feelings and philosophies of the nations; and then proceeds to nourish and satisfy it.

1. It is a real authority that speaks (John 3:11).

2. There is reality in the very attitudes and occasions of its revelations.

3. Reality in its substance. “God is a Spirit,” and with that simple announcement old idolatries that materialized the gods, and mythologies that multiplied them, vanished.

4. Reality in its disclosures of God’s nearness and condescension. He is the God of houses, streets, schools--not distant or etherealized.

II. This opens the true doctrine of INTERCOURSE WITH GOD, or prayer. What is natural if not that a child should speak to his parents, that man should ask for what God only can give? Prayer is a reality--something yearned for, something satisfying. So speaks the world’s best experience. To pretend to ask things we do not really desire, or things we have heard others ask for, is not prayer, but speculation or traditional mummery. Christ brings prayer back to reality. “Ask, and ye shall receive.”

III. Co-ordinate with this is LOVE FOR MAN. Here again Christianity does not create the faculty, but out of it weaves the bond of spiritual brotherhood. In training this social instinct Christianity gives it the brightest tokens of reality.

1. It stimulates fellowship, and by the healthiest motive--disinterested mercy, of which its central and crucified Form is the incarnate example.

2. It regulates it by the wisest law--broad, far-seeing, equity, saving it from wronging one class by righting another, from destroying without constructing.

3. It directs it to the purest object--the personal relief, the universal liberation, the spiritual rectitude of each soul.

IV. Turning from the social to the private offices of Christianity, we encounter the only satisfactory interpretation of the natural YEARNING TOWARDS AN IDEAL MORAL PERFECTION. It is only in very inferior natures that this sensibility to exalted goodness is utterly depraved. Baseness secretly confesses the beauty of magnanimity. The story of incorruptible conscience is the perpetual charm of literature. With all select souls there is a tantalizing disparity between the aspiring aim and the lagging performance. How does the gospel justify this real passion for the best?

1. By blessing these native aspirations as the Divine seal set on humanity.

2. By encouraging them.

3. By furnishing them nutriment and discipline to ripen their vigour.

4. By holding up one in whom all their promises are realized.

5. By giving them a hereafter where they shall mature into open vision and into calm and balanced power.

V. Not less does the gospel fit the varieties of human consciousness in its great doctrine of A RULING CHOICE DETERMINING CHARACTER. It divides the world into two classes by the inexorable line of that voluntary consecration. There is one differencing point, the point of motive, where the world’s people and God’s divide.

VI. But there is one reality darker and more fearful. THE LAW AND GUIDE OF LIFE HAS BEEN BROKEN. I know I am frail, offending, and guilty. Who shall deliver me? Christ. He has come for that.

VII. Infer, then, THE REALITY OF CHRISTIANITY.

1. In its ministry to the cravings of simple, honest hearts.

2. In its marvellous adaptation to the pain and gladness, fear and hope of our humanity.

3. In its unpretending address to our common habits, speaking the language of life.

4. In its boundless relief for a boundless difficulty.

5. In its expanding and exhaustless fulness for all glowing souls.

VIII. THE EARLY CHRISTIANS PREACHED, LIVED, DIED, FOR THIS REALITY, AND CONQUERED THE WORLD. (Bp. Huntington.)

The positiveness of Christianity as a truth and a practice

Whatever exists, exists positively, has existence and also energy. Positiveness is the very soul of growth.

I. CHRISTIANITY IS POSITIVE.

1. God is a positive Being.

2. Man is a positive being.

3. Sin is a positive condition.

4. Holiness is a positive state,

II. CHRISTIANITY MUST BE POSITIVELY APPLIED.

1. It is to honour God.

2. It is to be serviceable to man.

3. It is to prove victorious over sin.

4. It is to be potential unto holiness.

III. THE POSITIVENESS OF CHRISTIANITY IS NEUTRALIZED

1. When it is interpreted as a system of polite moral and aesthetic education. There is a class of writers and preachers who blot out of the Scriptures everything that is positive, who drop every word that bristles with damnatory energy, theorize the birth of Jesus, reduce the atonement to heroism, treat human depravity as a misfortune, speak patronizingly of hell as an exploded idea, and allude pleasantly to heaven as a benevolent myth. Many people are frightened by this “modern thought.” They need not be, for this is a positive age, and a negative religion can make no headway.

2. When it is over-organized. Christ did not organize it because He saw that truth was over.organized, and therefore cramped. Christianity is a power only when it is organized in human hearts. (W. H. H. Murray.)

The positiveness of Christianity

You may judge of this

I. BY ITS WORDS. Its “shalls” and “shall nots” are like so many bugle notes put into print. They sound with the energy of the Apocalyptic trumpets. Its commandments fall upon the conscience as a hammer of steel falls upon the anvil. Its warnings sound like the solemn protest of an indignant universe. Its threatenings roll over the guilty soul like the dreadful reverberations of ponderous thunder. Even its invitations suggest the tension of anxiety, and its entreaties come to our ears impelled by the urgency of anxious and infinite affection. Its very words are charged with significance almost to the limit of explosion. Heaven and hell, sin and holiness, faith and unbelief, life and death, salvation and damnation--these are glorious or dreadful words, mighty affirmations, expressions which challenge the attention of the most sceptical, and fill the thoughtful mind with solemn awe. No other religion has ever weighted the pages of its sacred books with such dreadful emphasis; no other religion has ever brought its believers face to face with such stupendous positiveness of assertion and conception. But if the verbal expression of Christianity is thus positive, what language is adequate to describe the positiveness of

II. ITS SPIRIT? If its body is so tense and vibrant with energies, who may pourtray the vigour of its animating spirit? If the unlighted orb, as it hangs rayless overhead, can draw every eye to its dark circle, and compel human attention, what would be its power if its inherent fires should break through the shell of sombre surface, and the mighty sphere should suddenly be ablaze with beams? Tell me, you who know the words of Scripture, and have also felt the movings of its matchless and irresistible spirit, which is the stronger? Tell me, you who once heard in the word heaven the sound of sweet but far-off music, but who now have the resonance of the Divine harmonies sounding in you, did you know aught of that melodious word until the chime of it made music in your soul? No. Not till the spirit of Christianity is received into his heart can man know or dream how positive are its operations. Nor can man know what hell is until he lies enfolded within the coils of some serpentine remorse, and the dreadful stricture tightens on his conscience until he screams and moans in the agony of a tormented spirit. Do not say “exaggeration,” for you know that what I say is true, when I declare that men and women there have been who have committed crimes so dark, dreadful, and damning, so obnoxious even to their blurred moral vision, that the memory of their deed has haunted them--yea, haunted them so that they could not eat, nor sleep, nor forget: thefires of remorse were within their bosom, and they could not quench them; the “damned spot” was on their hands, and all the seas could not wash the awful stain away, and at last they died: died screaming in agony, as if the torment of hell had already got hold of them; and it had. (W. H. H. Murray.)

God’s message is but carelessly listened to

Massilon, in the first sermon he ever preached, found the whole audience, upon his getting into the pulpit, in a disposition no way favourable to his intentions. Their nods, whispers, or drowsy behaviour showed him that there was no great profit to be expected from his sowing in a soil so improper. However, he soon changed the disposition of his audience by his manner of beginning. “If,” says he, “a cause, the most important that could be conceived, were to be tried at the bar before qualified judges; if this cause interested ourselves in particular; if the eyes of the whole kingdom were fixed upon the events; if the most eminent counsel were employed on both sides; and if we had heard from our infancy of this yet undetermined trial--would you not all sit with due attention and warm expectation to the pleadings on each side? Would not all your hopes and fears be hinged on the final decision? And yet, let me tell you, you have this moment a cause where not one nation, but all the world, are spectators; tried not before a fallible tribunal, but the awful throne of heaven, where not your temporal and transitory interests are the subject of debate, but your eternal happiness or misery; where the cause is still undetermined, but, perhaps, the very moment I am speaking may fix the irrevocable decree that shall last for ever; and yet, notwithstanding all this, you can hardly sit with patience to hear the tidings of your own salvation. I plead the cause of heaven, and yet I am scarcely attended to.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 3:11". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/john-3.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

In this verse, Jesus changed to the plural "we," a change that may be viewed (1) as inclusive of the disciples there gathered with him and also sharing in the witness of the power of the new birth, or (2) as an employment of the editorial "we" instead of the first person singular. If the former is correct, it would have the force of saying, "Nicodemus, I am not merely speaking the truth to you, but the demonstration of it is also before your eyes in the person of my disciples; and yet you do not receive the truth."

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 3:11". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, we speak that we do know,.... Meaning either himself, and John the Baptist his forerunner, who preached the same doctrine of regeneration, internal sanctification, and evangelical repentance, as well as outward reformation, as necessary to entrance into the kingdom of heaven, or the Gospel dispensation, he declared was just at hand; or his disciples with himself, who were now with him, and whom he had called to preach the same truths he himself did; or the prophets of the Old Testament, who agreed with him in these things; or the Father that was with him, and never left him alone, and the Holy Spirit that was upon him, by whom he was anointed to preach these things, and who spoke them in him; or else he may use the plural number of himself alone, as being one in authority, and speaking with it, as he sometimes did, Mark 4:30, and the rather this seems to be the sense, since he immediately, in the next verse, speaks in the singular number, "if I have told you earthly things", &c. Now Christ must needs thoroughly, and certainly know what he spoke, since he was not only the omniscient God, but, as Mediator, had all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in him, and the spirit of wisdom and knowledge rested on him:

and testify that we have seen; and therefore ought to have been received as a credible witness, as he was a faithful one; since "seeing" and "knowing" are qualifications in a witness, Leviticus 5:1; and though these were eminently in Christ, the generality of the Jews gave no credit to his testimony:

and ye received not our witness; which was an aggravation of their sin and unbelief; see John 3:32.

Copyright Statement
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 3:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our i witness.

(i) You handle doubtful things even though you have no solid basis for believing them, and yet men believe you: but I teach those things that are of a truth and well known, and you do not believe me.
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 3:11". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-3.html. 1599-1645.

People's New Testament

We speak that we do know... ye receive not our witness. "Ye" includes Nicodemus and all Jews who failed to confess him; "we" includes himself and those who should testify of him by the Spirit.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 3:11". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-3.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

We speak that we do know (ο οιδαμεν λαλουμενho oidamen laloumen). Jesus simply claims knowledge of what he has tried to make plain to the famous Rabbi without success. John uses λαλεωlaleō some 60 times, half of them by Jesus, very little distinction existing between the use of λαλεωlaleō and λεγωlegō in John. Originally λαλεωlaleō referred to the chatter of birds. Note John‘s frequent use of αμην αμηνamēn amēn and λεγωlegō (double emphasis).

And bear witness of that we have seen (και ο εωρακαμεν μαρτυρουμενkai ho heōrakamen marturoumen). The same use of neuter singular relative οho as before. Perfect active indicative of οραωhoraō He is not a dreamer, guesser, or speculator. He is bearing witness from personal knowledge, strange as this may seem to Nicodemus.

And ye receive not our witness
(και την μαρτυριαν ημων ου λαμβανετεkai tēn marturian hēmōn ou lambanete). This is the tragedy of the matter as John has shown (John 1:11, John 1:26) and as will continue to be true even today. Jesus probably associates here with himself (“we”) those who have personal experience of grace and so are qualified as witnesses. Note the plural in 1 John 1:1. Bernard thinks that John has here read into the words of Jesus the convictions of a later age, a serious charge to make.

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 3:11". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

We speak - we know - we have seen

After the use of the singular number in John 3:3, John 3:5, John 3:7, John 3:12, the plural here is noteworthy. It is not merely rhetorical - “a plural of majesty” - but is explained by John 3:8, “every one that is born of the Spirit.” The new birth imparts a new vision. The man who is born of the Spirit hath eternal life (John 3:36); and life eternal is to know God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent (John 17:3). “Ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know ( οἴδατε ) all things” (1 John 2:20). He who is born of water and of the Spirit sees the kingdom of God. This we therefore includes, with Jesus, all who are truly born anew of the Spirit. Jesus meets the we know of Nicodemus (John 3:2), referring to the class to which he belonged, with another we know, referring to another class, of which He was the head and representative. We know ( οἴδαμεν ), absolutely. See on John 2:24.

Testify ( μαρτυροῦμεν )

Rev., better, bear witness of. See on John 1:7.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

We speak what we know — I and all that believe in me.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 3:11". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-3.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Verily, verily1, I say unto thee, We2 speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen3; and ye receive not our witness4.

  1. Verily, verily. See .

  2. I say unto thee, We. A rhetorical plural. See Mark 4:30.

  3. Speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen. His words were not founded upon reasonings, speculations, and guesses, but were the plain testimony of an eyewitness, who was able to see and had seen things which to us are invisible.

  4. And ye receive not our witness. Ye teachers of Israel, who, above all men, should receive our guidance, are the very last to follow us. As the Jewish rulers would not receive Christ's testimony, let us not be surprised if many of our day refuse to listen to the gospel which we preach.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 3:11". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-3.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Мы говорим о том, что знаем. Некоторые относят это только ко Христу и Иоанну Крестителю. Другие считают, что множественное число означает в этом месте единственное. Я же не сомневаюсь, что здесь Христос соединяет Себя со всеми пророками Божиими и говорит от лица их всех. Ибо философы и другие ветреные учителя часто за учение выдают придуманные ими басни; но Христос защищает Себя и других служителей Божиих, говоря, что они преподают только надежное и истинное знание. Ибо Бог посылает не тех, кто болтает о чем-то сомнительном и неведомом, но тех, кого учит в Собственной школе, дабы они передали другим то, чему научились сами. Далее, Христос, защищая этими словами истинность Своего учения, одновременно предписывает всем служителям правило скромности, дабы они предлагали не собственные домыслы и фантазии, и не распространяли человеческие выдумки, под которыми нет ничего прочного, но давали чистое и верное свидетельство о Боге. Итак, пусть каждый поймет, что ему открыто от Господа и не переходит пределов своей веры. Пусть не позволяет себе говорить то, что не услышал от Господа. Также следует отметить, что Христос подтверждает свое учение клятвою, дабы сделать незыблемым его авторитет.

Свидетельства Нашего не принимаете. Это добавлено для того, чтобы никто не отступал от Евангелия из-за неверия людей. Ведь истина Божия лишь у немногих вызывает веру, мир же ее повсеместно отвергает. Посему ее следует защищать от презрения. И величие ее не должно цениться низко из-за того, что почти весь мир ее презирает и омрачает своим нечестием.

Хотя смысл слов здесь простой и единственно возможный, отсюда можно извлечь двойной урок. Прежде всего, вера в Евангелие не должна ослабевать в нас из-за того, что имеет на земле так мало последователей. Христос как бы говорит: Как бы ни отвергали Моего учения, оно все равно пребудет твердым и непоколебимым. Поскольку неверие людей не мешает Богу всегда быть верным и истинным. Во-вторых, Он говорит: те, кто сегодня отказывается верить Евангелию, не останутся безнаказанными. Ведь Евангелие – священная божественная истина. Нам надлежит вооружиться этим щитом, дабы вопреки надменности людей пребыть в послушании Евангелию. И следует твердо придерживаться принципа: вера наша должна основываться на Самом Боге. Там, где мы видим автором Бога, мы, словно вознесшись на небеса, должны спокойно попирать и презирать мир, а не смущаться от неверия тех или иных людей. Из того, что Христос жалуется и говорит о неприятии Его свидетельства, мы заключаем, что Слову Божию во все века выпадала участь быть принятым лишь немногими. Ибо фраза «не принимаете» относится к большинству, почти что ко всему народу. Посему нам и сегодня нет причины смущаться от малочисленности верующих.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-3.html. 1840-57.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Ver. 11. "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know and bear testimony of that we have seen; and ye receive not our testimony."

The formula amen, amen ("in truth"), declares, as always, a truth which Jesus is about to draw from the depths of His consciousness, and which, presenting itself as a revelation to the mind of His interlocutor, must triumph over his prejudices or his doubts. The rabbinical teaching worked upon the letter of the Scriptures, but did not place itself in contact with the essential truth which it contained (v. 39). Jesus proclaims with an inward satisfaction the coming of a wholly different teaching of holy things, which will have the character of certainty: "that which we know;" because it will spring from immediate intuition: "that which we have seen." The two subordinate verbs, we speak, and we testify, are in correspondence with the two principal verbs: one speaks(declares) that which one knows; one testifies of what one has seen. There is, moreover, evident progress between each verb and the corresponding verb of the following clause: Knowledge rises to the clearness of sight, and speaking assumes the solemn character of testimony. The contrast marked here by Jesus between the rabbinical teaching and His own struck even the people; comp. Matthew 7:28-29.

But of whom, then, does Jesus speak when He says "We"? What is this college of new teachers whom He contrasts with the caste of the scribes and sages of this age which passes away (1 Corinthians 1:20)? These plurals "we speak...we testify" have been explained in a variety of ways. Beza and Tholuck understand by we: "I and the prophets." Bengel: "I and the Holy Spirit." Chrysostom and Euthymius: "I and God." The impossibility of these explanations is manifest. De Wette and Lucke see in this we a plural of majesty; Meyer and Keil, the plural of category: "teachers such as I." These explanations are less untenable. But this first person of the plural, used for the designation of Himself, is unexampled in the mouth of Jesus. And why return afterwards to the singular (John 3:12-13): "I tell thee...if I have told you...if I tell you."

Just as the you is addressed to other persons besides Nicodemus (comp. John 3:2 : we know), so the we must be applied not only to Jesus, but to a plurality of individuals which He opposes to that of which Nicodemus is the representative. We must, therefore, suppose that Jesus here announces to Nicodemus the existence of a certain number of men who al ready represent the new mode of teaching. According to Knapp, Hofmann, Luthardt, Weiss, etc., Jesus, when speaking thus, thinks only of Himself and John the Baptist. He alludes to that which John and He beheld in the scene of the baptism. But the idea of regeneration to which it is claimed that this seeing and knowing refer is totally foreign to the scene of the baptism, and even in our chapter, John 3:31-32, the forerunner expressly places himself outside of the limits of the new teaching inaugurated by Jesus. We believe, therefore, with Lange, Hengstenberg and Westcott, that Jesus is thinking of Himself and His disciples, of whom one or several were at that moment with Him; and who were beginning already to become the organs of this new teaching-office inaugurated by Him.

In the person of Jesus, then, through His acts and His words, heaven is constantly opened before their eyes (John 1:51); already they truly seeand know; their gaze pierces to the essence of things: "He who hath seen me, hath seen the Father." On this foundation, they already testify. What vivacity, what freshness, in the declaration of John and Andrew, John 1:42, in that of Philip, John 1:47, in the exclamation of Nathanael, John 1:50, in the profession of Peter, John 6:68-69! There are here, no doubt in a weak measure, sight and testimony. Jesus feels Himself no more alone. Hence the feeling of profound joy which breathes in these plurals: we speak, we know, etc., and which betrays itself even in the form of His language. Indeed, Luthardt has observed, with reason, that we see appearing here that form of parallelism which constitutes the poetic rhythm of the Hebrew language. This feature of style betrays emotion and always marks a moment of peculiar exaltation (John 5:37; John 6:35; John 6:55-56; John 12:44-45).

The language resembles chant. Nicodemus must learn that things are more advanced than he thinks! This passage recalls the one in the Synoptics where Jesus declares the preference which God gives to little children, to His humble and ignorant disciples, over the intelligent and learned rabbis of Jerusalem (Matthew 11:25; Luke 11:21). While his colleagues and himself are still waiting for the solemn hour of the advent of the kingdom, that kingdom is already present without their knowledge, and others participate in it before them! Meyer, Astie and others refer the expression "we have seen" to the knowledge possessed by Christ in His pre-existent state. But Weiss himself rejects here this explanation which he thinks himself obliged to adopt in other analogous cases (see on John 3:13). It would be altogether incompatible with the interpretation which we have given to the word we.

Before unfolding to Nicodemus what He knows and what He sees of the things above, Jesus sadly reverts to the manner in which His testimony has been received by the leaders of the theocracy: "And ye receive not our testimony." καί, and, has the meaning here of and yet (John 1:10). This copula brings out better than would the particle καίτοι, yet (which John never uses), the contradiction between two facts which should be exclusive of each other and which nevertheless move on together (hearing and rejecting the testimony). Jesus was conscious, as every living preacher is, of the inward resistance which His appearance and His teaching met in the hearts of the people and their rulers. A presentiment of this might have been had already at the time of the deputation of the Sanhedrim to John (John 1:19 ff.). The conduct of the people and the authorities, with regard to the solemn procedure of Jesus in the temple (John 2:12 ff.), had given Him the measure of that which awaited Him. The words of Nicodemus himself (John 3:2), in which he had called Him teacher in consideration of His miracles, not of His teaching itself (John 3:2), showed how little His word had found access to hearts. The want of spiritual receptivity, which the misunderstanding of Nicodemus had just betrayed, will, as Jesus perceives, render very difficult the acceptance of the heavenly revelations which he brings to the world:

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-3.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

Ver. 11. Ye receive not our witness] Our Saviour joins himself with the prophets (whose writings Nicodenms had read so negligently), and takes it for a dishonour that he should have written for men the great things of his law, and they continue strangers thereto, Hosea 8:12.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 3:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 3:11. We speak that we do know, Some have supposed, that, as Christ speaks here in the plural number, he may refer not only to the doctrine which was delivered by himself, but to the testimony which was given to the truth of it by John the Baptist, and to the preaching also of his own disciples, who all concurred in testifying the same things, the certainty of which they were assured of by the teachings of the Spirit, and by their own experience; while it was known to Christ by his omniscience, and by the intimate acquaintance he had with all the counsels of the Father.—And others have supposed that he includes here with himself the Father and the Spirit, who are expressly spoken of in other passages, as being witnesses to the truth of what he said, and as agreeing with him in the testimony that he gave. Compare ch. John 8:18, John 14:20; John 14:26 and 1 John 5:6; 1 John 5:8. But there is no necessity that we should suppose him to refer to any other than himself, since nothing is more usual than for a person of authority to speak of himself in the plural number, as Christ may be observed to have done elsewhere; (Mark 4:30.) and here, in the next verse, he appears to have restrained it to himself, where he says only in the singular number, If I have told you earthly things, &c. In the next clause, and testify that which we have seen, Christ seems to allude to what is mentioned in the law as qualifying a man to be a witness, that he was able to declare of what he had testified, that he had seen or known it, Leviticus 5:1.; and as he therefore had a clear perception and a certain knowledge of the truth of what he said, there was the highest reason to receive his testimony, and to regard him as a true and faithful witness.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 3:11". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-3.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

11.] Henceforward the discourse is an answer to the unbelief, and in answering that, to the question ( πῶς δύν. τ. γεν.) of Nicodemus: by shewing him the appointed means of this new birth, and of being upheld in the life to which it is the entrance, viz. faith in the Son of God.

ὃ οἴδαμεν λ.…] Why these plurals? Various interpretations have been given: ἢ περὶ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τοῦ πατρὸς τοῦτό φησιν, ἢ περὶ ἑαυτοῦ μόνομ (Euthym(48));—“Loquitur de se et de Spiritu” (Bengel);—of Himself and the Prophets (Beza, Tholuck);—of Himself and John the Baptist (Knapp);—of Teachers like Himself (Meyer);—of all the born of the Spirit (Lange, Wesley);—of the three Persons in the Holy Trinity (Stier);—or, the plural is only rhetorical (Lücke, De Wette). I had rather take it as a proverbial saying; q. d. ‘I am one of those who,’ &c. Our Lord thereby brings out the unreasonableness of that unbelief which would not receive His witness, but made it an exception to the general proverbial rule.

οὐ λαμβάνετε, addressed still to Nicodemus, and through him to the Jews: not to certain others who were present, as Olsh. supposes.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 3:11". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-3.html. 1863-1878.

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

John 3:11. Jesus now discloses to the henceforth silent Nicodemus, in growing excitement of feeling, the source of his ignorance, namely, his unbelief in what He testifies, and which yet is derived from His own knowledge and intuition.

The plurals οἴδαμεν, etc., are, as is clear from the singulars immediately following in John 3:12, simply rhetorical (plurals of category; see Sauppe and Kühner ad Xen. Mem. 1. 2. 46), and refer only to Jesus Himself. Comp. John 4:38, and its frequent use by St. Paul when he speaks of himself in the plural. To include the disciples (Hengstenberg, Godet), or to explain them as refering to general Christian consciousness as contrasted with the Jewish (Hilgenfeld), would be quite inappropriate to what has been stated (see especially ἑωράκ. μαρτ.). To understand them as including John the Baptist (Knapp, Hofmann, Luthardt, Weizsäcker, Weiss, Steinfass), or him along with the prophets (Luther, Beza, Calvin, Tholuck), or even God (Chrysostom, Euthymius Zigabenus, Rupertus, Calovius, etc.), or the Holy Ghost (Bengel), is quite arbitrary, and without a trace of support in the text, nay, on account of the ἑωράκ., opposed to it, for the Baptist especially did not by John 1:34 occupy the same stage of ἑωρακέναι with Christ. It is, moreover, quite against the context when B. Crusius says: “men generally are the subject of the verbs οἴδαμεν and ἑωράκ.,” so that human things—what one sees and knows ( τὰ ἐπίγεια, John 3:12)—are meant.

Observe the gradual ascent in the parallelism, in which ἑωράκαμεν does not refer to the knowledge attained in this earthly life (Weizsäcker), but to the vision of God enjoyed by Christ in His pre-existent state. Comp. John 3:32; John 1:18; John 6:46; John 8:38; John 17:5.

οὐ λαμβάνετε] ye Jews: comp. τοῦ ἰσραήλ, John 3:10; and for the fact itself, John 1:11-12. The reproach, like the οὐ πιστεύετε of John 3:12, refers to the nation as a whole, with a reference also to Nicodemus himself. To render this as a question (Ewald) only weakens the tragic relation of the second half of the verse to the first.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 3:11". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-3.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 3:11. ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, verily, verily, I say unto thee) Three times this expression is used to Nicodemus.— οἴδαμεν, we know) Jesus does not associate with Himself John or any other man: ch. John 1:18, John 6:46, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, etc., He hath declared Him:—not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father.” He speaks of Himself and of the Spirit. Comp. as to the Son, John 3:32, “What He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth:” as to the Holy Spirit, John 3:8; John 3:34, “He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him;” ch. John 16:13, “The Spirit of truth—shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak;” [also ch. John 5:30, I can of mine own self do nothing; as I hear, I judge.]— λαλοῦμεν) That only is what we speak.— οὐ λαμβάνετε, ye do not receive) [in faith, to wit.—V. g.] The plural, as in John 3:2, [Nicodemus said] we know.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 3:11". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Christ speaketh only of himself, though he speaketh in the plural number, for in the next verse he saith only, If I have told you earthly things; he lets Nicodemus know that he spake nothing but he was certain of. This he expresses by two words, know and have seen, which are terms expressive of the greatest certainty of a thing imaginable; for the terms express a certainty of the mind, arising both from the rational deduction and sensible demonstration: and herein our Saviour lets his ministers know what is their duty to teach unto people, viz. what they know and have seen. Those that think that the doctrine of the gospel would have no certainty but for the authority of the church, stand highly concerned to reflect upon this text.

Ye receive not our witness; ye ought to believe what I tell you upon the authority of my revelation; but such is the hardness of your heart, such your stubbornness and unbelief, that you receive not my testimony.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 3:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-3.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

вы свидетельства Нашего не принимаете Здесь множественное число местоимения «вы» отсылает к местоимению «мы» в ст. 2, где Никодим говорил как представитель израильского народа («мы знаем»). В ст. 11 Иисус ответил «вы», обращая внимание Никодима, то его неверие было типично для народа в целом.

(3:11-21) В этих стихах внимание переключается с Никодима и сосредоточивается на рассуждении Иисуса об истинном смысле спасения. Ключевым словом в этих стихах является слово «верить», использованное 7 раз. Новое рождение должно быть осуществлено действием веры. Тогда как ст. 1-10 сосредоточиваются на Божьей инициативе в деле спасения, ст. 11-21 придают особое значение отклику человека на дело Бога в деле возрождения. Раздел ст. 11-21 можно разделить на 3 части: 1) проблема неверия (ст. 11, 12); 2) ответ неверия (ст. 13-17) и 3) результат неверия (ст. 18-21).

(3:11, 12) Иисус обратил внимание на мысль, что неверие является причиной невежества. В сущности, неспособность Никодима понять слова Иисуса сосредоточивалась не столько в его интеллекте, сколько в его неспособности поверить свидетельству Иисуса.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 3:11". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-3.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Do know-have seen; Christ’s knowledge of truth was direct. He always spoke what he had seen with his Father, chap John 5:20; John 8:38. What his followers, therefore, had heard and learned of him, they could declare with certain knowledge of its truth. As Jesus knew the truth of what he taught, all are bound to believe it, and to let it have its due influence over their hearts and lives.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11.We’ we’ we—Jesus in the next verse speaks of himself in the singular. Who then is this we? “Himself and the prophets,” says Tholuck; “himself and John the Baptist,” says Knapp; “teachers like himself,” says Meyer; “all born of the Spirit,” say Lange and Wesley. “A proverbial saying,” says Alford, whom we thus far quote. In all this we agree with Stier, who refers it to the three persons of the Trinity. This is clear, as may soon be evident, from the fact that the we is said to know from seeing, and to be in heaven. Testify—on earth.

That we have seen—in heaven. John 3:13. Ye—The same as Nicodemus’s we in John 3:2, who are described in John 1:23-25.

Receive not our witness—They were guilty of receiving him as a miraculously attested teacher, (John 3:2,) and yet refusing to accept his teachings. Very futile, therefore, is the cavil that these words could not have been spoken at this time by Jesus, because they imply a rejection of him which had not occurred so early.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-3.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“In very truth I tell you, we speak what we know, and bear witness of what we have seen, and you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”

‘We’ is Jesus and His disciples. ‘You’ (plural) are Nicodemus and his co-religionists. ‘We (Jesus and His disciples) speak of what we know, and testify to what we have seen’. Already such things have happened in the ministry of Jesus that they should have convinced the world. Many lives have been transformed, many men have become more dedicated to God. Wonderful things are happening on earth. And they should have observed them.

And then he adds, ‘but you (plural) do not receive our testimony’. Here Jesus links Nicodemus with his co-leaders. The authorities had come to observe and to criticise, but they were not spiritually perceptive enough to recognise what was happening, that the promises of the prophets about the Spirit being poured down were being fulfilled. (While the greater inundation is in the future, the Spirit’s present work, constantly referred to in John’s Gospel, should have been sufficient to convince even the most incredulous).

This being so, even if He tells them even more wonderful things, He doubts if they will accept them, for they are deliberately closing their eyes. ‘If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?’ Those who will not accept the evidence of God’s activity before their eyes on earth, cannot hope to appreciate the deeper facts which His coming has brought into play. The things that are happening have far deeper roots than what is obvious on the surface, but if they are to be appreciated they require a total rethink.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-3.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

For the third time in this conversation Jesus affirmed a solemn truth (cf. John 3:3; John 3:5). Nicodemus had begun the conversation by humbly referring to himself as one of many authoritative figures who believed that Jesus had come from God ( John 3:2): "we know." Now Jesus described Himself as one of several authoritative figures who was speaking the truth: "we know." Evidently He was referring to the Godhead. Another possibility is that both men were speaking editorially. Nicodemus probably thought He was referring to Himself humbly or possibly to Himself as one of several teachers.

Jesus claimed to be speaking the truth as an eyewitness, but Nicodemus was rejecting that witness. The Apostle John later made a similar claim. He said he wrote his first epistle that his readers might enter into the joy of fellowship with God that the apostles, who were eyewitnesses of Jesus" ministry, enjoyed ( 1 John 1:1-4). John"s purpose in this Gospel was also that readers would accept his witness that Jesus was the Christ ( John 20:30-31). Nicodemus had rejected the witness, and Jesus saw him as representing many others who also did (plural "you"). Nicodemus had failed to understand ( John 3:9), but his more serious error was his failure to believe Jesus" testimony about the new birth. It reflected failure to acknowledge who Jesus really was, which His signs and insight into Scripture indicated.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-3.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 3:11. Verily, verily, I say unto thee. These words form the solemn introduction to a new division, a higher stage, of the discourse. The connecting link between John 3:10-11 is reproof. The last verse laid stress on the knowledge which should have prepared the teacher of Israel for the reception of the word of Jesus; in this the emphasis lies on the dignity of the Teacher whose word he had been so slow to receive.

We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen. The sudden transition to the plural ‘we know’ is remarkable. We cannot suppose that our Lord here joins with Himself the prophets of the Old Covenant, or John the Baptist, or that He is speaking of the testimony of the Father and the Holy Spirit. The key to the plural is found in John 3:8. Every one who dwells in the spiritual world of which Jesus has been speaking is a witness to its reality and its wonders. Here then Jesus associates with Himself in this emphatic testimony all who have been born of the Spirit. It is further to be observed that the change of expression is peculiarly appropriate, since he is about to pass away from the direct address to Nicodemus himself, and to speak through him to the class to which he belonged. Nicodemus had at first said ‘we know’ (John 3:2), as representative of others like-minded with himself, who by the signs had been led to faith in the name of Jesus, but were ignorant of His spiritual work. Jesus now contrasts with these another class, consisting of all who from their own experience could join Him in His testimony to the reality of the spiritual kingdom. The words of Jesus in chap. John 9:4 are equally remarkable in their association of His people with Himself.-The two parallel members of this verse bring the truth expressed into bold relief. The words closely correspond (knowing to speaking; seeing to bearing witness), while there is at the same time an advance in the thought, since bearing witness rises above speaking, and we have seen is more expressive than we know. In John 3:8, where the wind was taken as the emblem of the Spirit, the sense which bore witness was that of hearing. This verse speaks of something more convincing still, the sense of sight.

And ye receive not our witness. To such sayings of his Master we may trace the mournful reflections which are again and again made by the Evangelist (see John 1:11, John 3:32, John 12:37). Though the reference is to a class (‘ye receive’), yet the words seem to imply that some unbelief still lingered in the heart of Nicodemus himself.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-3.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 3:11. , . From this point dialogue ceases, and we have now an unbroken utterance of Jesus. It starts with a certification of the truth of what Nicodemus had professed himself unable to understand.— . Why plural? Were the disciples present and are they included? Or does it mean Jesus and the prophets, or Jesus and the Baptist, or Jesus and the Father, or is it the rhetorical “we”? Possibly it is merely an unconscious transition to the plural, as in this same verse the of the first clause becomes a plural in in the last clause. Or there may be an indefinite identification of Himself with all who had apprehended the nature of the new birth—the Baptist and the best of his disciples. Jesus does not wish to represent Himself as alone able to testify of such matters. Weiss’ view is peculiar. He thinks that the contents of the consist of what John and Jesus saw at the Baptism, when the Spirit’s descent indicated Jesus as the Baptiser with the Spirit.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 3:11". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-3.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

John 3:11. We speak that we do know — I, and all that truly believe in me. Or, he may refer to the testimony that was given to the truth of his doctrine by John the Baptist, and to the preaching also of his own disciples, who all concurred in testifying the same things, the certainty of which they were assured of by the illuminating influences of the Holy Spirit, and by their own experience, while it was known to Christ by his omniscience, and by the intimate acquaintance that he had with all the counsels of his Father. And testify that we have seen — Here our Lord alludes to what was required in the law to qualify a man to be a witness, namely, that he should be able to declare concerning what he testified, that he had seen, or known it, Leviticus 5:1. And as Christ, therefore, had a clear perception and certain knowledge of the truth of what he said, there was the highest reason to receive his testimony, and to regard him as a true and faithful witness. And ye — Jewish rulers, teachers, and people, are generally of such a disposition that ye receive not our witness — Either as true or important; but disbelieve and reject, or neglect it.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on John 3:11". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/john-3.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

We speak what we know. It may perhaps be asked here, why Christ speaks in the plural number? To this we must answer, that it is the only Son of God, who is here speaking, showing us how the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, and the Holy Ghost proceeding from both. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 3:11". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

testify = bear witness to. Greek. martureo. See notes on John 1:7 and p. 1511.

seen. Greek horao. App-133. Compare John 1:18; John 14:7, John 14:9.

ye : i.e. ye teachers of Israel. witness. See note on John 1:7.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 3:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen - that is, by absolute knowledge and immediate vision of God, which "the Only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father" claims as exclusively His own (John 1:18).

And ye receive not our witness - referring to the class to which Nicodemus belonged, but from which he was now beginning to be separated. Though our Lord says, "we speak" and "our testimony," Himself only is intended-probably in emphatic contrast with the opening words of Nicodemus, "Rabbi, we know," etc.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-3.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

11. We speak of what we know. Jesus came from God, and he knew first-hand the things he spoke about. The prophets told of the coming Kingdom, and even though no one expected what God was doing (1 Corinthians 2:9), they should have been able to see how the prophecies were coming true in Christ.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 3:11". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/john-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(11) Once again the “Verily, verily” of deeper truth. “We speak that we do know” is in sharp contrast to their formal teaching of matters external to the truth. The plural is not usual in the language of Christ, and the immediate passage to the singular forbids us to accept the usual grammatical explanation that it is the plural of majesty. He apparently joins others with Himself,—those who have spoken and known and testified, and whose testimony has been rejected by the Jews. We have to think of him whose life-work was to bear witness of the Light (John 1:8), and of the band of disciples who form a little school round their Master, and who in Jerusalem, as in Galilee, testified of Him; and it may even be that in the house and presence of one of that band this conversation took place (comp. John 3:2). They knew the power of the new life, and had been baptised of water and of spirit. In their measure and degree, as He in fulness, they spake what they knew, and testified what they had seen. (Comp. John 15:27.)

And ye receive not our witness—i.e., “ye Jews,” the teachers, of whom Nicodemus was one, the representatives of His own who received Him not (John 1:11). This attitude of the mind which refused to accept the evidence of witnesses as to things they had known and seen was of the essence of unbelief, and made further revelation impossible. When the will closed the faculty of faith, it left open no access for fuller spiritual truth.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
verily
3,5
We speak
13,32-34; 1:18; 7:16; 8:14,28,29,38; 12:49; 14:24; Isaiah 55:4; Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; 1 John 1:1-3; 5:6-12; Revelation 1:5; 3:14
ye
32; 1:11; 5:31-40,43; 12:37,38; Isaiah 50:2; 53:1; 65:2; Matthew 23:37; Acts 22:18; 28:23-27; 2 Corinthians 4:4
Reciprocal: Numbers 5:22 - Amen;  Psalm 81:8 - Hear;  Ecclesiastes 12:10 - written;  Matthew 5:18 - verily;  Mark 14:18 - Verily;  1 John 4:14 - we have;  Revelation 1:2 - and of all

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 3:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-3.html.

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

Ver. 11. "Verily, verily, I say unto thee. We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness."

The plural οἴδαμεν, here, corresponds to the plural οἴδαμεν in ver. 2, and stands in opposition to it; as can be the less mistaken, since the ὑμᾶς of the Lord, in ver. 7, referred to this plural, and since the οὐ λαμβάνετε, οὐ πιστεύετε, immediately following, also have regard to it. Now, since the plural there designates a real plurality, this must be the case here also. It cannot be doubted who is here meant, besides Jesus. "The divine messengers of former times, especially John the Baptist," would have been more particularly designated. The conclusion that they are meant, can be arrived at only by expedients of which there is no intimation in the Scripture. The most natural thought is of the disciples personally present. We perceive Jesus to be accompanied by these always from John 1:40 onwards; they being designated as His followers by the ἀκολούθει μοι in John 1:44, cf. John 2:2; John 2:11-12; John 2:17, John 3:22. We can scarcely doubt that they were here collected around Jesus. The supposition, that Christ here spoke in the plural of Himself alone, according to the manner of princes, is opposed even by the form of the expression. The declaration contains nothing which has reference to Christ's prerogative, but only what applies also to the Apostles, and what John elsewhere attributes to himself. Cf. John 19:35, and the introduction to 1 John— ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν, ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν,—and in Revelation 1:2, ὃς ἐμαρτύρησεν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ ὅσα εἶδε, on which the remark is made in my commentary, "John does not speak of himself, but only witnesses to the word of God, as it was certified to him by the testimony of Jesus Christ. By the words, that he saw, his own invention, or the intermingling of a luxuriant subjectivity, is entirely excluded." In the main, that only is expressed which the whole true Church of Christ may declare together with her Lord, and which especially every upright teacher may repeat after Him.

The Lord expresses mainly a fact, a great privilege, which belongs to the Church, in opposition to the wisdom of the world with its lively speculations. The disciples could then already speak of regeneration from experience, and not as the blind of colour. The germ of regeneration had been already sunk deep in their hearts. That, in general, from the first commencement of their relation to Christ, they began to speak what they knew, and to testify what they had seen, is evident from John 1:42; John 1:46; so that the objection of Lampe to the conjoint reference of the declaration to the disciples, "sed illi nondum testabantur," does not hold. To believe and confess, to know and to speak, to see and to testify, are closely and inseparably connected with each other. In the declaration, however, is implied a paraenesis. He who is tempted to bring forward his own fancies, must be terrified in view of these words of Christ.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 3:11". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-3.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

11.We speak what we know. Some refer this to Christ and John the Baptist; others say that the plural number is used instead of the singular. For my own part, I have no doubt that Christ mentions himself in connection with all the prophets of God, and speaks generally in the person of all. Philosophers and other vain-glorious teachers frequently bring forward trifles which they have themselves invented; but Christ claims it as peculiar to himself and all the servants of God, that they deliver no doctrine but what is certain. For God does not send ministers to prattle about things that are unknown or doubtful, but trains them in his school, that what they have learned from himself they may afterwards deliver to others. Again, as Christ, by this testimony, recommends to us the certainty of his doctrine, so he enjoins on all his ministers a law of modesty, not to put forward their own dreams or conjectures — not to preach human inventions, which have no solidity in theme but to render a faithful and pure testimony to God. Let every man, therefore, see what the Lord has revealed to him, that no man may go beyond the bounds of his faith; and, lastly, that no man may allow himself to speak any thing but what he has heard from the Lord. It ought to be observed, likewise, that Christ here confirms his doctrine by an oath, that it may have full authority over us.

You receive not our testimony. This is added, that the Gospel may lose nothing on account of the ingratitude of men. For since few persons are to be found who exercise faith in the truth of God, and since the truth is everywhere rejected by the world, we ought to defend it against contempt, that its majesty may not be held in less estimation, because the whole world despises it, and obscures it by impiety. Now though the meaning of the words be simple and one, still we must draw from this passage a twofold doctrine. The first is, that our faith in the Gospel may not be weakened, if it have few disciples on the earth; as if Christ had said, Though you do not receive my doctrine, it remains nevertheless certain and durable; for the unbelief of men will never prevent God from remaining always true. The other is, that they who, in the present day, disbelieve the Gospel, will not escape with impunity, since the truth of God is holy and sacred. We ought to be fortified with this shield, that we may persevere in obedience to the Gospel in opposition to the obstinacy of men. True indeed, we must hold by this principle, that our faith be founded on God. But when we have God as our security, we ought, like persons elevated above the heavens, boldly to tread the whole world under our feet, or regard it with lofty disdain, rather than allow the unbelief of any persons whatever to fill us with alarm. As to the complaint which Christ makes, that his testimony is not received, we learn from it, that the word of God has, in all ages, been distinguished by this peculiar feature, that they who believed it were few; for the expression — you receive not — belongs to the greater number, and almost to the whole body of the people. There is no reason, therefore, that we should now be discouraged, if the number of those who believe be small.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 3:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-3.html. 1840-57.