Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 3:29

He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Humility;   John;   Scofield Reference Index - Bride;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bridegroom;   Christ;   Church;   John the Baptist;   Silence-Speech;   Similitudes;   Voice;   The Topic Concordance - Jesus Christ;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Marriage;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Marriage;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - John the baptist;   Marriage;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Baptize, Baptism;   John the Baptist;   Joy;   New Jerusalem;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Episcopacy;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Bride;   Faith;   Solomon, Song of;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Canticles;   ;   Jesus Christ;   John the Baptist;   Marriage;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Bride;   John, the Gospel of;   John, the Letters of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gospels;   John the Baptist;   John, Gospel of;   John, Theology of;   Marriage;   Mss;   Scribes;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Complacency;   Dates (2);   Family;   Fulfilment;   John the Baptist;   Joy (2);   Marriage;   Marriage (I.);   Pre-Eminence ;   Worldliness (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Bridechamber, Children of the;   Bridegroom;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Bride;   Christ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Marriage;   Solomon the song of;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Marriage;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Bride;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Friend;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - John, the Baptize;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Baptism (Lutheran Doctrine);   Divorce in Old Testament;   Marriage;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - ;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for January 30;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He that hath the bride - The congregation of believers.

Is the bridegroom - The Lord Jesus - the Head of the Church. See Matthew 22:2, etc., where the parable of the marriage feast is explained.

The friend of the bridegroom - The person whom the Greeks called the paranymph - there were two at each wedding: one waited on the bride, the other on the bridegroom: their business was to serve them, to inspect the concerns of the bridechamber, and afterwards to reconcile differences between husband and wife, when any took place. John considers himself as standing in this relation to the Lord Jesus, while espousing human nature, and converting souls to himself: this is the meaning of standeth by, i.e. ready to serve. See the observations at the end of the chapter.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 3:29". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He that hath the bride … - This is an illustration drawn from marriage. The bride belongs to her husband. So the church, the bride of the Messiah, belongs to him. It is to be expected, therefore, and desireD, that the people should flock to him.

But the friend of the bridegroom - He whose office it is to attend him on the marriage occasion. This was commonly the nearest friend, and was a high honor.

Rejoiceth greatly - Esteems himself highly honored by the proof of friendship.

The bridegroom‘s voice - His commands, requests, or conversation.

This my joy … - “I sustain to the Messiah the relation which a groomsman does to the groom. The chief honor and the chief joy is not mine, but his. It is to be expected, therefore, that the people will come to him, and that his success will be great. The relation of Christ to the church is often compared with the marriage relation, denoting the tenderness of the union, and his great love for his people. Compare Isaiah 62:5; Revelation 21:2, Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:17; Ephesians 5:26-27, Ephesians 5:32; 2 Corinthians 11:2.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 3:29". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-3.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, that standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is made full.

In the New Testament, the church is called the bride of Christ; but this verse does not mean that the church was, at that time, established and that Jesus had possession of it. "The bride" here has reference to the spiritual Israel of God, that portion of the external Israel which were in fact the spiritual seed of Abraham. Although the spiritual Israel had been commingled with secular Israel throughout history to that time, the separation was then being made through the instrumentality of the baptism preached by John, a separation that would become final at Pentecost and afterward. As Westcott said, "The Baptist had fulfilled his office in preparing and bringing the representatives of the spiritual Israel - the new divine Bride - to Christ the Bridegroom."[25]

Rejoiceth greatly ... Far from being envious or jealous of Christ, John was delighted and gratified to see his popularity, even going so far as to say that his joy was made full.

It is erroneous to infer any kind of anachronism from John's use of the term "bride" in this place. Some have alleged that the apostle here imputed words to John the Baptist which were prevalent in the church at the time the Gospel was written. On the contrary, it was this statement of the great herald, along with our Saviour's frequent employment of the same metaphor, as in the parables of the ten virgins and of the marriage feast, which gave rise to preference for this metaphor in the early church. Such a perceptive leader as John the Baptist, to say nothing of his inspiration, found this metaphor most appropriate. The image of the bride and the bridegroom is found often in the prophetic books of the Old Testament, where it was invariably used to describe the relationship between God and his people Israel (Hosea 2:19; Ezekiel 16; Malachi 2:11, etc.). Thus, it should be concluded that John the Baptist received the metaphor from the Old Testament. It was his before it became the apostle's. Thus, the author of John did not impute his own words here, but gave an accurate account of what was truly said.

ENDNOTE:

[25] B. F. Westcott, op. cit., p. 57.

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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 3:29". "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

He that hath the bride,.... By whom particular persons seem here to be meant, who were called, converted, and brought to Christ, and were made his disciples, and baptized, and so were openly espoused unto him; though sometimes it designs a particular church of Christ, and even the whole general assembly, and church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven; all the elect of. God, whether among Jews, or Gentiles; see 2 Corinthians 11:2. These Christ has in a conjugal relation; and he came, and comes to have them after this manner: he saw them in his Father's purposes, and decrees, in all the glory he meant to bring them to; and loved them, and desired them of his Father, as his spouse, who gave them to him, as such; and he betrothed them to himself for ever; and in time he sends his ministering servants with his Gospel, to engage and betroth them to him; and by the power of his grace, he makes them willing to give up themselves to him; which is the open espousal of them; and at the last day, when the number of the elect are completed, the marriage of the Lamb will be publicly solemnized, and a marriage supper will be made; and all that are called, and ready, will enter into the marriage chamber, and share in the joys, and pleasures of that day: thus by virtue of the Father's gift, Christ has them now as his own property, as his portion, his jewels, his bride, and wife; and by, and through his great love to them, he has them not only in his arms, from whence they can never be plucked; but in his heart, where they are set as a seal; and by virtue of this love, they are united to him, become one with him, are members of his body, flesh, and bones; and are one spirit with him, and nothing can be able to separate them; and he will have them all with, him to all eternity, to be where he is, and behold his glory: and now, he that has the bride in this sense,

is the bridegroom; and such is Christ; see Matthew 9:15; and he acts, and behaves, as such; he loves the saints, as a bridegroom loves his bride, with a love prior to theirs; with a love of complacency and delight, which is single, chaste, and inviolable; free, and sovereign, wonderful, unchangeable, and from everlasting to everlasting: he sympathises with them in all their adversities, and afflictions; he nourishes, and cherishes them, and provides everything for them, for food, and clothing, for refreshment and protection; and interests them in all he has: and an amazing instance of grace this is, that such who are no better than others, children of wrath by nature; exceeding great sinners, guilty, and filthy; bankrupts, and beggars on the dunghill; and yet are taken into so near a relation to him; who is in the form of God, and equal to him, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, the Son of God, in whom all the fulness of the Godhead dwells; the King of kings, and Lord of lords. And this being the case, John suggests, that by these persons following Christ, and giving up themselves to him, it appeared that he was the bridegroom; and to whom should they betake themselves but to him? Nor did it become him, or any other, to seek to draw them from him; nor should any envy his enjoyment of them, since they were his in so peculiar a sense, and in so near a relation:

but the friend of the bridegroom; meaning himself: and such is every true minister of the Gospel; he is a lover of Christ, a friend to his interest, and seeks by all means to promote it, and to bring souls unto him. The allusion is to a custom among the Jews, who, at their marriages, used to have persons both on the side of the bride, and of the bridegroom, as companions that attended each, and were called their friends; see Judges 14:20. Such an one is called by the Rabbins, שושבין; and this word is interpreted by אוהב, "a lover", or "friend", the same as here; and by רעהו, "his" (the bridegroom's) "friend" in the time of his marriageF19Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 3. sect. 5. & Bartenora in ib. . There were two of these, one for the bride, and another for the bridegroom; for so it is saidF20T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 12. 1. , formerly they appointed two שושבינין,

""friends", one for him (the bridegroom), and one for her (the bride), that they might minister to the bridegroom, and do all things at their entrance into the marriage chamber. --And formerly, these friends slept where the bridegroom and bride slept.'

And so as John is here represented as the friend of Christ, the bridegroom of the church; the Jews speak of Moses as the friend of God, the bridegroom of the people of Israel. So one of their writersF21Jarchi in Exod. xxxiv. 1. Vid. Shemot Rabba, sect. 46. fol. 142. 2. , having delivered a parable concerning a certain king going into a far country, and leaving his espoused wife with his maid-servants, who raising an evil report on her, his friend tore in pieces the matrimonial contract, thus applies it:

"the king, this is the holy, blessed God; the maidens, these are the mixed multitude; and השושבין, "the friend", this is Moses; and the spouse of the holy, blessed God is Israel.'

The Jews sayF23Bereshit Rabba, sect. 8. fol. 8. 2. , that Michael and Gabriel were the שושבנין, "bridal friends" to the first Adam.

Which standeth; the phrase may be seen in the above parable of the Jewish writerF24Jarchi in ib. referred to, עמד שושבינה, "his friend standeth": this was the posture of servants, and is fitly applied to John, who was the harbinger of Christ, and judged himself unworthy to bear his shoes; and well agrees with the ministers of the Gospel, who stand before Christ, wait upon him, and minister in his name, and are the servants of the churches for his sake:

and heareth him; hearkens to his words; observes, and obeys them; hears his voice, so as to understand it, and distinguish it from another's; and hears it with delight and pleasure, as every true friend of Christ does his Gospel, which is his voice, and is a joyful sound; and so

rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: such an one rejoices at the sight of his person, and in communion with him; he rejoices at the sound of his voice; and is delighted to hear him in the ministry of the word, calling to one, and to another, to come unto him, and causing them to believe in him, and give up themselves to him.

This my joy therefore is fulfilled; in Christ, he being come in person, and his voice heard in the land of Judea, and multitudes of souls flocking to him, who believing in him, were baptized; than which nothing could be a greater pleasure to John, or to any Gospel minister. This was the accomplishment and perfection of his joy, which carried it to its utmost height: this was what he wished for; and now he had the desire of his heart. It was usual for the friend of the bridegroom to carry provisions with him, and eat and drink with the bridegroom, and rejoice with him; and this rejoicing was mutual. Hence those words,

"give me שושביני, "my friend", that I may rejoice with him:'

the gloss upon it is,

"and eat at his marriage, even as he also rejoiced, and ate at my marriageF25T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 144. 2. & 145. 1. .'

To this rejoicing the allusion is here.

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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 3:29". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-3.html. 1999.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

29. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

[But the friend of the bridegroom.] Of which we have already spoken in our notes upon chapter 2.

His friend, that is, his 'shoshebin.' Where the Gloss hath this passage, which at first sight the reader may a little wonder at:

The friend of the bridegroom is not allowed him all the days of the nuptials. The sense is; He is not admitted to be a judge or witness for him all that time, wherein for certain days of the nuptials he is his shoshebin, or the friend of the bridegroom.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 3:29". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/john-3.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The bridegroom (νυμπιοςnumphios). Predicate nominative without article. Both νυμπηnumphē (bride) and νυμπιοςnumphios are old and common words. Jesus will use this metaphor of himself as the Bridegroom (Mark 2:19) and Paul develops it (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32) and so in Revelation (Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2). John is only like the παρανυμπιοςparanymph (εστηκωςparanumphios) or “the friend of the bridegroom.” His office is to bring groom and bride together. So he stands expectant (ιστημιhestēkōs second perfect active participle of ακουωνhistēmi) and listens (ακουωakouōn present active participle of χαραι χαιρειakouō) with joy (rejoiceth greatly, αυτη ουν η χαρα πεπληρωταιcharāi chairei “with joy rejoices”) to the music of the bridegroom‘s voice.

This my joy therefore is fulfilled (πληροωhautē oun hē chara peplērōtai). Perfect passive indicative of plēroō stands filled like a cup to the brim with joy.

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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 3:29". "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

The bride

A common figure in the Old testament prophecies, of the relation between Jehovah and His people (Hosea href="/desk/?q=ho+2:19&sr=1">Hosea 2:19; Malachi 2:11). See also on Matthew 1:21, concerning Hosea.

Friend of the bridegroom

Or groomsman. The term is appropriate to Judaea, the groomsmen not being customary in Galilee. See Matthew 9:15, where the phrase children of the bridechamber is used. (See on Mark 2:19). In Judaea there were two groomsmen, one for the bridegroom, the other for his bride. Before marriage they acted as intermediaries between the couple; at the wedding they offered gifts, waited upon the bride and bridegroom, and attended them to the bridal chamber. It was the duty of the friend of the bridegroom to present him to his bride, after marriage to maintain proper terms between the parties, and especially to defend the bride's good fame. The Rabbinical writings speak of Moses as the friend of the bridegroom who leads out the bride to meet Jehovah at Sinai (Exodus 19:17); and describe Michael and Gabriel as acting as the friends of the bridegroom to our first parents, when the Almighty himself took the cup of blessing and spoke the benediction. The Baptist represents himself as standing in the same relation to Jesus.

Rejoiceth greatly ( χαρᾷ χαίρει )

Literally, rejoiceth with joy. A Hebrew idiom. See on Luke 22:15, and compare Acts 23:14; James 5:17. Only here in John's writings.

This my joy ( αὕτη ἡ χαρὰ ἡ ἐμὴ )

A very emphatic expression: this, the joy which is mine. The change of style in the following verses seems to indicate that the words of the Baptist break off at this point, and are taken up and commented upon by the Evangelist.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 3:29". "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

He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

He that hath the bride is the bridegroom — He whom the bride follows. But all men now come to Jesus. Hence it is plain he is the bridegroom.

The friend who heareth him — Talk with the bride; rejoiceth greatly - So far from envying or resenting it.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 3:29". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-3.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

He that hath the bride is the bridegroom1: but the friend of the bridegroom, that standeth and heareth him2, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice3: this my joy therefore is made full4.

  1. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom. John looks upon the body of disciples as the Lord's bride, and prophetically anticipates the very title which was subsequently applied to the church.

  2. But the friend of the bridegroom, that standeth and heareth him. It was the duty of "the friend of the bridegroom" to arrange the preliminaries of the wedding, and to promote the mutual interests of the bride and bridegroom. His duties and responsibilities greatly exceeded those of our "best man", for it was his place to demand the hand of the bride, and to prepare everything for the reception of the bride and bridegroom.

  3. Rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Joy at the sound of the bridegroom's voice is part of the drapery of John's figure. Voices of bride and bridegroom are a Biblical symbol of festivity and joy (Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 25:10; Jeremiah 33:11). The Song of Solomon is the only book in the Bible which dwells upon the relationship of bride and bridegroom, and in it the voice of the bridegroom is mentioned with joy (Song of Solomon 2:8).

  4. This my joy therefore is made full. If John meant anything more by the phrase than mere drapery, he used it to express his pleasure that the Messiah was directing his own affairs, and speaking his wishes with his own voice, instead of using his friend as a mouthpiece.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 3:29". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-3.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

This my joy; that is, the joy of the friend of the bridegroom. John means to say that he rejoiced in the success and celebrity of the Savior's ministry, instead of regarding it, as his disciples had anticipated, with envy and chagrin.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 3:29". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-3.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Имеющий невесту. Этим сравнением Иоанн доказывает, что может быть лишь один Христос. Он – Тот, Кто не включен в число прочих людей. Человек, беря себе жену, не для того приглашает друзей на свадьбу, чтобы отдать им невесту, и, отказавшись от своего права, допустить их к брачному ложу. Скорее он приглашает их для того, чтобы, почтив его брак, они сделали его еще священнее. Так и Христос не для того призывает служителей Своих к учительству, чтобы они присвоили себе господство над Церковью, но для того, чтобы воспользоваться их добросовестным трудом ради соединения с Собою Церкви. Велика и примечательна честь – поставить в Церкви начальников, действующих от лица Сына Божия. Они словно друзья, приглашенные женихом, дабы сообща отметить его свадьбу. Однако им следует видеть разницу, и, помня о своем положении, они не должны посягать на права жениха. Итог таков: какими бы достоинствами не выделялись учителя, это не должно мешать Христу быть единственным господином в Своей Церкви, в одиночку управляющим ею Своим Словом. Посему в Писании и встречается подобное сравнение. Оно встречается тогда, когда Господь говорит о священных узах усыновления, коими Он соединяет нас с Собою. Он воистину предлагает Себя нам, чтобы мы обладали Им. И Он справедливо требует с нашей стороны веры и взаимной любви. Той любви, которой жена обязана любить мужа. Кроме того, сей брак полностью совершен во Иисусе Христе, плотью и костью Которого являемся мы. О чем учит и апостол Павел (Еф.5:29). Чистота, требуемая Христом, прежде всего состоит в послушании Евангелию – мы не должны позволять увести себя от его простоты, о чем сказано во 2Кор.11:2. Итак, нам следует подчиняться одному Христу, признавать Его единственным нашим Главою, и даже на волосок не отходить от простого евангельского учения. Один лишь Христос должен иметь первенство славы и сохранять среди нас права жениха. Что же сказать тогда о служителях? Действительно, Сын Божий собирает их, чтобы поручить служение на Своем священном бракосочетании. Посему их задача всеми способами заботиться о том, чтобы невеста, попечение о которой на них возложено, предстала перед мужем чистой и непорочной девой. В процитированном мною месте Павел как раз и хвалится этим служением. Но есть служители, готовящие Церковь скорее для себя, нежели для Христа. Они вероломно нарушают брачные права Жениха. Те самые права, которые должны были строго блюсти. И чем большей честью удостоил нас Христос, делая нас стражами Своей невесты, тем преступнее будет наша неверность, если мы откажемся заботиться о сохранности Его прав.

Сия-то радость моя исполнилась. Иоанн имеет в виду, что достиг предела своих желаний. Видя, как царствует Христос, и как слушают Его люди, Иоанн не может желать ничего большего. Тот, кто имеет те же чувства, кто, презрев самого себя, возносит одного Христа и довольствуется Его славой, добросовестно и с пользой начальствует в Церкви. Тот же, кто хоть на малость уклонится от подобной цели, может лишь растлить невесту Христову.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 3:29". "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. 29. "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom, and the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom"s voice; this, my joy, therefore, is now perfect."

His position is subordinate to that of Jesus, but it has also its privileges and its own joy, and that joy perfectly satisfies him. νύμφη (the bride), is the Messianic community which John the Baptist was to form in Israel that he might lead it to Jesus; νύμφιος (the bridegroom), designates the Messiah, and, if we may so speak, the betrothed of this spiritual bride.

The name Jehovah signifies precisely: He who shall be or shall come. According to the Old Testament, indeed, the Lord would not confide this part of bridegroom to any other than Himself, and the coming of the Messiah is to be the highest manifestation of Jehovah Himself (p. 276); comp. Isaiah 54:5; Hosea 2:19; Matthew 9:15; Matthew 25:1 f.; Ephesians 5:32; Revelation 19:7, etc. The functions of the marriage friend were, first, to ask the hand of the young woman, then to serve as an intermediary between the betrothed couple during the time of betrothal, and finally, to preside at the marriage-feast; a touching image of the part of John the Baptist: ὁ ἑστηκώς he who standeth. This word expresses, as Hengstenberg says, "the happy passivity" of him who beholds, listens and enjoys.

While he fulfills his office in presence of the betrothed, the marriage-friend hears the noble and joyous accents of his friend, which transport him with joy. John speaks only of hearing, not of seeing. Why? Is it because he is himself removed from Jesus? But then, how can he even speak of hearing? If this term has a meaning apphcable to John the Baptist, it implies that certain words of Jesus had been reported to him, and had filled his heart with joy and admiration. And how, indeed, could it have been otherwise? Could Andrew, Simon Peter, John, these former disciples of the Baptist, be in his neighborhood without coming to him, to give an account of all which they heard and saw? This is the bridegroom"s voice, which causes the heart of his friend to leap for joy. The phrase, χαρᾷ χαίρειν (to rejoice with joy), corresponds to a Hebrew construction (the infinitive placed before the finite verb to strengthen the verbal idea); comp. שׂישׂאָ שׂוֹשׂ, Isaiah 61:10 (and the LXX); Luke 22:15. This expression describes the joy of John as a joy reaching to the full, and, consequently, as excluding every feeling of a different sort, such as that which the disciples were attempting to awaken in him. The words: this joy which is mine, contrast his joy as the marriage- friend to that of the bridegroom. John alludes to those words of the disciples: all go to him; in this spectacle is his joy as friend. πεπλήρωται, not: has been accomplished (Rilliet), the aorist would be necessary, but: is, at this very moment, raised to its highest point.He means: "that which calls forth vexation in you is precisely the thing which fulfills my joy."

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 3:29". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-3.html.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE JOY OF THE BRIDEGROOM’S FRIEND

‘The friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.’

John 3:29

John the Baptist here compares his own position with regard to our Lord to that of the friend of the bridegroom. Let us free ourselves from all the mean and lowering associations of a worldly marriage, and think of it only as it abides in the heart of God. This is what the Baptist is thinking of, and it is for us to consider in what points that figure of the bridegroom’s friend is like unto him.

I. John’s admiration of Christ.—There is, first, John’s loving admiration of Jesus Christ. You may have been blessed by God in having a friend whom you frankly admit as being your superior in every point you think of. He never speaks but you feel a fresh wonder at the clear and beautiful way in which he puts things. To your mind there never was, there never can be, any one quite like him. But all this is dim and faint and obscure compared with what John the Baptist felt in the presence of Christ our Lord. He seems to shrink into nonentity before the higher greatness, the pure holiness, of his beloved Lord. ‘I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?’

II. John’s estimate of his own work.—And secondly, there is John’s estimate of his own work. The marriage is in one sense already being celebrated, for souls are being brought to Jesus Christ. And in what has happened John sees the spirit of his own mission, his own work. This is just what he came to effect; it is being effected; John’s joy is fulfilled. For the bridegroom’s friend in Jewish life had something to do besides taking a formal part in the proceedings of the wedding-day. The preliminaries of the marriage were largely entrusted to him. Things really necessary were left in his hands. A great deal depended on his faithfulness and his tact. He would stand quiet and watchful, and when the joy of the bridegroom’s voice rang out, his face would light up as he thought that he had done something to bring about that blessed joy. So it was with John.

III. The relation of Jesus Christ to the faithful soul.—Thirdly, there is the deep reality, the full and blessed truth that is implied when we use the similitude of a wedding, which tells what Jesus Christ is to the faithful soul. ‘The voice of the bridegroom.’ She has heard it, the bride, the spouse of Christ; she has heard it, the human soul, the wife of His love. Look into the soul of John the Divine; look into the soul of St. Andrew. Think of the response they made to Christ’s love, think of the responses that the voice of Christ has awakened from that day unto now, that soul that in answer to Christ’s love has looked up to say, ‘My Beloved is mine and I am His.’ Can you wonder that the Bridegroom’s friend rejoices?

IV. Are we friends of the bridegroom?—Let us think of ourselves from one point of view, not as the friend of the Bridegroom—no, but actually—God help us—as the bride. But in another aspect we may claim to stand, not as the bride, but as the Bridegroom’s friend, to prepare Christ’s way, to win for Him an entrance into the hearts of other men. Three things are necessary for this.

(a) We must catch something of John’s enthusiasm for Jesus Christ.

(b) We must have clear thoughts as to His purpose and His will.

(c) We must believe that Christ in His love for men uses their brother men to bring this blessedness about, that in a thing so sacred as His own marriage, even in a thing so sacred as His espousal to the human soul, even in a thing so sacred as His saving union with men’s hearts, He is content to employ human aid. He does not disdain to use it if we will put ourselves simply at His service. There is no joy, my brethren, like it—no joy like the joy of the Bridegroom’s friend, the joy of winning a soul for Christ, the joy of winning and compelling and constraining to hear the voice of Jesus.

—Bishop H. L. Paget.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on John 3:29". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/john-3.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

Ver. 29. The friend of the bridegroom] Such is every faithful minister, 2 Corinthians 11:2, whose office is to woo for Christ, and not (as some) to speak one word for him and two for himself. This is foul play.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 3:29". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 3:29. He that hath the bride, is the bridegroom: "So far am I from envying his growing fame, or the number of his disciples, that I greatly rejoice in both; just as the bridegroom's friend, who is appointed to stand and hear him converse with his bride, rejoices in the love that she expresses to him; of which love the friend forms an idea likewise, by what he hears, the bridegroom say to her in return. My highest joy therefore is, that men cheerfully submit to the Messiah, and pay him all due honour." Among the Jews there is frequent mention, in the marriage ceremonies, of the Hhupha, a canopy or place where the bridegroom used to discourse familiarly with the bride, under a covering, as the means of conciliating her esteem, which he was not supposed to have done till he came cheerfully out of the Hhupha. This custom is preserved by the modern Jews, either before the synagogue, in a square place covered over, or, where there is no synagogue, they throw a garment over the bridegroom and the bride. While the bridegroom is engaged in this conference with the bride, his friends stand at the door or entrance; and when they hear the voice of joy from the bridegroom, a signal of his success, they immediately rejoice and spread the happy news. These circumstances appear to give light to the present passage; and as the idea of a bridegroom is more than once affixed to our Saviour, and the gospel dispensation compared to a marriage-feast, this interpretation will need no farther proof to establish it.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 3:29". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-3.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

29.] Here first, (and here only in our Gospel,) comes from the mouth of the Forerunner, this great symbolical reference which is so common in the other Gospels and in the Epistles. It is remarkable that our Lord brings it forward in His answer to the disciples of John respecting fasting, Matthew 9:15; where see note on the further import of the terms used.

The φίλος τοῦ νυμφίου (Heb. שׁוֹשְׁבַּן) was the regular organ of communication in the preliminaries of marriage, and had the ordering of the marriage feast. It is to this last time, and not to any ceremonial custom connected with the marriage rites, that this verse refers. The friend rejoices at hearing the φωνὴ τοῦ νυμφίου, (see Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9; Jeremiah 25:10; Revelation 18:23,) in his triumph and joy, at the marriage. He χαρᾷ χαίρει (see reff.: 1 Thessalonians 3:9 is not a parallel case as to construction, for there is only by attraction) because he hears in the voice of the Bridegroom an assurance of the happy completion of his mission, and on account of the voice itself,— τὴν οὕτω γλυκεῖαν, τὴν οὕτως ἐπέραστον, τὴν οὕτω σωτήριον.

ἑστηκὼς καί belongs merely to the graphic setting forth of the similitude.

αὕτη πεπλήρ.] παραδόντος ἐκείνῳ τὴν νύμφην, καὶ πεπληρωκότος, ὡς εἴρηται, τὴν ἐγχειρισθεῖσάν μοι διακονίαν. Euthym(55)

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 3:29". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-3.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 3:29. ἔχων) He who hath, or whom the bride follows. All come to Jesus: hence it is clear, that Jesus is the Bridegroom. See the Song of Solomon.— φίλος, the friend) Dear to the Bridegroom, loving the Bridegroom. The derivation of John accords.(59) It is the part of a friend to rejoice,— ἐστηκώς, who standeth) as His attendant.— ἀκούων) hearing Him speaking with the bride, John 3:32; John 3:34, “What He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth;—He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God.” These two participles are part of the subject: the predicate is χαίρει, rejoiceth.— φωνήν, the voice) by which the Bridegroom testifies His presence, John 3:32. This voice sweetly attracts the bride.— χαρά, joy) without sadness and envy.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 3:29". 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, whose the church is by a right of redemption, and by its having given up itself to him, 2 Corinthians 8:5, he is the Bridegroom of it, Matthew 22:2 2 Corinthians 11:2 Ephesians 5:23,25,29; as his Father was the Husband of the Jewish church; it belongeth to him to give laws to it, and to order matters and affairs in it. I am but as one who is

the friend of the bridegroom, one of the children of the bride chamber, Matthew 9:15, and have by my preaching prepared the people of the Jews for him; and instead of being troubled to hear that he is come, I rejoice greatly to hear his voice. So far am I from repining to hear that multitudes go to him, that

my joy is fulfilled; that is, I have no greater satisfaction than to hear it.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 3:29". 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

жених... друг жениха Используя эту притчу, Иоанн выразил понимание своей собственной роли. «Друг жениха» издавна был самым почитаемым человеком, который заботился обо всех деталях и сидел во главе стола иудейской свадьбы (галилейские свадьбы несколько отличались). Этот друг очень радовался, когда видел, что торжество протекает благополучно. Вероятнее всего, Иоанн также косвенно указывал на места Ветхого Завета, где верный Израиль изображается невестой Господа (Ис. 62:4, 5; Иер. 2:2; Ос. 2:16-20).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 3:29". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-3.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Hath the bride is the bridegroom; in these words John teaches that Christ’s relation to "the kingdom of heaven" is that of the bridegroom to the bride. The church is his own, and ought to render to him supreme honor. John, on the other hand, is only the bridegroom’s friend. He was sent to foretell his coming, and now rejoices to be lost sight of in his greater glory.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 3:29". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“He who has the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and listens to him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase and I must decrease.”

In the Old Testament Israel was regularly pictured as God’s bride (Isaiah 62:4-5; Ezekiel 16:8; Hosea 2:19-20), so when John says that it is right that she should listen to the bridegroom, there is an implication of Jesus’ status as Son of God. The bridegroom’s helper can only be glad at hearing the Bridegroom’s voice, because it means that he has been carrying out his duties successfully. The depiction of Jesus as the Bridegroom is another indication of His status, for in the Old Testament God was the bridegroom and Israel the bride. John gladly recognises the total superiority of Jesus as a unique divinely chosen figure.

‘The friend of the bridegroom’. Not strictly ‘the best man’ but with a fairly similar function. He would make all arrangements for the success of the bridegroom. Thus having prepared the way John is delighted that the One has come Whoisthe Way (John 14:6). Just to hear His voice brings joy to John’s heart and he is fully satisfied.

‘He must increase, and I must decrease’. John does not hide the truth from himself, nor does he wish to. These words should be written on all our hearts. We are most successful when we are seen as unimportant because men’s eyes are turned on Jesus. John is content to become unimportant, so that the One to whom he testifies is recognised for what He is. The very fact that Jesus is the Christ makes His increase certain, and John accepts that thismustlead to he himself being put into the background. These verses bring out John’s greatness, and the even greater greatness of Jesus.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 3:29". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-3.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

29.Friend of the bridegroom—The paranymph, or groomsman, whose business it was, rightly and skillfully, to bring about the marriage consummation.

Heareth’ the bridegroom’s voice—Throughout the marriage negotiations, ceremony, and vow, the groomsman stands, like a faithful watchman, and hears the loving and happy tones of the bridegroom’s voice. However mortified his disciples may be, (see note on John 3:27,) John rejoices to see Jesus married to his new Church. He watches the progress with humble, faithful interest, eager for the consummation.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 3:29". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-3.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

John"s illustration showed that his attitude and behavior were consistent with normal conduct. In the illustration Jesus is the bridegroom and John is the bridegroom"s friend.

"The assistant acted on behalf of the bridegroom and made the preliminary arrangements for the ceremony." [Note: Blum, p283.]

The bride is probably a reference to Israel (cf. Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 62:4-5; Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:20; Ezekiel 16:8; Hosea 2:16-20). John was therefore implying that he played a supporting role in Messiah"s union with Israel. This was a testimony to Jesus" identity as Messiah whom John said he rejoiced to hear.

When John the Baptist spoke these words the church was an unknown entity in God"s plan, so it is unlikely that it was in his mind. However the original readers of this Gospel were probably familiar with the Apostle Paul"s revelations concerning the church being the bride of Christ (e.g, 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Ephesians 5:32). Israel had spurned her bridegroom when He came for her, and consequently He had taken a different bride for Himself. John"s joy was complete or full (Gr. pleroun) because he knew that he was fulfilling his role faithfully. Jesus" increasing popularity filled John"s disciples with resentment, but it filled John with joy.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 3:29". "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 3:29. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore hath been fulfilled. He that hath the bride,’ he and no other, ‘is the bridegroom. The Lord is taking home His bride-His people. To the name of bridegroom I have no claim, nor can I have the bridegroom’s joy. But in his joy his friends must needs share. The friend of the bridegroom that standeth and heareth his voice, catching the first sound as he draws near, listening to the words and tones in which his joy breaks forth throughout the marriage feast, he too has his joy, a reflection of the rejoicing of the bridegroom: this joy is mine, and it is now filled to the full.’ In these exquisitely tender and beautiful words does the Baptist at once reprove the natural but petty jealousies of his disciples and set forth his own relation to Jesus. The image employed is common in the Old Testament (Isaiah 54; Jeremiah 3:31; Hosea 2; Ezekiel 16, 23), even if nothing be said of the Song of Solomon, and is taken up in the New (Matthew 9:15; Matthew 9:25; 2 Corinthians 11; Ephesians 5; Revelation 19, 21). By the ‘friend’ John does not mean the particular friend who presided over the marriage ceremonies (the Shoshben), for the words ‘standeth and heareth’ are unsuitable to a functionary whose duties were those of action. But these words exactly correspond to the position of the Baptist as one who stood apart and listened. Once only does the Forerunner seem to have met with Jesus: afterwards he watched His course and rejoiced, and pointed his disciples to his Lord.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 3:29". "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 3:29. ’ The bride is the familiar O.T. figure expressive of the people in their close relation to God (Isaiah 54:5, Hosea 2:18, Psalms 45). This figure passes into N.T. Cf.Matthew 22:2, Ephesians 5:32, James 4:4.— , he that has and holds as a wife. Cf.Mark 6:18, Isaiah 54:1; Isaiah 62:5.— , it is the bridegroom, and no one else, who marries the bride and to whom she belongs. There is only one in whom the people of God can find their permanent joy and rest; one who is the perennial spring of their happiness and life.— , the friend, par excellence, the groomsman, , , or in Hebrew Shoshben, who was employed to ask the hand of the bride and to arrange the marriage. For the standing and duties of the Shadchan and Shoshben see Abraham’s Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, pp. 170, 180. The similar function of the Hindu go-between or ghatak is fully described in The City of Sunshine. The peculiar and intense gratification [ , intensely rejoices, see especially Lücke, who renders “durch und durch”; Weizsäcker, “freut sich hoch”; R.V[46], “rejoiceth greatly”] of this functionary was to see that his delicate task was crowned with success; and of this he was assured when he stood and heard the bridegroom directly welcoming his bride [“voice of bridegroom” as symbol of joy, Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9].— . This is the joy which John claims for himself, the joy of the bridegroom’s friend, who arranges the marriage, and this joy is attained in Christ’s welcoming to Himself the people whom John has prepared for Him and directed to Him. Cf.2 Corinthians 11:2, where Paul uses similar language. It is not John’s regret that men are attracted to Jesus: rather it is the fulfilment of his work and hope. This was the God-appointed order.

[46] Revised Version.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 3:29". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-3.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

of whom you complain is the bridegroom, and I am the friend of the bridegroom, sent before to prepare his bride; that is, to collect for him a Church from all nations. (Alcuin.) --- The servants of the bridegroom do not rejoice in the same manner as his friends: I am his friend, and I rejoice with very great joy, because of the bridegroom's voice. He must increase, and I must decrease; by which words the great precursor demonstrates to the world, that not the least envy with regard to his divine Master rankles in his heart; by on the contrary, that he should be happy to see all his followers desert him, to run to Jesus Christ. (St. John Chrysostom)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 3:29". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the friend, &c. He played a very important part in the wedding ceremonies.

rejoiceth greatly. Figure of speech Polyptoton (App-6). Greek. chara chairei = joyeth with joy.

because of. Greek. dia. App-104. John 3:2.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 3:29". "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

He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly [or 'with joy' chara (G5479) chairei (G5463)] because of the bridegroom's voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 3:29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-3.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(29) He that hath the bride is the bridegroom.—This is the only instance in this Gospel where the familiar imagery of an Eastern marriage meets us. (See Note on Matthew 9:15, where we have the same imagery in the answer of our Lord to these same disciples of John, then taking sides with the Pharisees, on the question of fasting.) The “friend of the bridegroom”—called by the Hebrews “Shôshbçn,” and by the Greeks “Paranymph”—was charged with the preliminaries of the marriage. He arranged the contract, acted for the bridegroom during the betrothal, and arranged for, and presided at, the festivities of the wedding-day itself. It was a position of honour, in proportion to the position of the bridegroom himself, and was given to his chief friend. That friend then joyed in his joy, and there was none brighter on that day than he. This in John’s thought is an illustration of his own position. The bridegroom is the Messiah; the bride is the Kingdom of God—the church, consisting of all who with pure hearts are willing to receive Him; the friend who has arranged the betrothal, who has prepared these hearts, is John himself. He now stands and hears the Bridegroom. Some of those who had been prepared by him for the Bridegroom would have come, it may be, and told him of his words. He is now near at hand. Throngs crowd to Him. The bride is approaching. Do they see in all this matter for envy? It is to him the consummation of all hopes. The life-work has not been in vain. The cup runs over. The joy is fulfilled.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 3:29". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
hath
Psalms 45:9-17; Song of Solomon 3:11; 4:8-12; Isaiah 54:5; 62:4,5; Jeremiah 2:2; Ezekiel 16:8; Hosea 2:19; Matthew 22:2; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:7-9; 21:9
the friend
Judges 14:10,11; Psalms 45:14; Song of Solomon 5:1; Matthew 9:15
this
Isaiah 66:11; Luke 2:10-14; 15:6
Reciprocal: Exodus 33:11 - his friend;  Judges 14:20 - his friend;  Psalm 19:5 - bridegroom;  Song of Solomon 2:3 - my beloved;  Song of Solomon 2:6 - GeneralSong of Solomon 2:8 - voice;  Song of Solomon 4:9 - my spouse;  Jeremiah 31:32 - although I was;  Jeremiah 33:11 - voice of joy;  Hosea 2:16 - Ishi;  Matthew 25:1 - the bridegroom;  Mark 2:20 - the bridegroom;  Mark 11:31 - Why;  Luke 3:15 - mused;  Luke 3:18 - GeneralLuke 5:34 - bridegroom;  John 10:4 - for;  John 10:41 - but;  John 11:11 - he saith;  John 17:13 - that;  Romans 7:4 - that ye;  1 Corinthians 1:15 - I;  Ephesians 5:32 - speak;  Philippians 2:2 - Fulfil;  Colossians 1:18 - in all;  Revelation 12:1 - a woman;  Revelation 21:2 - as

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 3:29". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-3.html.

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

Ver. 29. "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegrooms voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled."

The words, ὁ ἑστηκὼς καὶ ἀκούων αὐτοῦ, refute the current representation, that John avoided a closer relation to Christ; and show that, as would be a matter of course after his declaration, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh upon Him the sin of the world," he eagerly received the intelligence of Christ's words and deeds. It certainly seems, that in order to preserve his isolated position as forerunner, he did not enter into any closer personal intercourse with Jesus. But he maintained communion with Him by the medium of other persons,—of whom we must suppose the Apostle John before all to have been one, who had been pointed to Christ by the Baptist himself, and of whom it was to be expected that he would not break off the relation with his former master, but would avail himself of the proximity of the scenes of their respective ministries, to communicate to the old master out of the abundance of that which he had gained from the new. Coincident with the words, ὁ ἑστηκὼς καὶ ἀκούων αὐτοῦ, is the fact, that this speech of the Baptist contains unmistakeable points of contact with Christ's conversation with Nicodemus; which has been very incorrectly explained, by supposing a mingling in of the subjectivity of the Evangelist, or that he lent his thoughts and words to the Baptist. Cf. with the words, ὃ οἴδαμεν λαλοῦμεν καὶ ὃ ἑωράκαμεν μαρτυροῦμεν, καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἡμῶν οὐ λαμβάνετε, in ver. 11, ver. 32 here; with ὁ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καταβάς, in ver. 13, ὁ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐρχόμενος in ver. 31; with ver. 36, ὁ πιστεύων εἰς τὸν υἱὸν ἔχει ζωὴν αἰώνιον, ver. 15, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων ἐν αὐτῷ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον, and with the second part of this verse compare ver. 18. In the ἀκούων αὐτοῦ of the Baptist, we have an express declaration in what way this coincidence is to be explained. If we suppose that the Evangelist has ascribed his own words to the Baptist, it is not explained why the points of connection are almost all with that conversation with Nicodemus, of which the mind of the Apostle was just at this time particularly full. The disciples of the Baptist may be divided into two classes. It was a Divine appointment, that his heart was prepared by intercourse with the better part, when this temptation met him. The standing designates the passivity of the friend, who has nothing to do, but to hear and to rejoice.

With χαρᾷ χαίρει compared שוש אשיש in Isaiah 61:10. The infinitive prefixed in Hebrew renders the verbal conception emphatic, Ewald, § 312; and the LXX. usually render it by the dative of the abstract noun derived from the verb. Joy is designated by χαρᾷ χαίρει as the single feeling of the Baptist, in opposition to others which were expected by his disciples—joy, and only joy. The joy is fulfilled when it has reached its highest point, John 15:11, John 16:24; 1 John 1:4; 2 John 1:12. There is not here a placing together of figure and thing signified, so that the application would be given in the words αὓτη οὖν, etc.; but the bride is from the first Zion, the bridegroom Christ, the friend of the bridegroom John. It is not said, Such joy, or an equal joy, is now granted me; but, This my joy is now fulfilled; and accordingly, even in what precedes, John must have been he who rejoices on account of the voice of the bridegroom. The words, from ὁ ἔχων to νυμφίου, represent the relation in general; and the words, αὕτη, etc., declare that that which respects the position of John towards Christ has now just attained its complete realization, and lead to the conclusion, that his knowledge of Christ had immediately before received an accession, namely, by the communications of the Apostle John, and from what he had otherwise learned of Christ, in consequence of the close contact of their respective circles of influence.

There can be no doubt that this declaration of John is based on the spiritual interpretation of the Song of Songs. The Song of Songs, which Josephus reckons without hesitation among the prophetical writings, is, together with the connected forty-fifth Psalm (cf. my Comm. ii. p. 118), the only part of the Old Testament in which the relation of Christ to the Church is represented under the figure of the relation of the bridegroom to the bride: the bride, כלה, in Song of Solomon 4:8-12; Song of Solomon 5:1. We are led to the Song of Songs especially by the mention of the voice of the bridegroom: cf. Song of Solomon 2:8, "The voice of my beloved"—what the voice of the bridegroom says, is recorded in vers. 10-14, after his appearance has been more exactly described—and ver. 2, "It is the voice of my beloved that knocketh; Open to me, my friend." According to this passage, the voice of the bridegroom is to be considered as addressed to the bride. The voice of the bridegroom here is not to be traced to Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9; Jeremiah 25:10; Jeremiah 33:11. For there the voice of the bridegroom and the bride are inseparable, and both together designate the nuptial joy. From the Song of Songs also, John 5:1, was derived the friend of the bridegroom; for here the bridegroom addresses the friends, רעים. They are invited to participate in the loving intercourse between the bridegroom and the bride. This is a far more real reference than that to the Jewish Shoseben [= paranymph, companion], who had other things to do than to stand and hear the bridegroom's voice. In Song of Solomon 5:1, the same passage on which Revelation 3:20 also is based, we have all together—the bride, the voice of the bridegroom, and the friend. Only the strongest prejudice will after these details be able to deny the reference to the Song of Songs, in which Matthew 9:15; Matthew 25:1 sq.; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:17, coincide with our text.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 3:29". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-3.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

29.He who hath the bride. By this comparison, he confirms more fully the statement, that it is Christ alone who is excluded from the ordinary rank of men. For as he who marries a wife does not call and invite his friends to the marriage, in order to prostitute the bride to them, or, by giving up his own rights, to allow them to partake with him of the nuptial bed, but rather that the marriage, being honored by them, may be rendered more sacred; so Christ does not call his ministers to the office of teaching, in order that, by conquering the Church, they may claim dominion over it, but that he may make use of their faithful labors for associating them with himself. It is a great and lofty distinction, that men are appointed over the Church, to represent the person of the Son of God. They are, therefore, like the friends whomthe bridegroom brings with him, that they may accompany him in celebrating the marriage; but we must attend to the distinction, that ministers, being mindful of their rank, may not appropriate to themselves what belongs exclusively to the bridegroom The whole amounts to this, that all the eminence which teachers may possess among themselves ought not to hinder Christ from ruling alone in his Church, or from governing it alone by his word.

This comparison frequently occurs in Scripture, when the Lord intends to express the sacred bond of adoption, by which he binds us to himself. For as he offers himself to be truly enjoyed by us, that he may be ours, so he justly claims from us that mutual fidelity and love which the wife owes to her husband. This marriage is entirely fulfilled in Christ, whose flesh and bones we are, as Paul informs us, (Ephesians 5:30.) The chastity demanded by him consists chiefly in the obedience of the Gospel, that we may not suffer ourselves to be led aside from its pure simplicity, as the same Apostle teaches us, (2 Corinthians 11:2.) We must, therefore, be subject to Christ alone, he must be our only Head, we must not turn aside a hair’s-breadth from the simple doctrine of the Gospel, he alone must have the highest glory, that he may retain the right and authority of being a bridegroom to us.

But what are ministers to do? Certainly, the Son of God calls them, that they may perform their duty to him in conducting the sacred marriage; and, therefore, their duty is, to take care, in every way, that the spouse — who is committed to their charge — may be presented by them as a chaste virgin to her husband; which Paul, in the passage already quoted, boasts of having done. But they who draw the Church to themselves rather than to Christ are guilty of basely violating the marriage which they ought to have honored. And the greater the honor which Christ confers on us, by making us the guardians of his spouse, so much the more heinous is our want of fidelity, if we do not endeavor to maintain and defend his right.

This my joy therefore is fulfilled. He means that he has obtained the fulfillment of all his desires, and that he has nothing further to wish, when he sees Christ reigning, and men listening to him as he deserves. Whoever shall have such affections that, laying aside all regard to himself, he shall extol Christ and be satisfied with seeing Christ honored, will be faithful and successful in ruling the Church; but, whoever shall swerve from that end in the slightest degree will be a base adulterer, and will do nothing else than corrupt the spouse of Christ.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 3:29". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-3.html. 1840-57.