Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 9:3

Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Blindness;   Miracles;   Sabbath;   Siloam;   The Topic Concordance - Jesus Christ;   Light;   Sending and Those Sent;   Will of God;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Afflictions Made Beneficial;   Miracles;   Miracles of Christ, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Siloam;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Chastisement;   Disease;   Evil;   John, gospel of;   Suffering;   Work;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Disease;   Evil;   Miracle;   Motives;   Providence of God;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Fall of Man;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Blindness;   Diseases;   John, the Gospel of;   Sign;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Anger (Wrath) of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Beggar;   Cures;   Disease;   Error;   Evil (2);   Impotence;   John, Gospel of (Critical);   Justice (2);   Reality;   Retribution (2);   Sabbath ;   Salvation;   Sight;   Sign ;   Sin;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Silence;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Names titles and offices of christ;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Sabbath;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Death;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents - That is, the blindness of this person is not occasioned by any sin of his own, nor of his parents, but has happened in the ordinary course of Divine providence, and shall now become the instrument of salvation to his soul, edification to others, and glory to God. Many of the Jews thought that marks on the body were proofs of sin in the soul. From a like persuasion, probably arose that proverb among our northern neighbors-Mark him whom God marks.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 9:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-9.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Neither hath this man sinned … - That is, his blindness is not the effect of his sin, or that of his parents. Jesus did not, evidently, mean to affirm that he or his parents were without any sin, but that this blindness was not the effect of sin. This answer is to be interpreted by the nature of the question submitted to him. The sense is, “his blindness is not to be traced to any fault of his or of his parents.”

But that the works of God - This thing has happened that it might appear how great and wonderful are the works of God. By the works of God, here, is evidently intended the miraculous power which God would put forth to heal the man, or rather, perhaps, the whole that happened to him in the course of divine providence first his blindness, as an act of his providence, and then his healing him, as an act of mercy and power. It has all happened, not by the fault of his parents or of himself, but by the wise arrangement of God, that it might be seen in what way calamities come, and in what way God meets and relieves them. And from this we may learn:

1.To pity and not to despise and blame those who are afflicted with any natural deformity or calamity. While the Jews regarded it as the effect of sin, they looked upon it without compassion. Jesus tells us that it is not the fault of man, but proceeds from the wise arrangement of God.

2.All suffering in the world is not the effect of sin. In this case it is expressly so declared; and there may be many modes of suffering that cannot be traced to any particular transgression. We should be cautious, therefore, in affirming that there can be no calamity in the universe but by transgression.

3.We see the wise and wonderful arrangement of Divine Providence. It is a part of his great plan to adapt his mercies to the woes of men: and often calamity, want, poverty, and sickness are permitted, that he may show the provisions of his mercy, that he may teach us to prize his blessings, and that deep-felt gratitude for deliverance may bind us to him.

4.Those who are afflicted with blindness, deafness, or any deformity, should be submissive to God. It is his appointment, and is right and best. God does no wrong, and the universe will, when all his works are seen, feel and know that he is just.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-9.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be manifest in him.

Jesus' reply did not mean that either the man or his parents were sinless but that they were guilty of no sin that had caused the blindness. The great problem of why some should be born handicapped, and others not, or why disasters should overwhelm some and not others, and why natural disasters like storms, floods, and earthquakes should destroy some and not others - all such things, affecting in their aggregate every life on earth, are not parceled out to men on a measure-for-measure basis related to the number and degree of their sins. All such elemental things are related to man's constitution and to his environment by the all-wise God who created both man and the world where he lives; and they have the design of encouraging all men to take account of the power of God in their lives. The reason would seem to be that God intended that man should never get too cozy, as far as his hope of tomorrow is concerned. "Ye know not what shall be on the morrow" (James 4:14) is the sentence of God written over and above all human designs.

That the works of God should be manifest in him ... The truth that God has a plan for every person ever born shines in this. That child was born blind in anticipation of the wonder wrought in this episode. What a lifetime of agony the parents of the man born blind had endured! How often had they been the butt of scorn or open charge of sin; and yet how wrong they were who felt no pity and, in their smug self-righteousness, slandered and criticized them! God had a plan for the life of that blind man that led at last to light and glory and salvation at the pool of Siloam.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-9.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Jesus answered, neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents,.... Not but that both were guilty of original sin, and had committed actual transgressions; but Christ's answer is to be considered agreeable to the design of the question; and the sense is, that it was not any sin that either of them had committed, whilst he was in the womb, or previous to his birth, that was the cause of this blindness; otherwise, all such irregularities and afflictions arise from sin, and the fall of man, as does that spiritual blindness with which all mankind are attended:

but that the works of God should be manifest in him; that is, that Christ might have an opportunity of working a miracle in the cure of him, whereby it might appear that he is truly and properly God, the Son of God, and the Messiah; and so spiritual blindness, which has followed the fall of man, takes place in the elect of God in common with others, that the power of divine grace might be displayed in bringing them out of darkness into marvellous light.

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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 9:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Jesus answered, a Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

(a) Christ reasons here as his disciples thought, who presupposed that no diseases came except for the reason of sins: as a result of this he answers that there was another cause of this man's blindness, and that was in order that God's work might be seen.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 9:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-9.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Neither … this man, etc. — The cause was neither in himself nor his parents, but, in order to the manifestation of “the works of God,” in his cure.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-9.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents. Jesus does not affirm that they were sinless, but that their sins were not the cause of the calamity. We are not justified in asserting that the sufferer is a sinner. Job, Christ, Paul, and the whole army of martyrs disprove it.

But that the works of God should be made manifest in him. By his miraculous cure the work of God shall be made manifest. It is the work of God to believe on Christ (John 6:29), and the blindness of this man was the occasion of faith being produced, not only in him, but others. Thus Christ shows a nobler use of suffering. "The Father chasteneth every son whom he loveth."

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 9:3". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-9.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

But that the works of God should be made manifest in him (αλλ ινα πανερωτηι τα εργα του τεου εν αυτωιall' hina phanerōthēi ta erga tou theou en autōi). Jesus denies both alternatives, and puts God‘s purpose (αλλ ιναall' hina with first aorist subjunctive of πανεροωphaneroō) as the true solution. It is sometimes true that disease is the result of personal sin as in the man in John 5:14 and parents can hand on the effects of sin to the third and fourth generations, but there are cases free from blame like this. There is comfort for many sufferers in the words of Jesus here.

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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 9:3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-9.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

But that ( ἀλλ ' ἵνα )

There is an ellipsis: but (he was born blind ) that.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-9.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents — It was not the manner of our Lord to answer any questions that were of no use, but to gratify an idle curiosity. Therefore he determines nothing concerning this. The scope of his answer is, It was neither for any sins of his own, nor yet of his parents; but that the power of God might be displayed.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 9:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-9.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him1.

  1. Neither did this man sin, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. Jesus found a third alternative to their dilemma. The man's parents were sinners, but neither their sin nor the beggar's own sin had caused this calamity. It had come upon him as part of God's plan for his life; it was part of the providential arrangement by which God governs the world.

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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 9:3". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-9.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; that is, as the cause of his blindness.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-9.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Не согрешил ни он. Христос не освобождает слепого и его родителей от всякой вины, Он просто отрицает, что причина слепоты состоит в их грехе. Об этом я уже говорил: иногда Бог, насылая на людей беды, не карает их за грехи, но преследует иную цель. Посему, из-за сокрытия причин людских невзгод нам следует сдерживать любопытство, дабы не оскорбить Бога и не причинить несправедливости братьям. Христос приводит иное основание: сей человек родился слепым, дабы в нем явились дела Божии. Не говорит: «одно дело», но во множественном числе: «дела». Если смотреть со стороны, в этом человеке был явлен пример божественной суровости, так что остальные приучались к страху Божию и смирению. Но затем после его избавления воссияла чудесная Божия милость. Значит, этими словами Христос хотел пробудить в своих учениках надежду на чудо, при этом преподавая общее учение: справедливую и достаточную причину его несчастья должно усматривать в том деянии, в котором Бог прославил Собственное имя. И люди будут напрасно спорить с Богом, жалуясь на то, что Он сделал их орудиями Своей славы, которая является либо в милосердии, либо в суровости.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-9.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

sinned

Sin. (See Scofield "Romans 3:23").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on John 9:3". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/john-9.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Ver. 3. But that the works of God, &c.] Hinc Alexander Ales, Poena, inquit, duplicem habet ordinationem, Unam ad culpam, quae praecedit; alteram ad gloriara, quam praecedit. God sometimes afflicts for his own glory, but sin is ever at the bottom. And though God does not always afflict his for sin, as Job, yet Job shall do well to consider that God "exacteth of him less than his iniquity deserveth," as Zophar telleth him, Job 11:6.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 9:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-9.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Christ's answer must not be understood absolutely, as if he denied this man and his parents to be guilty of sin, for both he and they had sin enough, not only to deserve temporal blindness, but eternal darkness.

The meaning is, that in afflicting this man, the Lord did not so much respect his or his parents sin, as the manifestation of his own glory, in this miraculous cure. Christ doth not deny but that a man's own sin, and the sin of his parents, may be the procuring cause of blindness; but that neither the one nor the other was the cause in that man's case; but that the power and mercy of God might be seen in restoring this man to his sight, therefore was he born blind.

Whence note, 1. That though sin be always the deserving, yet it is not always the procuring cause of affliction.

3. That we seldom think of, or hit upon, any other cause of affliction, but only sin; though the design of God looks beyond the sin of man in afflictions; yet man seldom looks beyond that or thinks of any other design of God in afflicting, but only punishing for sin.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 9:3". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-9.html. 1700-1703.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

When our Lord gave this answer to his disciples, that neither this man nor his parents had sinned in that he was born blind; Jesus could not be supposed to mean, that they were not sinners; for Scripture declares that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23. But the plain and obvious meaning of Christ, is, that this man's blindness was not the immediate effect of any one particular sin, in a way of judgment, but rather to afford occasion for the greater display of the works and glory of God. And in this very instance, our Lord's doctrine in this particular is proved. For what greater glory could possibly be shewn, than by the blindness of this man, the Lord Jesus might manifest his divine nature and mercy, in giving him sight? How sweetly did it teach also the blindness of soul; and Christ's glory in such instances, in giving sight to the spiritually dark, and eyes to the blind in sin. And who shall say, how often the record of this man's history hath proved instrumental in raising trophies of glory to the Lord, through the many intermediate ages from that hour to the present, where sinners, made spiritually alive by grace, have read of the Lord's goodness to him, and felt the Lord's goodness to themselves, in having been brought from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. Acts 26:18. Reader! think, I pray you, in how many cases in life such events are perpetually occurring? What numberless opportunities are afforded for the manifestations of the Lord's grace, which grow, out of all the exercises of the Lord's people? And if you know anything of the Lord, I would desire you to say, how would the Lord Jesus prove his love to you, in seasons of sorrow, in hours of temptation, and in all times of trouble; if you had never known sorrow, never felt temptation, or knew what trouble meant?

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/john-9.html. 1828.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

3.] After αὐτοῦ supply ἵνα τυφ. γεν.: ‘neither of these was the cause; but τυφ. ἐγεννήθη, in order that.…’ But how so? οὐ κολαστικῶς, ἀλλʼ οἰκονομικῶς. Euthym(142) In the economy of God’s Providence, his suffering had its place and aim, and this was to bring out the ἔργα τ. θεοῦ in his being healed by the Redeemer (see Romans 11:11 and note). So Lücke:—De Wette denies the interpretation, and refers the saying merely to the view of our Lord to bring out his own practical design, to make use of this man to prove His divine power. But see ch. John 11:4, which is strictly parallel.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 9:3". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-9.html. 1863-1878.

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

John 9:3. οὐ παντελῶς ἀναμαρτήτους αὐτούς φησιν, ἀλλʼ ὅσον εἰς τὸ τυφλωθῆναι αὐτόν, Euth. Zigabenus.

ἀλλʼ] sc. τυφλὸς ἐγεννήθη.

τὰ ἔργα τοῦ θεοῦ] the works of God, ie. what God works, was to be manifested in Him. The expression must be left in this general form (it first acquires its more exact force in John 9:4); it denotes the entire category of which such miraculous healings were a particular species; hence the works of God were set forth and brought to light in this concrete case, to wit, in the man ( ἐν αὐτῷ) who experienced the divine miraculous power. In the connection of the divine decree, however, from which everything accidental, everything independent of the divine plan, is excluded, this φανέρωσις must stand in the relation of a purpose towards the sufferings which, in this particular concrete case, are miraculously removed. Hence ἵνα φανερ., etc., is a thought which contains the true nature of the Theodicy for all sufferings. According to Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 201, the ἔργα θ. are spiritual operations, namely, the enlightenment of the world, symbolically set forth by this healing of the blind. This, however, anticipates the doctrinal application which Jesus Himself makes of the work which He wrought (John 9:39).

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 9:3". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-9.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 9:3. ἀπεκρίθη, answered) Jesus is wont to answer more plainly to His disciples than to the unbelieving Jews.— ἥμαρτεν, hath sinned) Repeat, that he should be born blind [Human reason delights to draw the conclusion of there being some special fault, from some special misfortune: Luke 13:2; Luke 13:4, “Suppose ye, these Galileans—whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices—were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you nay, etc. Or those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell,” etc.; Acts 28:4, “When the barbarians saw the venemous beast hang on—Paul’s—hand, they said, No doubt this is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.”—V. g.— ἀλλʼ, but) Comp. ch. John 11:4, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”— ἴνα, that) The power of God.— τὰ ἔργα, the works) Plural. When one work of God is known, all are known. From His works shine forth the Power, and the Glory, and the Grace of God.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 9:3". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-9.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Our Saviour must not be understood here, as either asserting the blind man or his parents free from sin, and a degree of sin deserving such a punishment; but as speaking to his disciples question strictly, and answering, that this affliction came not upon him, either for any personal sin of his own, (for he could not be guilty of any actual sin before he was born), nor yet for any sin that his parents had committed: but that the works of God might be made glorious in him; both his work of power in afflicting, and his work of mercy in healing him.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 9:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-9.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Иисус не отрицал общей связи между грехом и страданием, а опроверг мысль, что его непосредственной причиной были личные греховные действия. Как ясно из первой и второй глав книги Иова, в таких вопросах играют роль Божьи цели и Его верховная власть.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 9:3". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-9.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Neither; neither his sin nor theirs was the cause of his blindness.

That the works of God; the man was born blind, that Christ, by performing the divine work of healing him, might show himself to be God. God so orders things in his providence as best to display the true character of the Saviour; and men are sometimes left to suffer sore trials, that they may see his goodness, and magnify his power and grace in the removal.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-9.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3.Neither’ this man’ nor his parents—Our Lord does not deny that they had sinned, but that they had sinned as the cause of his being born blind. Works of God—We do not understand our Lord to say that the single object for which this man was born blind was, that Jesus might work a miracle upon him. God is a divine teacher; awakening, instructing, and developing the minds of men, by the phenomena around them, to a full knowledge, both scientific and spiritual, of his works in nature and in history. Both the excellencies and defects of nature, the ordinary and the extraordinary providences, furnish subjects of study as illustrations of God’s works and his dealings with a sinful race.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-9.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God might be revealed clearly in him.”

Jesus replied, ‘It was not this man or his parents who sinned. It happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’ The answer negated any suggestion of linking his blindness with sin. Nor was it intended to mean that God deliberately made the man blind for this purpose. What Jesus was really saying was that, rather than being seen as a punishment for sin, the man’s blindness was a natural occurrence that should be seen as presenting God with an opportunity to take advantage of the position to reveal His glory.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-9.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Neither of the disciples" options was the reason for this man"s blindness. Rather God had permitted it so He might display His work in this man"s life. It is wrong to conclude that every instance of suffering springs immediately from a particular act of sin. It is also wrong to conclude that God permits every instance of suffering because He intends to relieve it miraculously. Jesus was talking about that particular man"s case. He did not reveal all the reasons for the man"s condition either.

"Only God knows why babies are born with handicaps, and only God can turn those handicaps into something that will bring good to the people and glory to His name." [Note: Ibid.]

Notice the positive viewpoint of Jesus. The disciples viewed the man"s condition as an indication of divine displeasure, but Jesus saw it as an opportunity for divine grace.

There is no punctuation in the Greek text, so it may help to understand Jesus" meaning to omit the period at the end of John 9:3 and to read John 9:3-4 as follows. "But that the works of God might be displayed in him, we must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day."

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-9.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 9:3. Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. It is obvious at once that Jesus does not deny the presence of sin in the man himself or in his parents: His words must be read in close connection with the question to which they form a reply. The meaning of the whole verse (which is unusually elliptical) may be given thus: ‘Neither did this man sin nor his parents that he should be born blind, but (he was born blind,—he is as he is) that the works of God may be manifested in him.’ Not to suggest or unravel speculative questions, but to present a sphere for the manifestation of the works of God, hath this man borne this infirmity. The last clause of the verse does not simply mean that a miracle is to be wrought on him: ‘in him’—alike in his physical (John 9:6-7) and in his spiritual healing (John 9:36-38)—the love and grace of God are to be made manifest.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-9.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 9:3. Both alternatives are rejected by Jesus, . And another solution is suggested, . Evil furthers the work of God in the world. It is in conquering and abolishing evil He is manifested. The question for us is not where suffering has come from, but what we are to do with it. John 9:4. The law which is binding on all men Jesus enounces.— ’ Work, active measures to remove suffering, are more incumbent on men than resentful speculation as to the source of suffering. As to God’s connection with evil, the practical man need only concern himself with this, that God seeks to abolish it. The time for doing so is limited, it is , “so long as it is day,” that is as the next clause shows, so long as life lasts. [On in N.T. see Burton, Moods, 321–330.]— , suggested by the threats (John 8:59, etc.) and by the presence of the blind man.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 9:3". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-9.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Christ says that neither he nor his parents had sinned, we must not understand that he was born without original sin, nor even that he had not committed other sins. For both he and his parents had sinned; but the meaning is, that this blindness was not a penal blindness inflicted in punishment of any sin either himself or his parents had committed; but, as is afterwards subjoined, it was sent him for the manifestation of the glory of God. (St. Augustine, tract. xliv. in Joan.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 9:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-9.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Jesus. See App-98.

Neither . . . nor. Greek. oute . . . oute.

but that. Supply the Ellipsis: but [he was born blind] in order that. Here we have the real answer to the question in John 9:2.

works. See note on John 4:34.

God. App-98.

in. Greek. en. App-104.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 9:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-9.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him: - q.d., 'The cause was neither in himself nor his parents, but in order to the manifestation of "the works of God" in his sure.'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-9.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

3. Jesus answered. He states that neither this man’s sins nor his parent’s sins have anything to do with his blindness. Pain and trouble is part of the curse placed on this world (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 8:20-21). This man’s blindness was part of the Decree by which God rules the Universe. Such men as Job, Paul, Christ himself, and all the martyrs, show us that the one who suffers is not always a “sinner.” Pain and trouble are also part of God’s Plan to bless us (Acts 14:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:3; Revelation 7:14-17). This man’s healing would help to show the power of God.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 9:3". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/john-9.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents.—The answer is, of course, to be understood with the limitation of the question, “that he was born blind.” Neither his special sin nor theirs was the cause of the blindness. Our version does not give quite accurately the form of the answer. It should be, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents. Their question sought to establish a connection between the suffering and some definite act of sin. The answer asserts that no such connection exists, and our Lord’s words remain a warning against the spirit of judging other men’s lives, and tracing in the misfortunes and sorrows which they have to bear the results of individual sin or the proof of divine displeasure. There is a chain connecting the sin of humanity and its woe, but the links are not traceable by the human eye. In the Providence of God vicarious suffering is often the noble lot of the noblest members of our race. No burden of human sorrow was ever so great as that borne by Him who knew no human sin.

But that the works of God should be made manifest in him.—They had sought to trace back the result of sin which they saw before them to a definite cause. He will trace it back to the region of the divine counsel, where purpose and result are one. Evil cannot be resolved into a higher good: it is the result of the choice exercised by freedom, and without freedom goodness could not be virtue. Permitted by God, it is yet overruled by Him. It has borne its fearful fruit in the death and curse of humanity, but its works have led to the manifestation of the works of God in the divine plan of redemption. It is so in this instance. The blindness of this beggar will have its result, and therefore in the divine counsel had its purpose, in the light which will dawn upon the spiritual as well as upon the physical blindness, and from him will dawn upon the world.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Neither
Job 1:8-12; 2:3-6; 21:27; 22:5-30; 32:3; 42:7; Ecclesiastes 9:1,2; Luke 13:2-5; Acts 28:4
but
11:4,40; 14:11-13; Matthew 11:5; Acts 4:21
Reciprocal: Genesis 27:1 - dim;  Job 9:17 - without cause;  John 12:28 - I have;  John 17:4 - finished;  Acts 3:10 - they knew

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 9:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-9.html.

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

Ver. 3. "Jesus answered. Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but (he was born blind) that the works of God should be made manifest in him."

The question here was obviously concerning such a sin as was the direct cause of this suffering. Augustin: Si ergo et parentes ejus habuerunt peccatum et iste habuit peccatum, quare dominus dixit: neque hie peccavit neque parentes ejus, nisi ad rem, de qua interrogatus erat, ut caecus nasceretur? Sinfulness is the general lot of mankind. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one," is the language of Job 14:4. All suffering presupposes this common sin. It is not enough (with Anton) to refer to the "supreme dominion of God, who has power to use any man for any end of His own, being the absolute ruler; and therefore every creature is bound to yield himself up to that absolute rulers end." An absolutely holy being could not possibly be elected to this end, that the works of God might be manifested in him. The Theodice in relation to sufferings rests upon this, that all suffering must be first of all regarded as punishment, although we must not limit ourselves to this one-sided view alone. The Lord Himself declares, ch. John 5:14, Luke 5:20, that all sickness in particular stands in a direct connection with sin. All sicknesses are punishments of sin, our Lord teaches in ch. John 5:14. The Old Testament teaches us, and so does experience, that many severe sicknesses are the punishment of heavy sins. What is here taught is, that severe sicknesses and trials are not necessarily the results of specific transgression; so that we cannot absolutely and unconditionally argue from the calamity to the guilt. Man by his sinfulness has deserved every affliction; but in the distribution of sufferings other motives are in operation than the Divine retributive justice. Oftentimes those who are relatively the best, are visited with the severest dispensations of trial; so that the conclusion from the specific suffering to the specific guilt is always unjustifiable.

The works of God in ver. 4 are not the works "which God has commanded," but the works which God doeth. According to Genesis 1:2-3, Psalms 104:24, the expression must be pre-eminently referred to the works of creation. These works of God, which were once displayed in the creation, and are still going on in the preservation of all things, are here to become manifest anew: the whole body of those works are to be exhibited in this one particular example of miraculous healing. The man born blind could be cured only by a repetition of the creating energy of God. And parallel with this reference to the creating works of God, there follows the reference to Genesis 2:7 in ver. 6. The works of God are also works of Christ. The intimate and perfect connection between the Creator and the Redeemer is exhibited in ch. John 1:3 and John 8:25, according to which Christ was the agent also in the creation of the world. God's works were to be exhibited not only in the bodily healing of the blind man, but also in the spiritual healing that followed. The former paved the way for the latter in the Divine purpose: comp. ver. 39. It was the spiritual cure that first shed the true light upon the infliction of bodily blindness. If the man born blind had not been tried with this calamity, he would probably not have been one of the "not seeing" in ver. 39; he would have been involved in the mazes of Pharisaic misconception, and might have been brought by Christ's appearance not to sight, but to deeper blindness. Thus the punishment inflicted upon him, born in sin, by the Divine righteousness, was at the same time the greatest blessing, and the highest manifestation of the love of his God. It made it easier for him to abide in his simplicity, and to become a "babe," the necessary condition of participation with Christ.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 9:3". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-9.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3.Neither did this man sin, nor his parents. Christ does not absolutely say that the blind man, and his parents, were free from all blame; but he declares that we ought not to seek the cause of the blindness in sin. And this is what I have already said, that God has sometimes another object in view than to punish the sins of men, when he sends afflictions to them. Consequently, when the causes of afflictions are concealed, we ought to restrain curiosity, that we may neither dishonor God nor be malicious towards our brethren. Wherefore, Christ assigns another reason. This man, he says, was born blind, —

That the works of God might be manifested in him. He does not, say a single work, but uses the plural number, works; for, so long as he was blind, there was exhibited in him a proof of the severity of God, from which others might learn to fear and to humble themselves. It was afterwards followed by the benefit of his cure and deliverance, (257) in which the astonishing goodness of God was strikingly displayed. So then Christ intended, by these words, to excite in his disciples the expectation of a miracle; but at the same time reminds them in a general manner, that this must be abundantly exhibited on the theater of the world, as the true and lawful cause, when God glorifies his name. Nor have men any right to complain of God, when he makes them the instruments of his glory in both ways, whether he shows himself to be merciful or severe.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 9:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-9.html. 1840-57.