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i Mal. iii. l.
Matt. iii. l.
6 i There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 k The same came for [da] witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not e that Light, but i was sent to bear
witness of e that Light. 98 That was the true Light, i juhlities which 'lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
e render, the. f not expressed in the original. Better, came.
S render, The true Light which lighteth every man, came (literally, was coming) into the world. 0.] As light and life are closely connected in darkness is so great and immediate in ideas, so are death and darkness. The the physical world) the darkness comprewhole world, lying in death and in dark. hended it not :" see" and” below, ver. 11. ness, is the darkness here spoken of :-not 6 — 18.] THE MANIFESTATION merely the “darkened” (Eph. iv. 18; see WORKING OF THE DIVINE WORD, JESUS Eph. v. 7, 8), but the whole mass, with the Christ, THE SON OF GOD, INCARNATE sole exception (sce below, ver. 12) of "as IN OUR FLESH. 6.] The Evangelist many as received Him” (compare ch. iii. now passes to the historic manifestation 19; 1 John v. 19). This shineth is of the Word. “ In passing to the mani. not merely the historical present, but de- festation of the Son, what other beginning scribes the whole process of the light of should be have fixed on, but the matters life in the Eternal Word shining in this concerning John ?”. Theodore of Mopevil and dark world; both by the 0. T. suestia. He enunciates briefly in these revelations, and (see ch. x. 16 ; xi. 52) by verses 6, 7, what he afterwards, vv. 19– all the scattered fragments of light glitter. 36, narrates with historical detail. ing among the thick darkness of heathen- There was does not belong to sent, but dom. and the darkness compre. to & man: “ There was
a man, sent hended (understood, apprehended) it not] from God.” In sent from God we have That this is the meaning, will be clear possibly a reference to Mal. ïïi. 1. from the context. St. John states here as 7.] The purpose of John's coming was to a general fact, what he afterwards states of bear witness to a fact, which fact (ver. the appearance of the Incarnate Word to 33) was made known to him by divine the chosen people, ver. 11. The sentences revelation. We must not render, as A. V., are strictly parallel. “ The light shineth for a witness,' but for witness or for in the darkness" is parallel to “ He came testimony, for the purpose of bearing to his own,” and “the darkness compre- witness. to bear witness &c. is an hended it not” is parallel to “ His own expansion of for witness :—the subject of received him not.” In the first, he is his testimony was to be,-the Light,- and speaking of the whole shining of this light the aim of it,—that all might believe (see over the world ; in the second, of its his. ch. xii. 36) through him (i. e. John: not torical manifestation to the Jews. In both through it, the light, which confuses the cases, the Divine Word was rejected. whole, for then we must understand on received is used in the second case as ex- God after believe, which is here out of pressing the personal assumption to oneself place). 8.] John was himself “the as a friend or companion. Lücke candle, lighted and shining” (ch. v. 35), obser ves, that the almost tragic tone of see note on Matt. v. 14, but not the light. this verse is prevalent through the Gospel 9.] The word true in this connexion of St. John and his first epistle, see ch. iii. imports original, 'archetypal,' and is used 19; xii. 37 ff. al. : and is occasionally found of the true genuine sources and patterns of in St. Paul also; see Rom. i. 18 ff.
those things which we find here below only The connexion of the two members of our in fragmentary imitations and derivations. verse by and is not, " The Light shineth Such an original was the light here spoken in the darkness, and therefore (i. e. be- of;—but John was only a derived light,cause darkness is the opposition to light, not a light lighting, but a light lighted. and they exclude one another) the dark
The construction of this verse has ness comprehended it not;" but, been much disputed. Is coming into the Light shineth in the darkness, and yet world to be taken with every man (as (uotwithstanding that the effect of light many ancient versions, and most of the
m ver. 8.
Heb. i. 2.
10 He was in the world, and m the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 n He came unto h his n Luke xix. 14. own, and h his own received him not. 12 But o
as many as received him, to them gave he power to become i the sons
Acts iii. 26:
xiii. 48. o Isa. lvi. 5.
Rom. viii. 15.
Gal. iii. 20. 9 Pet, i. 4. 1 John iii. 1.
render, children. ancient Commentators, and A. V.), or does world, into which He came (ver. 9), it belong to the true light ? The which was made by Him (ver. 3), which former construction can only be defended nevertheless (i. e. as here represented by by a Rabbinical usage, by which“ all that man, the only creature who “knows') cometh into the world” means "all men.' knew, recognized Him not. and But it is very questionable whether St. is as in ver. 5. The three members John ever speaks thus. Certainly he does of the sentence form a climax;— He not, in any of the passages commonly was in the world and therefore the cited to defend this rendering, ch. xviii. world should have known Him), and the 37 (which is spoken by Christ of Himself world was made by Him (much more and His Mission); xvi. 21, 28; xii. 46. then should it have known Him), and the And even if he had thus spoken, how harsh world knew Him not. 11.] It is and how unmeaning is the sentence, how impossible to express this verse in terse ever we take it; whether with Euthymius and short English. In the original, the we lay an emphasis on “was,” or with first his own is neuter-his own things, or A. V. &c. supply " that” before it. If possessions : the second, masculine, his this latter had been intended, surely it own people. If we enquire for the sense, would have been more distinctly expressed; his own things here cannot well mean the and even when it is supplied, we have in world, or his own people mankind in genethis verse only a less forcible repetition of ral: it would be difficult to point out any ver. 4.
It seems then that we must Scripture usage to justify such a meanjoin coming into the world with the true ing. But abundance of passages bear out light. But even then, three ways of the meaning which makes the former His rendering are apparently open to us. own inheritance or possession, i. e. Judæa ; The first of these, which is that of Socinus, and the latter, the Jews; compare espetakes “coming into the world” as mean- cially the parable Matt. xxi. 33 ff.; and ing, 'at its coming into the world. This Ecclus. xxiv. 7 ff. And thus came forms a however-besides the sense being incon- nearer step in the approach to the decla. sistent with ver. 4-leaves the opening ration in ver. 14. He came to His own. clause without a demonstrative pronoun, as
On received him not see above on ver. before. Then, secondly, coming might 5. 12.] The words, as many as seem to be used in the sense in which we primarily refer to the selection” among frequently have it, as a sort of future, the Jews, who have just been spoken of: "who was, or is, to come;' see Matt. xi. but also, by implication, being opposed to 3; Mark x. 30 al. fr.; ch. vi. 14 ; xi. 27, both the world and his own, the election in which last two places it is joined, as in all the world.
as many as received here, with “into the world.” But if this him, i. e. as many as recognized Him as be adopted, the only sense will be that that which He was- the Word of God and the true light, &c. was to come; i. e. had Light of men. them gave he power] not yet come; which manifestly is not cor- The word means, not merely capability, rect;- for it had come, when John gave --still less privilege or prerogative,-but his witness; and the whole of these verses power; involving all the actions and states 6–13 relate to the time when He had ap. needful to their so becoming, and removing peared, and come to His own.
We all the obstacles in their way (e. g. the are driven then to the only legitimate ren- wrath of God, and the guilt of sin). dering, which is to take was coming as to become children of God] The spiritual equivalent to an imperfect, came :-this life owes its beginning to a birth from usage being frequent in the N. T. :-i. e. at above, ch. iii. 3—7. And this birth is the time when John bore this witness, the owing to the Holy Spirit of God; so that true light which lighteth every man, this is equivalent to saying, ' As many as came-was in process of manifesting Him received Him, to them gave He His Holy self,-into the world. which lighteth Spirit. And we find that it was so: see every man is a further expansion of the Acts x. 44. children of God is a more true. 10.] The world is the created comprehensive expression than “sons of
p ch. iii. 5.
James i. 18.
1 Pet. i. 23. 9 Matt. i.
10, 20. Luke i. $1, 35: i1.7
t Isa. xl. 5.
Matt. xvii. 2.
of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 P which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of
the will of man, but of God. 14 9 And the Word 'k was RoT.. 3. 16. made s flesh, and I dwelt among us, and we beheld his slendini, glory, [m the] glory as of the only-begotten 1 of the Father, u full of grace and truth.
u Col. i. 19: ii. 3, 9. render, became.
literally, had his tabernacle.
n render, from. God” (which rendering in the A. V. is be no reference to it, it lies at the ground entirely without authority), which brings of this wideness of expression. The docout rather our adoption, and hope of in- trine in this form may have been, as Lücke heritance (Rom. viii. 14 ff.), whereas the observes, alien to St. John's habits of other involves the whole generation and thought, but not that which is implied in process of our life in the Spirit, as being the doctrine, the taking of the nature of from and of God, and consequently our man by the Eternal Word. The simlikeness to God, walking in light as He plicity of this expression is no doubt directed is in light (1 John i. 5–7)—free from against the Docetæ of the Apostle's time, sin (ib. iii. 9; v. 18) and death (ch. viïi. who maintained that the Word only appa51). to them that believe on his rently took human nature. Therefore he name] His name is His manifestation as says, absolutely and literally became flesh : that which He has given Himself out to be : - see 1 John iv. 2. The word reni. e. as a Saviour from sin; see Matt. i. dered “dwelt,” properly is sojourned,' or 21, “ Thou shalt call his name Jesus ; for tabernacled,' in us. There is no reference He himself shall save His people from to the flesh being the tabernacle of the their sins.” 13.] The Jews grounded Spirit ;--but the word is one technically their claim to be children of God on their used in Scripture to import the dwelling descent from Abraham. St. John here of God among men.
us] “ men, who negatives any such claim, and asserts the are flesh,” Bengel. we beheld] See exclusive divine birth of all who become 1 John i. 1; 2 Pet. i. 16. This is the children of God by faith. It is to be no. Apostle's testimony as such, see Acts i. 21. ticed that the conjunctions here are not The mention of glory seems to be merely disjunctive ones, which would neces- suggested by the word tabernacled, so fresitate the ranging the clauses as co-ordi- quently used of the divine Presence or nate and parallel, but exclusive ones, which Shechinah, and cognate in its very form rise in climax from one clause to another, with it. This glory was seen by the 'not of blood, nor yet of the will of the disciples, ch. ii. 11; xi. 4: also by Peter, flesh, nor yet of the will of man, but of God.' James, and John, specially, on the mount Many Interpreters have seen in “ the will of of transfiguration : to which occasion the man” (the word in the original is that ex- words «
as of the only-begotten from the pressing the man as distinguished from the Father" seem to refer : but mainly, in the woman) the male, and in “ the will of the whole converse and teaching and suffering flesh" the female side of human concu- of the Lord, who was full of grace and truth, piscence (so Augustine, Theophylact, &c.); see below.
On the term as, Chrysostom or in the former the higher and more con- remarks that “it is not a word of mere scious, in the latter the lower and animal likeness, or comparison, but of confirmaside (Bleek, Luthardt). But both these tion, and unquestionable endowment: as interpretations seem to be objectionable. if he had said, We saw glory such as be
14.] And must not be understood came, and such as was likely would be posas giving a reason for the verse before; it sessed by, the only begotten and genuine is only the same copula as in vv. 1, 3, 4, 5; Son of God the King of all.” only. passing on to a further assertion regarding begotten] This word applied to Christ is the Word. became flesh] the most peculiar to John, and occurs in ver. 18; general expression of the great truth that ch. iii. 16, 18; 1 John iv. 9 only. In the He became man. He became that, of which N. T. usage it signifies the only son :-in man is in the body compounded. There is the LXX, Ps. xxii. (xxi. 21 of the LXX) 20 no reference here to the doctrine of the (Heb., my only one from the hand of the Lord Jesus being the second Adam, as dog), the beloved. It has been attempted Olshausen thinks; but although there may to render the word in John, according to
ch. iii. 32 :
ch. iii. 31.
15 w John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This weer was he of whom I spake, * He that cometh after me P is Matt
. 111. 11. preferred before me: y9 for he was before me. 16 And Luke iii. 16.
ver. 27, 30.
y ch. viii. 58. Col. i. 17. o render, beareth, and crieth.
P render, taketh place.
4 render, because. the usage in Ps. xxi. 20. But obviously in tered these words in the power of the the midst of ideas reaching so far deeper Spirit concerning Him whose forerunner than that of regard, or love, of the Father he was before he saw and recognized for the Son, the
word cannot be interpreted Him in the flesh. Then, on doing so, he except in accordance with them. It refers exclaimed, This was He of whom I spake, to, and contrasts with, the children of God &c. This view seems to be borne out in vv. 12, 13. They receive their divine by his own statement, ver. 33, and by birth by faith in Him, and through the order of the narrative in Matt. iii. 11, Him; but He is the Only-begotten of 12, 13. cometh after me] In point the Father in the higher sense, in which of time; not of birth, merely or principally, He is begotten the Son of God.
nor of commencement of official life: but, The words full of grace and truth (see the inasmuch as John was His Forerunner, note in my Gr. Test.) belong probably to on account of official position. the last words, the only-begotten of the taketh place before me] This expression, Father, and there is no need of a paren- taketh place, represents one, in the original, thesis, as in A. V. grace and truth] very difficult to render in English. It not equivalent to “true grace,” which is the same word as that rendered “hath destroys the precision of the expression, been made" in ver. 3: hath come to be, and itself conveys no sense whatever ; but is constituted. The A. V., “is preferred," setting out the two sides of the divine would be very suitable, setting forth the manifestation in Christ,-grace, as the advancement to official dignity before which result of Love to mankind, -truth (see ch. John's office waned and decreased (ch. iii. xiv. 6), as the unity, purity, and light of 30), which took place even while John's His own Character. 15.] The testi- course was being fulfilled : but the obmony of John, so important as being the jection to preferred' is, its possible amfulfilment of the very object for which he biguity : the word to prefer meaning to was sent from God, is in this prologue esteem more highly, as well as to advance ranged, so to speak, parallel with the or promote, which is the sense required assertions and testimony of the Evangelist here. Even Dr. Johnson has fallen into himself. So that this verse does not in. the mistake of quoting this very passage, in terrupt the train of thought, but confirms his Dictionary, as an instance of the sense by this important testimony the assertion “to love more than another." " the Word became flesh,” shewing that because (or, for, but better because) He John bore witness to His pre-existence. was (not “ became” or “was made, but Then (ver. 16) the “full of grace and as in ver. 1) before me ; i.e. 'He existed, truth is again taken up. Euthymius was in being, before me.' The question paraphrases : “Even if I,” says the Evan. raised by some, whether it is probable gelist, “may perhaps seem to some not that the Baptist had, or expressed such worthy of credit, yet before me John wit- views of the præ-existence of Christ, is not nesseth to His Godhead, that John, whose one for us to deal with, in the face of so name is great and celebrated among all direct a testimony as is given to the fact, the Jews.” beareth witness, present, here and in ch. iii. 27 ff. In all probafor solemnity-as part of the testiinony to bility, the Evangelist was himself a dis. Him, not only once given, but still sub- ciple of the Baptist: and if he has given sisting
crieth (in the original, us, as compared with the other Évanperfect, being, in sense, present, hath gelists, a füller and somewhat differing cried,' so that the voice is still sounding), account of his testimony to Christ, it is see ch. vii. 37 : “John crieth out with because his means of information were confidence and joy, as becometh a great ampler than those of the other Evan. herald.” Bengel. This was he of gelists. The questioners seem to forget whom I spake ...] This reference to a that the Baptist was divinely raised up foriner saying seems toshew, as indeed would and commissioned, and full of the Holy appear from the announcement of his own Ghost, and spoke in that power; his deoffice by the Baptist, that he had ut- clarations were not therefore merely con
2ch. lii. 84.
Eph. i. 6, 7,8. Col. i. 19:
ii. 9, 10. a Exod. xx.
1, &c Deut. iv. 44: v. 1: xxxiii. 4.
r of his ? fulness [o have) all we received, and grace for grace.
17 For a the law was given t by Moses, but grace and truth came t by Jesus Christ. 18 d No man hath seen
God at any time; eu the only-begotten Son, which is in b Rom. 11. 24: the bosom of the Father, he [= hath] declared him.
v. 21 : vi. 14. c ch. viii. 32: xiv. 6.
vi. 16. 1 John iv. 12, 20.
d Exod. xxxiii. 20. Deut. iv. 12. Matt. xi. 27. Luke x. 22. ch. vi. 40. 1 Tim. i. 17 :
e ver. 14. ch. iii, 10, 18. 1 John iv. 9.
r render, out of.
t render, through. the only begotten God: see note. clusions which he had arrived at by natural in grace and truth (ver. 14). "We remeans,—the study of the prophecies, &c. : ceived from His fulness continual addi. but inspirations and revelations of the tions of grace, because that fulness is not, Spirit. 16.] Origen blames Heracleon like the law, a positive enactment, finite for terminating the testimony of John and circumscribed, of which it could be at the end of ver. 17, and makes it con- said that it was given, but the bringing in tinue to the end of ver. 18. But it can of grace and truth, which came (came in, hardly be that his testimony extends beyond came to pass) by Jesus Christ.' The ver. 15, for all we (in ver. 16) would bear fulness of Christ is set against the narrowno very definite meaning in his mouth, and ness of positive enactment in the law. the assertions in ver. 17 are alien from The distinction must not be lost sight of, the character of the Baptist, belonging as nor denied, as Lücke attempts to do: for they do to the more mature development Bengel truly observes: “No philosopher of Christian doctrines. I cannot doubt that places his words so accurately, and observes this and the following verses belong to the their minute differences, as John, especially Evangelist, and are a carrying onwards in this chapter.” 18.] The con of his declarations concerning the divine nexion is : Moses could not give out Word. Ver. 15 is not parenthetical, of the fulness of grace and truth, for he but confirmatory of ver. 14, and this verse had no immediate sight of God, and no grounds itself on the fact of ver. 14, cor. man can have : there is but One who roborated by the testimony of ver. 15,- can declare God, the only-begotten Son, that He dwelt among us, and that we saw who is no mere man, but abides in the His glory, full of grace and truth.
bosom of the Father. The sight of God his fulness is that of which He was full, here meant, is not only bodily sight
all we] All who believe (though of that it is true, see Exod. xxxiii. on Him; see ver. 12. received, 20: 1 Tim. vi. 16), but intuitive and in. and . . .] *Our relation to Him has been fallible knowledge, which enables him who that of recipients out of His fulness, and has it to declare the nature and will of the thing received has been'
God; see ch. iii. 11; vi. 46; xiv.7. grace for grace] The ancient interpreta- The Evangelist speaks in this verse in action, the New Covenant instead of the Old cordance with the sayings of the Alexan(Euthymius), is certainly wrong, for the drine philosophy, whose phraseology he has received is spoken entirely of the times of adopted: Who hath seen Him, that he the Incarnate Word : and besides, the law might tell us ? Ecclus. xliii. 31. and grace are distinctly opposed to one the only-begotten Son] A remarkable another in the next verse.
various reading, the only-begotten God, sition rendered for (instead of) is properly occurs here in many of our oldest MSS., used of any thing which supersedes versions, and Fathers. The evidence for another, or occupies its place. This is and against it is given in full in my Gr. in fact its ordinary usage when exchange Test. (edn. 6.) It seems to have arisen is spoken of: the possession of the thing from a confusion of the contracted forms gotten succeeds to, supersedes, the posses- of writing the words “ Son” and “God” sion of the thing given in exchange, and in the Greek : the former being in our I possess one thing instead of (or, for)
ancient MSS. written TC, the latter oC. another. Thus also we have received
The question, which reading to adopt, is grace for grace, continual accessions of
one which, in the balance of authorities, grace; new grace coming upon and super- must be provisionally decided by the conseding the former. 17.] The con- sideration that, as far as we can see, we nexion of this verse with the foregoing should be introducing much harshness into lies in the words his fulness (ver. 16), and the sentence, and a new and strange termi