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The four canonical Gospels are representations of one and the same Gospel, in its 
fourfold aspect and relation to the human race, and may be called, with Irenseus, " the 
fourfold Gospel " (wpoqxop^ov ria.yyi'kiov). Taken together, they give us a complete 
picture of the earthly life and character of our Lord and Saviour, in whom the whole 
fulness of the Godhead and of sinless Manhood dwell in perfect harmony. Each is 
invaluable and indispensable ; each is unique in its kind ; each has its peculiar character 
and mission corresponding to the talent, education, and vocation of the author, and the 
wanes of his readers. 

Matthew, writing in Palestine, and for Jews, and observing, in accordance with his 
former occupation and training, a rubrical and topical, rather than chronological, order, 
gives us the Gospel of the new Theocracy founded by Christ — the Lawgiver, Messiah, 
and King of the true Israel, who fulfilled all the prophecies of the old Dispensation. 
His is the fundamental Gospel, which stands related to the New Testament as the Pen- 
tateuch does to the Old. Mark, the companion of Peter, writing at Borne, and for warlike 
Romans, paints Christ, in fresh, graphic, and rapid sketches, as the mighty Son of God, 
the startling Wonder- Worker, the victorious Conqueror, and forms the connecting link 
between Matthew and Luke, or between the Jewish-Christian and the* Gentile-Chris- 
tian Evangelist. Luke, an educated Hellenist, a humane physician, a pupil and friend 
of Paul, prepared, as the Evangelist of the Gentiles, chiefly for Greek readers, and in 
chronological order, the Gospel of universal humanity, where Christ appears as the 
sympathizing Friend of sinners, the healing Physician of all diseases, the tender Shepherd 
of the wandering sheep, the Author and Proclaimer of a free salvation for Gentiles and 
Samaritans as well as Jews. From John, the trusted bosom-friend of the Saviour, the 
Benjamin among the twelve, and the surviving patriarch of the apostolic age, who could 
look back to the martyrdom of James, Peter, and Paul, and the destruction of Jerusalem, 
and look forward to the certain triumph of Christianity over the tottering idols of Pa- 
ganism, we must naturally expect the ripest, as it was the last, composition of the gospel 
history, for the edification of the Christian Church in all ages. 

The Gospel of John is the Gospel of Gospels, as the Epistle to the Romans is the 
Epistle of Epistles. It is the most remarkable as well as the most important literary 
production ever composed by man. It is a marvel even in the marvellous Book of 
books. All the literature of the world could not replace it. It is the most spiritual 
and ideal of Gospels. It introduces us into the Holy of Holies in the history of our 
Lord; it brings us, as it were, into His immediate presence, so that we behold face to 


face the true Shekinah, " the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace 
and truth." It presents, in fairest harmony, the highest knowledge, and the deepest 
love, of Christ. It gives us the clearest view of His incarnate Divinity and His 
perfect Humanity. It sets Him forth as the Eternal Word, Who was the source of 
life from the beginning, and the organ of all the revelations of God to man; as the 
Fountain of living water that quenches the thirst of the soul ; as the Light of the world 
that illuminates the darkness of sin and error ; as the Resurrection and the life that de- 
stroys the terror of death. It reflects the lustre of the Transfiguration on the Mount, 
yet subdued by the holy sadness of Qethsemane. It abounds in festive joy and glad- 
ness over the amazing love of God, but mixed with grief over the ingratitude and 
obtuseness of unbelieving men. It breathes the air of peace, and yet sounds at times 
like a peal of thunder from the other world ; it soars boldly and majestically like the 
eagle towards the uncreated source of light, and yet hovers as gently as a dove over 
the earth; it is sublime as a seraph and simple as a child; high and serene as the 
heaven, deep and unfathomable as the sea. It is the plainest in speech and the pro- 
foundest in meaning. To it more than to any portion of the Scripture applies the 
familiar comparison of a river deep enough for the elephant to swim, with shallows for 
the lamb to wade. It is the Gospel of love, life, and light, the Gospel of the heart 
taken from the very heart of Christ, on which the beloved disciple leaned at the Last 
Supper. It is the type of the purest forms of mysticism. It has an irresistible charm 
for speculative and contemplative minds, and furnishes inexhaustible food for medita- 
tion and devotion. It is the Gospel of peace and Christian union, and a prophecy of that 
blessed future when all the discords of the Church militant on earth shall be solved in 
the harmony of the Church triumphant in heaven. 


No wonder that this Gospel has challenged the enthusiastic love and admiration 
of great and good men in all ages and countries ; and, on the other hand, provoked the 
utmost skill and ingenuity of the modern assailants of Christianity, who rightly feel 
that it is the strongest fortress of the Divine character of our Lord. 

Let us hear some of the most striking testimonies of divines, philosophers, and poets, 
which tend at the same time to describe more fully its characteristic peculiarities.* 

Origbn, the father of biblical exegesis, calls the fourth Gospel the main Gospel, 
and says that those only can comprehend it who lean on the bosom of Jesus, and there 
imbibe the spirit of John, just as he imbibed the spirit of Christ. f 

CHRY80ST0H, the ablest expounder and greatest pulpit orator of the Greek Church, 
extols, with all the ardor of his eloquence, the celestial tones of this Gospel : it is, he 
says, a voice of thunder reverberating through the whole earth ; notwithstanding its 
all-conquering power, it does not utter a harsh sound, but is more love-bewitching and 
elevating in its influence than all the harmonies of music. Besides, it awakens the 
awe-inspiring consciousness, that it is pregnant with the most precious gifts of grace, 
which elevate those who appropriate them to themselves above the earthly pursuits of 
this life, and constitute them citizens of heaven and heirs of the blessedness of angels. J 

Jerome, the most learned of the Latin fathers, says : " John excels in the depths 
of divine mysteries.*' § 

* Some of those testtaoniet were collected by Tboiock (Conk on Sofa, Introduction, p. 19, Kreuth'i trejubtioa). 
t Oommentaria in Et. /©a., {Opera, torn. IV^ V • « 

i Compere hi* fl ^ ~ ~* * ~" 

I OfttaLoep.9. 

1 Commentmia in Bt. Too., (Opera, torn. IV. V. 6 ed. Delorael 

t Compere hi* first HomO j on John, In the 8th Yotame of the Boned, ed. of the wotki of C hrye oot om , pp. S m&. 

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Augustine, the greatest of all the fathers, after speaking of the differences of John 
and the Synoptists, and the incomparable sublimity of the Prologue, gives him the pre- 
ference and says : " John did but pour forth the water of life which he himself had 
drunk in. For he does not relate the fact without good reason, that at the Last Sup- 
per the beloved disciple laid his head on the Lord's bosom. From this bosom his soul 
drank in secret. Then he revealed this secret communion to the world, that all 
nations might become partakers of the blessings of the Incarnation, Passion, and 

Luther speaks of the Gospel of John as being " the unique, tender, genuine, lead- 
ing Gospel, that should be preferred by far to the others, f John records mainly the 
discourses of Christ in his own words, from which we learn truth and life as taught by 
himself. The rest dwell at length upon his works." 

Calvin appropriately designates it as the key that opens the way to a right under- 
standing of the other three. This Gospel reveals the soul of Christ ; the others seek 
rather to describe His body. J 

Lxssrao pronounces it, without qualification, to be the most important portion of 
the New Testament. 

EamtSTi calk it u The heart of Christ." 

Hesder enthusiastically exclaims : " Written by the hand of an angel ! " 

Schleiervacheb, in his " WcihnachUfeier," expresses his own preference for 
John's Gospel in the language of Edward, the third speaker at the festival : " The 
mystic among the four Evangelists communicates but little information about par- 
ticular events, and does not even relate the actual birth of Christ, but eternal, child- 
like Christmas joys pervade his soul." 

Commentators of recent date, such as Luecke, Olshausen, Tholuck, Meyer, Al- 
vord, Godet, and Lakge, share the same preference. 

" The noble simplicity," says Tholuck, " and the dim mystery of the narration, the 
tone of grief and longing, with the light of love shedding its tremulous beam on the 
whole — these impart to the Gospel of John a peculiar originality and charm, to which 
no parallel can be found." He also applies to it, in an elevated sense, the language 
of Hahann in reference to Claudius : " Thy harp sends forth light ethereal sounds that 
float gently in the air, and fill our hearts with tender sadness, even after its strings 
have ceased to vibrate." 

Meyer, the ablest grammatical exegete of the age, who is rather dry and jejune, 
and apparently indifferent to dogmatic results, but who, by a life-long study of the 
Word of God, gradually rose from rationalistic to an almost orthodox standpoint, and 

• Bee the 86th Tractate of Augustine cm John's Gospel, in the third torn, of the Bened. edition, foL 548 end 644. As 
we find here the finest patristic appreciation of John. I shall give the original passage in full : " In quatuor EvangeHU, 
vei poeiut quatuor Hbrit uniut BvangelU tanctut Johannes apottolut, non tmmertto secundum inteUigenttam tpiritalem 
ajfuilce comparatut, attiut muUoque tubttmiut aJfte tribut erexit prttdiooMonem. tuom, et in ejus erection* etiam corda 
nostra erigi vohtit. Nam ceteri trm Eeangetttta, tanquam cum homine Domino in terra ambvlabatit, de dtointtate ejue 
pamca dtaterunt : ittum autem quati piguerit in terra ambuiare, ttcut ip$o exordio tui termonit tuionutt, erexit se, non 
tohtm tuper terram et tuper omnem ambitum afrit et c*rU, ted tuper omnem etiam exercitum Angelorum, omneraqve 
i^nttltuttonam ineitfbitium pottttatun\ et pervenit ad eum per quern facta eunt omnia, dicendo, ' In prtnctpio erat 
Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deut erat Verbum : hoc erat in prtncipio apud Deum. Omnia per iptum facta 
tunt, et tine ipeo factum e*t nihiU Huic tanta eubUmitatt princtpii etiam cetera congrua pradtcabit, et de Domini 
dMnttato quornodo nuOut aHut est locutut. Hoc ructabat quod biberat. yon enim tine cauta de mo in ieto ipso 
IftangeUe narratur, quia et in convivio tuper pectut Domini dttcumbebat. De itto ergo pectore in tecreto bibebat ; *<t 
quod in tecreto bibU, in manifesto eructavit, utperveniat ad omnet gentet non tolum incarnatio FUH Dei, et pattto. et 
reeurrecUo; ted etiam quid erat ante incamattonem Unicut Patrt, Verbum Patrit, coaumut generality aquaitt ei a 
quo mtttut eel ; ted in ipta mittione minor factut, quo major ettet Pater." 

t "Dot etntige tarte rechte Haupt-BvangeUon und den anderen dreien toett v or mt tteke n und hbher tu hehenS'— 
Loth.'s Preface to the N. T., in the earlier editions. The passage was afterwards (since 1689) omitted, probably from 
apprebensksn that she preference given to John above other books of the Bible might be misunderstood. 

1 In the introduction to his Commentary on John: "Quum omnibut [EtangeUsUt\ commwttter propotUum tit 
Chrittum otterndtrn, priori* UM corpus, ti fta toquifat est, in medium proferunt^ Joanne* vero antmam. Quamobrem 
metre toteo, hoc Evangettnm ciocem esse, qua aUit intelligendU Januam aperiaC 

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marks this steady progress in the successive editions of his valuable commentary, en- 
dorses Luther's eulogy, and expresses the conviction that " the wonderful Gospel of 
John, with its fulness of grace, truth, peace, light, and life," is destined to contribute 
to a closer union of Christians. 41 

Dr. Lange calls the fourth Gospel " the diamond among the Gospels which is most 
fully penetrated by the light of life, and which reflects the glory of the Godhead in 
flesh and blood, even in the crown of thorns." f 

Dr. Isaac da Costa, of Amsterdam, in a discriminating analysis of the peculiari- 
ties of the four Gospels, says of the fourth : " As John was the special object of his 
Master's choice, so is his Gospel a select and exquisite production. . . . It is a 
voice from heaven ; it is the language of a seer. It is a Gospel from the height, and 
likewise from the depth. . . . We find in it something more than the artless and 
childlike simplicity of St. Matthew's narrative ; more than the rapidity and terseness 
of St. Mark's record ; more than the calm and flowing historical style of Luke. With 
that artlessness, and that terseness, and that calmness, there is here mingled a higher 
and more elevated tone— a tone derived from the monuments of the remotest sacred 
antiquity, as well as from the hidden depths of the most profound theology ; a tone 
reminding us sometimes of the Mosaic account of creation, sometimes of the wise say- 
ings of Solomon, sometimes akin even to the later theology of Jewish-Alexandrine 
philosophers." J 

Dean Alford thus speaks of John : " The great Apostle of the. Gentiles, amidst 
fightings without and fears within, built in his argumentative Epistles the outworks 
of that temple, of which his still greater colleague and successor was chosen noiselessly 
to complete, in his peaceful old age, the inner and holier places. And this, after all, 
ranging under it all secondary aims, we must call the great object of the Evangelist : 
to advance, purify from error, and strengthen that maturer Christian life of knowledge, 
which is the true development of the teaching of the Spirit in men/ and which the 
latter part of the apostolic period witnessed in its full vitality. And this, by setting 
forth the Person of the Lord Jesus in all its fulness of grace and truth, in all its mani- 
festation in the flesh by signs and by discourses, and its glorification by opposition and 
unbelief, through sufferings and death." § 

Canon Brooke Foss Westcott represents the Synoptical Gospels as the Gospel 
of the Infant Church, that of St. John as the Gospel of its maturity ; the former as 
containing the wide experience of the many, the latter as embracing the deep mysteries 
treasured up by the one. a No writing," he continues, " combines greater simplicity 
with more profound depths. At first all seems clear in the childlike language which 
is so often the chosen vehicle of the treasures of Eastern meditation ; and then again 
the utmost subtlety of Western thought is found to lie under abrupt and apparently 
fragmentary utterances. St. John wrote the Gospel of the world, resolving reason 
into intuition, and faith into sight." \ 

Bishop Wordsworth applies to the Gospel of John, as compared with the Synop- 

♦ Soe the closing word* to his preface to the fifth edition of his Commentary on John (1869). He adds that **tho 
Lutheran Church (to which he belongs), born with a manifesto of war and grown np in fierce controversy, haa been unable 
a« jet to rifle to the clear height and quiet perfection of this Gospel." But the same ma/ be said of other Churches. Tho 
Moravians have, perhaps, more of the spirit of John than any other denomination. 

t Leben Jeeu, vol. 11L, p. 689. 

X The Four Wttneeeee: being a Harmon* of the Qoepele on a new Principle. Translated by Dayid Dundee Soots. 

m V.irk • IRAK, nn 22fl SS9 SAml...* Qf— «— \ * ' 

« The Greek Teet., etc.. Vol. L 6th Ed. 1888. p. 61. 

I Introduction to the Study of the QospeU, pp. 254, 256, 808 (Am.Bd., Boston, 1869). 

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fists the words of the marriage feast at Cana : " Thou hast kept the good wine until 
now w (John ii. 10).* 

Henry Parry Liddon : " St. John's Gospel is the most conspicuous written attes- 
tation to the Godhead of Him Whose claims upon mankind can hardly be surveyed 
without passion, whether it be the passion of adoring love, or the passion of vehement 
and determined enmity. 99 f 

Not only theologians, but profound philosophers also have been particularly fasci- 
nated by the Introduction (ch. i 1-18), which may be regarded as a compendium of 
the highest philosophical wisdom. Fichte, during the latter and more religious period 
of his life, and Schellixg, in his Philosophy of JRevdaHon } regard John as the typi- 
cal representative of the perfect ideal church of the future. And this idea, already 
suggested by a mediaeval monk, Joachim dr Floris, has taken root in the theological 
consciousness of the nineteenth century. J 

Finally, poets too have lavished their praises on this mysterious and wonderful 
production of the Apostolic age. 

Adam of St. Victor, one of the greatest poets of the Latin Church, who died 
about 1192, describes John in one of the finest and most musical stanzas ever written 
in Latin or any other language : — 

14 Volat avis rine met* 
Quo nee votes neo prophet* 

Evokvit altius : 
Tarn implenda, quam imple£a,$ 
Nunquam vidit tot secrete 

Pnrns homo partus.'* | 

In another poem, on the four Evangelists, after praising Matthew, Mark, and 
Luke, Adam of St'. Victor places John above them all : — 

14 Sed Joannes sis, bin* 
Carltatis aquiline, 
Forma fertur in divine 
Puriori lumine." t 

The pious and childlike German poet Claudius, of Wandsbeck, who remained 
faithful in an age of almost universal skepticism and apostasy, gives perhaps the best 
description of the Gospel of John in these words, which are conceived in the very 
spirit of the Evangelist : — 

u Above all do I like to read the Gospel of John. There is something truly won- 
derful in it: twilight and night; and athwart flashes the vivid lightning. A soft 
evening sky, and behind the sky, in bodily form, the large full moon ! Something so 

• The New 7bet, etc., VoL L, p. 867, 5th Ed. 1886. Most of what Dr. Wordsworth, In the General Introduction, says of 
the characteristics of the four Gospels Is a reproduction of patristic fancies which cannot stand the test of sober criticism, 
t Bampton Lectures on The Dtointtu of our Lord Jeeue Christ, 9d ed.. Loud, and OxL, 1868, p. SOS. 

iComp. the closing section of my History of the Apostolic Church, p. 674 
Implenda refers to the Revelation, impleta to the Gospel. 
Prom the poem De Joanne Bvangellsta* commencing : Yerbvm Dei Deonatum; see Daniel's Thesaurus hymno- 
Jbsfca*, torn. IL, p. 166, and Hone's Lot, Hymnen dee MtOekUler*, UL 118. I append an English and a. German version 

"Bfrdof God ! with boundless flight " BshtmtmLMkidenAdlerjUeffen, 

Soaring far beyond the height Boher ale sonet nte geetiegen 

Of the bard or prophet old ; Dickter nock Prophet* war. 

Truth fulfilled, and truth to be,— inemale sahtotief Verh&llt**, 

Never p urer mystery Jem und tun/tig er«t ErJulUes 

Did a purer tongue unfold ! *— (Dr. Wasttburh.) Bin to reiner Menech to klar. n 

•/ This poem commences Jocundarty pUbsJtdeUs, and is given in full by Daniel, Theeaurue hymnoL y II. 84, translated 
by J. II. Heale, Motional Hymns, third etL, p. 106. The " double wing of love," means, of course, love to God and lore 

** John, love's double wing devising, '* But on twofold eagle pinion, 

Earth on eagle plumes despising. Wrought by love m her dominion, 

To his God and Lord uprising, John, a form divinely bright, 

Soars away in purer tight," (John M. Keale.) Upward soars in purer light"— (THOB. 0. PORTBR,) 

Hone, voL IIL, pp. 119 sqq^ gives a number of other mediteval hymns on John which, however, are of lnfasisen 

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sad, so sublime, bo full of presage that one can never weary of it. Every time I read 
John, it seems as if I could see him before me reclining on the bosom of his Master at 
the Last Supper — as if his angel were standing by my side with a lamp in his hand, 
and, when I come to particular passages, would clasp me in his arms and whisper a 
word in my ear. There is a great deal that I do not understand when I read ; but I 
often feel as if John's meaning were floating before me at a distance; even when my 
eye lights on a dark place, I have nevertheless a presentiment of a grand and glorious 
sense that I shall some day understand. On this account I grasp eagerly at every new 
exposition of John's Gospel. But alas ! the most of them only ruffle the evening clouds, 
and the bright moon behind them is left in peace." * 


Yet this very. Gospel, which has exerted such an irresistible charm upon the purest 
and profoundest minds of all Christian ages, is now the main point of attack in the 
great conflict of modern skepticism with the old faith. This is no matter of surprise, 
any more than that Jesus Christ Himself, in the days of His flesh, should have provoked 
the malignity of the whole Jewish hierarchy, who charged Him with having an evil 
spirit, and at last nailed Him to the Cross — as a rebel, a false Messiah, and a blasphemer. 
The power of truth and life with which John bears testimony to the historical and 
ideal Christ, is the very reason of the intensity of interest on both sides of the con- 
troversy ; it u as if Christ Himself lived His life over in the pages of His faithful 
biographer, and confronted there His enemies in person. Human nature is the same 
now as it was eighteen hundred years ago, and cannot remain neutral on the great 
question of Christ and His amazing claims upon our faith : it must either declare for 
Him or against Him, either accept or reject the offer of His salvation. And as He can 
no more be crucified in person, He is crucified in the Gospels by the modern Scribes 
and Pharisees and Sadducees. 

In putting the case so strongly, I do not mean to deny the valuable learning, 
acumen, and a certain measure of honest earnestness in some of the negative critics of 
our age. There are among them skeptics of the order of Thomas, who loved and found 
the truth, as well as skeptics of the tribe of Pilate, who connived at the crucifixion of 
the Truth. The inquiring doubt of the former has a useful and important mission in 
the church, and has done good service in solving the problems connected with the origin, 
character, plan, and mutual relations of the Gospels. 

A live Commentary in a live age must be written in full view of these modern 
attacks, and the new aspects and relations which old truths and facts have assumed. 
Reference direct and indirect to the present state of the controversy is as important 
and necessary in a critical work as the frank record of the bitter hostility of the Jewish 
leaders in the Gospels. The old and the new phases of opposition to the Christ in the 
flesh explain and illustrate each other. 

I have no misgiving as to the ultimate result. I am as confident as I am of my own 
existence that the Gospel of John will come triumphant out of this fiery ordeal. The 

* This quaint originality of this classical pftssage it Is difficult to reproduce in English. 

" Am Uetoten le*c ich tin Sonet Johannes. In ihm ist 90 etioas gone Wunderbaret—Mmmerung und Nacht. und 
dutch sie Kin der echneUe^ tuckende Bltte I Etn rnnflet Abendgetcolk und Mnter dem Gewbtke der ffro&e, tolie Mond 
Ufbhqfltg t So etUHM SchieermutMget und Bohea und Ahnungevotte*, dam man's ntcht mm werden tattn, Ee 
iet mir immer betm Leeen im Johannes, alsobich ihn betm letaten Abendmahl an derBrnet aetnea Metatere vor mtr He- 
gen ttite, ale ob aetn Engel mife IAcht halte und mir bet gewteaen SteUeu um den Half fatten und etwae Ma Ohr eagen 
tootte. IcA ventehe tange nicht alle*, uxu icA lese, aber q/t i*C% dock, ah tchtoebf eafern vor mir % uxm Johonnea meinte, 
und auch da,. too fcA in einen gann dunltlen Ort Aincinaehe, habe ich dock eine Vorempflndung von etnem gronen herr- 
lichen Sinn, dtn ich einmal veraUhen werde. Und darum greift ich 90 gerne nach Seder rumen Erklantng det Evan- 
t$Hum Johannto. Zioar—dte mauten kraueHn nur mn dem AbtndgevD&ke, wrt der Mond Mntor 1hm kiu g^ Ih$he," 

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old doctrinal opposition of the Alogi has long passed into history. Bretscbneider's 
critical battery was soon silenced and spiked by the commander himsel£ The heavier 
artillery of Strauss, Baur, Kenan, and their sympathizers has nearly spent its ammu- 
nition without effecting a single breach in this fortress. Indeed, the latest and wisest 
utterance from the Tubingen School on the Johannean question is the significant con- 
ceauon, that the fundamental ideas of the fourth Gospel lie far beyond the horizon of 
the Church in the second century, and indeed of the whole Christian Church down to the 
pre s en t day.* 

I accept this statement both as a just tribute of an able and honest opponent to 
the value of the Gospel, and as a confession of the entire failure of modern criticism to 
disprove its apostolic origin. Verily, no man in the second century, no man in any 
subsequent aye or section of the Church could have written, or could now write, such a 
work. More than this, no man in the first century could have written it but John the 
Apostle, and even John himself could not have written it without inspiration. 

To declare such a Gospel, which is admitted to reach the highest attainable or con- 
ceivable height of moral purity and sublimity, beyond which the Christian world has 
been unable to go to this day — to declare such a Gospel a conscious fiction, not 
to use the plain term, a literary forgery, of some obscure, unknown, and unnamable 
pseudo-John in the second century ,f involves not only a psychological and literary im- 
possibility, but also a moral monstrosity almost as great as the blasphemous charge of 
the Jewish hierarchy, that Christ Himself was an impostor and in league with the 
devil. The compromise-hypothesis, which divides it between truth and fiction, by ad- 
mitting the historical truthfulness either of the discourses of Jesus,| or of the narra- 
tive portions^ is set aside by the unmistakable unity in language and thought of the 
fourth Gospel, which is a work of instinctive literary art, complete and perfect in all 
its parts. 

We are shut up to the choice either to adopt the whole as historical, or to reject the 
whole as an invention. Were the Gospel of John not a Gospel, but some secular story, 
it would, with half the evidence in its favor, be admitted as genuine by scholars without 
a dissenting voice. For it is better attested than any book of ancient Greece and 
Rome, or modern Germany and England. The unanimous testimony — heretical as well 
as orthodox— of antiquity reaching to the beginning of the second century, t. e., 
almost to the lifetime of John, the language and style, \ the familiarity with Jewish 
nature and Palestine localities, the minute circumstantiality of account, the number of 

* Prof. Hotamann, of Heidelberg, in hie article Evangeltvmde* Johannes, In SchenkeTs BtoO-LexOcon, voL ii. (1809), 
p. 832, says of the Gospel of John : " Dtieee ghmUch-UherninnUche Btangelium tat dvrchg&ngig die kunst- wid einnvoUete 
Vtrbindung vow * WakrheU und DtehtungS die urtr kennen ; " and p. 884 : l 'DU grundtogendrten und toeUretchmtdaUn 
Gedanken dee vierten EtangeUume Uegen xceU tober die dem tweUen Jahrhundert und Qberhaupt der garuen bieherigen 
Sntwfafteiuitg dor JSirche eTTetchbtur geweeene ffd/te Atnctuo." 

t Tbe hypothesis of a historical romance to illustrate the Logos doctrine. So, with various modifications, Baur, the leader 
of the TVbmgen School LffHtf#eA« Vntertuckungen ueer die EvangeUen^ 1847, eta), Schwegler, Zeller, Kostlin, HUgenfeld, 
Bchenkel, Volkmar, Lang, Bavffle (1864), Scholten (1864), Kefcn (1867), J. J. Taylor (1867), 8. Davidson (1868). Strauss 
originally (1885) applied to the Gospel of John his mythical theory of an vncontctou*, innocent poem ; but the subsequent 
investigations of the Tubingen School convinced him that the only alternative here is between the orthodox historical view 
and Barn's hypothesis of comedo** invention in the mterest of a specific doctzlnal and speculative tendency. In his new 
Leben Jem (1864), p. 79, he says with regard to the Gospel of John: "Hier hat eogar die Einmiachung phitosophUcher 
Construction und bewumter Diehtung alte WaAr*cteinMdUbetL n 

t The view of Weisse (1888), Freytag (1861X etc. 

% So Benan (corns, the 18th ed. of his W of J****, 1867). and Welaacker (1864). Weizaftcker, however, who is 
6801*8 anoce a sor in Tubingen, admits a considerable amount of historical substance also in the discourses of Jesus, and 
fa a nam of altogether different spirit from Benan. 

I Tbe style of John is altogether unique: it is a pore Hebrew soul in a pure Greek body. Thus I reconcile the appa- 
rently contradi ct ory judgments of two of the most eminent orientalist scholars. "In its true Bpirit and afflatus," says 
Bwald, "no language can be more genuinely Hebrew than that of John." " His style," says Benan, " has nothing Hebrew, 
nothing Jewish, nothing TahnucUe." Benan looks to the surface, Bwald to the foundation. The style of John has been 
esMtnur diacqasjed by Lnthardtv in the second section of his Introduction (L pp. 21-69), and by Westcott, in his Intro- 
duction* the Goepeus (pp. 864-881). Oomp. also the remarks of Godet (H. p. 713, 718), who says: "Dantle ttgie de 
Jea^iemketmeeUeemimgree; le corpe oot kibrou," 

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graphic touches and incidental details which unmistakably betray an eye-witness, 
the express and solemn testimony of the writer to have witnessed the issue of blood 
and water from the pierced side of Jesus, and his indirect and delicate self-designation 
as the most favorite among the chosen Twelve, the high and lofty tone of the whole 
narrative, the perfect picture of the purest and holiest being that walked on the face 
of this earth — all point irresistibly to the conclusion that the fourth canonical Gospel 
is the composition of none other than the inspired Apostle whom Jesus loved, who 
leaned on His breast at the last supper, who stood at the cross and the open tomb, and 
who personally witnessed the greatest facts which ever occurred or ever will occur in 
the history of mankind. 


The preparation of the English edition of Dr. Lange's Commentary on John 
(from the third edition, revised and improved, 1868) was attended with unexpected 
difficulties and delays, which demand some explanation. 

The work was first intrusted to the late Rev. Edward D. Yeomaks, D. D. From 
his rare ability and experience as a translator, and his admiring appreciation of Lange, 
he was admirably qualified for the difficult task ; * but before he had half finished the 
first draft of a translation, he was called to his rest in the prime of his life and usefulness 
(at Orange, New Jersey, August 26, 1868), and left his manuscript as a sacred legacy in 
my hands. It is due to the memory of an esteemed and dearly beloved friend and co- 
laborer, who was one of the* purest and noblest Christian gentlemen I ever knew, that 
I should insert his last letter to me on the subject : — 

OlUHOB, N. J., June 18, 1SSSL 

My Dkar Dr. Schafp :— I have been again attacked with a return of the difficulty which caught me in the pulpit 
some four months ago. It has now shown itself distinctly mental, and has been more acute. Jnst four weeks ago to laid 
me up, and I have been unable till now to apply myself even to such a letter as this. I am strictly forbidden study for 
at least two months, and must then return to nothing beyond what my congregation requires, if I can return even to any 
good part of that. 

Providence now plainly shows mo that my work on Lange must cease. I suspected this, as I wrote you some months 
ago ; but hated positively to abandon it. I must now, however, relieve myself entirely of all connection with it And X 
send 70U herewith, by express, the original and your books you have lent me, and all my own manuscripts. 

I feel sad over this failure. It has the look of an entire failure on my part. It has, however, a very diifcrent side, 
when I remember that, after assuming the work, Providence called me, in succession, to the organisation of two new 
peristras— devolving far more pasto r al work upon me than my continuance in my already formed pariah at Trenton would 
have required 

Thin continual delay«of John I have been continually hoping to out short. I can now only redeem it by offering yon 
the free use of these M88. of mine, with not the slightest pecuniary claim, and with no appearance of my name in the 
concern. This I most oheerfuUy do, and pray you leniently to aooept it. My MSS., I see, need revision, as yon witt see 
by the first bunch, which I revised and have considerably changed. I cannot do anything further to them in the way of 
revision. I must positively retire from oft connection with this great, and to me moat engaging work. I only hope yon 
will be able m> to shape your work that John can go into no other hands but your own. 

I am obliged to write with effort, to compote a letter. But, my dear and inestimable friend, I oonld not fairly in pi ess 
my heart to you, with my best powers, not only over my apparently mortifying failure to fulfil this Important and long- 
promised service, but over this termination of a long, and to me most pleasant and profitable association with you in the 
highest walks of theology ; though my part has been that of a mere amanuensis, in another tongue, to your own brains and 
learning. I am only the more happy to think that this terminates only an associAtion of the letter, and touches not our 
perianal friendship and companionship in the least, nor our association in laboring for the propagation of the common 
truth as it is in Jesus. 

I cannot say more, but must cut myself short with assuring you that, with all my heart, 

I am, as ever, yours, E. D. YBOMAK& 

It was a sad pleasure to me to prepare the neat manuscript of my departed friend 
for the press. I treated it with scrupulous regard to his memory, which I shall ever 
sacredly cherish, hoping for a blissful reunion in a better world. 

After considerable delay, I happily secured the assistance of an unusually gifted 
lady, Miss Evelina Moore (a grand-daughter of Bishop Moore of Virginia), who, with 

* Competent judges (such as Drs. Jos. A. Alexander, Hodge, Stowe, H. B. Smith, HcCMntock, Borneo, etc.) had 
previously assigned to Dr. Teomans the very first rank among translators of theological works from the German into pure, 
Idiomatic English. A reviewer of my Church BiMory, in the British and Foreign Evangelical Quarterly Review, Lon- 
don, April, 1868, pays him the following tribute : ** In point of style and general structure there is nothing to indicate 
that the book is a translation from the German. Indeed in this respect it will stand a favorable compsrison with the 
best English classics," Similar views were expressed on his translation of my EUtoryoftke ApottoUc Church, when first 
published in 1863, 

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womanly instinct and intuition, penetrated to the very heart of John and his commen- 
tator, and finished the translation from Chs. IX. to XXI. to my entire satisfaction. 

In the Homiletical Department, from the tenth chapter to the close, I am also 
greatly indebted to the valuable aid of the Rev. Dr. Craven, of Newark, who, with 
conscientious fidelity, selected the best thoughts and suggestions from the Catena 
Pairum y from Henry, Burkitt, Clarke, Ryle, Barnes, Owen, Stier, Krummacher, and 
other practical commentators, not already noticed by Lange. His additions are marked 
with his own name ; they will be found in no way inferior to the corresponding selec- 
tions of the German original, from Starke, Gossner, Gerlach, Schleiermacher, Heubner, 
etc., and help to make this department a complete thesaurus. 

For the preparation of the Text, with the Critical Apparatus and the numerous 
additions to the Exegesis proper (enclosed in brackets), as well as for the final re- 
vision and editing of the whole volume, I am responsible myself. My endeavor has 
been to combine the most valuable results of ancient and modern, European and 
American labors on the fourth Gospel, and to make the Commentary permanently 
useful for study and reference. 

The revision of the Authorized English Version was, of course, made directly from 
the Greek, and with constant reference to the latest critical sources, viz. : the eighth 
large edition of Tischbndorf now in course of publication, Tregelles (Luke and John, 
1861% Alford (Gospels, 6th ed. 1868), and advanced sheets of Westoott and Hort's 
forthcoming edition of the Greek Testament, which were kindly furnished to me by my 
friend Canon Westcott. In examining these critical editions of German and English 
scholars, I have gained the conviction that we are steadily approaching a pure and re- 
liable text of the Greek Testament. Lachmann, following the hints of Bentley and 
Bengel, boldly opened the way by departing from the comparatively modern and unre- 
liable " textus receptus," and substituting for it the oldest text that can be obtained 
from the uncial manuscripts, the oldest versions and the quotations of the ante-Nicene 
fathers. The discovery and publication of the Sinaitic code (Aleph) by Tischendorf^ 
has given additional weight to the readings of the uncial MSS. (A. B. C. D. etc.). In 
the great majority of variations I find a remarkable agreement between the best German 
and English critics. The latter are almost entirely unknown even to the best German 
commentators. Lange, with sound critical judgment, follows chiefly Lachmann, but 
could not make use of the eighth edition of Tischendorf, whose first volume (containing 
the Gospels) was not completed till 1869, and presents many variations from his for- 
mer editions. 

In the Exegetical and Critical Department I have carefully compared and freely 
used (always with due credit) the latest editions of the best commentaries on John, 
especially Meyer (fifth edition of 1869, which has 684 pages to 586 of the fourth 
edition of 1861, and required constant rectification of Lange's frequent references to 
earlier editions), Alford (6th ed. 1868), and Godkt (1865), who respectively represent 
the present state of German, English, and French research on the Johannean Gospel.* 
On the more important passages I have also examined Origen ( Com. in Evang. Jbh.), 
Augustise (124 Tractates on the Gospel of John, Tom. III., Part II., pp. 290-826, 

* The pleasure of dally spiritual communion with these distinguished scholars, daring the preparation of this volume, 
was deepened by personal reminisoenoes which can never be effaced. On my last visit to Europe, in 1800, I spent some 
delightful days with Dr. Lange in Bonn, who is still in full vigor and unceasing activity ; with Dr. Alford at the Deanery 
of Canterbury, who was called from his earthly labors before I finished my task ; with Professor Qodet at NeuchateL, with 
whom I studied and prayed at Berlin, when he was superintending the education of the present crown prince of Pruiisia, 
and heir to the new imperial crown of reunited and reconstructed Germany ; and with the venerable Dr. Meyer, at Han* 
never, who devotes bis whole time to new editions of his Commentary on the New Testament. 

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BenecL ed.), Chrysostox (88 Homilies on John, Tom. Yin., pp. 1-530, BenecL ed), 
among the fathers; Luther and Calvin, among the reformers; Grotius, Benqbl, Ols- 
hausen, De Wette-BrCckner (5th ed. 1863), Tholuck, Hengstenberg, Luthardt, 
Stier, Webster and Wilkinson, Wordsworth (5th ed. 1866), Barnes, and Owen, 
among more recent exegetes. The very elaborate Calvinistic commentary of Lamps 
(1724), and the classical work of Lucre (3d ed., 1840), I had previously studied with care, 
when, in the first year of my academic career (1843), I wrote out a full course of lec- 
tures on the Gospel of John for my students in the University of Berlin. On all the 
principal passages I found myself in agreement with the views of my youth. 

The American edition, then, is to a large extent a new work. It exceeds the Ger- 
man, which numbers only 427 pages (third edition), by more than one-third. It has 
not only 228 more pages, exclusive of the Preface, but each page, owing to the smaller 
type, contains two more lines (70 to 68). Add to this the fact that the whole Critical 
Apparatus (which is almost entirely new), and many of my exegetical notes are set in 
still smaller type ; and it may be fairly said that the contents of this one volume, if 
leaded and printed in larger type, would fill four ordinary octavo volumes. I state 
this in justice to the publishers, who sell Lange's Commentary at so low a price, in 
proportion to the vast cost of manufacture, that only a large and steady sale can save 
them from serious loss. 

It would have been a more easy, certainly a more agreeable, task to prepare, on the 
basis of my own lectures, and on a simpler plan, an original Commentary in unbroken com- 
position, instead of improving, supplementing, and adapting a foreign work, with con- 
stant restraints thrown around me. I confess that Dr. Lange has often sorely tried 
my patience and defied my efforts to interpret his uncommon sense to the common sense 
of the English reader. But, with all his defects, if such they may be called, he has 
rare qualifications for sounding the mystic depths and and scaling the transcendent 
heights of John ; and, in my humble judgment, he has dug more gold and silver from 
the mine of* this Gospel, than any single commentator before him. He sees "the 
clear full-moon " behind the clouds, and where he does not see, he feels, divines, and 
adores. Every reader must admire his elaborate care, fertile genius, and lovely 
Johannean spirit. 

Of the merits of my own additions others may judge. With all the minute labor 
bestowed upon it, the work is far from coming up to my own imperfect standard of a 
Commentary on this marvellous Gospel. At the end of my task I feel more strongly 
than ever that our best efforts to interpret the unfathomable depths of the words of 
the eternal Son of God, as recorded by His favorite disciple, are but the stammerings 
of a child. " Now we see through a glass, darkly ," and know only " in part ; " but the 
time will come when we shall see €l face to face," and know " even as we are known.'' 
4< It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, 
we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." 

One more volume remains to complete the American edition of the New Testa- 
ment division of this Bible-work. The Commentary on the Revelation of John has 
recently appeared in German, and the English edition has been intrusted to able hands, 
A full Index of the whole work is also in course of preparation. 


Bible Houss, Nkw York, ICaj 1STL 

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[Shine graciously upon Thy Church, wo beseech Thee, Lord ; that, being enlightened by the doctrine and filled 
with the mind of Thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist, Saint John, whom Jesus loved, it may come at last into Thy 
beatific presence, and enjoy the rewards of everlasting life ; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth 
with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.— Colled for 8t. John'i Day, the tecond day 
qfltr Cliristmat. 

[Volat avis sine meta Bird of God ! with boundless flight 

Quo neo rates nee propheta Soaring mr beyond the height 

Evolavit altius : Of the bard or prophet old ; 

Tarn implenda, quam impleta, Truth fulfilled, and truth to be,— 

Xunquam vidit tot secreta Never purer mystery 

Furus homo partus. Did a purer tongue unfold ! —] 

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On the name Johanan^ God is gracious, or, God graciously gives, see the Commentary on 
Matthew, x. 2.* The character of the Evangelist and Apostle John, so peculiar in loftiness, 
idealness, richness, and depth, and yet clearly marked, cannot easily be described ; though it 
seems easy to exhibit him in a sketch of his life from the New Testament authorities, and the 
statements of the fathers. The very difficulty is, to set forth duly the wonderful significance 
of all the historical features of his life, and to combine them in a true unit. 

John, as a man, represents a firmness and unity of ideal turn, in which even inherent sin- 
fulness veils itself without hypocrisy in the noble forms of devout zeal (Luke ix. 64), proud 
aspiration (Mark x. 35), and perhaps even courtly ease (John xviii. 16). As a Christian and 
an Apostle, he represents in the Church an apostolate of the heart and spirit of Jesus, in 
which he attracts even little catechumens with the patriarchal charms of kindliness ; while 
he remains, even for the awakened and believing, veiled in a mysterious and ghostlike glim- 
mer, in which he is often rather revered and praised, than heard through and studied out. 
To most every-day Christians he is too much of a Sunday nature for them to make them- 
selves familiar with ; and if his apostolic and churchly dignity did not shield him, scholars 
of the ordinary stamp would doubtless be inclined to consider him, for his great, heaven- 
high, and world-embracing conceptions, fantastic or visionary. 

We may try to catch the transcendency, the idealness of his nature, by analogies. Some- 
what thus : As Plato was related to Socrates, so is John to Christ. Or : The Evangelist John 
opens to us a deep, shadowy, presageful insight into infinity, like a night illumined by the 

• [It fa probable that the indirect self-designation of the Evangelist, "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (xiii. 23 ; 
six. 25; xx. 2 ; xxL 7, 20), is an ingenious interpretation of his name John, *l<oawry; t 'jJTI'P for *j3nin^ — i e., Jeho- 
vdKU gracious (comp. the Greek Theodore, and the German Goithold, Gottlieb) ; for, according to the prologue, and chap. 
xU. 41, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, or God revealed, is the eternal Logos who became incarnate for our salvation* 
IBs name contained a prophecy which was fulfilled in his intimate relation to Christ— P. S.] 

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moon (Asmus Claudius ; see Tholuck's Introduction to his Commentary, p. 7 [Krauth's trans- 
lation, p. 22] ). Or, again, according to the ancient Church symbol of this Apostle : As the 
eagle soars against the sun, so John, in high flight of spirit, faces the sun of revelation in 
Christ (e. g., Alcuin ; see Credner's EMekung in das Neue Testament, p. 57 ; Heubner, Johan- 
nes, p. 214). That John is most easily intelligible when taken as the contemplative disciple, 
in distinction from the practical disciple, the Apostle Peter, is palpable. The two apostles 
form the centre of the two halves of the apostolate, in which the operation of Christ shades 
itself off in the world ; and from this point of view Andrew and the sons of Alpheus, James 
the Less, Simon Zelotes, Judas Lebbseus, and, as to natural talent, Judas Iscariot, range on 
the side of Peter ; James the Elder, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew-Nathanael, and Matthew, 
on the side of John. Our Evangelist is thus, in any case, balanced in his predominantly ideal 
tendency by the other side, as the Apostle Peter in his practical tendency is supplemented by 
his opposite. 

But within this one sublime tendency itself there are opposites enough, which paraphrase 
this richest apostolic life. A repose of gaze, a predominance of insight, which, in the inten- 
sity of its light-like nature, easily springs into a lightning-flash ; in other words, a serenity 
which manifests itself in the most glowing heartiness ; a spiritual intuition which, with the 
most distinct logical consciousness, chooses the richest symbolical expression; an intel- 
lectual femineity of fervent surrender to the beloved central object of all its contemplations, 
displaying a masculine energy in the most copious organizing and formative works (Gospel, 
Epistles, Apocalypse) ; an originality which enriches itself with all the available material 
of religious learning (Logos-doctrine, Apocalyptics) ; a fervor of love which, in the keenest 
distinctions between light and darkness, proves its devoted personalness and its holiness; 
therefore a child-like and virgin-like nature, which unconsciously displays itself in an angelic 
majesty : all this pervaded with an unlimited depth of humility longing for salvation, and 
with a heroic faith, which, in assurance of consummation, soars above the already condemned 
world ;— these are some of the antithetic features in which the character of John opens to 
us in the copiousness of his life. 

And, like every predominantly ideal life, the life of John reveals itself most clearly in 
definite, more actual lines reflected from other characters. We prefer, therefore, to sketch 
his life by contrasts. 

1. John and Salome. (See Matt. iv. 21 ; xx. 20 ; Mark xv. 40 ; xvi 1 ; comp. Matt 
xxvii. 56). John was the son of Zebedec, a fisherman of Galilee, residing we know not cer- 
tainly whether at Bethsaida (Chrysostom, and others) or Capernaum (on this latter suppo- 
sition, see Lucke, Comment, p. 0). His mother was Salome, who no doubt was a sister of 
Mary, the mother of the Lord (John xix. 25 ; comp. Wieselcr, Btudien und Kritiken, 1840, 
iii. p. 648) ; and he himself, with his probably older brother James, was bred to his father's 
calling. The family has been styled a poor fishing family (Chrysostom) ; Lttcke shows (p. 9) 
that it must have possessed some wealth. Zebedee had hired servants (Mark i. 20), and a 
partnership in business (Luke v. 10) ; his wife Salome was one of the women who supported 
the Lord from their means (Luke viii. 3), and embalmed his body ; John himself owned a 
property (John xix. 27.) Whether this property, and his residence in Jerusalem, were the 
ground of his acquaintance in the house of the high-priest Caiaphas, cannot be determined. 
" Jerome unwarrantably inferred from that acquaintance that the family of John belonged to 
the better class." 

Of his father Zebedee we know very little, yet enough. We may suppose that he con- 
sented to the discipleship of his sons, and probably (unless he died before Salome joined in 
the itinerancy of Jesus) to the discipleship of his wife. That " his mind seems not to have 
risen above the pursuit of earthly things " (Credner), is not necessarily to be inferred from 
his continuing at his nets. The family seems to have been fully of the sort who, familiar, in 
true Israelitish piety, with the Old Testament, were at that time living in quickened hope 
of the Messiah (Luke ii. 88). Salome especially shared this hope with womanlike surrender 
of soul. It is remarkable that the New Testament apocrypha, and the legends, relate the 

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affinity of Salome and her family with the Lord, without knowing the true connection. 
Salome is said to have been now a daughter, now a sister, now a former wife of Joseph. She 
looks spiritually like a sister of Mary ; noble of thought like her, she is more ambitious, 
more wilful, and therefore, on the other hand, more visionary (see Matt. xx. 20), though in 
spirit the true mother of a John and a 'James in cheerfulness of self-sacrifice (Luke viii. 3 ; 
xxiii, 55), and in that strength of attachment as a disciple, in which she remained steadfast 
under the cross. At the cross we lose sight of the noble woman (compare, however, Acts i. 
14), who probably, with her sister Mary, lived a considerable time with her sons in Jerusalem 
in the house of John. We know not what part she may have had in John's coming so early 
into the school of his namesake, the Baptist. All the indications are, that she was the 
motherly fosterer of the great gifts of her sons, their guide on the path, of the future toward 
the New Testament salvation. 

How variously did the seer-like, expectant spirit of the women then on the sea of Galilee 
bear itself toward the New Testament future ! The Mary in Nazareth becomes the chosen 
handmaid of the Lord ; the Mary in Magdaia lapses for a while, probably in wealthy circum- 
stances, to a free-thinking, antinomian life of sensual love, misinterpreting the new time; 
Salome kindles in her sons the fire of a Messianic hope and search. Perhaps James, the more 
practical, was her favorite ; John was her richer inheritance. 

2. John and James. Probably James (major) was the older in relation to John as well 
as the other James, fdr he is always placed before John. Both were named, from their com- 
mon traits, " sons of thunder " (Mark iii. 17 ; comp. the Comm. on Matthew, x. 2). It is 
simply inconceivable that the Lord, as Gurlitt thought (Studien und KrUiken, 1829, No. 4 ; 
comp. Lebcn Jesu, i. p. 281), should have given the two sons of Zebedce this name in pure 
censure. Though the well-known anger of the two brothers against a Samaritan city (Luke 
ix. 51), as is not at all improbable, gave occasion for this epithet, vet the Lord must have 
intended to denote and immortalize, not the sinfulness of His disciples, which was disappear- 
ing under the working of His Spirit, but only such a trait of character, as was in itself capa- 
ble of sanctification, though it had expressed itself sinfully here. Nathanael asks, in a sinful 
way : " Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ? " Christ calls him, immediately after, a 
true Israelite, in whom is no guile. As in him a sinful haste in judgment was associated 
with noble uprightness, so, in the sons of thunder, that carnal zeal dwelt with an energy, a 
loftiness and decision of moral feeling, an exalted strength of character, which may utter 
itself in indignation like lightning. Theophylact referred the name to the thunder-like 
elevation and depth of their discourse (jjnya\oKrjpvK€s *<u 3eoXoyi*«>raroi). Lucke remarks, 
that even the metaphorical sense of the Greek fipovrav is not quite suitable to this ; still less 
the Aramaic cm (P« 17)« But ener g7> grandeur, elevation of mind, according to the Old 
Testament import of thunder and storm, are, at all events, well expressed by this title. (See 
Ps. xxix.) That the name does not occur more frequently, is doubtless due to its being a 
collective name of both the brothers. But John gradually acquired a surname of his own : 
" the disciple whom Jesus loved ; " the friend of Jesus in the most eminent sense, the bosom 
Mend, who lay on His breast; hence, among the fathers, eVicmfctor (Lucke, p. t4). And 
James had to be distinguished from the other James, as the son of Zebedee ; and thus, in his 
case also, the surname remained unused. But he proved himself the spiritual brother of 
John on his entrance upon his discipleship (Matt. iv. 21) ; in the fiery zeal just mentioned 
(Luke ix. 51) ; in that well-known request of the sons of Zebedee, which was at the same 
time the request of their mother (Mark x. 85 ; Matt. xx. 20) ; and his superior character was 
recognized by the Lord, who made James, with Peter and John, in the select triad, a con- 
fidant of His highest mysteries (Matt. xvii. 1 ; xxvL 27). • 

But if John takes precedence of him as the companion of Peter in the Lord's most special 
errands of symbolical prophetic meaning (Luke xxii. 8), and if afterwards, in the apostolic 
fortunes of the brothers, the greatest contrast appears which is to be found in the history of 
the apostles, there must have been also a contrast in the character of the two. We suppose 
that the lofty energy of soul in James received from his mother Salome a practical direction, 

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and hastened to outward action ; while John found his highest satisfaction in ideal action, 
developing and reproducing his impressions. Hence it was probably James in particular 
who, in the indignation against the Samaritan village, and in other cases, urged to action ; 
while John was perhaps the one to ask the Lord : " Wilt thou that we command fire to come 
down from heaven?" And again, it was probably James in particular who forbade the 
exorcist casting out devils in the name of Jesus (Mark ix. 38), and who afterwards was fore- 
most in the request for the first place in the kingdom of the Lord. We infer this from the 
fact that James the Elder seems at the first to have been, above all others, the leader or repre- 
sentative of the church at Jerusalem. At all events, it could not have been without reason 
that he was the first seized by Herod Agrippa L in his persecution of the apostles (Acts 
xii. 1). 

Thus the elder son of Zebedee was the first martyr among the apostles, while the younger 
was almost the last of the apostles (Simon Zelotes probably died later, about 107, a martyr's 
death) to be taken home, and, after a temporary exile, died a natural death, toward the end 
of the century. John, with his contemplative, stately, ideal mind, went angel-like through 
life. As he did not interfere directly and by main force with the world, he was little heeded 
by the world ; though, by virtue of his hidden depth of life, he was doubtless a mighty 
lever of motion, an awakener of kindred spirits, even from the time he was a disciple of the 

The contrast between the two sons of Zebedee may also explain the fact that James the 
Elder is only once mentioned in the fourth Gospel, chap. xxi. 2. The Evangelist used only 
those materials of the gospel history which would completely present his ideal view. Notices 
of James lay in another direction. Even his mother John mentions only in circumlocution ; 
and he speaks in the same indirect way of himself. (See John xx. 4 ; xxi. 7.) 

8. John the Evangelist and John the Baptist. A John represents in the gospel 
history the deepest trend of the Old Testament, as it prepares for and points to the first 
advent of Christ (John i. 6) ; a John again represents the New Testament, which proceeds 
from Christ, as, in its deepest current, it prepares for the second coming of Christ in glory 
(John xxi.). Qod is gracious, is the name of the forerunner, who is greater than all the 
prophets ; God is gracious, is the name of the disciple of Jesus who does not die. Believing 
hope of the Messiah made the younger 6on of Zebedee, even in youth, a disciple of John ; 
believing certainty of the Messiah makes him one of the first to enter the discipleship of 
Christ (John i. 85) ; and that, at the words of the Baptist : " Behold the Lamb of God." 
Indeed, it is a characteristic, that the ideal Apostle has taken even the Baptist entirely on his 
evangelical side, leaving the severe preacher of the law and of repentance quite out of view. 
The difference between tho treatment of the Baptist in the Synoptical Gospels and in John 
exactly corresponds with the difference in the portraiture of Christ. And yet it is the same 
Christ, the same John the Baptist, viewed on the side most congenial to this disciple. 

The Old Testament John was to the New Testament John the voice of the gospel spirit 
of the Old Testament (chap. i. 28), the witness-bearer of God who pointed to Christ. In this 
spirit the disciple was joined to the master in a fellowship which embraced the strongest 
antithesis. In energy of moral indignation he could assuredly vie with the Baptist ; and tho 
words of John the Baptist : " He shall baptize you with fire," " He will burn up the chaff," 
might have been in his mind when he wished to baptize with fire and burn the Samaritan 

But by degrees the mighty contrast appeared between the master senescent in spirit, legal, 
ascetic, austere, and practical, and the disciple eternally youthful, contemplative, joyful, festal, 
hovering over the earthly world. The christology of the Baptist ended in the historical 
Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth, and His priestly atoning sufferings and kingly judging ; 
the christology of the son of Zebedee transfigured heaven and earth into an emblem and copy 
of the universal Christ. And between the later disciples of John the Baptist and the the- 
ology of John the Divine, this contrast became a very chasm. 

Nevertheless, both names doubtless have given the name John unlimited currency in 

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Christendom. Every encyclopaedia testifies how many prinoes, scholars, and divines are 
graced with this name; and how many popes— sometimes, shamelessly enough, without a 
breath of the spirit of John — have chosen his name for their decoration. 

4. John and Andrew. The fisherman's son John had gone with the fisherman Andrew 
from Bethsaida into the school of the Baptist on the Jordan. That Andrew was one of the 
foremost pioneering spirits among the apostles, is attested by the few traces of him in the 
gospel history, and by the legend. (Lcben Jesu, ii. 2, p. 695; comp. Winer: Andreas). 
Andrew brought Simon Peter, his brother, to Jesus. It is possible that John had, in like 
manner, won over his brother James. At all events, both Andrew and John were men of 
pioneering, progressive mind. Hence they were admitted, with Peter and James, to the con- 
fidential eschatological discourse of Christ on the Mount of Olives (Mark xiii. 3;. But they 
led off on different paths : the one on the path of missionary action, the other on the path 
of that knowledge which overcomes the world. 

5. John and Judas Iscakiot. If we can suppose that Judas the traitor had blinded 
most of the disciples by his Messianic enthusiasm, and was able often to carry them with him 
(Lebm Jesu, ii. 2, p. 702 ; comp. p. 651 sqq.) —indeed, that he had probably been received 
into the circle upon the special intercession of the disciples in their blind confidence — John 
was the first to see through him (chap. vi. 71 ; xii. 6 ; xiii. 27). The silent depth of a solid 
enthusiasm and devotion finds itself instinctively repelled by the flaring fire of an impure 
ambition. And as Judas was the serpent which coiled himself upon the bosom of the Lord 
(John xiii. 18), John lay on the breast of Jesus as a chosen friend. Even he might often 
grieve Him (Luke ix. 54 ; Mark ix. 88 ; x. 85), and for a moment forsake Him, but he soon 
returns to His side (chap, xviii. 16), and, though not a confessor in word, as he was not yet 
required to be, he is a confessor in act, as he stands and waits with the mother of Jesus be- 
neath the cross (chap. xix. 26). 

6. John and Abbaham, or, John the Friend op Jesus. As Abraham was distin- 
guished above all the men of the Old Covenant by being called, in a special sense, a " friend 
of Qod " (James ii. 23), so John is honored above all the men of the New, as the friend of 
Jesus. And in both cases the reason of this eminence must have lain in an energy of per- 
sonal knowledge or steadfast love in these friends of Qod and Christ, arising from a particu- 
lar Divine election. Abraham was called by a personal Qod into a personal covenant, and, 
by his self-surrender to the personal God, his own personal life was transfigured and secured 
to him down to an endless posterity ; for this personal love he gave up home and Mends, and 
all things, and gained the promise of the Holy Land and an hereditary kingdom (Gen. xii. 
1-7). So John resigned himself to the knowledge of the world-embracing, divine personality 
of Christ, with a devotion which cast the whole world into the shadow of Christ. In this 
contemplation of the personal Christ he acquired that peculiar radiance in which he appears 
as the friend of Christ. Judas loved Jesus for a while for the sake of the Messianic kingdom 
as he conceived it ; the other disciples, on the path of their discipleship, loved Jesus and His 
kingdom ; John found all in the person of Jesus : kingdom and redemption, Father and 

Hence he is at first one of the disciples, in the general sense (John i. ; Matt, iv.) ; then, 
one of the twelve (Matt, x.) ; then, one of the three (Matt, xvii.) ; then, one of the two (Luke 
xvii. 18) ; at last, the one who lies on the bosom of Jesus (John xiii. 23), to whom Jesus com- 
mits His mother at the cross (chap, xix.), to whom alone He promises a tarrying till He come 
again (chap. xxL), and to whom, on the island of his exile, the Lord once more appears in 
personal majesty, long after His personal appearances among His people have ceased (Rev. i.). 

7. John and Mabt. That a special affinity of spirit existed between the mother and 
the friend of the Lord, might naturally be presumed, and is confirmed by the direction of 
Christ upon the cross. It would be contrary to all christological principles to suppose that 
Jesus, by that bequest, severed and abolished His human relation to His mother. The king- 
dom of glory glorifies human relations ; it no more annuls them, than it abolishes the human 
nature of Christ himsel£ But the comfort of intimate friendship, which contributes to the 

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edification of His people, Christ appoints to these two sufferers. To Mary and John the form 
of Christ had become most copiously and most purely transfigured. Mary seems to have led, 
for a considerable time, a quiet life in communion of spirit with John in his house at Jeru- 
salem (John xix. 27 ; see the article u Maria," in Winer). Both lived in joyful musing on the 
past, the present, and the future of the Lord. Without doubt they formed a most efficient 
support of the congregation at Jerusalem, which was the whole church at first ; and Mary 
might well hare had a mental part in the " one tender leading Gospel." * 

John himself, indeed, was a predominantly feminine nature, if by that be understood 
the perfect receptivity and self-surrender which is proper to all religious feeling and exercises 
of faith. (See the article "John" in Herzog's Encyclopedia, by Ebrard.) But a feminine 
nature, in the stricter sense, he cannot be called. He was great not merely in receiving and 
feeling, but also in contemplative reproduction, statement, and imagination, though his state- 
ment and imagination were eminently ideal. More sublime compositions than the fourth 
Gospel and the Revelation cannot be conceived. This plastic, creative work, was by no 
means of the nature of secular art for being ideal. It produced awakening and edifying 
creations for the Church. But John also, in his way, labored practically, as much perhaps as 
Peter, only in a direction less striking to the eye. 

8. John and Peteb ; or, John and the first half of the apostolic age. It is not correct 
to call Peter, without qualification, the first of the apostles. Peter and John mark the con- 
trast in the position of the apostles between Christ and the world. John is the first on the 
side of the apostolate toward Christ ; Peter, the first on the side toward the world, and in 
that view truly the first of the apostles in the stricter sense. If, therefore, John for the most 
part stands in lofty silence beside the speaking and acting Peter (Acts, chaps, iii, viii, and 
xv.), we should greatly err if we should take him for a mute or in any way passive figure, 
according to the measure of his silence. John had no talent for popularity ; he was always 
too much the whole man for that (see the above-mentioned article of Ebrard), too directly 
exposed his inward views and movements ; but it may well be supposed that, as a support, a 
spiritual guide, he exerted almost as determining an influence upon Peter, as Peter exerted 
upon the world and the Church. The indications of this we find, for example, in John, 
chaps, xviii., xx., and xxL So far as Peter might still need human advice, he found his privy 
council in the house of John and Mary ; though we need not attribute to this circumstance 
the fact that in the apostolic council at Jerusalem he stood so firmly for the freedom of faith 
(Acts xv.), while soon after, at Antioch, where he was without the guidance of John, he 
wavered once more, and should have fouud his support in Paul. We at last find John, how- 
ever, in that council in Jerusalem (about the year 53 [50] ), and find him, with Peter and James 
the Less, one of the three pillars of the church (Gal. ii.). If there was at that time any defi- 
nite demarcation of the three several positions of those pillars in the Jewish mission, as 
there was between that mission as a whole and the Gentile mission of Paul, James, it seems to 
be certain, was the president of the mother-church at Jerusalem, Peter more especially de- 
voted to the Hebrew Diaspora, John to the Hellenists, or the Jews and proselytes of Grecian 

This explains the wavering of Peter at Antioch, and his journey to Babylon to the Jews 
resident there ; and it explains the later residence of John in Asia Minor, and his doctrine 
of the Logos, which we regard as determined by his intercourse with Hellenistic Jews. This 
direction of John's labors rested upon the universal destination which Christ had assigned 
him (John xxi.). 

Peter may be said to have laid the foundation of the Christian Church, as a historical 
martyr ; John, as a spiritual martyr, to have embraced in his mind all the ages of the de- 
velopment of the Church ; to form her ideal, mystical background ; to move through the 
dark times of her conflicts and through her predominantly practical tendencies as the great 
unknown, notwithstanding the thousand Johns in Christendom ; perpetuating himself espe- 

• {"Da* tine narU Haupicvangcliurt^ an expression of Lather applied to the Gotpel of John.— P. 8.1 

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dally in all the healthful mystical aod contemplative theology, to break forth iii the end of 
the days with his full spiritual operation, and present to the Lord, as a bride adorned for her 
husband, a John-like church, matured in spiritual life. 

Thus, as Peter was the first of the apostles in their relation to the world, John was the 
first in their relation to Christ. The talent of Peter was ideally practical ; that of John, 
practically ideal. Peter is the chief of the working, edifying, upbuilding spirits of the 
Church ; John, the chief of the contemplative. In John, the basis of enthusiasm or devotion 
to Christ was not an inexhaustible impulse to do, but a deep, wondering celebration of the 
eternal fact and work of the perfection of Christ.* The fundamental characteristic of Peter 
was energetic heart ; that of John, reposing heartiness. John's piety, therefore, like that of 
Peter, has the character of the highest purity. In his humility he goes, with great delicacy, 
even to the suppression of himself, his mother, and his brother James, in his Gospel ; intro- 
ducing himself merely as " a disciple " of Christ (L 40), or as " the disciple whom Jesus loved " 
(xiil 23) ; his mother Salome, only as sister of the mother of Jesus (xix. 25) ; and James the 
Elder but once, as son of Zebedee. In like manner, through the terrors of the world his heart 
goes almost equally undisturbed. In the house of the high-priest he stands upright beside 
the falling Peter. His love has the character of tender depth ; his believing knowledge is an 
intuitive beholding, rising to lyric stateliness. The ideas of love, life, and light, hatred, 
death, and darkness, are the fundamental elements of his ideal conception of Christianity and 
the world. Hence, to him, the Logos, as the original unity of these three elements, is the 
groundwork— the glory (the oofa), or the absolute manifestation («Vi#dV«ia), the final goal of 
the revelation of God. Peter sees the glory of Christ chiefly in the mighty unfolding of the 
glory of His kingdom ; John sees all the glory of the kingdom of Christ comprised in the 
single glory of His personal exaltation and His future appearing. But his contemplativeness 
is not an idle posture ; it is the energy of faith ; it therefore supplies a silent force which 
proves itself preeminently an inwardly purifying agency in the Church ; and it therefore 
expresses itself in the strongest abhorrence of evil. Thus John clarifies the Christian doc- 
trine, the body of believers, the Church. And as, therefore, the contemplative Apostle was 
called to enlarge and complete the New Testament in all its constituent elements [historical, 
didactic, and prophetic], so also the purifying Apostle was called to be longest at the head 
of the apostolic Church. (Langc's Apost. Zeitalter, i. p. 358 ; comp. Lehea Jtsu, i. p. 262 ; 
Schaff 's Hist, of the Apost. Church, § 103, pp. 407-411.) 

[9. John and Paul. As our author omits to contrast the beloved disciple who im- 
pressed Christ's image most deeply into the heart of the Church, with the great Apostle of 
the Gentiles, who labored more than all in word and work, we insert here the following by. 
way of supplement, from Behalf's History of the Apostolic Churchy Amcr. ed., p. 411 : a John- 
and Paul have depth of knowledge in common. They are the two apostles who have left us 
the most complete systems of doctrine. But they know in different ways. Paul, educated in 
the schools of the Pharisees, is an exceedingly acute thinker and an accomplished dialec- 
tician. He sets forth the doctrines of Christianity in a systematic scheme, proceeding from 
cause to effect, from the general to the particular, from premise to conclusion, with logical 
clearness and precision. He is a representative of genuine scholasticism, in the best sense 
of the term. John's knowledge is that of intuition and contemplation. He gases with his 
whole soul upon the object before him, surveys all as £a one picture, and thua presents the 
profoundest truths as an eye-witness, not by a course of logical demonstration, but imme- 
diately as they lie in reality before him. His knowledge of divine thingB is the deep insight 
of love, which ever fixes itself at the centre, and thence surveys all points of the circumfer- 
ence at once. He is the representative of all true mysticism. Both these apostles together 

* (The difference 1)0(17001 Peter and John in their relation to. Christ is parallel with the difference between Martha* 
and Mary. Both loved tho Saviour with their whole heart, bat the ono showed it more by oaiward, bnby action, the 
other by inward, quiet contemplation ; the one loved Him in His official dignity as the Messiah, tho other in His per- 
sonal character as the fountain of spiritual life. As Gioliua ingeniously suggests, Peter was mure a friend of Cferiat 
(Christophllos, or Philochlistos), John a friend of Jesus (Jesnphilos), his bosom friend.— P. 8*J 

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meet all the demands of the mind thirsting for wisdom ; of the keenly-dissecting understand- 
ing, as well as the speculative reason, which comprehends what is thus analyzed in its highest 
unity ; of mediate reflection as well as immediate intuition. Paul and John, in their two 
grand systems, have laid the eternal foundations of all true theology and philosophy ; and 
their writings, now after eighteen centuries of study, are still unfathoraed."] 

10. John and Simon. After the Apostolic Council, John disappears from the New Tes- 
tament history of the apostles. When Paul made his last visit to Jerusalem (about the year 
59 or 60), he conferred only with James and the elders. John was away — at all events, not 
present with the others. And he could not yet have been in Ephesus when Paul, some years 
later (about 67), wrote thither to Timothy. To the question, where he may have been in the 
meantime, the traditions of the ancient Church give no answer (see Lucke, p. 23 ; my Apout. 
Zeitalter^ ii. p. 420). If we suppose that, in his noiseless solicitude, he went to Peraea on the 
first symptoms of the Jewish war, and prepared the way for the settlement of the community 
in Pella, it is only a conjecture. But since John was the greatest seer among the Christians, 
the statement of Eusebius (iii. 5), that an oracle was imparted by revelation to the most 
approved of the Church, which directed the whole Christian people to emigrate from Jeru- 
salem and seek a new abode in a city of Pereea called Pella ; and the statement of Epipha- 
nius, that an angel from heaven instructed the Christians to leave the capital {De ponderibus 
et menmris, cap. 15), may naturally be referred above all to the outstripping prophetic gift 
of John. To this, add the presumption that John, even before taking*his residence in Ephe- 
sus — that is, while preparing for the composition of his Gospel, which seems to have taken 
place, at least in part, before the destruction of Jerusalem (see below, and Aport. Zeitalter, ii. 
p- 420) — became familiar with Grecian modes of thought, as his Gospel shows. This famil- 
iarity he might have first gained in the Palestinian Decapolis, especially in Pella. Here the 
Jewish-Christian type of thought must have mingled with the Greek-Christian. 

Pella therefore formed the natural bridge for the Apostle from Jerusalem to Ephesus, and 
probably he did not leave the congregation at Pella, to pass to Asia Minor, until it was firmly 

We infer this course of things also from the harmonious correspondence in which the 
Jewish-Christian ehurch at Pella (Apost. Zeitalter, ii. p. 263), under the direction of Simon, 
stood with the Gentile-Christian church of John at Ephesus. It is the fact, that the Jewish- 
Christian church in Pella, under the bishop Simon, stood in communion with the Gentile 
Christians. This appears, first, from the very fact of the flight of these Jewish Christiana to 
Pella ; they did not share the fanaticism of the Jews who went to destruction with their 
temple. Then, from the account of Hegesippus, that the aged Simon was martyred through 
the treachery of the Jewish-Christian heretics (Euseb. iii. 32). What they hated in Simon, 
could only be his more liberal, anti-Ebionistic position. Finally, from the account of Epi- 
phanius and Sulpitius Severus, that " at the time that Hadrian prohibited the Jews from 
going to JSlia Capitolina, the Christians, in order that they might return to the Holy City, 
had put away every connection with the Jewish worship, and had confirmed this renunciation 
by choosing a Gentile bishop by the name of Mark." But certainly so great a freedom must 
have time to ripen ; and this was afforded by the episcopate of Simon. It is further to be 
observed, that, according to the testimony *f the monk Maximus, Aristo of Pella wrote an 
apology against the Jews ; Clement of Alexandria attributed this apology to Luke (Apost. 
ZeitdLter, ii. 464). 

But if the church of Pella was in decided fellowship with the Gentile Christians, the 
church of Ephesus and Asia Minor, which in its main element was Gentile-Christian, was in 
equally decided fellowship with the Jewish Christiana* In favor of this is, first of all, the 
strong affinity of the writings of John, especially of the Apocalypse (which most certainly 
belongs to Asia Minor), with the Old Testament, and with Old Testament images and modes 
of expression. Then it is a fact that John, with the Christians of Asia Minor, observed 
Easter according te the Jewish reckoning, and at the same time with the Jews ; as is proved 
by the testimony of the bishop Polycrates in the Easter controversies (Euseb. iii 81 ; v. 24). 

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Finally, it is "well known that John had to contend as firmly in Ephesus against the Gentile- 
Christian Gnosticism, as Simon in Pella against the Jewish-Christian Ebionism. This his 
writings, and the testimony of the ancients, prove. (See the section on the Design of the 
'Gospel, below.) His contest was, indeed, in part with the mixed forms of a Gnostic Ebion- 
ism, as represented by Ccrinthus. As to the affinity of John with Judaism, Irenseus infers 
from the Acts, and from Gal. ii. 9, that, so long as he was in Jerusalem, John, with the other 
apostles, continued the strict (religious) observance of the Mosaic law {Adv. Hocrcm, v£. 12). 
u This, however," observes Luekc (p. 19), " is to be very much qualified on account of the 
growing separation between the Jewish and Christian communities in Jerusalem." 

But the degree of this separation, and the whole import of it, must be distinctly fixed. 
The apostles were severed from Judaism in principle by the death of Christ (Eph. ii. 15 ; 
Col. ii. 14 ; Acts xv.). By the real Passover, the Jewish Passover, as a type, was for them 
abolished ; that is to say, the centre of communion in the Jewish religion was for them de- 
stroyed (John xix. 36). No element of Judaism could henceforth appear to the apostles 
necessary to salvation (Acts xv. 10, 11). But this did not require them to abandon the fel- 
lowship of the temple ; the less, since, on the preaching of Peter (Acts ii.), a large Jewish- 
Christian congregation had formed itself about them. According to the law of the Spirit, 
they did^not withdraw, but they suffered themselves to be thrust out. The gradations of this 
passive excommunication appear plainly in Acts v. 40 ; vii. 58 ; xii. 1, 2 ; xv. ; to which add 
especially the execution of James the Just (see " James," in Winer). But if, nevertheless, the 
apostles supposed that circumcision might continue among the Jewish Christians, and if they 
even, according to Acts xv., made it the duty of the Gentile Christians to bind themselves to 
the so-called Noachic commandments, we must again insist, that these were not religions con- 
ditions of the inward assurance of salvation, but ethical conditions of the outward fellowship of 
solvation, or of the communion between Jewish and Gentile Christians, ecclesiastical, ethical dog- 
mas, the formal obligation of which might vanish with the vanishing occasion of them (the 
prohibition of blood). The statement of Polycrates of Ephesus (Euseb. iii. 31 ; v. 24), that 
John, being of the family of the high-priest, continued, while an Apostle, to wear the high- 
priest's diadem {plrakov) among the Jews, we consider, like the similar statement of Epipha 
nius respecting James the Just, (with Solomon Cyprian,) a symbolical mode of expressing the 
preeminent authority of John among the early Christians (Lucke, p. 20, note). 

Thus we see the harmonious contrast which existed in the first half of the apostolic age 
between the chorches of Jerusalem and Antioch under the leadership of Peter and Paul, and 
then of James and Paul, in the second half of the apostolic age, the most obscure period of 
the rise of the Church, the time of its sprouting in the field of the world like winter grain 
under the snow, propagating itself in the contrast of Pella and Ephesus under the apostolic 
episcopates of Simon and John. 

How the residence of John in Ephesus is related to the Church tradition that Timothy 
was the first bishop of Ephesus (Euseb. iii. 14), cannot be accurately determined. If it be 
possible that Timothy continued to labor in Ephesus under the direction of John, it is, on 
the other hand, improbable that ho should have died here as a martyr under Domitian 
(Nicepb. iii. 14), while banishment only was inflicted upon John. 

Two points in reference to the later life and the death of John remain to be particularly 
noted : the question of the time of his banishment to Patmos, and the testimonies respecting 
his great age and his end. 

We consider the assumption that John was banished to Patmos under the reign of Do- 
mitian, established both by ancient testimonies and by modern researches. According to 
Irenseus (v. 80), John had his vision toward the end of the reign of Domitian. According 
to Clement of Alexandria (Quis Dives salvus, § 42, and in Euseb. iii. 23), John was recalled 
from the island of Patmos to Ephesus after the death of the tyrant. He doe3 not, indeed, 
name the tyrant ; but this indicates that the tradition was already quite established. Origem 
also appeals to a settled tradition (on Matt. xx. 22, 23). Eusebius (iii IS, 28, Chronicon on 
the fourteenth year of Domitian) has explicitly fixed this tradition under Domitian. The 

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variations from it begin with Epiphanius. They are divided between Claudius and Nero. 
The older rest an conjectures, the later in good part on dogmatic prejudice. Internal evi- 
dences : the pictureof a later condition of the Church in the Apocalypse (e. g., c. iii. 18, &c.) 
speaks likewise for the time of Domitian. Also a more general form of persecution than 
that under Nero. In a more extended induction, specially directed against Lticke, Hengsten- 
berg {Die Offeribarwig des Johannes, p. 2 sqq.) has vindicated anew the ancient tradition 
The composition of the Apocalypse accordingly falls in the years 95 and 96. Tertullian has 
supplemented the historical fact by the legend that John, oefore his banishment, was im- 
mersed in boiling oil at Rome, but came out unharmed. 

There lies, then, probably a long interval between the first settlement of John in Ephesus 
and his banishment to Patmos. In this interval of great, silent ministry, the Johannean 
school and church bloomed in Ephesus and Asia Minor. 

The death of John in Ephesus is attested by the Easter Epistle of the Bishop Polycrates 
of Ephesus, so early as the middle of the second century. According to Irenseus, he died in 
the reign of Trajan ; therefore after the year 98. According to Jerome, he attained the age 
of one hundred years ; according to Suidas, a hundred and twenty. The Chronicon Paschale 
Bays he had lived in Ephesus for nine years before his exile on Patmos, spent fifteen years in 
exile, lived twenty-six years after the exile, and died at the age of a hundred years and seven 
months, in the seventh year of the reign of Trajan. He must have been near a hundred 
years old ; for Polycarp, who died about 170, and Papias, who died in 164, had been his 

The Church tradition has preserved some significant incidents of his later life : (1.) Of 
his heroism in rescuing from robbers a youth who had been converted by him, and had after- 
wards apostatized (Euseb. iii. 23, after Clement of Alexandria) ; (2.) of his flight from a 
bath in which the heretic Cerinthus was (Iren., Boers, iii 3, 28) ; (3.) of the raising of a 
dead man by his hand at Ephesus (Euseb.. v. 18) ; (4.) of his play with a partridge, which 
be made the emblem of the blessing of recreation (J oh. Cassian, 'Collat. xxiv. 21) ; * (5.) of 
his last sermon : Little children, love one another (Hieron., Comment, ad Oalat. vi.). 

The statements of tradition have gathered embellishing legends of his miraculous burial 
and end, and even of his continuing alive, with reference to John xxi. 22 : (1.) According to 
pseudo-Hippolytus, he did not die, but was translated, like Enoch and Elijah. (2.) Augus- 
tine tells the story, from apocrypha, that he caused his grave to be prepared while he yet 
lived, and laid himself in it, as in a bed, to die ; and on the ground of the expression in 
John xxi., it was believed that he did not actually die, but only slept ; his breathing moved 
the earth over his grave, and continually threw up a white powder from beneath. This last 
was reported, Augustine says, by trustworthy people. (3.) In the Middle Ages, and even in 
modern times, the saying has been widely spread, that he still lives. Lticke says : Certainly 
in his writings. Why not as much in his spiritual kin, and in the John-like mystical and 
mysterious background of the Church? (4.) The legend that God raised him from the 
grave, and preserved him for the last times, in which he was to bear witness to the truth, and, 
with Enoch and Elijah, resist Antichrist. 

Polycrates called him a martyr (according to Euseb. iii. 31 ; v. 24) ; no doubt in the 
antique sense of a witness who persevered even unto death. Subsequently it was a trouble 
to Chrysostom and Augustine, that he was not a martyr in the literal sense. The early 
Church, on the contrary, celebrated his remaining always a stranger to sensual love, and 
extolled him as the virgin-like, ira/rtmor, 7rap3«W, from Rev. xiv. 4.t 

That John was a martyr and a virgin-like spirit in a higher sense than the legalistic 

• [ProC Plnmptoe, in his article on John in Smith's Dictionary nf the B&U, I, p. 1107 (in HaeketPs ed. p. 1423^ ii 
disposed to aesept this tradition of Cassian, as illustrating the truth— 

" He prayeth best who loroth best 
All things both great and small."— P. ai 
t f Augustine ealls him " vtVgo mente tt eorpore." St. Jobn may certainly be regarded as the highect male type 
of all moral chaslty, as the Virgin Mary stands out as the model of female purity.— P. &1 

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Church could conceive, is evinced by the whole character of his inner life. Who can tell 
what griefs a legalistic and formalistic tendency in the later apostolic age alone had already 
prepared for him (see the first of his three Epistles) ? He has the promise^that he shall not 
die, bat live till the Lord come, and doubtless come forth in some special way toward the 
end of the days, before the coming of the Lord ; — which has given occasion to Schelling's 
profound construction of the three successive apostolic periods (the Petrine, the Pauline, and 
the Johannean). See my Oeschichte des apostolischen Zeitalters, ii. p. 649, and Schaff's Hist, 
of the Apostolic Church, Amer. ed., pp. 074-678 [and Schaff 's note to Lange on Bomans, Amer. 
ed., pp. 1, 2]. 

There are named to us as immediate disciples of John, Papias (underrated by Eusebius), 
Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp (Euseb. iii. 22, 39 ; Iren. iii. 3 ; Euseb. v. 20 and 24). 
Bat with the rising importance of Ircnseus, Hippolytus, and other representatives of the 
Asiatic Church in Italy, South France, and Britain, the importance of the school of John also 
must come more into view. It was the salt of the mediaeval Church, and continues to prove 
itself a quickening clement in theology and the Church, tarrying for a richer future (see the 
citations of Meyer, p. 4 ; my Apost. Zeitalt., ii. p. 448 ; p. 466 ; p. 603 ; the article " John," by 
Ebrard, in Herzog's Encyclopedia; the same article in Winer's Real-Lexikon and in the Com- 
mentaries, &c). For further sources for the biography of John, see especially Credner's 
EinUitung, p. 214 sqq. [The reader is also referred for biographical details to the article 
Jofin in the English Bible Dictionaries of Smith (Hackett and Abbot's ed.), Kitto, and Fair- 
bairn, and to Schaff's Hist, of the Apost. Church, §§ 99-108, pp. 895-430. On the legends 
respecting the Apostle, see Mrs. Jameson's Sacred and Legendary Art, i 159-172, 5th ed. — P. S.] 


The writings preserved by the Church under the name of John, of the genuineness of 
which we must speak in the proper place, with all their diversity, corresponding to the 
diversity of their literary species, have so many and so important peculiar traits, and have 
these traits, too, so much in common, that, with a better developed taste in regard to biblical 
style, we shall be no more able to ascribe them to different authors, than to attribute the 
different masterpieces of one great painter to different masters. 

The peculiarities of the matter of these writings are : (1.) The depth and fulness of the 
christological idea of Christ and His kingdom (the Word) ; (2.) The spiritual concentration 
of the depth and fulness of the Messianic life in the personality of the Lord, making heaven 
and earth a symbolism of Christianity, of its struggles and its triumphs (Love) ; (3.) The 
univerBalism of Christianity, grounded in God, embracing and shining through the world 
(Life) ; (4.) The festive spirit of the assurance of victory, wherein Christ in His imperial 
power destroys the works of the devil as works of falsehood and darkness (Light). Love, 
life, and light, inj the sense of infinite fulness and personal distinctness, come forth with the 
Word, and destroy the kingdom of hatred, darkness, and death. 

In reference to the first trait, compare John i 1-3 ; 1 John i. 2 ; Rev. i. 5-8. For the 
second, see John L 4, 14 ; 1 John iv. 8, 12 ; comp. chap. i. 7 ; Rev. i. 17, 18 ; comp. chap, 
v. 6. For the third, John v. 26 ; xL 25 ; xiv. 6 ; 1 John i. 2 ; ii. 25 ; Rev. vii. 13 ; chap. xxi. 
For the fourth, John viii. 12 ; 1 John L 7 ; Rev. xxi. 23. The views homogeneous, however, 
pervade all the writings of John ; everywhere the divine Word, Love, Light, Life ; the de- 
strnction of the destroyer of man, and of his manifestations, hatred, darkness, and death. 

If it be objected that these traits appear also in the other apostolic author,*, we most 
readily grant it in a certain sense ; for John is not Christ, and has no new Christ. But in tho 
proportions of his christology he is beyond even Paul, with reference to the first trait, in the 
distinctly expressed celebration of the Logos with Qod in an ontologieal trinity, his eternal 
existence Ood-tcard ; with reference to the second, in the fact that for him the personality of 
Christ is his history, not the converse, and of Christ not only as made man, but also as made 
flesh ; with reference to the third, in his making Christ not only the creative and upholding 

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force of the worlJ, as in Paul (Col. L 17), but also the inmost kernel, the gist, the truth of its 
life (John rv. 1) ; with reference to the fourth, in the fact that, with John, Christ not only in 
an ethical operation enlightens the world, and luminously judges and awakens it, but also is 
the ideal truth and reality of the world, reducing and exalting the whole real world to a 
transparent symbol of the eternal kingdom of light and love.* 

To these peculiarities of the matter of the Johannean writings, their peculiarities of form 
correspond : (1.) The mighty unity of principle, ruling the whole representation— that is, the 
clearness and transparence of the theme, the motto of the books. (2.) The personal holding 
and shaping of all historical and didactic matters, to give their central, spiritual, hearty 
expression. (3.) The universal grandeur, sublimity, and organically pure structure of the 
compositions, and the richness of the elements embraced and organized by them. (4.) The 
lyric, festive diction, with the consequent directness of expression, the limited but pregnant 
fund of language, and the inimitable coloring, reminding only of the Song of Songs, and of 
the highest products of human poesy. On the diction of John, and his circle of words, see 
Creduer, Eirileitung, p. 222 ; Guericke, Isagogik, p. 205 [p. 213 in the 3d ed. of 1868]. 

Just this deep and beautiful monotony of the Johannean view and statement contains the 
reason, however, why the Johannean spirit unfolds itself in the copious variety of views and 
of forms. The trunk, rooted in a bottomless depth, strong in its solitary unity, spreads its 
palm-crown far out over the New Testament. 

We have four Evangelists in tho New Testament ; John, the Evangelist who lay on Jesus' 
bosom, wrote the most profound and far-reaching Gospel, the fourth, and the complement of 
the other three. 

The Apostle Paul left the richest treasure of Epistles ; John, the Apostle and primitive 
presbyter of the Church, left a trilogy of Epistles, in which the deepest essence and the 
ideal order of the fellowship of the Church in Christ reflects itself for all ages. 

The Evangelist Luke is, next to Paul and John, the most copious author of the New 
Testament (the Gospel of Luke and the Acts). Luke, in his exhibition of the life of 
Jesus, went back to the historical beginning of his childhood, and Luke's final historical 
goal was the Church in Rome ; but the Gospel of John goes back into the depths of the 
Godhead, and the Apocalypse exhibits the entire history of the Church to its consumma- 
tion in the new, eternal city of God (not in the eternal world, for the actual world must 
merge organically in the thoroughly personal city of God). 

If we remember that the first three Evangelists wrote on special occasion, and that tho 
Epistles of Paul were in reality not literary productions, but historical acts, John appears as 
preeminently the author of the New Testament, even more than Luke, and, as such, entirely 
fitted to appear for the holiness of the Bible. The language of Scripture is the word of 
spirit ; in this language must the disciple who does not die especially speak. 

Some have found a considerable difference between the Gospel and the Epistles of John. 
But here the unity in the diversity needs apology least of all. 

But the contrast between the Gospel of John and the Apocalypse has been urged with 
very special emphasis. It has been said [by De Wette, Lttcke, Bleek, and others] that John, 

* [From Schaff '• History of the Apostolic Church, p. 618 : "John's theology is by no means bo complete, or devel- 
oped with such logical precision and argumentative ability, as that of Paul. It is sketched from immediate Intuition, in 
extremely simple, artless, childlike form, in grand outlines, in few bnt colossal ideas and antitheses, such as light and 
darkness, truth and falsehood, spirit and flesh, lore and hatred, life and death, Christ and Antichrist, children of God 
and children of the world. But John usually leaves us to imagine far more than his words directly express— an infinity 
lying behind, which we can better apprehend by faith, than grasp and fully measure with the understanding. And 
especially does he connect every thing with that idea of a theanthropio Redeemer, which had become part and parcel of 
his own soul ; nor can he strongly and frequently enough assert the reality and glory of that which was to him, of all 
facts and experiences, the surest, the holiest, and the dearest. But with regard to its principle, and the point of view 
from which it is constructed, the doctrinal system of John is the highest and most ideal of all— the one toward which 
the others lead and in which they merge. It wonderfully combines mystic knowledge and love, contemplation and 
adoration, the profound wisdom and childlike simplicity, and is an anticipation, as it were, of that vision face to nee, 
into which, according to Paul (1 Cor. xiii. 12 ; comp. 2 Cor. v. 7), our fragmentary knowledge, and &ith itself, wUl 
finally pass."] 

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the author of the Gospel, cannot hare written the Revelation. Minds like Luther and GO the 
have measured and mismeasured their strength upon the Apocalypse. Then again it has 
been said [by Dr. Baur and the Tubingen school], John was the author of tjie Apocalypse, 
and therefore cannot haye written the fourth Gospel. But in the end it has to be conceded 
that only one person, the author of the fourth Gospel, could have written the Apocalypse ; 
and that, conversely, only one man, the author of the Apocalypse, can have been the writer 
of the Gospel. It is one thing to speak in the understanding [vovs], in reflective conscious- 
ness ; another, to speak in the spirit [nvcvfui], in the directness of an inspired frame (1 Cor. 
xiv. 15). The Gospel requires the Apocalypse, the Apocalypse presupposes the Gospel (see 
my Vermischte ikhrjften, vol. ii. p. 173, and SchafF, Mist, of the Apost. Church, § 107, pp. 
422 fL). The supposition of two authors, besides, is connected with Eusebius' old fiction of 
the presbyter John of Ephesus, which arose from a misinterpretation of Papias. (On this, 
comp. Guericke, Lie Hypoihese von dem Presbyter Johannes, ah Verfasser der Offenbarung, 
Halle, 1831 ; my Apost ZeitalL, i. p. 215 ; Schaff; 1. c. p. 421.) 

On the relation of the fourth Gospel to the first three, the Synoptists, comp., in the vol. on 
Matthew, the Introduction to the New Testament, § 2, and the works cited there. The Epis- 
tles of John belong together to the division of Catholic Epistles. On the idea and the group 
of the Catholic Epistles, compare Guericke, p. 430 [p. 416 fi% 3d ed.]. 

In the Apocalypse the highest immediacy and directness— that of vision — is combined in 
the most wonderful manner with the highest sacred art— that of apocalyptic, traditional 
symbolism (see Lucke, Einleitung in die Apoc). And in this view, we have in the form of this 
Apocalypse a sealing of the incarnation, an incarnation raised to the highest power; the 
intensely earnest seer-spirit becomes art in the purest sense ; art in ghostly severity becomes 
the prophetess of the judgment and the glorification of the world. 

To come to the contents : The writings of John form a trilogy. The Gospel, the Epistles, 
and the Apocalypse represent the evangelic founding, the organic shaping, and the eternal 
future of the Church ; Christ who was, and is, and is to come. 

But each unit has again a trilogical constitution. The Gospel testifies in the prologue the 
outgoing of Christ from eternity (chap. i. 1-18) ; in the body of it, His historical manifesta- 
tion ; in the epilogue (chap, xxi.), His future spiritual presence in the world, represented by 
the Petrine and Johannean type of Christianity and the Church, 

As to the three Epistles : The second and third form corollaries to the first. The first sets 
forth the fellowship of believers in the love of Christ, in opposition to those who do not 
belong to them ; the second speaks against the lax obliteration of the line of this fellowship, 
requiring the condition of the essential confession ; the third reproves the harsh contracting 
of the line in fanatical stringency. We readily see that these two Epistles stand in regular 
sequence, and that the second could not be the third, nor the third the second. 

The Apocalypse places itself at the beginning on the historical basis of the seven churches, 
and of the seven epistles which transform those churches into types of the future (chap. 
L-iii). Upon this the prophetic images of the future are unrolled. (After the seven 
churches, the seven seals, the seven trumpets, the seven thunders, the seven heads of Anti- 
christ, the seven vials of wrath, then the consummation, as the total manifestation of the 
seven spirits at the beginning.) At the end, after the consummation of the judgment, appears 
the counterpart of the seven churches, the eternal city of God (chap. xxi.). 


The Gospel of John is the Gospel of the real ideality of the life of Jesus and His eternal 
operation ; the Gospel of the real ideality of Christianity ; or, the Gospel of the ideal person- 
ality, therefore, of the glorification of all the ideal relations of the world and of life. In this 
view we may consider it (1.) in its intrinsic import; (2.) as the complement of the three 
Synoptical Gospels; (3.) as the antidote to the false, religious idealism and realism of its 
time ; (4.) as the consummation of the gospel history and doctrine in general ; as exhibiting 

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the realization of all the types in the world ; as the ideal transfiguration of all real relations 
of the world ; as the Gospel of absolute personality, of the unity of idea and life. 


(a.) Its Character in General. 

The Christ of John has been called a " shadowy form " (Nehclgestatf). The truth is, that 
He comes into the purest light of personality ; that the Gospel is, throughout, the most dis- 
tinct biography of the most distinct character, though of a character which to the beclouded 
eye can appear cloudy on account of its ideal fulness, and on account of the delicacy and 
majesty of its outlines. The Gospel sets out from the manifestation of the personal God in 
his Logos (chap. i. 1-14) ; it ends in the personal epiphany of the glorified Christ. It places 
all antiquity,- the entire ancient covenant, before our eyes in personal concentration in 
John the Baptist. The second personage, in whom the old covenant was in a still higher 
manner concentrated — Mary — remains for a while in the background (chap. i. 13, 14). She 
herself is represented by her Son, so far as the old covenant fulfils itself in Him (John i 17). 
Likewise the life of the post-historical Christ to the end of the world is here represented by 
the antithesis of two persons : Peter and John (John xxi. 15-23), in their connection with the 
company of the Apostles represented by a number seven (John xxi. 2). Between this intro- 
duction and conclusion the Gospel places the biography of the historical Christ; and in 
distinct chronological order. 

The first section extends to the first Passover, at which Christ openly appears as the great, 
anonymous Prophet (John i 19-ii. 12). John has pointed the Jews to Jesus, and they have 
not known Him (chap. i. 19-28). Therefore Jesus, renouncing the name of Messiah, must 
reveal himself in His Messianic power. So He reveals himself at first to the first disciples 
(John i 29-51), represented by Andrew, John (intimated, not named), Peter, Philip, Na- 
tbanael (Bartholomew). He reveals himself to them by His master-look into their inmost 
life, and His distinct exposure of it, by a prophetic reading of character in the miraculous 
power of Divine knowledge ; the copy of the election of God himself. He reveals himself 
next to the pious in general at the marriage in Cana by His first miracle. The mother of 
Jesus becomes the personal expression of faith in the need of life, which He only can sup- 
ply ; the master of the feast becomes witness to the richness of life which He gives. With 
this the holy family is established, the first germ of the Church in purely personal outlines 
(chap. ii. 12). 

The second section extends from the Passover of the year of Rome 781 (see Wiescler, 
Ohronologisehe Synopse, p. 166) to the feast of Purim of 782 (see Winer, Purimfest, in the 
Spring, before the Passover), and relates the first public manifestations of the Lord (chap, ii 
13-iv. 54). Jesus reveals himself first to the people in the temple, then to Nicodemus by 
night, afterwards to the disciples of John the Baptist, then to the Samaritans, finally to the 
noblemen of the government of King Herod Antipas. The Jews find Him, in the purifica- 
tion of the temple, the most genuine of Jews, whom zeal for His Father's house threatens to 
consume ; Nictfdemus, the master of Israel, must do homage to Him as the divine Master ; 
John the Baptist must utter his acknowledgment of the greater Baptizer ; the Samaritans, 
represented by the woman of Samaria, learn to greet in Him the Messiah of the Jews, who . 
makes an end of the old antagonism between Mount Moriah and Mount Gerizim ; the royal 
official must recognize in Him a royal power which sends its saving behests afar. 

The third section extends from the feast of Purim in 782 to the feast of Tabernacles in 
the same year, according to Wieseler, the 12th of October (chap. v. 1-vii. 9). The decisive" 
struggle with guilt and need in Israel begins. The pool of Bethesda, with its angel-miracles 
in Jerusalem, heals no more ; the cripple who has waited there thirty-eight years for help, and 
who represents the impotence of effete Judaism, Jesus heals on the Sabbath, and presents 
himself to the Jews, who would kill Him for the act, as the life-giving healer and the quick 

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ener of the dead. The people faint on their pilgrimage to the Passover on Zion ; Jesus feeds 
and satisfies the people with His miraculous bread, overcoming the anxieties of the natural 
view of things, which Philip, who calculates the great demand, and Andrew, who counts up 
the small store, mutually represent. And as He has avoided the persecutions of the Jews in 
Jerusalem who would kill Him, so the Jews of Galilee, who persecute Him with their sensu- 
ous homage, to make Him king, He escapes first on the mountain in the night, then upon the 
sea, in a miracle which here appears only as an incident (as an exertion of miraculous power, 
in which He flees from false disciples, and seeks the true), and then declares to them plainly 
that He comes not to give them bread outwardly, as Moses, but, in the sense of the spirit, He 
must be to them Himself the bread of life, the living food from heaven. By this He effects 
the beginning of a separation between His true and false disciples (chap. vi. 66-71). Thus is 
expressed the antagonism between Him and the world, in which even His brethren, as repre- 
sentatives of His disciplesbip in general, do not yet know themselves to be, and which deter- 
mines Him to continue His course in sporadic manifestations (chap. vii. 1-9). 

The fourth section extends from the feast of Tabernacles in the year 782 to the feast of 
the Dedication of the Temple in the same year, Dec. 20th, according to Wieseler (chap. vii. 
10-x. 22). Jesus brings His controversy with the Jews to an issue. 

(1.) In respect to His authority as a teacher (chap. vii. 15-18). 

(2.) In respect to His miracle on the Sabbath (chap. vii. 19-24). 

(8.) In respect to His extraction (chap. vii. 25-81). 

(4.) In respect to His and their future (chap. vii. 82-36). 

(5.) In respect to His relation to the temple solemnities, first. the festival of the drawing 
of water from the well of Siloam (chap. vii. 87-53), then the torch-light celebration at the 
feast of Tabernacles (chap. viii. 1-11 ; 12-27). 

(6.) In respect to the false hope of the Messiah (chap. viii. 28-59). 

(7.) In respect to the true and false power of enlightenment for the world on Temple Hill 
(chap, ix.), presented in the healing of the man born blind by means of the water of Siloam. 

(8.) In respect to the true and false claims to the pastorship of the people of God (chap. 
x. 1-21). 

With this great contest He brings on the incipient separation between His friends and His 
enemies, the children of the light and the children of darkness. 

The fifth section goes from the feast of the Dedication in 782 to the Passover of 783 
(chap. x. 22-xii. 50). Jesus offers himself more distinctly to the Jews on their inquiry (prob- 
ably for the second time to the authorities) as the true Messiah, the Son of God. 

(1.) Appealing to His works (x. 22-31). 

(2.) Appealing to the Old Testament (vers. 32-42), likewise by the sign of the raising of 
Lazarus, the great life-miracle among his friends, represented by the family of Bethany hard 
by the gates of Jerusalem (chap. xi. 1-45), and by that very step He draws on the final 
resolution of the Jews, represented by the high-priest Caiaphas, to kill Him (chap, xi 4<W57). 

He prepares himself for death. 

(1.) By the anointing in the family at Bethany, among whom He has proved himself the 
resurrection, in a circle in which the anointing disciple and the objecting traitor represent 
the part of His friends and His enemies in His death (chap. xii. 1-8). 

(2.) By His triumphal entry into the city and the temple, where the homago of the Greeks 
fills Him with the presentiment of His death (chap. xii. 9-33). 

(3.) By the last parting words with which He withdraws from the people (vers. 84^50). 

The sixth section gives the history of the last Passover at large (chap. xiii. 1-xix, 42). 

(1.) The feet-washing, as the symbolical purification of the discipleB and the real example 
of the Lord, connected with the virtual expulsion of the traitor from the circle (chap. xiii. 

(2.) The- parting discourses concerning the spiritual glorification of the Son of Man: a. 
Connected with the supper, His approaching departure, His denial by Peter (chap. xiii. 
31-88) ; b. Pointing to His Father's house and the reunion beyond the grave,, and answering 

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the questions of Thomas respecting the way, and of Philip respecting the goal (chap. xiv. 
1-15) ; e. Promising, by the Comforter, full compensation for His departure from them in 
this world, and His own return and reunion with them in the fellowship of the Father through 
the Holy Ghost, and answering the question of Judas, why this revelation was given only to 
His own, and not to the world (chap. xiv. 16-31) ; d. The condition of the new death-span- 
ning fellowship of the disciples with the Lord ; He being the vine, they the branches. Their 
relation to the Lord. Their relation to the world (chap. xv. 1-xvi 11) ; e. The preparation 
of the disciples for the impending distress and the ensuing time of joy (chap. xvi. 12-32) ; 
/. The glorification of the whole redeeming work of Christ, to the perfection of His Father's 
house amidst the dissolution of the ungodly world, in the prayer of Christ for the glorifica- 
tion of His person ; or the high-priestly prayer (chap. xvii). 

(3.) Jesus, the Lord of glory, judged by the world (chap, xviii 1-19, 42) ; a. Jesus, with 
the traitor Judas, and the hostile guard ; their dismay before the majesty of Jesus ; b. Jesus, 
and the carnal zeal of Peter, in contrast with the sublime calmness of the Lord ; e. Jesus in 
the house of Annas, the two disciples in the hall ; the serenity of the Lord ; d. Jesus before 
Caiaphas ; the fulfilled prophecy of the Lord ; e. Jesus before Pilate ; the judicial acts and 
struggles of Pilate ; the royal dignity of Jesus ; /. JesuB on the cross, the King of the Jews ; 
g. The forsakenness of the dying Christ ; h. pis last word : " It is finished ; " £ The miracle 
in His dead body ; the miraculous awakening of silent friends to their discipleship. 

The seventh section embraces the course of the feast of the Passover from the first to the 
second Lord's Day (chap. xx.). Christ risen makes himself known to His disciples, and makes 
them perfectly free from the wretchedness and unbelief of the world. Magdalene, Peter, 
and John, the disciples in general, the first fruits of the Spirit, and the mission of Christ. 

The histories of the last chapter have a typical, symbolical import, and, as an epilogue on 
the post-historical movement of Christ in the world, correspond to the prologue on His 
pre-historical movement in the world. That the life of Jesus is here set before us in the 
grandest outlines of personal life, is plain. The Gospel brings few personages before us, but 
these all have a general import besides their individual ; they represent human nature and the 
world in their most diverse aspects. The personality of Christ, however, throws light on all, 
now to condemnation, now to salvation ; and in and above the personality of Christ, the 
being and the movement of God himself becomes manifest to us in the threefold radiance of 
the Father, the Son, and the Comforter. 

(b.) The Ideality and Symbolism of the Gospel, 

Agreeably to the peculiarity of the Gospel of John, all the real persons, things, and cir- 
•cumstances in it are symbolically or allegorically transparent, being suffused with the light 
-of the idea. John gives us not only a symbolism of the Old Testament word, of Old Testa- 
ment institutions, histories, and persons ; he gives us also the symbolism of nature, of an- 
tiquity, and of history, of personal life ; hence the absolute symbolism, or the ideal import 
•of all real existence in significant outlines. He thus goes far beyond the symbolism of 
Matthew, and of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and even of Paul. 

As scriptural symbolism we adduce : chap. i. 1, with reference to Gen. i. 1 sqq. ; ver. ll r 
with reference to Ex. ix. ; ver. 23, with reference to Isa. xl. 3 ; ver. 27, with reference to Ma! 
iv. 5 ; ver. 29, with reference to Isa. liii. 7 ; ver. 51, with reference to Gen. xxviii. 12 ; chap, 
ii. 17, relating to Ps. lxix. 10; chap. iii. 13, to Dan. vii 13; ver. 14, to Num. xxi. 8, 9; 
ver. 29, perhaps to Ps. xlv. 8, 10 ; chap. v. 39, 46, and chap. vii. 88, to Zeclu xiv. 8 et al. ; 
•chap. viii 17, to Deut. xvii. 6 ; xix. 15 ; ver. 44, to Gen. iii. ; chap. x. 14, to Zech. xi. 7 ; chap, 
n. 34, to Ps. lxxxii. 6 ; chap. xii. 14, to Zech. ix. 9 ; ver. 38, to Isa. liii. 1 ; ver. 39-41, to Isa. 
vi. 1 ; chap, xvi 82, to Zech. xiii. 7 ; chap, xvii 12, to Ps. xl. 10 ; chap. xix. 24, to Ps. xxi 
19 ; chap. xix. 29, to Ps. lxix. 22 ; ver. 36, to Ex. xii. 46 ; ver. 37, to Zech. xii. 10. 

That John accounts not only conscious verbal prophecies as symbolical utterances, is 

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evinced by many of his citations. Id him, the sense of the anticipation of the New Testa- 
ment element in Old Testament types of mind and of things is especially developed. In the 
life of Christ, every important word of the Old Testament finds its purest expression, its final 

' fulfilment. And the symbolism of Old Testament persons, institutions, and events, unfolds 
itself in equal richness. The whole Old Testament is concentrated in the prophecy of John 
(chap. i. 6). The ground-thought of the Old Testament is : Israel the people of God ; the 
Evangelist declares forthwith that Christ has a new people, born of the Spirit, for His pos- 
session (chap. i. 11-13). The mysterious centre of the Old Testament system is the manifes- 

• tation of the " glory of the Lord," the d6(a (Shekinah) ; the Evangelist declares that this 
glory has appeared essentially in Christ (chap. i. 14). The antithesis between the Old 
Testament and the New is fully drawn in the antithesis between Moses and Christ (chap. 

But Christ comes forth as the substance of the Old Testament itself, for He was before 
John the Baptist (chap. i. 15, 27). He is the Messiah of promise, not only baptized, but bap- 
tizing with the Holy Ghost (chap. i. 82, 41). Nathanael represents the true Israelite (ver. 47), 
even an Israel who should see without ceasing the angels of God ascending and descending 
(ver. 51 ; see Gen. xxviii. 12). And the temple of the Israelites is a symbol of the body of 
Christ (chap. ii. 19). Circumcision in connection with washing is a symbol of the second 
birth into the real kingdom of God, the counterpart of His typical kingdom (chap. iii. 5). 
The brazen serpent which Moses lifted up as a healing sign, is a symbol of Christ lifted up 
on the cross (chap. iii. 14). The typical nuptial relation between Jehovah and His people in 
the Old Testament, is a symbol of the relation between Christ and His Church (chap, iii 29). 
Jacob's well in Sychem is a symbol of the inner life from the fountain of the peace of Christ 
(chap. iv. 10). Mount Zion is a symbol of the supremacy of spirit and truth wherein God 
should be worshipped (chap. iv. 23) ; the pool of Bethesda, with its angelic help, a symbol 
of the divine healing workings of Christ in His Church (chap. v.). The raging sea is*an 
emblem of the raging voices of the people, above which Jesus walks, as the mountain is an 
emblem of the exaltation of His life of prayer above the world (chap. vi.). The manna of 
the wilderness is a symbol of Christ, the true bread of life, from heaven (chap. vi.). Circum- 
cision in its old patriarchal import is a symbol of the higher restoration of man (chap. vii. 
23). The water-drawing from the fountain of Siloam is a symbol of the outpouring of the 
Holy Ghost (chap. vii. 88, 89). The torch-display at the feast of Tabernacles, was a symbol 
of the enlightenment of the world which proceeds from Christ (chap. viii. 12). The pre- 
scription of the law concerning the validity of the testimony of two witnesses before the 
judgment-seat, is a symbol of the concurrent testimony of the divine consciousness (Christ) 
and the divine works which the Father performs (chap: viii. 17). The bondage of the Jews 
is an allegory of the bondage of sin (chap, viii 32). Abraham's children after the flesh are 
only symbols of Abraham's true children (chap. viii. 39). The serpent in paradise is an alle- 
gory of Satan (chap. viii. 44). Abraham is a symbol of Christ (chap. viii. 56). The Old 
Testament sons of God (judges and kings) are symbols of the Son of God (chap. x. 84). So 
the Urim and Thnmmim, or, what is essentially the same, the judicial opinion of the high- 
priest Caiaphas, becomes an unconscious symbolical representation of the judicial decision 
of God, which turns the judgment of the world to salvation (chap. xi. 51). The Jewish fes- 
tival salutation, Hosanna, is a symbol of the salutation of the Messiah (chap. xii. 13). The 
hardening of the people in the old covenant, is a typical foreboding of the complete harden- 
ing of Israel against Christ (chap. xii. 88). Therefore also the Paschal supper is become the 
symbol of the celebration of the death of Christ (chap, xiii.), as the killing of the Passover 
is the symbol of His death itself (chap. xix. 86). Friday, as the day of preparation, is a 
symbol of the toil of Jesus and of His being laid to rest (chap. xix. 80, 31). The great Sab- 
bath is a symbol of His repose in the grave (ver. 31). 

And it must especially be observed, further, that here all the great festivals of Israel, the 
Passover, the Purim, the feast of Tabernacles, the feast of the Dedication, and then the Pass- 
over again, become to the legal Israel days of darkening and hardening against the light and 

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substance of all the festivals, the Messiah, and days of the glorifying of the Messiah to the 
l>elieving Israel. 

Among the symbolical personages of the Old Testament, Abraham and Moses, John and 
Mary, have special prominence. 

The Old Testament symbolizing of the fourth Gospel rests, however, on a universal view, 
which makes all the finite a similitude of eternal substance in Christ and in His kingdom. 
The whole universe, nature and history, is a mirror-like work of the Logos (chap. i. 8) ; light 
and darkness is an emblem of the great antagonism between Christ, or the kingdom of God, 
and the kingdom of evil ; birth, an emblem (in the way of antithesis) of regeneration (chap, 
i. 13) ; the pure manifestation of the world, an emblem of the holy Word (ver. 14) ; the dove, 
an emblem of the Holy Ghost (ver. 32) ; the dwelling of Christ, an emblem of fellowship 
with Him (ver. 39) ; the prejudice of Nathanael against the wretched Nazareth, an emblem 
of all prejudice in the world against the earthly origin and form of the life of the Spirit 
(chap, i.), like the dishonoring of a prophet in his own country (chap. iv. 44) ; the marriage, 
an emblem of the festivity of human life, which issues in sheer want (the water-pots), till 
Christ comes into the midst and turns the water into wine (chap, ii.) ; the wind, an emblem 
of the Spirit of God blowing where it listeth (chap. iii. 8) ; marriage, a symbol of the union 
of Christ with His people (chap. iii. 29). The living water in the sacred well of Jacob signi- 
fies the peace of Christ ; earthly food, the spiritual nourishment of Christ ; the fields white 
to the harvest, the field of Christ's mission ; the sower and the reaper, the earlier and later 
laborers in the kingdom of God (chap. iv.). The earthly healing fountain signifies the silent 
healing agency of Christ in the world (chap, v.) ; earthly bread, the heavenly food in Christ 
which gives new life to the world (chap, vi.) ; the earthly day, with its hours, the working- 
day of Christ in the world (chaps, viii., ix.) ; the true shepherd, Christ the Good Shepherd ; 
and the thief and the hireling, the false prophets and the faithless keepers of souls ; the two- 
fold flock of a rich shepherd, the heathen and the Jewish worlds in their relation to redemp- 
tion ; the shepherd's voice, the call of Christ (chap, x.) ; the Greeks at the feast who inquire 
for the Lord, the heathen world drawing near ; the perishing corn of wheat which brings 
forth much fruit, the death of the good, especially the death of Christ, with the fruits of His 
resurrection ; the approaching evening, the declining of the day of grace (chap. xii.). The 
hospitable feet-washing is an emblem of love which humbly serves, especially of brotherly, 
cleansing admonition (chap. xiii.). The heavenly world, revealed in the starry sky of night, 
is an emblem of the Father's house (chap. xiv.). The vine and the branches are Christ and 
His kingdom ; the fruitful branches, living disciples of Christ ; the dead branches cut off and 
burning, apostate Christians in the judgment of fire (chap. xv.). The travailing woman in 
her pangs and her joy of motherhood, is an emblem of sorrowful Good-Friday and Jubilant 
Easter in the Church (chap. xvi.). The crossing of the brook Kedron, is the sign of decision 
(chap, xviii.). 

The position of Christ toward Pilate is an enlightening of Rome by Christianity, as His 
position toward the Greeks (chap. xii. 20) is an enlightening of Greece. Christ in the crown 
of thorns and the purple robe is the royal manifestation of the suffering One. The super- 
scription on the cross is a prophecy of the dominion of Christ in all the languages of the 
world. The draught of vinegar is the refreshment of the dying Christ from the side of the 
world ; the blood and the water flowing from* the side of Christ after His death, are the sign 
of His miraculous transformation (chap. xix.). The carefully-laid linen with the napkin in 
the tomb is a sign of the resurrection rest, peaceful in God ; the breath of Christ and His 
breathing upon His disciples signify the communication of the Holy Ghost to His people 
(chap. xx.). The fish in the net betoken the apostles' converting tho world (chap. xxi.). 

(c.) The Reality or Historic Energy of the Christohgical Ideas of the Gospel. 

As, in this Gospel, on the one hand, all that is real and historical bears reference to the 
ideal world, and has an ideal, universal significance, so, on the other hand, all the fundamental 

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ideas of the kingdom of God take Hying form in the actual world. Out of the one ideal 
form of the eternal being of Christ, the Word, come forth the ground-forms of His revelation, 
to manifest Him in the world. In operation, His nature branches into Hfe and light (chap. 
L 4) ; His nature is love (chap. iii. 16 ; i. 17) ; His manifestation is glory (the d6(a). 

Over against Him stands, however, the anti-ideal acting of the kingdom of evH, darkness ; 
its nature, hatred ; its operation, death (chap. viii. 44 ; xv. 25) ; the manifestation of its chil- 
dren involuntary self-condemnation and a going out and extinction in night (chap. xiii. 80). 

The nature and movement of the life in love for the sinful world is grace ; the nature and 
movement of light is truth. The Hght divides the children of light from the children of 
darkness, and this affects the ideal judgment manifesting itself in wrath (chap. iii. 86), as the 
basis of the judgment to come. The children of the Hght are chHdren of truth and upright- 
ness ; the chHdren of the darkness are chHdren of falsehood (chap. Hi.). Grace and . truth, 
become personal in the glory of Christ, are the principle of the glorification of life (chap. H.) 
and of the beginning of that glorification in regeneration (chap. iii.). In their personal ap- 
pearance in Christ, they give peace of soul (chap, iv.), abolish sickness and death as a negative 
liberation of life (chap, v.) Nourish the restored Hfe with positive food (chap, vi.), bestow a 
life-awakening life in the Holy Ghost (chap. vii.). The truth leads to freedom in Christ, the 
counterpart of which is bondage (chap. vHi) ; to the Hving knowledge of Christ, the counter- 
part of which is blindness ; to trustful and obedient following of Christ, the counterpart of 
which is apostasy (chap. x.). 

To believers the grace of Christ unfolds itself as eternal life (chap. x. 28) ; to His friends, 
as the power of resurrection (chap, xi.) ; to the Gentiles, as the power of spiritual exaltation 
to the heavenly life (chap. xH. 24, 82 ; to the confidential circle of the disciples, as the most 
self-sacrificing love (chap. xiu.). This resurrection is accompanied with the judgment of un- 
believers, whose unbeHef discovers itself in steady aggravation (chaps. xi.-xHi.). The gra- 
cious truth initiates in aU the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven : the mystery of the Fath- 
er's house above (chap. xiv. 1-15) ; the mystery of heaven upon earth, constituted by the 
Holy Ghost (vers. 16-31) ; the mystery of the kingdom of heaven in this Hfe and in the life 
to come (chap. xv. 1-17) ; and the mystery of the enmity of the world, and of the disciples 
victory over the world (chap. xv. 18-xvi. 12). This leads to the glorification of Christ : the 
promise of His glorification in the Spirit (chap. xvi. 12-83) ; the eve of His glorification in 
His sacerdotal prayer (chap. xvH.). The glorification of nis passion, and of all the elements 
of His passion (chaps, xviii. and xix.). The glorification of the risen Christ among His own 
(chap, xx.), and through His own in the world (chap. xxi.). 

(d.) The Idealism and Uie Realism of the Gospel in the Unity of Personal Life. 

We have already remarked that we find the unity of the real and the ideal in personal 
life; hence the unity of this Gospel of the ideal history is in the history of personaHty. 
Therefore it is that personages, both good and bad, play so significant a part in the light of 
the personaHty of Christ, the image of the personality of God : On one side, John the Baptist, 
Mary, the disciple9, Nicodemus, the man born blind, Mary of Bethany, Martha, Magdalene, 
Joseph of Arimathea, more especiaUy Thomas, Peter, John ; on the other, the Jews, an Annas, 
a Caiaphas, a Judas, a Pilate. How sharply tod at the same time how delicately are all these 
life-figures marked, and how transparent their meaning ! 

With equal significance is the fermenting, the shaping, the separation of the parties for 
and against the Lord portrayed. 

And hence the same may be said of the small selection of the miraculous acts of the 
Lord. It is in keeping with the character of this Gospel that the miracles of knowledge here 
stand out so prominently (chap. i. 42, 48 ; comp. ii. 25 ; H. 19 ; iv. 17 ; vi. 70 ; xi. 11 ; xui. 3 ; 
xvii. 12 ; xx. 27 ; xxi. 6 ; ver. 18 ; ver. 22). The first miraculous work of the Lord according 
to John stands, entirely in the spirit of the fourth Gospel, at the head : a miracle of the ex- 
altation of Hfe to heavenly festivity out of earthly need (chap, ii.) ; and it is suitably foUowed 

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by the purification of the temple, as a chiefly moral miracle, foretokening the restoration of 
the temple in the raising up of the real temple (chap. ii.). The second sign of Jesus in 
Galilee is the performance of a cure at a distance, which the Lord sends before to His home as 
a speaking token of His approach. The first miracle in Judea, the healing of the cripple at 
the pool of Bethesda, is rendered specially significant by its being wrought at a medicinal 
fountain religiously sacred to the Jews, and wrought on- the Sabbath — a doubly mortal offence 
to the " Jews n — that is, to the Pharisees and the priest party. The first miraculous feeding 
in the wilderness appears here in contrast with the solicitude of the disciples, as the miracu- 
lous provision of wine in contrast with the solicitude of the mother ; and at the same time it 
marks the turning-point in the life of Jesus, where He strikes clear to the ground the false 
Messianic hopes of the people, to direct their mind to the eternal (chap. vL). The second 
miracle of Christ in Jerusalem, the healing of the man born blind, again has a twofold offence 
for His enemies ; the taking of the pool of Siloam, the sacred well of the temple, as an instru- 
ment, and the performance of the work again on the Sabbath, notwithstanding his adherents 
had been threatened with the ban. This miracle is intended to bring the issue nearer. But 
the final issue is brought on by the great public miracle of the raising of Lazarus in Bethany 
(chap. xi. 53). This raising the dead from the grave is the crown of all the miracles of Jesus, 
and the presage of His own resurrection, and of the resurrection of all the dead. 

John has thus recorded few miracles ; but by the manner of his record he has made them 
great life-pictures of the wonderful dominion of Christ in the province of personal life. And 
the great discourses of the Lord are likewise an exhibition of the realization of all the funda- 
mental ideas of the kingdom of God in the province of personal life, in which He himself 
stands as the luminous centre. 


After this sketch, we must observe the relation of the fourth Gospel to the three preceding. 

If it may be said of each of the Gospels, that it completes in its own way the other three, 
since the whole four set forth the infinite fulness of the life of Christ in its four grand forms 
(see Leben Jew, i. p. 234 ; the vol. of this Coinm. on Matthew, General Introduction, p. 24-26, 
Amer. ed.), this may evidently be said with special emphasis of the fourth. But beyond this, 
the relation of the fourth Gospel to the Synoptists as a whole must be distinguished. The 
supplemental effect is so important, that it was in various ways explained even by the earliest 
writers. Eusebius (iii. 24) relates the opinion of the ancients, that John intended to confirm 
and complete the three already existing Gospels. And in modern times he is regarded pre- 
eminently as the completer [by Ebrard, Ewald, Godet, Wordsworth, and many others]. 

That the fourth Gospel has this office in fact— that John might have been conscious of it 

and that he had it in view as a thing desired, are probable in the nature of the case ; but 

the highest and ultimate design of his writing lay far beyond. The independent, original 
character of the work, as well as his own declaration (chap. xx. 31), establish this. None the 
less stands it true, that we owe to the fourth Gospel not only some of the most weighty facts 
of the life of our Lord, as well as His most important discourses, but also the exhibition of 
His ministry from the very beginning, the extended accounts of His ministry in Judea, as well 
as an accurate chronological sequence of events, from which it is possible to construct a 
chronological view of the life of Jesus. 

Of equal or greater importance with the extensive supplementing of the first three Gospels, 
is the intensive, the communication of the deepest and highest self-revelations of the Lord, 
and the exhibition of the whole life of Jesus in the most exalted light of an ideal apostolic 
intuition, as celebrated from Clement of Alexandria (Euseb. vi. 14) to Luther (" the one true, 
tender, main Gospel ; " see Ltlcke, L p. 157), and made in recent times an occasion, with some, 
of extolling this Gospel as the only true one at the expense of the Synoptists (GfrOrer) ; with 
others, of holding the synoptical portraiture of Christ as exclusively the correct, historical 
view (Weisse). 

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Even in the relation between the fourth Gospel and the Synoptists as to statements of fact; 
some have endeavored to find such differences as to make this relation an argument now 
against the exact reliability of the Gospel statements, now against the genuineness of the 
fourth Gospel. We recur to this in our discussion of the genuineness. 

Here it must only be remarked, that, with all the elevation of its view of Christ and His 
work, this Gospel does not transcend the three others in their estimate of the Divine charac- 
ter of Christ, nor present another, a more spiritual, or a less historical Christ. The fourth 
Gospel's portrait of Christ, as has been already elsewhere remarked, is still a Johannean 
Christ, not a Christian John, no picture of John's fancy in Christlike colors (see Leben Jesu, 
i. p. 177) ; for John has taken his representation not from his own life, bift from the depths 
of the life of Christ, though in conformity with his own deep contemplative and ideal turn 
of mind. In his drawing, no mastering subjective conception rides over the objective Mas- 
ter, as, in the other Evangelists, no subjective incapacity falls short of representing the objec- 
tive Master. 

The truth is, Christ was and appeared so boundlessly rich, that four specifically different 
original minds with different receptivities were needed to set forth the fulness of His revela- 
tion in adequate leading forms, each of which is alone in its kind. And thus the fourth 
Gospel could not properly compensate either of the other three with us, though, as the Gospel 
of the full idealization of the real life of Jesus in the perfect personal life of love, it must 
evidently stand as the conclusion, the completion, aud the crown of the Gospel books. 


This import of the Gospel of John with reference to the other three, expresses also its 
permanent relation to Gnosticism on the one hand, and to Ebionism on the other. Irenasus 
supposed (Adv. Ear. iii. 11, 1) that John composed his Gospel against the mischief of Gnosti- 
cism, particularly against Cerinthus and the Nicolaitans. Epiphanius (Hcer. lviii. 12 ; Ixix. 
23) and Jerome (De ziru illust. c. 0) added the Ebionites. The hypothesis of an antignostic 
aim is revived by modern scholars (Grotius, Michaelis, and others [Hug, Ebrard, Alford, 
Heng3tenberg, Webster and Wilkinson, Wordsworth]. Meyer [p. 43, 5th ed.], on the contrary, 
observes, that the Evangelist nowhere betrays a polemic aim against the opinions of the time. 

It is, however, with this intrinsic polemic character as with the extrinsic supplemental office 
of the Gospel. Though it was not properly the main object of the Evangelist, yet, in a time 
when the germs of Gnosticism and Ebionism so plainly appeared (see the later Epistles of 
Paul, the Second Epistle of Peter, and the Epistle of Jude), he could not but feel his Gospel 
to be an actual argument against both these extremes ; and a twofold series of strong asser- 
tions unmistakably reminds us, on the one hand, of that allegorical, fantastic idealism which 
could not allow the Word, or the idea-life, to become flesh, because it assumed an essential 
antagonism between matter and spirit (chap. i. 8, 14 ; vi. 54, 55 ; xix. 34 ; xx. 20, 27) ; and, 
on the other hand, of that realistic spirit of " the Jews," which acknowledged no full revela- 
tion of the eternal light of the Godhead in this world (chap. i. 11, 14 ; v. 18 ; vi. 62, 63 ; f 
x. 80 ; and passim). 

And we may well Buppose that the prophetic spirit of the Evangelist was fully aware that 
his Gospel would actually exert this two-edged power against all Gnostic idealism and all 
Ebionistic realism in all times. For this is its effect, constantly beginning anew, and ever 
more powerful the more the Gospel discloses itself; though the consciousness of the Evan- 
gelist, reposing in the personal believing contemplation of the person of Christ unfolding its. 
lile for the redemption and glorification of the world, soared eagle-like above the need of an 
anxious attention to extreme views which had been already in principle utterly transcended 
and left behind by the birth of Christ. 

The Christian doctrine of personality has in our day, for the first time, come forward in, 
theology with independent distinctness. In the mighty unfolding of it, to which the pan- 
theistic idealism lately impelled the theological mind, and a materialistic realism now impels. 

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it, the importance of this Gospel also must rise, as the consummation of the evangelic history 
in the contemplation of the perfect, world-transforming, personal life. And with this will all 
just elements of the ideal in the world and in the Church, in science, art, and theology, be 
brought more and more into the true light, and instated in their real rights ; as, on the other 
hand, under the blessing of this revelation of personality, the real also, the great fact and the 
little incident, the creature, and even matter, must maintain the ideal glow of significance. 
In this view the fourth Gospel will prove itself the Gospel for all the ideal that is misty and 
in love with itself, and for all the real that is dark and imprisoned within itself; * in a word, 
the Gospel of personality called to freedom in the personality of Christ and its personal work 
of love. 


Accordingly, the fourth Gospel, in its import with reference to the consummation of the 
gospel history and doctrine, appears to us (1.) as the specific Christian view of John, the pure 
reflection of the character of John ; (2.) as the first writing of John, which, in its spiritual 
expression, is perfectly homogeneous with the rest ; (3.) as the foundation of the Johannean 
type of doctrine ; (4.) as the highest revelation of the life of Christ in the mirror of John's 
contemplation; (5.) as the first member of the completed apostolic form of doctrine in 
general ; (0.) as the type of the future completion of the Christian doctrine, the Christian 
view of the world and of life. 

On the import of the fourth Gospel, see LGcke, fflnleitung, p. 158 ; the citations in Meyer, 
p. 4 ; Tholuck, Mnleitung, p. [Eng. ed., by Erauth, p. 11 sqq.] ; Leben Jem, i., p. 261 sqq. 

The Gospel of John is much extolled and much abused, as the gospel of the Lord him- 
self The spiritual Gospel, said Clement of Alexandria ; a mixture of heathenism, Judaism, 
and Christianity, said Evanson ; the one true, tender, main Gospel, said Luther ; a production 
without value or use for our time, said the Lutheran Superintendent Vogel in Wunsiedel 
(Lttcke, p. 93) ; the heart of Christ (pectus ChrUti), said Ernesti; mystic, confused, tedious, 
a dissolving view, said others ; least authenticated, decidedly spurious, mixed with Gnosti- 
cism, said the latest opponents ; while, since Irenseus, it has remained, for the sons of the 
apostolic spirit, the crown of the apostolic Gospeh. 


[The Gospel of John has never been seriously assailed in the Christian Church till the 
nineteenth century. The rejection by the Alogi, of the second century, was a consequence of 
their denial of the doctrine of the Divine Logos, and unsupported by any argument. The 
doubts of Evanson, 1792, Eckermann, 1790, Ballenst&dt, 1812, and others, were superficial, 
and made no impression. But more recently it has become the chief battle-ground between 
the old faith and modern criticism as applied to the documents of primitive Christianity. 
The first respectable critical attempt to dispute the Johannean authorship, was made by Bret- 
'schneidor, in his Credibilia de evang. et eputojarum Johanni* apostoli indole et origin*, 1820. 
Since then, its apostolic origin was positively denied with more or less show of argument by 
Strauss, 1885, Bruno Bauer, 1840, Lutzelberger, 1840, F. C. Baur (the ablest and most formi- 
dable opponent of the Gospel), 1844, 1847, 1853, &c, and his followers of the Tubingen school 
(such as Zeller, Schwegler, Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, Lang), also by Schenkel, 1804, Scholten, 
1805, and Eeim, 1807. The composition was assigned by these writers to some anonymous 
author of the second century, though without any agreemeut as to the exact time. The 
author assumed the name of John to give apostolic sanction to his theological system, which, 
according to Baur, is the last and most ingenious attempt to reconcile the supposed antago- 
nism of the Jewish-Christian or Petrine, and the Gentile-Christian or Pauline types of Chris- 

* [Lango : das EtavptHum /ftr alttt ffelr&bte, in tick idbtt verlicbte Ideate wit fOr aUetJtntUre, in tick utbst verfa*. 

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tianity, and presents an artificial history as the symbolical vestment of ideas. Kenan, like 
Weizs&cker (1864), denies only the genuineness of the discourses of Jesus, and admits the 
Johannean composition of the historical portions. He defends this position in a conclud- 
ing essay to the thirteenth edition of his Vie de Jesus, 1867. See below, p. 81. Schenkel 
also, in his CharalcterbUd Jesu (1864, p. 82), admits a basis of Johannean traditions for the 
post-apostolic speculations of the fourth Gospel. But these inconsistencies are untenable, and 
must give way to the alternative of a whole truth or a whole fabrication. Strauss, in his new 
life of Jesus, 1864, exchanges his former mythical hypothesis of unconscious poetic composi- 
tion for Baur's hypothesis of conscious invention, as the only other alternative to the orthodox 
view, and thereby he shows his sound and clear sense. % Keim, in his Gesehichte Jesu von Nazara 
(Zurich, vol. L, 1867, pp. 146 ff., 167 ff.), with all his attempts to mediate between the tradi- 
tional view and the Tubingen school, arrives at the same result, but traces the composition of 
John about fifty years higher than Baur. He represents it as the production of an anonymous 
genius, a liberal Jewish Christian of Asia Minor in the age of Trajan (100-117), i. i., almost 
within the lifetime of John. To call such a pseu do- Johannean work by its right name— a 
literary forgery — is, according to Prof. Keim (p. 170), a sign of ignorance, or results from a 
rough nervous constitution ! He even doubts that John ever was in Ephesus. — English and 
American divines so far have had too much reverence and common sense, or too little interest 
in such problems, to be affected to any considerable degree by the bold hypercriticism of the 
Continent. But quite recently, it has been reSchoed by some writers in the Westminster 
Review, more elaborately by J. J. Tayler, Attempt to Ascertain the Character of the Fourth 
Gospel, London, 1867, and by Dr. Samuel Davidson, in the new edition of his Introduction to 
the Study of the New Testament, Critical, Exegetical, and Theological, London, 1868, 2 vols., 
vol. ii. pp. 823 fit and 367 fF. Dr. Davidson, a man of learning, but little judgment, who, in 
his first edition (1848, vol. i. p. 244 ff.), had vindicated the Johannean authorship of the 
fourth Gospel against the crude vagaries of Lutzelberger, now openly advocates the subtle 
speculations of the Tubingen school, and assigns the composition of John to an anonymous 
writer about A. d. 150. " This great unknown " (as he calls the author, p. 449), ". in depart- 
ing from apostolic tradition, teaches us to rise above it. He has seized the spirit of Christ 
better than any apostle ; and if, like him, we ascend through their material setting to ideas 
that bring us into close contact with the Divine ideal of purity to mankind, we shall have a 
faith superior to that which lives in the visible and miraculous. 1 ' This is all idle illusion. 
An anonymous tract, entitled, " Was St. John the Author of the Fourth Oospel ?' ' by a Layman, 
formerly Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, London (Longmans, Green & Co.), 1868, 
takes a similar view, and, after a superficial discussion of the alleged discrepancies between 
the Synoptists and the fourth Gospel, arrives at the conclusion that the latter is the invention 
of some unknown author of the second century, with the exception of those passages that are 
to be found in some one of the otber Gospels. But the discrepancies between the antago- 
nists of John are far more serious and fatal than the discrepancies between John and the 
Synoptists. In one thing only they agree : in rejecting the Johannean origin of the fourth 
Gospel, and ascribing this sublimest of all literary compositions to an unknown impostor, they 
make it the greatest mystery in the history of literature. All these attacks will pass away 
without being able to " pluck a single feather from the mighty wing of this Eagle," who sails 
serenely and majestically above the clouds, in full vision of the light of eternal truth. — P. B.] 

On the historical testimony to the genuineness of the fourth Gospel, compare Lucke's 
Commentary; Luthardt, Das Johannes-Ecangelium ; Tholuck's Commentary on John; Tho- 
luck's GlauowHrdigleit der evangelischen Gesehichte ; Guericke, Isagogik, p. 170 [199 ff. in the 
third ed. of 1868 — P. 8.], Kirchhofer, Gesehichte des neutestamentliehen Kanons Ins auf Hierony- 
mus, p. 142 ; the treatise of Schneider, Die Aechtheit des johanneischen JSvangeliums nach den 
dusseren Zeugnissen, Berlin, 1854 ; Heubner, p. 212 ; and others. 

The evidences of the authenticity of this Gospel begin properly in the New Testament 
itself; to wit, in John xxi. 24 (see Tholuck, Glaubwurdigkeit p. 276). This testimony is, in- 
deed, without subscription, and has become a constituent of the thing to be attested ; but it 

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has force from the fact that it passed under the criticism of the early Church, and was ac- 
knowledged by it (sec my Leben Jesu, i p. 169). To this add the following consideration : 
The author of the Gospel does not, indeed, name himself ; but he repeatedly speaks of the 
disciple whom Jesus loved, and is designated by the Gospel itself as this disciple, chap. ixL 
24. Of this disciple it is said, in chap. xiii. 25, that he lay on Jesus' bosom ; and the ancients 
named John as this disciple who lay on Jesus 1 bosom (Tholuck, p. 6). Again, when the 
power to estimate the apostolic characters shall be further developed, it will undoubtedly be 
perceived that the Gospel of John, the Revelation, and the Epistles of John, stand or fall 
together (and they will stand), as the productions of one clearly distinct mind (see my Ver- 
ininchU Schriften, vol. ii., p. 178 sqq. : " On the indissoluble connection between the individual- 
ity of the Apostle John and the individuality of the Apocalypse "). The relation of the two 
closing verses to the Gospel is to be treated hereafter. The words kuI ofoap€v, 6Vi akn&js <<mv 
fj fxapTvpla avrov, are undoubtedly to be considered in any case an addition, probably an inter- 
polation of the Ephesian church.* We certainly cannot esteem it any glory to theology, to 
have made the Gospel and the Apocalypse mutually exclusive in regard to authenticity. 
(Lucke : Because the Gospel is Johannean, the Apocalypse cannot be ; Baur, the reverse.) 

So early as Ignatius, m his Epistle to the Romans, chap, vii., we find distinct allusions to 
the Gospel (Lucke, p. 43) ; and the fact that Papias does not name it, is accounted for by the 
predilection, extolled by himself, for oral tradition, which, in reference to John, he was per- 
mitted to enjoy. (See Leben Je&u, i. p. 151.) t Yet, according to Euseb. iii. 39, 8, Papias knew 
the First Epistle of John, and this [in view of the obvious and universally admitted iden- 
tity of thought and style in the two compositions] constitutes him indirectly a witness 

* [Comp. the Exrg. A'oics on ohap. xxi. 24, 25, and Abbot's addition to Smith's B.lle Dictionary, ii. p. 1430. Abbot 
justly concludes : "The only plausible explanation of vers. 24 and 25 seems to be, that they are an attestation of the 
trustworthiness of the Gospel by those who first put it into general circulation— companion* and friends of the author, 
and well known to those to whom it was communicated ; and the only plausible nocount of the first 23 verses of the chapter 
Is, that they, are a supplementary addition" [or rather the Epilogue, corresponding to the Prologue, as Dr. Lnnge 
regards it], "Virion proceeded directly from the pen, or substantially from the dictation, of the author of the rest of tho 
Gospel."-P. 8.) 

t [Dr.. Lange omits to notice, in his third edition of 1808, some important data which have oome to light since his 
second edition in 1862. We can now appeal to two or three direct and explicit testimonies of Papias in favor of the 
Gospel of John. These set aside the argument from bis alleged rilence t which has been recently urged by Straass, Rennn, 
Zeller, Hugonfold, Yolkmar, and others, as a very dangerous argument against the apostolic origin of the same. 
(I .) The first is found in a Latin MS. of the Gospels in the Vatican Library, marked •* Vat. Alex. No. 14," and dating 
apparently from the ninth century, where, in a prologue to the Gospel of John, the following remark occurs : " Evan- 
gelium iuhonnis manifestatum ct datum est ecclesiis ab iohanne adhuc in corpora constituto, sicut papias nomine hicram 
polHanus disa'pulut iohannis carus in txotericiM [no doubt an error of the copyist for tzegcticit\ id est in extremis quinque 
Ubris [i. *., at the close of tho fifth book of his lost XoyUtr tcvpuuemy ilirrfovtc] rttulit," This testimony (which is not 
invalidated by the additional improbable notice that John dictated his Gospel to Papias) was known already to Cardinal 
J. M. Thomasius, who entered it in his collections (Opp. omnia, Rom, 1747, torn. L p. 344 ; comp. Aberle in the Roman 
Catholic Quartaltchnfl of Tubingen, 1864, pp. 1-47), but it attracted no attention until it was recently rediscovered in the 
Vatican Library, and brought to notice by the eminent Benedictine sobolar, Cardinal Pitra, and Prof. Tisohendorf; on 
his visit to Rome, March, 1866, who assigns tho Prologue to a writer before the time of Jerome. (2.) The second test!* 
mony which was discovered by Aberle (/. c.) in a Premium to the Gospel of John in the Catena Patrum Graecorum, ed. 
by Corderius, is from on anonymous Greek commentator, who asserts that John, the Son of Thunder, dictated his Gos- 
pel to his disciple Papias of Bierapolis (r£ iavrov poftp-]} Uaviq cvStwry (probably for fcrtre&ry] iy 'upawokLrn. 
Although this tradition may have no foundation in met, it proves, nevertheless, the intimate connection of Papias with 
the Gospel of John in the opinion of the ancient Church. (3.) Finally, Irena?us, at the close of his work, Adv. Haer., 
v. 36, (J 1, 2, quotes a passage from John xiv. 2 in such connection with Papias, and other presbyters who had known 
John personally (pretbyteri qui Johanna* ditcipulum Domini viderunt), as to mako it extremely probable that he quoted 
either from the work of Papias, or of the presbyters, who wore still older and better witnesses.— On the other hand, we 
can make no uso (as Dr. Wordsworth does for another purpose) of the fragment of "Papias" in an Oxford MS. (sec 
Grabe, JSjpicil, ii. 34, 35, and Routh, JUliquim Sacra, voL i. 16) on the four Marys (among whom he mentions " Mary 
Salome, the wife of ZebediBUs, the mother of John the JBvanoelitt"), for this passage is an extract from a Dictionary or 
Glossary of another Papias, of Lombard; in the twelfth century, as Hofctede de Groot (Batilidet, &c, p, 112 f.) has con- 
clusively proved from another copy of the Lexicon CathoUcum of the mediaavai Papias.— Comp. on these testimonies of 
Papias to the Gospel of John (which have escaped also the attention of Pro! Fisher and Mr. Abbot), the fourth revised 
and enlarged edition of Tischendorf; Wann vmrden untere Evangelien aetchrieben t Ldpsig, 1866, pp. 101-118, especially 
p. 118, and P. Hofctede de Groot, BatiUde*, fto., Leipaig, 1868, pp. 109-116. The latter closes his discussion with the 
remark : " Who knows what else may not yet be discovered ! But, for the present, the facts adduced are sufficient to 
prove that Papias was acquainted with the fourth Gospel as a production of John."— P. 8.) 

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also to the Gospel. In Polycarp, too, appear proofs of intimacy with John (see Tholuck, 
p. 25).* 

If John, according to an established tradition, lived .to the close of the first century, a 
Hying Gospel, we may be satisfied if we find even in the middle of the second century per- 
fectly sure signs of the existence of his Gospel, as we do in the Logos-doctrine of Justin 
Martyr, though the Evangelist is not cited by name (since Justin wrote primarily for the 
West, where the fourth Gospel was as yet comparatively very Httle current) .t On Justin's 
acquaintance with the fourth Gospel, see Ewald, Jahrbucher, 1832-'53, p. 180 ; Lucke, i. p. 44 ; 
Meyer, p. 4, and Tholuck, p. 27, with reference to Semisch's Justin, p. 188. [See also Weiz- 
sacker, Teschendorf^ Keiin, and the article of Prof. Fisher above cited, Essays, p. 46 ff., and 
his addition to Smith's Dictionary, H. p. 1438. Even the skeptical Keim, Lebcn Jem, i. (1867) 
p. 138, admits that Justin knew the Gospel of John, and ridicules the absurd idea of a de- 
pendence of John on Justin.— P. S.]. 

These indications further appear in the fact that Tatian, a pupil of Justin, composed a 
work on the Gospels, entitled Diatessaron (Bia Tc<raeip<i>*% one out of four, an expression look- 
ing back to the uTronvrjfiovtvfjLaTa of his teacher), which could have had none but our four 
Gospels for its basis ; that the Valentinians, toward the middle of the second century, knew 
the Gospel, since even the Valentinian Heracleon accompanied it with a commentary ; and 
that the Montanists, in the second half of the second century, appealed to the promise of the 
Paraclete, which involves their familiarity with the Gospel of John. 

Add to these the first new discovery, made by means of the close of the Clementine 
Homilies found by Dressel, that the author of it (perhaps about A. d. 160) knew the Gospel 
of John, and the second new discovery through the " Philosophoumena," edited by Miller 
[1851, and better by Duncker and Schneidewin, 1859. — P. S.], that even the Gnostic Ba- 
silides, a younger cotemporary of John, knew his Gospel (Tholuck, p. 28, with reference to 
the treatise of Jakobi, Deutsche Zeitschrift, 1851, p. 222)4 

The acquaintance of the Gnostic Valentine and of Marcion (first half of the second 
century) with this Gospel, has likewise become more and more certain. [Comp. Fisher, I. c. 
p. 59 ff., and especially Hofstede de Groot, Barilides, &c., pp. 90-106.— P. S.] 

Nothing more can be desired than such a group of evidences, reaching back, some to the 
middle of the second century, some to the beginning of it. 

But then, in the second half of the same century, Theophilus of Antioch (Ad Autohjc. 
if. 22) and IrenoBUs (Adv. Hares, iii. 1) appear as express witnesses for the authorship of John. 
They are followed by a series of the Church fathers, beginning with Clement of Alexandriu, 
Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius. 

The peculiarity and elevation of the fourth Gospel passed among the ancients, with 
scattering exceptions, for a special seal of its apostolicity. Characteristically, the same cir- 
cumstance had that weight with them which to the modern rationalistic criticism makes the 
Gospel preeminently suspicious, or rather gives this criticism occasion for its cavils. 

In the history of this criticism we must distinguish two stages : First, the objections of 

* [Polycarp, a disciple of John, quotes from 1 John It. 8 the passage concerning the mark of Antichrist (Ep. ad 
PhiVpp., c. 7).— P. 8.] 

t According to Volkmar (Ucbcr Justin din M&rtyrtr und tein Verh&ltw't* zu unsercm Evanffdium, Z&rich, 1853), it 
should of course be granted that Justin was ignorant of the fourth Gospel. John writes avm&*v yiwrf&iivai, Justin 
i m y wu fl fr i. But Justin was free from pedantry ; and in Borne, where the Fetrine term (1 Peter i. 3. 23) was familiar, 
did weU to use it. [That Justin, Apol. L 61 , in quoting from memory (as was usual with him) the passage on regeneration, 
John iii. 8-5, uses avaytrrti* for y*wi*> and fiaatXtia rmr •vpavmv for fkur. tow 0«ou, is not strange if we 
consider that ayaytvrd*, besides being found in a few MSB., had beoome the current term for regeneration ; that tho 
PynopUsts use /tar. tw ovpavwr, and that the same inaccuracy in quoting this very passage occurs frequently in Irc- 
assus, Eusebius, Chrysoetom, and other lathers, as has been shown in a learned note by Abbot in his and Hackett's 
edition of Smith's Dictionary of Vu BibU (1869), ii 1433. Even Jeremy Taylor once quotes the passage inaccurately 
thus : " Unless a man be born of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter tho kingdom of Aaron."— P. 8.] 

X (On the important testimony of Basilides (A. D. 65-135) brought to light in 1851 with the discovery of the "Philo- 
sophumena" of Hippolytas, see the learned and able treatise of P. Hofstede de Groot, of Groningen, written first in 
Ihxtch, and then enlarged in German : Basilides ats irtltr Zeugt fUr Alter und Autoritdt iV. T. tSchri/len, imbuon* 
dere da Johanncstvanffdiums, Leipzig, 18U8— P. S.1 

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the rulgar rationalism, which we may designate also as Ebionistic. The judgment of its 
critique runs thus : The Johannean Christ is not true enough to have been actual ; the Synop- 
tists alone portray the actual and true Christ. Then, the objections of the modern pantheistic 
rationalism, which may, in like manner, be called Gnostic. In its opinion, the Christ of the 
fourth Gospel is too true — that is, a too far developed idea of the ideal Christ — to have been 
actual The two views agree in establishing a contradiction between the Synoptbts and the 
fourth Gospel. To the first class belong the Alogi of the ancient day,* and, in our time, 
Evaoson (1792), Eckermann, Schmidt, Bretschneider, and others (see Lucke, Comm. L p. 89 ; 
Gnericke, Isagogxk, p. 188) ; to the second, Baur and his disciples. A party which forms a 
bridge between these opposites, finds in this Gospel some things too real, some too ideal, for 
the book to have been genuine (Strauss, Weisse). 

It is remarkable, that Bruno Bauer [not to be confounded with F. C. Baur] makes the 
Gospel to have proceeded from the bosom of the orthodox, poetizing Church ; Lutzelberger, 
from the borders of the Church, from the hand of a Samaritan Christian ; Hilgenfeld, from 
the bosom of the Valentinian Gnosis. How wanton the confusion of notions sometimes is 
which this negative criticism permits, is shown by the remark of Hilgenfeld, that we have to 
do with an age in which the idea of literary property was wholly wanting. Tholuck, on the 
contrary (p. 0), adduces evidences against literary frauds. And it must above all be borne in 
mind, that the instinctive moral idea, which abhors falsification, and the modern legal idea 
of literary property, are utterly different things. 

For extended demonstration of the genuineness, we refer to the works already cited; to 
Crcdner, p. 261, and others ; to the Evangelienhritik of Ebrard, p. 828 sqq. ; the well-known 
critical apologetic treatises on the life of Jesus ; the work of Ebrard, Das Evangelium Johan- 
nis und die neueste Hypothese uber seine EnUtehung ; and Bleek, Beitrage zur EtangeUcn-Kritik, 
pp. 175 sqq. 

[In addition to these works, the following more recent apologetic treatises on the Jo- 
hannean question deserve special mention : Prof. Riggenbach (of Basle), on the Testimonies 
for the Gospel of John, Basle, 1805 ; Prof. Godet (of Neuchatel), Examination of the Chief 
Questions of Criticism concerning John (French and German), Zurich, 1866 ; Prof. Van Ooster- 
zee (of Utrecht), The Gospel of John, four Lectures (Dutch and German), 1867 (English trans- 
lation by Dr. J. F. Hur&t, Edinburgh, 1869) ; the fourth revised and enlarged German edition 
of Tischendorf ? 8 valuable book on the Origin of the Gospels (Wann vurden unsere Etan- 
gelien geschrieben f) Leipzig, 1866 (English translation by W. L. Gage, Boston, 1868) ; Prof. 
Hofstede de Groot (Groningen), on the Testimony of Basilides for the New Testament Books, 
especially the Gospel of John (Dutch and German), Leipzig, 1868 ; Abbe Dcramey, Defense 
du quatrtime evangile, Paris, 1868. See also the Commentaries of Lucke, Tholuck, De 
Wette (the 5th edition by Bruckner, 1863), Meyer, Luthardt, Baumlein, Asti6, Godet, and 
Holtzmann in Bunsen's Bibelwerk, voL viii. (1866), pp. 56-77. The best English discussions of 
the Johannean question with reference to the attacks of the Tubingen school, are by Prof. 
George P. Fisher, of New Haven, The Genuineness of the Fourth Gospel, first published in the 

• (From tbe account of Eptphanius, HttrttU L. adv. Alogos, which if almost the only source of our information on 
tho Alogi (so callod first by Epiphanius, as dealers of tbe Logos, with a sarcastic insinuation of their unreasonablencts), 
it is not clear whether they rejected the divinity of Christ altogether, or simply John's doctrine of the Logos (i. 1-14). 
lie says, indeed, that they denied tbe Gospel of John, koI rbv iv ain$ iv ipxiJ *■*» *«*' Arfyor (Emr. liv. c L) ; but, 
on the other hand, he closely distinguishes them from the JSbionites, as well as from the Gnostics. They rejected both 
the Gospel and the Apocalypse, and absurdly ascribed these books to the Gnostic Cerinthus, a later contemporary of John. 
This very fact, however, proves that these books were regarded as ancient at the time of the Alogi, who flourished during 
the Montanist controversy, about 170, and furnishes a strong argument against the position of the Tubingen school 
which would put the composition of the Gospel of John down to the middle of the second century. Had the Alogi bad 
any idea of Its late origin, they would no doubt have turned it to account According to Heinlchen (De Alogi; Thto- 
doOanti aUjm ArtemontiiM, Ldpaig, 1829), they rejected merely the Apocalypse, not the Gospel of John. But this is 
irreconcilable with the account of Epiphanius, who expressly says (Hmr. 1. c 9), that if they had oast off the Apoca- 
lypse only, there might be some excuse in view of tbe obscurity of that book ; but since they rejected all the writings 
of John, they showed clearly that they belonged to the antichrists spoken of, 1 John IL 18. They tried to refute John 
with the Synoptists, bnt very feebly. They were also violently opposed to the Montaoists, and denied the ooutiuuanoe 
of prophecy and miraculous gifts in the Church.— P. 8.] 

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Bibliotheca Sacra for April, 18G4, and then incorporated in his Essays on the Supernatural. 
Origin of Christianity, New York, I860, pp. 88-152 (comp. also his addition to Smith's 
large Dictionary of the Bible, vol. ii. pp. 1431-37) ; and by H. B. Liddon, in the fifth of his 
Bampton Lectures on the Divinity of Jesus Christ, London, 2d ed., 1868, pp. 207 ff. For a 
complete list of the polemic and apologetic literature on John, see Meyer, Comm., 5th ed. 
(1869), pp. 88-41 ; Ezra Abbot's addition to W. Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. ii. 
(1869), pp. 1487-1439 ; and Dr. Hurst's Appendix to his English translation of Van Ocster- 
zee's Apologetic Lectures on JohnH Gospel, Edinburgh (1869), pp. 241-246.— P. S.] 

Here it may be suggested, that the criticism which denies the genuineness of the Gospel, 
annihilates itself most effectually by its own internal confusion and contradiction. The 
earlier rationalists make the Gospel of John an obscuration of historical Christianity ; the 
later, an ideal amplification and provisional completion of it. According to one, John existed 
as a Jewish apostle, who is supposed, in a qualified sense, to have written the Apocalypse 
(Baur) ; according to another, the Apostle did not exist at all, at least as the author of the 
fourth Gospel, which was composed by a Samaritan toward the middle of the second century 
(Lutzelberger). Thus, a Samaritan forged it, according to LGtzelberger ; the Christian com- 
munity invented it, according to Bruno Bauer. According to Zeller, Valentinianism grew out 
of the conceptions of John ; according to Hilgenfeld, the Gospel grew out of Valentinianism. 

The objections which have been made against the Gospel may be classified as follows : 

1. Supposed historical contradictions with the Synoptists. 

(a.) The different festival journeys of the Lord in John, together with the many incidents 
peculiar to him. Explained by the difference in the character of the Gospels, and by tho 
complemental position of the fourth. 

(&.) The many omissions of John : the Lord's Supper, the agony in Gethsemane (with 
which the exhibition of the triumphant spirit of Christ in His sacerdotal prayer is supposed 
to be inconsistent). Explained by the fact that the place of the Supper is plainly enough 
marked (chap. xiii. 84), and that there is abundant cause for the strongest alternations of 
experience in the life of our Lord, and the actual occurrence of them in every Gospel by itself. 

(e.) The dates of the last Passover and the death of Jesus. Compare, on this point, this Com- 
mentary on Matthew, Special Introd. to chs. xxvi. and xxvii. ; my Oeschichte des apostol. ZeitaU 
ten, L, p. 69 ; Tholuck, p. 38 ff. [also the Lit. on the Paschal controversy of the second century], 

(d.) Supposed differences of minor importance. Accounted for by what has already been 
said ; especially by the fact, to be emphasized, that the Evangelists have given Gospels, i. e., 
religious, historico-ideal views, each his own, of the gospel history ; not chronological prag- 
matic reports of events. 

2. Pretended doctrinal differences between John and the Synoptists. The presumption 
that John was a Jewish Apostle, and therefore Judaistic, and that, consequently, he could not 
have written the Gospel, we pass ; it falls with the Ebionite hypothesis of Baur. (Comp. 
Tholuck, p. 53.) 

(a.) Jesus here speaks, in general, chiefiy of His person. Answer : He speaks of His per- 
son also in the Synoptists ; John differs from them only by collecting more especially the 
utterances of the self-consciousness of Jesus. 

(b.) The speculative tone. But this is just what makes John John. Tholuck refers to the 
fact that Plato has written of Socrates in a higher tone than Xenophon {Olaulmtrdigldt, 
and Comm. [Krauth's translation, p. 80]). Heubner finds this doubtful (p. 213). The 
analogy would only be doubtful, if Tholuck had at the same time said that John has Johan- 
neanly idealized the actual Christ, as Plato Platonically idealized Socrates (which Weisse 
holds). We can perfectly maintain the qomplete dependence of John's view of the objective 
Christ, and yet perceive that John, according to his subjective individuality, has apprehended 
just that which is most distinctive in the objective Christ. Heubner mistakes this truth, and 
would not admit the individuality of John as a factor (p. 213). He is right, however, in 
insisting that Christ was inexhaustibly rich, therefore endlessly manifold, in His self-revela- 
tion ; citing Demosthenes as an analogy (note on p. 213). 

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(e.) The difference in the teaching of Christ But there is enough that is Johannean in 
the Synoptists, on the eternal Godhead of Christ, His preexistence, His sole relation to the 
Father (see Matt, ii 15 ; iii 3, 17 ; xi. 19 and 26-80 ; xvi 16 ; xxyL 64 ; xxviii. 18 ; Mark i. 
2 ; ii 28 ; xii. 85 ; xiiL 26 ; xvi 19 ; Luke i 16, 17 ; ver. 76 ; ii 11, &c,) and enough that is 
synoptical in John (chap, ii 14 ; v. 19 ; vi 8, &c.), to establish the result that the Christ of 
all four Gospels is the same, but that the particular calling of John was to hold forth espe- 
cially the spiritual glory of Christ. If in this he has his own mode of representation, he 
need not be found " dissolving " because he is solemnly elevated, nor 4< inaccurate " because, 
as is proper to his solemn style, he soars above logical forms of transition. If, finally, Christ 
speaks in proverbs and parables only in His discourses to the multitude, and, even according 
to the Synoptists, had other discourses besides, the prevalence of the dialogue and the dis- 
course in John argues genuineness, since it corresponds to the different nature of the occasions 
and circumstances. 

3. The mutually exclusive authorship of the Gospel and the Apocalypse.* According to 
Lucke, this does not indeed touch the genuineness of the Gospel ; only, the Evangelist John 
cannot have written the Apocalypse, because he wrote the GospeL According to Baur, on 
the contrary, he cannot have written the Gospel, because he wrote the Apocalypse. 

We maintain that the Gospel and Apocalypse require each other. If it be first sufficiently 
considered (a.) that there is an essential difference between speaking cV ra> pot and & r<$ 
TrvivfiaTi, according to 1 Cor. xiv. 15 ; (&.) an essential difference between a historical and an 
apocalyptic, poetico-dymbolical work;* (c.) that the Gospel of John has no special escha- 
tology, as the others have ; (d.) that the Apocalypse presupposes a kindred Gospel, especially 
the Evangelist and Apostle ; (e.) that the Apocalypse evinces the same theological depth, the 
same fulness of ideas, the same universal view, as the Epistles of John and the fourth GospeL 
After these considerations^ we cannot help concluding, that all the books attributed to John 
can have been written only by one man ; and that one, this unique John, with whose pre- 
eminent trait of contemplativeness in the Gospel and in the Apocalypse the contemplative 
character of the Johannean books is in perfect harmony. 

4. Intrinsic difficulties which the Gospel is supposed to present. Particularly 

(a.) The improbability that such discourses as those recorded by John should be retained 
by the memory. But this objection has never duly considered, that John could as well have 
put down his memorabilia at once during his intercourse with Jesus, as the many, of whom 
Luke speaks (Luke i 1). Nor has it further put to the account, that the ways of memory are 
different, and that the memory of the loving worshipper is always tenacious of the words 
kindred to its spirit ; and it has confounded the notions of a substantial and a verbal record. 
That Christ might receive a Johannean coloring in the representation of John, without being 
transformed from a Johannean Christ to a Christian John, is made perfectly clear by the anal- 
ogy of the three Synoptists. 

(5.) Wearying repetition arid diffuseness. This objection becomes at once a self-accusation 
of the critics. The pregnant, the lyrically iterative, in the language of an inspired ideal 
intuition, presupposes yielding harmony and affinity of spirit. 


The unity of character of the fourth Gospel, the whole incommunicable spirit of it, is so 
plain, that the hypothesis of the working over by a later hand of an original record by John 
(Weisse, Die EvangelUche Geschichte, et al), or of the filling out of such a record by interpo- 
lations (A. Schweizer, Da$ Evangelium Johannu), may be passed over (see Leben Jew, i p. 
197 ; Luthardt, Die Intepjitaf)! 

• [The remark of Tboluck, p. 11, that " the Old Testament prophets speak not a whit more impure Hebrew than 
the prose- writers," mistakes the main point here at issue— to wit, the difference between the states of consciousness, in 
which a Hebrew at one time speaks pure Greek, at another, Hebraises.] 

♦ [Luthardt, in the first chapter of his able work : Das JohanntitcJit Evangdium, naclt uintr Etgcnth&vMchkeit gt~ 

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The genuineness of the 21st chapter of the Gospel remains to be specially considered. 
The 'words of John tx. SO hare been supposed to form the evident close of the Gospel ; and 
then the 21st chapter itself has been thought to bear traces of spuriousness. According^, 
many who have acknowledged and honored the Gospel, from Grotius to Lneke, and others, 
have declared against the genuineness of this chapter. (See the list in Meyer's Comm. [p. 571, 
4th ed.] ). On the contrary, the genuineness of it has been as decidedly vindicated, from Calo- 
vius to Guericke and Tholuck. According to Meyer, the chapter, excepting the last verse, is 
a supplement to the Gospel of John, which .closes with the 81st verse of the 20th chapter. 
But a supplement can be only an appendix, as Meyer intends, in case the book itself is com- 
pleted according to its plan. Now, a careful estimate of the total structure of the Gospel 
leads to a plan which constitutionally includes the 21st chapter. In this view we distinguish 
the Prologue, chap. L 1-18, the historical Gospel, more strictly speaking, and the Epilogue, 
rhap. xxi. The division of the Gospel, made and pursued in this volume, must justify this 
conception ; and we here refer the reader thereto. Even most of the advocates of the genu- 
ineness, however, have more recently explained the 24th and 25th verses as a later addition ; 
and again, Weitzel has declared against this (Studien und Kritiken, 1849, i. 1). We hold 
that, if the interpolation : " We know that his testimony is true," be an interpolation of the 
Ephesian church, the rest reveals the hand of the Evangelist himself; since ver. 24 looks 
back to chap. xx. 81, and the proverb in ver. 25, though termed by Meyer an absurd exaggera- 
tion, is entirely characteristic of John's contemplation.* 

It is otherwise with the section, chap. viii. 1-ll.t It is, in the first place, established, tfyat 
the section is wanting in a series of the most important codices, B. L. T. X. A., to which 
certainly Cod. Sin., and probably A. and C, are to be added ; and that a series of the oldest 
and most eminent fathers, from Origen downward, are entirely silent respecting this section. 
Add to this the fact that the section, at first view, does not improve, but impairs the connec- 
tion of the Gospel. We ourselves have hitherto thought there were sufficient proofs that it 
belongs to the day of the great onsets of questionings which the Pharisees made upon the 
Lord on the Tuesday after the feast of Palms (see Lttckc, ii. p. 243 ; Ilitzig, Ueber Johannes 
Markup p. 205 ; my Leben Jew, ii. p. 952 ; p. 1222). From this apparent misplacement of the 
section, however, it would not necessarily follow that the passage itself is not apostolic ; not 
even that it is not Johannean. Since the other Evangelists have described those onsets, it is 
improbable that the section should have come from them (as, for example, Hitzig places the 
passage in Mark, between chap. xii. 18-17 and vers. 18-27). On the contrary, it is more 
natural to suppose that this Gospel relic belongs to John, or, at all events, to the Johannean 
tradition in Ephesus. The codd. 1, 19, 20, put it at the close of the Gospel ; codd. 69, 124, 
846, put it after Luke xxi 88. We might well suppose that the latter manuscripts are in the 
right as to the place of the incident, the former as to the authorship of the account We 
think it suitable, however, to recur to the question in the Commentary on the section itself; 

achUdert vnd erlcl&rt (Xfirnberg, 1858, pp. 1-20), satisfactorily defends the integrity of the fourth Gospel against tho 
Titers of Welsse and Schweiser, which may he regarded as exploded. But since that time the same error has been 
relieved in a modified form. Kenan {Vie de J4*u$, 1865) is disposed to regard the narrative portions of John aa genuine 
and to acknowledge a historical substratum even in the discourses. lie accepts asliifltorical the belief in the resurrec- 
tion of Lasnrus, but turns it into a counterfeit miracle, the result of guilty collusion, which is certainly no better, but 
worse, than the German notion of a mythical poem, or a symbolical vestment of the idea of immortality. In the 13th 
edition of his Vie de Je'tut, Paris, 1867, Kenan enters for the first time Into a discussion of the Johannean question. 
lie distinguishes, in the Preface, four views on the subject : (10 tne orthodox, which holds fast to the whole Gospel 
of John as genuine ; (2.) the middle position, which recognizes him as the first author, but admits that it has been 
brought into its piosent shape and form by his disciples ; (3.) the critical, which derives it from a disciple of John about 
A. D. 100, and gives np the discourses, bnt admits a Johannean tradition in the historical portion ; (4.) the second 
critical view, which regnrds the whole as a fictfon or historical novel of the second century. He professes to hold the 
third view, and defends It in a concluding essay. "Wcixaacker, who is Baur's successor in Tubingen, (In his Untertuch- 
ungtn Hber die evangel* GeeckichU, Gotha, 1864; oomp. his notioeof Kenan In the JahrUQcker /fir DeuUche Thcoloffie, 
tor 1868, pp. 521 ft*.), substantially agrees with Kenan, and divides the authorship between John and one or more of his 
disciples, probably the elders at Ephesus.— P. S.) 

• iComp. the first foot-note on p. 26.— P. S.) 

t [The genuineness of John viii. 1-11, or mther vii. 53-viii. 11, as also of chap. v. 4, with the last clause of ver. 3, is 
purely a question of textual Criticism. See tho Textual Notes in loc— P. 8.] 

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since, on a more accurate weighing of the critical and historical considerations, the section 
might decidedly maintain its existing position. (On the critical treatises relative to this sec- 
tion, compare Meyer, on chap. viii. [p. 320, 5th ed.] ). 


The Gospel of John appears the most original of all the Gospels, in that it shows itself 
thoroughly independent of the Synoptical evangelical tradition while yet presupposing it, 
and confirming the essential substance of it. It manifestly rests on the personal memories 
of one of the earliest disciples of Jesus — the most profound and spiritual of all — on whom 
the Lord's exhibitions of himself impressed themselves in indelible lines. 

That John early committed to writing in memorabilia the most important matters of his 
recollection, especially the Lord's discourses, we may well suppose, though these constituents 
of his Gospel continually became fresh again and clear by the suggestions of the promised 
Paraclete, which cooperated with his enthusiastic love for the Lord. 

But since, by the direction of the dying Saviour, he was made the son of Mary, and Mary 
thenceforth lived with him in his house (see the article Maria, in Winer), and this little 
family, formed under the cross, could have had no more engaging matter of conversation than 
the memory of the Lord, we may doubtless ascribe to Mary a mental share in the gradual 
formation of this slowly maturing Gospel. 

To the memories of the Apostle must be added the experiences of his life, especially the 
friendly and peaceful movements of his apostolic development. How he might thus have 
been led also to his peculiar shaping of his Logos doctrine, is suggested by Ltickc's and other 
treatises on the Prologue. 

To speak now of the design : The Gospel, like Christian worship, which is in this respect 
akin to art, and, like every thing belonging to the Christian Church, must have been pro- 
duced primarily for its own sake, as the one spontaneous effusion of the lofty contemplations 
of the Evangelist. If this may be said even of the first Evangelists, and our school-theology 
must be charged with inquiring far too readily and too exclusively for an exterior design, 
while a due .regard to the fervid spontaneity of the four Gospels might cure criticism of 
many prejudices of a lower conception ;— all this is true in a very peculiar degree of the 
fourth Gospel. Contemplative minds like that of John must give expression to their expe- 
riences and views first of all for their own satisfaction ; and if we have understood any thing 
of the nature of John, we cannot wonder that we find five productions of his hand, forming 
at bottom a trilogy of the evangelic, epistolary, and the apocalyptic character in the New 

Yet, as the Christian coitus, with all its art-like character, by no means stops in the idea 
of mere exhibitive art, but builds itself out of the elements of eternally active truth, and 
aims with distinct purpose in efficient enthusiasm at edification, the Evangelists must as dis- 
tinctly, and with still more distinct consciousness, have had their objective impulse and their 
practical design. .And the Evangelist John has himself distinctly stated his first and his next 
practical design, chap. xx. 81. His immediate and decisive aim was neither to fight a heresy 
nor to complete the other Gospels. He knew too well that the positive statement of the life 
of Jesus, purely and fervidly given, was itself the most effective polemic (chap, iii 19), and 
that a round, complete collection of the most significant points in the life of the Lord, set 
forth in orderly succession, would form the most fitting supplement (John xx. 31). 

Nevertheless, this great apostolic presbyter-bishop of Ephesus could not have stood for 
half a century between the opposite germinant motions of Ebionism and Gnosticism, without 
writing his Gospel in the consciousness that it would practically transcend that antagonism, 
nor without, in this conviction, everywhere emphasizing the relevant anti-Ebionistic and anti- 
Gnostic points. The expressly polemic passages in his Epistles (comp. 1 John ii. 18, 22, 23 ; 
iv. 1 sqq., 2 John), as well as in the Revelation, particularly in the letters to the seven 
churches, give abundant proof that lie was fully conscious of the historical and dogmatical 

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points in his Gospel against the heresies of his time, and that he relied upon their operative 
force. And undoubtedly it was his Logos doctrine especially, in connection with the doctrina 
of the historical, personal Christ, which in the second century most effectively contributed to 
the victory of the Church over both Ebionism and Gnosticism. The doctrine of personality, 
concretely defined by the doctrine of the person of Christ, still ever operates as a two-edged 
sword against all Gnostic and Judaistic distortions of the truth. " With John, therefore, in 
his Gospel, the person of the Saviour is of supreme importance. 1 ' 

The consciousness of supplementing the first three Gospels, which at the time of the 
origin of John's Gospel had already gained a considerable currency among the Christians, 
was likewise natural. The Evangelist may even have been conscious of the twofold comple- 
tion, internal and externa 1 , which he furnished ; and in that case he surely intended to fur- 
nish it. But not in such sense as to be a theological or historical emendator. 

When Clement of Alexandria (according to Euseb. vi. 14) remarks that the other Evan- 
gelists have delineated particularly the external history, giving us a dayytKiov <r»pariK6v; 
and the object of John was to give something higher, a tvayytXiop nufvftariKo^ he unites in 
one expression a partial truth, and a leaning of the Alexandrian turn of thought which must 
not be overlooked. Luther's dictum also, of the u one true, tender, leading Gospel," needs to 
be reduced to the most strictly qualified sense. All the Gospels are spiritual, pneumatic, each 
in its way ; but the fourth Gospel is preeminently the Gospel of the real ideal personality of 
Christ, and as such, in the phrase of Ernesti, the heart of Christ (pectus Christi). 

Clement further states that John wrote his Gospel at the request of his friends ; likewise, 
the canon of Muratori, which Jerome ingeniously interpreted thus : that the bishops and 
churches of Asia Minor urged him to write his Gospel against the incipient heresies, and in it 
to make the divinity of Christ distinctly appear. But John hardly needed such a spur ; he 
might at most have been hastened by it in the publication of the Gospel. The historical sup- 
plementing of the three Synoptists is made prominent, particularly by Eusebius (iii. 24) and 
Theodore of Mopsvestia (Comment, in Joann.). But ifj beyond his delight in a more exact 
statement and essential enrichment of the Gospel history, John hod been moved by the desire 
of an external supplementing of the records of his predecessors, the chronological points 
would have appeared still more clearly marked, and the array of facts and events much more 
copious. His object lay on a higher level than this ; and so, indeed, did the object of the 
first three Evangelists themselves. 

The modern criticism has come down so low as to represent John in his Gospel, according 
to Strauss, as aiming an indirect polemic against Peter ; according to the anonymous Saxon 
work, " Die Evangelien? as intending to glorify himself and put himself in Peter's place ; 
according to the Baur school, a fraudulent writer allowed himself to put forth, in the interest 
of an irenical tendency, a pseudo-Johannean Gospel 1 


As to the time of the composition of the Gospel : It is the unanimous tradition of the 
ancients (Irensus, Clement, Origen, &e.) that the fourth Gospel was the last written. We are 
also pointed probably in any case to the time of the Apostle's residence in Ephesus, which 
cannot yet have begun at the date of the Second Epistle to Timothy, because that Epistle 
shows no trace of John in Ephesus. This date, it is true, must vary according to the view 
taken respecting the time of Paul's death ; we consider the traditional view well authen- 
ticated. For Ephesus as the place of composition, we have the authority of Irenseus, and, 
after him, many others. 

According to Epiphanius, John wrote the Gospel at the age of ninety years ; according to 
peeudographic traditions [Pseudo-Hippolytus Be XII. App.], he wrote it on Patmos, and 
afterwards published it at Ephesus. Lucke supposes the Gospel to have been written between 
the seventh and the last decade of the first century, and says, only by way of conjecture, not 
before the eighth decade (p. 167). Guericke supposes [3d ed. p. 100] after the Apocalypse 

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[between 80 and 90]. The first reason, huwerer— riz^ that the Gospel is written in purer 
Greek than the Apocalypse — amounts to nothing, since the Gospel was written cV vol, the 
Apocalypse «V vnvfum ; that is, the former in the language of conscious communication with 
tbe culture of the world, the latter in the spontaneity of inspired expression in a native 
Hebrew ; and as to tbe second reason, the relation of the Gospel to the Gnosis, &c, the 
beginnings of the Gnosis appear as early as the Pastoral Epistles. Meyer also supposes that 
the Gospel originated a considerable time after the destruction of Jerusalem, say about the 
year 80 (p. 41). He therewith assumes as probable, that the Gospel circulated for some time 
in a narrower circle of Ephesian friends, and was afterwards published more generally with 
the addition of the 21st chapter. This theory has nothing improbable, in so far as it takes 
the addition to be the finishing of the Gospel itself by the hand of John, 

We take, as betokening a later origin, the publication of the raising of Lazarus (on the 
supposition that the first three Gospels omitted it out of regard for the still living family) ; 
and the account of Peter's use of the sword, with mention of his name, as well as the pre- 
monition of his martyrdom, chap. xxi. (see my Apost. Zeitalt., iL p. 410). 

Tbe question, however, arises, whether the passage (chap. v. 2) which speaks of the pool 
of Bethesda with its fire porches as if still existing, does not indicate that Jerusalem was yet 
standing when John wrote the account (Apost. ZeitalL, iL p. 420). Lucke disputes this ; and 
Guericke. The preterite fjv y xi. 18 ; xviii. 1 ; xix. 41, proves, of course, nothing against the 
present tense, fori, v. 2 ; for in those cases it refers to constant circumstances which must 
outlast the destruction of Jerusalem. Yet the pillars of Bethesda are not a perfectly firm 
support ; since we might have here a previously written memorandum, or John might have 
been writing in a general view of Jerusalem as still standing. Withal, there is no similar 
indication of a later date ; and as regards the reference to John's Greek, and to his familiar- 
ity with the theology of his time (the Logos doctrine), and with the incipient heresies, a few 
years are, in any case, enough to make him in these respects the author of the Gospel ; and 
in Pella and in Decapolis there was material enough of Greek culture to bring him completely 
to his peculiar point of gospel view, which undoubtedly belongs to his residence in Ephesus. 

That the Gospel belongs before the Apocalypse, anji before the Epistles of John, and 
therefore, at all events, in the earliest part of his residence in Ephesus, seems to be especially 
indicated by its missionary leaning in chap. xx. 81. 

It is matter of interest, that the critical Semlcr (like Tittmann) sought to make the fourth 
Gospel the first written of all ; while his latest critical descendants put its origin in the mid- 
dle of the second century. Another proof of the pretended infallibility of morbid criticism ! 

As to the original home of the Gospel : Not only tradition, but also the spiritual charac- 
ter, and its references, point decidedly to Ephesus.* The discourse of Paul to the elders of 
Ephesus, at Miletus, already indicates such antagonisms as the Gospel thrusts through in both 
directions at once ; his Epistles to the Ephosians and the Coiossians still more clearly indicate 
the sumo ; and, finally, his Pastoral Epistles. The Gospel betokens a more advanced stage 
of theso antagonisms, and a position of the Apostle's preaching between the opposite errors ; 
tho Epistles and the Revelation exhibit the third stage. Thus, with the place of the Gospel 
in timo between the end of Paul and the end of John, its geographical place also is fixed. 
Tho Gospel presonto to us the Apostle John in Ephesus, while the Epistles and the Apoca- 
lypse donoto rather in Ephesus the bishop and prophet of the apostolic Church. 


The spirituality and subtil ty, the ideality and pure mysticalness of John and his writings, 
throw the whole phenomenon into the background in proportion to the prevailing Petzine 
and Pauline character of the historical Church and her theology. 

* (The unaniraont tradition of tho ancient Church fencerning the labor* of John in Aria Minor, which era the 
•kepttonl fiohool of Baur left untouched, has been quite recently rejected by Dr. Kelm in his Htiton/ e/Jesw 0/ Afcaoro, 
TO), I. (1907) p. 1C1 It, but ably defended by Dr. 8tciU in the Shtdim **d KrUQx* for 1808, p. 487.— P. S.J 

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But, from the background, John has exerted in all ages the mightiest influence on the 
course of the Church. This influence is far from being fully appreciated. In the ancient Church 
it found a concrete embodiment in the Johannean school, whose import is yet further to be 
understood. Ignatius, Irenams, Hippolytus, and others, arc the earliest members of a spirit- 
ual family, which perpetuated itself in the British missionaries, in the Culdees, in the me- 
diaeval intellectual life of the Abbey of St. Gall. 

In the Middle Age it was John who, in his writings, comforted and supported the Church, 
when, under the corruptions of the hierarchy, she was tempted to despair (see Gieseler, 
Church Ettiory, 2d vol. 2d part, p. 357, Germ. ed.). At the same time, it remains curious 
that the popes have not ventured to name themselves after Peter, but have freely called them- 
selves after Paul and John. With the twenty-third John this self-judgment of an unsus- 
pecting estrangement of spirit reached an extreme. The less they read John, the more they 
called themselves after his name in dark, deep reverence for the mysterious patron. 

It cannot be wholly accidental that most of the forerunners of the Reformation bore the 
name of John ; though even the Reformers, with all their deeper study of theology, have not 
yet quite reconciled themselves to the whole John, as we see from their posture toward the 
Apocalypse. And if, taking such a position as Paul took between Peter and John, they have 
introduced the transition to a Johannean age, the fact that the fourth Evangelist in particular 
has formed the rock of offence to modern criticism (comp. also Gdthe's opinion of the 
Apocalypse), may nevertheless be a proof that we are as yet none too near that age. In any 
case, Schelling's construction of the three ages of the Christian Church will maintain its 
validity as an utterance of divinatory insight, which, of course, is exposed to much misinter- 
pretation (comp. my Apost. Zeilalt., ii. p. 650 [and the Amcr. ed. of Comrn. on Romans, pp. 1 
and 2, note] ) ; and it has long since been perceived that the Gospel of John forms the cul- 
mination of the evangelic history, as theology will more and more acknowledge that John's 
type of doctrine forms the consummation of the apostolic theology. 

The saying among the disciples in the apostolic age muat prove itself the truth in the 
higher sense : This disciple docs not die 1 


Since the Gospel of John forms the complement of the Synoptical Gospels in respect of 
regular chronological order, the historical view of the life of Jesus must be completed on the 
.basis of John. "We give the result of our labors in the following sketch : 

Introduction: The Antecedent Histoky of the Life of Christ. 

The eternal antecedents of Christ. The Logos and His function ; John i. 1-6. His 
history in the Old Covenant, represented by the testimony of John ; vers. 6-18. The temporal 
antecedents of Jesus. Synopttsts : Luke and Matthew. Luke : The genealogy of Jesus 
from Adam to Christ ; chap. iii. 23-88. Matthew : The genealogy from Adam to Christ ; 
chap. i. 1-17. Luke: The announcement of Jesus; Gabriel, Zachariah, Elizabeth, Mary, 
John; chap. L 1-80. Matthew: The announcement; Mary and Joseph; chap. i. 18-26. 
Parallel to Luke i 

I. The Childhood of Jesus. 

John : The birth of Christ, and the relation of His birth and operation to the natural 
birth ; chap. i. 1-14. Luke : The journey to Bethlehem, and the birth of Jesus. The holy 
night, and the shepherds ; chap. ii. 1-21. Matthew : The wise men from the East, and the 
flight into Egypt ; chap. ii. 1-19. The presentation of Jesus in the temple, and the resi- 
dence in Nazareth ; Luke ii. 22-40 ; Matt. ii. 20-23. Jesus at twelve years of age ; Luke 
ii 41-52. 

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IL The Announcement of Christ by John the Baptist. The Manifestation of 
Christ. From the Appearance of the Baptist to the First Public Attendance 
of Christ at the Passover, 781 A. U. C. The Accrediting of Christ bt John 
and bt Himself down to the First Passover. 

The testimony of the Baptist concerning Christ in general, connected with the baptism ; 
John i. 15-18. — The baptism of Jesus at the Jordan in the parallels : Matt iii 1-17 ; Mark L 
1-11 ; Luke iii 1-88. — The testimony of John concerning Jesus before the rulers of the Jews, 
that He is the Christ ; John L 19-28.— Parallels : The temptation ; Matt iv. 1-11 ; Mark i. 
12, 18 ; Luke iv. 1-18. — The testimony of John concerning Jesus before His disciples. The 
first disciples of Jesus. The return of Jesus to Galilee. The marriage at Cana. The jour- 
ney to Capernaum. The first public visit to the temple at the Passover in the year 781. 

UL The Public Appearance of Christ amidst the enthusiastic Greetings of His 
People. From the Passover of 781 to the Feast of Purim in 782. 

a. The First Ministry of Jesus in Judea, down to the Imprisonment of John the Baptist. 

Sojourn in Jerusalem. Nicodemus. Baptizing in the country of Judea. The repeated 
testimony of John the Baptist ; John i. 29— iii. 86. 

b. The First Ministry of Jesus in Galilee. 

The transfer of the ministry of Jesus to Galilee. Jesus in Samaria, and the Samaritan 
woman. The removal of the residence of Jesus from Nazareth to Capernaum. The healing 
of the son of an imperial officer ; John iv. 1-54. Parallels : The return of Jesus to Galilee. 
Jesus thrust out of Nazareth ; Luke iv. 16-81 ; Matt. iv. 12 ; xiii 58 ; Mark i. 14-16.— Resi- 
dence of Jesus in Capernaum, and ministry there. The demoniac in the synagogue ; the 
mother-in-law of Peter ; Peter's draught of fishes ; the calling of the first disciples ; Matt iv. 
12-92 ; viii 14-17 ; Mark L 14-88 ; iii. 9-12 ; Luke iv. 81-48 (44) ; v. 1-11. 

e. The Three Great Missionary Tours of Jesus in Galilee. The Mountain Tour, the Sea Tour, 

the Tour through the Cities. 

The first journey of Jesus through the country of Galilee (the mountain region). The 
sermon on the mount and in the plain. The healing of the leper ; Matt. iv. 23-viii 4 ; Mark 
i. 85-45 ; iii 12, 18 ; Luke v. 12-16 ; vi. 12-49.— The return of Jesus from the tour of Galilee. 
The centurion at Capernaum. The followers. The second sermon on the sea. The voyage 
to Gadara, and the return ; Matt viii 5-13, 18-84 ; ix. 1 ; chap, xiii ; Mark iv. 1-41 ; v. 1-21 ; 
Luke vii. 1-10 ; viii. 4-15, 22-89 ; ix. 57-62.— The return of Jesus from His journey to 
Gadara. The crowd. The paralytic. The calling of Matthew. Particular conflicts with 
the Pharisees and the disciples of John. A series of miracles ; Matt. ix. 1-84 ; Mark ii 1-22 ; 
v. 21-43 ; Luke v. 17-39 ; viii. 40-56.— The preparation for the third tour, through the coast 
cities. The selection of the twelve apostles. The instruction to the apostles ; Matt. ix. 85- 
x. 42 ; xL 1 ; Mark i& 14-19 ; vi 6-16 ; Luke vi. 12-16 ; ix. 1-6.— The journey of Jesus 
through the cities, and the apostles' going before. The woman who was a sinner. The 
fame of Jesus. The son of the widow of Nain ; Matt, xi 1 ; Mark vi 12, 13 ; Luke vii 
11-17, 86-50 ; viii 1-18. — The message of John the Baptist from prison ; Matt xi. 2-19 ; 
Luke vii 18-85. 

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IV. The Tihb of the Appeabance and Disappearance of Jesus under the Perse- 
cutions of His Enemies ; or, His Banishment and Flight-like Pilgrimage. From 
the Feast of Pubim in 782 to the Palm-Day before the Pasboter of 788. 

a. From the Feast of Purim to the Feast of Tabernacles, 782. 

Jesus at the feast of Purim in Jerusalem. His conflict with the hierarchy, and their first 
attempt to institute capital process against Him ; John v. The return of Jesus to Galilee. 
The account of the execution of John the Baptist The first feeding of the multitude in the 
wilderness. Christ's walking on the sea ; John vi. 1-21 ; Matt. xiv. ; Mark vi 14-66 ; Luke ix. 
7-17. — Discourse of Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum on the manna from heaven. His 
rebuke of chiliastic Messianic hopes in Galilee. The turning back of many of His followers ; 
John vi 22-71. — The Passover not attended by the Lo«d in the year of the persecution, and 
the occurrence* connected therewith ; John vi 4 ; Luke x. 88-42 ; Matt xv. 1, 2 ; comp. xxi. 
1-3 ; xxvi 18, 36 ; xxvii. 57. — The accusation of the Lord in reference to the plucking of the 
corn ; Matt xii 1-8 ; Mark ii. 23-28 ; Luke vi. 1-tf ; John vii 1. — The healing of the man 
with the withered hand ; Matt xii. 9-21 ; Mark iii. 1-6 ; Luke vi 6-11. — The decisive public 
contest of the Lord with the Pharisees of Galilee. The healing of the deaf and dumb demo- 
niac. The (second ; comp. Matt. ix. 84) public culmination of the miraculous power of 
Jesus. Of the sin against the Holy Ghost. The second demand of a sign from heaven ; 
comp. John ii 13. The family of Jesus. The banquet in the house of the Pharisee. The 
crowd. Warning against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and against covetousness. The 
delivery cf parables on the sea ; Matt, xii 22-50 ; xiii 24-80, 83-58 ; Mark iii 20-35 ; Luke 
viii 18-21 ; xi. 14-54 ; chap. xii. — Accounts of persons returning from the feast concerning 
the unfortunate Galileans whom Pilate had slain in the temple ; Luke xiii. 1-9. — The healing 
of the crooked woman : another miracle on the Sabbath ; Luke xiii. 11-17. — The deputation 
from Jerusalem, taking the Lord to task for the free conduct of His disciples. The removal 
of Jesus : His wandering through the borders of Phoenicia and through Upper Galilee to 
Gaulonitis, on the other side the sea. The Canaanitish woman. The deaf and dumb. The 
second miraculous feeding. The crossing to the western coast of the sea of Galilee ; Matt 
xv. ; Mark vii 1-37 ; viii 1-10. — Public hostility to Jesus at Magdala, and His return across 
the sea to the mountains of Gaulonitis. The healing of a blind man in the eastern Bethsaida. 
The confession of Peter, and his horror of the cross ; Matt. xvi. ; Mark viii. 11-ix. 1 ; Luke 
ix. 18-27.— The transfiguration ; Matt, xvii 1-18 ; Mark ix. 1-18 ; Luke ix. 28-36.— Healing 
of the lunatic ; Matt xvii. 14-21 ; Mark ix. 14-29 ; Luke ix 87-45.— Homeward journey of 
Christ through Galilee, and His brethren's proposal that He join the pilgrimage to the feast 
of Tabernacles. Refusal of Jesus, and His secret ascent to Jerusalem, to appear there, not as 
a pilgrim, but as a Prophet ; John vii 1-10 ; Matt xvii. 22, 28 ; Mark viii. 81, 32. 

b. From the Feast of Tabernacles to the Feast of the Dedication in 782. 

The sudden appearance of Jesus in the temple during the feast of Tabernacles. He 
accuses His enemies, before all the people, of seeking His life, and announces His departure ; 
John vii. 10-36. — Jesus begins to announce the antagonism between the Old Testament sym- 
bolism of the temple and the reality of the New Testament salvation in Him. His testimony 
of the living fountain in opposition to the Pool of Siloam. Futility of the design of the 
Sanhedrin to imprison Him ; John vii. 87-52. — Jesus the light of the world, in opposition to 
the lights and the torch festival in the temple ; John viii (1-11 *) 12-20.— The more distinct* 
announcement of Jesus, that He intended to take His departure from the Jewish people ; 
John viii 21-80.— Flash of a chiliastic expectation among the people at Jerusalem. Dis- 

* [See remark* on yew. 1-11 in the section on the Genuineness, and the passage In its place in the Commentary. I 


course of Jesus on the distinction between the true freedom and the true bondage, and on the 
distinction between the faith of Abraham and the seeing of Christ ;• John viii. 81-59. — Heel- 
ing of the man born blind ; John be. — Jesus gives the false shepherds of Israel the marks of 
the true shepherd, and presents himself as the True Shepherd, ready to lay down His life for 
His sheep ; John ix. 40, 41-x. 1-21. — Last appearance of Jesus in Capernaum. Conduct of 
the disciples respecting the primacy ; Matt, xvii 24-xviii. 5 ; Mark ix. 83-87 ; Luke ix. 
46_49 # — Peril of offences ; Matt, xviii. 6-11 ; Mark ix. 88-50 ; Luke xvii. 1, 2.— Departure of 
Jesus from Capernaum, and intimation of the apostasy of a great mass of His people ; Luke 
xiii. 22-80. — Intrigues of the Pharisees; Luke xiii 81-85.— Banquet in the house of a 
Pharisee. The dropsical man. Address of the Lord to the guests ; Luke xiv. 1-24. — Multi- 
tude following Jesus on His departure. His warning to undecided followers ; Matt. xix. 1, 2 ; 
Luke xiv. 25-35.— Reception of Publicans and sinners. Fellowship of the disciples of Christ. 
Parables ; Matt, xviii 12-85 ; Luke xv. 1-xvii. 10. — Hindrance to Jesus' journeying through 
Samaria ; Luke ix. 51-62. — Sending of the seventy disciples, and the recurrence of Jesus to 
His labors in Galilee ; Matt. xi. 20-30 ; Luke x. 1-16. — Journey of Jesus through the border 
country between Galilee and Samaria to Perea; Luke xvii. 11-19. — Return of the seventy. 
The narrow-hearted Scribe, and the good Samaritan ; Luke x. 17-37. — Jesus' first sojourn in 
Perea, and His labors there ; Matt. xix. 1, 2 ; Mark x. 1 ; Luke xvii. 20-xviii. 14. 

c From the Feast of Dedication in 732 to the Palm-Day "before the Passover in 783. 

Jesus at the feast of Dedication in Jerusalem. Last attempt of the Jews to make Jesus 
chime in with their chiliastic expectation ; tempting Him ; John x. 22-40. — Second and last 
sojourn of Jesus in Perea. Treatment of divorce ; children brought to the Lord. The rich 
youth ; John x. 40-42 ; Matt. xix. 8-xx. 16 ; Mark x. 2-82 ; Luke xviii. 15-80.— Raising of 
Lazarus in Bethany ; John xi. i-44.— Definite decree of the Sanhedrin to put Jesus to death, 
and secret sojourn of Jesus in Ephraim till His last pilgrimage to the Passover ; John xL 

Y. The Decisive Yieldeno of Jesus to the Messianic Enthusiasm of His People. 
From: the Palm Festival to the Feast of the Passover in the Year 783. 

Journey of Jesus to Jericho, and His intercourse with the pilgrims to the Passover. Re- 
newed announcement of His crucifixion. Ambition of the family of Zebedee. Healing of 
the blind men at Jericho. Zaccheus. Parable of the ten servants and the ten pounds in- 
trusted to them ; Matt. xx. 17-34 ; Mark x. 32-52 ; Luke xviii. 81-xix. 1-28. Saturday : 
Banquet in Bethany, and the anointing. Treason ; John xii. 1-11 ; Matt. xxvi. 6-16 ; Mark 
xiv. 8-11 ; Luke xxii. 1-6. Sunday : Triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem ; John xii. 
9-18 ; Matt. xxi. 1-11 ; Mark xi. 1-11 ; Luke xix. 29-46. Monday: The great day of the 
Messianic dwelling and administration of Jesus in the temple. Cursing of the fig tree. 
Purifying* of the temple. Keeping holy the temple. Exercise of His office of teacher, and 
miraculous cures, in the temple. The hosanna of the children, objection of the Pharisees, and 
Christ's vindication (the Greeks, and the voice from heaven ; John xii. 19-86. See the pas- 
sage in the Commentary. It is hard to fix the precise moment of the appearance of the 
Greeks); Matt. xxi. 12-22; Mark. xi. 12-19; Luke xix. 45-48. Tuesday: End of the Old 
Testament theocracy. The withered fig tree. Attempt of the Sanhedrin to crush the Lord 
by its authority. Consequent ironical temptations on the part of Pharisees, Sadducees, and 
Scribes. Great counter-question of Christ. Great discourse of the Lord against the Phari- 
sees and Scribes. Woes against Jerusalem, and departure from the temple. The widow's 
mite ; John xii. 87 ; Matt. xxi. 10-xxiv. 2 ; Mark xi. 20-xiiL 2 ; Luke xix. 47-xxi. 6. Tues- 
day nighty Wednesday : Jesus looking back upon the temple from the Mount of Olives in the 
circle of His confidential disciples. Announcement of the judgment of God, the destruction 
of the Holy City and the temple, and the end of the world. Parables of the Ten Virgins 

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and the Talents. The final judgment ; Matt. xxiv. S-xxv. 46 ; Hark xiii 3-87 ; Luke xxi. 
7-36. Wednesday : Retirement of Jesus into secresy. The Evangelist John's review of the 
ministry of the Lord ; John xii 37-50 ; Luke xxi. 87, 83. 

VL Treason of the People of Israel against their Messiah. The Decree of the 
High Council. The Paschal Lamb and the Supper. The Parting Discourses. 
The Passion, Death, and Burial of Jesus. From the Passover to the End of 
the Great Passover Pabbath. 

Introduction to the passion of Jesus. Distinct announcement of Jesus, that He should 
suffer at the Passover. Contemporaneous decree of the Sanhedrin (two days before Easter, 
Tuesday evening, the day of the decisive rupture) to put Him to death, but not at the Pass- 
over. The ordering and preparation of the paschal supper ; Matt. xxvi. 1-5 ; vers. 17-19 ; 
Mark xiv. 1, 2 ; vers. 12-16 ; Luke xxii. 1, 2 ;. vers. 7-18.— The feet-washing. The paschal 
supper. Institution of the Holy Supper. Parting discourses of the Lord. Sacerdotal 
prayer. Exit to the Mount of Olives ; John xiii-xvii. ; Matt. xxvi. 20-35 ; Mark xiv. 17-81 ; 
Luke xxii. 14-39. 

a. Jesus in Qethsemane. 

The struggle and victory in His inward passion ; John xviii. 1-12, 13 ; Matt xxvi 86-46 ; 
Mark xiv. 32-42 ; Luke xxii. 39-46. — Jesus in Qethsemane before His enemies. The traitor. 
Free surrender of Jesus. Guarantee of the disciples, and their flight ; Matt. xxvi. 47-56 ; 
Mark xiv. 43-52 ; Luke xxii 47-53. 

b. Jesus "before the Spiritual Court (Sanhedrin). 

Jesus before Annas and before Caiaphas. The false witnesses. Christ the true witness, 
with the confession that He is the Son of God. The denial of Peter, and his repentance. 
The first mocking of the Lord, and the final hearing ; John xviii 13-27 ; Matt, xxvi 57-75 ; 
Mark xiv. 53-72 ; Luke xxii 54-71. 

c. Jesus before Pilate. 

Leading of Jesus away to the Pnetorium, and end of Judas ; John xviii 28 ; Matt, xxvii. 
1-10 ; Mark xv. 1 ; Luke xxiii. 1. — Jesus before the secular tribunal. The threefold accusa- 
tion of sedition, blasphemy, and treason. The three hearings : before Pilate, before Herod, 
and again before Pilate* The three great forebodings J the jealous tumult of the Sanhedrin ; 
the dream of Pilate's wife ; the saying, that Jesus is the Son of God. The three attempts at 
rescue : Barabbas ; the scourging ; the last remonstrance of Pilate. The three rejections of 
Christ on the part of the Jewish people : Christ offered with Barabbas ; Christ declared inno- 
cent by Pilate's washing of his hands ; Christ crowned with thorns. The hand-washing of 
the Gentile, the self-imprecation of the Jews. The three condemnations : delivery to the 
mercy of the people ; to scourging ; to death. Threefold mockery of the Lord : in His own 
raiment before the High Council ; in white before Herod ; in purple before Pilate. Sentence 
of death ; John xviii 28-xix. 16 ; Matt, xxvii 11-31 ; Mark xv. 1-20 ; Luke xxiii. 1-25. 

d. Jesus on Golgotha. 

The leading of Jesus away to Golgotha ; John xix. 16, 17 ; Matt, xxvii. 31-33 ; Mark xv* 
20-22 ; Luke xxiii 26-88.— The crucifixion. The seven last words. The signs of divinity. 
The signs of judgment, or the scoffing and the beginnings of trembling after the uproar. 
The signs of faith. The signs of turning ; John xix. 17-30 ; Matt, xxvii. 33-56 ; Mark xv. 
22-41 ; Luke xxiii 83-49. 

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e. The Burial on Good-Friday Evening. 

The new disciples. The old female disciples. The sepulchre. The burial ; John xix. 
81-42 ; Matt xxvii. 57-66 ; Mark xv. 42-47 ; Luke xxiii 50-56. 

VH. The Rbsubbection, ob the Glorification of ths Lord. 

a. The Resurrection and the Appearance* of Je$u$ in Judea. 

The resurrection, and the first announcement of it to Magdalene and the women ; John 
xx. 1-18 ; Matt xxviii. 1-10 ; Mark xvi. 1-11 ; Luke xxiv. 1-12.— Announcement of the 
resurrection of Jesus among His enemies ; Matt xxviii. 11-15. — The walk to Emmaus. Peter; 
Mark xvi 12, 18 ; Luke xxiv. 18-85. — First appearance of Christ in the circle of the apostles 
on the first Sunday evening, ; John xx. 10-28 ; Mark xvi 14 ; Luke xxiv. 86-44. Second 
appearance of Jesus on the second Sunday evening in the circle of the apostles. Thomas ; 
John xx. 26-81. 

I. The Appearance* of Christ in Galilee. 

First appearance of Jesus in Galilee in a company of apostles ; John xxi. Second appear- 
ance of Jesus in the midst of a great company of disciples, as valedictory to the larger body 
of disciples in Galilee, or His people at large ; Matt xxviii 16-20 ; Mark xvi 15-18 ; Luke 
xxiv. 45-40. Comp. 1 Cor. xv. 6. 

c. Last Appearance of Jesus in the Circle of Bis Apostles in Judea. The Ascension. 

Walk to the Mount of Olives, and ascension; Mark xvi. 10, £0; Luke xxiv. 50-53. 
Comp. Acts i 1-12. 

d. The Spiritual Beturn and Eternal Presence of Christ in His Church. 

Christ with His people alway, even to the end of the world ; John xxi 15-25 ; Matt 
xxviii. 20 ; Mark xvi 20 ; Luke xxiv. 51. Comp. Acts i and ii. . 

Observaiiox. — John unites his peculiar selection of facts for points of view, which distin- 
guishes his arrangement of the Gospel, with the closest chronological sequence. With the 
•Bynoptists the interest in facts induces greater deviation from chronological order. In regard 
to Matthew and Mark, we refer to the Introductions. In our construction of the Gospel his- 
tory, some of the greatest changes of chronological order occur in Luke. The shaping of 
facts in Luke proceeds from his interest to exhibit the whole life of Jesus as a wandering, 
which had its goal at Jerusalem, and which the Evangelist viewed as a teaching of salvation 
in facts and the acts of the Lord (see Acts x. 87, 88. Comp. my Leben Jesu, ill. p. 845 sqq.). 
Matthew exhibits the gospel fulfilments of the Old Testament in great stadia ; Mark the vic- 
torious conflicts of the gospel ; John presents general gospel views of the moral universe in 
the light of the person of Christ ; Luke, the gospel pilgrimages. The pilgrimage of Mary 
forms the centre of the first chapter. The pilgrimage of the parents, and of Jesus at twelve 
years, to the temple, is the issue of the second. In the third, John is a pilgrim on the Jor- 
dan, and the people make pilgrimage to him ; so at last does Jesus. The history of the 
temptation also (chap, iv.) stands here under the particular aspect of a caravan ; hence proba- 
bly the transposition of the second and third temptations.* After this, Jesus journeys from 
His home in Nazareth to Capernaum. But in Capernaum He does not stay ; the preaching 
and healing itinerancies through Galilee begin. In schools, on ships, at custom-stands, in 
harvest-fields, on mountains, the Lord unfolds the riches of His divine-human gentleness and 
kindness. The three pilgrimages through Galilee, also, Luke so transposes as to make the 

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voyage to Gadara the close (chap. viii.). And then, in the ninth chapter, Jesus, in the calling 
of the twelve apostles, and in the transfiguration, prepares himself for the great pilgrimage to 
Jerusalem. The journey begins, the seventy disciples in advance. • Now the Evangelist dis- 
tinguishes for us the several parts of the journey of Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. These 
parts, put together without regard io chronological relations, form a grand panorama of the 
pilgrimage of the faithful in the kingdom of God, or a representation of saving truth in 
facts ; chap. x. 38-xviii. 30. The end of the journey is the progress of Jesus to Jerusalem ; 
chaps, xviii. 81-xix. 48. Here is most graphically painted the progress of Jesus over tlie 
Mount of Olives ; and among the parables which the Lord now delivers in the temple, Luke 
give* prominence to that of the lord of a vineyard travelling into a far country ; the disciples 
should flee to the mountains before the destruction of Jerusalem ; they should lift up their 
heads in the last judgment, and escape all its terrors. The passage of Christ to Golgotha 
becomes, in Luke's hand, a significant pilgrimage amidst the lamentations of the daughters 
of Jerusalem. The female disciples, who ministered to the Lord and aided in His burial, are 
female Galilean pilgrims. Even one of the chief appearances of the risen Lord we find, in 
Luke, interwoven with a journey of the disciples front Jerusalem to Emmaus, and the ascen- 
sion is the end of a pilgrimage of Jesus with His disciples to Bethany. With this principle 
of arrangement, on the basis, no doubt, of existing memorabilia (see Luke i. 1, and Schleier- 
macher's Luka*), Luke united the spirit of the Pauline type of doctrine in the form of Gre- 
cian culture ; and in his human conception of the Divine kindliness and spiritual beauty of 
Christ he set points of gentleness, grace, compassion, foremost, especially in contrast with 
Pharisaic pride and self-righteousness. On these two subjects compare the admirable 
remarks [of Dr. Van Oosterzee] in the Introduction of the Commentary on Luke. 

On the synoptical relations of the Gospel, should be further compared the Synopses of De 
Wette and Lucke, Tischendorf [Robinson, Strong], and others, and the modern works on the 
Hfe of Jesus, especially that of Pressel. Also the Harmony of the Gospels, by Lex. 


The fundamental idea of the Gospel is this : Christ, as the eternal, personal Word, is the 
personal basis of the world ; its foundation of love, which branches into life and light, and 
the primal nature and form of which all things, by their symbolical formation, testify. 
Therefore also Christ, as the Life and Light of the world, breaks victoriously through the dark- 
ness of sin in the world, till He becomes incarnate, and thence, till His glorification, to redeem 
the world. And since the perfect glorification of Christ is the perfect redemption of the 
world, the operation of His redemption in the world must perfect itself in the glorifying of 
the world — that is, in His advent, which makes the world the Father's house. Accordingly, 
the whole Gosper falls into three parts : (1.) Concerning the pre-historical glory of Christ, or 
His pre-historical advent and His manifestation ; the prologue, chap. i. 1-18 ; (2.) Concern- 
ing the historical glory of Christ, or His victory in conflict with the darkness ; the gospel 
history in the strict sense ; chap. i. 19-xx. 81 ; (3.) Concerning the post-bistorical glory of 
Christ over His Church, and in it, or His second advent ; chap. xxi. 

The subdivisions arrange themselves as follows : 

L The Pkologue, Chap. i. 1-18. 

Ut Section. — Christ in His eternal essence and life, and His position between God and the 
world ; vers. 1-5. 

(1.) The personal Word (Christ) in His eternal essence and life as related to God ; 

vers. 1, 2. 
(2.) As related to the creation ; ver. 8. * 

(8.) To the world and to mankind in their original constitution ; ver. 4. 
(4.) To the world in darkness ; ver. 5. 

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2d Section. — The personal Light, or Christ, in His pre-historical advent in the world, espe- 
cially in His Old Testament advent, testified by the Old Covenant as represented by John 
the Baptist. 

(1.) The representative of the advent of Christ, John the Baptist ; vers. 6-8. 
(2.) The coming of Christ into the world as to its general groundwork and its histori- 
cal development ; ver. 9. 
(3.) Relation of Christ to the world, and conduct of the world toward Him, or the 

general groundwork of His advent ; ver. 10. 
(4.) Relation of Christ to Israel, and conduct of Israel toward Him, or the imperfect, 

symbolical advent ; ver. 11. 
(5.) Gradual breaking forth of Christ into the world in the distinction of the elect 
from the less susceptible, constituted (a.) by faith, as the beginning of the real 
advent ; ver. 12 ; (&.) by the sanctification of births, and birth from God. Devel- 
opment of the real advent ; ver. 18. 
Zd Section.— Incarnation of the Logos. Appearance of the real Shekinah among the faithful ; 
vers. 14-18. 

(1.) Incarnation of the Logos, or the absolutely new birth. Appearance of the real 

Shekinah ; ver. J4. 
(2.) Testimony of John in general ; ver. 15. 
(8.) Experience of believers, or grace ; ver. 16. 

(4.) Antithesis between Moses and Christ, the law of the Old Testament and Christian- 
ity, in their authority and work ; ver. 17. 
(5.) Antithesis between the whole old world and Christ in their relation to God; 
ver. 18. 

IL The Gospel of the Historical Manifestation of Chri6T, or His Self-Revela- 
tion and His Victory in Conflict with the Darkness of the World, Chap. i. 
19-xx. 81. 

1st Section. — Reception which Christ, the Light of the world, finds in His life of love among 
the men akin to the light, the elect ; chap. i. 10-iv. 54. 

(1.) John the Baptist and his public and repeated testimony concerning Christ (before 
the rulers of the Jews and his disciples) ; Jesus, accredited as the Christ, attested 
the Son of God, the eternal Lord, and the Lamb of God ; vers. 19-84. 

(2.) The disciples of John and the first disciples of Jesus. Jesus acknowledged as the 
Messiah, the King of Israel, who knows His Israelites, and also knows the " Jews; " 
signalized by miraculous discernment of spirits, personal characters becoming mani- 
fest in His personal light ; vers. 85-61. 

(8.) The kindred and friends of the Lord, and the first miracle of Jesus at Cana, as the 
earnest of the glorification of the world, and as the first manifestation of His glory. 
Christ transfiguring the earthly marriage feast into a symbol of the heavenly ; chap, 
ii. 1-11. 

(4.) Jesus the guest in Capernaum, and the pilgrim to the Passover. The purification 
of the temple, as a prelude of the redeeming purification of the world and reforma- 
tion of the Church. Christ the true Temple. The sign of Christ : The destruc- 
tion of the temple and the raising it again. The first spread of faith in Israel, and 
Christ the Knower of hearts ; vers. 12-25. 

(5.) Jesus in Jerusalem, and Nicodemus as a witness of the first powerful impression 
of Jesus on the Pharisees. The conversation of Christ with Nicodemus by night 
concerning the heavenly birth as the condition of entrance into the kingdom of 
God. Symbolism of the water, the wind, and the brazen serpent ; chap. iii. 1-21. 

(6.) Jesus in the Judean country, and the spread of His baptism, with the faith of the 
people. Last testimony of the Baptist concerning Christ ; Christ the true 'Baptist. 

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The bridegroom of the Church, who comes from heaven (the real Song of songs) ; 
vers. 22-86. 

(7.) Jesus at Jacob's well. The woman of Samaria. Christ the Fountain of Life, the 
Fountain of Peace. The white harvest-field, or the field of earth and the field of 
heaven. The sowers and the reapers. The faith of the Samaritans, a presage of 
the universal Spread of the gospel ; chap. iv. 1-42. 

(8.) Residence of Jesus in Galilee, and believing Galileans in particular. The noble- 
man. The miracle of distant healing, as a second Bign ; vers. 48-54. 
id Section. — Open antagonism between Christ, as the Light of the world, and the elements of 
darkness in the world, especially in their proper representatives, unbelievers, but also in 
the better men, so far as they still belong to the world ; chaps, v. 1-vii. 9. 

(1.) The feast of the Jews and the Sabbath of the Jews, and their observance of it : 
killing Christ The feast of Christ and the Sabbath of Christ, and His observance 
of it : raising the dead. Offence of the Judaists in Jerusalem at the Sabbath-heal- 
ing of Jesus, and at His testimony concerning His freedom and His Divine origin 
(and besides, doubtless, at His outdoing the Pool of Bethesda). First assault upon 
the life of Jesus. Christ the true Fount of Healing (Pool of Bethesda), the Glori- 
fier of the Sabbath by His saving work, the Raiser of the dead, the Life as the 
vital energy and healing of the world, accredited by John, by the Scriptures, by 
Moses. The true Messiah in the Father's name, and false messiahs ; chap. v. 

(2.) The Passover of the Jews, and the manna of the Jews. The Passover of Christ, 
ver. 62, and Christ the Manna from heaven. Miracle of feeding in the wilderness. 
Miracle of the flight and escape over the sea, wherein Christ withdraws himself 
from the chiliastic enthusiasm of earthly-minded admirers, and hastens to the help 
of His disciples. Decisive declaration of Christ. Offence of His Galilean admirers 
and many of His disciples at His refusing to give them bread in the sense of their 
chiliasm, and presenting himself in His Spirit with His flesh and blood as the 
Bread of Life ; chap. vi. 1-65. 

(3.) Apostasy of many disciples. Incipient treason in the circle of the twelve. Con- 
fession of Peter ; vers. 66-71. 

(4.) Approach of the feast of Tabernacles, and offence of even the brothers of Jesus at 

His refusing to go to it. Christ, the object of the world's hatred ; Christ's time, 

and the time of the worldly mind ; chap. vii. 1-9. 

8£ Section. — Ferment in the contest between the elements of light and darkness. Formation 

of parties, as a prelude to the maturing opposition between the children of light and the 

children of darkness ; chaps, vii. 10-x. 21. 

(1.) Fermentation and party division among the people in general, (a.) Christ, the 
Teacher and the One sent from God, in opposition to the human rabbinical office, 
and in agreement with Moses. His earthly descent, in opposition to descent from 
heaven. His opponents, who would kill Him, in contradiction with Moses. The 
Prophet of God, intending to return to God ; vers. 10-86. (5.) Christ, as the Dis- 
penser of the Spirit, the real Siloam with its water of life. Increasing ferment in 
the people ; vers. 87-44. 

(2.) Fermentation and parties in the High Council ; vers. 46-63. 

(8.) Christ, the Light of the world, the real fulfilment of the Jewish torch-light festivi- 
ties, as against the pretended seers, the false lights, in Israel. The adulteress, and 
Christ's sentence. His ideal appearance into the court of the Jews, and the two 
witnesses. The judges shall come into judgment. A twofold lifting up of Christ 
at hand. Appearances of yielding, or a great vacillation toward faith ; chap. viii. 

(4.) Christ the Liberator, as son of the house, in distinction from servants ; the One 
sent from God, as against the agents of the devil ; the Eternal, and the Hope of 
Abraham, as against the bodily seed of Abraham ; or : the Liberator of Israel, the 

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Adversary of Satan, the Hope of Abraham. A great swinging from faith to unbe- 
lief. Attempted stoning ; vers. 31-59. 

(5.) Christ the Light of the world, over against the blind ; healing of the man born 
blind on the Sabbath, with the symbolical cooperation of the temple spring of 
Siloam. The day of Christ, and Christ the Light of this day. The light of the 
blind, a judgment on the blindness of those who pretend to see. Symbolism of the 
light, the day, the day's work. The ban, or the incipient separation ; chap. ix. 

(0.) Christ the fulfilment of all symbolical shepherd life ; the truth of the theocracy 
and the Church, (a.) The Boor of the fold, as against the thieves. (&.) The True 
Shepherd, as against the hireling and the wolf, (c.) The Chief Shepherd of the 
great twofold flock. The symbolical communion and the real communion, or the 
symbolical and real ban. — The fermentation in its utmost intensity ; chap. x. 1-21. 
ith Section. — Separation between the friends and the enemies of Christ, the children of light 
and the children of darkness ; chap. x. 22-xiii. 30. 

(1.) Contrast between the unbelievers in Judea, who would kill the Lord, and the 
believers in Perea, with whom He finds refuge. Feast of the Dedication. Last 
collision between the false Messianic hope and the working of the true Messiah ; 
quickly followed by stoning. The true and the false dedication of the temple. 
Christ the Son of God, the true realization of the deified or Messianic forms of the 
Old Covenant ; chap. x. 2&-42. 

(2.) Contrast between the believing and unbelieving Jews of Judca and Jerusalem at 
the grave of Lazarus. Christ devoted to death in consequence of His raising of 
Lazarus from the dead. Symbolism of day's work, and of sleep. The resurrection 
of the dead ; chap. xi. 1-57. 

(3.) Contrast between fidelity and apostasy in the circle of the disciples themselves. 
The life-feast over Lazarus, the eve or fore-fe3tival of the death of Jesus: the 
anointing ; chap. xii. 1-8. 

(4.) Contrast between the homage of the pious Jews* and feast-pilgrims and the Chief 
Priests and their party, who consulted to destroy His friends also with the Lord. 
The Prince of Peace, and the palm-branches ; vers. 9-17. 

(5.) (a.) Contrast between the worshipful heathen Greeks from abroad and the major- 
ity of the Jewish people who fell away from Christ in unbelief, and occasioned His 
withdrawal into concealment. Symbolism of Hellenism, the Jewish Passover, the 
corn of wheat. Glorification through the suffering of death, or the spiritual self- 
sacrifice of Jesus in the temple ; vers. 20-36. (b.) Contrast between self-hardened 
Israel, and the longing, susceptible world, or the retirement of Christ, and the 
Evangelist's review of His official ministry ; vers. 87-50. 

(6.) Return of Jesus from concealment, in love to His own. Division in the circle of 
the disciples themselves. Perplexity and trembling of the faithful. Exclusion of 
Judas. Christ's washing His disciples' feet an exaltation of ministering lordship : 
symbolism and establishment of brotherly discipline in the Church. Actual ex- 
cision of the adversary from the discipleship of Jesus ; chap. xiii. 1-30. 
bth Section.— The Lord in the circle of His friends, the children of the light, opening and 
imparting to them the riches of His inner life, and thereby consecrating them vehicles and 
mediators of His own life, to enlighten and glorify the world, and unite this world and 
that which is to come ; the heaven opened ; chap. xiii. 31-xvii. 20. 

(1.) The clearly pronounced opposition between this world and that which is to come, 
and its mediation through the new institution of Christ (the Holy Supper, as) the 
ordinance of brotherly love. Earnest greatness of this opposition, expressed in the 
announcement of Peter's denial. Glorification of Christ, and the New Covenant. 
The new commandment, the exaltation of the law, and of the opposition between 
the departure of Christ and the remaining of His people in the world ; chap. xiii. 

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(2.) Opening and revelation of heaven (the heavenly home), by the revelation of the 
heavenly Christ in the present world. The glorification of the world to come, 
which was to arise from His departure, and His union with His disciples in the 
Spirit Under the starry heavens. Christ the Way to the Father's house ; chap, 
xiv. 1-31. 

(3.) Glorification of the present world. Brought about by the judgment, and by the 
abiding of the disciples in the love of Christ, and by their influence upon the 
world, for which He would send His Spirit upon them. Between the burning gar- 
den fires in the vale of Kedron. Christ the Vine. Exaltation of the noble plant, 
and its culture. Exaltation of friendship and joy. Proving of the spiritual life 
of the disciples against the hatred of the world. Victory of the Holy Ghost in 
them over the world. Development of Christianity through the Holy Ghost. The 
holy excommunicated state of the children of God ; chap. xv. 1-xvi. 15. 

(4.) Higher union of the eternal world and the present world in the New Testament 
Easter and Pentecost. Glorification of Christ through the Holy Ghost, uvd of the 
Father through Christ. The going and returning of the Lord. The watchword of 
the Church : " A little while." Symbolism of suffering, of birth-pangs, and birth- 
joys. Good-Friday sorrow and Easter joy in the life of the Lord and in the life 
of the Church ; chap. xvi. 16-27. 

(5.) Glorification of the departure of Christ by His glorious coming from the Father 
into the world ; vers. 28-88. 

(6.) The high-priestly intercourse of Christ for His own, a prayer for the glorification 
of His name even to the glorification of His people and the world, even to the dis- 
appearance of the world, as world, to the honor of the Father. Christ the Truth 
and Fulfilment of the Shekinah and all manifestations of God in the world, in His 
self-sacrifice for the world. Glorification of prayer, of mental crises, of sacrifice. 
The heavenly goal ; chap. xvii. 
6tt Section. — The Lord in the circle of His enemies, as the light invaded by the darkness ; 
the sublime Judge, or the personal Tribunal, when He is judged ; triumphant in His 
outward surrender ; carrying out judgment to the victory of light and salvation ; chaps, 
xviii. and xix. 

(1.) Christ as the Tribunal of the. Light amidst the confused nocturnal quarrel of the 
world against and about His person ; over against His betrayer, His arresters, His 
violent defender. The majesty of the Betrayed in contrast with the nothingness 
of the betrayer ; voluntariness of the suffering in contrast with the powerlessness 
of the arresters ; the reference to the decree of the Father in contrast with the un- 
lawful help of Peter. The repudiation of the violent act of Peter, and the vanity 
and insignificance of employing violent means for spiritual ends ; chap, xviii. 1-11. 

(2.) Christ in contrast with Annas and Caiaphas. Clearness of the Lord, over against 
the inquisition of the high priest and the abuse from the servant The two disci- 
ples in the high priest's palace, and the wavering, falling Peter.; vers. 12-27. 

(3.) Christ in contrast, with Pilate. Conduct of Pilate in reference (a.) to the first 
charge, that Jesus was a malefactor ; (&.) to the charge that Jesus aspired to be 
King of the Jews ; (<*.) to the charge that Jesus had made himself the Son of God. 
— Decided fall of Pilate, when Jesus was accused of being an insurgent against the 
Emperor. — Kingdom of Jesus in opposition to the kingdom of this world. Sym- 
bolism of the Roman Empire. Jesus King in the realm of Truth. Acquittal of 
Jesus. Choice of the murderer Barabbas. Jesus in the crown of thorns and the 
purple robe. Judgment of Jesus upon Pilate. Pilate conceals his defeat in the 
disguise of disdain. The sentence of death ; chap, xviii. 28-xix. 16. 

(4.) Christ on Golgotha, the Light of salvation, or the glorification of the curse of the 
old world. Christ the cross-bearer. The Crucified in the midst of crucified. The 
superscription : " The King of the Jews," a motto of contempt, turning itself into 

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a motto of honor. The booty of the soldiers, also, a fulfilment of Scripture. The 

appointment of departing love. The last draught. The word of victory : u It is 

finished 1 » vers. 17-30. 
(5.) Christ the glorification of death, Life in death itself. The corpse of Jesu3, a dark, 

evil omen to His enemies, a mysterious resurrection-omen to His friends (a sign that 

He was the true paschal Lamb, and that something wonderful would come to pass 

in Him), a decisive reanimating omen to the undecided disciples. The honorable 

burial in the garden, and in the new rock-hewn sepulchre. Premonitions of the 

victory of Christ ; vers. 81-42. 
7th Section. — Accomplished victory of Christ over the world and the kingdom of darkness, 
and His manifestation in the circle of His own. Christ proves His victory by banishing 
the last remnants of darkness, of sadness and unbelief from His people, and making them 
certain of His resurrection ; chap. xx. 

(1.) How the risen Lord, by the signs in the grave, prepares His disciples for the signs 

in His life ; vers. 1-10. 
(2.) How He turns the disconsolateness of Mary Magdalene into blessed peace, and 

makes her the messenger of the resurrection ; vers. 11-18. 
(3.) How Christ delivers the circle of the disciples from their old fear, and raises them 

by the breathing of His Spirit to the presentiment of their apostolic calling ; vers. 

(4.) How Christ puts to shame the unbelief of Thomas, and turns the doubting disci- 

pie into the most joyful confessor ; vers. 24-29. 
(5.) Purpose of the facts of the Gospel : testimony concerning Christ, and life in Hb 

name ; vers. 80, 31. 

HI. The Epilogue. The Post-Histobical Work of Chbist in the World, till its 
Perfect Glorification, or the Second Coxing of Christ ; Symbolically Present- 
ed in the Particular Portions of the History of the Resurrection, Chap. xxL 

(1.) The manifestation of the risen Saviour on the sea of Galilee as a type of the future 
relation and conduct of Christ with His apostolic Church in this world ; vers. 1-14. 

(2.) The continued working of Christ in His Church, represented by the office, the 
walk, and the martyrdom of Peter, or the fortunes of the Church in her predomi- 
nantly official and external character; vers. 15-19. 

(3.) The continued working of Christ in His Church, represented by the office, the 
spiritual life, and the patriarchal age of John ; or the fortunes of the Church in her 
predominantly inward character, and her immortal spiritual life ; vers. 20-23. 

(4.) The testimony of John and the testimony of the Church. The endlessness of the 
gospel history ; vers. 24, 25. 

For other arrangements, see Luthardt's Commentary, " Disposition and Conetnution^ p. 254. 

S n. literature on the gospel of JOHN. 

For the general exegetical works on the Bible, or on the New Testament, which embrace 
the Gospel of John, see the Introduction to the New Testament prefixed to the Gospel of 
Matthew in this Commentary ; also, for the literature relating to the four Gospels, and for the 
general homiletical works. 

The exegetical and homiletical literature relating to the ' Gospel of John by itself, may be 
found in Liiienthal, BiUischer Archuwrius, Kdnigsberg, 1745, p. 265 sqq. ; Walch, BttliotK 
iheol.y 4th part, p. 646 ; Winer, Hmdbueh der theol. Litoratur, i. p. 248 ; ii. p. 118 sqq. ; Sup- 
plement, pp. 88, 175 ; Danz, Universal-Wbrterbuch dor thool. Literatur, p. 460, and Supplement, 
I. p. 54 ; Zimmer, Handbibliothek der theol. Liter, dee lQten JahrhunderU, pp. 10, 69 ; Hertwig, 

Digitized by 



TabeUen tur Einleitung in' 8 2V. Test, Berlin, 1855, p. 19 ; Guericke, Isagogik, p. 169 [3d ed., 
pp. 188, 189] ; Tholuck, Commentary [Amer. ed., p. 49]. 

The most notable expositors are: Among the fathers, Origen [Commentaria in Evang. 
Joannis], Chrysostom [Homilies LXXXVIU in Joh. Evang.; Engl. transL in the Oxford 
Library of the Father*, yols. xxviii. and xxxvi., 1848-'52 ; Cyriilus Alex., Comment, in Ev. 
Joh.'], and Augustine [Tractatus CXXTV in Joh. Eoang., practical homilies, see Opera, 
Tom. iii, P. ii., pp. 290-836, ed. Bened., Paris, 1658 ; transl. in the Library of the Fathers, 
Oxford, 1848-'49, 2 vols.] ; * of the Roman Catholic expositors, Erasmus, Maldonatus, Este, 
Cornelius a Lapide, and the recent Ad. Maier (1845, 2 vols.) [Messmer, 1860, Bisping, 1865] ; 
of the Reformers, Luther, Melanchthon, Bucer, Calvin, Beza, Chemnitz [d. 1586], &c. ; of 
the seventeenth century, J. Piscator [1618], Hunnius [d. 1603], Grotius {d. 1645], Cocceius 
[d. 1669] ; of the eighteenth, Lampe (Comm. in Evang. Joh. [1st ed., Amsterdam, 1724- , 2C, 
8 vols. 4to. ; a work of immense erudition and Calvinistic orthodoxy] ), Bcngel (Gnomon) ; 
of the nineteenth, Lucke [1st ed., 1820-' 24 ; 3d ed., 1840-'48, 8 vols. ; • an exegetical master- 
piece], Olshausen [1st ed., 1832 ; 4th ed., by Ebrard, 1862 ; the English translation from an 
older edition], Baumgarten-Crusius [1843-'45], H. A. W. Meyer [1834 ; 5th ed., 1869], De 
Wette [1837 ; 5th ed., revised by Bruno Bruckner, 1863, much enlarged and improved] ; 
Tholuck [1827; 7th ed., 1857; Engl, translation by Ch. P. Krauth, Philad., 1859, from the 
6th ed., with additions from the 7th] ; Luthardt, Das Johanneische Evangdium, 2 parts, 1852. 
More recently has appeared : E. W. Hengstenberg, Das Evangelium des heil. Johannes, Berlin, 
3 vols., 1861-'C3 [2d ed., 1867 ff. EngL translation, Edinburgh, 1865, 2 vols.— To these 
must be added: H. Ewald, Die Johanneischen Schmften ubersetzt und erJddrt, Gott., vol. i., 
1861 ; W. BSumlein, Comm. uber das Evang. d. Joh., Stuttgart, 1863 (grammatical and brief) ; 
C. H. A. von Burger, Das Evang. nach Joh. deutsch erhldrt, NOrdlingen, 1868 ; and the excel- 
lent French works of J. F. Asti6, Explication de Tetangile selon St. Jean, Geneve, 1864, and 
F. Godet, Commentaire ear Vevangile de St. Jean, Paris, 1865, 2 vols. — P. 8.]. 

As practical expositions, Tholuck mentions O. v. Gerlach, N. T., 2 parts ; Stier, Beden 
Jesu, 4th part ; Fr. Besser, Bibelstunden uber das Evangelium Johannis [1851, 4th ed., I860]. 
To these we add : S. J. Baumgarten, Auslegung dee Evangdiums Johannis, Halle, 1762 ; Mich. 
Wirth, Das Evangelium des Johannes erldutert, Ulm, 1829; Fickenscher, BJMisch-praktische 
Auslegung des Evangdiums Joliannis, Nurnberg, 1831 ; Diedrich, Das Evangelium Johannis, 
Leipzig, 1859 ; Heubner, Praktisehe ErUarung des N. T., vol. ii. The Homilies on the Gos- 
pel of John, delivered by Fr. Schleiermacher in 1823 and 1824, published by Sydow, in 2 
parts, Berlin, 1837, are to be especially noted. 

As to the separate portions of the Gospel : The 11th chapter has been treated in sermons 
by Fr. Wilhelm Jul. Schroder, first series, Elberfeld, 1853 ; various sections in the Bremen 
Post, by Dr. Mallet, vols. L and ii ; Reichhelm, Christus die reehte Speise und der reehte Trank, 
sermons on chaps, iv.-vii., Frankfurt a. d. O., 1857 ; Schmieder, Das hohepriesterliche Qebet 
unsers Eerrn Jesu Christi, 20 Meditations, Hamburg, Agency of the Rough House. Also the 
sermons : " Wir sahen seine HerrlichkeU," Berlin, 1853, treat in good part the Johannean text. 

On the Evangelist and his Gospel there are : Herder, Von Oottes Sohn, der Welt Heiland, 
nach Johannis Evangelium, 1797 ; Kleuker, Johannes, Petrus, und Paulus als ChrUtologen, Riga, 
1785 ; K. M. L. Raster, Der Apostel Johannes nach der Entstehung, FortbUdung, und Vollendung 
seines christlichen Lebens dargestelU, Leipzig, 1838 ; Da Costa, De Apost. Joh. en eijne Schriften, 
1831 ; Herwerden, Het Evang. van Joh., 1851 ; also tfce article, " John the Apostle," by Dr. 
Ebrard, in Herzog's Eneyelopcsdia, and the same article in Zeller's BMisches Worterbuch fur 
das ehristliehe VoXk, Stuttgart, 1856. 

On the Johannean type of doctrine, we have : Schmidt, De theologia Joannis Apostoli, ii. 
progr., Jena, 1801 ; Frommann, Der Johanneische Lehrbegriff, Leipzig, 1839 ; K. R. KSstlin, 
Der Lehrbegriff des Evangdiums und der Brief e Johannis, Berlin, 1843 ; Hilgenfeld, Das Evan* 
odium und die Briefs des Johannes, Halle, 1849, in the spirit of the ultra criticism ; Neander, 

# [Oomp. Catena Awrta : Commentary on the Four Gospels, oollcctod out of the vorka of the Fathers, by S. Thomas 
Aquinas, fourth vol. St. John. Oxford, 1845.— P. 8.] 

Digitized by 



Schaff, and Lange, in the doctrinal sections of their Histories of the Apostolic Age. [C. P. 
Schmid, BM. TheoL des K T., 2d ed., Stuttgart, 1859, pp. 588-417 (abridged translation by 
G. H. Venables, Edinburgh, 1870, pp. 519-652) ; E. Reuss, Exstoire de la theoL chrelienne, 
Strasburg, 1860, ii., 869-600 ; Weiss, Der johann. Lehrbegriff, Berlin, 1862 ; Beyschlag, Die 
Christologie dee N. T., Berlin, 1866, pp. 65-107 ; van Oosterzee, Theology of the New Test., 
transl. by M. J. Evans, London, 1870, pp. 872-415.— P. S.] 

The apologetic literature on John has already been mentioned, pp. 28 f. 

Poetical Literature : A. E. FrOhlich, the celebrated Swiss poet, Das Evangdium St. Johan- 
nw, in Liedem, Leipzig, 1885 ; A. KOttgen, Lazarus, a religious drama, in A. Kattgen's Ge- 
dichte, edited by me, Essen, 1889. [The poetical paraphrase of Nonnus, in Migne's Patrol, 
Tom. xliii. ; Adam of St Victor, Poem on the Four Evangelists (Jucundare, plebsfideUs), and 
De Joanne Evangdista, in which the famous description occurs : Volat avis sine meta, &c. (in 
Daniel's Thee, hymnoL, Tom. ii, 166 ; in Mone's Lat. Hymnen des MittelaUers, iii., 118, and in 
Trench, Sacred Latin Poetry, p. 71). Bishop Ken has a long poem on St. John in his Chris- 
tian Year, new ed., London, 1868, pp. 28 ff.— P. S.] 

[English Literature ok the Gospel of Jon". — The commentaries which cover tho 
whole Bible, or the New Testament, have been mentioned in the American edition of Mat- 
thew, pp. 18, 19, and more fully in that of Romans, pp. 51, 52. Alford {Greek Test., vol. i, 
ed. 6, 1868) is brief, critical, sound, and judicious ; Wordsworth (5th ed., 1866) is reverent, 
patristic, fanciful, unequal, and avoiding rather than solving difficulties. Canon B. F. West- 
cott (who, in his Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, ch. v., very ably discusses the char- 
acteristics of the fourth Gospel) is preparing a work on John for the forthcoming " Speaker's 
Commentary." Besides, we have translations of Lucke, Olshausen, Tholuck, Stier, and 
Hengstenberg. A translation of Meyer is "announced. — The special English literature on 
John is mostly of a popular and practical character. Hutcheson, Exposition of John, Lon- 
don, 1657 (highly spoken of by John J. Owen in his Comtn. on John, p. iii.) ; Archbishop 
Sumner, A Practical Exposition of the Gospd of St. John, London, 1885 ; 8d ed., 1888 ; R. 
Anderson, do., London, 1841, 2 vols. ; James Ford, The Gospel of St. John Illustrated from 
Ancient and Modem Authors, London, 1852 ; John Cumming, Sabbath Evening Headings on St. 
John, London, 1855 ; F. D. Maurice, Discourses on the Gospel of St. John, Cambridge, 1857 ; 
J. C. Ryle, Practical Exposition of the Gospd of John, London, 8 vols., 1868 ffl — America has 
produced several useful popular commentaries on the Gospels, including that on John, by 
Barnes, Jacobus, Ripley, Owen (new edition, 1866), Whedon, and others.— Of Albert Barnes 9 
Notes on the Gospels, which are especially adapted for Sunday-schools, and have an immense 
circulation both in Great Britain and the United States, a revised edition appeared shortly 
before his death (1870). — Comp. the Literature supplied by Mr. Ezra Abbot to the article 
John, Gospd of, in Hackett's and Abbot's edition of Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, voL ii. 
(1869), pp. 1487-89. For special dissertations and sermons on single chapters and verses 
of John, see James Darling's Cyclopaedia Bibliographica, i., pp. 1058-1 160.— P. S-l 

Digitized by 






Chap. I. 1-18. 


The Evangelists Matthew and Luke give us the 
history of the childhood of Jesus, and indicate 
His divine descent with few words in the mirac- 
ulous story of His birth. But their eye in this 
is mainly upon the human or, in the narrower 
sense, historical antecedents of Jesus, his pedi- 
gree : Matthew, from a predominantly theocratic 
point of view, tracing the line to Abraham ; Luke, 
from the more general human point of view, 
tracing it to Adam.f 

As an offset to this exhibition of the human 
genealogy of Christ, John signalizes his eternal 
origin, as well as his eternal advent, in the eter- 
nal prm-existenco of the divine, personal Logos. 
In the two relations together [the human and the 
divine], we see how the word of Mioah concern- 
ing the Ruler out of Bethlehem, whose goings 
forth have been from of old, from everlasting, 
is fulfilled (Mi. v. 2). 

John, therefore, has this in common with Mark, 
that he introduces Christ according to His human 
nature, in His historical maturity and prepara- 
tion, after John the Baptist, His forerunner. 

•fCodd. 8in. and Vatic., the two oldest, have simply: tear* 
Imirvmr (B.— «mfr). 80 Tischend. in the 8th ed. Later M3S. 
read cvayy. gar A 1*xirv. (so Qrlesb., Lachm.), or to xarft 'I. 
•vayy&tor, or ayiov riayytfAtop, etc. — P. 8.] 

tfComp. Cbrysoetom: **The other evangelists begin with 
Christ's incarnation in time ; St. John with his eternal gone- 
ntton." Augujtine (Traetatu* xxxvi. in JohannU JSeanff. 
c 8, f 1.) : 'The other three Evangelists walked as it were 
«n earth with oar Lord as Man (tamfuam cum homine Domino 
» frrra ambulabant) and said but little of his divinity. 
Bat John, as if he found it oppressive to walk on earth, opened 
kb treatise so to speak with a peal of thunder. . . To the snb- 
ttnity of this beginning all the rest corresponds, and he speaks 
of our Lord's divinity as no other." Godct, Commenlairt, I 
p. 143: u ChaquA Evangelist entre en matiere de la manibre la 
m&mm eppropri/e A f esprit de $a narration. Mitthieu veut 
demontrer le droit de J'tu* au trine thoocratique : il commence 
far ink g n 'alojU. Marc rCdiqn *e* $ouvrnir$ : il *e jelte tan* 
camrde in my d Urn res*, (in media* ret, or m*dia* in res, is the 
proper phra«e). Luc pretend tcrir*. une HUtoire proprement 
dfte: a rend cnmpU dan* ton prtanbule de ft sources et de *a 
nitkodtT-V. S.J 

With Matthew he shares the theocratic point of 
view (vers. 11, 12) ; with Luke, the universal 
(vers. 9, 10) ; but he rises above all in pointing 
out a Christological theocracy and universality 
of the incarnate Logos, which in its one manifes- 
tation embraces time and eternity, heaven and 
earth, and unites Deity and humanity. 

The Johannean doctrine of the Logos has ever 
been regarded in the Christian church as one of 
the most mysterious and important points of doc- 
trine. It ruled incipient theology in the doctrine 
of the Logos of God down to the beginning of 
the third century, down to Tertullian, and then 
exerted also the most decisive influence on the 
more definite doctrine of the Son of God. The 
mediaeval theology knew better how to gaze at 
this great page of the Gospel, than to appreciate 
it, yet the mediaeval mysticism was moved by the 
Johannean spirit (see Tholuck, p. C9). John Wea- 
sel, the greatest theologian of all the forerunners 
of the Reformation, restored the deeper apprehen- 
sion of the Logos doctrine, and when our Reform- 
ers aimed at a more practical apprehension of 
Christology, this doctrine became thenceforth pre- 
eminently a treasure of the evangelical church, 
which the evangelical mystics in particular were 
at pains to unlock. The eighteenth century with 
its humanistic, critical tendency, lost the spirit 
of insight into the depths of the Johannean the- 
ology ; yet at a time when the rationalists were 
disdaining it, speculative philosophers, like Schil- 
ling and Hegel, and great poets like Gotbe, could 
not but recall its import, though without a clear 

The later evangelical theology has applied it- 
self with appreciative spirit to the Johannean the- 
ology, and therefore to the prologue of this Gos- 
pel. Testimony of this we have in the sermons 
of Scblciermacher on the Gospel of John, and 
LUcke's Commentary on it, in which the treatise 


Digitized by 




on the prologue extends from p. 249 to p. 378, 
(vol. I). By the side of the modern depreciation 
of the Gospel of John on the part of some critics 
goes a mistaken realist io doctrine of the Logos 
in its great import in Hofmann ( Weissagunj und 
Erfdllunj, p. 7). and Luthardt (pp. 280 sqq.) 
Exegesis can hardly make this Gospel more real, 
when It covers the depth by an abstractly real- 
istic interpretation. What is said of the fourth 
evangelut, is true also of ills doctrine of the Lo- 
gos : It uoes not die. 

The distinction between the divine essence in 
itself, and its mini ft station in its word, is an attri- 
bute of the personality of God, and therefore this 
distinction continually comes out in the Holy 
Scriptures, which is the word of the personal God 
(Gen. i. 1: ver. 26, etc.). 

This distinction appears still more clearly de- 
fined, after the primal revelation, obscured by 
sin, comes again into historical operation as a 
revelation of redemption. From this time, how- 
ever, it unfolds itself in a two-fold form : there 
being, first, in the theocratic theology of the Old 
Testament, the distinction of Jehovah and the 
Angel of tho Lord ; then, in the universal theo- 
logy of the Old Testament, the distinction of Je- 
hovah and His wisdom as the principle of the 
creation and of Providence, and of the divine ad- 
ministration in Israel. 

The manifestation of Jehovah in His Angel, 

(m'rp ^xho) develops itself through three 
stages: the Angel being designated first as the 
Angel of the Lord (Gen. xvi. 7-9 sqq.); then as 
the Presence, or the Angel of the Presence (Ex. 
xxxii. 31; comp. xxxiii. 14; Isa. lxiii. 9h final- 
ly as tho Angel of the Covenant (Mai. lit. 1). 

That this Angel is the theophanic pree- exhibi- 
tion of the God-Man himself, is evident especially 
from the point of issue of this idea, where the 
Angel, as the Angel of the Covenant, plainly de- 
notes the Messiah (Mai. I. c); and the recent 
objections of Hofmann, Kurtz, and others, who 
make this person a created angel, are not suf- 
ficient to invalidate the church interpretation, and 
if they were, they would dissolve the central, in- 
most bond between the Old Testament and the New. 

As the personal prse-manifestation of Christ in 
the theophanies of the Logos, the Angel of the 
Lord is also characterized by his standing in the 
closest connection with the honor or glory of 
God (Lu. ii. 9); in fact, being identified with it 
(Ex. xvi. 10; xxiv. 10). With this it is well 
worthy of notice, that where in the Old Testa- 
ment Jehovah, or even the Angel of Jehovah, Ma- 
leach-Jehovah, is spoken of, He is called instead 
by the Jewish Targumists 1H? % 9 or even the 
Shekinah of Jehovah, t. *., the manifestation of 
God letting itself down into his dwelling (see 
Tholuck, p. 62). 

Now while in the Angel of the Lord we find 
predominantly the central direction of God, in 
His revelation, towards Israel and the incarna- 
tion expressed as the personal putting forth of the 
Word, we find in the notion of the Wisdom distinct 
from God, as the formative power of the divine 
word, chiefly the universal tendency of His reve- 
lation, or the connection of His historical revela- 
tion with its basis. His eternal, world-embracing, 
universal revelation. In this peculiar signifi- 

cance the divine Wisdom appears first in Job (ch. 
xxviii. ; comp. Schlottmann, Uiob, p. 129), Ac- 
cording to Proverbs, ch. viii., it is the mediator 
of the creation, and the personification of it 
comes nearest to a hypostasis in chap. ix. where it 
appears as the founder of the theocracy. Also in 
the apocryphal Book of Wisdom, it first, accord- 
ing to its universal field of revelation, forms 
the spirit of all life, and then, in a special -atti- 
tude, as the spirit of the devout in Israel, comes 
into contrast with the folly of the heathen idola- 
try. It has here, under the influence of Alex- 
andrian views, an idealistic form ; in Siracb, on 
the contrary, from the universal sphere of the 
creation which belongs to it, it goes, in a restless 
search, over to the people of Israel, and fixes on 
Zion a permanent place, and its concentration is 
the Book of the Covenant, the Thorah (ch. xxiv. 
25). Thus its last embodiment is the Book ac- 
cording to Baruch (iii. 37 ; iv. 1). The normal 
development of the notion proceeds between these 
extremes of an idealistic and a legal theory of 
revelation. The sound apprehension of tho dis- 
tinction we find again only on the threshold of 
the New Testament in the religious contempla- 
tions of Zachariah and of Mary (Lu. i.) and of 
John the Baptist. With these the N. T. reve- 
lations are most immediately connected. 

We get, however, but a one-sided view of the 
development of the Old Testament idea of revela- 
tion, unless we bear in mind also its Messianic 
complement on the human side, t. e. t the devel- 
opment of the idea of the Messiah in the stricter 
sense. This likewise passes through three stages. 

(1) The chosen family ; (a) mankind, the seed 
of the woman, Gen. iii. ; (b) the race, Semitic, 
Gen. ix. ; (c) the people, Israel, and particularly 
the tribe of Judah, Gen. xii. 49. 

(2) The chosen line: David and his son, col- 
lectively considered ; the typical Messiah. 

(3) The chosen individual, the ideal Messiah, 
Isa. ix. sqq. 

Now, as the idea of the revelation of God 
works towards incarnation, so the idea of the 
Messiah strives towards union with the divine 
nature ; and at the passage where the ideal Mes- 
siah comes to view, the union is effected; the 
Messiah is become the Angel of the Lord (Isa. 
lxi. 1 and 2), the Angel of the Lord is become the 
Messiah (Dan. vii. 13; Mai. iii. 1). 

With this synthesis is given also the notion of 
the Son of God. This has likewise three stages 
in its development: 

1) The chosen family, Ex. iv. 22 sqq. 

2) The chosen royal line, 2 Sam. vii. 14. 

3) The chosen individual, the ideal Messiah, 
Ps. ii. ; Isa. ix. 

But since the development of revelation is 
based on the development of redemption and the 
idea of the former unfolds itself with the idea 
of the latter, so the Messiah, as personal revela- 
tion, is also personal Redeemer. As such he has 
(1) to fight and conquer ;" (2) to work and strug- 
gle ; (3) to suffer, and in sinking to overcome. 
From this point of view the Sou of God is the 
servant of God, Isa. liii. 

Tho Solomonic and Apocryphal doctrine of the 
Wisdom became in Alexandria, in its contact 
with Platonism, tho doctrine of the Logos, aa 
Philo shaped it. 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 1-15. 


The Logos of Philo, however, is essentially 
different from that of John, though it agrees 
with that of John in its being the Mediator be- 
tween God and the world. It is subordinate to 
Deity, it stands over the world merely as world- 
former, demiurge; it shades off pantheistioally 
from the personal character to impersonality ; it 
cannot become flesh; it is different from the 
Messiah, aud the Messiah is only a divine ap- 
pearance, which leads the devout Jews back to 
Palestine (see Dorner, Entwicklungsgeschichte der 
Christologie, Introduction, p. 40). 

However doubtful it may be, that John was ac- 
quainted with the writings of Philo, the ideas 
of Philo were widely 'diffused in the second half 
of the first century among the Hellenistic Jews 
(for they were not a separate philosophy of 
Philo, but the religious philosophy of Hellenistic 
Judaism in general), as the angel- worshippers 
of Colosse prove ; so with the system of Cerin- 
thos; and undoubtedly the Evangelist came into 
intercourse and conflict with them. Nor must 
the position of the Evangelist towards the Alex- 
andrian idea have been altogether hostile ; for 
the current Logos-doctrine was not pure error ; it 
was affiliative and abrasive, reformatory and 
evangelizing, to this fundamental idea of the Hel- 
lenistic Jews. And the Evangelist could be the 
more free to use the term Logos in its full em- 
phasis, since he found it already recommended 
by the Old. Testament, and still more distinctly 
by the Jewish theology. It was no doubt an 
ambiguity in Philo's mode of expression, that he 
transferred the Solomonic and Apocryphal notion 
of the oofia into the notion of the Logos, in 
which the Word of God in the Old Testament, 
the K^O'O of the Jewish theology, seemed to co- 
incide with the vouf of Plato, which might easily 
be confounded with Myoe. 

The Logos of John is related to that of Philo, 
as Panl's sermon at Athens to the inscription of 
the unknown God. John declared the true 
Logos, who is distinguished from that mixed 
figment of Old Testament theology and Greek 
speculation, in that He is equal with God, as the 
full expression of His being; is the absolute 
ground of the world, even of its matter ; cm- 
bosoms the universe as its active force, not as an 
emanating fountain of new emanations from 
God; is as much life, as light, in the highest 
6ense, and therefore could come in the flesh, 
as Messiah, to accomplish the absolute redemp- 

The Logos-doctrine, even in terms, runs 
throughout the writings of John (see 1 John i. 1 ; 
Rev. xix. 13) ; but in substance it pervades the 
New Testament, especially Paul (see Col. i. 15- 
19; Heb. i. 8; Matt. xi. 19; Luke xi. 49). 

On the doctrine of the Logos and on John's 
Prologue comp. Lttcke, L, p. 865 sqq. [trans- 
lated by Dr. Nbyes in the Christian Examiner for 
March and May, 184$.— P. S.]; Tholuck, I., p. 
Gl ; Meyer, p. 75 [PP- 68-67 in the 5th ed. of 
18G9.— P. S. 1 ; Adalbert Maier, p. 116; Hole- 
mann, Ds EvangelH Joannei introitu, introitus 
Geneseot augustiore effigie, Lips., 1855; Jordan 
Backer, Des ApotteU Johannes Lehre vom Logos, 
Schaffhausen, 1856. 

[M. Stuart, Examination of John, i. 1-18, in 
the Andover BibUolheca Sacra for 1850, pp. 281- 

827. Hengstenberg, Com. on John, 1866, vol. 
I., pp. 6 ff. (where the Old Test, roots of the 
Logos-doctrine are brought out in opposition 
to its derivation from Philo). F. G octet, Con- 
sidirationes ginbrales sur U prologue, in his Com. 
on John, 1804, vol. I., pp. 220-265. T. A. 
Philippi, Der Eingang des Johannesevangeliums 
ausgeiegt, Stuttgart, 18o7. Rfthricht, Zur Johan- 
neischen LogosUhre, in the Theol. Studien und 
Kritiken for 1868, pp. 299-815. H. P. Liddon, 
Bampton Lectures on the Divinity of Christ, Lon- 
don, 1867, Lecture Vth, pp. 810-411. Among 
English commentators, Alford, on John i. 1, 
gives a condensed summary of the investigations 
of LUcke, De Wette, Olshausen and Dorner on 
the Logos-doctrine. — P. S.] 

[Additional Remarks on the Prologue, 
vers. 1-18. The Prologue is a condensed state- 
ment of the results of John's contemplation and 
experience as a faithful witness of the life and 
work of Christ on earth, and furnishes the key 
that unlocks the true meaning of the following 
narrative. It contains the theme and leading 
ideas of the Gospel, the eternal substratum, as it 
were, of the temporal history of Jesus, and cre- 
ates the impression that in approaching the gos- 
pel history the reader treads on holy ground; 
Jesus of Nazareth being none other than the 
eternal Son of God, in whom we must believe in 
order to have eternal life (comp. ch. xx. 81). 
The theme is the eternal Logos or personal Word 
that was with God and of divine essence from 
the beginning of beginnings, and at last became 
incarnate for the salvation of the world. The 
leading ideas are life and light, grace and truth, 
as emanating from and centering in the Logos. 
Starting with the divine genealogy or eternal 
divinity of Christ, the Evangelist presents, in a 
few bold outlines, the progress of revelation from 
the creation to the incarnation, a sort of minia- 
ture photograph of the history of preparation for 
Christ's coming in the flesh, and states the im- 
pression which His workings and personal ap- 
pearance made upon the unbelieving world and 
the believing disciples. John the Baptist is men- 
tioned as the representative of the Old Test, re- 
velation, which directly prepared the way for the 
Christian dispensation. 

We have here brought together the character- 
istic features of the fourth Gospel — its simplicity, 
sublimity, depth and ideality. We hear the 
sounds of thunder uttered by the "eon of thun- 
der." Every sentence, every word, is pregnant 
with meaning, and furnishes inexhaustible mate- 
rial for meditation and reflection. In the wholo 
range of literature, ancient and modern, there is 
no passage or chapter that can at all compare with 
this Prologue. It is not poetic in form — yet, 
like the account of the creation in Genesis, to 
which it forms the New Testament pendant, it 
rises, by its calm dignity, simplicity and gran- 
deur, to more than poetic beauty. The theme so 
far transoends the boundaries of time and sense, 
that the ordinary arts of rhetoric and poetry are 
struck with the silence of adoration and awe. 
"In pregnant fullness and purest simplicity," 
says the great scholar, Ewald (Comm. on John, 
p. Ill), "the Prologue is unique," even in this 
unique Gospel. — The Prologue has ever exerted 
a mysterious and irresistible charm upon the pro- 

Digitized by 




foundest thinkers, from Origen and Augustine 
down to Fichte, Schleiermacher and Schelling.* 
As to the division of the Prologue, Dr. Lange, 
with OUhausen and Godet, divides it into three 
sections : (1) the pro-mundane or eternal being of 
the Logos, and H is relation to God and the world, 
vers. 1-6; (2) His activity from the creation 
to the incarnation, especially in the Old Dispen- 
sation, vers. 6-13 (Godet, vers. 6-11). (3) His 
incarnation and activity in the Christian Church, 
vers. 14-18. Ewald (p. 113) adopts a similar 
view, but closes the first division with ver. 3. 

* [Even heathen philosophers and heretical noetic* were 
captivated by the speculative depth of the Prologue. (Comp. 
Lampe, Com. Tom. I., 231 so n 233 sqq.) Gdthe, too, connects 
the doepest mental struggles of Faust with an attempt to 
lathom the depth of the first sentence of John : 
u Oesohrieben tteht: im Anfang war das Wort I 
flier stock ich tchonl Wer hUft mir weiter fortt 
Ich Icann das Wort to hoch unmoglich schiltsen, 
Jch muss es anders ikb^rsetsen, 
Wenn ich wm QeisU rtcht srleuehtet bin: 
Geschricben stent: im Anfang war der Sural 
Btdenke %oohl die ersU &ile, 
Doss deine Ftder sich nicfU QbrreiU ! 
1st es dtr Sinn, der alles wirkt und schafflf 
Es stUU stehn: im Anfang war die Kraft! 
Doch, auch indem ich dieses niedrrschrtibe, 
Schon warnt mich was. doss ich dabei nicht bleibe, 
Mir hilfl der Oeistt Auf cinmal seh ich Rati 
Und schreib gttrost: im Anfang war die That !"— P. 8.] 

According to Meyer (in his fifth edition, p. 98), 
the Prologue represents the Logos — (1) as pro- 
existent in His creative activity (1-3) ; (2) as the 
Fountain of light to men (4-13) ; (3) in His divine- 
human manifestation (14-18) ; the last section re- 
turns to the first in identifying the 16yo$ tvoaptcor; 
with the Myoc aaaptcof (" who is in the bosom of 
the Father"). Lucke, Alford and others make but 
two divisions : the eternal existence of the Logos, 
vers. 1-5, and His historic manifestation and work- 
ing, vers. 6-18. Luthardt and Hengstenberg sub* 
stitute for chronological sections three concentric 
cycles (1-6 ; 6-18 ; 14-18), of which each repro- 
duces the same idea of the activity of the Logos, 
but under new aspects — the first in relation to 
God and the world at large, the second with 
special reference to John the Baptist and Jewish 
unbelief, the third with reference to the bless- 
ings which result to true believers. — There is 
evidently a progress of ideas from eternity to 
time, from the creation to the Old Testament dis- 
pensation, and to the incarnation, but more in 
the form of comprehensive intuition, which is 
peculiar to John, than of strict logical order, 
which was more congenial to the mind and 
training of PauL For particulars, see below. — 
P. S.] 


Christ in His Eternal Essence and Existence, and His Position between God and 

the World. 

Chap. I. 1-6. 


1 In the beginning was [in existence] the [personal, substantial] Word 1 [the Logos], 
and the Word [the Logos] was with God [the Deity, the Godhead], and the Word 

2 [the Logos] was God [Himself]. The same was [existed] in the beginning with God. 

3 All things were made by [through] him; and without [except through] him was 

4 not anything made [^£>sro],* that was [hath been] made [yiyow']. In him was 

5 [is] 1 life [pure life]; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in 
[the] darkness; and the darkness comprehended [apprehended ; Lange: suppressed 4 ] 
it 6 not* 


Vtrbum; Loth.: Wort) is the only proper translation here of Aoyo? (from 
it in another sense, and here he plainly alludes to the account of Genesis that Ood in the begin- 

1 Ver. 1. [There is no doubt that Word (Vulg 
Atfyw), for John never uses it in another sense, an . w 

ning made the world through His word. But in the Prologuo and in two oth*r pass-.iges (I John i. 1, 6 Atfyo? rye <J»ij«, and 
Apoc. xix. 13. o Aeyof tou 0eou,— the passage 1 John v, 7 is spurious) he employs it in an altogether peculiar, personal sense 
to designate the pro-existent Christ, as is evident from ver. 14. The Greek favored this application, X6yos being masculine ; 
and Ewald, boldly breaking through all usage, retains the masculine article in his German translation: der (instead of das) 
Wort In classic Greek Aeyot has the double signification : word and reason, oratio and ratio; the former being the pri- 
mary meaning according to the etymology. Both are closely related ; word or speech is the A£yo? vpo^opurot, the outward 
reason or thought expressed ; reason or thought is the Aoyoc iv&taSrrot, the inward speech. "V> e cannot speak without the 
faculty of reason, nor think without words in our mind, whether uttered or not. Hence the Hebrew phrase : to *p*ak in his 
heart— to think. When Aoyo? signifies tdfrrd, it refers not to the formal part, the mere name or sound of a thing (like pwia, 
croc, hvona, vox, vocahulum), but to the material part, the thing itself, the thought as uttered, sometimes a whole discourse, 
sermo, or treatise (as in Acts i. 1). When it signifies reason, it may denote the subjective faculty, human or divine, which 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 1-16. 


produce* speech (so la Heraklitus), and hence the derivative terms. Aoyt£c?0ai, Aoyurfufc, Aoyurot, which are applied to 
rational functions ; but more frequently, and in the Bible almost exclusively, it refers to an objective reason to be given of, 
or for, any thing. Comp. such phrases as wpbs Xoyov, Kara Aoyo»s agreeable to reason, rta$onablt (in Plato, also Acts xviii. 
14 — this comes nearest to the sense of reason as a faculty) ; a-opd Koyov. contrary to reason, improbable ; A6yor rtpof «x<"S 
or votttatax, raUonem habere alicujus, t » make account of and koyov 6i66vax (a«j(<ic, rap^x <lK ) vikik, to give a reason, em 
account of a thing (comp. Acts xix.40; 1 Pet. ill. 15) ; atao Aoyor airtiv nepi tip<k, Aa/iflawv vvip nvo*, to ask, to receive an 
account of a thing. For the faculty of reason the N. T. always employs other terms, as mvpa, vovt, Kap&a, o-o^t'o. Hence 
we must object, with Zexschwitz (ProfanorUcitlU und Biblischer Sprachgeut, 1859, p. 33), to the trias, vovs, Aoyo?, s-vevMa, 
as set up by Delitzsch in his Biblische Psychologic, retained in the second ed. } lttol, p. 170. For the theological meaning 
of Logos as here used, «e« the Exro. Notes.— -P. S.J 

J Ver. 3. Lachm. construes : ouW iv, o yeyovtr, etc,, according to Codd. C* D. L. *tc. [Sin. D. ai. read oitikv 5 yiy.; 
but ov6i iw (ne unum qutdem, not even the vAij), is more emphatic. — P. S.] 

* Ver. 4. D.etaL (Lachm.) read £•»)} ion v. An exegetical hypothesis, see John v. 11. [Sin. D. and Codd. ap. Orig. sus- 
tain «<m>, and are followed by Tischend. in his 8th ed., but $v is supported by A. B. C. £. F. L. 0. aL Some M8S. and Ver- 
sions connect the first sentence of ver. 4 with the last words of ver. 3, aud punctuate 6 yeyoi* ir avry (a phrase never used 
by John for to be made by), £«ij V (the Valentinian Gnostics and Hilgenfcld); others put a comma after yiyovt (Clem. 
Alex., Orig., Lachm ), — a forced and untenable construction. See Exco. Notes. — P. S.J 

* Ver. 5. [On the different translations and interpretations of KaraAajt/SoVeii' see Exeo. Norm.— P. S.I 

• Ver. 5. Some authorities read avroV [sc. Aoyof, for avrd, sc. to £ok. See Tischend. ed. VIII. — P. S.f. 

• [The symmetrical, almost poetic, or rather superpootic, beauty of the Prologue will appear more fully from the follow- 
ing arrangement of its simple, short, abrupt and pregnant sentences : 

TBS L0008 A2TD GOD. 

1. 'E? apx 17 V ° Aoyo«, 

«al 6 Aoyo? %v irpb* rhv 6<oV, 
xal 0cb« ftp 6 Aoyof. 

2. Ovro? fy €¥ apxjj wpbs top 6«6V. I 


3. Havre. bV avrov iytvtro, 

koX x M P** o.vtov iyivtro ovM t» 
v yiyortw. 


4. 'Ek ayr$ £*>ij %v, 

teal if £»ij }i» to $&? tup avBputvmv. 

TOE L0008 AlfD BUT. 

5. Kal Tb 6&c cr t^ OKoria ^aiVet, 

jtai q oxoria avro ov ffarlAa/Stp. — P. 8.] 


[Yen. 1 and 2 contain the ante-mundane or 
pne-temporal history of the Logos, the mystery 
of the eternal, immanent relation of the Father 
and the Son before any revelation ad extra. This 
was a blessed relation of infinite knowledge and 
infinite lore. It supplies the only answer we 
can give to the idle question, what God was doing 
before the creation of tho world. Ver. 1 sets 
forth, in three brief sentences, three grand truths 
or divine oracles: the eternity of the Logos (in 
the beginning wot), the personality of the Logos 
(with God), and the divinity of the Logos (was 
God) ; yer. 2 earns up these three ideas in one. 
The subject here touched lies far beyond human 
experience and comprehension; hence the ex- 
treme brevity with which the fact is simply stated 
in its quiet majesty. Yet these two lines giTe us 
more light than the thousands of words wasted by 
Philo, and the ancjent and modern Gnostics and 
philosophers, on the transcendent mysteries of 
pro-mnndane existence. Bengel calls the first 
Terse «• a peal of thunder from the Son of Thun- 
der, a voice from heaven." Augustine (Tract. 
Z&thinJoh. Evang. {. 1) beautifully says: "John, 
as if he found it oppressive to walk on earth, 
opened his treatise, so to speak, with a peal of 
thunder ; he raised himself not merely above the 
earth and the- whole compass of the air and 
heaven, but even above every host of angels and 
every order of invisible powers, and reached to 
Him by whom all things were made, saying: 
•In the beginning was the Word,' etc. To the 
sublimity of this beginning all the rest corres- 

ponds, and he speaks of our Lord's divinity as 
no other. "—P. S.] 

Ver. 1. In (the) beginning. *Ev ap;r;»?,/VBh3, 
Gen. i. 1. Comp. tho Introductory Observations, 
and Holemann : pe evangelii Joan, inlroitu. Dif- 
ferent explanations: — 1. Cyril of Alex. : the 
" beginning " is God the Father.* — 2. The Valen- 
tinian Gnostics (according to Irenmus I. 8, 6) : a 
distinct divino hypothesis between the Father 
and the Logos. — 3. Origen: The divine Wis- 
dom (aofia).f — 4. Theodore of Mopsuestia, and 
others: eternity. J — 5. The Socinians [and some 

• [So also Marheincke (Dogm. p. 134). The Son is indeed 
called n apxt, Rev. iii. 14, but not the Father. Philo and the 
Gnostics called the Logos apx*), but tho Father npoapxi, or 
abyss (comp. Jacob Bdhm's Urgrund, Abgrund). Besides, 
the corresponding term to Aoyo? is Geo*, while "Father" re- 
quires " Son." — P. 8.] 

f [Origen (Com. in Joan., in Delarue's ed. Tom. IV. p. 19) 
makes to tlvai iv *pxi to be identical with rb tlvai Iv varpt, 
which would lead to Cyril's interpretation; but soon after- 
wards, p. 20, he explains that Christ was called the beginning 
tiecause He is the Wisdom, and refers to Prov. viii. 22, where 
Wisdom says: "God made me the beginning of His ways — 
ipxy* bSitv avrov ei« <py* avTov," — a passage which figured 
very prominently in the Arian controversy.— P. S.J 

% [So also Clirysostom (In Joannem Horn. IT., ed. Mont- 
faucon, Tom. VIII. p. 13): to ybp, ev apxv % v * oMiV 
trepoV i<rnr, AAA* ij rb tlvai art fiqAumftbf, «al airei- 
p«K rtVat. Of modern commentators, Olshausen adopts 
this view: "Not in the beginning of creation, but In the 
primitive beginning, the tTranfang, i. e~, from eternity." 
This is a correct inference (see below), but not directly ox- 
pressed. AVe can only spenk of a beginning of finite or 
created existence — thp existence of God has neither begin- 
ning nor end. Liddon (Th* Divinity of Christ, 4th ed., 
18C0, p. 228) somewhat modifies this interpretation after 
Meyer, in referring JV #12» Gon - *• ^ to ^° initial moment 

of time itself, iv apxH to the absolute conception of that 
which is anterior to, or rather independent of, time. Ewald: 
the first conceivable beginning. — P. S.J 

Digitized by 




modern Unitarians] : the beginning of the gos- 
pel (in initio evangelii). [In Acts xi. 15 the ex- 
pression has this meaning, but here it is entirely 
inconsistent with Ter. 3. — P. S.]. — 6. Meyer: 
[John parallelizes the beginning of his Gospel with 
that of Genesis, but] he raises the historical no- 
tion of the beginning which in Gen. i. 1 implies the 
beginning of time itself, to the absolute idea of 
prx- temporal ties s [ or timelessness, Vorzcitlichkeit], 
as in Pror. viii. 23. [Here the Wisdom whioh is 
the same with the Logos, says: irpd tov aluvoc 
i&efielJuofo fie, kv apxv irpb tov ttjv yip> noiqoai, 
k. r. A., (* from eyerlasting, in the beginning, be- 
fore the earth was made ') ; comp. John xvii. 6, 
npb tov t6p k6o,uuv eivat ; Eph. i. 4, irpd kotg- 
fiofoft nfo/iov. Comp. also 1 John i. 1 and Apoo. 
iii. 14. — P. S.] We find an advance of the notion 
of the beginning primarily only in was (yv), and 
in the relation subsequently stated of the Logos 
to the eternal God, whioh unquestionably still 
further elevates, indirectly, the idea of the hptf. 
The hpxij itself must irer refer to the primal 
generation or rise of things.* But if in this 
apxfj the Logos already was (#»>), then He was 
from eternity. [The Bame is said of God, Ps. 
xc. 2, who was before the mountains were brought 
forth, etc., i. e. from everlasting]. The Logos 
was not merely existent, however, tit the beginning, 
but was also the efficient principle, the apxfi of 
the hpxh (Col. i. 18). The opxhi in itself and in 
its operation, dark, chaotic, was, in its idea and 
its principle, comprised in one single luminous 
word, which was the Logos. And when it is 
said, the Logos was in this aprf/, His eternal ex- 
istence is already expressed, and His eternal 
position in the Godhead already indicated, there- 
by. The Evangelist says not : In the beginning 
of the world, because ho would make the beginning 
perfectly absolute ; but he pre-supposes the re- 
ference to the genesis of the world. f 

W&a — Not became [eyirero, comp. vers. 6 and 
14] the Son of God, a Knapa, as Arianism taught. 
(Comp. Prov. viii. 23 ; Sirach xxiv. 3.) It can- 
not be said, He might have become, or been 
made, before the beginning ; for becoming and 
beginning are inseparable. J 

* [Ilengstenborg quotes for this view Matth. xix. 4; 
John viii. 44, and other passages where ipx»7 likewise ro- 
fcrs to the beginning of the world, or the creation. So also 
BrUckner, Godot, etc.— P. 8.1 

f [Comp. Bengcl in Inc.: **/*» eodem principio cceH el terrm et 
mundi (ver. 10 ; Oon. i. 1) jam erat Verbutn. tine utlo principio 
iniliore tuo. Jptum Verbum est mere teternum: nam enaem 
modo Verbi ac /Writ teternitas ducribitur." Alford : " Thcso 
-words, if they do not asteri, at least imply, the eternal prte- 
existence of the divine Word. For iv apvij ^v is not said 
of an act done iu apxv (** 1° Gen. 1-3), out of a itate tx- 
itting iv ipxit an< * therefore without beginning itself." 
BrUckner (in the fifth ed. of De Wette) : *• If the Logos 
was in the beginning of things, it follows that Me had a 
being before all being." Ewald : " The words, * In the be- 
ginning,' etc., mean first of all that the Logos actually ex- 
isted before tho world or that thoro never could be con- 
ceived a time in which Ho was not already." 8o also Godet. 
—P. 8.] 

JTBengol : " Brat Verbum, anUauim mundus lUreL" Al- 
ford: ** Tho existence of on enduring and unlimited state of 
being, implied in J}r (the indefinite past), is contrasted with 
iyivtro in ver. 3, and especially in ver. 14." — Meyer: "John 
reports historically, looking back from the later time of tho 
incarnate Logos (ver. 14)." This is more correct than Olshau- 
sen's exposition of ty as designating " the enduring, timeless 
existence of the eternal presence ;" this would require «ori, as 
in John viii. 68, jrpiv 'A0pa&M yivtcrOat, fyw %ifn. (Chrysos- 
tom likewise takes $r here as denoting rb aifttor, because it is 
used of God.) But all these commentators agree that the was 
of tho divine Logos is clearly distinct from the became or began 

[The words: in the beginning was the Logos, 
clearly assert, as the best commentators now 
admit, the eternity of the Logos, but they imply 
at the 8am e time His divinity, which is after- 
wards formally stated in the third sentence: was 
God. Metaphysically we cannot separate eter- 
nity, ab ante, from divinity, or predicate eternity 
of any creature. Luther felt this when he 
said: "That which was before the world and 
before the creation of all creatures, must be 
God." On tho basis of monotheism on which 
John stood, there is no room for a middle being 
between God and the creature. Before creation 
there was no time, for time itself is part of the 
world and was created with it. (Mundus foetus 
est cum tempore, not in tempore). Before the world 
there was only God, and God is timeless or eter- 
nal. Hence the Arian proposition concerning 
Christ: There was a time (before creation) when 
He was not (fjv wore bre oi'K rjv), involves the meta- 
physical absurdity of putting time before the 
world, a creature before creation.— P. S.] 

The Word. — [6 \6yoc, with reference to 
Gen. i. 3 : God said, etc. The living, speaking 
Word from whom the creative, spoken words 
emanate. — P. 8.] The Word absolute, the one 
whole, all-embracing, personal manifestation of 
life; hence without the qualification: the Logos 
of God. It certainly includes also the divine 
reason or consciousness ; though in the Scriptu- 
ral usage "kdyoc never denotes the reason itself, 
but ouly the matured expression of the reason, 
word, speech, as a whole, the personal spiritual 
essence of God made, in its whole fulness, objec- 
tive to itself,* as its own perfect expression and 
image. And in this view the literal interpreta- 
tion is entirely sufficient, but is supplied by the 
historical doctrine of the Logos (see above). 

The exclusively verbal expositions, and the 
exclusively historical, are alike insufficient and in- 
correct : 1. the verbal, which explain 6 ?.6yoc as (a) 
6 ley6fievoc, the promised one (Valla, Beza, Ernest i, 
Tittmann, etc.); (b) 6 teyw, tbe speaking one 
(Mosheim, Storr, and others) ; (c) the gospel ob- 
jectively considered, as the word of God: the sub- 
ject of the gospel (alloiosis !), hence Christ, [so 
Hofmann, Schriftbew., I., p. 109 ff.1; or, ac- 
cording to Lulbardt: the word of God which 
in Christ (Heb. i. 1) was spoken to the world, 
and the content of which is Christ (see, on the 
contrary, Meyer, p. 45, [pp. 68 and 69 in the 
fifth ed. of 1869.— P. 8.]) ; 2. the historical, 
which would make either the Palestinian doc- 
trine of the 'Wisdom [XoQta, riDDH] with the 
Word of God [KJO'D or «^31] of 'the Targums, 
or the Alexandrian Philonic doctrine of the 
Logos, or both, the proper root of the scriptural 
idea. This root is to be found in tho manifesta- 
tion of the consciousness of Christ, as it reflected 
itself in the intuition of John himself; the his- 

to be of the creature, ver. 3, of the man John, rer. 6, and of the 
human nature of Christ, ver. 14. John suggests the idea of an 
(eternal) generation of the Logos from the substance of the 
Father (comp. the term novoy*vrff vio* , ver. 18, and irp»TO>o«of, 
Col. i. 15, which differs widely from wp*»r<i*Ti<rn>« or vpurb- 
nXaoToti but not of the Arian doctrine of a creation of the 
Logos out of nothing. The Son must be as eternal as the 
Father, being as indispensable to the Fatherhood of God, as 
the Father is to tho Sonship of tho Logos.— P. S.] 

* ["Das persimlieftegeisiige Wesen Uottts inabsotuter Sdbst- 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 1-5. 


torical rise of the idea is due to the theological 
conceptions of the Old Testament (see above) ; 
and the expression itself was suggested by the 
Pliilonic doctrina of the Logos. Only this fur- 
ther discrimination mu3t be observed : that the 
Philonio doctrine lays stress not on the word, 
but the reason, while John emphasizes the abso- 
lute, personal, parfect Word, the image of God, 
as the original of the world, the idea and llfo of 
the whole apxh of things. 

[Excursus on the Meaning* and Origin of 
thb Term Loaos, and the Relation or John to 
Philo. — The Logos doctrine of John is tfeo fruit- 
ful germ of all the speculations of the ancient 
Church on the divinity of Christ, which resulted 
in the Nicene dogma of the homoousion or the 
co-equality of the Son with the Father. The 
. prm-exUtent Logos is the central idea of the Pro- 
logue, as the incarnate Logos or God- Alan is the 
subject of the historical part of the Gospel. The 
Christ of idea and the Christ of history are one 
and the same. Logos signifies here not an ab- 
straction nor a personification simply, but a per- 
son, the same as in ver. 14, namely, Christ before 
His incarnation, the divine nature of Christ, 
the eternal Son of God. God has never been 
akoyog, or without the Logos, the Son is as eternal 
as the Father. John is the only writer of the New 
Testament who employs the term in this personal 
sense, as a designation of Christ, viz., four times 
in the Prologue (i. 1, 14, " the Word " simply 
and absolutely), once in his first epistle (i. 1, 
"the Word of life "), and once in the Apocalypse 
(xix. 13, "the Word of God"), but in the last 
passage the whole d\vin<s- human person of Christ 
in His exalted state is so called.* There is an 
inherent propriety in this application of the- term, 
especially in the Greek language, where h6yog 
is masculine, and where it has the double mean- 
ing of reason and speeoh.f Christ as to His 
divine nature bears the same relation to the hid- 
den being of God, as the word does to thought. 
In the word of man his thought assumes shape 
and form and becomes clear to the mind, and 
through the same the thought is conveyed and 
made intelligent to others. So the Logos is the 
utterance, the reflection and counterpart of God, 
the organ of all revelation both with regard to 
Himself and to the world, ad intra and ad extra. 
God knows Himself in the Son, and 'through Him 
He makes Himself known to men. The Son has 
declared or revealed and interpreted God (efrryy- 
caro #coV, ver. 18 ; comp. Matt. xi. 27). 

The idea of such a distinction in God is in 
various ways clearly taught in the Old Test. 
Even in the first verses of Genesis we have al- 
ready an intimation of the Word and the Spirit 
as distinct from, and yet identical with, God. 
Personal intercourse with Christ in the flesh and 
the inspiration of the Holy Ghost convinced 
John that Jesus wa3 indeed the Word and the Wis- 
dom of God, the Angel of the Covenant, Jehovah 
revealed (xii. 41), the centre and organ of alf 
revelations (comp. the Introductory Remarks of 
Dr. Lange). The same idea, but in different 
form, we meet in Matt. xi. 27 ; Heb. i. 3 ; Col. 

• fl John t. 7 i§ spurious. Luke 1. 20 ; Acts xx. 32 ; Hob. 
It. 14, are no proper parallels.— 1\ 8.] 
f [On the grammatical sense of Aoyo? see Textual Note 1.] 

i. 15-19, etc. The term X6yoc was suggested to 
John by Gen. i. 8, according to which God cre- 
ated the world through the word of His power, 
and by such passages as Ps. xxxiii. 6 : "By the 
word of the Lord were the heavens made," where 
the LXX uses the very term 7Jtyog for the Hebrew 
"Ol, instead of the usual pviia. This seems to 
be sufficient to account for the form of expres- 
sion, and hence many commentators (Ilolemann, 
Weiss, Hengstenberg) deny all connection of 
John with the speculations of Philo of Alexan- 
dria. There is indeed no evidence that he read 
a line of the writings of this Jewish philoso- 
pher, who flourished about A. D. 40-50. 

Yet, on the other hand, Philo was a profound 
representative thinker mediating between tho 
O. T. religion and the Hellenic philosophy, and 
it is more than probable that soma of his idoas 
had penetrated tho intellectual atmosphere of the 
age before the composition of the fourth Gospel, 
especially in Asia Minor, where they stimulated 
the Gnostic speculations towards the close of tho 
first and the beginning of the second centuries. 
Comp. tho warnings of Paul, Acts xx. 29 ff.; 
1 Tim. iv., the errorists of Colosse, and the here- 
tical gnosis of Cerintbus, who came into con- 
flict with John in Ephesus, and who, according 
to Theodoret, studied first in Egypt. Apollos 
also, the learned Jew, came from Alexandria to 
Ephesus (Acts xviii. 24). It no more detracts 
from the apostolic dignity that John should have 
borrowed a word from, or at least ohosen it with 
tacit reference to, Philo for expressing an origi- 
nal idea, than the general fact that tho apostles 
appropriated the whole Greek language, which 
Providence had especially prepared to be tho> 
organ of the truths of the gaspel. And inas- 
much as John uses the term without any expla- 
nation, as if it were already familiar to his. 
readers, tho assumption of a connection with. 
Philo, however indirect and remote, become*, 
more probable. Such a connection is nssericd. 
by Lucke, De Wette, Bruckner, Meyer, Lange, 
Delitzsch,* Alford, and others. 

Philo's doctrine of tho Logos, in its relation,, 
to that of John, has been thoroughly ventilateiL 
by recent German scholars (sco the literature in 
Liicke's and in Meyer's Com. p. Gl). I shall 
briefly state the result in addition to the excel- 
lent remarks of Dr. Lange (p. 51). Philo, on tho 
basis of the Solomonic and Apocryphal doctrine 
of the Wisdom and'tjio Word of God, and com- 
bining with it Platonic ideas, represents tho- 
Logos (the Nous of Plato) as the embodiment of 
all divine powers and ideas (the ayyeXot of tho 
0. T., the dwAfieic and idiat of Plato). He dis- 
tinguishes between tho 7i6yos hih&$£To<; f or tho 
Logos inherent in God corresponding to tho 
reason in man, and the Adj-nf irpoQopiKof;, or tho 
Logos emanating from God, like the spoken word 
of man which reveals the thought. The former 
contains the ideal world (tho vo7/rb^ K<fo/zof) ; tho 
latter is the first begotten Son of God, tho imago 
of God, the Creator and Preserver, tho Giver of 

* [Bihl. Psychologies seed, cd., p. 178 : " D m dif. Johanna 
Uche Logoalehre nicht ausssr Beziehung rur philnnUchm 
Bteht, ist tinunlliuqbares Rtct'tm. Die oposintiscJie Verkwrtdi- 
gung verxchmiUiU die bereit* votn Alerandrtnismus au*ge- 
prUgten Idwnf^rrmtn tn'eht, ttnndern erf it! f ft tie mit dem 
durch die muUttamcntliche ErfWlungsgcsdiichUfanhuvichten 
//i/iatt."— P. 8.J 

Digitized by 




life and light, the Mediator between God and 
the world, the second God,* also the Messiah, 
yet only in the ideal sense of a theophany, not 
as a concrete historical person.f 

But with all the striking similarity of expres- 
sion, there is a wide and fundamental difference 
between Philo and John. 1) Philo's view is ob- 
scured by dualistic and docetic admixtures, from 
which John is entirely free. 2) lie wavers be- 
tween a personal and impersonal conception of 
the Logos (Keferstein, Zeller, Lange), or rather 
he resolves the Logos after all into an impersonal 
summary of divine attributes (so Dorner, Nied- 
ner, Holemann, Bruckner, Meyer) ; while in 
John He appears as a divine hypostasis, distinct 
from, and yet co-essential with, God. 8) Philo 
has no room in his system for an incarnation of 
the Logos, which is the central idea of the Gos- 
pel of John. His doctrine is like a shadow which 
preceded the substance. It was a prophetio 
dream of the coming reality. Lange compares 
it to the altar of the unknown God, whom St. 
Paul made known to the Athenians. It helped 
to prepare deeper minds for the reception of the 
truth, while it also misled others into Gnostic 
aberrations. " The grand simplicity and clearness 
of the Prologue" (says Meyer, p. 63, note) '* shows 
with what truly apostolio certainty John experi- 
enced the influence of the speculations of his age, 
andyet remained master over them, modifying, cor- 
recting and making them available for his ideas." 

These ideas of Christ formed the basis of his 
belief long before he knew anything of these 
foreign speculations. J But he seems to have 
chosen a form of expression already current in 
the higher regions of thought for the purpose 
-of meeting a false gnosis of speculation with the 
true gnosis of faith. For the airy fancies about 
.the Logos, as the centre of all theophanics, ho 
substitutes at the threshold of his Gospel the 
.substantial reality by setting forth Christ as 
the revealed God: thus satisfying the specu- 
lative wants of the mind and directing misguided 
speculation into the path of truth. A clear and 
strong statement of the truth is always the best 
refutation of error. — P. S.] 

And the "Word.— The clause: "In the be- 
ginning was the Word," contains the whole 
theme. Now follows first the relation of the 

• [6 vpeoVSvTepof vio* row varpdf, 6 vpntroyovo? avrov, 
iIkoju 0«ou, ayy«\os t irpe<r0vTaTOS t apx*YY<Aos, the Aoyof 
-to/acv?. Stjuiovpyb? 61 ov 6 ic6ofio% KartiTKtvdaOrj, 6 ap^e'TV- 
wok «at wapdStiyfia toS $a»r<k, apxiepc u* , cxfnjf, oct/repo? 
-^c<fc, and similar terms which show how nearly Philo, In 
speaking of tho Logos, approached the teaching of St. John, 
although in fact he was nearer tho later Gnostic speculations 
-about the reons. He also says of the Logos that he was 
neither unbegotten (ayivvnrot^ like God, nor begotten (yivmrt- 
T<K),liko ourselves. — P. S.J 

t [LUcko, Alford and others go too far when they say that 
Philo did not connect the Logos with Messianic ideas.— P. S.] 

X [Meyer likewise distinctly asserts the independence of the 
matter of John's Lop;os-doctrino. which rests on the O. T. and 
the teaching of Christ and the Holy Spirit. He arrives, by a 
purely exegetical process, substantially at tho orthodox view, 
and thus sums up the result of his exposition of ver. 1 (p. 
CI) : " Mitltin i*t nnch Jnh. unUr b Aoyoc . . nichts anderes tu 
vtrslehm als die rorzrillich (vrgl. Paidus, Col. 1. 15 ff.) in Gott 
imminent*, sur VoUsiehung des SchVpfungsaetes aoer hypos- 
tat inch aus Gott hervorgegangtne und seitdem als schSp/erv- 
sches, beleJvndes und crleuchtmdes persGnliche* Princiv auch 
in de.r gnsttinen Well wirkende wesenlKche frlbstofftnoarunff 
GoUsf, d***em selbst an Wts*n und IferrlicJikeit gleieh {vrgl. 
Paulas Phil. II. 6), welchs gUttliche frJbsloffenharung in dim 
Mmxchen Jejus UiUich erschienen ist und das Wtrk der We'.tcr- 
. lotung vollsogen haL"'— P. S.J 

Logos to the eternal God, then, more at Urge, 
Ilis relation to the temporal world. 

Was with God.— [npbc rbv &e6v, rather 
than irapa r£ #e£, xvii. 6.] Properly : with God, as 
distinct from and over against Him, in direction 
towards Him, for Him [in inseparable nearness 
and closest intercommunion, comp. ver. 18, *• to- 
wards the bosom of the Father." — P. 8.].* 
There is a similar phraseology in Mark vi. 3, 
and elsewhere. On the antithesis in the eternal 
constitution of God, see above, and Prov. viii. 
30; Wisdom ix. 4. The doctrine of the Holy 
Ghost also is implied in this expression of the 
motion 6r posture of the Logos towards God, as 
well as in the further designation of the Logos : 
He was God. Starke : We must take good heed 
that we do not connect with the particle "with" 
the notion of place or space. The word .denotes 
the most intimate and divine sort of relation to 
another, f 

And the Word was [not the world, which 
did not yet exist, ver. 8, hence not man, nor an- 
gel, nor any creature, but] God. J — Qeic is the 
predicate, Myog the subject ;J and in the Greek the 
predicate stands first, for the sake of emphasis. 
[Comp. iv. 24: icvevfia 6Qe6g. — P. 8.] God [in 
the strict sense of the term], of divine nature 
and kind, was the Logos. Meyer shows bow the 
omission of the article [before #«$f] was neces- 
sary, to distinguish the persons or subjects, 
6 &e6g and 6 Xoyoc ; and how, therefore, this ex- 
pression is not to be taken in the sense of the 
tfrof without tho article [a God], the subordinate 
devrepoe #eoV, in Philo [p. 66j.|| Likewise the 
translation in the adjective form: [=#*«*], 
divine (Daumgarten-Crusius), would alter the 
idea. Tholuck cites Chemnitz : tiedc. sine artic 
essenlialiter, cum artic, personaliter. He refers 
also to Liebner : ChristoL I., p. 165 ; the Letters 
of Liicke and Nitzsch, in the Sludien u. Kriliken, 
1840 and *4l ; Thomasius : Christi Person. II., { 40. 

[0:6g without the article signifies divine es- 
sence, or the generio idea of God in distinction 

* [This sentence excludes Sabellianism, while tho following 
declaration : ** The Word was Ood," excludes A nanism. — 
lfcngel : " Ergo distinctus a Deo Patre. wpot denotat perpttuam 
quasi l-ndmtiam Filii ad l\Urem in unitaU essentia. Erat 
apud Deum uniee quia nil extra Deum turn eraL" Meyer : ** root 
OfzcicJiwt das BejindlicJisein des Logos bti Gott im Gesichts- 
punkte des Yerkdirs" Bruckner : " wood lull mehr die Rilum- 
lichkeit, wp6t mehr die ^ugehSrigkeU des lieisammenstins 
hervor." Alford: "Both the inner substantial union, and 
tho distinct personality of the Adyos are here asserted." 
Liddon (1. c. p. 229): "He is not merely wapd. 6«p(John 
xvii. 5), along with God, but irpoc rhv e«6V. This last propo- 
sition expresses, beyond the fact of co-existence or imma- 
nence, tho more significant fact of perpetuated intercommu- 
nion. Tho face of tho everlasting Word was ever directed 
towards the everlasting Father." Owen: "With signifies a 
continual cleaving or adherence to the object towards which 
the relation of union is expressed, tho closest union, together 
with distinct and independent personality." Oodet: "wpot 
exprime la proximite, la prtsence, le rapprochement mutuel, 
la relation active, la communvm personelle. lie translates it, 
44 en relation avec Ditu."" 1 — P. S.] 

t [ 44 Vbi amor, ibi trinitas." Ood being love, lie must be 
triune, a loving Father, a beloved Son, and tho union and 
communion of both, which is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of 
L*vo and communion. — P. 8.] 

% [Meyer observes hero (p. 05): "There Is something ma- 
jestic in the growth of the record of the Logos in these three 
brief; grand sentences." — P. S.J 

{ [Luther reverses tho order, following closely the Greet: 
Gott war das Wort. So also the old English translation au- 
thorized by Henry VIII.— P. 8.) 

| [Philo calls tho Logos 0«k only by misapplication, iv 
icaTaxpqo'ci, as he *:iys ; and he calls Him 6 oVurepot 0e<fc in . 
the sense or a middle being between Ood and man. — P. 8.] 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 1-6. 


from man and angel; as o&p? , ver. 14, signifies the 
human essence or nature of the Logos. The arti- 
cle before &e6g would here destroy the distinction 
of personality and confound the Son with the Fa- 
ther. The preceding sentence asserts the distinct 
hypothesis of the Logos, this His essential one- 
ness with God. To conceive of an independent 
being existing from eternity, outside or external 
to the one God, and of a different substanoe (fre- 
poovatoc). would overthrow the fundamental truth 
of monotheism and the absoluteness of God. There 
can be but one divine being or substance. — P. S.] 

Ver. 2- The same was. — The first proposi- 
tion characterixes the subject -alone; the Becond 
declares the personal distinction of the Logos 
from God absolute ; the third expresses the essen- 
tial nnity and identity of the divine nature. The 
clauses form a solemn climax: the Logos the 
eternal ground of the world ; the Logos the im- 
age-like expression of God; the Logos God. 
The sentence now following combines those three 
propositions in one : This Logos, which was God, 
was in the beginning with God. [The em- 
phasis lies on ovroe, this Logos who was Himself 
God, and no other Logos; and with ohroe is con- 
trasted ir&vra, ver. 8, the whole creation without 
any exception was brought forth by this Logos. 
So Meyer. — P. S.] This completes the statement 
of the position of Christ within the Godhead; 
then follows His relation to the world. 

Ver. 3. All things were made through 
[oV] him. — [Prom the immanent Word, the \6yoq 
evtiid&cTos, John now proceeds to the revealed 
Word, the Xdyoe npo$opu(6e. The first manifesta- 
tion of the Logos ad extra is the creation. — P. S.] 
Gen. i. Col i. 17 ; Heb. i. 2 ; Philo, de Cherub. I. 
162.* [The Son is the instrumental cause, the 
Father the efficient cause, of the creation ; comp. 
1 Cor. viii. 6 and the difference between i/c and 
did. The Son never works of Himself, but al- 
ways as the revealer of the Father and the exe- 
cutor of His will. — P. S.] As the Evangelist 
means, that absolutely all that exists, not only 
in its form and totality, but also in its material 
and detail, was called into life by the Logos, 
irdvra y ally without the article, is more suitable 
[being more general and unlimited] than ra 
xavra [which would mean a specific and definite 
totality, as in 1 Cor. v. 18. The Socinian in- 
terpretation : 'the ethical creation,' or 'all Chris- 
tian graces and virtues/ is grammatically impos- 
sible.— P. 8.] f 

And without him. — Not merely an "empha- 
tic parallelisms antithetic us " [comp. v. 20; x. 
28; 1 John ii. 4, 27], though it is this primarily 
(see Meyer), but also a further direct statement 
of the negation contained in the previous clause. 

• [Philo justly distinguishes the efficient from the instru- 
nratal cans* of the creation, the former he signifies by w^' 
ov, th4 latter by oV o5 : . . rhv 0cbp, u$' oC (6 «oo>io?; yiyovtv 
vAy W, tA T«<r<rapa orotveia, i( wv ovvticpdOrf opyarov 
&i f \iyor 0eov, &i o £ car ttrtt ev<£<r ij. The Bible 
excludes the Platonic and Philonic doctrine of the wAtj which 
i* dtulistic. It teaches that the world was made by God the 
Fjth-r (in answer to the question v$' ov), through the 8on 
(54* ©K out of nothing (<£ o6\ for His glory (oV S).— P. 8.] 

f [Meyer: "John might have written r<L wdvra (with the 
article) as 1 Cor. viii. 6 ; Col. 1. 16 ; but ho must not; comp. 
CoL L 17 ; John iii. 35. for his idea is: < All/ in the unlimited 
*3or»; tA vavra wonld express the idea: the totality of things 
existing." Comp. Godet. Bengel observes on wivra: "Grand* 
vertiuR, quo mundus, i. e. univtrtila* rtruM factarwn denoCa- 
tmr y ver. 10."— P. S.J 

For Meyer [followed by Godet] in vain calls in 
question John's intention to exclude by this ne- 
gative sentence (as LUcke, De Wette, Olsbausen 
and others have observed*) the Platonio and 
Philonic doctrine of the timeless matter (v?lt?). 
The argument that, since kykvro and ykyovev de- 
note only a becoming which is subsequent to 
creation, therefore the Ihj would not be included, 
seems itself to rest upon the unconscious notion 
of a prro-temporal vfoj. The only question should 
be, whether 5 yiyovtv could be said of the vlrj ; 
especially since the Evangelist does not distinctly 
enter upon the idea of the v?jj\tl itself considered, 
and doubtless for very good reasons. A propo- 
sition so distinctly antithetic was undoubtedly 
expressed also with antithetic intont, and it would 
imply downright ignorance in the Evangelist to 
suppose him unacquainted with this antithesis so 
universally familiar to Ate ancient world. We 
should likewise remember, with Tholuck, that 
the sentence contains, on the other hand, the an- 
tignostio thought, that the orders of spirits also 
were made by the Logos. For Col. ii. 18 shows 
that the germ of the Gnostio doctrine of aeons 
was already known. Yet the strong ov6e ev [not 
even one thing, prorsue nihil, stronger than ovtikv, 
nothing] proves that the an tiny lie aim decidedly 
prevails. [There is great comfort in the idea 
that there is absolutely nothing in the wide 
world which is unknown to God, which does not 
owe its very existence to Him, and which must 
not ultimately obey His infinitely wise and holy 
will. Comp.* Ewald in loc. — P. J3.] 

That hath been made. — Perfect: 6 ytyo- 
vev. All created existence. The connection of 
this clause with the following : " That which was 
made, in Him it was lifo (had its life in Him)," 
has been advocated from Clement of Alexandria 
down, by eminent fathers like Origen and Au- 
gustine, and by some codices and versions. But, 
besides the mass of the codices, Chrysostom and 
Jerome are against this connection. It must be 
rejected for the following considerations: (1) 
that such connection would require kori instead 
of j/i> after ykyovev (Meyer) ; (2) that it would 
destroy the absolute idea of the £«# which is ex- 
pected here (see 1 John i. 1) ; (3) that it would 
causo the derived life in Jhe creatures to bo desig- 
nated as the light of men ; (4) that it would con- 
fuse the idea of the essential life itself here, and 
make the word equivocal.* Clement of Alexan- 
dria may have been led by his philosophy to se- 
parate somewhat the sentence : ovde kv y b ykyovev ; 
then many followed him for the sake of the ap- 
parent profundity of his combination. On Ilil- 
genfeld's introduction of the Gnostic £<*>// here, 
see the note in Meyer [p. 03], 

Ver. 4. In him was life. — [£«?, the true life, 
the divine, immortal life (comp. iii. 15, 1G ; vi. 
27, 33, 35, 40, 47 ; Matth. vii. 14 ; xix. 1G ; Rom. 
ii. 7 ; v. 10, 17, 18, 21, and a great many pas- 
sages), as distinct from ftioc, the natural, mor- 
tal lifo (comp. the Greek in 1 John ii. 16 ; iii. 
17 ; Mark xii. 44; Lu. viii. 14, 43 ; xv. 12, 21 ; 

* [Also Alford : " This addition is not merely a Hebrew 
parallelism, but a distinct denial of the eternity and uncre- 
atedness of matter as hold by the Gnostics. They set matter, 
as a separate existence, over against Ood, and made it the 
origin of evil :— but John excludes any such notion."— P. S.J 

f [Godet justly remarks that £«ij hvat is too strong an ex- 
pression for creatures instead of tfwijv ex«tr.— P. S.J 

Digitized by 




2 Tim. ii. 4).— P. S.] The translation: "was 
life," is based on the absence of the article (De 
Wette, Meyer). But in Greek the omission of 
the article makes less difference than in German 
[and English]. To say [in English] : In Him 
was life, may mean : some measure of life. In 
the Greek it means, at least in this connection : 
the fullness of life, all life (Phiio:* nifti) C"7f)-* 
Hence Luther's translation : war dot Leben : was 
the life, is best. Meyer justly rejects the re- 
striction of the idea to the spiritual life [£o# al- 
6vloc~\ (Origen [Maldonatus, Lampe, Hengsten- 
berg] and others), or to the physical (Baumgar- 
ten-Crusius), or to the ethical (felicitate Kuinoel).f 
Nor is the life here to be at all divided into phy- 
sical, moral and eternal. It is the creative life, 
the ultimate principle of life, which manifests it- 
self in the operations of life in every province. 
This, however, excludes the thought that God 
called things into existence by an act of abstract, 
pure will in the Logos. The Word was as much 
an animating breath as it was a logical, luminous 
and enlightening volition. The life refers chiefly 
to the creative power and the power of manifes- 
tation, to the substance and the principles of 
things, as the light to their laws and forms; 
though primarily lifo and light still form a unity. 
Gerlach : " From creation he passes to preserva- 
tion and providence, and ascribes these also to 
^he Word, in virtue of the creative vital force 
dwelling in Him. All beings, however, not only 
stand in Him, but have their true, perfect life, 
attain their end, and enjoy the happiness and 
perfection designed for them, only in Him. Comp. 
on this full sense of life, eternal life, ch. iii. 1G, 
36," etc. 

And the life [the article ;/ refers to the £w# 
just mentioned] was the light of men. — 
John passes from the relation of the Logos to the 
world at large to His relation to men. Here life 
kindles up into light. As God the Father is in 
the absolute sense life (v. 26: 6 irarfo lx u C w '/ V 
h iavr$) and light (1 John i. 6 : 6 debf <& eon) t 
so is the Son likewise. Light is a figurative ex- 
pression for pure, divine truth, both intellectual 
and moral, in opposition to darkness (ovcor/a), 
which includes error and sin. Christ is not Qhq 
simply, but rd 0£f, the only true light; comp. 
v. 9; viii. 12; ix. 5. All nations and languages 
use light, which is the vivifying and preserving 
principle of the world, as a fit image of the Deity. 
Christ is not simply doctor verm religionie (Kui- 
noel), but is here represented as the general il- 

• [Comp. Pa. xxxvi. 9 : " With Thee Is the fountain of life; 
in Thy light wo see light ;" LXX : miyyi £wq«. Comp. also 
Johnxi. 2o: "lam the resurrection and the life (if £<""?) ;" 
and 1 John i. 1, where Christ is called tho (personal) W ord of 
life, tm* £«»j5.— P. S.l 

f [Olshiiust'n, BrUckner and Alford likewise take life In this 
comprehensive sense, that tho Logos is the source of all life 
to the creature, net indeed ultimately, but mediately, comp. 
rer. 2G ; 1 John v. 11. Bo ddvaros, the opposite of £«if, covers 
in John tho physical and spiritual. Chrysostom (Horn. V., al. 
IV.) refers £torj mainly to the power of creation and preserva- 
tion, but also to the resurrection. According to Olshausen 
£«ij designates tho only real absolute being, the bvrm* *lva\. y 
of Deity, in contrast with the relative existence of the crea- 
ture. Luthardt and BrUckner: u Da$insiehatsUUigU } wakr6 
Sein, wekhet tugleieh die $ehi>pftri»che Lebentkraft tchlechthin 
Ut ofme Unitrtchcidung dtt Phytischen una l&hitchen." 
Godet : " la tanti vitaU dan* $a viqumr la plus intacU, It de- 
vtlnpement normal de V txittrnr** i. e. life in its normal and 
healthy condition, whether physical, or intellectual and moral, 
or supernatural and eternal.— P. B.J 

luminator of the intellectual and moral universe 
even before His incarnation. lie is the Qootfpoc, 
the original bringer and constant dispenser of 
light to all men.* Light and salvation are 
closely related ; comp. Ps. xxvii. 1 : «• Jehovah is 
my light and my salvation ;" comp. Isa. xlix. 6. — 
In the Legos was the life, and this life ie the light. 
Observe, it is not said the Logos was the life. 
The personal God, the personal Logos, have not 
passed into the form of mere life, as Pantheism 
holds ; branched out* into extension and thought, 
as Spinoza has it; alienated Himself from Him- 
self; emptied Himself of Himself, as idea, ac- 
cording to Hegel and the modern philosophy of 
nature. And as little has He, according to tho 
abstract supernaturalistic notion, made a purely 
creature-life out of nothing. He has creatively 
revealed the life which was in Him, and has 
made it, as the vital spiritual ground of the 
creation, the light of men. We must, therefore, 
on the one hand, keep the continuity of His re- 
velation : tho Word, the life, the light ; but on 
the other hand, observe tho antithesis, which 
now appears between the life and the light, more 
exactly defined: nature and spirit. With tho 
idea of the light, the Evangelist passes to man. 
kind. It belongs therefore to the constitution of 
humanity to receive the life as light (see Rom. 
i. 20; John viii. 12), and in the light still ever to 
perceive the personal revelation of the personal 
Logos. The light is, unquestionably, the divine 
truth, akfjdeia (Meyer); not, however, primarily 
as theoretical and practical^ but as ontological or 
essential, and formal, logical; then also, doubt- 
less, as the truth of tho origin of lifo (ideal, re- 
ligious) and the end of it (ethical). Meyer most 
justly maintains that here is described the pri- 
mal condition of mankind in paradise, f not pri- 
marily the subsequent revelation of the Logos as 
"kdyoc. oirepfiarucdg in the heathen world, or as tho 
principle of revelation in Judaism. And that 
the operations of that primal relation were not 
subsequently broken off, though certainly they 
wero broken, is declared by the next verse itself, 
which thus forms a complete parallel to Rom. i. 

Ver. 5. And the light shineth.— [Comp. 
Isa. ix. 1 ; Matlh. iv. 10]. — L e., it still shines, 
even now. The darkness which entered was not 
absolute. If the light here, as is certainly tho 
case, becomes the subject (Meyer against Lucke), 
Liicke, in his interpretation : And as the light 
shines the Logos, is still right, in so far as tho , 
light, rightly known, must be known as the 
manifestation of the personal Logos. Since tho 
darkness has not been able to destroy the life, it 
has also not been able to destroy the light in the 
life, and shining inalienably belongs to the light. 
— It shineth. — Present : denoting continuous 
activity from the beginning till now. But it 
does not follow that the enlightening agency of 
the incarnate Word (Xoyoc ivaapKog) is meant as 
well as of the Word before the Incarnation (X6yoc 
aaapKoc). For where the ?Jyoc Ivoapicoc is known, 

♦ [Chrysostom : owe tlvtv, Sf to 4»* *** IovoWwk, oAAa 
jtaSoAov twv AvOfkanw. — P. 8.1 

■(■ [Ver. 4 relates to the condition before, vor. 5 to the condi- 
tion after, the fall. Bo already Bengel. Godet goes farther, 
and discovers in Jt/>nnd light an allusion to the trees of life 
and knowledge in paradise. Ingenious, but not properly war- 
ranted by the text.— P. S.] 

Digitized by 


CHAP I. 1-5. 


the oKoria is taken away. The Logos, however, 
even for the heathen and unbelievers, is still 
constantly active in all the world as aoapxoc 
round about the revelations of the tvtrapKoc. Do 
Wette groundlessly takes the present as a histo- 
rical present, referring to the activity of the 
light in the old covenant.* 

In the darkness.— The entrance of the dark- 
ness as a hostile counterpart to the light, t. «., the 
fall, is here presupposed ; and it must be inferred 
that the primitive condition just described was not 
disturbed by any such darkness, f — The dark- 
ness, however, is not simply " the state in which 
man has not the Divine truth " (Meyer). As 
the light is truth, so the darkness is falsehood 
(John viii. 44), the positive perversion of the 
truth in delusion, and the OKoria denotes the total 
manifestation of sin as a total manifestation of 
falsehood, in its hostile workings against the 
tight, together with its substratum, the kingdom 
of darkuess in mankind, t. <?., primarily in hu- 
man nature, yet only in so far as human nature 
is submissive to and pleased with falsehood. We 
very much doubt whether John would have 
called mankind itself, as sinful, darkness. 

Suppressed [?] it not. — [The aor. icari- 
Xaflev is used because John speaks of it as a 
historical fact.] Common interpretation : Com- 
prehend \begreifen\ % understand (Luther [Eng. 
Vers., Altord, Wordsworth; but in this sense 
the vox media only is used, Acts iv. 13; z. 84. — 
P. S.]). (2) Meyer: apprehend [ergreifen], 
grasp. [So Karalau $dvetv is used xii. 85: 
\va ut) OKoria v/iif KaraM/in ; Mark ix. 18 ; Rom. 
ix. 80; Phil. iii. 12 f.; 1 Cor. ix. 24. The rea- 
son why the darkness rejected the light is indi- 
cated in iii. 19 and Matth. xxiii. 87. — P. S.]t 
(3) hinder, suppress; Origen, Chrysostom and 
others (Lnnge, Leben Jesu, III., p. 654), recently 
Holemann. Meyer is obliged to concede that 
this interpretation is grammatically correct} 
(Herod, i. 46, 87, etc); he calls it, however, 
false to the context. But an absolute negation 
of the penetrating activity of the light would be 
false to the context; for it would destroy the 

* [BrUckner likewise dissents here from Do Wette. Alford : 
" This £durci is not merely the historical present, but describes 
the whole process or the light and life in the Eternal Word 
shining in this evil and dark world ; both by the 0. T. reve- 
lations, and by all the scattered fragments of light glittering 
among the thick darkness of heathendom." llengsteuberg, 
on the contrary (p. 33), dsnies all illumination of the heathen 
world as foreign to the mind of John, and explains that, the 
Logos before the incarnation was virtually life and light, but 
did not manifest Himself as such before the Incarnation, so 
that those who lived before Christ were excluded from life and 
light. But this would cut off even tho saints of the 0. T. 
Comp. against Ilengstenberg ver. 9 : Rom. i. 18-24 ; ii. 14, 16 ; 
Acts xlv. 16, 17 ; xvii. 27, 23.— P. 8. J 

f As the (TKoria is not introduced here in its historical 
origin, Hilgenfeld (with the Baur school generally) has sought 
here to make ultimate opposites out of the light and dark- 
ness. Thus is the Gnostic filth everywhere brought in, Just 
where the evangelist would sweep it out, as here by the pre- 
ceding owM <f. 

J (Meyer: u ov KariKaptv, ergriff et nicht; nahm nicht 
BetUt davoi ; et ward vm der Fintternitt nicJU angeeig- 
%eL to doss tie dadureh licht geworden Vfiire ; tie blieo ihm 
fern und fremaV Ewald (p. 121) takes the same view, and 
finds besides in ov xaWAa0<r the idea of guilt: l 'und die 
VUsUrniu dennoch ihrerteitt ergriff et nicht, tigneU. tt tick 
nicht an. wie tie dock hUUe thun Tcdnnen und tolUn." — 
P. 3.1 

| [According to classic usage, but In the N. T. this 
meaning has no parallel. John would probably have used 
uWvtir in this case, as Paul did, Bom. i. 18 ; 2 Thess. ii. 0, 7. 
- M.] 

full meaning of both of the next verses and the 
whole Gospel. The Evangelist intends to declare 
the very aavent of the Light in the history of the 
world, its breaking through all the obstructions 
of the ancient darkness, as it appeared continu- 
ously in tho history of Abraham. 

[This interpretation gives good sense, but dis- 
agrees with the connection and destroys the pa- 
rallelism of vers. 5, 10, 1 1, which is quite obvi- 
ous, although there is a difference in the choice of 
the verbs Karakafi/idveiv, yivdoaetv, and irapatofA- 
P&vetv, as also in the object (ver. 5, avr6 t sc. rd 
Quq ; ver. 10, 11, avrov, sc. rbv Myov.) 

Ver. 5. to 4>«*f iv rjj cricoria <J>cuVei, 

ecu if tTKoria avrb ov ffar4Aa/3«r. 

Ver. 10. <V t« k6o>¥ V. 

*ai 6 *6V/iOc avrbv ovk cypm. 

Ver. 11. sit ta ilia fiKdtv, 

teal ot i6toi avrbv ov napiKafitv. 

The Gentiles, as well as the Jews (ol Idiot), re- 
jected the preparatory revelations of the Logos. 
Comp. Rom. i. 20 ff. John speaks, of course, 
only of the mass, and himself makes exceptions 
(ver. 12). The meaning of ml here and vers. 10 
and 11 is and yet, notwithstanding the light 
shining in the darkness. There is here a tone of 
sacred sadness, of holy grief, which must fill 
every serious Christian in view of the amazing 
ingratitude of the great majority of men to the 
boundless mercies of God. — P. S.] 

[1. The Bible speaks of three creations — the 
first marks the beginning, the second tho central 
and turning point, the third the end, of the his- 
tory of the world. The 0. T. opens with tho na- 
tural creation, tho N. T. with the moral creation 
or incarnation, and the Revelation closes with 
a description of the new heavens and the new 
earth, where nature and grace, the first and 
second creation, shall be completely harmonized, 
and the perfect beauty of the spirit shall be 
reflected in a glorious and immortal body. 
The first words of the Gospel of Matthew: 
The book of generation, or genealogy, origin (/fc/ftoc 

yeviaeoc^J))! l)FS "!?.?.)» reminds one of the head- 
ing of the second account of creation in Genesis 
ii. 4 (nW?to H-?«, Sept.: Airrn ?/ /3/;ftoc yevioeoc 
ovpavov Kal 77c). The first words of the Gospel 
of John, In' the beginning (eu apxv)* contain an 
unmistakable allusion to the first words in Gene- 
sis (i. 1, JVt7*n3, Sept.: iv apxv)\ and* (he third 
verse of the former: "All things were made by 
Him" (the personal Word), may serve as a com- 
mentary on the third verse of the latter: "God 
said (^OVh) 9 Let there be light ! And there was 
light." The world was created by God the Fa- 
ther through God the Son. Comp. Ps. x xxiii. 
6; Col. i. 16; Heb. i. 2; Rev. iv. 11.— P. S.] 

2. [In Langk, No. 1.] The fundamental car- 
dinal ideas of this section aro: The personal God 
(6 8e6e); the Word or the Logos absolute, tho be- 
ginning, the rise of things, the life, the light, men, 
the darkness, the shining of the light in the dark- 
ness, the irrepressible breaking of the light through 
the darkness: all belonging to the exhibition of 
the eternal advent of Christ. God is designated 

Digitized by 




as personal by virtue of His Logos : the Logos, 
on His God- ward side, is designated as the full 
expression of the being of God in objective, per- 
sonal correlation ; in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
the x a P aKT ^/Pi c. i. 8 ; in Paul, the image, elic&v, 
Col. i. 15. As the human word is the expression 
of the human mind, so the Word of God is the 
expression of His being, in focus-like central 
clearness and perfect concentration. But if, with 
reference to God, the Logos is single, He is, on 
the side toward the world, inexhaustibly rich and 
manifold, comprising the whole ideal kingdom of 
divine love, John xvii. 5; Eph. i. 4. The Logos, 
as the expressed life of God, is the eterrfhl 
ground of the temporal world. The beginning 
gives the becoming, the becoming gives the 
world. The ult imate cause of the world's coming 
into being aud continuing is the creating and up- 
holding lite in the Logos, as He contains the prin- 
ciples of life. The wholo revelation of this life 
in the world was light for man, who was himself 
of the light, t. «., it was a spiritual element for 
his spirit. Even the encroaching darkness could 
not extinguish this light. In the midst of the 
darkness it shines (the bright side of heathen- 
ism), and through the darkness it breaks (the 
Old Testament revelation).* 

8. [2.] The passage before us contains the 
ultimate data of the New Testament doctrine of 
the ontological Trinity.-f The Evangelist states 
an antithesis in the Godhead which refers prima- 
rily not to the world, but to God. The Logos 
was in the beginning; this is His eternity, which 

* [Victor Strauss (Das Kirchtnjahr im House, Heidelberg, 
1845, p. 03) beautifully reproduces and expounds the Jo- 
hannean idea of the Logos in his relation to God and the 
■world : 

" Tor Jnfxginn der SchCpfung und der Zeiten 
Jit Grjtles Eingtbomer twxylich. 
Die nute selbst von QoUes WesenheUen, 

Das ew'ge Du. in dem des Yaters Jch 
Dts ciynen tVesau Wesenheit btticgtlt, 
Den eignen Abgrund aufgedeckt in sich, 

Die Hand die Gottes TUf ihm stJbsi entriegtlt, 
Sein Wille selbst in an/anglour Tliat f 
&inAI>gkms t der ihm selbst sichwiederspiegelL 

Das Wort, das er in sich geboren hat 
Zum wahren Snn, drin IWle der Nature* 
Jn"s ungeschaffne Dasein twig traL 

Da ist der Grund, cats dem die Weltenfluren 
Hervorgesprosst sum Anbtyinn der Zcil, 
Als ew'gts Dasein ward tu Creaturen; 

Vnd LebensjTUC in reinster SetiglcHt 
Ging aus von Dan in die Erschaffnen alle ; 
Es war nur Lieht, war keine Dunkelheit." — P. 8.] 
t [German dirines properly distinguish since Urlspcrgcr 
(who invented, not the distinction, but the terminology) bo- 
tween the ontological and the axonomical Trinity, or the Tri- 
nity of ttttnet and the Trinity of revelation. The ontological 
Trinity is the Trinity of the Divine being before and inde- 
pendent of the world, the inherent threefold distinction in 
God, who both as absolute intelligence and as absolute will 
or love, is to Himself an object of knowledge and of love, 
and yet self-identical in this distinction. We have an analogy 
in our human self-consciousness which implies a union of the 
knowing subject and the known object ; and in human love 
there is also a trinity— the loving subject, the beloved object, 
and the union of the two. The ceconomical Trinity is the 
Trinity of God manifested in the world in the work of Crea- 
tion and Preservation (as God the Father), Redemption (as 
God the Son), and Regeneration and Sanctification (as God the 
Holy Ghoflt). Tho Bible generally speaks of the Trinity as 
revealed, but this itself justifies by inference the assumption 
of the internal Trinity, since God reveals Himself as He actu- 
ally is. Thero can be no contradiction between His being 
and His manifestation-— P. S.J 

at once implies His deity. He was God, t. e. t not 
a subordinate kind of deity (Philo, and the subor- 
dination ists), which, in view of the Biblical mo- 
notheism, is simply a self-contradiction in terms ; 
not to say that the absence of the article with 
6e6c emphasises just the " divine being " of the 
Logos. With the divinity of the Logos as distinct 
from God (the Father), the antithesis in the 
Godhead is established. And at the same time 
is signified the unity of the speaking God and 
the spoken, i, «., the existence of the Spirit, 
which Schleiermacher (in his Dogmatik), misses 
in the passage. Considered as the unity of God 
with the Logos, it is contained in the term Lo- 
gos ; considered as the unity of the Logos with 
God, it is contained in tho phrase irpbc rov 
Oeov. Of the Spirit distinctly John had here no 
occasion to speak.* But if the whole essence of 
God was concentrated as an object to itself in 
the Word, the eternal perfection of the divine 
consciousness in luminous clearness, unity, and 
certitude, is thereby declared, against all notions 
of a crcaturely development in an originally 
crude divine being. In the eternal Logos lies 
the idea of the eternal consciousness, as well as 
its eternal concentration and revelation to itself: 
the idea, therefore, of the eternal personality, 
which, in its power of self-revelation, is the Lord ; 
in its distinction, love; in its unity, the 

It may now be asked, why there is nothing 
said of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and whether 
the ancient and modern distinctions between the 
eternal Logos of God and the coming of the Lo- 
gos to be Son first in the creation (Mar cell us, and 
in some measure Urlsperger), are not well 
grounded. It is to be observed, however, that 
the distinction between eternity and temporal- 
ness in Scripture is not the same as with these 
theologians. According to Scripture, time is not 
excluded or cut off from eternity, but embraced 
and penetrated by it, so that Christ says : " Be- 
fore Abraham was, I am." In the Logos is from 
eternity the essence of the Son, as in God is the 
essence of the Father, as in the relation of tho 
two is the essence of the Spirit The distinction 
of the two in our Evangelist, however, proceeded 
from, his making an antithesis between the eter- 
nity which is before the world, and the eternity 
which, with the beginning of the world, enters 
into the world and comes under temporal condi- 
tions. If the eternity of God beyond the world 
be conceived in contrast with the world, the Son 
is called Logos; if it be conceived absolutely, the 
Logos is called the Son. And the church doc- 
trine treats of the Godhead absolutely, as it is 
from eternity to eternity ; therefore of the Son. 
The Son, as Logos, is from eternity ; the Logos, 
as Son, passes from eternity into development, 
i. e., into the unfolding of the glories of the di- 
vine nature. On the development of the church 
doctrine of the Logos, Bee Dorner's Entwicklungt- 
geschichte, etc. (History of Christology). 

4. [3]. After the relation of the Logos to God 
follows first His relation to the world, as antithetic 

* [The dispensation of tho Spirit, nis ceconomical manifesta- 
tion in tho world with the whole fullness of His power, pre- 
supposed the atoning work and glorification of Christ, and 
did not appear before the day of Pentecost and the founding 
of the Christian Church. Comp. John vii. 39.— P. S.J 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 1-5. 


to the former. And the world is here viewed not 
as a finished cosmos, but in concrete totality : all 
things ( irdrra) ; because the cosmos is properly 
the result and manifestation of the development 
of the things ; rd irav is the finished appearance 
of the irtivra, as the Logos is their original 
source ; because it should be distinctly remem- 
bered that the Logos is not merely architect of 
the form of the world (the demiurge of Philo), but 
also the producer of the material of the world, or 
rather of the life of the world, which reduces its 
subordinate, elementary forms to the material of 
the world. The question whether the creation of 
the world is from eternity, or arose in time, pro- 
ceeds from an obscurity respecting the relation 
between the ideas of eternity and time. To 
conceive the world as arising in eternity, before 
time, incurs the absurdity of supposing a world, 
consequently a development (tin Werden) without 
time (i. e., also without rhythm or established 
succession). To oonoeive the world as arising 
in time, presupposes an existence of time before 
the world, i «., a time without world. Time is 
the world itself in its unfolding. The world, 
therefore, arose with time, and time with the 
world, but upon the basis of eternity, which but 
reveals itself in all time. 

6. [4]. "And without him was not any thing 
made, Ps. xxxiii. 6. The absolutely dynamic 
view of the world ; in opposition to materialism, 
which, in its anti-dynamic dealing, is the philo- 
sophy of the absolute impotence of the spirit, 
vexed with a remnant of spirit. In the btate- 
• ment that all things were made by the Logos (not 
out of Him, nor yet by Him as an instrument, but 
ta principle), the creation is at the same time re- 
presented as a pure act of the eternal personality; 
in opposition to all theories of emanation. Both 
the doctrine of an eternal heterogeneous opposi- 
tion between God or spirit and matter (pantheis- 
tic Dualism), and the doctrine of an eternal natu- 
ral outflowing of all things from God (dualistic 
Pantheism), are here excluded (not to speak of 
the cabbalistic fancies concerning matter, as a 
shadow of God, a negation of God, which have 
emerged again even in our day). By the har- 
monious distinction in God, or His absolute per- 
sonality, the discordant opposition in the world, 
the heathen view of the world, is denied. Ger- 
lach: The by is not to be understood as if the 
Logos, the Word, were only the external archi- 
tect; Paul expresses it: "In him* were all 
things created," and adds : " by him and for 
him," CoL i. 16. 

6. [5]. But the next words: "In him was the 
life" etc., with equal decision, contradict Deism, 
which sees in the world only an act and work of 
a God entirely outside and remote, f The Logos 
is the life of the life, the operative, oreative 
force, by which all things are. Yet the things 
have their life in Him, not He His life in the 

* ["Br avr»; inaccurately translated by him in the English 
Version, and thus not rightly distinguished from ©V avrov at 
the close of the same Terse. — E. D. Y.] 

f [Gothe thus refute* Deism : 

"What were a God who only from without 
Upon his finger whirled the universe about? 
*Tis his within itself to move the creature ; 
Nature in him to warm, himself in nature; 
Bo that what in him lives and moves and is, 
Shall aver feel tome living breath of his."— P. &] 

things. And the preservation of the world rests 
upon the same word as the creation, Hcb. i. 3 ; 
John v. 17. — The points of unity between tho 
creation and the preservation of the world, in 
which the creation establishes tho preservation, 
and the preservation reaches back to the basis of 
the creation, are vital principles, out of Which 
the vital laws evolve themselves, Gen. i. 11 ; zii. 
21, 28. The life is, however, before the light, 
nature beforo spirit; though even the natural 
light, as tho first step of the separating (and li- 
berating) process of the life, is a prophecy of 
the. spirit, which, being of the nature of light, 
finds its essential light in the manifestations of 
the Logos. 

7. [t>]. "And the life was the light." An inti- 
mation of the antithesis between spirit and nature. 
In man the revelation life of tho Logos has ap- 
peared in the world as light. Consciousness is 
tho light of being. But the life was the light of 
men, not merely as the souroe of life, in that the 
human spirit has its origin in the Logos; but 
also as the element of life, in that the clearness 
of the spirit subsists only through the in-work- 
ing of the Logos. Without Him the light in man 
becomes itself darkness (Matth. vi. 22),* and the 
spirit, tho irvevua, itself becomes unspiritual 
flesh. But if the life itself was the light of 
men, the creation must have been, to the puro 
man, a transparent symbol, a perfectly intelligi- 
ble likeness of divine things (Rom. i. 20). And 
this thought is most gloriously carried out in the 
Gospel. Christ has made the light of men mani- 
fest in the life. 

8. [7]. "Jn the darkness." The Evangelist, 
writing as a Christian for Christians, can intro- 
duce the idea of darkness without further expla- 
nation, with no fear of being misunderstood. As 
he has not intended to give a cosmogony, so he 
considers it unnecessary here to treat of the be- 
ginning of sin. His subject is the Logos, who 
has appeared as the Christ. Accordingly he 
delineates first the eternal divine nature of the 
Logos and His congenial, friendly relations to tho 
world and to mankind, and now comes to His 
hostile posture towards sin. And this he views in 
its deepest and most suggestive aspect, as an op- 
position of the light to the darkness. The sin 
which has come into the world is, above all 
things, darkness, self-darkening of the light of 
spiritual life in falsehood, John viii. 44. And 
this darkness is not the sinful spirits, but 
sin, as the obscuration of the life, including the 
life itself, so far as it becomes one with sin. 
Hence: "shinelh in the darkness;" not into the 
darkness. This darkness, as such, can be only 
broken through, destroyed, by the light, not 
transformed into light. But in this the power of 
the light has been made manifest, that it has 
not ceased to shine even in the darkness of the 
heathen world. Nay, the deeper the darkness, 
the more wonderfully does the light scintillate 
through it in obstructed, colored radiance, in the 
motley mythologies, usages and philosophemes 

* [More rroperly, without Him there were no light at all in 
man. In Matth. vL 22 the Lord speaks rather or a perversion, 
confusion, doubling of tho vision by the carnal will, so that 
the light within becomes distorted and a source of positive 
error, than of an absence of the light itself. Such light-dark- 
ness, or dark-light, like the ignis fatuus, is a u greater " dark- 
ness than simple darkness ittselt— E. D. Y.J 

Digitized by 




of the heathen world, so far as they are symbo- 
lical and have an ideal substance: the TJtyoq 
C7repfiariK6g ft he word implanted, disseminated 
among men].* John defines the relation be- 
tween sin and the continual working of good in 
the world exactly as Paul does in Rom. ii. 18 and 

9. [8]. "Restrained it not" The sense is: 
prevented it not from breaking through. Inti- 
mating the entrance of a historical advent in the 
active faith of Abraham. The historical begin- 
ning of the religion of active faith. [See my ob- 
jections to this interpretation, p. 50. Kart?M. t 3ev 
rather means hero grasped, apprehended, — P. S.] 


The life of Jesus Christ in time, the great dis- 
closure respecting eternity: (1) Respecting His 
own eternal nature ; (2) Respecting the personal 
being of God; (3) Respecting the origin of all 
things (particularly the antithesis of spirit and 
nature) ; (4) Respecting the nature and destiny 
of man ; (o) Respecting the contest between the 
light and the darkness in the history of the 
world. — The word of Scripture concerning " the 
beginning:" (1) The Old Testament word in the 
New Testament light ; (2) The New Testament 
word on the Old Testament basis. — The great 
beginning between eternity and time considered : 
(1) As the great distinction between eternity and 
time ; (2) As the great union between eternity 
and time. — The three great words concerning 
Christ: In the beginning was the Word : (1) In 
the beginning was the Word; the divine nature 
of Christ ; (2) In the beginning was the Word ; 
the eternity of Christ ; (3) In the beginning was 
the Word ; the eternal operation and generation 
of Christ. Or, The Word was (1) Before the 
beginning (His relation to God) ; (2) For the be- 
ginning (His relation to tho world); (8) In the 
beginning (His relation to things). — Tho Word 
which was in the beginning, a testimony (1) To 
the eternal Personality as the ground of all 
things; (2) To the eternal Spirit-Light as the 
law of all things ; (3) To the eternal Love as the 
kernel of all things ; (4) To the eternal lifo as 
the life of all things. — The Word in His exaltation 
over time: He (1) In the beginning founded all 
things; (2) In the middle executed all things; 
that He may (3) In tho end judge all things. — 
The import of the Word in God, illustrated by 
the word in man: (1) The expression and mir- 

* [Justin Martyr applied tho Platonic view of tho relation 
of the vovk to the voep6v in man to the relation of the divine 
Arfyof to the tnrtpfia Aoyucrfp, the human reason, and derived 
all the elements of truth which are scattered like seeds among 
the ancient heathen, from the influence of Christ before His 
incarnation. Ho recognised iu the rational soul itself some- 
thing closely related to the divine Logos, a germ or spark of 
the Reason of reasons, a Arfyoc vwtptiarvc6\, a mrtptia rov 
Aoyov iiufrvrov. He regarded the heathen sages as unconscious 
disciples of the Logos, as Christians before Christ, and com- 
pared Socrates to Abraham. Apol II. {13: "Each man 
spoke well In proportion to the share he had of the sperma- 
tic divino word (airb jilpovt rov <nrcpjj.ari«ou Btiov Aoyov), 
seeing what wss related to it. Whatever things were rightly 

said among all men, are the property of us Christians 

All tho [heathen] writers were able to see realities darkly 
through the seed of the implanted word that was in them 
(6t& Tip* ivovvrtf IfufrvTOv tow Aoyov <nropa* )." Comp. ii. 
f 8, where, speaking of the 8toics and the poets, he says that 
their moral teaching in part was admirable on account of the 
seed of reason implanted in every race of men, did to c/a$v- 
tok veum yivti avQp&rmv <ritipp.a rov Aoyov.— P. B.J 

ror of the personal nature (of the spirit, the rea- 
son) ; (2) The expression and sigual of personal 
act. — The Word, as the bloom of the tree of life ; 
or the gospel, a witness of its own spiritual na- 
ture: (1) Of the Word as tho seed of the tree of 
lifo ; (2) Of the Word as the heart of the tree of 
life ; (3) Of the fruit of the tree of life, or life 
eternal — the Word in redemption, a transfigura- 
tion of the Word in creation. — The glory in the 
beginning: (1) The prototypal primal glory of 
God ; (2) Tho archetypal glory of the Word; (3) 
The typical glory of the creation ; (4) The anti- 
typical glory of man. — The light in its rise ; or: 
(I) Tho radiance of God and eternity ; (2) The 
dawn of the world and time. — All things, etc., or 
the Christian doctrine of the creation: (1) The 
purification of the heathen doctrine (obviating 
the eternity of matter) ; (8) The deepening of 
the Jewish doctrine of the Shekinah (clearly 
pronouncing tho personal lifo of love in God, as 
it enters into the world) : (2) The glorification 
of the sound doctrine of scientific investigation 
(man the final cause of things, the God-Man the 
final oause of man) ; (4) The verdict of the Spi- 
rit respecting the derivation of the word from a 
non-spiritual source (materialism). — The Chris- 
tian features in all things: (1) The creaturely 
instinct of dependence, as an impulse towards 
the upholding Word ; (2) The natural self-unfold- 
ing instinct, as the impulse towards freedom 
(the liberty of the children of God, Rom. viii.); 
(3) The cosmical, world-forming instinct, as an 
impulse towards unity; (4) The spiritual [monic] 
instinct, as the impulse to rise into the service of 
the Spirit. — The unity and (he difference between 
life and light : (1) In the Son of God ; (2) In the 
world ; (8) In man ; (4) In the Christian life.— 
The life a light of men : (1) In man (conscious- 
ness); (2) For man; the works of God as the 
signs and words of God (symbolism) ; (3) Re- 
specting man; Christ the life of the life. — The 
life and light, or truth and reality, inseparable: 
(1) Without reality truth becomes a shadow; (2) 
Without truth reality becomes a lie. — The great 
darkness which has spread over the bright world 
of God: The darkness (1) of falsehood ; (2) of 
hatred ; (3) of death. — The light in contest with 
the darkness, or the progress of revelation in the 
world of sinners: (1) The light shining in the 
darkness (the shaded, colored light); (2) The 
light breaking through the darkness. — The eter- 
nal foundations of the advent of Christ. — The 
divine Life of Christ, the mark of all life: (1) 
The mark of the original glory of the world ; (2) 
The mark of the deep corruption of the world ; 
(3) The mark of the great redemption and glori- 
fication of the world. — The wisdom of the Apos- 
tles and the wisdom of their time (or, of the an- 
cient world). — Parallel passages: Gen. i.: Ps. 
viii., xix. and civ.: Is. xl.; John xvii.; Rom. 
viii.; 1 Cor. xv.; Ephes. i.; Col. i.; 1 John i.; 
Rev. i., xxi. and xxii. 

Starke : — God has revealed even IT is divine 
constitution and the inmost secret of His nature. 
— The Eternal Word is now become also ours. 
Through this Word God speaks with us, and we 
speak with God. The eternal Word speaks in 
us, through us, to us, with us. — Quesnel : The 
knowledge of the Son of God must be the first 
and the most excellent ; without it all knowledge 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 1-5. 


is nothing. — Nova Bibl. Tub.: S3e how many 
proofs of the divinity of our Jesus. He is God, 
the eternal Word, from eternity, in the beginning, 
before all creatures, the Creator of all things, 
the origin of all life, the source of all light. — If 
the Word of God was in the beginning, it is cer- 
tain, that He also will be in future to the end 
(Lakgb). It is not said : the light was the life, 
but: the life was the light The life is the 
souroe of the light, even in the kingdom of na- 
ture, etc. That no true illumination takes 
place, except the man is brought back by rege- 
neration from spiritual death to spiritual life 
(Zbisius). Whose life Christ is, his light He is 
also. — No other darkness can withstand the 
light, but the darkness of man. 

Moshbxh: The person through whom God 
spoke to men, did not first arise when the world 
was made» but was already, that is, from eter- 
nity. — Rieoeb : This confessedly great mystery 
of the manifestation of God in the flesh continues 
as a standard at all times set up, under which all 
gather, that are born of God, and which all that 
are of the world pass by. — Lisco: From the 
Word, as the light, proceeds all that is true and 
good in mankind.— G eel ac h, after Augustine: 
Sin, not indeed consists, but manifests itself, in 
coming of nothing, and bringing man to nothing 
(eternal death). — Beaunb: Thought is clear 
only in word : He came. This implies personality ; 
the Personality, the Enlightener, came near to 
the Jewish people ; in reference to men in gene- 
ral, it is said : He was. — Thus John, who lay on 
the bosom of the Lord, as the Lord is eternally 
with His Father, opens his "view into the depths 
of the life of Jesus Christ from the beginning t 
till it rises into the heights of the same life in the 
bosom of the Father. 

Heubnsb : The mystery of the incarnation of 
the Son of God : (1) The holiest, deepest of all 
mysteries, in virtue of the person ; (2) The most 
beneficent of ail ; (8) The most certain of all. — 
Schlbikbmachkb: What is it which meets us 
everywhere as truth, in all the utterances of tho 
human mind, in all investigations, in all holy 
words of inspired men? Ever that which con- 
tains a hint of the redemption which was to come 
through Christ. 

[Schaff: Vers. 1, 2. The transcendent glory of 
Christ 1. His eternity (against Arianism) : "In 
the beginning waz the Wora." 2. His distinct per- 
sonality (against Sabellianism) : "The Word was 
with (in intimate personal intercommunion with) 
God. 3. His essential divinity (against Socin- 
ianism and Rationalism): "And the Word was 
God." — The fundamental importance of the doc- 
trine of Christ's divinity: it is the corner-stone 
of the Christian system, the anchor of hope. 
Without it His passion and death have no force 
against sin and Satan, and we are still lost.] 

[Burkitt : ** Unt il we acknowledge the eternity 
and divinity of Christ, as well as of God the Fa- 

ther, we honor neither the Father nor the Son. 
There is this difference between natural things 
and supernatural. Natural things are first un- 
derstood, and then believed ; but supernatural 
mysteries must be first believed, and then will be 
better understood." (Pascal makes a similar 
remark.) "If we will first set reason on work, 
and believe no more than we can comprehend, 
this will hinder faith : but if after we have as- 
sented to gospel mysteries, we set reason on 
work, this will help faith." — Hengstenbero: 
44 The Logos was God ;" this is the magic formula 
that drives away all doubt, anxiety and fear 
from the Christian. If God be for us, who can 
be against us? — Rtle: If Christ is bo great, 
how sinful must sin be from which He came to 
save us ?] 

[Schaff : Ver. 3. The creation is the work of 
the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. 
This is intimated Gen. i. 1-3: God (the Father) 
created . . . And the Spirit of God moved upon 
the face of the waters. And God said (the Word). 
— The Scripture doctrine of creation differs — 1) 
from Pantheism, which teaches an eternal world 
and confounds God and the world ; 2) from Dual- 
ism, or the eternity of matter antagonistic to God 
(Parseeism, Platonism, Gnosticism, Manichae- 
ism) ; 3) from the emanation theory; 4) from 
Deism, which asserts the creation, but separates 
it from the Creator ; 5) from Materialism, which 
makes matter the mother of the spirit, and is 
alike degrading to God and man. — Sin was not 
made by God, but is a subsequent corruption or 
perversion of what was made good. Sin is no 
essence, no creature, but something negative, a 
false direction of the will.— Christ's part in the 
creation the basis of His redemption. Having 
made man, He had the deepest interest in him 
from the start.] 

[Schaff : Vers. 4, 6. Christ, the source of all 
true life and light. — Out of Christ there is but 
death and darkness. — The antagonism of lifo and 
death, and the antagonism of light and darkness 
is not, 1) a metaphysical conflict (as in the 
Gnostio and Dualistic systems), but, 2) a moral 
conflict involving personal freedom and respon- 
sibility. It began in time and will end in time; 
life and light will conquer the field and swallow 
up death and darkness. 3. The antagonism cul- 
minates in God and Satam, in Christ and Anti- 
Christ, but goes on in everjuman. 4. It should 
fill us with holy grief, manly courage, and in- 
tense earnestness.] 

[On the whole section. Bengkl : Vers. 1 and 
2 refer to eternity, ver. 3 to creation, ver. 4 to 
the state of innocence, ver. 6 to tho fall. — Rtle : m 
Not a single word could be altered in the first 
five verses o( John without opening the door to 
some heresy. — There are hidden depths in this 
passage which nothing but the light of eternity 
will ever fully reveal.— P. S.] 

Digitized by 





The personal Light, or Christ, in His p re-historical Presence in the World, especially 

in His Old Testament Advent, testified by the Old Covenant as it is 

represented by John the Baptist. 

Vebs. C-13. 



6 There was [became, arose] 1 a man sent 1 from God, whose name was John. 

7 The same came for a [omit a] witness [testimony, efc jiapruptav], to bear witness of 

8 the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that [the] Light, 

9 but was sent [came, Lange: he was] to bear witness of that [the] Light That was 
the true Light, which lighteth every man, that cometh into the world. [The true 
Light which lighteth (lighteneth, shineth upon) every man, was coming (j£v lpz6- 

10 /jlsvov) into the world.]* . He [It] was in the world, and the world was made by 

11 him [it], and the world knew him not [Lange: did not recognize it in him]. He 
came unto his own [his own possessions or inheritance, ra Idta], and his own [his 

12 own people, ol idiot]* received him not But as many as received him, to them 
gave he power to become the sons [children, rixva] of God, even to them that 

13 believe on [in] his name: Which [Who] were born, not of blood [bloods, 1$ al/id- 
twv] 9 nor of the [natural] will of the flesh, nor of the [moral] will of man, but of God. 6 


i Yer. 0. [The Greek here is iyivtro (became), which differs from $ v (wa$), ver. 1, as the German ward (or geworden) 
floes from war, but it cannot be well rendered in English. It is the antithesis between temporal or created existence which 
fias a beginning, and implies previous non-existence, and eternal or untreated existence, which has neither beginning nor 
end. Tho same distinction— John viii. 68: irpiK 'A£paajx yeviaSai, «y*i tifit. — P. 8.1 

t Ver. 6. [dfreffraAfiifOf does not belong to jyiitTo— anwraAi) (Chrysostom, Bom. VL p. 42, and HeagstenbergX but to 
aVfaaa-oc.—P. **.] 

* Ver. O-TSo Lange. Ewald somewhat differently : Ja das wahrhafliQc Licht, wJches jeden Mtnschm erlevchtet, learn 
rtet* in die WtU. Others translate : thai was the true Light which, coming into the world* lighteth every man. cWojicyor may 
be connected with avQpo^ov (Vulg : hominem venieniem, Luth., E. V.), or better, with f/v (Lange, Ewald). See the Exxo. 
Notes. In the latter case a comma should be made after artpvvov, as is done by Teschendorf, eighth ed.— P. 8. J 

* Ver. 10. [6V avTou. Cod. X * reads W axtrov, probably an error of tho copyist.— P. 8.] 

* Ver. H. IThe E. V. obliterates the distinction between the neutral t A 1 6 to, dat Seine, his own things, possessions, 
inheritance, and the masculine o i iStoi, die Srinen* his own people, servants, subjects.— P. B. 1 

* Ver. 13. The difficulty of the passage has occasioned tho omission of ovM «« 0eA. ouptc . in Cod. E and others ; and of 
ovii i* 0eA. av0p. in Cod. B. and others. Others, as Augustine, hare transposed the clauses. [8ee Tischend. Oct. V IIL p. 743.] 

appearance of John in this place is striking, and 
has been variously interpreted (see Meyer).* 
In the introduction of the Baptist in this pas- 
Baptist, John iii. 28 : aweoTa\/i4vot ei/ii tfivpooSev avroi. I 
prefer the usual connection of amrrahfUvot with aV6p»*os. 
—P. 8.] 

* [The Baptist is mentioned in the Prologue to confirm the 
reality of tho historical appearance of Christ: Brttckner; as 
a brilliant exception from the terrible darkness spoken of 
rer. 6: Ewald ; to explain tho rejection of Christ by His own 
people, vers. 10. 11 : Meyer; to introduce the historic mani- 
festation of the Word : Alford. He is mentioned rather as 
the personal representative of the whole O. T. revelation in 
whom tho law and the promise, Moses and Isaiah, were united 
and pointed directly to Christ. See Lange in the text.— 


Ver. 6. There waa a man. — '"Eyhrro [fiebat], 
arose, came into being; not fp> [erat], was, abso- 
lutely [comp. viii. 68, Greek. The Logos was 
from eternity, Abraham and John began to be in 
time. — P. S.] — Chrysostom: kyiveroaTrearaXfihog. 
The life of John, so to speak, was lost in his 
mission (see ver. 23 ; comp. Is. xl. 3).* The 

• [Ilongstenberg adopts the construction of Chrysostom, 
which would have been more naturally expreasod by airetr- 
toAti, and defends it by referring to Mai. iii. 1, 23: " Lo, lam 
sending my messenger/' clc, compared with tho words of the 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 6-13. 


rage we see a representation of the whole pro- 
phetic testimony concerning Christ in concen- 
trated, personal form, after the manner of this 
Gospel. The Baptist was the final recapitulation 
of all prophetic voices concerning Christ. The 
Old Testament had two sides — a hidden and. a 
visible. The hidden side was the rise of the 
genealogical life of Christ itself, Ilis Christologi- 
cal advent ; the visible side was the prophetic 
testimony concerning this advent. And as the 
verbal prophecy anticipated the real prophecy, 
in the nature of the case, so the fulfilment of the 
verbal prophecy in John preceded the fulfilment 
of the real prophecy in Christ. John therefore 
here stands in the right place, the auroral ra- 
diance of the essential Light; tho great witness 
of the advent of Christ; the forerunner. 

['Whose name (was) John, t. e., Jehovah is 
merciful, from the Hebrew pnV for pn'VT, 'Iwdv- 
vtjt ; comp. tho Greek Oeddopoc. This significant 
name was given to the forerunner of our Saviour 
by divino direction, Luke i. 13. The evangelist 
laid stress on his own name, and saw in it a sym- 
bol of his relation to Christ as the disciple 
44 whom Jesus loved," xx. 2 ; xxi. 20. Comp. 
Lampe and Hengstenberg. — P. S.]. 

Ver. 7. The same oame for witness. — 
Testimony: stronger here than preaching; 
stronger even than prophecy, as hitherto exist- 
ing. John appeared first as a preacher, a 
preacher of repentance. But the preacher showed 
himself at the same time a prophet, announcing 
under divino impulse the approach of the Mes- 
sianic kingdom. And then, in the miraculous 
manifestation at the baptism of Jesus, through 
the testimony of God, he beoame a witness of the 
person of Jesus of Nazareth, that He is the Mes- 
siah ; so to speak, an apostle before the aposto- 
late. As a prophet who, by divine commission, 
pointed to the Messiah, he completed the Old 
Testament prophecy in testimony. And for this 
testimony he was come. His mission rose into 
the office of forerunner. And even his martyr- 
dom in the strict sense is in keeping. He sealed 
his preparatory preaching of 'repentance with 
his death (see ver. 83). 

That [Iwi, the aim of John's testimony] ail 
men through him might believe. — "Through 
John, not through the Light (Grotius), or through 
Christ (Ewald) :'* Meyer.* In the divino purpose 
John was to lead over the faith of Israel to 
Christ. f This Christ also signifies chap. v. 83 
[where he calls John "the burning and shining 
light," or candle rather, X'vxvoc, not <f>£>c. — P. S.] 
Through the unbelief of the Jews this gracious 
design failed ; though in the truly devout, first 
of all in the noblest of John's own disciples (ver. 
Sosqq.) it was fulfilled ; through them in all be- 

Ver. 8. He was not the light. — [Jjv is em- 
phatic and contrasted with fiaprvpijaij. The 
article before <*>£>$ is likewise emphatic, the 
Light of the world, the Light of lights, comp. 6 

• [In the fifth edition of Meyer the reference to Ewald is 
omitted. In his Commentary, Ewald translates 8i avrov 
dmrch ihn, without explaining whether ihn Is meant of John 
or of Christ.— P. 8.1 

f [Kyle: ••One of those texts which show the immense im- 
portance of the ministerial office, through which tho Holy 
tfpirit is pleased to produce faith in man's heart.— P. 8.] 

KpoQriTTK, i. 29; 6 aproc, vi. 82 ff.— P. S.] This 
is certainly not said merely with reference to the 
unbelieving disciples of John.* But in the wider 
sense the nation itself was an unbelieving disci, 
pie of John, contenting itself with the brightness 
of the Baptist, instead of going through him to 
the true Light itself, ch. t. 35. So far, therefore, 
as it is implied that many, even the leaders, made 
the Baptist rather a hindrance than a help to 
faith, the words are written even against the 
disciples of John. 

But (he wa*).--De. Wctte takes the a7X lva t 
but in order to, imperatively; Liicke supplies #i>, 
was; Meyer, ijWev, came. Since the preceding 
verse 'strongly pronounces that the whole pro- 
phetic existence of John was- intended to- 
ri se into a testimony for the Messiah, we give 
Liicke the preference: "He was, that ho might 
bear witness." [So also Alford amf Godet. 
Baiimlein supplies iyivtro, yiverat, "or the 
like;" which is not so strong. I prefer with 
Meyer to supply i}\&e from ver. 7, since the 
phrase, elvat, Iva instead of ttvai ele to* is quite un- 
usual.— -P. 8.] 

Ver. 9. The true Light— was coming [%v 
rb $£>c rb aXijtiivdv — kpx6f*e vo v]. — Va- 
rious interpretations: (1) He (the Logos) or it 
(the Light) was the true Light; so the older ex- 
positors and Luther [E. V., which supplies tov- 
to before rp, thai was the true light. — P. S.] But 
rb 0wc to aXy&tvdv must be subject, not 
predicate; for in ver. 8 John was the subject. 
[So also Meyer.] (2) 'Epxtpevov ele rdv 
k6o fiov (coming into the world) is connected with 
Tzdvra av&poirov (every man), not with fjv (was) ; 
Origen [Syr., Euseb., Chrys., Cyril, Vulg., Aug.] 
and most of the ancients, Luther, f Calvin [£. V. ] , 
etc., Holemann, Meyer. J [This would make either 
avdpwxov or hpx^ superfluous. ] Meyer observes 
that it could not be connected with rjv ; for tho- 
Logos was already in the world when John ap- 
peared. But the Evangelist here evidently goes 
back to the entire relation of Christ to mankind, 
especially goes back to ver. 4. He had before 

* [Meyer denies the reference to the disciple* of John en- 
tirely. Godet, on the contrary, defends it. and justly so, in. 
riew of L 20; ill 25 ; and in view of the Gnostic sect of tho 
Disciples of John in the second century, who held that John 
tho Baptist 1 was the true Messiah. (Clementis Rom. Rrcngm- 
tiones 1. 1, c. 54 and 60. Comp. the articles of Pctermann,. 
Mmdller and ZaJbier, in Uerzog's Encyclop. Vols. IX. p. 318 
and XVIII. p. 341.) Only we must not suppose either that 
John wrote expressly, or exclusively against this error. Sea 
Dr. Lange above. — P. S.l 

t [In the first ed. Luther translated : u Das war ein wahr- 
hoflig Licht, welches alU Menschen erleuchtet durcft stint Zu~ 
kunfi in die Writ," i.e., "which, coming into tho world,, 
lighteneth all men." In the later editions he followed the 
Vulgate.— P. 8.] w 

% [Meyer, however, lays the emphasis on V. adcraf, which 
ia put first, and translates : " Yorhanden war das Licht das- 
wahrhafUtte, toelcfits erleuchtet jeden Menschen, dcr indie Well 
kommt," the true light was in exu«mc*», etc. But thero is no 
good reason why V should be emphasized rather than aAnlt- 
vov, and then iv r«f xoV/n^ ^«», ver. 10,. would" be a repetition 
of ver. 9. The old usual interpretation is preferable to Mey- 
er's, but both aro to be rejected, because the phrase to corns 

into the world for to be born, though Rabbinical fK3 *73 

D?ty3— «Jl men), is not Scriptural, as applied to common 

men. but is reserved exclusively for tho Messiah with the im- 
plied senao of pne-existence, iii. 1ft, 3.; vi. 14; xi. 27; xii. 
46; xviii. 37. Bengel: "A pud Hebrews frequent est peri- 
phrasis hominis, dSi#3 KDH vximtjrs ur mrxncit, wrf in 
iV. T. H prmcipue in hoc libra id de solo Chrieto dicitur, ntblintf 
signi/emtu, Erat em'm, ants eUam, quam VKJnusr."— P. S.J 

Digitized by 




spoken of the witness of the advent of Christ — 
now he depicts the advent itself. This is divided 
into two parts: (1) The relation of the coming 
Logos to man in general; (2) His relation to Is- 
rael. Hence we interpret: Ho was (from the 
beginning and in conflict with the darkness, 
vor. 6) coming, was on His advent to mankind. 
Therefore not (a) was come \jjv epx6f*evoi>=kX- 
•&6v] : Schottgen, etc.; (b) just came (when John 
appeared) : De Wette, Liicke [Alfora] ; (c) fu- 
ture: was on the point of coming [yenturum erat] : 
Tholuck ; or (d) was destined to come : Luthardt ; 
desired to come: Ewald;* nor (e) was coming 
then, in the time before His baptism : Hilgcnfeld, 
who even here would mix Valentinian Gnosis 
into the anti-Gnostic Gospel ; — but in a purely 
historical sense [=//A\?t, came], instead of the 
imperfect: Bengel, Blcek, Kostlin [Hengstcn- 
berg, with reference to Mai. iii. 1] ; and with 
the peculiar Johannean significance: Jie was 
continually coming, continually on his way.f 
Hence the participial form. The essence of this 
universal advent is to be recognized in the fact, 
that the Logos shines in every man in his reli- 
gious and moral nature and experience, as the 
\oyoc oxepfiaTucdg. That the expression " every 
man " needed not the addition : that cometh into 
the world, is evident. And the phrase: "to 
come into the world,' 1 is not used of the natural 
birth of an ordinary man, but is reserved for 

["Which Ughteth (enlightens, illumin- 
ates) every man — 6 for i$et ndvra av- 
6 ponov. — There is much forco in the singular. 
QuUquis illuminatur, ab hac luce iUuminatur (Ben- 
gel). Different interpretations : 1. The liglit of 
reason and intelligence (Cyril of AlexA Better : 
Both the intellectual and moral lignt (reason 
and conscience) given to all men, as distinct 
from the spiritual light of saving grace given to 
believers. The former is the basis of the latter. J 
2, The inward spiritual light given to all 
(Quakers). 3. The light of grace given to be- 
lievers only, or to every one to whom Christ was 
preached (Crosby). 4. Intellectual and spiritual 
light sufficient for the salvation of Jews and 
Gentiles, though the majority are so blinded by 
sin as not to see Him. «* Christ enlightens all as 
far as in Him lies ,, (Chrysostom, Horn, VIII.). 
Christ gives sufficient light to every man to leave 
him without excuse, but not sufficient to save 
(Arrowsmith, RyleJ.— Comp. III. 19: "light is 
come into the world ;" xii. 40 : " I am come a 
light into the world;" vi. 14: "that prophet that 
should come into the world;" xviii. 37. — P. S.] 

The trme [veritable, genuine] Light [r b 

* [In hl§ Commentary Ewald explains somewhat differently. 
lie connects ver. 9 with ver. 4 : es team damals immer in die 
Welt, it was at that time always coming into the world, so 
that every mortal, if he would, might have been guided by 
the light.— P. S.] 

t[Keim: "ertoarin stettm Kommrn indie Welt" Simi- 
larly Ewald, see preceding foot-note. fy ipx6fitvov is stronger 
than V* and implies a continued action, like the English, was 
enning, as distinct from came. Comp. V 0anri£«»s ver. 28. 
Hengstenberg accounts for this circumlocution of the simpler 
imperf. by the emphasis laid on epxoVcpot as a term of the 
Messiah ; comp. Blatth. iii. 11 : 6 oirtcrw pov ip\6fi€vo? ; xi. 3 ; 
.John i. 15,27, 30.— P. 8. j 
X [Comp. tho lines of Gothe: 

u WUr' rticht dot Auge sonnenhafl, 
Wie ktinntm wir das Licht erblickrn t 
2>6l' nidtt i * tins des GoUts eigne Kraft, 
Wie kthwC WW QUUUcUs snUucktn r— P. S.] 

(pdg rb a X if $ i v 6 1>], — The real, essential Light 
in distinction from the outward, oosmical light, 
which, nevertheless, is His token and symbol. 
(See Milton's Paradise Lost : the greeting to the 
light. Comp. chap. viii. 12; ix. 6.) 

[There is a nice difference between ahfif^ 
(wahr), true in opposition to false, and a?jfltv6c. 
(wahrhaftig), true in opposition to borrowed or 
imitated. This difference is obliterated in the 
£. V. The one expresses the harmony be* 
tween thought and reality, word and fact; the 
other implies a contrast between the perfect ori- 
ginal and a copy more or less imperfect. 'AA?- 
0iv6g is a favorite term with Plato and John to 
signify that which is genuine, archetypal, origi- 
nal, true to the idea. It occurs eight times in the 
Gospel, ten times in the Apocalypse, three times 
in the first Epistle of John, but elsewhere only 
five times in the N. T. In this passage it stands 
in contrast not so much to the cosmical light 
(Dr. Langc), as to the borrowed intellectual and 
moral light of the Baptist and other human 
teachers; comp. v. 85; Matth. v. 14, where be- 
lievers generally as members of Christ are called 
the light of the world. It is lumen illuminans, as 
distinct from the lumen illuminatum. — P. S.l 

Ver. 10. It was in the world. — Not pluper- 
fect (Herder [Tholuck, Olsh.]); nor "in the 
person of Jesus, when John was testifying" 
(Meyer) ; but referring to His infinite presence 
in mankind (Baumgarten-Crusius). The repeti- 
tions of the idea of the world (k6c^ioc) are to be 
distinguished thus : In the first case the word 
combines the material and the moral world in 
one ; in the second, it means the material or vi- 
sible world alone, up to the roots of its moral 
conduct; in the third, the moral world alone, 
but considered as resting upon and representing 
the visible. Meyer well says: (1) The world 
might have known Him (constitutional affinity) ; 
(2) it should have known Him (according to His 
claim). [Comp. Rom. i. 19 ff., where Paul fully 
proves the guilt of Gentiles and Jews in reject- 
ing the light of nature and the preparatory reve- 
lation of the 0. T.— P. S.] 

Knew him not. — The whole verse strictly 
reads : "It was in the world, and tho world was 
made by it [or Him, oY avrov), and the world 
knew Jfim (avrdv) not." The change of gender is 
highly significant. In the light of the world, the 
world should have known the personal founder of 
the world, the Logos. The gradation in the 
three clauses is also expressed by the repetition 
of "and." The world of heathenism knew not 
the light, still less Him, the personal character of 
the light. It took the divine for something imper- 
sonal, and sought to heal the wrong by fragmentary 
personifications, its gods [the altar at Athens "to 
the unknown God," Acts xvii. 28.— P. 8.] 

Ver. 11. He came unto his own house 
or inheritance [ra Idea, comp. xvi. 32; xix. 
27]. — Here the discourse is no longer of the uni- 
versal advent of Christ in the world (Corn, a La- 
pide, Euinoel, etc.);* but of the theocratic advent 

♦ [There is no Scriptnre proof that ttta (riar^ owftara, ©imfr- 
fiara) means tho world, and idiot mankind in general ; both 
expressions refer to Israel as the peculiar people of God, ISia. 
to the nation as a whole, idiot to the individuals. George 

1 Campbell (on the GospelB), Alford and Barnes would under- 
stand ra Hta of Palestine or Judoa, and ot t6tot of its inhabi- 
tants.— P. S.] 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 6-13. 


in Israel (Erasmus, Calvin, etc., Liioke, Meyer) ; 
jet of this advent considered as intended for 
mankind. Israel is God's own people in the spe- 
cial sense, Ex. xix. 5 ; Deut. vii. 6 ; Sirach xxiv. 
7 ff. It is not, however, the historical New Tes- 
tament coming of Christ in Israel, which is here 
spoken of. The expression He came, as denoting 
the historical moving of the Logos' in the history 
of the world, determines us against the more ge- 
neral conception of the *« own." Yet it must be 
kept well in mind, that in John particularly Is- 
rael stands not for itself alone, but as the medium 
for the entrance of Christ into the whole world. 
See chap. x. 16. 

And his own people To I Idiot, comp. xiii. 
1] — i. e., the Jews. See Is. vi.; Matth. xiii.; 
John xii. 41; Acts vii.; xxviii. 25; Rom. ix. 
[The transfer of the relation of Jehovah to Israel 
as His peculiar people upon Christ, implies that, 
in the view of John, Christ was the Jehovah of 
the Old dispensation ; comp. xii. 41 ; viii. 66. — 
P. S.] 

[Received him not — oh Kapk"kajSov, 
stronger than ovk iyvu, which is said of the 
world in general, ver. 10. The fact that the 
Jews were the peculiar inheritance of Jehovah, 
doubled their guilt in rejecting the Messiah. 
Comp. the ovk ?# eXya are, Matth. xxiii. 87; 
also Isa. i. 3; Rom. x. 21 ; and John xii. 37. 
The negative expression here, as ver. 10 and 
ver. 5, reveals a holy grief on the part of John.* 
Remember the tears of pity which the Saviour 
shed over unbelieving Jerusalem. — P. 8.] 

Ver. 12. Bat as many as reoeived him — 
[boot, whosoever, whatsoever persons, denotes 
the universality of Christ's benefit without dis- 
tinction of race, nationality or condition. — P. S.] 
No contradiction ofr the preceding words. His 
own, His people, as a whole, received Him not, 
but individuals. See Gal. iii. and iv. The an- 
tithesis: oh irapiXaftov and i?.a(iov should 
be observed. The Jews should irapaXafiftavetv, 
take Him in addition to the Old Testament, re- 
ceive Him in pursuance of the true traditions. 
This they did not. Thus others' receiving 
Him became the* absolute Xafift&vetv, contrary 
to the outward, false tradition. Aaft^dvetv 
in John and Paul is a strong word, denoting the 
moral act of faith, comp. Rom. v. 11. 

To them gave he power. — Opposed to the 
descent from Abraham and the relative sonship 
with God, of which the Jews boasted, John viii. 
'Efovaia is neither merely [the possibility (Dc 
"Wette, Tholuck),nor the ability (Bruckner, Heng., 
Godet),t nor] the dignity or advantage, (Eras- 

• [Something of this feeling of sadness, in view of the in- 
gratitude of the world to Christ, pervades the hymn of the 
noble Notalis : 

Wenn aUe untreu werden, 
£b bleib ich Der doch treu," 
•specially the second stanza: 

I could weep night and morning 

That Thou hast died, and yet 
go few will heed Thy warning, 

So many Thee forget. 
O loring and true-hearted, 

How much for us didst Thou ! 
Yet is Thy lame departed, 
And none regards it now. — P. 8.] 
t[Oodet translates: " eUe (la Barak) let a mis en position de 
drcrnir enfant* de Dieu^ and explains i^ovaia to mean es- 
sentially the same with the Pauline vio0c<rta, the filial rela- 

mus, etc.), nor the right, or privilege (Meyer),* 
but the real power, the spiritual faculty (Liicke), * 
and, at the same time, the real title. Sonship 
with God was growing, in its formation-state, in 
the Old Testament ; there were only incipient 
sons of God, Gal. iv. 1, but there were such 
really, and progressively, according to the ad* 
vancing inwardness and depth of the Old Testa- 
ment faith. This sonship with God, too, is con- 
nected indeed with a semen arcanum electorum et 
spirilualium (contrary to Meyer, see ver. 9) ; but 
this must be understood neither in a Gnostic 
sense, nor in a Hegelian, but in a Johannean, 
John iii. 21. This incipient regeneration is also 
most certainly ethical, but not merely ethical; it 
is also substantial, though the antithesis between 
the eternal fiovoyevfc and the regenerate riicva 
tieoif by all means remains perfect, even after the 
advance of the latter to viol &tov. The distinc- 
tions: ethical theogony in John (according to 
Hase), legal adoption in Paul ; vioOeoia first ap- 
pearing in the kingdom of the Messiah in the 
Synoptists (Meyer), are of little use; unless it 
may be said that John emphasizes the ideal begeU 
ting, Paul the historical new creation. The Messi- 
anic kingdom begins with the children of God, 
not they with it. [To become — yeviadat. — 
Christ is the eternal, only begotten Son of God 
by nature; men become children of God by rege- 
neration or a celestial birth ; comp. iii. 3; 1 John 
iii. 9; Gal. iii. 2G ; 1 Pet. i. 23. Alford thinks 
that Titcva &eoi/ is a more comprehensive expres- 
sion than viol r. #., as it involves the whole gene- 
ration and process of our spiritual life and our 
likeness to God (1 John v. 6-7), while the other 
brings out rather our adoption and hope of in- 
heritance (Rom. viii. 14 ff.) — P. S.] 

To them that believe in his name. — 
[YiiarevovGtv, not irtorevoaoiv ; faith being a 
continued act and habit of the children of God. 
Mark also the distinction between believing 
Christ, that He is, and believing in Christ, in 
His name, His revealed being, in His person, cig 
rd bvofia; the former is purely intellectual and 
historical, the latter is moral and implies trust in 
and appropriation of Christ as our Saviour. The 
same difference holds with regard to the existenoe 
of God, comp. James ii. 19 : mi rd dat/idvta irur- 
tevovoiv. — P. S ] — Not "rotiological" [quippe qui 
credunt, Meyer], but "explicative;" for faith is 
not the cause of the gift of Christ, but the organ, 
causa instrumentalis [the subjective condition]. 
The clause describes hapfSavecv. Faith in the 
name of the Logos [e I c rd bvoua a v to v] is 
faith in Christ, more definitely, in His name 
(Acts ii. 86; iii. 10; iv. 12); and this definite- 
ness of faith, in the evangelical acknowledgment 
of the personal truth in Christ, makes it saving, 
makes it the medium of the saving power of 
Christ, because the name of Christ denotes the 
concentrated expression of His nature in His 

tion to which man is restored by faith, yet not Identical with 

regtn&ratum doit suitre . . . et c 'est la le second privilege, re- 
sultant du premier, que mint Jean exprime dans et* mots : 
'Devenir en/ants de uieu: " But the second is rather expla- 
natory of the first (i(ov<ria). — 1*. 8.] 

* [In the fifth ed. Meyer explains : er ermachtigte sie, he em- 
powered them. Comp. y. 27 ; xvii. 2.— JP. S.J 

Digitized by 




gospel, in which truth and personal fact are one.* 
So the name of God is to be understood : the re- 
velation of God as a personal introduction of 
Himself to us. So the devout of the old covenant 
believed in the name of the Logos, in the essen- 
tial contents and subject of the Messianic pro- 
mises, chap. ii. 23; iii. 18, etc. 

Ver. 13. Who were born, not of bloods. 
— It is confusing to ask whether ol refers to reicva 
tieov-f or irujTEvovreg. The subject is in both cases 
the same. It is the morebovTec in the historical 
sense who are spoken of. The Evangelist intro- 
duces the antithesis of the natural generation and 
regeneration, yet regarding the natural genera- 
tion itself as advanced from the purely physical 
to the religiously consecrated theocratic genera- 
tion. Ho first states the antithesis in general : 
ovk e£ alfidruv, not of bloods. Augustine 
explains the plural from the twofold sex of man' 
and woman ; % Holemann refers it to the succes- 
sive begettings of the theocratic genealogy; 
Meyer finds that the plural is the same as the 
singular. J We find in the plural a premonition 
of an ethical distinction of aljiara. In ethical 
matters aifia and al/ia are not one and the same. 
And this the succeeding cfimax proceeds to say. 
According to Augustine [Theophyl., Schott, Ols- 
hausen] and others, ODjjfia aapKdg denotes woman 
in distinction from man (avdpdq). [This would 
require rather the disjunctive ovte — ovre, neither — 
nor, than the adjunctive obde— ovfie, nor— nor yet; 
besides flesh is never used synonymously with 
woman. — P. S.]|| Mosheim distinguishes native 
Jews and proselytes; others, natural children 
and adopted (Starke) ;fl Lucke takes avijp as no 
more than avdponror ;** Meyer regards the sen- 
tence as a rhetorical progress to greater definite- 
ness : the term aapKoc referring to the sexual in- 
stinct, avdpdc to the procreative will of the man.ff 
If this distinction be followed up, we must come 
involuntarily upon the track of the true interpre- 
tation. The common sensual desire knows no- 
thing of procreative will, yet it doubtless has its 
tftvl^ua. Baumgarten Crusius, therefore, rightly 

* [Arrowsmlth,. quotod by Kyle: "The word 'name* in 
the Scripture la often put for person. The receivers of Christ 
are said to believe on II is name, hecauso the direct object of 
their faith is the person of Christ. It is not the believing 
that Christ died for all, or for me, or for the elect, or any such 
proposition, that saveth. It is believing on Christ. The 
person, or name of Christ, is the object of faith." — P. 8.] 

f [So Meyer, constructio narli vvvtaiv, as in 2 John 1 ; Phi- 
lem. 10 ; Gal. iv. 19. But Lange is right.— P. 8.] 

X^Kz sanguinibus enim homines nuscuntur maris et femi- 
nm r' Tract. II. { 14. Ewald translates the plural aus Blut und 
Blut, and explains : dutch blossc Misschung van Zeugungs- 
stqffen. Wordsworth : human commixtures. — P. F.J 

{[The plural usage of alfia in the senso of this passage 
occurs only in Euripides. Ion 705 : aXXtav rpa^et? £9' atjma- 
rwp, but often in the sense of murder, in the classics and 'in 
the LXX. See quotations in Meyer.— P. 8.] 

I -[Augustine, m Joh. Tract. II. { 14, quotes Gen. ii. 22 and 
J5ph. t. 28, 29 to show that caro may be used for uxor ; bat 
these passages (as also Judo 7) are not to the point. Flesh 
here means human nature, male and female. " What is born 
of the flesh is flesh," iii. 6.— P. 8.] 

\ [So Albert Barnos ; " adopted by a pious man." Without 
a shadow of proof. Ryle and Crosby refer " flesh " to man's 
own, and " man " to any foreign human agency. But this 
could have been much more clearly expressed.— P. S.] 

** [80 also Alford, who quotes, with LUcke, the Homeric 
varnp Av&pStv r« BtCtv re. But Meyer denies that avrjp is ever 
generalised into ap0p«irof, least of all here where the act of 
generation is spoken of.— P. t*.] 

ft [Similarly God t : The will of the flesh is la vriUmtt domi- 
nSe par F imagination sensuelle, the will of man la volonUjplus 
independante de la nature, la resolution virile.— P. S.] 

asserts that the progress is from the sensual to 
the most noble ;* and we see here a progress 
from the sensual begettings of the heathen world 
to the theocraticaily consecrated begettings, 
which introduce a sacred theocratic genealogy 
(see Lange's Leben Jesu III. 658, and Posit. Doom. 
pp. 614, 632). In this passage is reflected tho 
Scripture doctrine of hereditary blessing. Of 
course the Evangelist tells us also that the conse- 
crated births may indeed exhibit an approach to 
regeneration, and be the instrument of it, but 
that they are not able to effect it, and that rege- 
neration, as a heavenly generation, forms a coun- 
terpart to the earthly. 

[The difference between a'lfiara, <j6pZ and avijp 
is not very clear, but the conjunction oide — ox'dk 
(nor — nor yet), as distinct from ohrt — obre (neither 
-*nor, comp. Winer, p. 454 f., 7th ed.), indicates a 
rising climax from the general (aijtara) to tho 
particular, and here again from the lower and 
physical agency (odp£) to the higher and moral 
(avijp), although Oelqua is ascribed to both. In 
Matth. xvi. 17; 1 Cor. xv. 60; 12; Gal. 
i. 16, flesh and blood together signify human na- 
ture in its weakness. In John iii. 6 we have tho 
same contrast between the natural birth from the 
flesh, and the supernatural birth from the Spirit. 
The threefold denial of all human agency in re- 
generation gives emphasis to the affirmation of 
the divine agency, which is expressed by but of 
God, a A A' etc &eov. This does not exclude 
mediate instrumentalities, through which, ordi- 
narily, men are regenerated and converted. Tho 
affirmation may be analyzed so as to correspond 
to tho three members of the negation : 1) not of 
blood, but of the seed of God (1 John iii. 0), which 
is the word of God (1 Pet. i. 23: ava} Ewy/iiroi 
. . . dca Ttiyov ^Cjvtoc Oeov; James i. 18: a-envTj- 
atv yfiac 16yy asjfteiac); 2) nor of the will of the flesh, 
but of the Spirit (John iii. 6 : yeyeit^fdvov ex tov 
vvebfiaroc) ; 8) nor yet of the will of man, but of the 
will of God (James i. 18: Pov?.rfie)r aTreKt-Tprev ijjxae 
6 0i6e ; Eph. i. 6 : Kara r^v eifdoniav tov tieZijuaroc 
avrov). Ben gel analyzes differently: 1) ex ccelesti 
Patre; 2) ex amore divino; 8) ex Spiritu sancio. 
Grace does not descend through the channel of 
nature in any form, but a new creative act of 
God is necessary in every regeneration. Barnes, 
in his notes on ver. 13, confounds regeneration 
with conversion. Regeneration is an act of God, 
and may take place in infancy (think of John the 
Baptist leaping in the mother's womb) ; conver- 
sion or change of mind (per&vota) is the act of 
man, by which, under the influenco of the Holy 
Spirit, he turns, in conscious repentance and faith, 
from sin and Satan to God. — P. S.] 


1. The fact that a man (John) was designated 
the messenger of God even, so to speak, in his 
origin, Luke i. 15 and 44, announced the coming 
of another, in whom no issue between birth and 
new birth should exist. Yet the distinction is as 
clear as the connection. John, as man, became 
the messenger of God ; the Logos, as messenger 
of God, John iii. 81 ; 1 Cor. xv. 25, became man. 

* [Nature (c^iiara), desire (<rap£\ will (ayjp). But ih^ 
difficulty is that 0i}Ai)fia is used in the second us well as tho 
third clause.— P. 8. J 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 6-18. 


la John and Mary appear the two summits of the 
Old Testament spirit, the highest aspiration of 
human nature in the train of the Spirit of God ; 
in Mary the summit of fervent, humble, receptive 
piety ; in John the summit of energetic, prophe- 
tic piety in the official service of the law. Yet 
in them the higher spirit works from below up- 
ward under the drawing from above. In Christ 
the divine is before, and in Him the nisus is from 
above downward under the drawing of the hu- 
man longing, the need of life and salvation be- 
low. The itaptist is strongly conscious of this 
distinction, Matth. iii. 11; Juo. iii. 31. And in 
accordance with this nature of Christ is the nature 
aUo of Christianity, the righteousness of faith in 
a righteous life. 

2. The same came for witness. John the Baptist, 
the last, most distinct form of the Old Testament 
prophecy, and as such the witness of Christ in 
the history of the world, at the same time in his 
freedom from jealousy a witness to the Holy 
Ghost in the Old Testament. The death of John 
a martyrdom (witness-bearing) to his fidelity as 

3. Through John His noblest disciples camo to 
believe, through them all succeeding disciples and 
Christians. (See Schleiermacher, Predigten I., 
p. 18.) 

4. He was not the Light. An antithesis applying 
not only to the Old and New Testaments, but also 
to Christ, the fountain of light, and the Apostles 
and Christians, with the prophets, as receivers 
and bearers of the light. 

5. The true Light was coming. The pre-Christian 
Advent. (1) Founded (a) in the nature of Christ: 
44 The true Light, which lighteneth every man," 
i. e., shines into him from within through the 
fundamental laws of personal, mental life, from 
without through nature and history ; (b) in the 
nature of the world : Made by the Logos, stand- 
ing by His presence. (2) Unfolding itself fa) in 
a general invisible force: The shining in the uark- 
ness, tho lighting of every man ; Christ's being 
in the world [primordial religion] ; (6) in histori- 
cal theocratic form: Education of Israel for His 
possession, and His coming to His own (the Old 
Testament religion in its development). 

6. Received Him not. The obduracy, a self- 
estrangement, as well as a hostile bearing towards 
the admission of the yearning Householder. The 
obduracy of Israel in its historical development 
and completion ; the great warning to the Chris- 
tian world ; warning, and alas, still more, Matth. 
xxiv. 38. 

7. That believe in His name. — Respecting the 
name, see above in the exegesis of this passage. 
Appearance of the name of the Logos, in tho 
more definite sense, with the Old Testament re- 
velation (the Angel of the Lord and the Messiah). 
Faith in the objective Messiah was in the subject, 
incipient sonship. In the righteousness of faith 
lay a point of union between the word of God and 
the heart of man, a quickening germ of personal 
children of God, therefore the power to become 
sons. But this could bo brought to decision and 
contemplation only by the historical appearance 
of Christ and by the redemption accomplished in 
Him. As the revelation of God strove from the 
first towards concentration in the Name, the 
making Himself personally, perfectly known, 

so true faith strives from the beginning after the 
concentrated receiving of a distinct personal life. 
Centripetal faith, living faith ; centrifugal faith, 
dying or dead faith. 

8. Who were born not of blood. The truth and 
the insufficiency of inherited privilege. The Bi- 
blical doctrine of covenant grace not yet duly re- 
ceived in the church. Its antagonism to the un- 
churohly conception of the relation between na- 
ture and spirit, and even to the Augustinian 
overstatement of original sin. Its antagonism 
to Pelagianism. (See Posit. Dogmatik., p. 514 

. U. But of Ood. First the righteousness of faith 
present; then circumcision as the symbol of re- 
generation. The idea of real regeneration deve- 
lops itself with the idea of the personal Messiah. 
Its development or genesis is reciprocal with that 
of repentance, faith, the experience of grace, in 
the saving process as it advances from the out- 
ward to tho inward. 


John the Baptist, the Old Testament Evange- 
list of the Light. (1) In his mission and his 
name ; (2) in his testimony and his work ; (3) in 
his retirement and disappearance before the 
Light itself.— The Old Testament Advent of 
Christ : 1. In its ultimate basis (He was in the 
world) ; 2. in its historical manifestation (He 
came to His own) ; 8. in its earnest of victory 
(As many as received Him) ; 4. in its last attesta- 
tion (There was a man). — John and Christ, or 
the personal manifestation of the saving Light: 1. 
John, the attester of the Light ; 2. Christ, the at- 
tested Light. — The Old and New Testaments, one 
light of revelation: 1. The Old in the day -light 
of the New; 2. The New in the dawn-light of the 
Old. — John and Christ, or the kernel of revela- 
tion, personal life.— The Son of God as the name- 
less Name : 1. Tho namclessness of the name, 
(a) in the world in general, (&) in Israel in par- 
ticular ; 2. the name of the nameless, (a) in its 
silent development (He was in the world ; He 
came), (b) in its great works. — Tho Advent of 
Christ in the world, mistaken and yet perceived : 
Mistaken (a) by the heathen, (6) by the Jews. 
Yet perceived (a) by the yearnings of the devout 
in all the world, (b) by the hope of the faithful in 
Israel. — The name of the Light, its complete 
personal revelation in Christ.— -Christ the name: 
1. The name of the life in the world ; 2. the name 
of the light in mankind ; 8. tho name of the sal- 
vation in the children of God. — Those who are 
becoming believers, are becoming children of G od. 
— The power to become, or the freedom of the spi- 
rit, the groundwork of the new birth and nature. 
— The being born of blood and born of God consi- 
dered : 1. In their antagonism; 2. in their es- 
sential distinction ; 8. in their congenial connec- 
tion ; 4. in the Mediator of their union. — He who 
believes in the pollution of birth according to the 
Scriptures, must believe also according to the 
Scriptures in the consecration of birlh. — The 
beginnings of the regeneration in the Old Cove- 
nant, a fore-shadowing of the eternal new birth 
of Christ from heaven. 

Starke: Jesus alone had a fore-runner. — 
Like the aurora before the sun, so John, accord- 

Digitized by 




ing to the word of prophecy, must bear himself 
before Christ. — Hedixgeb: Teachers and all 
Christians are indeed lights also, in virtue of 
their divine calling, fellowship with God, and 
holy living, yet their main object is to bear wit- 
ness of the light in Christ, to lead to it by precept 
and example. — glorious nobility ! to be born of 
God, His child and heir ! — Behold, what manner 
of love! 1 John iii. 1. — Osiander : What is due 
to Christ alone, must not be attributed to any 
man. — The eternal light sends forth rays in the 
hearts of all men. He who is not enlightened, 
must ascribe it to himself and the dominion of 
darkness. — Canstein : Noble family helps not to 
sonship and salvation, but only the being born 
anew of God. — Mosheim : Men in the state of na- 
ture are not children of God, and therefore have 
no right to salvation. 

Geblach, after Augustine : Corrupt men are 
called the world, because they love the world 
more than its Creator. By love we dwell in a 
thing with the heart, and we have therefore de- 
served to bear the name of that wherein we dwell 
by love. 

Heubner: John must prepare the way for the 
reception of the Light. — The light must come 
gradually, else it blinds. — The nobility of the 
children of God is attained only through the Spi- 
rit, through birth from God, through a proper 
spiritual generation. 

[Ver. 6. John the Baptist, the greatest of men 
before Christ, because he was nearest to Christ, 
and comprehended all thelight of the preparatory 
revelations of Moses and the prophets. — Ver. 7. 
Every minister only a borrowed light to lead men 

to Christ, the true Light. — Ver. 8. Christ is the 
sun of the soul, the source of spiritual light, life 
and growth. — P. S.] 

[Ver. 9. Arrowsmith: Christ is the true 
Light : 1. The undeceiving Light, in opposition to 
all the false lights of the Gentiles ; 2. The real 
Light, in opposition to ceremonial types and sha- 
dows; 8. The underived Light, in opposition to 
all borrowed light ; 4. The supereminent Light, 
in opposition to all ordinary light. — Ver. 10. 
Hengstenbebg: The creature should shout for 
joy, if its Creator comes to redeem it. — Ver. 11. 
It is disgraceful if the creature despises the 
creature ; it is doubly disgraceful if the people 
of the Covenant despise the Lord of the Cove- 

[Ver. 18. The new (celestial, divine) birth con- 
stitutes the true nobility of grace, as contrasted 
with the aristocracy of natural birth, the aris- 
tocracy of money, the aristocracy of merit, the 
aristocracy of fame. — Regeneration: 1. Its ori- 
gin; 2. Its growth; 8. Its manifestation; 4. Its 
end (the final resurrection). — The children of 
God the salt of the earth, the light of the world, 
the benefactors of the race. — Com p. the admira- 
ble description of Christian life in the Epistle to 
Diognetus, ch. 5 and 6, composed soon after the 
Apostolio age. Christians in the world are there 
compared to the soul in the body : they are scat- 
tered through the world and dwell in the world, 
yet are not of the world; they are hated by the 
world, yet love and benefit it; they are imprisoned 
in the world, yet preserve it from corruption ; they 
are sojourners in the perishing world, looking for 
an incorruptible dwelling in heaven. — P. S.J 


The Incarnation of the Logos, the Appearance of the real Shekinah among the 


Chap. I. 14-18. 


14 And the Word was made [became, ^vero] flesh, and dwelt [sojourned, taberna- 
cled, itrxrjvutffsu'] l among us, (and we beheld his glory [the real Shekinah.], the glory 
as of the [an] only-begotten of [from, izapd'] the Father,) [omit parenthesis] 1 full of 

15 grace and truth. John bare [beareth] 8 witness of him, and cried [crieth], 4 saying, 
This was he of whom I spake [said], He that cometh after me [behind me] is pre- 

16 ferred [hath come to be] before me ; for he was before me [lit. first of me]. And [For] 5 
of his fulness have all we received [did we all receive], and [even] grace for grace. 

17 For the law was given by [through] Moses, (hut) grace and truth came [came to pass] 

18 by [through] Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time [No one hath ever 
seen God] ; the only begotten Son [God],* which [who] is in [toward] the bosom 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 14-18. 


of the Father [of the nature of the Father and in his fall confidence and service] he hath 
declared Aim [hath interpreted all]. 1 


t Ver. 14. [Or, pitched his tent; Meyer, Ewald: seltete; Godot: a dressi sa tentc The rerb iaicnmo-iv (from ?*ipn$, 
truf), which John uses also of God's dwelling with His people on the now earth (Her. xxi. 3), was chosen in allusion to tlu 
SkeJcinaJt (nj'3J7» or W3E^» a Babbinicai theological term from p#, to dwtll), i.e., the indwelling or glorious presence 

of Jehovah in th<? holy of holies of the tabernacle and the temple, which typically pointed to the incarnation. This allusion 
b evident from the correspondence of the letters (Uengel: "wwem literte in T\y 2\& et vkt\ v ij"), and from the following 
Hh+v*tL*$* rijK &6£a.r airrov. Comp. Ex. xxv. 8 (where Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotiou translate T>JO# by vtcrf- 

•*•*■•): xl. 31 ; lev. xxri. 11, 12; Esek. xxxvii. 27 ; Hagg. ii. 8 ; Apoc. Til. 15 ; xxi. 3. In the Apocryphal books the She- 
kinah was especially ascribed to the Sophia (Sir. xxir. 8 : iv Iaxi>j3 KaravK^woov), and the Logos. The humanity of Christ 
became the gtiekinah of His divinity —P. 3.] 

* Ver. 14. — [The parenthesis marked iu this verso in the text. rec. appears to be, like the division of chapters and verses, 
only conventional ; though it serves ns the good purpose of showing the true reference of " full " (wAijpijo to ** the Word " 
(o Aoyoc) rather than to " glory " (66$ x), which could not be otherwise indicated in tho English version. The clause itself is 
not properly parenthetical. See the Exegesis. — E I). Y J 

* Ver. 15. f>iaprvp«u present; the testimony of John goes on. Meyer: "VergegenwUrtigung, als Wntt das Zcugniss 
wxkfi>rL n —V. S.] 

* Ver. 15. [Tho perfect k 4 k p a y « likewise implies continuation of the action in its effect. Meyer : u Das Ptrf. in ge- 
wihnlicher, ciissischer, prdtentischer Bedcutung." Alford : " the voice is still sounding." K p d £w (also used of Christ, vii. 
28, 37 ; xii. 44) is an onomato-poetic word, imitating the hoarse cry of the raven, like the German, krlichzen, the English, to 
croak ; here to call aloud with tho confidence and solemnity of a herald. Bengel : "Clamat Joh. cum fiducia et gaudio, uti 
magnum prseconem decet."—P. S J 

* Ver. 16, iu most codd. [K. B. C* D. L. X ], begins with on, insteali of k a i : For of his fulness, etc. Griesbach, Lach- 
mann, Teschendorf, fllengsteuborg and Godot prefer kaL, and conjecture that on was occasioned by the preceding and 

succeeding ori. — P. 8.T 

• Ver. 18. B. 0.* L. Codd. Sin. et ah read 0e<fc for vto* ; probably from ver. 1. f So also Meyer.] 

[This is the first important difference of reading which occurs in the Gospel of John, and which, on account of its theo- 

logical character, deserves a fuller notice than it has received from Lang© or any other commentator, except Alford, in his 
sixth edition. The ancient authorities are almost equally divided between 0«6c, the (an) Only-begotten God, and vt6t, 
the Only-begotten San. A minor difference relates to the article which is omitted by most of the authorities favoring 6*6*. 
The reading $to\ is supported by the two oldest MSS., tho Sinaitic (which has ©C, tho usual abbreviation of 6 to*, a prima maim, 
but which, in this very verse, by omitting the words 6 Ctv before eis rbv kqKwov, betrays tho carelessness of the transcriber), and 
the Vatican (both from the 4th century), also by C* L.; the Syr. Peshito; Clemens Alex, (once or twice), Excerpta Theo- 
doti (a full quotation), Kpiphanius (three times), the Second Synod of Ancyra, Didymus of Alex, (twice). To this must bo 
added that Gregory of Nyssa and other Greek fathers repeatedly call Christ 6 novoytvrff 0«b>, where they do not quote from 
John L 18. The reading vios is favored by a larger number of manuscripts, A. (Cod. Alex, of the 5th cent.), C* * * (tho 
Ephnem MS. corrected) X. A. and nearly all other MS3.; tho Curetonian Syriac Vers., the Lat. Vers. (Itala and Vulgata); 
Tertallian (Adv. Prax. c. 15), who is older by at least 120 years than the oldest known MSS., Eusebius (in six passages, in 
one, however, with the significant addition ij fiovoyey'tjs $<6s after 6 fiovoyttnjf vifc, for which reason Tregelles claims him 
for feof, though unjustly; see Abbot, Bibl. Sacra, 1&61, p. 85U), Athanasius (four times), Chrysostom (eight times), Ambrose, 
Augustine and other fathers, also the emporor Julian (twice). Hilary, in seven places, supports Filius, but in one (De 7Wn., 
Xll. 24) he reads " unigenitus Deus in sinu Patris." The evidence from Irenscus, Origen, Basil and Cyril of Alexandria is 
contradictory and uncertain. Ircnaeos, the oldest witness in this case (A. D. 170), quotes the passage three times, twice in 
favor of FHius (Adv.hstr. IV. c. 20, 1 6), or Filius Dei (III. 11, 6), once in favor of Deus (IV. 20,11 : •» unigenitus Deus, qui est 
in sinu Patris, ipse enarravit "). Origen reads 0«o$ twice (In Joh. Tom. II. c. 29 ; XXXII. c. 13, Opp. ed. Delarue IV. p. 89 
and 43S), vufc once (Oontr. Cels. 1. II. c. 71, Opp. I. p. 410, in a full quotation), besides vibe tou Beov once (In Joh. Tom. VI. 
2,Opp. IV. 102, with a different reading, vto* 9*6*), and Unigenitus Dei Filius once (in Rufinus' version of Com. on Cant. 1. 
IV. Opp. III. 91). Cyril of Alexandria, ms edited by Aubert, has vio> three times, 0«o> four times, and favors the latter in 
his Commentary, as printed. For a fuller statement of patristic testimonies see an elaborate article of Ezra Abbot (the 
learned librarian of Harvard University) in the Andover BiblioUieca Sacra for Oct. 1861, pp. 840-872. I have verified seve- 
ral of his quotations. He has corrected many errors of former critics and disproved the assertion of Tregelles that 0<6c is " tho 
ancient reading of the Fathers generally" The authorities for v\6* cover a much larger territory than those for 0«o* , which seem 
to be almost confined to Egypt. For internal reasons, 0«©s , being the more difficult reading, has the preference, according to tho 
usual canon ; for itoroytmr\<; naturally suggested v'to?, while the designation of Christ as u the only begotten God," stands isolated 
in the Bible. On the other hand, a change of the abridged form YC to 8C, which is usual in tho uncial MSS., was as easy as tho 
change from the latter to the former. There is moreover an inherent propriety for the use of v'toc in connection with tiovoytvr^ 
and with the mention of the Father; while 0«k is hardly in place immediately after 0«6Vat the beginning of tho verse, and 
introduces a harshness without a parallel in the style of John. The Scripture argument for the Divinity of Christ is strong 
enough, even from the first verse of the Prologue, without the reading 0efc in ver. 18. In view of all the data before us, I see no 
sufficient reason here to depart from the received text. Tregelles, Westcott and Hort adopt 0«<fe (without the article) ; Ab- 
hot, Alford, Tischend. (ed. VIII.) retain v'ufc. Lachmann likewise reads vto>, but before the authorities in favor of 0«rf? were 
fully known. Comp. on this subject, besides Tregelles and Tischend. (ed. VIII., Vol. I., p. 745), especially the article of 
Sua Abbot already quoted, and a long note in tho 6th ed. of Alford (pp. 689-631).— P. S.] 

* Ver. 18. [On the meaning of «£iryijTaTO see the last foot note, p. 78. Christ is the true Exegete or Expounder of God. 
—P. 8.] 


[Ver. 14 contains the central idea of the Pro- 
logue, the Gospel, and the system of Christianity, 
yea, the central idea of the whole history of the 
world ; for ancient history before the incarnation 
was a preparation for Christ as the fulfilment of 
all types, prophecies and nobler aspirations of 
men; history after that event is subservient to 
the spread and triumph of Christianity till Christ 
be all in all. The theology of John is Christolo- 
gical throughout (comp. 1 John iv. 2, 8) ; that 
of Paul, in the Romans and Galatians, is anthro- 
pological and eoteriological, but the Colossians 
and Philippians are likewise Christ ological, and 

in 1 Tim. iii. 16 Paul makes the incarnation the 
central fact of our religion. But the idea of tho 
incarnation, the great mystery of godliness, 
should not be confined to the mere birth of Christ, 
but extended to His whole divine human life, 
death and resurrection; it is "God manifest in 
the flesh." Bengel discovers a threefold anti- 
thetic correspondence between vers. 1 and 4: 

Was in the beginning 

With God. 



and dwelt among us. — P. S.] 

Ver. 14. And. — This xal has been explained 
in very different ways : as equivalent, for exam- 

Digitized by 




pie, to ydp (for)* or ovv (therefore),! or as signi- 
fying the condition of Christ's becoming man. 
But it denotes an actual historical advance ;J 
not, however, as De Wette takes it, upon ver. 9, 
but, as Lucke, upon ver. 11. First, the univer- 
sal advent was spoken of; then the theocratical 
advent in the Old Testament; now, after indi- 
cating the transitional distinction of consecrated 
human birth and birth from God, which were 
continually approaching each other, the Evange- 
list comes to the point of incarnation, where 
birth and new or divine birth coincide. 

The Word became flesh. — In this finishing 
sentence the subject is again named. Not a life 
only, or a light, from the Logos, was made flesh, 
but the whole Logos as Life and Light (see Col. 
i. 19; ii. 9). He became odpg; the strongest 
expression for becoming veritable man. 

[This grand sentence : 6 16yoc cdp% iyk- 
vero, stands alone in the Bible ; but the same 
idea in somewhat different forms of expression 
occurs repeatedly, viz.: 1 John iv. 2 (ev astpiu k\ij- 
?„u0o>f, Christ having come in the flesh) ; 1 Tim. 
iii. 1G (tyavepudrj kv caput, God was manifested in 
the flesh) ; Rom. i. 3 (yevdpevog ek GTzkpparoq Aav- 
tid Kara capua, born from the seed of David ac- 
cording to the flesh) ; viii. 3 (h 6fwi6/LLan cap- 
nbc dfiaprlac, in the likeness of sinful flesh); Phil, 
ii. 7 (i.v dpoiufiari avdpuiruv yevdfievoc, being made 
in tho'likencss of men) ; Heb. ii. 14 (where it is 
said that Christ, like other men, partook of al- 
fiaroc koX oapicdg, of blood and flesh). Flesh 
(odpZ) is a strong Hebraizing term pfef3) for 
human nature in its weakness, frailty and morta- 
lity. Comp. the English, mortal (the German, 
der SterbUche), for man. When used of man, the 
idea of moral weakness or sinfulness is also often 
implied, but not necessarily. In the passages 
where it is ascribed to Christ, sin must be ex- 
cluded in view of the unanimous testimony of the 
Apostles to the sinlessness of Jesus. The term 
is more comprehensive than body (au/ia), which 
is used in distinction from soul (V'UA'V) and spirit 
{yovq or Trvei'/za), while flesh sometimes includes 
both ; it is more concrete and emphatio than 
man (dvOpaxof), and expresses more strongly the 
infinite condescension of the Logos, the identity 
of His human nature with our own, and the uni- 
versalness of His manhood. Yet it is as correct 
to speak of Christ's becoming man (kvavOpuirn- 
etc, Menschwerdung) as of His becoming flesh (ev- 
odpnuaic, incarnatio, incarnation, Fleischwerdung). 
The Logos assumed, not an individual man or a 
single human personality, but human nature 
into union with His prss-existent divine persona- 
lity. He moreover assumed human nature, not 
apparently and transiently (according to the 
Gnostic Docetio view), but really and perma- 
nently ; nor partially (as Apollinaris taught), but 
totally, with all its essential constituents as 
created by God, body, soul and spirit. For Christ 
everywhere appears as a full man (comp. viii. 
40: " Ye seek to kill me, a man who," etc.), and 

• [So Ohrvsostom, Theophyl., Grotiua, Lamp©.] 

f So Block.] 

J [So Meyer : " rinfach di« Rede /crlfihrend,wu aUe, koi des 
jW<>7*." llere the copula carrier the reader to the highest 
pinnnclo of contemplation. So far we may say with Oodet 
ttuit it is emphatic, but cannot adopt his translation: 1'ea, 

He is emphatically called " the Son of Man ;" 
John speaks expressly of the soul (1n>xfl) of 
Christ, xii. 27, and of His spirit (irvevfia), xi. 83; 
xiii. 21 ; xix. 30 ; comp. Matth. xxvii. 50. In 
the 0. T., too, flesh often includes the moral or 
spiritual nature of man, comp. Lev. xvii. 11; 
Deut xii. 15 ; Job xii. 10. It is not the flesh as 
opposed to the spirit, that is here intended, but 
human nature, as distinct from the divine. The 
flesh is the outward tabernacle and the visible 
representative of the whole man to our senses.* 
Finally Christ assumed human nature, not in its 
primitive state of innocence, but in its fallen, 
suffering, mortal state, yet without sin (which 
does not originally and necessarily belong to 
man) ; for He came to save this fallen nature. 
He was subject to temptation, or tempt able, and 
was perfected through suffering (Hebr. ii. 14-18 ; 
iv. 15), but He was neither capKtKdg (Rom. vii. 14), 
nor i}!vkik6c (1 Cor. ii. 14). He appeared not "in 
the flesh of sin," but only "in the likeness of the 
flesh of sin " (Rom. viii. 2). He bore all the 
consequences of sin without a share of personal 
sin and guilt. This amazing miracle of His love 
is best expressed by the term : The Logos be- 
came fles h. f Comp. 2 Cor. viii. 9: "Ye know 
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that, though 
He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, 
that ye by His poverty might become rich." At 
His second advent Christ will appear as man in- 
deed, yet no more in the likeness of sinful flesh, 
nor in weakness and poverty, but in glory and 
immortality (comp. Heb. ix. 28, x^pk dpapriac). 
P. S.J 

It imputes a Judaistic [and Apollinarian] non- 
sense to the Evangelist, to represent him aa 
saying that the Logos took only the human 
nap!;, and not a reasonable human soul (Praxeas, 
Kostlin, ZellerJ). The evidence of the contrary 
lies not only in the impossibility of conceiving & 
human odpg without tyvxt, and such a ^xti with- 
out iTvevfia (see Meyer, p. G5), but especially in 
the Old Testament usage of the term flesh to de- 
note human nature (Is. xl.); to say nothing of 
John's express designation of the tyvxh of Christ 
in ch. xii. 27, and the Trvevua in ch. xi. 83 ; xiii. 
21; xix. 80. But while the half-Baur school 
thus construes John's statement of the incarna- 
tion Judaistically, Hilgenfeld construes it Gnos- 
tically : giving Christ (according to the Valenti- 
nian system) a real odpj-, indeed, but such as 
was exalted above material limitations. Meyer 
(against Frommann and others) contests without 
good reason the anti-Docetic force of this expres- 

* TApollinaris had no more right to appeal to this passage 
for his assertion that Christ had no rational soul, its place 
being supplied by the divine Logos, than he had a right to 
dram the same inference from all those passages where man 
is called flesh. On the Apollinarian Christology comp. my 
Church History, Tol. III., pp. 708 If.— P. S.] 

f [Some of the ablest commentators urge this point. Qd- 
vin : "JSo nmw se Fihus Dei submitit, id carnem islam tot nu- 
seriis obnoxxam nuctperel." Hengstenberg, I. p. 40, quotes 
at length from Luther to the same effect, and says : " There 
is a wealth of comfort in this fact, a balm for the poor, terri- 
fied conscience." Bwald, p. 127, makes these striking remarks : 
" Of all the words which express human nature, John chooses 
the meanest and most contemptible, viz.: flesh, which, in the 
0. T n denotes the lower, perishing, corruptible part of man : 
but even this the Logos did not despise, and thus He became 
man in the fullest sense of the term." — P. 8.] 

X [The same view is ascribed to John by Pfleiderer in Hu\ 
genfeld's ZtittchrifX for 1806, p. 260, and by Scholten of Ley- 
den.— Pt S.J 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 14-18. 


sion ; though certainly the main force of it is ra- 
ther anti-Gnostic ; for the incipient Gnosticism 
first asserted an external connection of oapg and 
yUiyof, against which the verb kyivero would bo 
more emphatic than the substantive c&pg. 

With the idea of the odpt- comes also the idea 
of passibility, but by no means the idea of any 
weakness of the flesh arising from sin; for 
Scripture recognizes the flesh in three stages : 
(1) pure in paradise; (2) weakened by sin; (8) 
sanctified by the Spirit; and the Logos could 
become flesh only in the latter sense. 

All this carries in it the antithesis between Ilis 
incarnation and His eternal, immaterial exist- 
ence ; yet neither in the sense of Pantheism, 
which makes His incarnation an accident (Baur), 
nor in the sense of the mediseval scholasticism, 
which sees in it, even as incarnation, a humilia- 
tion of the Logos even into an incongruous, hete- 
rogeneous nature. The historical humiliation 
of Christ coincides indeed with His historical in- 
carnation ; yet the two are to be distinguished. 

The supernatural birth of Christ is unques- 
tionably implied in this passage, in that the ori- 
gin of Christ as God-Man stands in opposition to 
the natural births previously described, all 
which, as such, needed to be completed by the 
birth from God (contra Meyer). 

[Became, i yivero. — Not was, yv, as in ver. 
1, nor kycvsro av&punoc % as is said of John, ver. 
6, who had no existence before his birth, but the 
pr» -existent, personal Logos became flesh.* 
Comp. LXX., Gen. ii. 7: iykvtro 6 av&pvrroc 
**f i'vxfr' C<*ra*'« The word denotes a single and 
completed aot. The Logos was not converted or 
changed into flesh, nor simply associated with 
flesh, but endued with human naturo, which He 
assumed once for all into personal and perpetual 
union with Him.f The Logos was henceforth 
Christ Jesus, the" Qod-Man (deav&puTo$) t and this 
not only for a transient purpose, but He continues 
so forever. — P. S.] 

Tabernacled among us. — God dwelt as Je- 
hovah in Israel, hidden in the most holy place 
of the tabernacle {aKijvf]) ; now in the Logos He 
has tabernacled {koKfjvooev) among the disci- 
ples in the midst of the people, thus making the 
disciples themselves His tabernaole.J (On among 
m, kv fotiv, see ver. 16. The disciples and 
witnesses of Christ are meant, but as the central 
point of the people, and of ail mankind). Tho 
expression evidently alludes to the Old Testament 
dwelling of God in Israel. The idea of that 
dwelling of Jehovah in tho holy tabernacle (Ex. 
xxv. 8 ; xxix. 45) is enlarged even in the pro- 
phets (Is iv. 5; lvii. 15). Now the Lord has 
taken His dwelling among His own people them- 
S31tos. This reference is confirmed by what fol- 
lows. "The Targums likewise represent the 
Word (*OrrO) as tho Shekinah (KT30), and the 

* [Bengel remarks that nowhere in the wholo range of lite- 
rature is the difference of the verbs «tfu and yiyvoficu more 
studiously observed than in tho Prologue of John.— l\ 8.1 

f[GodeU P. 191, puts a strained view of the xfoi»<rtf into 
" inn, and n 

I makes it to mean that the Logo* gare up Ilia 
diuue mode of existence.— P. g.J 

X [Or rather the humanity of Christ. Ills body (comp. ii. 
19,21) was the oxqpi?, the tabernacle, the temple of God, in 
which He revealed ilis presence the fulness of His grace and 
truth. The Apostles and the believers generally (comp. ver. 
12. ooth iXaflo* ainov) are tue spectators and worshippers in 
this sanctuary.— P. S.J 

Messiah as the manifestation of tho latter" 

And wo beheld his glory.— Meyer rightly 
maintains, against Lucke, De Wet to and Tholuck, 
that this main thought cannot be read as a pa- 
renthesis. Such reading has been occasioned by 
the nominative irh'jpr}$\ x&pir<K, at tho close of 
the verse, referring to /juyoq. According to 
Baumgartcn-Crusius and Meyer [Bruckner, Al- 
ford], this nominative refers, by a solecism, to 
avrov, and serves to give moro iudependent pro- 
minence to the descriptive clause. But the 
clause may also be read as a declaration prompted 
by the contemplation ; r/v being understood. J 

We beheld.— The beholding has faith for its 
organ; it is not a merely outward vision, still less 
merely inward ; nor docs it perceive the glory of 
Christ only in single miracles or in a transfigu- 
ration, but in His whole life (comp. 1 John 
i. 1). [Ikbofiai moreover is richer than dpdv, and 
means properly to behold or contemplate with 
admiration and delight. John speaks here in 
the name of all the Apostles and eye-witnesses of 
tho life of Christ. The plural adds forco to tho 
statement, as in xxi. 24 ; 1 John i. 1 ; 2 Pet. i. 
16. Faith lifts the veil of Christ's humanity and 
worships Ilis divine glory, while to unbelief lie 
is a mere man. Ilengstenberg refers to several 
passages from Isaiah (xl. 5; lxvi. 2, 18), in 
which tho beholding of the glory of Jehovah is 
promised. John recognized Jehovah in the in- 
carnate Logos (xii. 41). — P. S.] 

His glory, 66!-a> *X\22. — The real appearances 
of tho divine glory in the Old Testament must be 
distinguished from its symbolical signs. Its signs 
are the cloud and tempest on Sinai, the pillar of 
smoke and the pillar of fire, the cherubim over the 
ark of the covenant in the most holy place. Its 
real manifestations are, from the nature of the Old 
Testament, transient, and given in visions; mani- 
festations of the Angel of theLord (seo above), or 
of ( he Lord Himself attended by a host of angels, 
Dan. vii. The manifestation of the Angel of the 
Lord is, in its nature, connected with the manifes- 
tation of His glory. The later Jewish theology has 
designated these manifestations as the Shekinah.^ 
In Christ.the Shekinah appears in full reality. 

* [Ilengstenberg: "Tho indwelling of God among His peo- 
ple, which is implied in tho idea of tho i>eople of God, was 
merely u shadow of the temple, and hus attained its full truth 
only in Christ." Bengel sees in tho verb triojwJw an allusion 
rather to the transitory abode of Christ on earth : "habitavit, 
ut in tabernaeulo, vere, nee diu. spectaculum sui prcebens." So 
also Godet. But this is certainly not applicable to God's 
dwelling with His people on tho new earth, Apoc. xxi. 3. 
Ewald, on tho contrary, urges tho Idea of a longor abode, 
which is equally untenable. The Apostle has no reference to 
time, but to the reality of God's abodo with man in Uis in- 
carnate Son as compared with the shadowy indwelling in the 
old tabernacle and temple. This sojourning implies commu- 
nity of life, as to say : We have eaten together, slept under 
tho same tont, travelled together.— P. 8.] 

t [This is the proper reading, while vAifpi}, plenam, is 
conformed to 6b£a»», irAqpov, plmi. to avrov. — P. P.] 

% [Winer, Gramm., p. 624 (7th Germ, ed.), likewise regards 
the comprehensive irAijpijf x a P- «. dA. as grammatically Inde- 
pendent, and refers to Phil. Hi. 19; Mark xii. 40. Hengsten- 
berg views these words as an abridged relative sentence: 
(who is) full, etc.; comp. Apoc. 1. 5. But even this supplement 
is not necessary. Ewald, repeating the main subject, well 
translates : JSr, veil Gnade und Wahrheit.—V. 8. 

2 [rUOff or WOtf (from TOtf , to dwelt) does not occur 

t • : t • J -t 

in the 0. T, Scriptnres, and signifies the glorious presence of 
God with Ills peoplo. Buxtorf (Lexicon Chald , Talmud, et 
Rabbin., ed. Bas. 1610, p. 2394) gives tho following definition 

Digitized by 



[We must distinguish* four stages of this glory: 
1) the prao-existent divine glory of the Logos with 
the Father, xvii. 6; 2) the preparatory shadowy 
manifestation of His glory in the Old Testament, 
as seen by the prophetic eye of Isaiah, xii. 41; 
8) its visible revelation in human form in the life 
and work of the incarnate Word, which shone 
from every miracle, ii. 11 ; 4) the final and perfect 
manifestation of His divine-human glory in eternity 
in which the believers will share, xvii. 24. — P. S.] 

When Meyer, with Hofinann (Schri/tbew. II. 1, 
p. 21), makes the incarnation of Christ itself 
equivalent to His humiliation, and so conceives 
even theanthropic existence as distinct from simple 
divine, he has no Scripture for it, either in ch. 
xii. 41 ; xvii. 6, 22, 24, or in Phil. ii. C. Unques- 
tionably the human 66$a of Christ in His earthly 
life was to be relatively conceived; but only (1) 
in that He entered into the historical conditions 
of humanity, especially into subjection to the 
law, (2) in that the life of the first man waited 
in Him for its completion in the higher, imper- 
ishable manifestation of the second. 

The glory [emphatically repeated] as of 
an only begotten [66i-av &g fiovoyevove 
it a pa nar p6c~\. — A closer description of the 
66$a. It was alone in its kind, and could be 
characterized only thus: as of the only begotten. 
The tie expresses literally not the reality (Euthym. 
Zigabenus: bvrog), but in similitude, the idea of 
the only begotten, to which the appearance of 
Christ corresponded, while assuredly it first 
awakened that idea and brought it to view.* Only 
the jiovoyevf/c could manifest Himself so (ch. 
i. 18; iii. 10, 18; 1 John iv. 9).f That John 
has the term from Christ Himself, is shown by 
ch. iii. 16, 18. Paul's irpurdroKoc, first begotten 
[Col. i. 15 ; Heb. i. 6], is a parallel. Both terms 
denote not only the trinitarian relation of the 
Son of God, but also His theanthropic relation. 

of it : habitation cohabUatio. In uptcU dieitur de prxKntia, 
gloria tt majestaU diHna aut DirinitaU, quando diciiur homi- 
nibus estepraxens, aut cum tit conversari, auxilio suo, gratia et 
talutari prapfrnHa adesse. Communiter explicatur, glnria rtl 
majettas divina, divinitas gUmosa." In the same sense John 
uses (TKijm) in Apoc. xxi.3: Hob if <7*ctji/tj rod 6eov /tera ruv 
Avtipunuiv, kcu <t kt)v u><T * i iktr* aura*?, *cai clvtoi Aab? av- 
rov icrovrai, real avrbf 6 0eo? carat /act' auru>v t > Btb? avrotv. 
(Comp. Text. Note, 1.)— P. 8 ] 

* [*0? is also here a particle of comparison, not of confirma- 
tion (like the falsely so-called Hebrew 5 vcritatis); but the 

comparison here is not between similar things, but between 
the fact and the idea, the reality and the expectation : as 
might bo expected from one that is the only boijotten. Hence 
the absence of the article before novoyevov. The reality is im- 
plied as the basis of the comparison (against Alford). — P. 8.] 
f [John alone uses ixovoytvm of Christ, namely, in the five 
passages above referred to. Besides, the term occurs four 
times of human sons, throe times in Luke (vii. 12; viii. 42; 
ix. 38) and once in the Hebrews (xi. 17). The term is called 
figurative, but it is more correct to say that all earthly rela- 
tionships of fathers and filial affection are a figure and reflec- 
tion of the eternal Fatherhood of God and the eternal Sonship 
of Christ. Comp. Eph iii. 14, 16 : "The Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and 
earth is named/* I hold with Lange that John learned the 
word directly from Christ. Lampe and Hengstenberg derive 
the appellation from Zech. xii. 10, where the Messiah is 
compared to an only begotten (TIT) ' 
"And they have looked unto me whom they pierced, 
And they have mourned over it, 

Like a mourning over the only One— (TrPH. LXX.: ayairif- 

toV ; Vulg.: unigrnitum). 
And they have been in bitterness for it, 
like a bitterness over the first-born— , Q3n, LXX): M Ty 

vpuToriKtjt. — P, S.] 

In the expression -of John, however, the incom- 
municable relation of Christ to God predomi- 
nates; in that of Paul, His incommunicable re- 
lation to the world. In the one, the ontological 
idea of the Trinity rules; in the other, the eco- 
nomic and soteriologicnl. The notion of the 
only begotten is closely akin to that of the beloved 
(aya7rtrr6c) t not identical with it as Kuinoel 
holds. The word denotes indeed, according to 
Meyer, the only begotten ; but it thereby makes 
Christ also the peculiarly begotten (Tholuck), 
who is the principle of all other births and rege- 
nerations.* The reference of fwvoyevovc to d6£a 
(Erasmus and others) is wholly without sup- 

From the Father [belongs to fiovoyevove, not 
to Jofav]. — Origen: e#c rye o'vaiac tov xaTpoc. 
His origin aud issue is from the essence of the 
Father. His coming forth from the Father (ch. 
Ti. 40; vii. 29; xvi. 27) does not exclude, how- 
ever, His continuance in the heaven of the Father 
(ch. iii. 13 ; comp. ch. i. 18). His human rela- 
tions do not supersede His divine. 

Full of grace and truth.— Comp. ver. 17. 
The result of the beholding, uttered in an excla- 
mation of astonishment, expressing the main 
forms in which the d6$a was seen in Him. He 
was full of grace and truth. Not only did He 
seem all grace and truth, but grace and truth 
seemed concentrated in Him. And this was His 
glory, for grace and truth are the main attributes 
of Jehovah in the Old Testament, since the Mes- 
sianic spirit recognized Him as pre-eminently the 
God of redemption (flOKJ. *tDH [in the LXX.: xo- 
?*v£?ieoc ml aArjdiv6g], Ex. xxxiv. 6; Ps. xxv. 10; 
xxxvi. 0). This reference to the Old Tes- 
tament is groundlessly doubted by Meyer;* 
for though npX denotes also faithfulness, yet 
faithfulness and truth are one in the divine 
nature; and the rendering of *ipn by i?^oc in 
the Septuagint decides nothing, since k7*oc finds 
its more precise equivalent in D'OH^ But Meyer 
well observes that aTJfleta answers to the light- 
nature (<foc ), x&P tc to the life-nature (Cu#) of the 
Logos. Of course the life is as much concerned 
in the truth of Christ, as the light in the grace; 
the latter notions are more soterioiogically con- 
crete, than the former. Christ, as absolute re- 
demption, was pure grace; as absolute revela- 
tion, pure truth. [Christ is the personal Truth, 
xiv. G, and is in the Apoc. called the afai$iv6c f 
iii. 7 ; xix. 11, is whom there is a perfect har- 

* [The term refers back to riitva 0eov, ver. 12, and marks 
the difference between Christ and the bellevors: 1) lie is the 
only Son in a sense in which thore is no other; they are 
many; 2) He is Son from eternity ; they become children in 
time ; 3) He is 8on by nature ; they are made sons by grace 
and by adoption ; 4) He is of the same essence with the Father ; 
they are of a different substance ; in other words, His is a meta- 
physical, primitive and co-essential, theirs only an ethical and 
derived, sonship. The idea of generation, as Meyer correctly 
remarks, is implied in the very term fiovoytvifc. Origen ex- 
plains fLOPoytPifc— «*c t^s ovctac tov trarpdV This leads logi- 
cally to the Niccne dogma of the homoousia and the eternal 
generation, t. «., the eternal communion of love between the 
Father and the Bon. (Comp. John xvii. 24.) Luther says : 
God has many children, but only one only begotten Son, 
through whom all things and all other children were made. 
—P. 8.J 

f [But defended by TTengstenberg, who sees here a new 
proof for the identity of Christ with the revealed Jehovah of 
the 0. T. Grace and truth appear here as personal attributes, 
as in Ex. xxxiv. 6; while in ver. 17, as in Mich. vii. 20, they 
appear as gifts which Christ bestows. — P. S.] 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 14-18. 


mony between appearance and reality, claim and 
being, promise and fulfilment. — P. S.j 

Ver. 15. John beareth witness of him. — 
Having described the advent of Christ to its con- 
summation in the incarnation, the Evangelist 
comes to the testimony of John concerning Christ. 
He first introduced John's mission to bear wit- 
ness of Christ, ver. 6 ; now he comes to his actual 
testimony concerning Christ, and that as a testi- 
mony even to His prm-existence and His higher 
nature. Afterwards follows the testimony of tho 
Baptist concerning the Messianic (ver. 19) and 
the soteriological (ver. 29sqq.) character of Jesus. 

Bsareth -witness. — Present. John's testi- 
mony is perpetually living, active and valid. Its 
continued validity in the present rests upon the 
past fact that he cried only in Israel, and uttered 
what he had to say of Christ (Kenpaye Tdyuv). 
Hence Christ could appeal to his testimony, ch. 
v. 33; Matth. xxi. 21. Kpd^etv, elsewhere also, 
. ch. vii. 23, 37, etc., for loud public proclamation. 
There is no reason for taking the perfect in a pre- 
sent sense. [Comp. Text. Notes 3 and 4. — P. S.] 

This was ho of whom I said. — vroc i)v. 
He it was. Not because John is conceived as 
speaking in the present. In the testimony of 
John two periods must be distinguished : before 
and after the baptism of Jesus. Before the bap- 
tism, he preached the Messiah in His higher 
characters, as approaching, but knew not yet the 
Messianic individual ; after the baptism he oould 
point to Jesus and say: This was lie, of whom I 
declared that prm -existence. Thus this second 
stage of his testimony is here in hand. 

Ha that cometh after me. — ['0 bnloo pov 
ipX^fievoCt iftirpoodiv pov ykyovev. A 
pithy oxymoron exciting attention and reflection, 
repeated vera. 27 and 3J, and probably suggested 
by the prophetic passage, Mai. iii. 2: "Lo, I am 
sending My messenger, and he hath prepared a 
way before Me." The following words, bn npurdc 
ftov ipr, which rau3t be referred to the prao- exist- 
ence of Christ (comp. ;/i\ vers. 1,9, 10), not to the 
superiority of rank (which would require kari), 
contain the clue to the enigmatic and paradoxical 
sentence. The meaning may be thus explained: 
My successor (in time) has become (or has come to 
be) my predecessor (in rank) ; for He is before me 
(even in time), being absolutely the first, viz.: the 
eternal Son of God; while I am only a man born in 
time and sent to prepare the way for Him. — P. S.] 

"He that comes after me, has come before 
me/' Meyer.* But it means: was made, has 
become (y kyovi) before me. John appeared 
before Christ as His fore-runner and herald ; as 

* [ u Der hinUr mir her Kommende ist mir zuvorgtkommcn" 
Meyer, like Orison, takes both adverbs in a temporal (or rather 
local tense; time being represented here in the form of 
fpjee). 8o does Hengsten hug: Der nach mir kommt ist mir 
tinmyeffangrn. Oodet : Odtu qui vient aprlt moi, m'a pre- 
c(dZ. The objection to this interpretation is that it makes 
•u vparrof ftov V a mere repetition. Hence most commenta- 
tors (Chrys., LUcke, Thol., Olsh., De Wette, A If.) refer biriau 
to time, and ifjurpovBtv to rank. So also the E. V : " He that 
cometh after me is preferred (». «., is advanced) before me." 
John> preparatory office decreased before the rising glory of 
the Mesuiah. This interpretation saves the distinction of 
iytvtro, ha* become, and ^c, was, so carefully observed 
throughout tho Prologue; eyotro must, of course, not be re- 
ferred t« the divine dignity of the Logos, which is eternal, but 
to the divine human dignity of the incarnate Christ, which 
was acquired- Dr. Lange injreniouily combines the refer- 
ence to time and that to rank in i^npovBtv and vp&ros .— 

to his progressive approach in His Old Testament 
advent, Christ was before him. His coming Jorth 
pervaded the Old Testament, and was the impel- 
ling power and cause of all prophecy, even the 
prophecy of John. And this earlier coming had 
its ground in His earlier (absolutely early, eter- 
nal) existence; hence bn npuroc pov i/v. 
These are, indeed, primarily antitheses of time. 
But the designation of the one coming after, as 
being before, implies at the same time a deeper 
and higher principle of life. According to Aris- 
totle, the posterius in the real development is the 
pritis in the idea or the value of the life. This is 
true of man in relation to the animal world, of 
tho New Testament in relation to the Old, of 
Christ in relation to the Baptist. Tho ivn/zoVe- 
poc pov tori of Chrysostom, therefore, is involved 
in the clause ; while Meyer is right, against 
Lucke, Tholuck and others, in not taking this 
for its primary senso. The kp npooOkv pov yk- 
yovev, of course, means not was before me (Luther 
and others), but: has become [or come to be\ before 
me (against Meyer). Commentators have not 
been able lo reconcile themselves to this ykyovev, 
because they have not yet fairly reconciled them- 
selves to the Old Testament incarnation of Christ. 
Hence Meyer: it is equal to KpotpxeoQat ; Luth- 
ardt: He who at first came after me, as if He 
were my disoiple, is since come before me, that is, 
become my master. Baumgarten-Crusius: of the 
ideal pra-existence of Christ in the divine coun- 
sels. This interpretation lies in tho right direc- 
tion, but misses the fact that the pra-existence 
of the Logos was personal and real, and that the 
ideal prae -existence of the God-Man was from the 
first dynamically real, the power of the creation, 
the central force and the core of tho Old Testa- 
ment (the "root" of Isaiah), and in Israel was in 
a continual process of incarnation, which was 
objectively represented beforehand in the Angel 
of the Lord. 

For he was before me [6 r* irpurde po'v 
^ v] — The eternal pi re-existence of Christ is the 
ground of His theocratic manifestation. Here 
again Moyer [on account of the rjv'] emphasizes 
the temporal sense, against the reference of the 
rrpuroc to rank [which would require eariv'], 
contrary to Chrysostom, Erasmus [Beza, Calvin, 
Grotius] and many others. He would take the 
merely temporal conception (i. e., the prm-exist- 
ence of tho Logos) ; hence npuroc in the sense of 
-pdrepoe. The comparative, however, could 
hardly stand here. Such prm-existencc itself in- 
volves the higher, even divine dignity.* 

Meyer justly holds, against Strauss [Do Wette, 
Scholten] and others, that the Baptist could cer- 
tainly have from Mai. iii. 1 ; Is. vi. 1 ff. and 
Dan. vii. 13 ff., the idea of the pne -existence of 
Christ, which even the Rabbins attested. [Be- 
sides, we must assume a special revelation given 
to John at the baptism of Christ, i. 33.— P. S.] 

Ver. 16. Por [text, rec: And] of his ful- 
ness did we all receive. — Undoubtedly the 
testimony of the Baptist continued, as Origen.f 

* [ John probably chose trpuro? instead of irpoVepo?, to raise 
Christ above all comparison. He is absolutely tho first, tho 
Alpha and Omega. Hengstcnberg, too. finds in tho word the 
idea of absoluto priority, which would hare been weakened 
by tho use of tho comparative. — P. S.1 

f [Origen (/» Evang. Joh., Tom. VI. 2, Vol. IV„ p. 102) 
blames Heracleon, a Gnostic commentator on John, from the 

Digitized by 




Chrysostom [Erasmus, Luther, Mel.] and others 
take it. Wo adjust the 4 fie I f ird vrec by re- 
ferring it to the Old Testament saints (ver. 12), 
and particularly to the prophets, whose line 
John closed. 

From the fullness of Christ have we all drawn 
our supply, says the last of the prophets, and 
(even) grace for grace. The last, best, highest, 
which each one in the end received from His 
fulness, was grace. Thus the Old Testament 
experience of salvation looked to its completion 
in the New Testament. Comp. 1 Pet. i. 11, 12.* 

Of his fulness. — See ver. 14, ir/jpw [also 
Col. i. 10; ii. 9, according to which the whole 
fulness of the Godhead dwelled in Christ bodily; 
Eph. i. 23, where the church as the body of 
Christ is called "the fulness of Him that hlleth 
all in all.'— P. S.].— That the idea of the x/J?- 
pufia docs not necessarily originate in Gnostic 
soil (as Schwegler and others [of the Tubingen 
School] hold), to pass thence into a pseudo-Jo- 
hanncan Gospel, a moro thorough knowledge of 
the history of religion might abundantly teach. f 
The heathen philosophy knows only an ideal 
pleroma as the basis of things; in the actual 
world all proceeds in broken emanations ininfini~ 
turn, upon the premises of pantheism. But the 
idea of the real pleroma was an essential princi- 
ple of the Old Testament religion and promise. 
In the Messiah the old piece-work was to become 
a whole, shadows were to become reality, revela- 
tion was to be finished. See Is. xi. 1 ; f comp. 
Ueb. i. 1, 2.] Ilenco even Matthew, at the out- 
Bet, speaks repeatedly of positive fulfilment, ch. 
ii., etc. Likewise all the Evangelists and Apos- 
tles in their way, Eph. i. 10; Col. ii. 9, 17 ; 
i. 19. The pleroma of Christ in the world corre- 
sponds with the pleroma of the Trinity in heaven ; 
it is absolute revelation and religion concluded 
and consummated in His personality ; and it is 
patent-that this idea could be only borrowed by the 
Gnostics, to be altered and corrupted. The ?rA#- 
pufia of Christ is His fullness of being in its re- 
velation, ontoiogically present, actively demon- 
strating itself. He had already partially opened 
Himself in the Old Testament, so that all the pro- 
phets might draw from Him. Comp. John x. 6 
sqq.; 1 Pot. i 11, 12. 

And (even) grace for grace. — And even; 
not : and that, or: to wit. J — Grace for grace 

middlo of tho second century, for terminating tho testimony 
of the Baptist at the end of ver. 17, and makes it continue to 
tho end of ver. 18.— P. 8.] 

* [I prefer, with Meyer, Tholucjt, Ilongstenberg, Alford, 
Godet, to ascribe this and the following verses to tho Evange- 
list, on account of their specific Christian character, and on 
account of w all (comp. ver. 14, i6ea<rd[ie6a). Tho Baptist, 
after all, belonged to tho 0. T. dispensation, though standing 
at tho very threshold of tho New, us Moses died of the kisses 
of Jehovah outside, yet in sight of, tho holy land. John 
speaks in the name of the Apostles, ver. 14, in the name of 
all believers, ver. 16. Hence iratrec, which already pro-sup- 
poses tho existence of the Christian Church.— P. 8.J 

f [Tho Gnostic pleroma is the ideal world, containing all 
tho feons, i. *■ ., the divine powers and attributes, such as mind, 
reason, wisdom, truth, life, which gradually emanate from it 
in a certain order (according to Valentine, in pairs with sex- 
ual polarity, the vov* and aK^Beta, the Ao-yof and £<•»}, the ay- 
Bptawos and i<K\r)<ria). Christ is only one of these a»ons. 
But according to John, Christ is the whole pleroma from 
which flow nil tho benefits of salvation and gifts of grace. 
Irenn»us, Adw liter. III. 11,1, argues from the Prologue of 
John agi»in«*t the Gnomic id*»aof the pleroma, — P. 8.1 

X { Und evoar, nllmlick, et mime. In this epexegetical sense 
Mi if taken by Winer, Gram. p. 407, Meyor and Alford. 

[{H ig jn, gratiam super yratiam]. Variously 
interpreted: (1) Starke: The grace of restoration, 
for the grace lost in paradise. (2) Chrysostom, 
Lampe, Paul us and others : The grace of the New 
Testament instead of or after that of the Old.* 
(3) Augustine: First justification, then eternal 
life.f (4) liengel and most moderns : One grace 
after another [ever growing supplies of grace] 
from the fullness of Christ. J — At the same time, 
however, the Baptist doubtless thought of the 
different developments of religious experience in 
the course of the Old Testament prophecy. Grace 
was continually assuming new forms. [This re- 
mark loses its force if ver. 16 gives the words of 
the Evangelist, not of the Baptist. — P. S.] 

Ver. 17. Por the law, etc — [Antithetic de- 
monstration of ver. 16.] The antithesis of the 
Old and New Testaments, as in Paul (Rom. vi. 
14; vii. 3; Gal. iv. 4, etc.]. It must be remem- 
bered that both Apostles (and all the Apostles) 
recognize likewise the unity of the Old and New - 
Testaments. This unity, even according to our 
text, is Christ Himself, and it is elsewhere in 
John [ch. viii. 66], as well as in Paul (Rom. iv. 
4), represented by Abraham, or by promise and 
prophecy, also by the prophetic, typical side of 
the Mosaic law itself. The law, however, as law, 
constitutes the opposition of the Old Testament 
to the New. But the law is here placed in a two- 
fold opposition to the New Testament. (1) As 
agaiust grace, it is the binding* commandment, 
which cannot give life, but by its 'demand of 
righteousness works the death of the sinner, 
either unto life in repentance, or unto death in 
the judgment, while it is incapable of giving life, 
expiating, justifying, sanctifying. Rom. vii.; 2 
Cor. v.; Gal. iii. (2) As against truth or the 
reality of salvation and of the kingdom of 
God, it is first only type, prefiguration, symbol ; 
and then, when the reality is come, shadow, Col. 
iii. 17 ; Heb. x. 1. Notice also the further anti- 

Comp. flal. ri 16; Eph. vi. 18; ITeb. xi. 17. Cut Lange's in- 
tcrpretation makes mai more forcible. It often means abo, 
erw {el*n,ja). See Winer, p 40S. Similarly Bengal: omne 
qu x/ ex ejus plcnitudine accipiendum erat, et (bPtciATiM) gra- 
tiam pro grutia. — P. 8.] 

* [Chrysostom supports this view by ver. 17, where the law 
of Moses id contrasted with the grace of Christ ; but for thi« 
very reason tho law cannot be another kind of grace, and if 
never so called. Cyril and Euthymius Zigabenus likewise 
explain: Tqv ttaivriv dioBrfK^y avrl rye vaAcuaf. — P. 8.] 

f [Or rather fid?*, and vita teterna, as the free reward of 
faith. "Quia ipsa fides gratia est, says Augustine, et vita 
ttterna gratia est pro gratia." Tract. 111. in Joh., Tom. 111., 
Par*.- II., p. 308. The similar interpretation of St bernard: 
gratia gloria pro gratia mtVrtijr, is equally true and equally 
insufficient. The glory of the heavenly state is only the last 
link in this chain of divine grace.— P. 8.] 

% [This interpretation is also adopted by I.Ucke, Thol., 
Olih., Mey., Hcngstenb., Alf., Wordsw., and fulls in most na- 
turally with tho idea of irAi)puifi£u nor is it inconsistent with 
the fundamental meaning of avri (grace exchanging with 
graco). It is an unbroken stream of grace from justification 
through tho various stages of sancti ft* cation to life everlasting;, 
every new wave taking the place of and overwhelming, 
though not superseding or destroying, the other. Ewald re- 
fers to tho multiplicity of spiritual gifts fvapio-fiaTtt) in the 
Apontolic Church, 1 Cor. xii. — xiv., but the ordinary grace* 
and blessings must bo included. 'Avri does not always mean 
an exchange that supersedes one thing, but, like vapd and 
ini, a succession. Nengol refers for a similar u«e of orri to 
jEschylus, Agant . and Chrysostom, De saccrd. VI. 13. Other 
examples are added by Lttcke, Meyer and Alford. John 
might have said x*P lv t1r ^ X*P m or X* * wl X*P iV (** Phil, 
ii. 27) iustead of avri, but it would not have expressed so 
strongly the overwhelming flow of grace upon graco. 
For the idea comp. Rom. t. 1 111; Gab v. 22: JSph. t. •.— 
P. 8.] 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 14-18. 


thesis, that the law was given, set forth, laid dozen 
(eSStffj), as a lifeless statute; grace and truth 
came , became (kytvero), unfolded themselves as 

Grace and truth. f — Grace as the complete 
New Testament grace of redemption, "in the 
distinct and solemn sense" [Meyer, p. 93], yet 
according to its historical progress, which began 
with Abraham's righteousness of faith, Qcn. xv. 
6.— Truth, as the full truth of life and the full 
life of truth, the reality and substance of salva- 
tion, in contrast with the shadow. [Redeeming 
grace is opposed to the condemnation, truth to the 
typical and shadowy character, of the law, of 
which Bengel says: iram parane etumbram ha- 

Came through Jesus Christ. — In the his- 
torical synthesis: Jesus Christ, who is here for 
the first time called by His full [historical] name 
[in harmony with the instinctively artistic ar- 
rangement of the Prologue], J the development of 
the grace also culminates in the absolutely ef- 
ficient grace of redemption. But as Christ the 
Logos was from eternity, so also was the grace, as 
the power of the love and righteousness of God 
over the foreseen guilt of the world. Develop- 
ment is therefore no more to be ascribed to the 
grace in itself, than to the Logos in Himself; but 
the eternal grace, with the eternal Logos, entered 
into historicaljdevelopment towards incarnation, 
and the consummation : Christ in Jesus, was also 
the consummation of the grace. The thing here 
expressed, therefore, is the historical completion 
and operation of grace, not as a mere work of 
Christ (Clement of Alex.), or of God (Origen), 
but rather as the vital action of God in Christ. 
Dorschaus : " kdddn et kytvero eleganter distinguun- 
tur, Ebr. III., prim enim organicam caueam, poste- 
Hum, principaUm notat." Yet leaving the Father 
the first principle. 

Ver. 18. No man hath seen God at any 
time. — That these words also might have been 
spoken by John the Baptist, appears from ch. iii. 
31, 32 ; and that they are to be actually attri- 
buted to him, from the fact that the Evangelist 
evidently distinguishes the testimony concerning 
Christ which, from ver. 15, the Baptist gave in 

* fBengel remarks hero that no philosopher so accurately 
employs words and observes their distinctions as John, spe- 
cially in this chapter, aud explains the difference between 
iiofrq and iyivrro : "Masis non sua est Ujc, Christi sua est gra- 
tia et r*ritas." Alford, after De Wott«, finds the reason or the 
contrast in the fact that the law as a positive enactment was 
narrow and circumscribed, and hence c6ot?i), while grace is 
unlimited. But besides the idea of positive enactment, c&£0» 
Implies also the divine origin and solemn promulgation of 
the law, while iyivrro indicates the free, spontaneous and 
abiding nature of grace. Moses may disappear, for the law 
was only given through him, but Christ with His grace abides 
forever. The law commands, the gospel gives ; the law con- 
demns, grace justifies ; the law kills, grace makes alive. The 
highest mission of the law is to awaken a sense of sin and 

lit. the neod of redemption, and thus to lead to Christ.— 

t [The conjunction koL before grace, as Bengel remarks, is 
here elegantly omitted ; for a •* but " as well at an " and " was 
in place here.— P. S.] 

X [Comp. here the remarks of Meyer and Oodet The bitter 
•ays : "Gtsi i ce moment du prologue que Vapbtre prononcepour 
la prtmiirt/ois It grand nom attendu depute si long temps, Je- 
sus-CkrisL A mesure, que la divine histoirt des miserieordes de 
la Parole envrrs rhumanitc se dtrouls a set regards, ce sptcta- 
de la* inspire des termes toujour spins concrets, plus humains." 
first the Word, then Life and Light, then the Only Begotten 
of the Father, now Jeens Christ, who embraces all that was 
•aid of Him before.— P. 8.] 


general, and particularly among His disciples, 
from bis next following testimony, ver. 19, before 
the rulers of the Jews.* Our verse, however, 
not only particularizes respecting the akifieuL, 
ver. 17 (Meyer), but at the same time enlarges 
the preceding thoughts. Christ is so truly the 
fulfil ler of grace and truth, that He stands in 
contrast not only to Moses, but also to the pro- 
phets and to the Baptist himself (see ch. iii. 31). 
No man hitherto has seen and revealed God in 
the sense in which He has seen and revealed Him. 
Christ, therefore, as fulfilment, is the first veri- 
table revelation. — God is emphatically put first. 
God, in His interior essence, and in His fulness 
and full glory, no man hitherto hath seen. — No 
man — i. e., not only : not even Moses, but also : 
none of all the prophets, not even the Baptist. — 
Seen (i up a ice). Not merely per/eele cognovit 
•(Kuinoel) ; nor does the term refer to intuition 
without visions (Meyer) ; still less to such a see- 
ing on the part of the Logos, as was suspended 
by His incarnation. For as to Christ's seeing of 
God, this was in its nature at once internal, in- 
tuitive beholding and external seeing. When 
the prophets beheld, they saw not with the out- 
ward eye; when they saw, they beheld not in 
the prophetic way ; and all that they in their 
prophetic moments beheld, was piece-work, which 
they beheld in its symbolical image. In Christ 
the prophetic vision became one with the ordi- 
nary external vision. He saw in all the outward 
works of God His Spirit, His personal love ; and 
what He saw in the Spirit, He saw not merely as 
idea, but as actual divine operation. To Him all 
sensible seeing was permanently a sublime seeing 
of the majesty of God, a blissful seeing of tho 
love of the Father. And of this vision of Christ, 
though it was grounded in the eternity of the 
Logos, Bruckner justly observes that it was not 
interrupted by the incarnation. See ch. iii. 
[The same perfect knowledge of God, Christ 
claims for Himself alone, Matth. xi. 27, — a pas- 
sago which strongly proves the essential har- 
mony of the Christ of the Synoptists with the 
Christ of John.— P. S.] 

The only begotten Son [Oodlf who is 
on (or toward) the bosom of the Father. — 
With the pro-existence of tho Logos before His 
incarnation, His co-existence during His incarna- 
tion, is so simply put,. that we can find in these 
Words nothing too high for the theology of the 
Baptist. [?] If the Baptist elsewhere called 
Him the One who baptized with the Holy Ghost 
and with fire (Matth. iii.), the Bridegroom of 
the church (John iii. 20), the One who cometh 
from heaven, in contrast with all prophets, he 
thereby designated Him also as the only begotten 
Son. We may then leave it entirely undecided, 
how far he actually understood tho Sonship of 
Christ from Psalm ex. and other passages, and 
whether the term povoyevfc does not belong ra- 
ther to our Evangelist. — Who is on the bosom 
op thb Father [6 ov etc fdv k6Xko v — not 
tv t£ ndX-y — tov tear p 6c. The preposition 
etc expresses a leaning on, or direction towards, 

* \1 dissent from this view. See foot-notes on page 7&— 
P. 8.1 

t [On this remarkable difference of reading : o uoroyttnjs v t- 
o*f, generally abbreviated In ancient MSS. YO. and (o) f*o- 
voytvrit 6 • 6 1 or ©C, tee T*xtgal Notes (•).— P. S.] 

Digitized by 




the bosom of the Father, the union of motion and 
rest in the love of the Only Begotten to the Fa- 
ther.* Com p. the notes on irpbc rbv &t6v, ver. 1. 
The phrase to be (Iteming) on the bosom, like the 
Latin, in siriu or gremio esse, seder e, and the Ger- 
man, Schoosskind, bosom-child, expresses a relation 
of tho closest intimacy and tenderest affection. 
Compare what is said of the Wisdom (the Logos) 
in Prov. yiii. 80: "Then I was near Him as one 
brought up with Him ; and I was daily His de- 
light, rejoicing always before Him." Bengel 
remarks: "The bosom here is divine, paternal, 
fruitful, mild, sweet, spiritual. Men are said to 
be in the loins (in lumbis) who are yet to be 
born ; they are in the bosom (in sinu) who have 
been born. The Son was in the bosom of the 
Father, because He was never nouborn (non- 
status, ayiwTjTos). The highest unity, and the 
most intimate knowledge from immediate Bight,, 
is here signified." — P. S.l. — Acccording to 
Hofmannf and Meyer, the Evangelist is speak- 
ing here, and speaking of Christ exalted. From 
this the fie rbv k6Xitov is supposed to explain it- 
self as expressing the exaltation. But this would 
deprive the clause of all force, and reduce it to a 
pointless, self-neutralizing announcement. If it 
means : The only begotten Son, who has now as- 
cended to the bosom of the Father, who once 
preached to us when He was with us, — the rela- 
tive clause, besides being unmeaning, would be 
inaccurate ; it should read : Who is again in tho 
bosom of the Father. The passage i. 50 does 
not prove that during the earthly life of Christ 
such an elvai c/f tov k6?.top tov irarpd? did not be- 
long to Him. J The antithesis between His being 
on earth (ch. i. 61) and His being in heaven 
(ch. iii. 13), between His being with the Father 
(ch. viii. 85), representing the Father (xiv. 9), 
and being one with the Father (x. 30), and His 
coming forth from the Father (xvi. 28), His being 
alone with the Father in His passion (xvi. 82), 
and His being forsaken by God (Matth. xxvii. 
46), as well as between His glory (c. i. 14) and 
His being not yet glorified (vii. 89), — is to be 
explained neither by a dualistic separation be- 
tween the consciousness of the Logos and the 
consciousness of Jesus, nor by a pantheistic ad- 
mission of human limitations into the Logos 
(Thomasius), but by the alternation of Christ's 
moods between His self-subsistent relation to God 
and His self imposed compassionate relation to 
the world, or between the predominance of self- 
limiting grace and that of heaven-embracing om- 
nipotence ; between the states of humiliation and 
exaltation in their essential prinoiple and positive 
spirit. We therefore, with De Wette, take up as a 
time-less present, and elg, after the analogy of the 

iner, (Tmrnm, p. 387 (7th ed.) : an den Busen (ange- 

Mint), gegen den Busen hin, Ewald translates am SchooueZ— 
P. 8.) 

t [Ahriftbeweis, Vol. I., p. 120, eec. ed.: der in dm Schooss 
da Vaten hingegangtn. But Meyer gave this explanation 
before 11 of man n, who also refers to him.— P. 8.] 

% [Hongstenborg. BrUckncr, Godct, Phllippi likewise op- 
poso Meyer's ungrammatical reforence of tho present participle 
wk to t ho future state of exaltation. The intimate communion 
between the Son and the Father was not interrupted or sus- 
pended by tho incarnation. Christ, while on earth, was at the 
same time in heaven (Iii. 13), not simply deiure (as Meyer, in 
tho fifth edition, p. 95, explains it), but de facto in a mont 
real, though mysterious sense. (Wordsworth in altogether 
too fanciful if he finds in 6 wr an allusion to the peculiar 
namo of Jehovah, the Being, the ever Existing One.}—!'. S.J 

7rpdf tov 0e6v in ver. 1, as expressing the eternal 
direction of the Son towards the Father. Liicke 
rightly refers the being in the bosom of the Father, 
or for the Father, to the incarnate Logos, as He 
here appears in the definite character of the only 
begotten Son. Following the common acceptation, 
Tholuck considers the figure as borrowed from 
the place of fellowship at table, at the right 
hand, ch. xiii. 23 [t/v avoKtipevoc . . . . iv tu k6?.- 
n<t> tov 'Itioov].* Meyer thinks this unsuitable, 
but refers the expression to the paternal embrace, 
Luke xvi. 22 [ev rolg K<5?.7roif].f But the common 
acceptation is supported by the kindred expres- 
sion of Christ, that Ho will come with the Fa- 
ther to His own, to make His abode with them, 
John xiv. 23 ; comp. Rev. iii. 20 ; xix. 9. 

He hath, etc. — 'E/ceZvoc ["an epithet of 
excellency and of distance," as Bengel observes] 
is certainly very emphatic [He, and none else] ; 
yet not as looking to the local superiority of hea- 
ven, J but to the majesty of the Son of God. 

Interpreted. — * E^y^o-aro is hard to ex- 
plain. Liicke refers it to the grace and truth 
which Christ has seen in God ; Meyer, to the sub- 
stance of His view of God ; [the E. V. (which sup- 
plies : linn), Alford, Owen, Godet, to God Him- 
self in the beginning of the verse. — P. S. ] Liicke 
translates: lie hath revealed it; De Wette: He 
hath proclaimed (declared) it, told it; Meyer: 
He hath explained, interpreted [viz.: the contents 
of His intuitions of God]. The New Testament 
parallels, Luke xxiv. 35; Acts xv. 12, 14, e4e. t 
admit both renderings, but favor that of De 
Wette; the passage Lev. xiv. 57 fLXX.) seems 
rather to favor Meyer, especially since the word, 
in classic usage, is applied particularly to the 
explaining of divine things. J As we attribute 
the word to the Baptist, we conceive that it con* 
tains an allusion to the obscure beginnings of 
revelation in the Old Testament. The Baptist 
has not understood the historical predictions of 
Jesus, but has no doubt recognized in Christ the 
key of the ancient time, the perfect interpretation 
of the rudiments of revelation. We therefore take 
Hnyijoa-o absolutely, with respect to the old co- 
venant. In virtue of His seeing of God He has 
cleared up the law in grace and truth, brought 
the Old Testament gloriously to light in the New. 
He has brought and made solution. 

[This very verb argues against Dr. Lange's view 
of the authorship of ver. 18, which must be as- 

* [So also Winer, Lttcke. Geas, Ewald, Oodet, Alford, Web- 
ster and Wilkinson.— P. S.J 

f [So also Robinson {Lex. sub k6Kvos), Owen (from the idea 
of embracing a friend and straiuing him to the bosom) and 
Hengstenberg, who besides refers to similar expressions, 
Deut. xili. 7 ; xxviii. 36 ; Mich. vii. 6; Isaiah xl. 11.— P. $] 

J [As Meyer explains it in accordance with his reference 
of the passage to tho state of exaltation in heaven. — P. 8. J 

3 [The words l£ny4o/u.<u (properly to lead out, either in the 
sense of taking the lead, or of bringing out, explaining the 
hidden sense), e£ ^yijcif , *$yyvn** **« technical terms used by 
the classic writers of the interpretation of divine oracles, vi- 
sions, mysteries, prodigies, laws and ceremonies, and hence 
properly applied by Christian writers to the exposition of the 
holy Scriptures. See the passages collected by Wetstein, p. 
841, and the references in Meyer, p. 96. Lampe, who strictly , 
adheres to this technical sense, like Meyer, supplies no ob- 
ject, and takes l£iryif<raro~«£iryrirnfc iorir, interpres est, as 
rtjgnat without the object is equivalent to rex est, and docH to 
tbxtur est. Tho emphasis certainly lies on the verb rather 
than the object. He has explained, truly and fully, in llis 
words and in His life ; II is instruction alone merits the namo 
of an explanation ; lie is the Expounder of God and divine 
thing*— P. S.J 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 14-18. 


cribed to the Evangelist. The Baptist never came 
into close personal intimacy with Christ, and died 
before lie had fully revealed the counsel of God 
and the meaning of the Old Testament. But the 
Evangelist, in full view of the atoning death and 
glorious resurrection, could use this term in its 
most comprehensive sense. With it the Prologue 
returns to the beginning, and egnyfoaTo suggests 
the best reason why Christ is called the Logos, 
since He is the Revealer and Interpreter of the 
hidden being of the Godhead in all that relates 

to oar salvation John puts the supreme dignity 

of Christ, as the eternal Word, the Author of the 
world, the Giver of life and light, the Fountain 
of grace and truth, the only and perfect Ex- 
pounder of God, at the head of his Gospel, be- 
cause without this dignity Christianity would 
sink to a position of merely relative superiority 
above other religions, instead of being the abso- 
lute and therefore final religion for all mankind. 
Luther observes on the Prologue: "These are 
indeed brief words, but they contain the whole 
Christian doctrine and life." — P. S.] 


1. See the preceding exegesis. 

2. The Word was made flesh. He was God, He 
became flesh. What He was t He was not merely 
in idea ( Hegel), but in personal divine subsist- 
ence ; what He became (iytvero), He became not 
merely in appearance (Gnosticism), nor in a par- 
tial way (joining Himself to the flesh, or veiling 
Himself in it, according to Nestorianism, or de- 
priving the flesh of its genuineness, and trans- 
forming it into a divine manifestation, according 
toEutyches), nor only for a particular need and 
/>wpo«(Anselin), but perfectly and forever. As 
Word, He was the full expression of tho essence 
of the Godhead, and therefore was also pure 
eternal being and personal life; in His coming 
forth, He entered into veritable, integral human 
nature in its pure essence. The Word could not 
be changed by the flesh (contrary to modern at- 
tempts to carry -change into the cssonce of God), 
but the flesh was to be perfected by the Word in His 
coming in it, carried from conditional potentiality to 
determinate actuality, made the glorified organ of 
the eternal Spirit. Theprosecut ion of the doctrine 
of the Communicatio idiomatum lies not on the side 
of the divine nature, but on the side of the human. 

As regards the doctrine of the incarnation, the 
Logos, as eternal Logos, became man, without 
change in Himself; that is to say, the incarna- 
tion was not occasioned by the sin of man. The 
doctrine of the flesh must, according to our pas- 
sage, be so constructed that the flesh shall be as 
penetrable (and more) to the Spirit as to sin. 
The union between the divine and human natures 
is the great mystery of life, and to think of it 
rightly we must keep the distinction, that the di- 
vine being enfolds itself in a conscious way, like 
a work of art from a human mind, while the hu- 
man becoming effects itself in an unconscious 
way, after the manner of the development of a 
plant. The pure contra-distinction appears in 
the work of art, which unfolds itself synthetically, 
subjecting to its service the material originally 
belonging to it, and the metamorphosis of the 
plant, which reveals spirit analytically f without 

attaining any power over itself. In the life of 
the natural man (in the pure sense of the term) 
nature predominates, but the spirit comes more 
and more to power (1 Cor. xv. 45) ; in the life 
of the spiritual man, who is from heaven, spirit 
tuai consciousness predominates, appropriating, 
pervading, and ruling the human organism. So 
the Logos, with the absolute master power of His 
essence as Logos, entered into human nature. 
He is not only voluntary in His incarnation in 
general ; He is voluntary in each act of His hu- 
man nature, t. «., of His human self-limitation 
for the sake of a higher spontaneity. He is vo- 
luntarily born (Lukei. 2b* sqq.), voluntarily a 
child (Luke ii. 61), voluntarily sleeps (Mark iv. 
38), is voluntarily ignorant as to the dny of judg- 
ment (Mark xiii. 82, 33), voluntarily suffers 
(Matth. xxvi. 53), voluntarily dies (John x. 18); 
but ail in order that He may truly live (John 
v. 17 ; ix. 4), truly unfold Himself (John x. 16, 
16; xii.24), truly watch (Matth. xxvi. 38), truly 
know (Mark iii. 12), truly act and triumph (John 
xii. 12), and eternally live (John xvii.). 

In other words, Christ entered into the entire 
life of man, sin excepted, to raise it to the second, 
higher life of glorified humanity. This opposi- 
tion is illustrated by the suspensions of con- 
sciousness in our natural life itself ; and before 
we decide respecting tho divine mystery of the 
Logos entering into sleep, wo must be clear re- 
specting the human mystery of our own mind's 
sleeping. Ho goes to sleep. Weakness must bo 
transfigured by freedom into rhythm, or deter- 
mination of power. In the ideal incarnation of 
Christ, His historical incarnation, His* subjection 
to law, is actually involved. 

8. And we beheld His glory. The humiliation 
of Christ in the form of a servant did not hinder 
the Evangelist from seeing His glory. The om- 
nipotence which, in the strength of love, puts 
limits upon itself (Matth. xxvi. 53, 54), is not 
entered into an absolute humiliation, but into a 
humiliation to our human vision, in order to re- 
veal Himself in a higher glory. It remained 
Kpinlftc, inasmuch as it remained at every point 
free ; it became idvueic, inasmuch as it made 
earnest of the self-humiliation. But it did not 
leave its riches of power and honor behind in 
heaven ; it yielded them up to tho world, 2 Cor. 
viii. 9. The world had the honor of judging the 
universal Judge ; it had the power to put omni- 
potence to death; the wisdom to judge concern- 
ing him; the omnipresence of the Roman empire 
to bring him down to Golgotha, the grave and 
Sheol ; but it thereby only gained .the power to 
judge itself, that it might be the medium of that 
revelation of omnipotence in the impotence of 
Christ whereby it was overcome, judged and re- 
conciled. Full faith in the cross must feel that 
Christ has humbled Himself by surrender of 
Himself to the world, not in heavenly reservation 
towards the world, and that here has taken 
place on the full scale what occurs elsewhere on 
smaller scales, or here in one central fact what 
appears otherwise every where in history : God 
makes Himself weak, and stands, as bound, in 
His government, over against the freedom of tho 
sinner, to let him feel in the judgment that phy- 
sical power is nothing of itself, and that truth, 
righteousness and love are all. 

Digitized by 




4. Christ is tbe Only Begotten (//ovoyrvfa), in- 
asmuch as Ho is the one Word, in whom all 
things were ideally and virtually included, in 
distinction from the universe in its develop- 
ment ; Ue is the First Born (TrpwnJnvcof), inas- 
much as He has entered, as a principle, into de- 

6. And of Uia fulness. If John could bear 
witness of the prte-existence of Christ, he could 
also testify that the prophets had all drank of His 
fulness, nnd that their highest, fairest experi- 
ence had been the experience of grace. 

6. Grace for grace. The reciprocal forms of 
grace in the Old Testament, and in the whole 
history of the wo.rld. 

7. The distinction between the Old and New 
Testaments: (1) Moses, the servant, serving; 
Christ, the Son and Lord, reigning in the obedi- 
ence of the Father; (2) Given, laid down; come; 
(3) Law ; grace and truth (see above). 


The combined testimony of the Old Testament 
John and the New to the incarnation of the Son 
of God : 1) The agreement of tho two testimo- 
nies; 2) their difference; 3) their copiousness. 
— The Old Covenant and the New: 1) In con- 
trast: Moses and Christ; 2) In harmony: John 
and Christ. — Tho Old Covenant in its relation to 
the New: 1) The advent of the New (Christ in 
the Old Testament); 2) tho discipline for the 
New (Moses and the Law) ; 8) a shadow vanish- 
ing before the New ("No man hath seen God at 
any time"). — Twofold testimony of the Baptist 
concerning Christ: 1) Concerning the near ap- 
proach of Christ, whose person he yet knew not ; 
2) concerning Jesus, that He is tho Christ. — The 
Incarnation for our salvation : 3) A great mys- 
tery in its nature ( u the Word was made flesh "J; 
2) a historical fact in its demonstration ("dwelt 
among us"): 3) an assured sight of blessed eye- 
witnesses ("we beheld"); 4) a blessed experience 
of all believers ("full of grace and truth"). — 
The consummation of revelation : 1) The reveal- 
ing Word, which had appeared in the Angel of 
the Lord, now become man ; 2) the glory of God 
above the most holy place, now bodily manifested 
in tho dwellings of men ; 8) the entranced vision 
/of divino tokens, now become the blessed seeing 
of the divine glory ; 4) the law transformed into 
the fulness of grace and truth. — "The Word 
was made flesh :" a gospel of the highest know- 
ledge; being 1) a view of Christ; 2) the key of 
philosophy ; 3) a prophecy for Christianity. — 
The announcement : Tho Word was made flesh : 
1) a preaching of repentance (sin therefore does 
not belong to the flesh, Rom. viii. 8); 2) a 
preaching of faith. Our flesh should be trans- 
formed through the Word. — Christ has explained 
all: 1) The mysteries of the Old Testament; 2) 
the mysteries of humanity (the* Word was made 
flesh) ; 3) the mysteries of nature (the Word en- 
tered into the process of growth); 4) the myste- 
ries of God. 

Starke: O the mystery! God is become 
man ; the Son of God the Father, a son of man ; 
the Word, a child ; the Life, a mortal man ; the 
eternal Light is in the midst of darkness, Rom. 
ix. 6. — How deeply the Most High has abased 

Himself, and how gloriously the Humbled has 
exalted us.* — Canstkix : Christ has pitched His 
tent in our nature, that He might make His abode 
in each one of us, and He will still more glori- 
ously pitch His tabernacle among men, and* more 

peculiarly manifest His glory, Rev. xxi. 3, 11. 

Jesus is ever, in His whole office, full of grace 
and truth. In His prophetical office He preaches 
[and actually presents] grace and truth ; in His 
priestly office Ho procures them ; in His kingly 
office He gives and maintains them. — Seest thou 
how the Word is made flesh ? Give diligence 
that thou mayest be made like Him according to 
thy measure in glory.— Zeisius : Christ, the one 
inexhaustible fountain of all graces, from which 
all believers from the beginning have drawn. — 
Canstkin : Tho true use of grace received fits us 
for more grace, so that one grace becomes the 
reward of another, yet remains grace, Heb. x. 1. 
Christ is the end of all the Mosaic system of sha- 
dows, and in Him we have the substance itself, 
which the shadows only prefigured, Heb. x. 1 ; 
Col. ii. 17. — Ibid.: Grace and truth belong toge- 
ther. Where grace is, in the forgiveness of sins, 
there appears also the truth of a holy and upright 
nature in Christ. And where the latter fails, 
graco also is wanting. — Hedinged: Christ a pro- 
phet and interpreter of the divine will. 

Mosheim: The second word : "Truth" is con- 
trasted with ceremonies. Moses set forth only 
types and shadows ; the Saviour has preached 
[acted in His life] pure truth, the grace and love 
of God towards men without figure. — Vox Ger- 
lach: "He that cometh after me is preferred/' 
etc. One of the many sacred enigmas in this 
Gospel, in which the literary sense gives a para- 
dox to incite us to seek a higher. — From Augus- 
tine : The same God who gave the law, has also 
given grace ; but this law He sent by His servant ; 

with tbe grace He has Himself come down. 

Hecbner : This sentence [" the Word was made 
flesh"} contains all: (1) The divinity of Christ — 
He is the Logos; (2) His true humanity — He is 
made flesh. This dwelling denotes His true hu- 
man life, and is a pledge of our future dwelling 
with Him. — There is no stopping, no limit, in 
grace, but ever new growth in insight, power, 
joy and peace. — Sciileikrmachf.r: Grace for 
grace. It is properly equivalent to grace in re- 
ward for grace; t. «., for our receiving one grace 
from Him, another grace is in turn imparted. — 
Only the One who is from the Father, hath seen 
the Father (John vi. 46) ; only in Him and 
through Him can man know God the Father, and 
draw from His fulness grace and truth. 

[Schafp: Ver. 14. The Incarnation the cen- 
tral truth of Christianity and of all religion : 1) 
The end of the reign of separation from God, or 
the reign of sin and death ; 2) the beginning of 
the reign of union and communion with God, or 
the reign of righteousness and life. — The Incar- 

• [Richard Crashaw (1G4G) : 

** Welcome to our wondering sight, 
Eternity shut in a span ! 
Summer in winter! day in night I 

Heaven in earth ! and Ood in man I 
Great Little One, whose glorious birth 
Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heaven to earth." 
Luther, in his Christmas hymn: "Gttobct seist Du, Jem 
Chritt," commemorates the sublime contrasts of tho trans- 
cending mystery of the incarnation. — If. S.J 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 14-18. 


nation: 1) Its nature: (a) not a change or con- 
Yeraion of the Godhead into flesh, but an assump- 
tion of manhood into abiding union with the se- 
cond person of the Godhead; the two natures re- 
maining distinct, yet inseparably united for erer ; 
(o) not an assumption of a part of human nature, 
but of the whole, body, soul and spirit ; Christ 
being perfect God and perfect Man in one per- 
son ; (e) not an assumption of sin, but only of its 
consequences, in order to remove and destroy 
them ; sin being no part of human nature as ori- 
ginally constituted, but a corruption of that na- 
ture by a foreign poison and an abuse of free- 
dom. Christ was tempted, and suffered and died 
as we, but He never submitted to temptation ; 
He "knew no sin," and remained "holy, harm- 
less, undented, and separate from sinners." 2. 
Its effects: (a) the redemption of human nature, 
or of the whole race, from the curse and domi- 
nion of sin and death ; (b\ the elevation of hu- 
man nature to abiding union with the Godhead. 
— The Word became flesh: 1) really. and truly 
(against Gnosticism, docetism, Arianism) ; 2) 
totally and perfectly (against Apollinarianisra) ; 
&) undividedly and inseparably (against Nesto- 
rianism) ; 4) unmixediy, without confusion or 
absorption of substance (against Eutychianism 
and Monophysitism). — The incarnation the end 
and aim of all religion ; for religion (religio, from 
reUgarty to rebind, to reunite) implies : 1) an ori- 
ginal union of man and God in the state of inno- 
cence; 2) a separation of the two by sin and 
death ; 8) a reconciliation and reunion which was 
effected by the atonement of Christ. — The mys- 
tery of the incarnation reversely repeated in 
every true regeneration by which man becomes a 
ehild of God, a partaker of Christ's " divine na- 
ture," and a " new creature in Christ Jesus."] 

[Bubkitt, ver. 14 : Christ's taking flesh im- 
plies that He took not only human nature, but all 
the weaknesses and infirmities of that nature also 
(sinful infirmities being excepted), such as hun- 
ger, thirst, weariness. As man, Christ has an 
experimental sense of our infirmities and wants ; 
as God, He can supply them all.] 

[M. Hbnet (abridged) on ver. 16 : As of old, 
God dwelt in the tabernacle of Moses, by the 

Shekinah, between the cherubim, so now He 
dwells in the human nature of Christ, the true 
Shekinah, the symbol of God's peculiar presence. 
And we are to address God through Christ, and 
from Him receive divine oracles. Ail believers 
receive from Christ's fulness ; the greatest saints 
cannot live without Him, the weakest may live by 
Him. This excludes boasting and silences per- 
plexing fear. — Grace is the good will of God to- 
wards us, and the good work of God in us. 
God's good will works the good work, and the 
good work qualifies for further tokens of His 
good will. — As the cistern receives from the ful- 
ness of the fountain,, the branches from the root, 
and the air from the sun, so we receive grace 
from the fulness of Christ. — Grace for grace 
speaks the freeness of grace ; the abundance of 
grace; the promotion of grape by grace; the 
substitution of the N. T. grace for the 0. T. grace ; 
the augmentation and continuance of grace; the 
conformity of grace in the saints to the grace that 
is in Christ, the saints being changed into the 
same heavenly image. (A combination of differ- 
ent interpretations of x&P tv <" ,r * /t a 7 wro f> which 
may do for a sermon, but not for exegesis.)] 

[Augu8TINB on ver. 17: The law threatened, not 
helped; commanded, not healed; showed, not 
took away, our feebleness. But it made ready 
for the physician, who was to come with grace 
and truth. — Olshausen: The law induces and 
elicits the consciousness of sin and the need of 
redemption; it only typifies the reality; the 
gospel actually communicates reality and power 
from above.] 

[J. C. Rtlk, ver. 18: After reading this Pro- 
logue, it is impossible to think too highly of 
Christ, or to give too much honor to Him. He 
is the meeting point between the Trinity and the 
sinner's soul. "He that honoreth not the Son, 
honoreth not the Father who sent Him" (John 
v. 28). — Qubsnbl calls the Prologue, especially 
ver. 1, "the gospel of the holy Trinity." Our 
knowledge of this mystery of mysteries begins 
with the knowledge of the Son, who reveals and 
expounds to us the Father, and who is Him- 
self revealed and applied to us by the Holy 
Spirit.— P. S.] 

Digitized by 





Chapter I. 19— XX. 81. 


The Reception which Christ, the Light of the World, finds in His Life of Love among 
the men akin to the Light, the Elect. 

Chap. I. 19— IV. 54. 

John thb Baptist, and his public and repeated Testimony concerning Christ. Jesus ac- 
credited as the Christ, attested the Son of God, the eternal Lord, and the 

Lamb of God. 

Chap. I. 19-34. 

(Ch. I. 19-28: Pericope for the 4th Sunday in Advent.) 


19 And this is the record [testimony] of John, when the Jews sent [to him] 1 priests 

20 and Levites from Jerusalem, to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and 

21 denied not ; but [and he] confessed, I am not [Not I am] 1 the Christ And they 
asked him, What then? Art thou Elias [Elijah]? And hesaith, I am not Art 

22 thou that prophet ? And he answered, No. Then* [in official demand] said they 
unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What 

23 safest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. 
Make straight the way* of the Lord, as said [Isaiah] the prophet Esaias [ch. xl. 3]. 

24 Aud they 4 which were sent were of the Pharisees [And they had been sent by the 
23 Pharisees]. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if 

thou be not that [the] Christ, nor 6 Elias [Elijah], neither 5 that [the] prophet? 

26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with [in] water ; but there standeth one 

27 among you [in the midst of you there standeth one], whom ye know not: he it is* 
[This is he] who coming after me, is preferred [taketh place, or, hath come to be] 

23 before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done 
in Bethabara [Bethany] 7 beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. 



29 The next day John [he] 8 seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the 
Lamb of God, which taketh away [taketh away by bearing, or, beareth away] 9 the 

30 sin of the world ! This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which [who] is 

31 preferred [taketh place, or, hath come to be] before me ; for he was before me. And 
I knew him not ; but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come 

32 [for this cause came I] baptizing with [in] water. 10 And John bare record [witness], 
saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like 11 a dove, and it abode upon 

33 him. And I knew him not : but he that sent me to baptize with [in] water, the 
same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remain- 
ing [abiding] on him, the same is he which [who] baptizeth with [in] the Holy 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 19-84. 


34 Ghost [Spirit]. And I saw [have seen, (wpaxa,"] and bare record [have borne wit- 
ness, fiLSfjLaprupyxa] that this is the Son of God. 


l Ver. 19.— Codd. B. C* n Lachmann add wpbt avroV. Not decisive. [X. C.« L. aL, tsxt. rec., Tlschend., 8th ed., omit it 
Alt, with Lachm., inserts it.— P. 8.1 

• Ver. au.— f ori iym ovm tifil 6 xpc*rfc is the reeding of the beet MSS M H. A. B. G* n L. X., Orig., Chrys., Cyr., lachm., 
Tlsch. (VIII. ed.), Air., instead of owe eifu tyw. The former reading emphasizes «yw, I for my part, and Implies that John knew 
another who was the Messiah, while the Utter reading emphasizes the negation : It is not I who, etc.— P. 8.] 

• Ver. 22.— The o&v after slaw here is significant. Not, as by Lachmann according to B. C, to be omitted. [Cod. Sin. 

« Ver. 24.— Teschendorf, after several codd. (A.* B. C* L.\ omits the article before amaraXfiivoi. As Origen supposed a 
■econd embassy, the omission may have arisen with him. [The Cod. Sinaiticus has a gap here, indicating the original presence 
of the article.— R. D. Y.J 

• Ver. 26.— A. B. C L. [Cod. Sin.] read ovM both times, instead of ours. The latter is probably exegetically the more ac- 
curate particle. 

• Ver. 27.— The words avr6> i<rrtv and ot i^vpwrQiv pov ytyov*v are wanting in B. and C. [Cod. Sin.] and In Origen. Brack- 
eted by Lachmann, omitted by TUchendorf [and Alford j. The Johannean style is in favor of the first words; the 
connection with o orurw., ete n is in favor of the others. Cod. A., etc^ and the similar expression in ver. 15, are in mvor of 

T Ver. 29.— The Recepta reads Bi)0a0ap£, after Origen. Authorities decisive against it. [Comp. the note of Alford in 

• Ver. 29.— Against the addition o 'h*xvvi\* are A. B. C, etc. Meyer: M Beginning of a church lesson." [Cod. Sin- a 
gap.-B. D. Y.] 

• Ver. 2^— {The B. V. follows the Vulgate : qui toJUt. The Or. verb alpeiv has the double meaning to take up (to bear the 
punishment of sin in order to expiate it, comp. Isa. liii.: he bore our griefs and carried our sorrows), and to take away (— a^at- 
pcir). Both may be combined (as is done by Olshausen) and expressed by the German verb hinwegtragen, to bear away, to take 
*way by taking upon one's self, or to remove the penalty of sin by expiation : See the Exeg. Notis. The present o alpmv is used 
in prophetic vision of the act of atouement as a present and continuous fact. — I*. 8.1 

u> Ver. 31 .—[Some authorities insert here and in ver. 33 the article r<p before veart, " in the water (of Jordan) in which 
you see me baptise." Alford brackets, Tischeml. (ed. VIII.) omits, Meyer (p. 112) defends it.— P. S.] 
u Ver. 32.— Most codd. read «* , not maei, which comes from Matth. iii. 16 ; Luke iii. 22. 


[Now follows the historical narrative. The 
testimony of John the Baptist, and the call of ihe 
first disciples form the historical introduction or 
the portico of the public life of Christ John 
omits the birth, early history and discourses of 
the Baptist, as being sufficiently known from the 
Synoptists, and confines himself to his testimony 
after the baptism (alluded to as a past fact in 
vers. 33, 34) and the temptation of Christ in the 
wilderness, when He stood already in the midst 
of the Jews (ver. 26). The testimony is three- 
fold, 1) before the deputies of the Sanhcdrin 
from Jerusalem (19-28); 2) a day afterwards, 
before a larger public and His disciples, as it 
would seem (29-34) ; 3) again a day afterwards, 
before two of His disciples, who now joined 
Jesus (85-37). — The examination of John the 
Baptist by the official messengers of the Sanhe- 
drin, who had the supervision of the public 
teaching of religion among the Jews (Matth. xxi. 
23), displays the prevalence and confusion of the 
Messianic expectations, and the hostility of the 
leaders of the hierarchy to the approaching new 
dispensation. The five questions of the priests 
represent a descending climax (the Messiah ; 
Elijah; an anonymous prophet; why baptizest 
thou?) ; the short, laconic answers of the Bap. 
tist, in striking contrast, are rising from negation 
to affirmation, and turn the attention. away from 
himself and towards Christ. — P. S.] 

Ver. 19. And this is.— The gospel history 
itself begins with the testimony of John the 
Baptist. Comp. Matth. iii.; Mark i.; Luke iii. 
The question is whether the same testimony is 
meant here, as in ver. 15. Origen supposed this 
to be another testimony ; Meyer thinks it the 
same. Evidently in ver. 15 a general testimony, 
with fiaprvpeh is distinguished from a special, 
Mai Kticpaye. This most public testimony concern- 
ing Jesus before the rulers is undoubtedly meant 

here. It is a definite pointing of the rulers of 
the Jews to the person of the Messiah, not re- 
lated so distinctly by the Synoptists, but of the 
highest importance for the history of the tempta- 
tion. This: avTTj, the following [it is the predi- 
cate, jj fiapTvpia the subject. A verbal testimony 
is meant. Record now refers to" written evidence. 
— P. S.]. # Ore points also to a particular event, 
which took place at a particular time. That this 
event must have followed the baptism of Jesus is 
clear ;* because, according to vers. 31-83, it was 
that which gave the Baptist himself his first 
certainty respecting the person of Jesus; and 
this certainty he expresses here, vers. 26, 27. 
Likewise ver. 29. Olshausen, Baumgarten-Cru- 
siuB, and others, place the baptism between the 
two testimonies, ver. 19 and ver. 29; Ewald, be- 
tween ver. 81 and ver. 82 ; all against the testi- 
mony of the section before us. That John knew 
of the existence of the Messiah earlier, and with 
human reverence presumed that he found Him in 
the person of Jesus, Matth. iii. 14, is not incon- 
sistent with hi 8 still needing a divine attestation. 
As regards the history of the temptation, its 
termination coincides with the present testimony; 
for Jesus, the next day, comes again behind the 
Baptist, and soon afterwards (not forty days af- 
ter) returns to Galilee. 

When the Jews from Jerusalem. — [The 
Synoptists, who wrote before the destruction of 
Jerusalem, seldom use the term Jews as distinct 
from Christians (Matthew five times, Mark seven 
times, Luke five times) ; John, who wrote after 
the destruction ef Jerusalem and after the final 
separation of the Synagogue from the Christian 

* f So also I.ttcko, De Wette, Meyer, Wieseler, Ebrard, Luth- 
ardt, Godet, Alford, etc. Bengel infers from this passage that 
the preaching of the Baptist began not long before the bap- 
tism of Jesus ; otherwise the embassy would have been sent 
earlier. Alford argues that it was absolutely necessary to 
suppose that John should have delivered this testimony 
often, and under varying circumstances, first in the form 
given by Luke : cpv e r a t o ivYvp. jiov *. t. A., and after it 
in this form, oCrof $ p Si* c!*-ok, where his former testimony is 
distinctly referred to.— F. S.] 

Digitized by 




church, uses St very often (over seYenty times in 
the Gospel and twice in the Apoc. ). — P. 8.] 'I o v- 
dalot, probably as yet primarily in the neutral 
sense, though already conceived as about to be- 
come a hostile body, on the way to apostasy 
from true Judaism in opposition to the Messiah. 
The conception is the historical one of the Jews 
as the theocratic people, as in ch. ii. 18 ; iii. 1 ; 
y. 1, then branching into a friendly one (ch. iv. 
22; xviii. 38) and a hostile (ch. v. 10; vii. 1; 
▼iii. 81 ; x. 24, elc.) t which in the sequel prevails. 
In the latter sense the term therefore denotes the 
Jews as Judaists. Meyer therefore is not per- 
fectly accurate when he says: "John, in his 
writing, lets the Jews, as the old communion, 
from which the Christian has already entirely 
withdrawn, appear steadily in a hostile position 
to the Lord and tiis work, the ancient theocratic 
people as an opposition party to the church of 
God and its Head." The Jews do certainly ap- 
pear in this character predominantly in John, 
and with good reason Meyer observes that this 
can furnish no argument against the genuineness 
of His Gospel (against Fischer and Hilgenfeld). 
The expression, The Jews, as he also remarks, 
varies according to the context ; here it is the 
Jews from Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin. 

Priests and Levites. — [The two classes of 
persons employed about the temple service, Josh, 
iii. 8. In the wider sense, Levites designates the 
descendants of Levi ; in a narrower sense, as 
here, the subordinate officers of the Jewish hier- 
archy, as distinct from the priests of the family 
of Aaron. — P. S.J' The Levites as an attendant 
body were designed, under certain circumstances, 
to arrest the Baptist, and at any rate to add 
state as a convoy of police, or to enhance the of- 
ficial dignity of the priests. It is a touch of his- 
torical accuracy. 

Who art thou? — i. *., in thy official, theocra- 
tic character. That they supposed He might lay 
claim to the Messiahship, is evident from the 
answer of John. They had official right, accord- 
ing to Deut. xviii. 21, to inquire into his charac- 
ter and his credentials as a prophet. They had 
occasion to do so in his baptism (ver. 25), not 
only because the baptism connected itself with 
the kingdom of Messiah (Ezek. xxxvi. 25; 
xxxvii. 28 ; Zech. xiii. 1), but also because the 
baptism was a declaration concerning the whole 
congregation of the people, that it was unclean 
(Hag. ii. 14), which could easily offend the pride 
of the Pharisees. Besides, the people were al- 
ready inclined to take him for the Messiah, 
Luke iii. 15. According to ver. 24, the delegates 
were of the party of the Pharisees. These had 
probably moved in the Sanhedrin, that the depu- 
tation be sent, because the Messianic question 
was of much more importance to them than to the 
Qadducees, and because they, with their sensuous 
Messianic hopes, took the matter. of the creden- 
tials of the Messiah more strictly in their more 
external sense. 

Ver. 20. And he confessed, and denied 
not. — Should this mean only: He denied not 
his own real character? he confessed in this 
matter the truth ? The double expression, posi- 
tive and negative, would be rather strong for 
this. The question of the Sanhedrin set before 
him the temptation to declare himself the Christ. 

But in so doing he would have denied the Christ 
whom he already knew, and denied his own bet- 
ter, prophetic knowledge. We suppose, there- 
fore, that his confessing and not denying in re- 
gard to himself imply at the same time his con- 
fessing and not denying in regard to Christ. 
This is indicated also by the emphatic order of 
the words : eyb ovk eifu, which is supported by the 
best authorities as against ovk tlfii ty6. Meyer : 
"I for my part" implying that he knows another, 
who is the Messiah. — The reserve of the Baptist 
towards the deputation shows the mighty pro- 
phet, who understood them. He leaves each 
successive development of his deposition to be 
drawn from him, till the moment for his testi- 
mony arrives. This mysterious bearing is no 
doubt intended also to humble and press the self- 
conceited spirit. 

Ver. 21. What then ? Art thou Elijah ? 
— The question is a half inference. He who 
Gomes' with such pretensions must be, if not the 
Messiah Himself, at least the Elijah who precedes 
Him. They refer to the Messianic prophecy, 
Mai. iv. 5. The pure sense of this prophecy, 
that an ideal Elijah should precede the Messiah, 
which John actually was (Luke i. 17; Matth. xi. 
14 ; xvii. 10), had early become corrupted among 
the Jews, as is shown by the very translation of 
the passage in the Septuagint. 'YLXiav rbv Oea- 
pirvv (Ely ah the Tishbite).* Thus these 
messengers understood the word entirely in a 
superstitious sense, taking it literally for the 
actual Elijah. Hence John answers categorically: 
I am not [not the Tishbite, whom you mean.]f 
But he adds no explanation ; for this would have 
involved him in an exegetical controversy, and 
turned him from his main object, which was to 
testify of Christ. 

Art thou the prophet? — The next question 
in the spirit of their theology ; hence occurring 
immediately. The prophet, with the article; 
the well-known prophet ; a personage in their 
Messianic theology presumed to be familiar. 
According to Chrysostom [Bengel], Liicke, 
Bleek, Meyer, [Alford], the prophet meant 
would be the one spoken of in Deut xviii. 15; J 
but this we must certainly, with Hengstenberg 
and Tholuck, deny, for this prophecy was at 
least in Acts iii. 22 ; vii. 87 referred to the Mes- 
siah. It is a question whether the passages, John 
vi. 14 ; vii. 40, refer to the passage in Deutero- 
nomy. From Matth. xvi. 14 it is sufficiently evi- 
dent that an expectation of Jeremiah} or some 
one of the prophets as the forerunner of the 
Messiah was cherished. Probably this expecta- 
tion was connected with the doctrine of the woes 

* rChrysostom, Jerome, Augustine and other fathers distin- 
guished two Elijahs, corresponding to the two adrents of 
Christ, 1) a man of the spirit and power of Elijah, i. c John 
the Baptist; 2) Elijah the Tishbite, who shall precede as a 
herald the second or Judicial coming of Christ. This view is 
adopted by Ryle, who thinks that John could not well have 
answered in the negative, if there is no literal fulfilment of 
Malachi's prophecy in prospect Trench {Studies in the Com- 
pels, p. 214) leaves the question undecided. — P. 8.] 

t [Bengel : Omnia a se amolitnr, ut Christum co^fitmtur et 
ad Cliristvm rtdigat qutrrcntes. u He turns all from himself, 
that he may confess Christ and bring the inquirers to Christ," 
This expresses the true character and mission of the Baptist. 
Comp. ill. 30.— P. 8.] 

1 [The absence of a name Is urged In favor of this interpre- 
tation— P. 8.1 

} [Orotius, Kuinoel, Olsh. refer o vpo^^np to Jeremiah.— 

Digitized by 


CHAP. L 19-84. 


of the Messiah, that is, with what was known of 
{he suffering Messiah. The wailing Jeremiah, or 
one of the later prophets of affliction, seemed 
better fitted for the fore-runner of the suffering 
Messiah, than the stern, judicial Elijah. The 
gradual shaping of this expectation of Jeremiah 
as a guardian angel in the theocratic day of suf- 
fering, appears in 2 Maco. ii. 7 ; xv. 18. This 
particular prophet, therefore, is meant, who 
should complete the forerunning office of Elijah, 
and probably precede him. This expectation 
also was here literally and superstitiously taken. 
Hence again: No! — the short answer o£. Luthardt 
quite falsely refers to the prophets in the second 
part of Isaiah (c. xl.). Against this see Meyer 
£p. 101, note]. 

Ver. 22. Then said they unto him, Who 
art thou? — Now they come out with the cate- 
gorical official demand of an explanation. Yet 
we must notice that they do not yet say: Thou 
art unanthoriied. They distinguish the prophetic 
appearance of the Baptist in general from his 
baptism. They wished primarily that he should 
explain himself concerning his prophetic mission. 
[Alford : '* They ever ask about his person : he 
ever refers them to his office. He is no one — a 
Toice merely : it is the work of God, the testi- 
mony to Christ, which is every thing. So the 
formalist ever in the church asks, Who is he? 
while the witness for Christ only exalts, only 
cares for Christ's work."— P. S.] 

Ver. 28. I am the voioe of one crying. — 
Is. xl. 3. As Christ, when He calls Himself the 
Son of Man, applied to Himself as Messiah a 
passage of prophecy which had been unnoticed 
and obscured by the Jewish Messianic theology, 
Dan. vii. 18, so did the Baptist when he called 
himself the voice of one crying in the wilderness. 
By this the same subject was meant, as by the 
Elijah of Malachi, but the passage had not been 
corrupted by a carnal interpretation, and was 
perfectly fitted to denote the unassuming spirit 
of the Baptist, who would be wholly absorbed in 
his mission to be a herald of the coming Messiah. 
The quotation is after the Septuagint, except cv- 
Binare instead of irotfiAaare. It appears from 
this passage that the Synoptists (Matth. iii. 8), 
following John's own declaration respecting 
himself, have applied that passage of the prophet 
in its direct intent to him. 

Ver. 24. Were of the Pharisees.— This 
conveys primarily the explanation that they did 
not understand a Scripture for which they had 
no distinct exegetical tradition; at least they 
knew not how to apply the passage cited to John. 
Then, that they were disposed to allow the right 
to baptize only to one of the three persons 
named : the Messiah Himself and His two fore- 
runners. Baptism was the symbol of the purifi- 
cation which should precede the Messianic king- 
dom. The tract Kiddushin says (see Tholuck) : 
"Elijah comes, and will declare clean and un- 

Ver. 26. I baptise in water.— In this an- 
swer Heracleon, and Liicke and De Wette after 
him, have missed the striking point. According 
to Meyer, John now explains himself more par- 
ticularly respecting what he has said. To the 
question : Why baptizest thou ? he answers : I 
baptize only with water; the baptism of the Spi- 

rit is reserved to the Messiah. To the remin- 
der : Thou art not the Messiah, etc., he answers : 
The Messiah is already in the midst of you, there- 
fore is this baptism needful. The matter re- 
solves itself simply into John's declaration : The 
Messiah is the proper Baptist of the prophets ; 
and his implied assertion: Your interpretation 
of Exek. xxxvi. 25 is false. But because this 
true Baptist is here, I with my water-baptism 
prepare for His baptizing with the Spirit It is 
at the same time implied that it is rather the 
Messiah who accredits him, than he the Messiah. 
In water. See Matth. iii. 11. 

Bat there standeth one among you. — 
If the avT6\ iartv and the 6f ifiirpooOh fiov ykyovtv 
be omitted, as they are in Codd. B. C. L., the 
clause would proceed : One whom ye know not, 
Cometh after me, etc. We retain these words, 
which are doubted by Tholuck and Meyer ; be- 
cause John in ver. 15 has noted this formula as 
the most public testimony of the Baptist. — Whom 
ye know not. — A reproof: Ye ought to have 
known him already : a hint : Ye must now learn 
to know him. The words: Standeth, or hath 
come, among you. can hardly refer only to the 
birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and His obscurity in 
Nazareth. They look \o t he baptism of Christ as* 
the* beginning of His public appearance. The 
objections of Baur and BaUmlein to this are 

Ver. 27. He it is, who coming after me 
[behind me]. — See ver. 16. — Whose shoe's 
string, etc. [In the East, people wore only san- 
dals, or the soles of a shoe, bound fast to the foot 
by strings]. See Matth. iii. 11. That is: Whom 
I am not worthy to serve as a slave. It is a pa- 
rallel, or a concrete form, of the expression, ver. 
16: brt irp£>T6\ fiov %v. 

Ver. 28. In Bethabara beyond Jordan. — 
Rather Bethany, see the Textual Notes. But not 
the Bethany on the Mount of Olives, oh. xi. 18. 
The place seems to have been a ford on the 
further side of the Jordan in Penea, not other-' 
wise known under this name of Bethany. Ori- 
gen explored that region, and found a Bethabara 
(see Judges vii. 24) about opposite Jericho. The 
conjecture of Possinus and Hug, that the name 
STJX JV3, domus navis, expresses the same as 
H^2£ JV3, domus transitu* (ford-house), is not 
invalidated by the suggestion (of Meyer) that 
this etymology does not suit Bethany on the 
Mount of Olives ; for the name of Bethany might 
have arisen in different ways. Bolten and 
Paulus, by a period after kyhero, made out the 
Bethany on the Mount of Olives ; Kuinoel made 
the "beyond," this side; Baur invented the fic- 
tion that the author would make Jesus begin, as 
well as finish His ministry in Bethany. — The 
statement that the deputation reoeived their an- 
swer from the Baptist at Bethany, beyond Jor- 
dan, leads to the inference that on their return 
through the wilderness they already came unin- 
tentionally into the neighborhood of Jesus at Je- 

Ver. 29. The next day John seeth Jesns 
coming unto him. — The Evangelist finds the 
days now following so important that he enume- 
rates them in order ; the first, ver. 29 ; the se- 
cond, ver. 86; the third, ver. 48. Hereupon 

Digitized by 




Luthardt observes, p. 76: The Evangelist be- 
gins and closes with a week; on the third day 
those disciples come to him, on the fourth Simon, 
and on the fifth Philip and Nathanael join the 
others, on the sixth Jesus is journeying with His 
disciples, on the seventh in Cana. If this exact 
reckoning of a week were designed (so that Jesus, 
according to Luthardt, would, as it were, keep a 
Sabbath in Cana), the fourth day would have to 
be made distinct, and the third (ch. ii.) marked as 
the seventh. It is much more natural to let the 
three days come so that the calling of Peter falls 
late in the evening of the day of ver. 85. The 
third day (ch. ii. 1) is, according to Origcn, 
Baur and Meyer, the third from the day of ver. 
43. Baur gives as a reason for this (which is a 
change from a former view of his) a silly fancy, 
that the six days should correspond to the six 
water-pots in ch. ii. Meyer better: If it were 
the third day from that of ver. 35, or the day 
following that of ver. 43, we should have ryknab- 
ptov again. Against his longer reckoning (ch. 
ii. 1 : the third day from that of i. 43) we must, 
however, observe that the proper starting-point 
of the reckoning thus far is still the day of the 
accrediting of Jesus as the Messiah on the part 
.of John. It is important to the Evangelist to 
set forth what a life from day to day was tfcen 
begun. On the first day, the pointing of the 
disciples to Jesus; on the next, three or four 
disciples gained ; on the day after, two more. 
If now we suppose that the third day is the same 
with the exavptoy of ver. 43, or is reckoned from 
the accrediting of Jesus, ver. 19, this explains 
the fact that the marriage-feast had already con- 
tinued nearly three days when Jesus arrived, and 
that the wine was exhausted. The line between 
the day in the wilderness and the day of ver. 43 
still remains somewhat uncertain. — Our first 
date, ver. 29, denotes the day after that declara- 
tion of the Baptist to the deputation from Jeru- 
salem, not one of the days following. Jesus re- 
. turns from the temptation. The reason why He 
returns to John is not given ; yet it is at hand. 
John must know that Jesus intended to disap- 
point the ohiliastic Messianic hopes of the Jews. 
He must also bear witness of the course which 
Jesus intended to take; he must be guarded to 
the utmost against the vexation of imagining 
that Jesus would adopt a different course from 
what he might have expected in the Messiah ac- 
credited by him. And then this also was what 
led to John's transfer of his disciples to the dis- 
cipleship of Jesus, though the outward attach- 
ment of the Baptist himself to Jesus was not to 
be expected. 

Behold the Lamb of God. — The Baptist 
knew from three sources the appointment of tho 
Messiah to suffering: (1) The experience of 
suffering by the pious, especially the prophets, 
as well as the import of the sacrificial types and 
the prophecies of the suffering Messiah. (2) The 
baptism of Christ, which indicated to him that 
Christ must bow under the servant-form of sin- 
ners, or which was an omen of His suffering, 
see Matth. Hi. 14. (3) A decisive point, which 
has not been noticed : The Baptist has directed 
the deputation from Jerusalem to the Messiah, 
who was in the vicinity. He may therefore sup- 
pose that they have come to know him. And 

now he sees Christ coming back from the wilder- 
ness, alone, in earnest, solemn mood, with the 
expression of separation from the world. He 
could not have been a man of the Spirit, without 
having perceived in the Spirit that an adversity, 
or a sacrificial suffering of premonitory conflict, 
had taken place. This accounts also for his first 
exclamation being : Behold the Lamb of God ! — 
and the supposition that the Evangelist has put 
his own knowledgeinto the mouth of tho Baptist 
(Strauss, Weisse), loses all support. That the 
subsequent Aumarf wavering of the Baptist, Matth. 
xi. 8, is not inconsistent with his present divine 
enlightenment and inspiration, needs no explana- 
tion ; the opposition between the divine and hu- 
man elements is nowhere entirely transcended in 
the Old Testament prophets. And Matth. xi. 3 
itself proves that John had till then depended 
with assurance upon Christ, and even then could 
not give Him up under temptation. The Baptist, 
says Meyer in explanation, had not a sudden 
flash of natural light, or a rising conviction, but 
a revelation. But sudden flashes produced by 
rising convictions can hardly be separated from 
revelations, unless we conceive the latter as im- 
mediate, magical effects. With a natural light 
we have nothing to do. 

Now comes the question : What is meant by 
the Lamb of Godf By the article it is designated 
as appointed, by the genitive as belonging to 
God, appointed for Him for a sacrifice, Is. liii.; 
ltev. v. 6 ; xiii. 8. The phnpe implies also, se- 
lected by God. The question arises, however, 
whether the expression is to be referred to the 
paschal lamb (with Grotius, Lampe, Hofmann, 
Luthardt [Bengel, Olshausen, Hengstenberg], 
and otherB), to tho sin-offering (with Baumgar- 
ten-Crusius and Meyer), or to the prophetic pas- - 
sage, Is. liii. 7 (with Chrysostom) [Origen, Cy- 
ril, Lucke, Thol., De Wette, Bruckner, Meyer 
(5th ed.), Ewald]. For it is clear that we are 
not, with Herder, to suppose it a mere figure of 
a religiously devoted servant of God. We are 
evidently directed primarily to that passage of 
Is. liii.; for John had taken the description of 
his own mission from the second part of Isaiah, 
and the Messianic import of the passage named 
cannot be evaded (see Lucke, 1. p. 408 sqq.; 
Tholuck, p. 90 ; my Leben Jetu, 11/ p. 460), and 
the particular features suit. [To the Bamo chap- 
ter in Isaiah reference is had Matth. viii. 17; 
Acts viii. 32 ; 1 Pet. ii. 22-25.— P. S.] The 

Septuagint reads apv6\ for the Hebrew 7n\ ver. 
7. It is said in ver. 10, He made " ITis soul an 
offering for sin," DCfc. It is said of Him in ver. 
4 : " He hath borne (Kfett, Sept fipei) our griefs." 
Specially important is ver. 11 : "By his know- 
ledge shall my righteous servant justify many ; 

for he shall bear (~>2d\) their iniquities." And 
the bearing, in connection with the idea of the 
offering for Bin and the vicarious expiation, in- 
volves the idea of taking away, carrying off; it 
is therefore of no account that the Baptist says 
alpeiv, and the Septuagint Qipeiv (see 1 John iii. 
6), for it is the way of the Seventy to express 
the bearing of sin by Qipeiv* The interpreta- 

* [Meyer (p. 108), on tbe contrary, takes al/mr here in the 
sense to tak* away, to aboltoh, bat admits that this idea pre- 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 19-84. 


tions: put away (Kuinoel), support (Gabler), ab- 
stractly considered, deviate from the notion of 
atonement, though they are included in the con- 
crete term aipetv : suffer — endure — piacularly bear 
— take away and blot out. Latterly the term has 
been emptied of its element of expiation again by 
Hofmann and Luthardt, and referred to the then 
beginning suffering of Christ through the sins of 
men in His human weakness, without reference 
to His death (see against this Meyer and Tho- 
luck). Of course, on the other hand, the word 
of the Baptist is not to be referred, as a mature 
dogmatic perception, to the future death of 
Christ, Yet a germ -perception of the atoning 
virtue of the holy suffering even the ancient pro- 
phets had, Is. liii. And how powerfully the 
thought bad seized the Baptist, appears from his 
naming sin (ri)v dpapriav) in the singular,* as the 
burden which Christ has to bear, and besides as 
the sin of the world. — But if the prophet, Is. liii., 
evidently himself went back to the notion of the 
expiatory sacrifice, then the Baptist also did the 
same. Lambs were by preference taken for the 
sin-offering, Lev. v. G ; see Tholuck. Christ, as 
the Lamb appointed by God, is a sin-offering, 
which atones for the guilt of the world. The 
fact that men have made Him, over and above 
this, oven a curse-bearer, and that under the di- 
rection of God, is not included in the idea before 
us, yet neither is it excluded by it. But as re- 
gards the further step backward, to the paschal 
lamb, which Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexan- 
dria, and others % combined with the reference to 
Is. liii., it is contested by Tholuck and Meyer. 
Justly, so far as the paschal lamb in the stricter 
sense served as a meal of thank-offering; but 
unjustly, so far as the paschal lamb in the wider 
sense formed the root of the whole system of 
sacrifice, and pointed by the blood on the door- 
posts to th o atoning offering, nay, even ran back 
to the curse-offering, the extermination of the 
Egyptian first-born. — Mark further the rapt 
manner in which the Baptist utters the great 
word: Behold the Lamb of Godl The sequel 
shows that he speaks thus to his disciples. f 

Ver. 30. This is he of whom I said.— 
Meyer properly observes : These words refer not 
to the testimony in vers. 26, 27, but to all that 
John had previously said of the coming Messiah. 
John had described the divine mark of the Mes- 
siah, before he knew the particular person ; now 

i the Idea of bearing (Das ffintoegwJimen der Sunde 
won Sate dea Lammes tetzt das Aufrichnehmen dtrselben vor- 
aus). Dr. Langys view is more correct. In Isa. liii., to 
which also Meyer refers the passage, the idea of expiatory 
hearing (X fcfj> LXX.: $lpf i, avyvtytit, avoum) prevails. By 


••timing and bearing our sin, Christ has abolished it His 
Mood cleansoth from all sin, 1 John i. 7.— P. S.J 

* [This, with the article, forcibly presents the sins of the 
race as one fact. Christ bore the whole. "Fin and the 
world," says Bengel, u are equally wide. In Isaiah liii. 6, 8, 12 
the same singular number is used in the midst of plurals."— 
P. SJ 

f TComp. on this important and difficult passage LUcke, I. 
401410. and A 1 ford, who likewise refers the Lamb of God to 
the prophetic announcement in Isa. liii. 7, where it is con- 
nected with the bearing and taking away of sin. Bnt this 
does not set aside the fact that Christ was indeed the true 
Paschal Lamb slain for us, 1 Cor. v. 7. The passage is 
strangely misunderstood by the author of JSeee Homo, Ch. I., 
who endeavors to explain it from the 23d Psalm, as describing 
a state of quiet and happy repose under the protection of the 
Divine Shepherd. The exegesis is the poorest part of this 
bwt— P.8.J 

he joyfully shows that he rightly described Him, 
and said none too much. 

Ver. 81. And I knew him not.— (Not : 
Even I knew him not.)*— That is, I did not with 
divine certainty, by revelation, know Him ; — 
though in his human feeling he reverenced Him 
in unrestrained foreboding (against Lucke, Ew- 
ald). Hence no contradiction to Matthew 
(against Strauss, Baur). But now he shows how 
he came to this knowledge. As he was to intro- 
duce the Messiah in official authentication, he 
must have a token from above. This was given 

Bnt that he should be made manifest — 
The ultimate and highest object of his baptism 
did not exclude the tributary purposes of pre- 
paring a people for the Lord. According to the 
Jewish tradition in Justin (Dial, cum Tryph., ch. 
viii.) the Messiah was to remain unknown [ayvuo- 
roc] till Elijah should anoint Him, and thereby 
make Him known to all U>avep6v iraoi iroifay]. — 
Baptizing in water [ev (r£) idart].— "An 
humble description of himself in comparison 
with Him who baptizes with the Spirit." Meyer. 

Ver. 82. And John bare witness, saying. 
— We might expect the mark of the Messiah given 
to John to come before his testimony, t. e. t ver. 
83 before ver. 82. Hence Lucke and others read 
this verse as a parenthesis. But this exhibition 
of the testimony of John is in two parts. The 
Evangelist distinguishes the first exclamation of 
John respecting Christ as the Lamb of God from 
the then following testimony of the way in which 
he came to know Him. Thus we have to make 
a new paragraph at ver. 82. John bears witness 
of the way in which ho came to know Jesus in. 
His baptism as the Messiah. 

I saw the Spirit descending—Here we 
must (1) assert against Baur, that the Baptist is> 
speaking of the actual event of the baptism ; this 
is clear from the connection of ver. 82 with ver. 
31; (2) dispute [Theodore of Mops.], Tholuck,. 
[Alford] and others in the idea that the Baptist 
had the manifestation alone, and that It was an 
inward transact ion, excluding externality (though 
not excluding all objective element). * " Even the 
oupaTiKy eidei in Lu. iii. 22, cannot prove the 
outwardness of the phenomenon ; for it rather 
expresses only the unusual fact that the dove- 
served as the symbol of the Spirit." Tholuck. 
Against this are (I) the fact that the event was 
given by an inward voice to the Baptist as tho 
token. On tho supposition of mere inwardness 
the inward voice alone would have sufficed ; at 
all events it must have come at the same time 
with tho token. (2) Tho mention of the appear- 
ance of the Spirit, uq ireptorepd, as a dove. Merely 
inwardly seen, this would be only an apparition, 
not a token. 13) Qedopai is used, as in ver. 14, 
of a seeing which is neither merely outward, nor 
yet merely inward. (4) The participation of 
Christ ; according to the Synoptists, in the see- 
ing of the phenomenon ; to which must be added 

* [Koy», or as tf. reads, *al fy«i». Alford explains: J 
also, like the rest of the people, had no certain knowledge of 
Him. Bnt <ceu hero itassumes evw, rer. 30, and continues 
the narrative. Pee Meyer. John knew Jesus far better than 
the people (Matth. iii. 14), but in comparison with his dirint 
knowledge of inspiration received at tho baptism of Christ, 
his former human knowledge of conjecture dwindled into ig- 
norance,— P. S.J 

Digitized by 




the voice : " Thoa art my beloved Son !" — show- 
ing that Christ was the centre of the whole ap- 
pearance. (6) The analogy of the signs (rush- 
ing wind and tongues of fire) at the outpouring 
of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost See 
this Coram, on Matth. iii. 18—17 ; p. 77. Tho- 
luck: "The point of comparison between the 
symbol (symbolical phenomenon, we should say) 
and the Spirit, Theodore of Mopsuestia takes to 
be the affectionate tenderness and attachment of 
the dove to men ; Calvin, its gentleness ; Nean- 
der, its tranquil flying; Baumgarten-Crusius, 
a motherly, brooding virtue, consecrating the 
water (Gen. i. 1); most, from Matth. x. 16, pu- 
rity and innocence.* This last is certainly to be 
taken as the main point, f yet it is connected with 
the gentle, noiseless flight of this particular bird. 
In the Targum on Cant. ii. 12, the dove is re- 
garded as the symbol of the Spirit of God." 
We suppose that the phenomenon and the symbol 
are to be distinguished ; the phenomenon wo take 
to have been a soft, hovering brightness, resem- 
bling the flashes from a dove floating down in 
the sunlight (Ps. lxviii. 18: " Yet shall ye be as 
the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her 
feathers with yellow gold;" see Acts ii. 8) ; and 
the symbol, no one virtue of the dove, but her 
virtues, as a type of spiritual life, which, as such, 
never consists in a single virtue (see Matth. x. 
16) ; hence purity, loveliness, gentleness, friend- 
liness towards men, and vital warmth. On the 
reference of the dove to the church see the Comm. 
on Matth. iii. 18-17; p. 78. Hence the " abiding 
upon him " [/coi Ipetvcv eir' avrdv, km, with the 
accusative signifies the direction to — ] is part of 
the sign; in the continuance of the radiance the 
Baptist received assurance that the Spirit abode 
mpon Christ. 

Misinterpretations of this event : (a) The Ebioni- 
dic : An impartation of the Spirit, beginning with 
dhe baptism, (b ) The G nostic : The Logos uniting 
Himself with the Man Jesus; — a view dragged 
in again by Hilgenfeld. (c) Baur: The %6yog 
.and the m>evua ayiov are, according to John's 
representation, identical. J; Attempted interpreta- 
.tions: (1) FVommann: The preparation of the 
Logos for coming forth out of his immanent union 
'with God : (2) Lticke, Neander, etc. : The awa- 
kening of the divine-human consciousness. (3Y 
Hofmann, Lutbardt : The impartation of official 
j>owers. (4) Baumgarten-Crusius, Tholuck: 
The impartation of the Spirit for transmission to 
mankind. (6) Meyer : Not an impartation to 
Jesus, but only an objective sign (orifielov) di- 
vinely granted to the spiritual intuition of the 

We find in this occurrence not merely the full 
-development of Christ's consciousness of Himself 
personally as the God-Man, but also of the ac- 
companying consciousness of His Messianic mis- 
sion, as a calling, in particular, to self-numilia- 
.tion in order to exaltation ; — a development pro- 

* [Augustine urges simplicity as the tertium cemparationu. 
'■"The Holy Uhoet, he says (as quoted by Wordsworth who 
rdocs not refer to the place), ** then manifested Himself as a 
Dove,— and, at the day of Pentecost, in tongues of fire : in or- 
, der that we may learn to unite fervor with simplicity and to 
f seek for both from the Holy Ghost"— P. 8.] 

f After the martyrdom of Polycarp a dove arose from the 
.ashes of the martyr. 

t [The last view is sufficiently refuted by 0*p£ lydrtro, which 
.could never be said of the Spirit. Comp. Meyer, p. 116.— P. S.J 

duoed by a corresponding communication of the 
Holy Ghost without measure, which should make 
Him, in the course of His humiliation towards 
exaltation, the Baptist of the Spirit (Geistestau- 
fer) for the whole world (see Is. xi. ; Joel iii. ; 
Matth. xxviii.) This consciousness is (1) that 
of being the Son of God, and (2) that of the di- 
vine good pleasure blessing the path of humilia- 
tion upon which in His baptism He entered. 

Ver. 83. And I knew him not. — Looking 
back to the earlier stage, and strongly empha- 
sizing the ignorance by the repetition. Then the 
Baptist tells us how the miraculous appearance 
became to him the sign. In the nature of the 
case, this mark must have been given him before 
the occurrence itself. The description of Christ 
as the true Baptist, the Baptizer with the Holy 
Ghost, corresponds with John's humble sense of 
the impotence of his own baptism of water. 

Ver. 84. And I have seen. — In the perfect. 
Plainly this cannot be understood of a mere in- 
ternal process. — And have borne witness. 
—Not : I consider myself as having now testified 
(De Wette) ; nor : I have testified and do now 
testify ( Lucke). The Baptist undoubtedly looks 
back with joyful mind to the testimony which he 
bore before the rulers of the Jews. He has 
borne it, and that a plain, straight-forward 
testimony: borne witness to this Man, Jesus of 
Nazareth, and testified that He is not merely 
Messiah, but also the Son of God. As if he 
would say: / have lived. My mission is in its 
substance accomplished (see ch. iii. 29). Hence 
from that moment forth he points his disciples 
to Jesus. 


1. Who art thout Starke: "Whether this 
question (of the Sanhedrin) was put sincerely, 
or hypocritically and with evil intent, is uncer- 
tain ; but the latter is more probable. Others, 
however, think the former, since there are no 
indications that the delegation was sent out of 
mere envy, or with the design of questioning his 
office. Causes of the embassy: (1) John's un- 
usual sort of official work, in the wilderness 
preaching and baptizing, and the great gather- 
ing of the people to him. (2) The conviction, 
from many signs, that the time of the Messiah 
must be at hand. (8) The vehement longing of 
the Jewish people everywhere for the advent of 
the Messiah, especially by reason of their great 
oppression under the Roman power, etc., because 
they hoped the Messiah would erect again their 
fallen commonwealth, and because they did not 
yet imagine that the kingdom of the Messiah 
would turn to the prejudice of their prestige. 
Furthermore they must either not have known 
the origin and family of John, or must have been 
entirely foolish to suppose the Messiah could be 
born of the tribe of Levi." 

2. The two testimonies of the Baptist form the 
contents of this section : Christ the Lord (the Old 
Testament manifestation of God, the Angel of 
the Lord, Jehovah) : (1) Christ the Lamb of God 
(the Servant of God) ; (2) Christ the Son of God. 

8. From the first testimony it is evident that 
Christ was accredited by John in an entirely offi- 
cial manner; in the second we see how Christ. 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 19-84. 


was accredited by John himself most distinctly by 
God. Likewise, that John points his disciples to 
Christ, and that every genuine fore-runner does 
the same, while the spurious fore-runners, the 
chief priests, keep their disciples to themselves. 

4. On the import of the baptism of Jesus see 
the exegesis under ver. 82, and Com. on Matth. 
ch. iii. 18, p. 76. 

5. Between the 28th and 29th verses falls the 
close of the history of the temptation of Jesus, 
and with it the settlement of His Messianic call- 
ing or, as Reinhard puts it, His plan. He comes 
out of the wilderness with the clear sense of His 
destiny and His willingness to become the Lamb 
of God. This then the prophetic Baptist per- 
ceives in His appearance through the Spirit. 

6. It is noticeable that the temptation of John 
by the Sanhedrin, and that of the Lord by Satan, 
coincides in time. The Baptist says : I am not 
the Christ ; Jesus says : I am not the Christ ac- 
cording to the perverted antichristian hopes of 
the hierarchy, according to the notion of the un- 
godly world. 

7. Gerlach: "In the fact that he alone knew 
the Messiah, while the entire people and their 
rulers knew Him not, John would give them 
th£ credentials of his own prophetic mission." 

8. The ultimate object of the mission of John 
the Baptist: To make Christ known by official 
attestation according to the Old Testament law 
before the rulers of the Jews, by a testimony of 
the New Testament Spirit among His disciples. 
Malachi pointed to John (Elijah), John points to 
Christ, and thus the Messianic prophecy converges 
at last to the distinctness of an index finger. 


See the Comm. on Matth. iii. 13-17; Mark i. 
1-8 ; Luke iii. 1-22. The temptation of John 
and the temptation of Christ. The first and last 
temptation of John, and the first and last tempta- 
tion of Christ. — Who art thouf or, the perfect 
ignorance of a hardened, formal spirituality be- 
fore living spirits. — No, and again no ! or, how 
the spirit of John refuses to suit the forms of 
the Pharisees. — The great two-fold testimony of 
the Baptist concerning Christ: (1) The same 
both in public and in the confidential circle ; (2) 
varying in form : in its legal office before the 
Jewish rulers describing Christ as the eternal 
Lord, and in its spiritual office in the circle of dis- 
ciples describing Christ as the Lamb of God. — The 
denials of John and the denials of Christ as 
against the current notions of Elyah and Christ, 
a proof that between the spirit of Holy Scripture 
itself and the exegesis of a traditional hierarchi- 
cal theology there is an immense difference. — 
The lessons of the connection between John's 
humble knowledge of himself and his knowledge 
of Christ. — John, as a witness of his own know- 
ledge of Christ, free and open, yet also wisely 
reserved (1) in reference to what he knew of 
Christ (speaking to the unsusceptible only of the 
Lord, to the susceptible, of the Lamb of Ood) ; 
(2) in reference to how he knew it : showing to 
the one company only that he knows Christ, to 
the other, how he came to know him. — The self- 
denial of John the true confession, as an exam- 
ple to us: (1) The true confession of Christ; (2) 

the true confession of himself. — John and the 
Pharisees, or the servant of the law of God and 
the men of human commandments (the man of 
the law and the men of traditions).— The Bap- 
tist, as God's prophet, consistent with himself, 
and therefore one thing to the Pharisees, another 
to his disciples.— The glory of Christ in the light 
of the human and the divine nature: (1) High 
as heaven above the Baptist; (2) one with the 
Father in the Holy Ghost. — The word : I have 
borne witness, is equivalent to : I have lived : 
(I) In the mouth of the Baptist; (2) in the mouth 
of the Lord (the "true witness 'M; (3) in the 
mouth of every believer. — The Lamb and the 
Dove, or, the sensible signs of the kingdom of 
heaven (1) in the lamb and in all silent, devout 
passiveness of nature; (2) in the dove and in all 
pure, beautiful joyousness of nature. — [The lamb, 
the pure and gentle beast of earth ; the dove, 
the pure and gentle bird of heaven : Ps. lxxxv. 
10, 11.] — Christ the Lamb of God, who bears the 
sins of the world: (1) bears; (2) bears with; 
(8) bears away. — The testimonies of the Baptist 
concerning Christ, at first apparently without 
effect, and afterwards of immeasurable, perma- 
nent power. — Christ the centre of all testimonies 
of God: (1) The inexhaustibly and strongly At- 
tested; (2) the inexhaustible and true Witness. 
— The Pericope, vers. 19-28. The spiritual posi- 
tion of things at the advent of Christ in its per- 
manent import: (1) The spiritual leaders of the 
people understand not the Baptist and know not 
Christ ; (2) the Baptist preaches and testifies of 
Christ as a voice in the wilderness ; (3) Christ 
fights out His victory in secret. — John a pure 
prophetic character, the standard of value be- 
tween the Pharisees and Christ : (1) As compared 
with the Pharisees, grandly exalted; (2) as 
compared with Christ, small, even to the deepest 
self-humiliation. — The mysteriousness of the 
testimony of the Baptist: (1) The mysteriousness 
in the testimony itself; (2) the mysterious fea- 
tures in the attested One ; (8) the mysterious in- 
timation of his work. 

Starke: — Before persons whose candor and 
fear of God we should most trust, we are many 
a time most on our guard. — Wo to the city and to 
the country whose watchmen are blind. — Can- 
stein : Christians in general, and preachers in 
particular, should not arrogate to themselves 
what belongs to Christ, but point their hearers 
away from themselves and to Christ, to look for all 
their salvation from Him. — Hedingee: No one 
may take to himself credit, or receive praise be- 
yond due measure and contrary to humility, 2 
Cor. x. 13.— Jn calling himself a voice, he not 
only hints that his preaching is from heaven, but 
also that in him nothing is to be honored save 
his voice, nay, that all he is, is, as it were, no- 
thing but voice. — Canstein : We have to do not 
with the person (humanly taken), but with the 
matter itself. — Cramer: Spare neither friends 
nor foes to confess the truth. — Jesus is in the 
midst of us, though we see Him not — Osiander : 
To the minister of the church it belongs to preach 
and to administer the sacraments, but Christ 
gives the increase, and pours out the Spirit. — 
Zeisius: A true teacher should, after the exam- 
ple of John, be well in* true ted, authenticated, and 

Digitized by 




Geelach : — The decisnre self-denial of John in 
his relation to Christ gave and still gives the 
greatest weight to his testimony. This self-de- 
nial was aud still is, to unbelief, incomprehensi- 
ble; in this, that a man could so clearly know 
his mission and its limits. — Braune: Whom 
John had announced as coming with axe, win- 
no wing- fan, and fire, Him he now commended 
as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin 
of the world. 

Heubner : — On the rights of the magistracy 
in regard to religion. — What privileges has the 
spiritual power? — The limits of obedience. — 
Who art thou? as it were the: Who is there? 
demanded of every one in the ministry of the 
kingdom of God. — Tycho Brake's symbol : E*t>e 
potius quam haberi. — Christian self-valuation. — 
Persius : Quern deus esse jussit, di*ce. — Christian 
choice of calling. — Assurance of an eternal mis- 
sion. — In John the testimony of the best and no- 
blest of his time and of the ages before is set 
forth. — Schlkiermachbr: The baptism of John 
stood in a manner between the law and the Gos- 
pel. — John's testimony concerning Christ a typo 
of ours. — Couard : An evangelical preacher will 
and must bear witness only of Christ. — To what 
the question : Who art thouf would lead us, if 
put to ourselves. — Riegkr : John the model of 
an evangelical preacher.* 

[Schaff : — Behold the Lamb of God, ver. 29 (re- 
peated ver..86). (1) The person who speaks: 
John the Baptist^ in the name of the whole Old 
Testament, responded to by the experience of the 
Christian believer. (2) The person spoken of : 
Christ, (a) compared to a lamb for His innocence 
and purity ("a lamb without blemish and with- 
out spot," 1 Pet i. 19), meekness, gentleness, 
and quiet submission, ("as a lamb led to the 
slaughter," Is. liii.) ; fb) called the Lamb foretold 
by the prophet lsaiuh in that remarkable passage 

* [Several commonplace extracts or more repetitions and 
themes of sermon* have been omitted in this section.— P. ti.J 

on the suffering Messiah, liii. 7. Comp. also the 
paschal lamb, the blood of which, being sprinkled 
on the door-post, saved the Israelites from the 
destroying angel (I Cor. v. 7), and the lambs of 
the daily sacrifices, Ex. xxix. 88; (o)*the Lamb 
of God, appointed and ordained by God from 
eternity, dedicated to God*, and approved by God. 
(8) The office of Christ: to bear, and by bearing, 
t, e. t by His propitiatory sacrifice, to take away 
the sin, the accumulated mass of the sins, of the 
world, t. e., of the entire human race (1 John iL 
12), consequently also my sins. (4) The exhorta- 
tion Behold, with the eye of a living faith, which 
appropriates the atoning sacrifice of Christ. — 
Augustine: How weighty must be the blood of 
the Lamb, by whom the world was made, to turn 
the scale when weighed against the world. — Ols- 
hausen : The sacrificial lamb which bears the 
sin, also takes it away ; there is no bearing of 
sin without removing the same. — Kyle : The 
Lamb of God has made atonement svfficient for 
all mankind, though efficient to none but believers. 
— Matthew Hen by : John was more industrious 
to do good than to appear great. Those speak 
best for Christ that say least of themselves, 
whose own works praise them, not their own 
lips. — The same: Secular learning, honor and 
power seldom dispose men's minds to the recep- 
tion of divine light. — J. C. Ryle, (abridged) : 
The greatest saints have always been men of 
John Baptist's spirit; " clothed with humility " 
(1 Pet. v. 6), not seeking their own honor, ever 
willing to decrease if Christ might only increase. 
Hence God has honored and exalted them (Luke 
xiv. 11). — Humility is the beginning of Christian 
graces. — The learned Pharisees are examples of 
the blindness of unconverted men. — Christ is 
" still standing " among multitudes who neither 
see, nor hear, nor believe. It will be better on 
the last day to never have been born, than to 
have had Christ " standing among us " without 
knowing Him. — P. S.] 



Chap. I. 85-62. 

35 Again the next day after [omit after] John stood, and two of his disciples ; 

36 and looking [fastening his eye] upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb 

37 of God ! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 

38 (39) Then [And] Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them 1 What 

seek ye ? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say [which means] , being inter- 

39 (40) preted, Master), where d wellest [abidest] thou ? He saith unto them, Come and 

[ye shall] see I 1 [Then] 8 They came and saw where he dwelt [abode] 4 and abode 
[for their part] with him that day : [.] for [omit for] 6 it was about the tenth hour. 

40 (41) One of the two which [who] heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 86-52. 


41 (42) Simon Peter's brother. He first 6 findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto 

him, We have found the Messias [Messiah], which is, being interpreted, the 

42 (43) [om. the] Christ- [Anointed]. And he brought him to Jesus. And [om. 

And] when Jesus beheld him, he [Jesus looking on him] said, Thou art Simon 
the Son of Jona [John] 7 thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpreta- 

43 (44) tion, A stone [Peter]. 8 The day following [the next day]* Jesus [he] 10 would 

go [7}#iX7)<rev, intended, was minded, to go] forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, 

44 (45) and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of [from] Bethsaida, the 

45 (46) city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We 

have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus 

46 (47) of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 11 And Nathanael said unto him, Can tbere 

47 (48) any good thing [have] come [elvat] out of Nazareth ? Philip saith unto him, 

Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold 

48 (49) an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile ! Nathanael saith unto him [answered 

him], Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before 
that [om. that] Philip called thee, when thou wast under the % tree, I saw 

49 (50) thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of 

50 (51) God ; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because 

I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou ? thou shalt see 

51 (52) greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, 

Hereafter 1 * [om. hereafter or henceforth], ye shall see heaven open [opened], 
and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. 13 


i Ver. 38.—[Lit.: (And) Jesus having turned, and seen them following, saith to them. 6 i after <rrpa$«i* is omitted by 
Tischend. (VIII. ed.), but retained by Tregelles, Alford, Wcstcott.— Tischendorf, Alford and others divide ver. 38 into two 
commencing: Ter. 88 with ri (frmrt ; ftence the difference of verses to the end of the ch. — P. S.] * 

• Ver. 39.— {The toxt rec. reads I Bert, *e*, in conformity with cpx«r0c and with ver. 47: cpyov koX lit. Meyer 
Alford. Tregelles, Tischendorf, Weatcott, adopt 6^«ad«, which could be more easily changed into iderc than substituted for it! 
—P. 8-1 

V Ver. 39.— [Text, rec omits o8i>, which is supported by K. A. B. C L., etc.. Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Westc. 
—P. S J 

4 ver. 88.— {Mrfrt ir is used here and twice in Ter. 39, and there is no need of varying the transl., as in the E. V 
—P. SJ 

• Ver. 39.— {The best authorities omit W after &pa. There should bo a full stop after day. If the 64 of text. rec. be retained 
It should be translated and Instead of far.— P. S.] ' 

• Ver. 41.— {The text, rec., irowro?, referring to 'Avftpfot (ho before any other), is supported by tf.* L. Epiph. Cyr., etc. and 
adhered to by Meyer, Lange and Tischendorf (ed. V1II.\ while Lachmunn, Tregelles, Alford and Westcott. on the authority 
of N.« A B. M. Orig , give the preference to wpStrov, which would mean (adverhialiter) either first (before he found another) 
or (assuming an error of the transcriber for wpmi) early (hence the Itala: mane). But tho change of $ in y is easily ac- 
counted for by the following toV.— P. S.] 

t Ver. 42.— Cod. B. reads 'Iwdvov [other authorities, IwoWov. with double v], so Lachmann : Cod. L. 33, and some ver- 
sions, Iwafpov. The same authorities give the same in ch. xxi. 15, 17, and besides codd. C. and D. interchange 'Iumvov and 
'Iwrrav. The Recepta [Jona, or better, Jonas] is supported primarily by Matth. xvi. 17, where all authorities read *l<av*. 
Locke observes: The less usual 'I»Ka might easily be confounded with the 'IuoVou or 'Imdwov more current among tho 
Greeks. Meyer supposes that John gave the form 'Iwan^ to tho name, whence it became the more usual 'Itaavvrp. [Cod. 
Sin. Tregelles, Tischendorf, Alford, Wcstcott and Ilort read 'Iwavwu, or the same with one v. 'Itova is a correction from 
Matth. xvl. 17. Ewald, on the con trary. thinks that the reading Johannes here and ch. xxi. originated in a mistake, lie reads 
ov ct etc. as a qnestion : Du but Simon Jona's Sohn /—P. 8.] # 

• Ver. 4*2.— {For information on the meaning of Cephas, Petros, Petra, see my long annotation to Lange on Matthew xvi. 
17, p. 293, Text. NoU ».— P. 8.] 

• Ver. 43.— {rg iwavptov, as In vers. 35 and 29. The E. V. needlessly and carelessly varies here the translation three 
ax day ' * 1 *" % * " * *" '""' " -»---■<•-" ..._,j«x « « -. 

.„ : the next day (ver. 29), tfee next day after (36\ the day following (43).— P. S.l 

w Ver. 43. — After n&Aijae r the Becepta has 6 'Iij<rovf . ** Beginning of a church lesson." [Omitted by Tischend., Trear.. 
Alt, Westc— P. SJ 

it Ver. 45.— -f Lit. Jesus, the son of Joseph, the one from Watareth (or who is from Nazareth), or Jesus, Joseph's son, from 
Nazareth, 'lriaovv rhv vibv rov 'luofyjt rhv curb Na£aper. — P. 8.] 

m Ver. 51.— The iwdprn is wanting in Codd. [X.] B. L., and in considerable versions; omitted in Tischendorf and Lach- 

r, .... „ ,..,«•. . ^ , ....... » .. . _ , ..... ... ..... 

[Treg., Alf., Westc. and II.] It was doubtless dropped because It seemed unsuitable to the words following, which 

were taken for actual angelic appearances. [On the other han^ it may have been inserted from Matth. xxvi. 64. Alford. 

» Ver. 51.— [The Engl. Vers., also the Greek toxt of Tregelles, and Westcott and ITort number but 51 verses, but tho 
Tulgate, Lachmann. Tischendorf. Xlford, Luther's Vers . Lange, etc., number 62. The difference in tho counting begins at 


Jesus, 35—52. The humble beginning of mighty 
results. The cradle of the Christian Church. 
This call in Judea on the banks of Jordan was 
merely a preliminary acquaintance, which John 
supplies from bis personal experience, while the 

final call to the permanent disci pleship, as re- 
lated by the Synoptists (Matth. iv. 18 ff.; Mark 
i. 16 ff.; Luke v. 1 ff.), took place at a later date 
in Galilee. We must assume that these disciples 
(two of them at least, viz., Andrew and John, 
were formerly disciples of the Baptist), after be- 
coming acquainted with Jesus on the banks of 
Jordan, and accompanying Him to Galilee to 
witness the miracle at Cana, returned for a while 

Digitized by 




to their* occupation as fishermen (as they did af- 
ter the resurrection, John xxi. 1 IT.), until, be- 
fore His journey to the passoter in Jerusalem, 
He called them to the Apostolate. The readiness 
with which they followed, and the confidence of 
Peter in the miraculous powers of Jesus (Luke t. 
6), are more readily explained from the previous 
intercourse related by John. The section has 
two divisions : 1 ) The oalling of Andrew and 
John, and, through Andrew, of Simon Peter, 
35-43 ; 2) The calling of "Philip, and, through 
him, of Nathanael, 44-52. Christ finds disciples, 
they find their friends, and report how they have 
been found by Christ and have found Him (vers. 
41, 45). Bengel observes on evpioKci (ver. 41): 
" With the festive freshness of those days beau- 
tifully corresponds the word findeth, which is 
used here more frequently than elsewhere." 
Trench appropriately calls this " the chapter of 
the Eurekas." Christ used no outward compul- 
sion, held out no worldly inducements of any 
kind ; it was simply the force of spiritual attrac- 
tion which draws " the brave to the braver, the 
noble to the noblest of all."— P. S.] 

Ver. 85. Again the next day. — [Tfj kirab- 
piov ir&Xiv eioTfjKti 'lu&vvnf.'} — The 
day after the first testimony of John [ver. 29] or 
after the day of Christ's return from the wilder- 
ness, which followed the day of John's testimony 
concerning the Messiah before the Jewish rulers ; 
to the Evangelist 'ever memorable. lie counts 
these never to be forgotten days one by one. 
Upon the testimony of the first day the two dis- 
ciples of John did not follow Jesus. They doubt- 
less felt that this must involve departure from 
their old master. The next day was the day of 
their calling and decision. 

And two of his disciples. — One was An- 
drew, we know from ver. 40 (see Com. on Mat- 
thew ch. x. 1-4) ; the other was certainly John. 
We judge thus from (1) John's manner of men- 
tioning himself, either not at all, or indirectly 
(chs. xiii. 28 ; xviii. 16 ; xix. 26 ; xx. 3 ; xxi. 
20) ; a manner which he seems to have extended 
also to his mother (xix. 25 ; comp. Introduction, 
p. 5), and to which we might cite analogies in 
Mark (ch. xiv. 61) and Luke (ch. xxiv. 18). 2) 
The giving of one name, suggesting a personal 
reserve in regard to the other. 8) The very life- 
like character of the subsequent account. 4) 
The more distinct calling of the sons of Zebedee 
immediately after, with the sons of Jonas, on the 
sea of Galilee, Matth. iv. As the calling of the 
latter is introduced here, so is doubtless the 
calling of the former. 

Ver. 36. And looking upon Jesus. — His 
eye rests upon him, is steadily and continuously 
directed towards him, ifipXiiftac, see ver. 42, 
et al. [ver. 48 ; Mark x. 21 ; Luke xx. 17]. 

As lie walked. — The day before, Jesus had 
returned to John out of the wilderness. Proba- 
bly He then took leave of him, after coming to an 
understanding with him respecting their conduct 
towards each other. We may suppose that Jesus 
expects the transfer of the disciples of John. 
To-day He comes no more to John, but after an 
excursion returns to His abode. That He comes 
within sight of the Baptist, is wholly natural, yet 
at the same time designed. 

Behold the Lamb of God. — As the disci- 

ples of John had yesterday heard the same word, 
and no doubt some explanation of it, no more 
than this repetition of the exclamation was now 
necessary, to cause these two disciples to go per- 
sonally after the Lord ; no more extended dis- 
course (so Meyer, rightly, against Liicke and 
Tholuck. And of a multitude standing by, to 
whom he spoke in presence of the two, there is 
not a word). 

Ver. 37. And they followed Jesus [with 
profound reverence and in expectation of great 
things]. — The gkoT^ovQ tlv being immediately 
repeated, must mean more than : went towards 
Him to see Him (Nonnus, Euthymius [Alf.]). They 
went towards him, in any case, with the thought 
of discipleship, though their decision to be disci- 
ples must have been afterwards wrought by 
Christ Bengel : "Primm origines ecelesim Chris- 

Ver. 88 (39). What seek ye ?— Anticipating, 
yet meeting their seeking. That they are seek- 
ing, He acknowledges. But in the impersonal ri 
He couches a sort of testing. That they were now 
quite timid, as Euthymius Zigabenus proposes, is 
evident from their embarrassed answer. They 
do not express themselves directly respecting 
their seeking; yet they plainly say that they 
seek not something from Him, but Himself. 

Rabbi, where abidest thou ?yAn acknow- 
ledgment that He was a master [a travelling 
Rabbi] ; an intimation that they wish to 
speak with Him in quiet ; an implication that He 
has a hospitable house [with a friend] near by; 
an inquiry, when they may meet Him there. 
John writes for Greeks, and therefore explains 
the term Rabbi. ' 

Ver. 89 (40). Come and ye shall see.* — An 
unmistakable allusion to the rabbinical formula 
of requiring one to convince himself: Come and 
see I (Him K3, according to Buxtorf and Lrght- 
foot), which Meyer groundlessly rejects. [Corns 
and tee, afterwards used by Philip, ver. 47 (48), 
in reply to the objection of Nathanael, occurs Ps, 
lxvi. 6 (6) with reference to the great works of 

God (Wl* OS, LXX.: devre Kal Idere ra *p- 
ya tov i>eoi>); comp. ver. 16 (Scire, ciko{>- 
aare, Come and hear . . and I will declare what 
He has done for my soul). It is often the wisest 
answer we can give to honest skeptics on matters 
of Christian faith. Bengel calls it optimum rent- 
dium contra opiniones prie%oneeptas. Personal ex- 
perience is the best test of the truth of Chris- 
tianity, which, like the sun in heaven, can only 
be seen in its own light. It was Pascal, I be- 
lieve, who said, that human things must be known 
to be loved, but divine things must be loved first 
before they can be known. — P. S.] ^ 

And abode with him. — "Eueivav receives 
its significant sense from the preceding irov pk- 
v e if. 

It was about the tenth hoar.-— [The first 
hour of his Christian life was indelibly fixed upon 
the memory of John, as a great and glorious 
turning point, as a transition from darkness to 
light. f Such days will be remembered in eter- 

* r/Otf>o4ff instead of lUn, see Tixt. Note 2. Eirald infers 
from the reading 6f «<?*«, without sufficient reason, that the 
place of lodging was at some distance. — P. 8.] 

f [Augustine: Quam beatum diem duaermU, quam beatam 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 35-62. 


nit/, whea their fruits will fully appear. — P. 8. ] 
Aocording to the Jewish computation, four o'clock 
ia the afternoon ; according to the Roman (from 
midnight to midnight), ten otlock in the morning. 
The expression: abode with Him that day [ri/v 
quipav kxeivnv] % seems to favor the latter compu- 
tation. For this are Rettig [Studien und Kriti- 
ken, 1830, p. 106 f.]. Tholuck, Ebrard, Ewald.* 
For the Jewish, Liioke, Meyer, [Alford, Heng- 
8tenberg]. Decisive arguments for the Jewish 
are: 1) The Greeks of Asia Minor, for whom 
John wrote, had with the Jews the Babylonian 
reckoning, from sun-rise to sun-set. 2) The 
Romans also used the natural day besides the 
other computation. 3) In oh. iv. 6 the sixth hour 
is far more probably noon, than six o'clock in the 
morning or evening (see Leben Jetu, II., p. 474); 
in oh. it. 52 the seventh hour is most probably 
the first hour after noon ; ch. xi. 9 implies the Ba- 
bylonian reokoning; and in ch. xix. 14 the sixth 
hour cannot be six o'clock in the morning, though 
to place it at noon causes difficulty (see Comm. on 
Murk xv. 25, and Malik, xxvii. 4d). 4) Even of 
a late part of the afternoon it may be said in po- 
pular speech, that they abode with Him that day, 
especially if the conversation extended into the 
night. Reference of the hour to what follows 
further on ( Hilgenfeld, Lichtenstein; see Meyer), 
is unwarranted. 

Ver. 40 (41). One was Andrew, </c— The 
form of the statement leads us to inquire after 
the other. Andrew is more particularly described 
as the brother of Simon Peter, on account of tho 
subsequent distinction of Peter. He no doubt in- 
fluenced the decision of John, as well as of Peter, 
and afterwards of Philip (who " was of the city 
of Andrew and Peter "). He appears again as 
mediator and pioneer in John xii. 22 (comp. 
Mark xiii. &). On Andrew see Matth. on ch. x. 
1-4, and th e word in Winer [Smith, and other 
Bible Dictionaries J. 

Vers. 41 (42). He first findeth.— For this 
finding Luthardt supposes a separate day, with- 
out support from the text. The text in fact leads 
us to suppose that this finding occurred on the 
same day that the disciples were with Jesus 
(Meyer, against De Wette, etc ) We may easily 
imagine, too, that Andrew found his brother on 
returning in a common lodging-place. The sup- 
position that the disciples then brought Peter to 
Jesus still on the same evening, is more difficult. 
But even this has a parallel in the nocturnal vi- 
sit of Nicoiemus, and it makes the whole proce- 
dure uncommonly animated, showing the intense 
excitement of the disciples. Meyer thinks the 
emphatic statement that Andrew is the first to 
find his own brother, an intimation even that 
John next found his brother James, and brought 
him to Jesus. John is silent about it, indeed, 
after the manner of his peculiar, delicate reserve 
respecting himself and his kindred (even the 
name of James does not occur in his Gospel) ; 
but the npuroc betrays it, and the Synoptical ac- 
count confirms it, Mark i. 10. This opinion is 
certainly more strengthened by the Idiov (which 

nocUm! Quit est, qui nobis dicat, qum audierini iUi a Do- 
nimor—P. 8.] 

* [Ewald maintains that John at Ephesus followed the com- 
potation which now prevails with as. so that here and xix. 14 
the hoars before noon are meant, but in iv. 6 and iv. 62 the 
hoars of the afUraoon.— P. 8.] 

is not merely possessive), than the opinion of De 
Wette and others, that the two together sought 
out Simon. 

We have found the Messiah [Eu^/to- 
fiev tov Mean la v. — Bengel : "A great and 
joyful evpnna, and expected by the world for 
about forty centuries."— P. S.]— «* With the 
stress on the first word, implying a longing 
search " : Meyer. And the name Metsiah, used 
by the Aramaic-speaking disciple, the Evange- 
list interprets to his readers. [Xo tardg, from 
Xplo, to anoint. The article is omitted because 
the author wishes simply to identify the two 
word* TVVfo and ^/woroV, not the two titles. See 
Meyer and Alford. Anointing with oil in the 
0. T. is a symbolical act that signifies the com- 
munication of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the 
solemn consecration to the service of God. It 
was performed on the three officers of the theo- 
cracy, the kings, priests and prophets, especially 
the kings (comp. 1 Sam. x. 1 ; xvi. 13, 14) ; 
hence kings were called emphatically the anointed, 
or the anointed of the Lord (1 Sam. ii. 10, 35 ; xii. 
8, 5; xvi. 6, 10; 2 Sam. i. 14, 16; xix. 21 ; La- 
ment, iv. 20; Zech. iv. 14). The terra in its 
fullest sense was applied to Him who should be 
endowed with the Holy Spirit without measure 
(Isa. xi. ; comp. John i. 82, 33; iii. 84), realize the 
typical significance of the kingdom of Israel (Ps. 
ii. 2 ; Dan. ix. 2-5) and combine the offices of pro- 
phet, priest and king in His own person for ever. 
P. S.] 

Vers. 42 (43). Beheld him.— E fipXi^aq. 
The penetrating look of the Lord, introducing 
one of those mental miracles of immediate dis- 
cernment of characters which here follow in ra- 
pid succession, and of which the knowledge of 
Nathanael is especially signalized. Jesus is the 
knower of hearts, ch. ii. 25. It is characteristic 
that John first brings out this power of the Lord : 
in keeping with his Gospel of the ideal perso- 

Thou art Simon. — This calling him by name 
is not necessarily through miraculous knowledge 
fChrysost., Luthardt), for Aridrew had intro- 
duced him to Jesus ; t>ut is doubtless intended to 
put Simon as the son of Jonas in contrast with 
Peter. "l^Otf, heard, HJV, dove, KD'3, rock. 
The sense is ': What thou art not, and canst not 
be, as Simon, son of Jonas,* but what thou art 
adapted to be, that shall thou become. [Christ 
says not : «* Thou art Cephas," as He says to Na- 
thanael: "Thou art truly an Israelite," but 

* [The allegorical interpretation! of Son of Jona (Jonas) or 
Barjona (Matth. xvi. 17), based upon the characteristics of 
the dove, vis., man of purity, or man of weakness (as con- 
trasted with man of rocit), etc., have no proper foundation, 
since the received text 'l»va (which is a correction from 
Matth. xri. 17) must giro way to the far better authenticated 
reading 'IttaVtnp or 'IftMunp (see Text. Notch*). In John 
xxi. 16, 16, 17, aocording to the best critical authorities. Christ 
addresses Peter : 1 1> » v 'I » 4 v * o v (Johannis in the Vulg.). 
In conformity with this reading, Jona or Jonas in Bwjona, 
Matth. xvi. 17, must be regarded not as the name of the pro- 
phet Jonas (from rUV, dove) but as a contraction of Joana 
or Jehoanan (JjrWV). John, i, «, Jehovah is merciful (comp. 

the German OoftKeb, the Greek Theodore). Ilence Barjona 
would mean son ofgraet rather than son of the dove. I ex- 
pressed this view in a note on Matthew, p. 29 >, and find it 
now confirmed by the authority of so good a Hebrew scholar 
as Hengstenberg, Cum. on John, L p. 11L— P. 8. J 

Digitized by 




" thou shall be called Peter." It was therefore a 
prophecy of the future work and position of Peter 
in history, as the Apostle who, above all others, 
laid the foundations of the church, among the 
Jews on the day of Pentecost, and among the 
Gentiles by the conversion of Cornelius. Cephas 
(*t£T3), Peter, Rock, is a symbol of firmness; 
comp. the contrast of rocky and sandy founda- 
tion, Matth. vii. 24-26, and the promise of inde- 
structibility given to the church as founded upon 
the rock, xvi. 18. — P. S.J On the more particu- 
lar sense of the antithesis see Comm. on Matth., 
xvi. 17 [and the notes in the Am. ed., pp. 292, 
293, 205] ; on the different calls, Matth. on ch. 
iv. 19, p. 93. In Matth. xvi. 18 this previous 
naming is evidently pre-supposed.* It is cha- 
racteristic of Judaism as the religion of personal 
life, thai persons were commonly designated by 
names significant of their peculiarities. See the 
citation in Tholuck. According to Tholuck the 
rock, the emblem of firmness, would refer to the 
choleric temperament of Peter. But none of all 
the temperaments suffices to describe a concrete 
direction of character. A recent assurance, that 
the name Peter refers not at all to his stamp of 
character, but entirely to the work of grace in 
him, can be accounted for only by want of in- 
sight into the nature of a charism.f 

[The callino op Philip ano Nathanael, vers. 
43-52. Comp. on this passage Archbishop 
Trench, Studies in the Gospels, N. Y. ed., 1867, 
pp. GCff.— P. S.] 

Vers. 4? (44). The next day Jesus .... 
to go forth.— Had therefore not yet gone forth. 
Was intending to set out. — And findeth Phi- 
lip.i— lie was by this circumstance again detain- 
ed. The acquaintance may be accounted for by 
two facts. Philip had been also At the Jordan ; 
probably, like others, a disciple of John. He 
was a townsman of Andrew and Peter, of Beth- 
saida (iv. 5; xii. 21), and perhaps just then on 
his way home. J Philip, one of the earliest apos- 
tles of the Lord. His characteristic, according 
to John vi. 5; xii. 21 sqq.; xiv. 8, seems to havo 
been a striving after ocular evidence in the no- 
bler sense, a buoyant and resolute advance to the 
object in view (see Comm. on Matth., p. 183). 
Tradition, contrary to the fact of his earlier call- 
ing, has made him the disciple to whom Christ 
spoke the words in Matth. viii. 22 (Clement of 
Alex., Strom. III. 187). More probable is the 
tradition that he preached in Phrygia (Theodo- 
ret, Nicephorus), and died at Hierapolis (Euseb. 
III. 31, etc.) The accounts of his marriage and 
his daughters have confounded him with Philip 
the deacon, with whom he is in general fre- 
quently interchanged (see the art. in Winer and 
in Herzog's Real JSncycl. ) 

Follow m3. — This cannot mean merely : Join 

* [So Mso Meyer against Baur and 8cholten: "In Matth. 
xvi. 18 the former bastowal of the new name on Simon is 
presupposed, confirmed and applied." In Riving new names, 
Christ act* with the authority of Jehovah in the 0. T. when 
lie changed the name of Abram into Abraham, Jacob into 
Israel, etc. Comp. Hengstenberg. — 1\ 8.] 

t [On the character of Peter see SchatTs History of the 
JpoBtolic Church, N. Y. ed., pp. 348 ff.]. 

X [His name and other Greek names of native Jews (Peter, 
Stephen, Nlcannr, Tlmon, romp. Acts vi.5, etc.), and the use 
of tho Greek by all the apostles prove the wide spread of 
tho Greek language, manners, and' customs since the con- 
quest of Alexander the Great, which prepared the way for 
the spread of the gospel.— P. 8.] 

the journeying company [Alford] ; yet neither 
is it the call to the Apostolic office. It is the in- 
vitation to discipleafeip, in the form of a travel- 
ling companionship. The rest of the interview 
ihow Jesus knew Philip, and Philip knew the 
<ord) is not mentioned ; only the decisive word 
of the call. Probably the Evangelist would tell 
us that the quick, active character of Philip did 
not need many circumstances. [Trench : •• This 
' Follow -Me' might seem at first sight no more 
than an invitation to accompany Him on that 
journey from the banks of Jordan to Galilee, on 
which He was just setting forward. It meant 
this (thus compare Matth. ix. 9; Luke v. 27); 
but at the same time how much mora It was an 
invitation to follow the blessed steps of His most 
holy life (Matth. xvi. 24; John viii. 12 ; xii. 26; 
xxi. 19; Rev. xiv. 4), to be a partaker at once 
of His cross and His crown. How much of this 
Philip may have understood at the moment it is im- 
possible to say ; but whether much or little, he is 
not disobedient to the heavenly calling." — P. 8.] 
Ver. 44 (45). [Bethsaida of Galilee was on 
the western shore of the lake of Galilee, not far 
from Capernaum and Chorazin, but like these two 
towns, it is entirely obliterated from the face of 
the earth, so that even the memory of its site has 
perished. Robinson (III. 859) places it a short 
distance north of Khdn Minyeh, which he identi- 
fies with Capernaum ; while other travellers, per- 
haps more correctly, find the ruins of Caj ernaum 
in Tell Hum. Comp. Matth. xi. 20 and the notes 
in Matthew, pp. 210, 211. — It is remarkable that 
none of the Apostles was from Jerusalem, the 
capital of the nation. Christ Himself proceeded 
from an insignificant town and an humble carpen- 
ter-shop, and selected His Apostles from among 
the illiterate fishermen of Galilee. This is the 
way of God who made the world out of nothing. 
Comp. 1 Cor. i. 27.— P. S.] 

Ver. 45 (46). Philip findeth Nathanael 
(Theodore, gift of God). — The same with Bartho- 
lomew (see the Comm. on Matth. p. 182), and, 
according to ch. xxi. 2, of Cana in Galilee.* He 
was probably, therefore, going in the same di- 
rection. The calling of Nathanael also is repre- 
sented as occurring at the outset of the journey, 
not (as Ewald makes it) on nearing Cana. Na- 
thanael seems also to be one of the devout (Luko 
ii. 88), who had been with John the Baptist; and 
Philip's having to find his friend (we find him 
afterwards paired with Nathanael, Matth. x. 8, 

* [Double names were quite common in Palestine. The 

identity of Nathanael (SxjHJ— God gave, the gift of God) 

and Bartholomew f dSj^ "G, <• *-* Son of Talmai) did not 

suggest Itself to any of the fathers (Chiysostom and Augustine 
exclude Nathanael from the list of the Apostles'), but is now 
(perhaps since Rupert of Deutz in the 12th century, as Trench 
supposes) almost generally admitted for the following rea- 
sons : 1) Nathanael is here in his vocation coordinated with 
Apostles. 2) After the resurrection ho appears in the com- 
pany of Apostles, some being mentioned before, some after 
him. John xxi. 1, 2. 3) John never names Bartholomew, the 
Sgnnptists never mention Nathanael. 4) Bartholomew is no 

firopor name, but simply a patronymiatm. o) The Frnoptists 
n the catalogues of tho Apostles (Matth. x. 3; Mark iii. 18; 
Luke vi. 14), name Bartholomew in connection with Philip, 
with whom Nathanael is associated by John in our passage. 
Wordsworth denies the identity and approvingly quotes An- 
gus tine, who assigned as a reason why Nathanael wa« not 
called to the Apostolate, that he was probably a learned man 
skilled in the law. But this reason would exclude Paul like- 
wise.— P. 8.] 

Digitized by 


CHAP. L 85-62. 


etc, except in Acts i. 13), may bo explained by 
Nathanaei's having forgotten himself in devout 
meditation apart under a fig-tree. 

Of whom Moses in the law. — The pro- 
mises in Genesis and Deut, xviii. 15, recognized 
as verbal and typical prophecies— Jesus of 
Nazareth, the son of Joseph.— [Literally: 
Jesus the son of Joseph, of Nazareth. J The dis- 
tinguishing of the person first by his father, then 
by his residence, was usual among the Jews. 
Utterly groundless is the inference from these 
words, that John knew nothing of the miraculous 
birth of Jesus (Da Wette, Strauss) ; this would 
not follow, even though the words were those of 
John himself, instead of Philip. [John, as a 
faithful historian, reports not what Philip ought 
to have said and would have saidfron his subse- 
quent higher knowledge, but what he actually 
did say in the twilight of his first acquaintance, 
and in accordance with the prevailing belief. 
The mystery of the supernatural conception was 
a pearl not to be thrown before the multitude 
who would have misunderstood and abused it. 
That John believed in it as well as the Synop- 
tists, is evident from his exalted view of Christ as 
the sinless Saviour from sin, and may be inferred 
also (as Neander suggests) from i. 14 (the eternal 
Word became flesh, i. e\, man], as compared with 
iii. 6 (what is born of flesh, t. *., of corrupt hu- 
man nature, is ./2mA). — P. S.] 

Vor. 43 (47). Can there any good thing 
come one of Nazareth ? — [Not so much an 
objection, as an expression of astonishment and 
a question frankly but modestly put — P. S.] 
Grounds of the prejudice: 1) Nazareth lay in 
Galileo (Ebrard); yet Nathanael himself was a 
Galilean. 2) Nazareth too small and insignificant 
to be the birth-place of the Messiah (Llicke and 
others). 3) The village was considered, as is 
evident from the rl aya$6v, immoral (Meyer, 
with the remark that Luke iv. 16 sqq. also may 
agree with Nathanael' s opinion). Yet, literally 
taken, the expression would be absurd: out of 
the worst town some morally good thing may. 
come. Any good thing, therefore, must here 
mean: any thing excellent, any eminent person; 
and Nathanaers doubt of this must have arisen 
from the smallness and insignificance of the 
place in proportion to the greatness of the Mes- 
siah. [Sj also Alford.] Tholuck: The place 
has no celebrity [is not even named] either in 
the Old Testament or in Joseph us, and seems to 
have always been but an insignificant market- 
town, as the etymology of "Wj implies (Heng- 
stenberg. Christol. II. p. 127 ;' Clark's Engl. ed. 
II., p. 109). The pngan Julian contemptuously 
called Christ the Galilean [and the Christians 
GaliUeans] ; the Jews call Him *"}? JH to this day. 
On Nazareth and its situation see the Comm. on 
Matth. on ch. ii. 23, p. 64.* 

Come and see. — The second time. [An 
echo of Christ's Come and ye shall see, ver. 89.] 
A watchword of the Christian faith. 

Ver. 47 (48). Behold trnly an Israelite 

• [Trench, I. c, p. 69, take* the question : "Can there any 
good thing come out of Nasareth f as having the samo sense 
with the later objection : " Shall ChrUt came out of Galilee" 
ian^ad of Bethlehem (John vii. 41, 42, 45), and finds in any 
ayd thing a reference mainly to the Messiah. Similarly 
urpgsteaberg. — P. S.J 

indeed, in whom is no guile. — ride, alrj- 
duc 'lopatjXirtjc (Tischendorf reads — eirtjc) kv 
<J ddkog ovk iartv. — Cora p. Ps. xxxii. 2, LXX.: 
paK&ptoc <Wp, 9 oh fir) ?.oyioij7ai Kvpioc duap- 
riaVf ovdk eortv kv r(p or 6 pari avrov 66- 
fcof.] — The word of the Lord addressed not di- 
rectly to Nathanael, but to others on his approach. 
An Israelite indeed: that is, not merely a Jew, 
but a Jew of the higher theocratic turn. [Israelite 
is the theooratic and the most' honorable title of 
the descendants of Abraham, in commemoration 
of Jacob's glorious viotory of prayer (Gen. xxxii. 
28; Actsii. 22; iii. 12; v. U ; xiii. 16; Rom. 
ix. 4, etc.). The Ishmaelite and the Edomite » 
were Abraham's seed as well as the Jews, but 
not Israelites. That was the exclusive title of 
the people of the covenant. With many this title 
was indeed a mere name, or even a contradiction 
and reproach, as the title Christian (i.e., follow- 
er of Christ) is with a multitude or Christians 
so-called. But Nathansel was not merely a car- 
nal descendant of Jacob, an Israelite after the 
flesh, but an Israelite in spirit, a genuine son of 
that new Jacob or Israel who had in faith and 
prayer wrestled with God and prevailed. Proba- 
bly he was engaged in meditation and prayer un- 
der the fig-tree, and thus truly a wrestler with 
God, like Israel of old. A reference to that 
event in the history of Jacob which gave rise to 
his new name (Gen. xxxii. 28; Hos. xii. 4), is 
as likely, as the reference to Jacob's ladder in 
ver. 61 (see below) is certain. Perhaps the 
scene took place on the very spot which tradition 
assigned for the wrestling of Jacob. This would 
give additional force to the passage. Comp. my 
History of the Apostolic Church, p. 388.— P. S.] 

The reason why Nathanael is called a genuine 
Israelite, is his freedom from falsehood. In the 
Jewish nature there was much guile [as it was 
the characteristic fault of Jacob,* the supplanter. 
— P. S.] ; in the Israelite temper and the lively 
character it unfolded, there was no guile. 
[There is an allusion in the name to *Vtf\ straight, 
upright, righteous, the very reverse of the meaning 
and natural characteristic of Jacob, comp. Numb, 
xxiii. 10. — P. S.] Meyer's reference of the ex- 
pression to the description of Jacob in Gen. xxv. 
27 [DH #*K, LXX.: anXaoroc, Aquila: dxfovc 
Symmachus : fy«d/zoc] is not of decisive import- 
ance Christ perceived the man without guile by 
spiritual distant sight, as Discerner of the heart ; 
an advance, therefore, on the miraculous know- 
ledge of Peter.* The frankness with which Na- 
thanael expressed his prejudice against Naza- 
reth, quite agrees with the judgment of the Lord. 
[The guilelessness of Nathanael must not be 
pressed too far and identified with sinlessness ; 
on the contrary, it implies a readiness to con- 
fess sin instead of hiding it (comp. Ps. xxxii. 1, 
2). It furnished, as Trench remarks, a kindly 
soil in which all excellent graces will flourish, 

* [Trench, 1. c. 73: "Christ read, as often as He needed to 
read, not merely the present thoughts, but so much as 
He desired of the past histories, of those who came in contact 
with Him ; and this He did not merely by that natural di- 
vination, that art of looking through countenances into souls, 
interpreting the inner life from the outward bearing, which 
all men in a greater or less degree possoss, and lie doubtless 
in the largest measure of all (Isa. xl.3> ; but *in hh spirit* 
(Mark ii. 8), by the exercise of that divine power, which was 
always in Him, though not always active in Him. It waa 

Digitized by 




but did not supersede the necessity of the divine 
teed, out of which alone they can spring. Au- 
gustine : "Si dolus in Mo non erat, sanabilem ilium 
judicaoit media*, non sanum." — P. 8.] 

Ver. 43 (40). The question of Nathanael : 
Whence knowest thou me? [U6dev fie 
yivuoKtis\ is a new feature of the straightfor- 
ward, clear character. He does not hypocriti- 
cally decline the commendation; he does not 
proudly accept it ; but he wishes to know whereon 
it is founded. He expresses himself evidently as 
surprised, but not as overcome ; hence as yet 
without the title Rabbi. According to Jewish 
etiquette, no doubt, uncivil. 

When thou wast under the fig-tree. — 
According to Meyer, Philip .cannot have found 
him under the fig-tree (as the Greek fathers and 
Baumgarten-Crusius suppose), "but in another 
place; neither the Ttpib roh Quvrjoat, nor the bvra 
vrr6, etc., would hare force. But if the mood of 
Nathanael under the fig-tree was the characteris- 
tic thing, Philip might have even found him still 
there, without the significant element of the 
Lord's expression being invalidated thereby. 
Again, according to De Wette and Meyer, the 
word of Jesus is intended to indicate only a mi- 
raculous vision of the person of Nathanael (be- 
yond the range of natural sight), not a look into 
the depth of his soul. But in this case Jesus 
would nob have answered the question of Na- 
thanael at all. Jesus must have seen something 
in the spiritual posture of Nathanael under the 
fig-tree, which marked the person astho Israelite 
without guile. "As the Talmud often speaks of 
Rabbins who pursued the study of the law in the 
shade of fig-trees, most persons think of a simi- 
lar occupation hero.' 1 Tholuck. According to 
Chrysostom and Luther, Nathanael was proba- 
bly occupied with the very hope of the Messiah. 

[Trench also remarks that our Lord must refer 
here to earnest prayer, some great mental strug- 
gle, or strong temptation which took place in 
Nathanael's soul while sitting under the fig-tree; 
for this of itself was a common occurrence among 
Israelites (1 Kings iv. 25; Mio. iv. 4; Zech. iii. 
10). Wordsworth and Alford find in vx6 with 
tho accusative (bvra vxb tijv ovictyv instead of viro 
rrj avKTf) an indication of retirement to the fig- 
troe. as well as concealment there, — probably for 
purposes of meditation and prayer. It implies: 
when thou wentest under the fig-tree and while 
thou wert there. — P. S.l 

Vers. 49 (50). Rabbi, thou art the Son of 
God. — In joyful certainty Nathanael now gives 
threefold expression to his hitherto reserved ac- 
knowledgment. First, Rabb^ tho title, for even 
this most just duo he had not before paid ; then, 
Son of God, because he showed the divine power 
of the Heart-Searcher to look upon the soul ; 
then, King of Israel, that is Messiah. There is 
at the same time an extremely fine return of the 
commendation : An Israelite without guile ; 
Thou art the King of the Israel without guile, 
that is, my King. Though the ideas Christ and 
Son of Qod have become more or less inter- 
changeable, yet it makes a difference whether 

thus, for example, that lie read the life-story of that Samari- 
tan woman (John iv. 17, 18 ; comp. v. 14); where it is impos- 
sible to prom mo a previous acquaintance: it was thus far 
most probably iu tho instance before us."— P. S.] 

the confession of the Meaeiahship precedes thai 
of the divinity, or the reverse. Kath'aaael rea- 
sons from the Son of God, who demonstrated 
Himself to him, to the Meesiahship. 

[The title the Son of Qod, was a rare designa- 
tion of the Messiah, derived from Ps. ii. 6. 12 
(comp. Isa. ix. 6), and is so used by Peter, 
Matth. xvL 16, the disciples in the ship, xiv. 83, 
Martha, John xi. 27«*and the high priest, Matth. 
xxvi. 63. It signifies the divine nature, as the 
titles the Son of Man, and the Son of Divid, signify 
the human nature of the Messiah. (See Excur- 
sus after ver. 52). This is evident from the hos- 
tile indignation of the Pharisees and Soribes at 
our Lord when He claimed to be the Son of God 
(John v. 18 ; x. 30-39). It is, of course, not to 
be supposed that Nathanael or any of the disci- 
ples had, during the earthly life of Christ, a 
clear insight into the full meaning and metaphy- 
sical depths of tho expression, but their faith, 
based upon the glimpses of the 0. T.* and the 
personal knowledge of our Lord, contained more 
than they were conscious of, and anticipated the 
dogma. — P. S.] 

Vers. 60 (ol ). Because I said unto thee — 
believest thou? — Not properly a question; 
still less an intimation of censure for a defective 
ground of faith (De Wette) ; but an expression 
of surprise that ne so joyfully believes, upon a 
single token. Hence, too, a greater is then pro- 
mised him. 

Vers. 61 (52). VerUy, verily.— The Hebrew 
Amen. "JOK, from "J*3X, an adjective : sure, true, 
faithful; also used as a substantive and adverb. 
When a final word of devout acclamation, DouL 
xxvii. 15-20; Ps. xli. 13; lxxxix. 62, or of reli- 
gious confirmation of one's own word, Rom. ix. 
5; xi. 86, it is a sentence: Ratum sit, ita sit. 
When an initial word, it is an adverbial protes- 
tation : verissime, certissime; put singly in Matth., 
ch. v. 18; xvi. 28 (Luke ix. 27 ahfou*;), and* 
Luke. In John double: ch. iii. 8; v. 1U: viiL 
61; xii. 24; xiv. 12; xxi. 18. Substantively: 
Amen, 2 Cor. i. 20 ; the Amen, Rev. iii. 14.— That 
tho Hebrew word was early familiar in Christian 
worship, is evident from the fact that John does 
not explain it. In modern times even a small 
sect has gathered upon the consecrated word, 
called the Amen ohureh.f For the first time 
here, the word of the most solemn asseveration. 
" Only in John, and only in the month of Jesus, 
henoe the more certainly authentic." 

[Tho Synoptists use the single Amen more than 
50, John the double — 25 times, even in parallel 
passages, as Matth. xxvi. 21, 84; John xiii. 21, 
88. Bengel explains the repetition in John from 
tho fact that Christ spoke both in His and in the 
Father's name. Probably it is a more emphatic 
assertion of the superiority of Christ above all 
preceding prophets. The double Amen could 

* rilengstenberg (1. 120) : " Tho 0. T. teaches most defi- 
nitely that the King of Israel, the Messiah Is exalted far above 
the human level. This doctrine is contained in the very 
Piialm, in which both designations of the Messiah, as King 
and as tho Son of God, occur, Ps. il. 0, 7, and from which these 
designations are derived." — P. 8.1 

f [There ts a branch of rigid Mennonitea in Pennsylvania 
who call themselves Amith or Ornish (a corruption of Ame- 
niU*) % but this name is sometimes dsrivod from a 8wiss cler- 
gyman, Jacob Amen, in the 17th century, who had a dispute 
on minor points with another Mennonite. Joan Heislj.— 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 85-62. 


with full propriety only be used by Him who is 
the personal truth (John xiv. 6), the Amen (Rev. 
iii. 14), the God of Truth (in Hebr. Amen, Isa. 
lxr. 16), and in whom all the promises of God 
are Yea and Amen (2 Cor. i. 19).— P. 8.] 

I say unto yon : to the little company of 
disciples now already collected. [This formula 
•* / say unto you " differs from the " Thus saith 
ike Lord" as Christ differs from all the prophets : 
He is the truth itself and speaks with divine au- 
thority nis own word ; they are only witnesses 
of the truth and speak the Word of God in the 
name of God.— P. S.] 

( Henceforth) ye shall see heaven opened. 
— [This prospect to the publio life of Christ, and 
uninterrupted communion between heaven and 
earth in and through Him, is an eminently fit 
conclusion of this chapter. Whether we retain 
axdp-i (an 1 apn) or not, the beginning of His 
public ministry and the first recognition of His 
Messianic dignity is meant, as the starting-point 
of an unbroken communion between God and 
man, and an exchange of divine grace and human 
prayers. The open heaven is here, as in the bap- 
tism of Christ, a symbolical expression for the 
ever present help and grace of God (comp. Gen. 
xxviiL 10-17; Ezek. i. 1; Matth. iii. 16; Actsvii. 
17 ; x. 11 ) ; while the doted heavens signify the ab- 
sonce of divine help or the impending judgment 
of God (comp. Isa. Ixiv. 1). The participle aveu- 
y6ra implies the act of opening, and the fact that 
before Christ the heaven was closed. Bengel : 
"aperlum, prmteritum, proprie, Matth. iii. 16, et 
cum continuations in posterum,** John iii. 18; Acts 
vii. 66 ; Apoc. xi. 12. — P. S.] The expression is 
evidently suggested by the word concerning the 
Israelite without guile, and the description of 
Christ as the King of Israel ; and stands related 
to that dream of Jacob, in which his higher Is- 
rael-nature decisively oame forth (Gen. xxviii. 
12), though he did not receive the honorable ti- 
tle of Israel until a later time.* The first Israel 
saw heaven open, but only in dream, only for a 
while ; the ascending and descending of the an- 
gels were assisted by a ladder ; the Lord stood 
above the latter in the heavens ; and the vision 
vanished away. Yet the living intercourse be- 
tween heaven and earth, between God and man, 
had announced itself and opened in the old theo- 
cracy, and was now gloriously to complete itself. 
The expression can by no means be limited to 
actual appearances of angels in the life of Jesus 
[at His birth, in the garden of Gethsemane, at 
the resurrection and ascension] (Chrysostom and 
others), nor to His working of miracles (Storr) ; 
_____ • 

* [The Allusion to Jacob's vision or the ladder is generally 
admitted by commentators. Augustine: Cuius nomine teap- 
pdiavi, ipsius somnium in U apparebU. (Comp. his Tract. 
TIL in Jok. JBv.). Grotiiw : Quod ibi in somnio vidit Israel, 
Hem vigilant visurus dicitur verus IsradUa. Bengel : Vidit 
tale quid Jacob, Gen. xxviii. 12 ; quanta magi* Israelitm veri 
tnN.%. Alford : " The words have a plain reference to the 
Udder of Jacob* and imply that what he then saw was now . 
to receive its fulfilment : that IIo, the Son of Man, was the 
dwelling of God and the gate of heaven, and that through 
Him, and on Htm in the first place, was to descend all com- 
munication of help and grace from above." Trench : " What 
Israel saw, the true ' Israelite ' shall behold the same ; yea, 
what one saw but in a dream, the other shall behold in waking 
reality ; a n d more and better even than this ; for then God 
was a God for off; the Lord stood above the bidder and spoke 
tram heaven ; but now standing at its foot, He speaks as the 
Bon of Man from earth, for now the Word has been made flesh ; 1 
and the tabernacle of God is with men."— P. 3.] ' 


yet these points are not (according to Meyer) to 
be set aside, since they are phenomena peculiar 
to the New Testament intercourse between hea- 
ven and earth. On the other hand, the angels 
are no more to be reduced to personified divine 
powers ( De Wette),* than the divine pow- 
ers to angels (as by Hofmann).f Meyer rightly 
emphasizes the terms henceforth (an ipri\ and 
ye shall see (btyea&e) ; they show that it is the 
total Messianic revelation in its actual opera- 
tion, which is spoken of, and that this is repre- 
sented in figurative language. The expression, 
however, is not exactly symbolical, inasmuch as, 
in a spiritual sense, heaven is really opened, and 
the living personal intercourse between the Fa- 
ther and the Son also becomes manifest in ma- 
nifold angelophanies, voices, and spiritual reve- 
lations. *« The avaflaivov-ee. stand first in the 
Old Testament also [Gen. xxviii. 12] ^ we might, 
as in fact Philo does (De Somniis, p. G42), think 
of the reciprocal actings of human wants and 
prayers and divine powers ; but the former are 
never called messengers of God. More correctly : 
They return to heaven to receive new commis- 
sions." Tholuck. If we consider that Christ is. 
the incarnate Angel of the Lord, we may refer 
the ascending unquestionably to His high- priest- 
ly intercessions, works, and sacrifice, the de- 
scending to the gradual unfolding of the riches 
of His kingly glory. Luther : "Now are heaven, 
and earth become one thing, and it is just as if 
ye sat above, and the gentle angels ministered to 
you." Calvin: " Quum prius nobis clausum esset 
regnum dei, vers in Christo apertumfuit t . . . . ut 
simus cives sanctorum et angelorum sociu" For- 
other explanations see Tholuck, p. 102. 

[We must here dismiss the notions of space. 
The incarnate Son of God is the bond of union, 
the golden clasp between earth and heaven, the 
mediating centre of all intercourse with God. 
Where He is, there is heaven and there are the 
angels, who ascend from Him as the starting, 
point, and descend upon Him, as the termination 
point He spoke while He was on earth, other- 
wise we would expect the reverse order. From 
the incarnate Saviour as the Alpha and Omega, 
this spiritual communion with heaven proceeds 
upon all believers. Ryle weakens the force of 
the prediction by confining it to the time of the 
future advent; this is sufficiently refuted by 
henceforth.— P. S.] 

Upon the Son of Man. — In John as well as. 
in the Synoptists Christ designates Himself by 
this term. See Comm. on Matth. ch. viii. 20.. 
" Undoubtedly the precedent in Daniel has sug- 
gested the language in the Revelation, ch. xiv. 
14 ; i. 13, in which latter is also uera r. veQeT&v ^ 
and those like passages, in which the Redeemer 
is mentioned as appearing im r. ve<pt?.£)v, h 66^ 
in His Messianic and judicial glory, Luke xxi. 
27; Matth. xxvi. 64; xvi. 28; so, therefore, 
Chemnitz, with the joint conception of the humi- 
litas taken from the passages in Ezekiel ; Bcza, 
Scholten, LUcke." Tholuck. Yet the fact that 
the Lord applied this name to Himself, and that 

* [Or preachers of Christ, as Augustine explains angels in 
this passage (Tract. VII. J 2$— P. S.] 

t [Hongstenberg likewise takes a comprehensive view of 
the passage, as including the angels proper and all other me- 
diums of divine communication.— P. S.J 

Digitized by 




the people did not recognize it as a designation 
of the Messiah, John xii. 84, itself Tery plainly 
shows that the phrase was not current as a Mes- 
sianic phrase of the Jewish theology, though 
after the example of Daniel the term itself ap- 
pears in the book of Enoch and in IV. Esdras, 
as well as, among the Rabbins, the expression : 
" He that cometh in the clouds." The fact that 
the Apostles abstain from the phrase, Tholuck 
explains from Heb. ii. 6 ; that is, because the 
term referred to the humiliation of the Son of 
God. As to Hofmann's hypothesis (Schriflbewcis, 
II. p. 51) see Tholuck, p. 104. Hofmann lays 
stress on the point that the phrase in Daniel is 
not : The Son of man, but : One like a son of 
man. This manner of interpretation would re- 
quire that the Old Testament prophecy every- 
where have the New Testament idea and phrase- 
ology pure a,nd simple, in order to have them at 
all. Strangely Tholuck thinks the tracing of the 
expression to Daniel excludes the interpretation 
proposed by Herder : Man tar* igoxfo, the pat- 
tern man ; that according to this by a son of 
man must strictly be understood a man who 
shares the lot of actual mankind, as in Numb, 
xxiii. 19 ; Job xxv. 6. And why not ? Christ, 
as the second man, the Son of mankind, 1 Cor. 
xv. 47, is as well in His suffering the heir of its 
judgment, as in His work the heir of its right- 
eousness of faith, and assuredly for this very rea- 
son the Son of Man, the supernatural bloom of 
the race, because He is the Son of God. Lu- 
thardt too thinks this latter idea, which he like- 
wise gives, must be vindicated against' the deri- 
vation of the name from the book of Daniel. But 
the vision in Daniel must after all have an idea. 
And it is sufficiently clear why Jesus chose this 
particular term from Daniel to designate Him- 

[Excursus on thi Meaning or thi Titli 
<< Tus Son of Man. 11 — The designation of Christ 
as the Son of Man (6 vide tov av&p6irov), occurs in 
this chapter, ver. 51 (52) for the first time, and 
in the mouth of Christ ; while the corresponding 
title, the Son of Ood (6 vide tov deov), occurs first 
ver. 49 (50), in the mouth of a disciple (Natha- 
nael), but had been previously applied to Christ 
by God in His baptism (Matth. iii. 16), and by 
Satan, hypothetioally, in the temptation (Matth. 
iv. 3, 6). The former is found about eighty, or, 
deducting the parallels, fifty-five times in the 
Gospels, and is only used by our Lord Himself, 
except in three cases, viz., once by Stephen when 
ie saw " the heavens opened, and the Son of 
Man standing on the right hand of God," Acts 
vii. 56 (in allusion probably to Matth. xxvi. 64), 
and twice by the apocalyptic seer, Rev. i. 18; 
xiv. 14, with obvious reference to Dan. vii. 13, 
14. Bengel (on Matth. xvi. 18) urges the cir- 
cumstance as very significant that Christ, during 
His earthly life, was never called the Son of Man 
by anybody but Himself. His followers called 
Him the Son of David (the Messiah), or the Son 
of God, The title the Son of God is used some- 
times by Christ Himself, but mostly by the Apos- 
tles and Evangelists. Christ could use both de- 
signations with equal propriety, but He preferred 
the title of humility and condescension which 
identifies Him with the human race, while the 
Apostles chose the title of honor and dignity 

which exalts Him far above men. The one sig- 
nifies in general the true humanity, the other 
the true divinity of Christ, both together give us 
the full idea of the God-Man {deav&pcmoe). Both 
titles are generic. In both titles, when applied 
to Christ, the definite article is nearly always em- 
ployed. He is not simply a son of man among 
other men, nor a son of God on a par with the 
children of God, but He is emphatically and in a 
unique sense the Son of Man, and the Son of God. 
The definite article is as significant in one case 
as in the other, and suggests a distinction as well 
as a resemblance. 

The appellation the Son of Man, when used by 
Christ of Himself, cannot, like the corresponding 
Hebrew Dixn~|3 or D1K-J3, be simply a poetic 
designation of man in general, in which sense 
vib^ av&p6Kov (without the article) is used Hebr. 
ii. 6 (in a quotation, however, from the Messia- 
nic Ps. viii. ), and viol tuv av&p6irvv t Eph. iii. 5. 
It cannot be supposed for a moment that Christ 
should have used this term bo often of Himself 
as a mere circumlocution for the personal pro- 
noun. Nobody speaks of himself in this way. 
In the Saviour's native dialect, the Syriao, 
Bar nosho, the son of man, is man generically ; 
the filial part of the compound denotes the 
identity and purity of the generic idea. This 
leads to the correct interpretation, as above 

Nor does the title, as many suppose \e. g. $ Jus- 
tin Martyr, Tertullian, De Wette, Tholuck), ex- 
press exclusively the humiliation and condescen- 
sion x)f Christ, but it denotes at the same time, 
and chiefly His elevation above the ordinary le- 
vel, and the actualization, in Him and through 
Him, of the ideal standard of human nature un- 
der its moral and religious aspect, or in its rela- 
tion to God, (Bengel,* Schleiermacher, Olshau- 
sen, Neander, Hengstenberg, Trench, Liddon,f 
Godet,t and others). 

Christ Jesus is the centre of the unity of man- 
kind, the recapitulation of humanity, as Paul 
profoundly indicates (Eph. i. 10), and as Irenseus 
taught. He is the true seea of the woman, 
the second Adam (Rom. v. and 1 Cor. xv.), who 
more than restored what the first Adam lost. He 
fulfils and closes the preceding, and controls the 
succeeding, history of our race. All men, even 
the best and the greatest, have their weaknesses 
and defects, and reflect only a fragment of the 
idea of humanity. Once in history, and onoe only, 
there was born a man who represents humanity 
in its purity without the demoniac adulteration 

* [Bengel (Matth. xvi. 13) : Ohut hie nempe homo est, quern 
Adamut, pott laptum, expromissiomexpectavU pro tola sua 
progenie; o fcvrcpot, tecundut t quern omnis prophetia V. T. 
mdiaUavit, qui totius generis humanijmra et primogenituram 
tuttinety et cui uni quod humani nominis not nan pemittat, de- 
bemut. Comp. his whole note on Matth. xri. 13, which Trench 
calls "a wonderful specimen of the close packing of matter 
the most interesting and the most important in his Gnow%oiu"] 

f [Lectures on the Divinity of Christ, 1868, p. 8 : ** The title 
Son of Man does not merely assert His real incorporation with 
our kind; it exalts Him infinitely above us all as the repre- 
sentative, the ideal, the pattern Man."] 

t [Com. L 340 : "11 te dcclarait non settlement un Jwmvte, un 
vraihommc, mait It rejeton par excellence de la race humain*, 
Vhomme atlendue, prcvu\ moralcment uicessaire, U rtprtstn- 
tant normal du type. . . Jesus trouvcaintilcmoyend'o firmer 
de Uri-mtmc tout ce qu'il yadeplut grand, tout en employant 
la forme la plut fraterneUe et la plut humble. Son fgatUSpar- 
fait* arte nous s'exprimtjusaue dantUterme qui recite sa su- 
periority absoUte tur noMf ."J 

Digitized by 


CHAP. I. 85-62. 


of sin, and its universality without the limita- 
tions of race and nationality. Christ felt more 
humanly, spake more humanly, acted, suffered 
and died more humanly than any man before or 
since His coming. Every word and act of His 
appeals to universal human sympathies and calls 
out the moral affections of all without distinction 
of race, condition, and degree of culture. He is 
the only ahftivbs av&pwnos (as Philo called the 
Logos), the Urbild, the archetypal or model Man, 
the King of men, and " draws all men " to Him. 
He could not have been so perfect a man with- 
out being also divine. 

This interpretation of the title Son of Man, 
suggested grammatically by the use of the defi- 
nite article, is confirmed historically by the origin 
of the term, according to the usual acceptation, in 
Dan. vii. 13 f., where it signifies the Messiah in 
His heavenly glory, as the head of a universal 
and eternal kingdom,* and perhaps also in Ps. 
viii. where man is represented in his ideal desti- 
nation with reference to the Messiah as the true 
and perfect head of humanity (comp. Rom. v. 12 ; 
1 Cor. xv. 27 ; Hebr. i. 2-8). The Son of David 
was likewise a designation of the Messiah (Matth. 
ix. 27 ; xv. 22 ; xii. 23 ; xxi. 9 ; xxii. 41 ff.), but 
is not so significant, as it represents Christ only 
as the flower and crown of the house of David, 
not of the whole human family. Our view com- 
mends itself, moreover, at once as the most na- 
tural and significant, in such passages as, " Ye 
shall see the heaven open, and the angels of God 
ascending and descending upon the Son of Man" 
(John i. 61) ; " He that came down from heaven, 
even the Son of Man who is in heaven" (John 
vi. 53) ; " The Son of Man shall come in the 
glory of His Father;" " The Son of Man is come 
to save " (Matth. xviii. 11 ; comp. Luke xix. 10) ; 
" The Father hath given Him authority to exe- 
cute judgment also, because He is the Son of 
Man " (John v. 27). Even those passages which 
are quoted for the opposite view, receive, in 
our interpretation, a greater force and beauty 
from the sublime contrast which places the vol- 
untary condescension and humiliation of Christ 
in the most striking light, as when He says: 
" Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have 
nests ; but the Son of Man hath not where to 
lay His head" (Luke ix. 68): or, "Whosoever 
will be chief among you, let him be your ser- 
vant; even as the Son of Man came not to be 
ministered unto, but to minister, and to give 
His life a ransom for many" (Matth. xx. 27, 
28). Thus the manhood of Christ, rising far 
above all ordinary manhood, though freely 
coming down to its lowest ranks, with the view 
to their elevation and redemption, is already 
the portal of His Godhood. Comp. my treatise 
on the Person of Christ, Boston, 1865, pp. 113 ff., 
from which I have transferred a few sentences. 
—P. S.] 

* [" I nw in the night virions, and behold, one like the Son of 

Han— X$ JK "*??» LXX : ** v **f a^pwn-ov, Tnlg. : quasi 

JSitts JumUnis — came with the clouda of heaven, and came to 
the Ancient of days . . . and there was riven Him dominion 
aad glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and lan- 
guages should serve Him," ete. Comp. the words of Christ, 
Matth. xxiv. 30 and xxvL 64 : " Hereafter ye shall see the Sod 
of Han sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the 
clouds of heaven." The allusion in the last two passages to the 
prophecy of Daniel can hardly be mistaken.] 


1. The greatness of the Baptist and the ma- 
jesty of Christ appear in John's pointing his dis- 
ciples to Christ, and Christ's attaching the best 
of them immediately to Himself. In these disci- 
ples of John the spiritual perfection of the work 
of the Baptist is seen. 

2. It is remarkable, that the first disciples of 
John who followed Christ, followed Him upon 
the repeated testimony of the Baptist: Behold 
the Lamb of God. The testimony to the proa- 
existence and glory of Christ does not convince 
the rulers of the Jews; this testimony which 
shows a future full of suffering for Christ con- 
vinces the disciples of John who here come to 
view. This of itself shows that they can never 
have shared the entirely crude, sensuous hope 
of the Messiah, in its hard, unspiritual form ; 
much as they were still involved in sensuous ex- 
pectations of a nobler sort. 

8. Coming to Christ is here illustrated in every 
way. Prophetic testimony, office, word, points 
to him. Then brother brings brother, friend 
brings friend, townsman brings townsman. 
One comes with another, and one after ano- 

4. These first disciples stand the decisive test- 
question, whether they seek something from 
Him, or seek Himself and all in Him. They seek 
Him, and when they exclaim : We have found 
the Messiah, they mean : We have found — abso- 

6. In keeping with this prominence of the 
personality of Christ, He manifests His glory first 
in miracles of pure knowledge with the most 
varied insight into the dark depths of personal 
life. Thus in our text He sees through, in par- 
ticular, Peter and Nathanael, and at the close of 
the chapter the Evangelist celebrates Him as the 
knower of hearts. So afterwards He reads Nico- 
demus, the woman of Samaria, Judas, the peo- 
ple, etc. 

6. The manner in which the Evangelist John, 
with delicate modesty, has here interwoven the 
story of his own calling with the gospel history, 
reminds us of the similar manner of Matthew 
(ch. ix. 9) ; and these two analogies might lead 
us to presume that Mark (ch. xiv. 51, 52) and 
Luke (ch. xxiv. 13-85) have done likewise. See 
the exegesis, ver. 35. Christianity, in the light 
of the person of the Lord, brings to view and 
into play the worth and warrant of all the per- 
sonages purified by Him. Bnt evidently these 
great, sanctified delineators of the life of Jesus 
and the facts of redemption have wrought in 
with the utmost modesty their own names, for 
the most part only by hints in any part of their 

7. In this place Israel meets us in its purity, 
and doubtless is made prominent in its higher 
import, because the Evangelist sees himself fur- 
ther on compelled to exhibit Judaism so strongly 
in its hatred of the truth. 

8. Christianity, an open heaven over open 
eyes, and a revelation of ever new and ever 
greater glories of the Lord, first in His life, then 
in His church, because divinity is become ono 
with humanity in Christ, and this life communU 

Digitized by 




cates itself through the Holy Ghost to be- 


On both histories together (vers. 35-43 and 44-51). 
The exuberant beginning of the Church of 
Christ : a. Its going forth out of the Old Testa- 
ment ; b. Its rising into the New. — The Israel of 
the Old Covenant, and the Israel of th« New. — 
The effect of the testimony of John : residing (1) 
in the perseverance* (repetition) and emphasis of 
it; (2) in the matter of it (the Lamb of God). — 
Three unique days in the kingdom of God (the 
next day, «*<;.).— -Christ the Lamb of God. — The 
coming of the disciples to Jesus, a type of our 
coming to Him. — How quickly Christ and His 
elect recognize and meet each other. — The spring 
seasons of the kingdom of heaven. — The unity 
and the diversity of the Lord's ways of calling His 
disciples. — •« We have found !" — Working for the 
Lord. — Christ the heart-searcher. — The three 
great proofs of the Messiah : (1) From the Old 
Testament (Moses and the prophets, closed up by 
John the Baptist) ; (2) from Christ's representa- 
tion of Himself; (3) from the experience of the 

On the first history (vers. 35-43). The first two 
disciples of Jesus : John and Andrew. — The two 
decisive questions: What seek ye? and, Rabbi, 
where dwellest thou? — The invitation of Christ: 
" Come and see," in its permanent import. — The 
first word of the Lord and His last respecting 
Peter, according to the Gospel of John. — How 
the natural brotherhood becomes transfigured in 
the spiritual. 

On the second history (44-51 ). Philip and Natha- 
nael, or friendship in its relation to the kingdom 
of God : ( 1 ) Its destination for it ; (2) its glorifica- 
tion in it. — Honorable prejudice, and how it is 
overcome by the facts of experience. — The word 
of the disciple : '" Come and see ;" an echo of the 
word of Jesus : "Come and see." — The preaching 
of Philip : (1) Infinitely difficult : the connection 
of the name of Messiah, of whom Moses in the 
law and the prophets did write, with Jesus of 
Nazareth, the son of Joseph ; (2) perfectly de- 
cided : We have found Him! (3) Irresistibly 
confirmed : Come and see ! — One of the rare 
commendatory words of Christ, on a most rare 
occasion : (1) Bestowed upon a man who spoke 
contemptuously of His birth-place ; was prepos- 
sessed against Himself; had, immediately after 
an hour of earnest devotion, fallen again under 
a prejudice ; (2) and bestowed for the very rea- 
son, that he was without guile. — "An Israelite 
without guile :" In all nations, as in all men, 
the essential permanent nature and destiny must 
be distinguished from the corruption of it (the 
true Israelite from the false Jew ; the intellectual 
German from the dreamy German ; the open, 
frank Frenchman from the insolent Frenchman, 
etc.; Peter the rock from Peter the shaken reed, 
etc.). — The threefold homage of Nathanael: (I) 
Rabbi (which he had owed from the first) ; (2) 
Son of God (which he had denied Him) ; (3) 
Sang of Israel (with which he submits to Him as 
an Israelite without guile). — Christianity an open 
heaven over the open eyes and hearts of be- 
lievers. — The ascending and descending an- 

gels ; or, the intercourse between heaven and 
earth, a reciprocity of personal vital functions 
between the Father and Christ, Christ and His 
people, the church triumphant and the church 
militant. — Open hearts, a foretokening of the 
open heaven (Christ's look into the soul of Na- 
thanael, a foretokening of all the wonders of re- 

Starkb : Preachers must repeat a thing often 
for the sake of those weak in faith. — Qdesnel: 
To enforce industriously the all-sufficient sacri- 
fice of Jesus Christ, a main duty of the servant 
of God. — Here the Lord begins to collect a little 
church, to which John has given up his disciples. 
— Jesus calls and draws men to Himself; yet 
without violence. — Zbisius : Experience in spiri« 
tual things gives great certainty and firmness in 
faith. — Regenerate Christians acquire a new 
name, which no man knows. — Osiandib : Every 
one who truly believes in Christ is a rock, against 
whioh all the gates of hell are powerless. — 
Qubsnel : Judge of divine things not by outward 
appearance, nor under human prejudice. — Zbi- 
sius : Uprightness is pleasing to the Lord, 1 
Chron. xxix. 17. — The omnipresent eye of the 
Lord. — The opening of heaven the opening of 
a way whereby the heavenly riches course to the 
; earth, and free way (access) is given from earth 
to heaven. — Relation of the descending and as- 
cending to tho humiliation and exaltation of 
Christ (?). — Christ the ladder to heaven, 
I Bbau5b : The voice of the preacher prepared 
the way for Him ; in the company of the preacher 
He must find His first adherents.— The antici- 
pating friendliness of Jesus. — The blessedness of 
a Christian is ungrudging, and would communi- 
cate itself to all the world. — But why the ascend- 
ing (of the angels) first, the descending after ? 
Because intercourse between heaven and earth is 
not now first beginning, but has already begun 
(above all the Angel of the Lord has come down 
in the flesh). — Oerlacii : It seems that John the 
Baptist always spoke in short, weighty sentences, 
which he often repeated and deeply impressed. 
—The Son of God, the King of Israel, Ps. ii. — 
Lisco: Jesus finds disciples through the testi- 
mony of His herald (and here the first two) ; 
Jesus finds disciples through the testimony of 
those who have come to know Him (and here 
probably again two : Peter and James the elder}; 
Jesus finds disciples through the immediate call 
of His own word (here the last two). Yet, in 
the wider sense, (1) the office of the nerald, (2) 
the joint witness of the disciples, (3) the call of 
Jesus run 'through the whole formation of disci- 
pleship. — The best counsel against all errors: 
Come and see ! — Heubnsb : The whole service 
of the teacher consists in pointing to Christ ; no 
man can take the place of Christ, but human aid 
can help to find Him. — Jesus' turning, a power- 
ful stroke on the heart ; Jesus' look, an attract- 
ing power. — What seek ye? a question which 
Jesus puts to every one who comes to Him. — The 
open hearts went straight forward. — There is a 
great difference between mediate and immediate 
acquaintance with Jesus. — The more like Jesus, 
the more inexhaustible a man is. — The more one 
is conversant with Jesus, the more he finds in 
Him. In other men one is often disappointed ; 
in Jesus every expectation is exceeded. — Albbjl- 

Digitized by 


CHAP. II. 1-11. 


tiki: How does the Saviour enlist disciples? 
— Scbleiermacher: The meeting of Christ and 
His disciples an example for us in forming ear- 
nest social relations. — The deepest corruption 
is the falsehood of man. — Through the Redeemer 
alone is made the bond between hearen and earth. 
[ Ver. 51 (52). Luthbr : When Christ became 
man and had entered on His ministerial office 
and begun to preach, then was the heaven opened, 
and remains open ; and has from that time, since 
the baptism of Christ in the Jordan, never been 
shut, and never will be shut, although we do not 

see it with our bodily eyes Christ says 

this : * To are now heavenly citizens, and have 
your citizenship above in the heavenly Jerusa- 
lem, and are in communion with the holy angels, 
who shall without intermission ascend and de- 
scend about you.* — Archbishop Trench: The 
Lord would indicate by these wondrous words 
that He should henceforward be the middle point 
of a free intercourse, yea, of an uninterrupted 
communion, between God and man, that in Him 
should be the meeting place of heaven and of 
earth (Ephes. i. 10; Col. i. 19); which should 
be no longer two, as sin had made them, sepa- 
rated and estranged from one another, but one, 

now that righteousness had looked down from 
heaven, and truth had flourished out of the 
earth. And this, the glory of Christ, they, His 
disciples, should behold, and should understand, 
that they too, children of man, were by Him, the 
Son of Man, made citizens of a kingdom which, 
not exoluding earth, embraced also heaven. 
From earth there should go up evermore suppli- 
cations, aspirations, prayers, — and these by the 
ministration of angels (Rev. viii. 3, 4), if some 
still waut a certain literal fulfilment; — from 
heaven there should evermore come down graces, 
blessings, gifts, aid to the faithful and punish- 
ment for them that would hurt them (Rev. viii. 5 ; 
Acts xii. 7, 23). Heaven and earth should hence- 
forward be in continual interchange of these 
blessed angels, 

'And earth be changed to hoavon, and heaven to earth ; 
One kingdom, joy and union without end. 1 

— Bonavbntura: The heavenly ladder was 
broken in Adam, and repaired in Christ. — There 
is a beautiful hymn on Jacob's ladder, as a sym- 
bol of communion with God, by Mrs. Sarah 
Flower Adams, 1848: 

* Nearer, my God, to Thee." 
—P. S.] 



Chap. II. 1-11. 
(Pericope for 2d Sunday after Epiphany.) 

1 And the third day there was a marriage [a marriage feast was held] in Cana of 

2 Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his 

3 disciples, [and Jesus also was invited and his disciples] to the marriage. And 
when they wanted wine [And wine having failed, or, when wine failed] 1 the mother 

4 of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what 

5 have I to do with thee? 2 mine hour is not *yet come. His mother saith unto the 

6 servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six water- 
pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three 

7 firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they 

8 filled them up to the brim [top]. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and 

9 bear unto the governor [ruler] of the feast And they bare it When the ruler 
of the feast had tasted the water that was made [had become, or, been made] wine, 
and knew not whence it was, (but the servants which drew [who had drawn] the 

10 water knew), the governor [ruler] of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith 
unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine, [setteth forth the 

food wine first]; and when men have well drunk, 8 then 4 that which is worse; but 
omit but] 5 thou hast kept the good wine until now. This 6 beginning of miracles 
[signs, ra»v <n}!i&iu>\i] did [wrought] Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his 
glory [his transfiguring power, rr t v do$a» abrou] ; and his disciples believed [the more] 
on [In] him* 

Digitized by 





i Ver.3. [v<rrtpri*avTQt olrov. v<rrtpi», prop, to be behind (either in time, or in rank), had, in the later 
Greek, aLio the meaning: to fail, to be wanting ; comp. Mark z. 21, ir rot impel.— P. 8.] 

* Ver. 4. [Tiflfioiicai o-oi, y v?a t; lit. : What tome and to thee, woman ti.e^ What have I in common with thee ? Thii 

elliptic phrase corresponds to the Hebrew tH) ^"HDi and is a disclaimer of communion, Josh. xxiL 24 ; Jndg. xL 12 ; 

2 Sam. xri. 10 ; 1 Kings xvll. 18 ; 2 Kings ill. 13 \ Matth. rilL 20 ; rrii. 19 ; Mark i. 24 ; Lnke Yiii. 28 ; also in classical Greek. 
It is not (like the somewhat similar English phrases : Mind your business, This is none of pour business, and the German, 
Das gtht dich nichts an) necessarily disrespectful, bnt may be used in a friendly sense, as is evident from Jndg. xi. 12 ; 2 
Sam. xri. 10 ; Matth. viii. 29 (comp. also the similar phrase of the wife of Pilate, Matth. xxvii. 19 : Mt^V <rot koX Ty 6i- 
tcaUf ittivt?) ; yet it always implies more or less of reproof, however slight. So it is taken here by the best commentators, 
as a gentle rebuke of untimely interference, though ft was no doubt mitigated by the tone of speaking. The term yvrai is 
entirely respectful, and must always be where the true dignity of woman is felt and reoogniied ; comp. John xix. 26; xx. 
15. 8ee the Exko. Notm.— P. 8.] 

* Ver. 10. [orar pL*$v*0£><rtv, Vulg. : cum inebriati fuerint ; TyndaL Cranmer, Alford : when men be (are) drunken ; 
Geneva, Rheims, A. V. : when men have well drunk; Am. Bible Union (Dr. Conant), Young, Owen : when they have drunk 

freely; Luther; trunken warden sind; De Wette, Stier: trunken sind; M«0tfo-xop«u (Mid.), like the Hebrew *0#, means to 
become drunk, to get drunk (Luke xii. 45 ; Eph. v. 18 ; Rev. xvii. 2), but also to drink freely, and does not necessarily imply 
excess (Sept. Gen. xliil. 34 ; Hagg. i. 6 ; probably also Cant. v. 1 : wirre xai p<0 Jtrfrp-c, dffcA^oi). Comp. Beza, De Wctte, 
Tholuck. At all events no unfavorable inference is to be drawn, as regards the present company, from this general prover- 
bial remark of the ruler of the feast. Bengel briefly and pointedly : Simpliciter recensetur oratio architriclini, tt consuetudo 
etiam Judteorum : ebrietas nan approbatur. Meyer contends for the usual meaning of the verb and translates : wenn sit be- 
rauscht geworden sind, but likewise guards against this inference. Alford : " While there is no reason to press the ordinary 
meaning of ixcQv<r$i><riv, so neither is there any to shrink from it, as uttered by the apxtrpUXtroi ." See Exso. Notes. 
—P. 8.1 

* Ver. 10. Tore Is wanting in K. B. L. Probably overlooked by reason of the roV immediately following. 

* Ver. 10. [W after ait is omitted by Lachm., Tregelles, Alford«and Tischend.— P. S.] 

* Ver. 11. [The art. t»jk before apx^v in the text. rec. is wanting in K. A. B. L. and rejected by Lachm., Tischond, Treg, 
Alt, West and Hort. Hence the proper translation is : This wrought Jesus as a beginning of (His) signs.— P. S] 

elementary substance. It is not a creative act 
in the strict sense of the term ; for God made the 
world out of nothing, Christ always operated 
upon existing substances. But it involves the 
same creative power, and is strictly above na- 
ture and above reason (not against them), and 
therefore incomprehensible. Yet after all it is 
not more beyond our present comprehension than 
the change of the rain from heaven into the juice 
of the grape, the growth of plants by the trans- 
mutation of inorganic matter into organic, and 
all those miracles of nature, which by their daily 
occurrence appear to us natural and commons- 
Like many sayings of Christ, the miracle of Cans 
is a stumbling-block to the superficial reader, 
and seems to conflict with the ideal character of 
the Gospel of John. It is indeed a rebuke to amor- 
bid asceticism and desponding legalism, to which 
even many good people are given. But it abounds 
in high moral significance and symbolic beauty. 
It is altogether unnecessary to resort to the mo- 
dern figment of an essential difference of the 
wine of the Bible and usual wine. The wine 
which Christ made was no doubt pure, good 
wine, in the proper sense of the term. But 
to think it even possible that Christ might have 
encouraged immoderate use of wine or any kind 
of excess, proves a false posture of mind and ut- 
ter disqualification to understand the miracle. 
The piety and sobriety of this God-fearing fa- 
mily, with the Son of God as their guest, was 
the basis of the miracle ; in an intemperate circle 
it would never have been wrought at all. Procul 
abeste profani ! To the pure all things are pure. 
See Doctr. and Eth. — P. S.] 


[Here we have the fulfilment of the promise 
made in the last verse of ch. i., and a startling 
proof of the presence of supernatural powers in 
the person of the Son of Man. Christ significantly 
began His publio ministry with a miracle of 
transformation: His whole mission was to con- 
vert sinners into saints, to turn grief into joy, to 
elevate earth to heaven. It was moreover a mi- 
racle of festive joy &nd ffladncss, and of more than 
royal munificence; showing — in striking contrast 
to the Mosaic law of condemnation and the as- 
cetic austerity and water-baptism of John, and 
in the presence of his former pupils — that the 
gospel is life and peace, a religion of true hap- 
piness. Christ relieves not only the present 
need, but provides also an abundant supply for 
all the future, enough and to spare for every one 
that thirsteth. It is equally significant that this 
miracle was performed in the bosom of & family : 
for the family is the first institution of God on 
earth, and the nursery of Church % and State, 
where all moral reforms of society must begin. 
Christianity restored marriage and the family to 
their original purity, and elevated them to true 
dignity by abolishing polygamy, emancipating 
woman from slavish degradation, and by making 
the relation of husband and wife a type of the 
sacred union of Christ to His church. — The mi- 
racle of Cana, as it was the first in time, is also 
the greatest in character, next to the raising of 
Lasarus which was the last, and which exhi- 
bited Christ as the Conqueror of death and the 
Prince of life eternal. Both belong exclusively 
to the fourth Gospel, while the miraculous feed- 
ing of the multitude is reported by all.* The 
change of water into wine was a proper transub- 
stantiation or qualitative transmutation of an 

• [Godot, I. pp. 862 and 366, gives some good reasons why 
John alone relates this miracle of Cana. It seems to have 
dropped out of the synoptical tradition, together with the first 
acquaintance of the disciples recorded in ch. i. It is moreover 
the only miracle in which the mother of Jesus, who was in- 
trusted to tho care of John, prominently figures.— P. 8.] 

* [The great poet, Priedrich Rttckert, says with as much 
truth as beauty : 

44 Ein Wunder wird der Mensch empfangen undgeseugt; 
Ein Wunder lebt er, wird geboren und ges&ugt ; 
Ein Wunder wilchst erfort und sieht undfuhU sein Wuwfer; 
Ein Wunder, dass er denkt, und was er denkt, ein Wunder. 
Ein Wunder steht erdain alter Wunder Mitte, 
Und Wunder gthn ihm vor undnach auf Tritt und SchritU, 
An Wunder wird er so allmUlig unwillkurtich 
GewUhnet, dass tie ihm erscheinm gam naturlich, 
Und wunaerbar ertcheint ihm UngncohnUx nur, 
Der unvenoundert sieht das Wunder der iVa*ur. M — P. S. J 

Digitized by 


CHAP. II. 1-11. 


Ver. 1. And the third day, Try rpiry 
ipipa]. — Most probably identical ft] with the 
hravptov, ch. i. 43 (44). See the Exkg. ad he. 
The marriage-feast had probably been nearly 
three days in progress, when Jesus, on His ar- 
rival, was invited to it, [The third day is pro- 
bably to be reckoned from the last date mention- 
ed, t. «., Nathanael's calling, i. 43 (44), not from 
the day of John's testimony, i. 29, as Dr. Lange 
takes it, still less from the day of Christ's arrival 
in Cana (Ewald) ; for this was not yet spoken of. 
Bengel : Tertio die post promissum datum, i. 52. 
Nunc ostenditur specimen. The journey from Ju- 
dsea to Galilee required two or three days, the 
distance in a direct line being over twenty hours. 
—P. 8.] 

In Cana of Galilee. — In the Galilean Cana ; 
in distinction from another. (So ver. 11 ; ch. iv. 
46; xxi. 2). [Or, rather, as the other Cana lies 
likewise in Galilee, rife Yaltleias is merely a lo- 
cal notice of John for foreign readers, comp. i. 
28; 44, and Hengstenberg in loe. — P. 8.] Not 
Kefr Kenna, but Kdna el-JeUl, according to Rob- 
inson, ill., p. 443. [Am. ed. of 1858, vol. II. pp. 
846-' 49. — P. 8.] Galilee was originally only a dis- 
trict (VwJ) of Upper Galilee, which was divided 
from Lower Galilee by a line running from Tibe- 
rias to Zabulon. Hence in the time of John there 
was, no doubt, a Galilee in the stricter, ancient 
sense, to be distinguished from a Galilee in the 
wider sense. This distinction is important in 
John iv. 45. The other Cana, from which ours 
is distinguished, has been sought now, according 
to Josephus ( Vita xvii. 1) erroneously in Perrea, 
now in a Cana in the tribe of Asher (Josh. xix. 
28), south-east of Tyre (Robinson III. 657), 
which, " though also to be counted in Galilee, 
lay so much in the vicinity of Phenicia, as to 
justify the designation of our Cana as K. nfr Ta- 
luXauac." (Meyer). But that northernmost Cana 
also belonged to Galilee. We can allow this dis- 
tinction only on the supposition that the region 
of Cana of Galilee was a Galilee in the narrow 
sense, in the most provincial terms. • As Kef r 
Kenna, which tradition has fixed as the Galilean 
Cana, lies some distance to the south, it might 
fall in the province of Lower Galilee, and might 
well form the antithesis. Ewald has made a 
Kanath, east of Jordan, the other Cana; which is 
scarcely to be mentioned. Cana lay on a round hill. 
[The location of Cana is still under dispute. 
Dr. Robinson's view has been adopted by Ritter, 
Meyer, Alford, Trench, Lange, Renan. Trench 
(On the Miracles, p. 83) numbers this among 
" the most felicitous and most convincing of Ro- 
binson's slighter rectifications of the geography 
of Palestine." Kuna el-Jeltl (i. e., Cana of Gali- 
lee) is a mere ruin about seven miles or nearly 
three hours N. } £. from Nazareth, and about 
three miles N. by E. of Sepphoris (SeflFfirieh). 
Kefr (t. e., village) Kenna, is a small village about 
4 J miles north-east of Nazareth, where the monks 
locate Cana, and where the remains of a Greek 
ehurch and the house of St. Bartholomew are 
pointed out. Robinson's arguments in favor 
of Kdna el-Jelil are the identity of name, 
and a notice from Marinus Sanutus about A. D. 
1321. But Hepworth Dixon (Holy Land, 1865, 
L 332) contends again for Kefr Kenna, as 

he and Thomson (The Land and the Book) con- 
tend for Tell Hum, as the site of Capernaum, 
against Robinson's conclusion in favor of Khan 
Minyeh. Hengstenberg and Godet likewise de- 
cide for Kef r Kenna. Grove (in Smith's Dic- 
tionary of the Bible) and Hackett (in a supple- 
mentary note to the Am. ed.) leave the question 
of the situation of Cana doubtful. Although 
Cana has nearly disappeared, it will always be 
remembered in connection with the festivity 
of marriage and the happiness of the family. 
—P. S.J 

And the mother of Jeans was there — 
The mother of Jesus, John writes ; not Mary. 
[John never names Mary, as he does not name 
himself nor his brother James, perhaps on ac- 
count of his intimate connection with her in vir- 
tue of the dying injunction of the Saviour, xix. 
26, 27. So Alford.— P. S.] Luthardt (with 
Hofmann and Lampe) holds (p. 420; comp. p. 1 16) 
that Jesus entirely dissolved the relation of son 
to Mary on the cross, with the word : " Woman, 
behold thy son!"* John seems far from this, 
to speak mildly, rare exegesis. Jesus returned 
with His disciples to Galilee, their common home. 
They accompanied Him to Nazareth. But the 
mother of Jesus had gone to the wedding at Cana, 
which lay further north in the mountains. Pro- 
bably they met in Nazareth with the invitation 
which occasioned their following the mother. 

[The occasion was evidently a family gather- 
ing. Besides the mother of Jesus, His brothers 
were also present, ver. 12. It was a farewell 
(un adieu royal, as Godet says) to His earthly re- 
lations. He was now leaving the privacy and 
obscurity of family life to enter upon His public 
ministry, and marked the transition by an ex- 
hibition of His divine power which was well cal- 
culated to convince His brothers, sisters, and 
friends of His Messiahship, and to convert them 
into His spiritual relations. — P. 8.] 

Ver. 2. And Jesus also was invited, and 
his disciples, [t. e., those five mentioned inch, 
i., Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and 
John. The evangelist was therefore an eye-wit- 
ness of the scene, and probably a relative of Je- 
sus. — P. 8.] 'E k A # # 7 [is the historical past : 
was bidden, invited, and] cannot be taken as plu- 
perfect. Where would the inviter have looked 
for the Lord on the Jordan ? And there, too, He 
had as yet no disciples to be invited with Him. 
The invitation was rather an after-thought, and 
from this in part the lack of wine might be ex- 
plained. Meyer supposes that the invitation was 
given in Cana itself. But people do not go in 
search of a member of a family at a feast ; at all 
events this would amount to their inviting them- 
selves. The fact that Nathanael was of Cana 
might increase the relations of the Lord to the 
house of friends with which His mother Mary 
seems to have been closely connected. It may 
certainly be inferred from this passage and ver. 

• [Similarly Godot (1. 350) : The address twman, xix. 26, 
signalizes the definite rapture of the earthly rotation of mo- 
ther and son, and here at Cana Mary felt Tor the first time the 
point of that sword which was to pierco her soul beneath the 
croes (Lake ii. 35). This is going too far. Christ nover broke 
that relation, but from His twelfth year (Luke li. 49), II o su- 
bordinated it to His higher relation to His heavenly Father. 
Here John, the adopted son and guardian of Mary, writing 
long after her death, calls her the mother of Jesus.— P. 8. J 

Digitized by 




12, that Joseph was do longer living. (Against 
Meyer, who unwarrantably cites ch. vi. 42).* 
Of a removal of Mary from Nazareth to Cana, 
Ewald speaks alone. f — If we reckon for the re- 
turn to Cana, including the stoppage at the call- 
ing of Philip and Nathanael, as a three days' 
journey, Jesus, according to Origen's computa- 
tion of the third day (from, the day of ch. i. 43), 
would have arrived with His disciples in the eve- 
ning of the first day of the feast As a wedding 
generally lasted seven days (among the poorer 
people, indeed, only three, or even one ; comp. 
Gen. xxix. 27; Judg. ziv. 14; Tob. ix. 12), the 
supply of wine with but moderate care, would 
hardly have been exhausted so soon. We are 
forced to conclude, therefore, that the Lord came 
with His disciples on one of the later days of the 
feast ; and this works backward to the suppo- 
sition that the third day dates from the testimony 
of John, as the day when Jesus was publicly and 
theocratically accredited as the Messiah in Israel. J 

[The presence of Christ with His mother and 
disciples, at a wedding-feast, and His perform- 
ing His first miracle there, is a silent condemna- 
tion of monkish asceticism, and a recognition of 
the marriage relation as honorable and holy. 
Christianity is no flight from the world, but a 
transformation of the world, no annihilation of 
the order of nature, but the sanctification of it, 
no moroseness of spirit, but joy and gladness. 
It is the leaven which is to leaven the whole lump 
of society. But by turning water into wine and 
revealing His glory at the wedding-feast, Christ 
gave us an example how to conduct ourselves in 
society, that is to introduce a higher, nobler ele- 
ment, and to change the water of trifling, 
frivolous talk into the wine of instructive, 
profitable conversation. Trench observes : 
" We need not wonder to find the Lord of 
life at that festival; for He came to sanctify 
all life — its times of joy, as its times of sorrow; 
and all experience tells us, that it is times of 
gladness, such as this was now, which especially 
need such a sanctifying power, such a presence 
of the Lord. In times of sorrow, the sense of 
God's presence comes more naturally out: in 
these it is in danger to be forgotten. He was 
there, and by His presence there struck the key- 
note to the whole future tenor of His ministry. 1 ' 
—P. S.] 

Ver. a. And when wine failed, [Kal lo- 
re pfjoavros oivov]. Gladly had the nuptial 
family, which undoubtedly belonged to the true 
waiting ones in Israel, improvised their invita- 
tion ; but it seemed to fare ill for awhile, in 
having neglected the usual Jewish calculation. 
The less could their spirit turn to their mortifi- 
cation. Tholuck adduces the cheapness of wine 
in the East, to infer that the family was in limi- 
ted circumstances. But even where wine is 
oheap, it is not always at hand in abundance, 
even for the wealthy. In any case the need here 
existing was 'not so much that of poverty as that 

* [Joseph is last mentioned, Luke il., when Jesus was twelre 
years of ap», and accompanied His parents to Jerusalem. He 
seems to have died before the public ministry of Christ. — 
P. 8.1 

t [Kenan, Vie de JCtut, pp. 71, 72, adopts this conjecture.— 

of family honor, especially of festal feeling and 
joy. [It also reveals the temperance of the fa- 
mily.— P. S.] 

They have no wine— No more wine. Ac- 
cording to Chrysostom and others, Mary speaks 
these words, because Jesus had already wrought 
miracles, and she expects one now. Contrary to 
ver. 11. Aocording to Lttcke, Jesus has already 
done extraordinary works in smaller circles, and 
so given rise to the expectation.* According to 
Bengel and Paulus, Mary would suggest to Him to 
depart with His disciples ;f aocording to Meyer, 
to provide some remedy, "which in fact might 
have been done in the most natnral way (by 
fetching more wine) " ! Calvin thinks it a hush- 
word to the guests (perhaps a hint to go). Tho- 
luck: "The object of Jesus' journey could not 
have remained unknown to Mary; if, according 
to the popular faith, she was considering the mi- 
racle the test of the Messiah, she might now re- 
quest even the first exercise of the divine 
power." Nothing of all these intentions appears 
in the words. To tell the need is not necessarily 
to apply for help. So far as its form is con- 
cerned, the expression proves only, that the peo- 
ple let Mary know the lack, and that she told it 
to the Lord ; rather giving up than asking help. 
Mary had probably a hundred times found in 
her family life, that the holy Child, during His 
growth, could tell what to do, when no one else 
could, though not exactly by miracle strictly so 
called. % A confident expectation, however, must 
have been couched in her complaint; this is evi- 
dent from the answer of the Lord. She certainly 
meant, in general : Tell us what to do ; and, if 
any one please, more specifically, acoording to 
Bengel : Bring the feast to a close ; though in 
some other way than by an embarrassed depar- 

[I take the words of Mary to be an indi- 
rect prayer and a modest hint to relieve the dif- 
ficulty, like the message of the sisters of Laxa- 
rus : ** Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest, is 
sick," John xi. 8. Mary had good reason to 
expect that her divine Son, now after His solemn 
inauguration by the baptism in Jordan, and the 
gathering of His first disciples, would signalise 
His entranoe upon publio life by a miraculous 
demonstration of His Messianic dignity, and she 
was not shaken in her expectation by His appa- 
rent refusal, as is evident from her words in ver. 
5 (see my note, p. 106). The announcement of the 
angel, the supernatural conception, and the whole 
oonduct of Jesus must have long before convinced 
her of His Messiahs hip. Lampe properly re- 
gards these words as a monument of the faith, 
humility and modesty of Mary. Yet there was 

P. ftl 


ubtful ; corap. my note on ver. 1, p. 103.— -P. S.] 

• [So very nearly Stier and Alford.— P. &] 

f [It seems incredible that such a profoundly spiritual and 
ingenious commentator as Bengel should have anticipated 
even once the insipid rationalistic exegesis of Paulus of Hei- 
delberg. And yet so it is in this case. "VdimdiKtdat^utctUri 
item ducedant, anUquam penuria patefiat." This would be 
kind to the family, but liardly respectful to Jesus. Bengel, 
howevor, adopts this view to deprive the answer of Jesus of 
all apparent harshness, aud explains &pa, ver. 4, to mean hora 
discedmdi, so as to say : This is not the hour of withdrawing, 
but the hour of assisting. Ebrard, in his ed. of Olshausen, 
agrees with Bengel.— P. 8.] 

X [Similarly Cocceius, as cited by Trench : Mary had always 
found Jesus a wise counsellor, and mentioned the want to 
Him merely that He might suggest some way of remedying 
it.***™. B.J 

Digitized by 


CHAP. II. 1-11. 


a defect, an untimely haste and improper inter- 
ference, though from the best motives, with the 
Messianic prerogative of her divine Son. This 
is manifest from the reply of Jesus.— P. S.] 

Ver. 4. Jesus saith unto her, etc. — The 
terms of Lather's version [identical with those 
of the English] : Woman, what have I to do with 
thee?* are muoh too strong. The phrase forms 
a scale, from the strongest rebuke to the gentlest 
refusal, according to the tone. 

The address : ybvai, Woman, has no tinge 
of contempt. Augustus sajs to Cleopatra [the 
Queen of Egypt] in Dio: Qdpaet, u y'wat.f So 
the address to Mary Magdalene, John zx. 15, yb- 
vai, is plainly an expression of compassion. And 
so, too, is John xix. 26 to be taken. 

[In English the term woman is frequently used in 
a solemn and honorable sense, as embracing the 
characteristic traits of the womanly ideal, when 
we speak of a good woman, a noble woman, a true 
woman, be a woman. Christ calls His mother 
woman when on the cross He com mi ted her with 
tender affection to the charge of His bosom disci- 
ple. He does not call her mother, because this 
would not suit here in connection with H kfwl teal 
col, and because He had regard mainly to His 
Father, and subordinated all earthly relations to 
the heavenly and eternal. Comp. Matth. xii. 
49, 50; Luke viii. 19 ; 2 Cor. v. 16. The period 
of His subjection to her as His earthly mother had 
ceased. Even in His twelfth year He answered 
to her remark : " Thy father (Joseph) and I," by 
"My Father" (in heaven), Luke ii. 48, 49. 
Calvin : Sic ergo matrem Chris tue alloquitur, utper- 
petuam et eommunem scculU omnibus doctrinam tra- 
datj ne immodicue matris honor divinam euatn glo- 
ria* obscuret. Olshausen : " The Son had now 
become the Lord also of His mother, who could 
secure her own happiness only by believing obe- 
dience to Him."— P. S.] 

The phrase rl ipol Kai aol, What to me 
and to thee (in which kmv6v or the like is to be 

supplied), has not among the Hebrews (w~*TC 

|7V), as in the classics, a repulsive, reprehenslve 
sense, as Grotius shows, ad Matth. viii. 29. 
The expression is uttered in Jud. xi. 12 ; 2 Sam. 
xvi. 10, in friendliness. It readily consists with 
this, that Jesus would assert the elevation of His 
divine calling above natural relationship, as in 
Matth. xii. 50 (Tholuck). Ebrard : That is my 
matter; leave that to me. Hengstenberg: "Wat 
mir und dir, Weib f" Literally correct, but not 
good German. 

[As the interpretation of this passage, which 
derives its true light from Matth. xii. 46-50, 
has a bearing on the subject of Marioiogy 
and Mariolatry, I shall quote passages from 
ancient and modern commentators, who agree 
(against the Romish) in finding here a slight 
reproof of Mary for a certain improper in- 
terference or impatient haste. Irenaeua (Adv. 
kmr. L III. c. 16, 3 7) : " The Lord, repelling 
Mary's unseasonable urgency (Dominus, repellent 

*[Wab,wzs habe ichvut dir tu tehaffent Vulgate: Quid 
mat d tibi <*tt French N. T.: Qu > aA-U entre moi et toit 
Gmp. my Text. Note,* p. 102.— P. 8.] 

tfploa Oasaias, HUt. LI. 12: ftapoYt, ^ yvrat, «al 6v- 
pi*cn iya^or, u Take courage, woman, and keep a good 
kiart? ov L bt of good cheorT-P. S.J 

ejus intempeetivam feetinaUonem), said: "What 
have I to do with thee/' etc. Chrysostom (Horn. 
XXI. al. XX. in Joh. Tom. VIII. p. 122) : "She 
wished to gain glory through her child (^3o6- 
fero .... iavrfv Xafnrporipav iroif/cat tiia rov irat- 
66g) . . . therefore Christ answered her with se- 
verity (a$odp6repov a7reKpivaro teyuv, k. t. A.J." 
He adds : •« Mary had not yet the proper opinion 
of Christ (obdknu yap # ixpvv nepi avrov <56£av el- 
£fv), but because she bare Him, she thought that, 
after the manner of other mothers, she might in 
all things command Him whom she ought to have 
worshipped and adored as her Lord. For this 
reason He gave this answer." Such passages 
are irreconcilable with the belief in the sinless- 
ness of Mary. As the veneration of the Virgin 
increased from the time of the Nestorian contro- 
versy and the universal adoption of the $eot6~ 
koc, such comments disappear. Even the Nesto- 
rianizing Theodoret, though quite full in his notes 
on the miracle of Cana, says not a word which 
might reflect in the least on Mary's conduct. 
But the reformers and nearly all the Protestant 
interpreters take the same view of the passage as 
the fathers. Olshausen says that the words H 
kfiol, etc. necessarily imply reproof, although the 
rebuke is but gentle. Meyer: "Christ, in the 
consciousness of His higher wonder-working 
power and will, as one without a mother (aufj- 
rop), repels the interference of womanly weak- 
ness, which here confronted Him, even in His 
mother." Hengstenberg : " It lies in the nature 
of the case that the phrase always implies cen- 
sure." Godet agrees with Hengstenberg. Ew- 
ald : " He reproves her expectation with severe 
words." Trenoh : " There is more or less of re- 
proof and repulse in these words ;" but he adds 
very properly that any harshness of the reply 
was mitigated by the manner in which the Lord 
suffered a near compliance with the request to 
shine through the apparent refusal. Alford: 
" The answer of our Lord is beyond question one 
of reproof, and disclaimer of participation in the 
grounds on which the request was made." St. 
Bernard, Maldonatus and other Romanists try 
to escape the force of the usus loquendi by saying 
that Christ spoke those words not for Mary's, 
but for our sakes, to teach us that He performed 
His miracles not from regard to human relation- 
ship, but from love and regard to God's glory. 
Very true ; but He taught Mary first, and taught 
us through her. — P. S.] 

Mine hour is not yet come.— Euthym. 
Zigab.: The hour for working miracles. Ewald : 
Of my full sense of Messianic power. LUcke 
and others: For the revelation of my glory. 
Meyer: The juncture for help. [Trench: Till 
the wine is wholly * exhausted. Flat. — P. S.]. 
According to Bruno Bauer, His hour must always 
mean the hour of His death.* — According to 

* [Similarly Alford : " My time, the time at which, from tho 
Father's appointment and My own concurring will, I am to 
begin miraoulous working, is not yet arrived : forestall it 
not." Probably Mary, like tho Apostles before the pente- 
costal illumination, was not yet quite free from carnal con- 
ceptions of the Messianic Kingdom, as a temporal reign, and 
oxpected that lie would establish it at the beginning of Ilia 
ministry. Christ decliued the form of her petition, but an- 
swered the real intent in a better way than she conceived. 
In other passages of John the hour of Christ means the hour 
of His death and glorification, vii. 30; xU. 23, 27 j xlU, 1.— 
P. 8.] 

Digitized by 




Tboluck, it is the &pa for the manifestation of 
His 66£a t as determined by the object of the mi- 
racle and the circle of witnesses. In this regard 
this scene seemed not so suitable as Jerusalem, 
yet the affectionate Son would also fain please 
His mother. Hence oIttq refers to the precise 
moment. The right time of publicity, the right 
moment— two different ideas : His hour is His 
time for acting or suffering, as the Father ap- 
points it to Him by the occasion and in His spi- 
rit, in distinction from the hour which is as- 
signed Him by the opinion of men. Comp. John 
vii. 6; yiii. 20; xiii. 1 ; Luke xxii. 63. The 
"not yet" opens the prospect of help to come at 
the right time. 

Ver. 6. Whatsoever he salth unto yon. 
—Meyer thinks she means, He will require your 
service, perhaps in bringing wine. Meyer says : 
Whatsoever He saith unto you, without qualifica- 
tion ; yet doubtless with the presentiment that He 
might say something very strange and striking, 
at which they were in danger of being startled. 

[These words reveal the unbounded faith of 
Mary in her Son, whose gentle rebuke did not 
discourage her, and a confident expectation of 
some miraculous help at the proper time. She 
seems to have anticipated even the manner, viz., 
that it was to be brought about by the aid of the 
servants. She may have inferred from some 
previous hint of Christ not related here, or from 
the gentle manner with which He apparently re- 
fused her desire, with the qualifying obnu 
(not yet), His disposition to grant it. Pre- 
cisely the same words: 6 kav elxp vfilv noifj- 
aart (Gen. xli. 65, LXX.), Pharaoh, at the time of 
the famine, addressed to all Egypt with regard 
to Joseph. Hengstenberg thinks that this coin- 
cidence is scarcely accidental in view of the si- 
milarity of the occasion, and the typical charac- 
ter of Joseph.— P. S.] . 

Ver. 6. There were set [icelfjtevai, poritse] 
there six water-pots of stone \ydpl at X<- 
Gtvai, made of stone, stone-ware]. — There; in 
the wedding-chamber, says Meyer. The wash- 
ing of hands hardly took place in the wedding- 
chamber, rather in the court of the house. And 
the pots were too large for this, being doubtless 
not portable in the ordinary way : " large stone 
fonts" (Starke). — Six water-pots there were. 
Whether according to Jewish custom, can hardly 
be ascertained ; at all events, the number, as 
symbolical, is the number of work, toil and need. 
See ch. xii. 1 : six days before the passover 
Christ came to Bethany. Rev. ch. vi.: the open- 
ing of the first six seals. Ch. xiii. 18 : the num- 
ber of the beast, 666. Nork (Etymol. Symbol. 
Mythol. Real- Worterbuch) : "Six is threefold dis- 
cord (Dyad), hence 666 is the number of Anti- 
christ. On the evening of the sixth day of cre- 
ation, according to the Rabbinical tradition, Sa- 
tan was created at the same time with woman. 
The Cabbalistic book Sohar warns against the 
threefold six as the number of punishment. On its 
face this number bespeaks an accurate reporter.* 

After the manner of the purifying [/card 

* PFor other and more fanciful allegorical interpretation* 
of the six water-pots and the firkins, see Augustine, Tract 
HT., and other fathers. Chrysoatom remarks that the scarcity 
of water in Palestine made it necessary to keep always an 
abundant supply in vessels.— P. S.J 

rdv KQ-& apiofibv ruv 1 IovSaictv'] — The 
washing of hands and vessels before and after 
meals, Matth. xv. 2 ; Mark vii. 3. Probably the 
supply of water in them was already mostly con- 
sumed; at all events, they were emptied for 
their new use. 

Containing two or three firkins apiece 
[;rupotmu ava— -not approximately, eireiler, but in 
the distributive sense, tinyuUe, qs in the £. T. — 
fierpifrac 6vo ff Tpelq]. — The Attic metretes was 
equal to the Hebrew J\3 (Joseph. Antiq. YIIL 2. 
9), and twenty-one Wiirtemberg or thirty-three 
Berlin quarts [about nine gallons English; so 
that the word " firkin" in the £. V. is almost 
exact. Accordingly, if all the water was changed 
into wine (see below), the quantity of wine thus 
produced was 6 times 18 or 27 gallons, t. e., from 
108 to 162 gallons.— P. S.] The Roman amphora 
was also called metretes, and was still smaller than 
tho Attic ; the Syrian Babylonian, on the contrary, 
was larger. " In view of this (total) quantity of 
from 252 to 273 quarts [over 100 gallons], the 
miracle is styled by De Wette [and Strauss] a 
' miracle for luxury' (Luxtuwunder), and found 
offensive. The circumstances already cited 
(abundant supply for a poor family ; an expres- 
sion of benevolence) remove this difficulty ; in 
the miraculous feeding also the quantity exceeds 
the bare necessity." Tholuck.* The truth of 
the miracle, however, forbids us at the outset 
to trespass upon the ground of the miraculous. 
Hence also we raise no question whether the wa- 
ter was made wine after it was drawn out, or 
before, in the pots themselves (Meyer, Tholuck). 

Ver. 7. Pill the water-pots.— Not only is 
the water in the pots necessary, but also the obe- 
dience of faith. So also in the drawing. The 
pots being full, precludes all thoughts of the pos- 
sibility of a natural process or a mixture. Ac- 
cording to Meyer, this feature is intended to de- 
note the abundance of the wine which Jesus pro- 
duced ; Gerlach [and Barnes] on the contrary : 
Only what was drawn became wine. 

[The miracle took place between vers. 7 and 
8, but its actual process lies wholly beyond the 
region of sense and imagination. The same may 
be said of the process of growth in nature ; we 
see only the results. It is not stated whether the 
miracle took place in the water-pots or in the act 
of drawing, and whether the whole amount of 

* [Against the profane view of Straus*, we mutt rather call 
the miracle a miracle of love and beneficence. Christ gave as 
a King, yea, with more than royal bounty. The benevolent 
design of the abundant supply is pressed by several commen- 
tators, down to Lange and Godot Luther says: ** Christ, 
having no gold or jewels to give to the poor couple, presented 
thorn good wine." Maldonatus : M Christ desired not only to 
relieve a present necessity, but that a quantity of wine might 
remain for the married persons to assist them in their po- 
verty and to leave a lasting (?) memorial of the miracle," Cal- 
vin, Trench and Alford properly refer to the analogy of God's 
method of dealing in providing the most abundant supply in 
every vineyard and all over nature, that every man may prove 
his temperance and moderation, as Calvin says, in media ajjtu- 
enlia. Barnes, in the interest of teetotalism, supposes that 
the Saviour only made as much wine as was necessary for the 
immediate want, and that the miracle was confined to the wa- 
ter actually drawn from the pots. If, as Barnes assumes, the 
wine was not intoxicating, there can be no objection to the 
large quantity of it ; but even if it was (as all but a few recent 
American commentators hold), there is no reason whatever to 
suspect that any improper use was made of it in a company 
honored by the presence of the Purest of the pure, and the 
Holiest of the holy. Comp. my remarks on ren* 7.— 

Digitized by 


CHAP. II. 1-11. 


water was turned into wine or only so much of 
it as was drawn by the servants. But the former 
view is much more probable, yea, almost certain. 
It seems to be implied in the exact statement of 
the number and size of the vessels, ver. 6, in the 
order to fill them with water, and in the strict 
compliance of the servants who "filled them up 
ioc dw, to the brim" ver. 7. This view agrees 
also best with the object of the miracle as a ma- 
nifestation of Christ's Divine glory, in imitation 
of the boundless munificence which God Himself 
displays from year to year in the plentiful har- 
vests, that in the midst of plenty we should be 
temperate and grateful. — P. S.]* 

Ver. 8. Draw oat now, and bear.— Ex- 
pressing full confidence that they would, in vir- 
tue of His word, draw wine and carry wine. 
Unto the ruler (master) of the feast [r^ap- 
XtTptK\lv(t> y & word of late and rare occurrence, 
lit. the ruler of the triclinium or dining-room with 
three couches. — P. S.]. — Not the superintendent 
of the guests, <rvfiicoaiapx<K [or avfiiroci&px^ , paoi~ 
X?b$ t modimperalor, magister, or rex convivii, arbiter 
bibendi], whom the guests chose as their president 
(Xenoph. Anab. VI. 1. 30), f but the superintend- 
ent of the servants, who as such also tested the 
meats and drinks, as a taster. J Tholuck distin- 
guishes the warden of the drinking from the 
warden of the table, and remarks that the pre- 
sence of the latter does not neoessarily yield the 
inference of wealth. He may have been of the 
friends of the family. At all events, a number 
of servants were present. — And they bare it. — 
Meyer : " But knew not that what they carried 

* [Qalrin on rer. 8 : "Mirum est quod Qtristus,frugaliUUis 
wsafftster.vini et quidem prsutanhssimi magnam copiam lar- 
ffitur. Respondeo t quum nobis quotidie Deus largum vinipro- 
wfw smppedUat, nostro vitio fieri ft ejus benignUas irrita- 
wuntwm est Imxuriss : quia potius hoc temperantiss nostrm vera 
estprobaHo, si in media qffluentia, parci tauten et moderati tu- 
satts." Oodet : u 3m premier sign miraculeux doit Umoigner 
hautement de *a riches** tt dt sa munificence, ft devenirpour 
let assistants It type de la plenitude de grace et de force que le 
JCi unique apporte a la terrt?— P. S.] 

f TSo Trench, Alford. Wordsworth. This riew more easily 
explains the freedom of remonstrance on the part of the ruler 
of the feast, than if ho had been a mere servant, and is sup- 
ported by a passage in the apocryphal book, the Wisdom of 
glrach, ch. 35 laL 32), vers. 1, 2 : " If thou be made tho mas- 
ter (iiywii*vot) of the feast, lift not thyself np, but be among 
them — one of the rest; take diligent care of them and sit 
down ; and when thou hast done all thy office, take thy place, 
that thou mayest be merry with them, and receive a crown 
(rr^a**r) for thy well ordering of the feast" This descrip- 
tion raits far better the position of the Greek and Roman 
king of the feast from among the guests, than of the head- 
waiter from among the slaves. See the next note. — P. S.J 

J [So Ghrysostom, the older commentators, also KuinoeL, 
Meyer and others. It was the custom among the Greeks to 
intrust a particular slave with the arrangement of the table, 
the tasting and distribution of the wines, the trimming of the 
lamp*, and the control of the other servants. This slave, who 
seems to have combined the offices of a butler and head- 
waiter, is called triclinarches (by Petronlus), which is equiva- 
lent in meaning to apxirpixAtvof, also i^iprnjcwf, rpantCo- 
aWc, Tpavc£off*#to? (by Athenwus), and corresponds to the 
Roman struetor mensse. Athennus, in his Deipnosophists 
(Banquet of the Learned), lib. IV. c. 70 (In Schweighaoser's 
ed. Tom. II. p. 162), gives a full description of the rpavegb- 
rotM, setters of the tables, and quotes In illustration several 
passages from poets, among the rest these lines from Phile- 

'There is no need of long deliberation 
About the kitchen, for the table-setter 
Is bound to look to that ; that is his office.* 
Coasp. also Welch : De archttricUno, Jen. 1753 (which I have 
sot seen), and Becker's Charikles, II. p. 252 (second ed. by 
Hermann, Leips. 1854). But I have seen no evidence that the 
. same custom prevailed among the Jews, while the other cus- 
tom with regard to the king of the feast, seems to be substan- 
tiated by the passage quoted in the preceding note.— P. S.J 

was wine." But they must have believed it to be ; 
else we should be left to suppose a tone of mind 
in the people, which would ill correspond with 
the elevation of the miracle. The drawing and 
bearing by the servants was an act of faith, like 
the sitting down of the multitudes in the wilder, 
ness to receive the miraculous feeding. 

Ver. 9. r When the ruler . . . tasted (e y t b- 
oaro). — Here the Romish argument in favor of 
transubstantiation drawn from this miracle, 
breaks down. The water had been made wine 
in form as well as in substance ; it looked like 
wine and .tasted like the best of wine ; but the 
pretended change of bread and wine in the Eu- 
charist contradicts all the senses and is a com- 
plete delusion. — P. 8.] 

That had become wine.— Not: That it be- 
came (was made) wine. In the perfect [had been 
made, and consequently was now]. 

And knew not whence it was.— It at 
first seems to give a better sense, to make the 
parenthesis of the 9th verse, according to Meyer, 
begin not with these words, but with : ol dt cJzd/co- 
voi, ending with vdup. Meyer observes that the 
construction continues with ovk ydei, and this 
supplies the motive of the consequent Quvel rbv vvpt- 
fiov. But the ruler calls the bridegroom, not to 
ask whence he has the wine, but to remark to him 
that he has reversed the usual order of things 
with this supply of wine, which he seems to sup- 
pose the bridegroom has reserved. And John 
elsewhere begins a parenthesis with «k, as in 1 
John i. 2. A decisive consideration might be 
this : If we put the nd&ev before the parenthesis, 
it indioates in the ruler the impression of the 
natural origin of the wine ; in the parenthesis it 
emphatically expresses the thought of the Evan- 
gelist, that he knew not the miraculous origin of 
the wine. The iariv, as in ch. i. 40, is the usual 
intermixing of direot description in dependent 
olauses (Winer, p. 239). 

Called the bridegroom. — The wedding took 
place in the house of the bridegroom, and ho 
gave the banquet. As to the custom here men- 
tioned, there is little other evidence (see Liicke, 
p. 473). Wetstein: Pliny, H. N. XIV. 14. 
Cato, when he embarked for Spain, said of the 
rowers (remigea) : Qui etiam conoivis alia (refer- 
ring to wine), quam eibhnet ipsis mi nit Irani ["who 
even give their guests other wine than they drink 
themselves, or bring it in as the banquet pro- 
ceeds "]. Two other citations (from Martialis and 
Cassius) Liicke himself considers entirely unim- 
portant. The passage, seems, however, to have 
some sense different from that commonly sup- 
posed, which gives a mild interpretation to pedbo- 
Keadai, madere, "have drunk enough" (Tholuck, 
after De Wette and others); on the contrary 
Meyer : When they are intoxicated. The softening 
of the word gives the idea of a dishonorable cus- 
tom : first to give good wine, then, at the height 
of the feast to give poor. The custom meant is 
probably that universally dictated by moral in- 
stinct, of at last pouring water into the wine for 
those who are intoxicated, or giving no more, or 
even, where courtesy requires the offer to be con- 
tinued, giving poor wine.* This custom the 

* [Alford differently: When a man has some kinds of wine 
choicer than others, he naturally produces the choicest to 
suit the most discriminating taste.— P. 8.] 

Digitized by 




master of the feast applies to the case in hand, 
without expressing any judgment respecting the 
condition of the guests.* His •« until now " re- 
fers only to a later period of the feast — There is 
likewise a question, whether we must take the 
word, with Meyer, as a pleasantry, or, with 
Tholuck, as a half-jocular reproof. Liicke's hy- 
pothesis of an expression of surprise seems more 
fitting. Pleasantly as the words may have been 
spoken in the expression : " Thou hast kept the 
good wine until now," the ruler in any case con- 
veys great astonishment And strongly as this, on 
the one hand, attests the objective fact of the mi- 
racle, it as strongly, on the other hand, shows a 
special quality in this wine. Tho wine seemed 
to the ruler.the good, in contrast with what had 
been used. 

Ver. 11. This wrought Jeans as a begin- 
ning of the Signs [T air n v knoinoe apx^v 
tuv enpeiuv 'I^oovf]. — 'Ap^ without the 
article, hence: This sign wrought Jesus as His first 
in Cana of Galilee, fit was not only the first 
miracle wrought by Jesus in Cana — for no other 
is reported as having been wrought there — but 
the first of all His miracles. This is conclusive 
against all the reports of the apocryphal Gospels 
to the contrary. — P. S.] — Scholastic fancies re- 
specting the bridegroom and the bride by Bona- 
ventura, etc., see in Heubner, p. 235. 

[The signs, r & v anueluv. The N. T. em- 
ploys three terms for the miracles or supernatural 
works of Christ, onuelov, duvafug and rtpac, some- 
times also tvdogov, irapaSogov, davpfotov. The 
word orjftetov, the Hebrew oth (7X)X), signum, 
has reference to the moral aim of the miracle 
as intended to exhibit the presence of the 
divine power, and to produce faith in it; it is 
" a kind of finger-post of God," as has been said. 
The term rtpag, prodigium, wonder, which is often 
combined with aijfuiov (iv. 18), expresses the sub- 
jective effect, the emotion of astonishment and 
amazement which the miracle produces; and 
hence it is used also of strange and startling phe- 
nomena in heaven and on earth. All miracles are 
signs and wonders, but not all signs and wonders 
are miracles. f The term dwdpeic, virtutes, de- 
notes the origin of miracles, as manifestations of 
divine power. The E. V. is by no means con- 
sistent in the translation of these words. Trench 
(Synonym* of the N. 71, Second Part, p. 204, 
Am. ed.) says: "It is to be regretted that 
in our Version this word (Svvdfieig) is translated 
now 'wonderful works' (Matth. vii. 22); now 
* mighty works' (Matth. xi. 20; Luke x. 13]; 
and still more frequently 'miracles' (Acts ti. 
22; 1 Cor. xii. 10; Gal. iii. 6) ; in this last case 
giving such tautologies as ' miracles and won- 
ders ' (Acts ii. 22 ; Heb. ii. 4) ; and always 
causing something to be lost of the true energy 
of the word — pointing as it does to new forces, 
which have entered and are working in this 
world of ours. With this is closely connected 

* [Godot better: "This word has a proverbial sense, and 
does not apply to the present company." Text. Note 3. — P. 8.] 

f TLanipc : Eadtm miraeufa dicipotsunt tignt quatenus aJU- 
quia Mfu ocrtd/un teu futurum docent ; etprodigia (Wpara), 
quatenus aliquid txtraordinarium, quod ttuporem excitat % ti$- 
tunt. Hlnc stquttur signorum notionem latius patere, quam 
prodigiorum. Omnia prodigia tunt signa, quia in iUumusum 
a Deo di*uf,m*ata, td arcanum indioent. Std omnia signa non 
tunt prodigia^ quia ad signandum res cafosUs aliquando ctiam 
res communes adhibentur.—P, 8. J 

the term fieyaXela = magnolia (Luke i. 49), in 
which in like manner the miracles are contem- 
plated as outcomings of the greatness of God's 
power." — His glory. The ddf a of the incar- 
nate Logos, i. 14, by whom all things were made, 
and who transforms all things. The miracles of 
Christ are manifestations of His own glory, of 
His wonderful person, while the miracles per- 
formed by Moses and the prophets revealed not 
their glory, but the glory of Jehovah. — And 
his disciples believed on him, trior ev- 
er a v. This is a higher degree of faith than the 
one spoken of i. 35-62, which was initial and in- 
troductory, while now they were strengthened in 
their belief by this startling evidence of His di- 
vine Messianic power and dignity. Faith is a 
continuous growth, and every increase of faith 
is a new beginning of faith. — P. S.] 


1. John 1 * accounts of the miracles. We have aU 
ready called attention to John's putting strongly 
forward the miracles of knowledge together with 
those of act ; that is, the insight of the perfect 
personality into the dark recesses of personal 
life and of nature, in keeping with the character 
of this Gospel. As in ch. i. 38, 42, 43, 47 (comp. 
ch. ii. 26); iii. 21 ; iv. 17; v. 6; vL70; xi. 11; 
xiii. 3 and 88 ; xix. 11 and 28 ; xx. 27 ; xxL 6, 
17, 18, 22. The miracles in the development of 
the life of Jesus Himself, John rather takes for 
granted, after his general testimony concerning 
the 66£a of Jesus ; particularly the miraculous 
birth (which, however, follows from ch. i. 13); 
the transfiguration (to which, however, ch. xii. 
23 sqq.; xvii. look back, and which the voice 
from heaven, ch. xji. 28, in some measure re- 
peats) ; and the asoension (which is announced 
in ch. xx. 17). Even the miracle of the glorifica- 
tion of Jesus at the baptism is here only related 
incidentally by the Baptist, ch. i. 82 ; the walk- 
ing of Jesus on the sea is but briefly touched, 
ch. vi. 16; and the resurrection of the Lord the 
Evangelist presents mainly in its noblest bear- 
ings,- as a victory over doubt, weak faith, and 
unbelief. On the other hand John intimates by 
the prominence he gives to the voice from heaven 
(ch. xii. 28) in the temple, that Christ was always 
very near, and drawing nearer, His estate of glo- 
rification ; and in the account of the flowing of 
water and blood from the side of Jesus' body, he 
undoubtedly points to the mystery of the trans- 
formation in the body of Christ after His death 
(John xix. 34; comp. Leben Jem, II., 3, p. 1608). 

Now as regards the miraculous works in the 
stricter sense, John entirely omits the expulsions 
of devils. According to Meyer he significantly 
relates seven miracles of Jesus, " mentioning one 
of each of the main kinds, viz., a transformation, 
ch. ii. 1 ; a healing of a fever, iv. 47 ; a healing 
of a cripple, v. 1 ; a feeding, vi. 4 ; a walking on 
the sea, vi. 16 ; a healing of the child, ix. 1 ; a 
raising of the dead, xi. 1." 

We distinguish, in the first place, these mira- 
cles in the stricter sense from miracles in a wider 
sense, among which we count the purification of 
the temple (ch. ii. ), the moral enchaining of the 
officers (ch. vii. 4o), and like things, especially . 
the miracles of knowledge. Furthermore, we 

Digitized by 


CHAP. IL 1-11. 


distinguish the miraoles in Galilee and those in 
Judea, insomuch as the miraoles of Jesus hare 
opposite effects in the two different spheres. 
*■ fter the first miracle in Galilee, His disoiples 
believed on Him, ch. ii. 11 ; after the second He 
found faith in the imperial officer at Capernaum 
and in all his house, ch. iv. 58 ; after the third 
(wrought indeed on the east side of the sea, yet 
no doubt mostly on Galilean people), the people 
proposed to make Him king, ch. vi. 15 ; and the 
fourth could but enhance their reverence, ch. vi. 
25. After the first miracle in Judea, on the con- 
trary, whioh Jesus performed at the feast of Pu- 
rim, healing a cripple whom the Jewish super- 
natural fountain and the angel had not healed, 
process was at once begun by the Jews against 
Him for excommunication and death, ch. v. 16; 
comp. vii. 32. After the second, the healing of 
the blind man at the feast of tabernacles, in 
which He brought the temple-fountain and the 
pool of Siloam into service, to show that He was 
the God of the temple, the ban was pronounced 
on His followers, and therefore doubtless upon 
Him at least in so far as He acknowledged 
His Messianio dignity, ch. ix. 22. Upon the 
third, the raising of Lazarus, the decree to put 
Him to death was passed by the Sanhedrin (ch. 
xL 47), the edict for His apprehension was is- 
sued to the people (ver. 57), even the death of 
I*asarus was consulted (ch. xii. 10), ancf in the 
sequel, on the passover itself, Jesus was cruci- 
fied. Thus Judaism celebrates its feasts, and 
opposes to the life-miracles of Christ plots of 
death, the sentence of death, and the death of 
the cross. 

The miracles recorded by John we divide, ac- 
cording to their kinds into three miracles of heal- 
ing : the healing of the man sick of a fever, of the 
cripple, of the blind man ; three miracles of the 
mastery and glorification of nature: the miraculous 
supply of wine, the feeding, the miraculous 
draught of fishes, ch. xxi. (Christ walking on the 
sea, related without the addition of Peter's, be- 
longs with the miracles of the unfolding of the 
life of Jesus Himself) ; finally three symbolical mi- 
racles of the judicial majesty of Christ: the purifi- 
cation of the temple (ch. ii.), which in its first 
performance was much more wonderful than in 
its repetition at the close of the life of Jesus ; 
the moral enchaining of the officers, who were 
sent to arrest the Lord (ch. vii. 45; comp. ch. 
viiL 59 ; x. 39) ; and the striking down of the 
soldiers in Gethsemane with His word. The 
greatest of the miracles related by John is the 
raising of Lazarus from the dead, the premoni- 
tion of the resurrection of Christ, the foretoken- 
ing of the resurrection, the glorification, and the 
judgment of the whole world, the great develop- 
ment of miracle which begins with His resur- 

2. The first miracle of Jesus. Not only in John, 
but in the Gospel history in general, the changing 
of the water into wine is the first miracle of Je- 
sus. But as the first in John it has a peculiar 
significance. As the portal of the Gospel of the 
absolute transfiguration of the world by the glo- 
rious spiritual personality, and the redeeming 
operation of Christ, this miracle is the typical, 
symbolical token of the glorification of the world 
(see Istbcn Jesu, II., p. 479). 

Explanations of this miracle: 

(a) Natural [low rationalistic] explanations 
by Venturini, Paulus, Langsdorf, Gfrorer.* Pau- 
lus : A wedding joke ; Jesus had caused a quan- 
tity of wine to be brought into the house and to 
be put, mixed with water, into the pots at the 
table. Gfrorerf : A wedding surprise-gift on the 
part of Mary (similarly Ammon). 

(6.) Mythical. [A religious poem or legend 
unconsciously produced and honestly believed by 
the primitive Christian community as if it had 
actually occurred. — P. S.] Strauss: Mythical 
basis: the changing of bitter water into sweet, 
in Ex. xv. 23 ff. ; 2 Kings ii. 19. J Weisse: A 
parable misunderstood. 

(c) Symbolical [and fictitious, not historical]. 
Baur: A demonstration that the time had come 
when Jesus, the true Bridegroom, should lead off 
from the water of the provisional level of the Bap- 
tist to the wine of the higher Messianio glory. 
• (d\ Historical. Various modifications. 

(1) An absolute miracle of the [immediate'] 
transformation of substance regardless of condi- 
tions; the older supernaturalism (Meyer even 
refuses to recognize any elevation of the spirit 
of the company). . 

(2) Historical in a still stricter sense, as a mi- 
racle admitting some conditions; change of sub- 
stance under conditions ; Augustine (ipse fecit vi- 
num in nuptiis, qui omni anno hocfacit in vitibus) y \ 
Chrysostom,|| Olshausen: acceleration of a natu- 
ral process (which, however, must have included 
an acceleration of an artificial process, and in 
this the main factor, the vine, was wanting. 
Objections of Strauss, Meyer), fl 

• [Moyer justly calls this rationalistic explanation a frivo- 
lous transformation of history (tint frivoU Qeschichtsuxmd- 
Umg).—V. 8.1 

f [This writer subsequently became a Roman Catholic and 
died as professor of history in the University of Freiburg* 
—P. 8.] 

X [Comp. against the mythical view the remarks of Godet, 
I. p. 364. Even Baur admits that the whole tenure of the 
narrative excludes the mythical interpretation. Benan 
touches this miracle but slightly.— P. 8.] 

| [An abridged quotation (made first by Olshausen) from 
tho beginning of Augustine's 8th Tract, in Joh. The same 
idea Augustine repeats in the 9th Tract. \\: "Ipse est Ucus, 
qui per universal* creaturam quotidiana miracula facu\ qum 

hominibui nan facilitate, ted assiduitate vilue.rtmt Sic 

aquam in vinum conversant qui* non vtirttwr> cum hoc aimis 
omnibus Deus in vitibus facial /" And again, Sarm. 123, c 3 : 
"Qim aqua erat % vinum factum viderunt homines et obstu- 
puenmL Quid aliudiU at pluvia per radictm rift's f" — P. 8.1 

| [Bom. in Joa. xxii. (al xxi.), Tom. VIII. p. 127 sq. Cbry- 
sostom remarks that there is a difference between changing 
the quality of an existing substance and creating tho sub- 
stance itself, and that tho hitter is much more wonderful, but 
the divine power the same. Christ shows in this miracle that 
Ho who changed water into wine in a moment, was the same 
who annually in tho vineyards changes th<* rain through the 
root into wine, avrot ianv o «V rotf apire'Aot? to v6*»p pera- 
/kiAAw^ kcu top verb? 6i& itj? £*£?* "? olvov rpim»v y onep «r 
rw QvTif o\a voAAoO xpoVov ycVtrat, towto aBpoov iv r$ ydfitf 
«tpyd<raro. — P. 8.] 

H [Olshausen first used this expressive term of an accele- 
rated process of nature («n btschlcunigter Naturproctss) and 
applied it also to the miraculous feeding of the multitude 
Strauss, in his Leben Jesu, endeavored to ridiculo his view by 
an analysis of this process of nature and the accelerated pro- 
cess of art (bescMeunigter Kunstprocett\ which must be added 
in both cases, vu. y the gathering and crushing of the grapes, 
the action of the wine-press and the fermentation, in the 
making of wine, and the operations of the mower, miller and 
baker, in the making of bread. But Olshausen meant to as- 
sert only the similarity, not the identity, of the process, which 
in both cases passes our comprehension. Hase (in his Life of 
Jesus) and Trench (Miracles) adopt Augustine's and Olshau- 
sen's view, Trench with the Judicious remark: "This analogy 
does not help us to understand what the Lord did now, but 
yet brings before us that in this He was working in the line 

Digitized by 




(8) Change of accident* under conditions. 
Neander: instances of mineral springs which 
have the taste of broth, intoxicating wines, etc. 
(instances from the classics in Lampe and Nean- 
der *). Meyer puts Tholuck also on this ground ; 
but Tholuck at present says : " These are still 
no help towards understanding the miracle, in- 
asmuch as the inorganic or hard matter of the 
mineral springs would only come in the place of 
the vegetable. (Yet Neander mentions those 
facts only as analogies, showing how water can 
be modified.) In that which gives the offence 
here — the change of substance — natural science, 
however, till very lately has believed, with its 
generalio equivoca (i. e. t the change of substance 
by changes of form — erroneously), and now che- 
mistry would see everywhere only change of 
form (but through change of substance — again 

(4) Transfiguration of the substance in aetu. 
[Lange.] Tholuck states with strange incor- 
rectness : " J. P. Lange (Leben Jesu, II. 1, p. 807) 
falls back upon the view that the elevated frame 
of mind in the master of the feast and in the 
guests caused the water to taste like wine." 
Meyer represents the thought more carefully, 
though he can make nothing of it " In the ele- 
ment of an elevated frame of mind, to which the 
guests, like the disciples on the mount of the 
transfiguration, were raised, the transfiguration 
took place.' 1 But I had even said: "Thus Christ 
transported to heaven a company of devout and 
submissive men, and gave them to drink from the 
mysterious fountain of His divine life-power" 
(Leben Jesu, II., p. 479). The operation of 
Christ, furthermore, I described as threefold: 
• (a) The creative substitution of the wine, sympa- 
thetically communicated to the guests in their 
contemplation of Christ ; (b) influence upon the 
drinkers through faith ; (e) influence upon the 
element of the drink itself (p. 808). I cannot 
consider it an advanoe in exegesis, that Meyer 
comes to such an emphasizing of the change of 
substance as seems virtually to make the condi- 
tions of Augustine and others unsuitable ; and 
that Tholuck appeals in fine to two systems of 
natural science which he himself considers false. 
As the abstract snpernaturalism takes the simple, 
immediate change of substance for the gist of the 
miracle, I pointed to the central point of all mira- 
cles, and this among them, suggesting that all are 
rooted in the heavenly birth of Christ, and are 
conditioned upon the beginnings of regeneration, 
as the continuous development of the eternal cen- 
tral miracle, therefore also upon frames of the 
human heart. That such frames of heart existed 
here, is shownby the faith of the disciples, the con- 
fidence of Mary, the submissiveness of the draw- 
ers, the enthusiasm of the master of the feast. For 
this very reason, moreover, we have emphasized 
the act, in opposition to an abstract computation 
of the quantity of wine ; as, for example, the Pro- 
testant orthodoxy emphasizes the presence of the 
body and blood of Christ in the substance of the 
act, in distinction from the magical representa- 

of His more ordinary workings which we see daily around 
us. the unnoticed miracles of every-day nature." — P. 8.1 

* [AtheneeiiH and Theopompus, also VitruTius, speak of 
springs of water which had the intoxicating properties of 
Wine.— P. S.] 

tions of the body of Christ in the material sub- 
stance (without deciding concerning the material 
left unemployed in the act ; as Gerlach, for in- 
stance, see the exegesis on ver. 7). Then in the 
third place the analogy of similar instances of 
transfiguring mastery of nature was taken into 
account. Through the communion of the spirit 
of Christ the feedings become wonderful ; through 
the communion of the spirit of Christ alone Peter 
walks on the water ; in the hearts of the be- 
lieving lay the conditions of the miracles of 
Christ throughout. 

In thus tracing the miracle to its Christologi- 
cal centre, the principle of the glorification of 
the world, we suppose, however, that Christ here 
brought also a latent, mysterious susceptibility 
of the water to an instantaneous development, in 
which, with regard to the quantity, it must cer- 
tainly be considered that the very filling of the 
water-pptsjnras done at His word and in the obe- 
dience of faith. Thus the 66£a of Christ in His 
first self-manifestation is to us the main thing.* 

(e) The miracle historical, and at the same 
time of typical, symbolical import :f 

(1) Older expositors, Lampe, Baumgarten- 
Crusius, Luthardt: Exhibition of the contrast 
between the Old Testament and the New. J 

(2) Christ sets forth in the miracle at the 
same time the contrast of His new covenant with 
the severe ascetio spirit of the Baptist (Flatt, 

(3) Prefiguration of the communion of the 
Lord with His people on the height of the glori- 
fied world (Leben Jtsu, pp. 807, 479). 

(4) Hofmann, Luthardt (with a simultaneous 
reference to the ancient covenant) : Prefiguration 
of the heavenly marriage-supper, Rev. xix. 9 
(translation of the ideal conception just given (3) 
into realistic terms). 

* [Br. Lange, as appears from this defense of views previ- 
ously expressed in his Lift of Jesus, does not mean to deny 
the objective character of the miracle, but simply to bring it 
into organic connection with Ghristology and to insist upon 
a corresponding subjective condition and elevation of the wit- 
nesses, i.e.. upon faith on their part, as the medium of appre- 
hension. The miracle itself consisted in a real change of 
the quality of one substance into that of another. And this 
must be guarded against any attempt, however ingenious and 
plausible, to explain it away. A miracle is a miracle, and 
passes our comprehension. I think it most probable and 
consistent with the tenor of the narrative that the change 
was effected in the water-pots, not in the act of drawing, or 
of drinking; and that consequently aU the water was turned 
into wine, although only so much of it was used on the pre- 
sent occasion as was right and proper. Comp. my remarks 
on p. 106 f.— P.S.I 

f fDr. Lange might have mentioned here first the allegori- 
cal interpretations of Cyril, Augustine, Theodoret and other 
fathers, followed by Alcuin, Bernard and other mediaeval di- 
vines. But they are very fanciful and almost worthless. 
Even the sober Theodoret makes the six water-pots to signify 
the five senses and the reason, Augustine six ages, etc— P. 8.J 

1 [So also Euaebius, Augustine, Bernard, Cornelius a Lapide 
( u Ux mosaica instar aqwe insipida dJngida—eeanffeUum gra- 
tim qum instar vini est gtwrosOy sapida, ardent et ejPeax"), 
Trench and many others. The first miracle of Moses is also 
often contrasted with the first miracle of Christ: Moses 
turned water into blood— characterizing the law as a minis- 
tration of death— Christ turned water into wine— the gos- 
pel being an administration of life and the bringer in of Joy 
and gladness.— P. 8.] 

J [Olshausen : The first disciples of Christ were all orlgi- 
ly disciples of the Baptist. His manner of life— rigid, pe- 
nitential austerity and solitary abode in the desert — naturally 
appeared to them the highest form of piety. What a contrast 
for them, when the Messiah, to whom the Baptist himself had 
pointed them, leads them first of all to a marriage. This 
contrast needed a reconciliation which was supplied by i 
of a miracle.— P. S.] 

Digitized by 


CHAP. II. 1-11. 


(5) Be Wette : The distribution of wine a 
counterpart of the distribution of bread, and both 
together analogies of the Holy Supper (of whioh 
again Meyer finds nothing in the record. Comp. 
Ltb'm Jesu y p. 310. On Hilgenfeld's explanation 
of it into a Gnostic element, comp. Meyer). 

8. The symbolical import of the miracle. Ail the 
miracles of Jesus are to be considered as signs ; 
that is, not merely facts, but also mirrors of the 
Christian idea, the Christian prinoiple and its uni- 
versal operation. But John has reason for mark- 
ing this sign as the first which Jesus did, and as 
a manifestation of His glory. The description 
of it as a manifestation of His 66ga announces 
the wide symbolical significance of the miracle. 

(a) The Old Testament pots of water, of puri- 
fication, of statute, are changed into New Testa- 
ment vessels of wine, vivifioation, free, festive life. 

(6) The want, in which the feasts of the old, 
natural life end, is changed by the graoe of Christ 
into the fountain of the higher joys of the king- 
dom of heaven. 

U) Mary, as the highest representative of the 
Ola Testament faith, with the servants and the 
master of the feast, are changed into instruments 
of the manifestation of the New Testament glory 
of Christ 

(<f ) The earthly nuptials are changed into the 
basis of a higher festivity, the marriage of Christ 
with His own in their now established faith. 

(«) The gift of the wine is made a token of the 
<Mfa of Christ: which, as graoe, oonverts all nee4 
into supply, and, as truth, gives every thing sym- 
bolical, even earthly wine, in heavenly reality 
(He Himself the real vine). 

(/) The gift of wine a token of the Supper of 
Christ, as the constant type of the progressive 
glorification of life and its ultimate perfect glo- 
rification in the heavenly world. 

[4. The miracle of Carta and the Temperance ques- 
tion. Albert Barnes {in loc.) t in his zeal for to- 
tal abstinence, labors to show, contrary to all 
exegetical tradition, that the wine which Jesus 
made and the wine generally used in Palestine 
was the unfermented juice of the grape, and hence 
without any alcoholic admixture, or intoxicating 
quality. Jacobus, in his Notes on John, takes 
the same view.* The arguments on this side are 
collected in a tract by the Rev. W. M. Thayer: 
Communion Wine and Bible Temperance, published 
by the American National Temperance Society, 
New York, 1869. But they are not convincing. 
The wine of the Bible was no doubt pure and un- 
adulterated, and so far unlike that poisonous arti- 
cle which is frequently sold as wine in our days, 
especially in Northern countries; but it was 
genuine and real wine, and, like all wine in 
wine-growing countries, exhilarating, and, if 
used to excess, intoxicating. The grape, says 
in Italian proverb, has three fruits, pleasure, 
intoxication, and grief. Pure water is no doubt 
the safest and most wholesome beverage. 'Apia- 
top fth Mop, says Pindar, in his first ode. We 
honor zeal against the fearful scourge of in- 
temperance; but even a good thing may be un- 

• [Prot M. W. Jacobus confidently asserts from his own 
observation: "The present wines of Jerusalem and Lebanon, 
ss we tasted them, were commonly boiled and sweet, without 
intoxicating qualities. The boiling prevents the fermenta- 
tion. Tho-w were esteemed the best wines which were least 
Strang.*' But other travellers assert J oat the reverse.— P.S.J 

done by being over-done. Total abstinence from 
wine, or from meat, or other things in themselves 
innocent and lawful, can be sufficiently defended 
as a moral duty under certain circumstances, on 
the ground of expediency and charity , from regard 
to our weak brethren or the good of the communi- 
ty at large. This is the position taken by Paul, 1 
Cor. viii. 18 ; Rom. xiv. 13-23. Considerations of 
health, climate, nationality and condition of so- 
ciety must also be allowed due weight in this ques- 
tion. But to lay down the prinoiple that the use 
of intoxicating drinks as a beverage is a sin per se, 
is to condemn the greater part of Christendom, 
to contradict the Bible, and to impeach Christ 
Himself, who drank wine (He was slanderously 
called a * wine-bibber M, who made wine by a mi- 
raole, who instituted tne holy communion under 
the symbols of bread and wine, and commands us 
to commemorate the shedding of His blood by 
drinking of the fruit of the vine until we shall 
drink it anew with Him in His Father's kingdom. 
There can be no higher and safer rule than the 
command and example of our Saviour ; while, on 
the other hand, every principle of morals or rule 
of conduct which reflects on Him, must be un- 
sound and mischievous. — P. S.] 


The first miracle of Christ the speaking ex- 
pression of His life and work : 1) Of His person, 
in which the earthly human nature becomes a 
heavenly (the essential, genuine vine, ch. xv. 1); 
2) of the power of His love, which transforms the 
water of earthly need into the wine of heavenly 
joy (brings forth judgment unto victory, makes 
blessedness out of divine sorrow); 8) of His 
works, in which is everywhere reflected His main 
work of bringing to pass thonew birth of mankind 
from the earthly kingdom into the heavenly ; 4) 
of His last work, the glorification of the world. — 
The first miracle of Christ a prefiguring of His 
last.— A reflection of the first creation, in which 
the whole world, with all its estates, treasures 
and forms of life, came forth out of water (and the 
Spirit of God .moved — brooded — upon the face of 
the waters). — The miracle at Cana, the unveiling 
of a threefold mystery : 1) The mystery of a glo- 
rifying power in Christ ; 2) the germ of trans- 
formation in nature ; 8) the conformation of hu- 
man nature for heavenly life. — The first sign of 
Jesus a revelation of His glory. — The great trans- 
formations in the one transformation of water 
into wine: 1) The transformation of the formal 
company into a fellowship of love; 2) of the 
earthly marriage into a figure and token of the 
heavenly ; 8) of need into abundance ; 4) of dis- 
honor into glory. — The first work of Christ a 
token of that whioh turned the ignominy of the 
cross into the glory of the resurrection (the feast 
would have ended in shame). — The least guests 
become the first. — Human feasts: 1) What they 
are by nature ; 2) what they become by sin ; 8) 
what they again become, and only become, by 
the grace of Christ. — Jesus and His disciples also 
bidden to the wedding ; or: These guests 1) the 
best guests in general, 2) in particular, the best 
wedding-guests, 8) therefore also the best guests 
at the table of need. — Jesus and Mary ; or, the 
position of the Lord towards His mother accord- 

Digitized by 




iog to Scripture and history (in contrast with 
the position which the legend gives}. Mary, in 
her domestic life, had probably not known Jesos 
as a worker of miracles (Luther's Titchreden 
ch. Tii. { 12, p. 898 ; see Heubner, p. 240), but 
no doubt she bad known Him as the little won- 
der-man, who knew a way in all domestic straits. 
— The hours of human judgment, and the hours 
of the Lord. — The water-pots of the Jewish ce- 
remonial purification changed into wine-pots of 
Christian vilification (figure into reality, nega- 
tive austerity into positive creative agency, want 
into satisfaction). — The good wine comes only 
with the word and blessing of Christ — The wed- 
ding-blessing of Christ and the marriage-feast. 
— Christian marriage: 1} What it p re-supposes 
(friends of Jesus, susceptible, earnest) ; 2) What 
it brings (the blessing of Christ). — And mani- 
fested forth His glory, and His disciples believed 
on Him. (As at wedding- feasts often new be- 
trothals arise, so here) ; Christ at this wedding 
becomes manifest as the Bridegroom, His 
disciples as the bride. — Christ the help of His 
friends in need. — The friendliness of God per- 
fectly manifest in the friendliness of Christ. — 
Disgrace in matters of honor, one of the keenest 
troubles. Christ alone can relieve it. — The bles- 
sing of trouble. — The spiritual fruit of temporal 
want. — The glorification of the household by 
Christ, a beginning and foreshadowing of the 
glorification of the world : 1) The household a 
miniature of the world ; 2) the Christian house- 
hold the basis of the Christian world ; 8) the 
household glorified by Christ, a prophecy of the 
glorified world. — The manifestation of His glory 
is the covering or neutralizing of our shame. — 
The human marriage-feast transformed into a 
type of the marriage-feast of Christ: 1) The 
festive beginning ; 2) the interruption of failure ; 
8) the miraculous glory at the end ; and this (a) 
in the life of Jesus, (6) in the history of the 
church, (c) at the end of time. 

Starke : — Nova BM. Tub. : When we enter 
into the married state with Jesus, and invite 
Him to the wedding, blessing is to be expected ; 
on the contfary, those marriages and weddings 
commonly do not prosper, at which Jesus is not 
present, but carnal motives, lust, and desire of 
honor or wealth prevail, 1 Cor. vii. 89. — Blessed 
the wedding, at which Jesus is a guest. — Bibl. 
Wirt : The Lord Jesus made His appearance at 
a wedding, to honor the estate of marriage as 
His own (divine) ordinance, Bev. xix. 9 ; Hos. 
ii. 19. — How Jesus is invited. By what means 
He is driven away, and the devil invited. — 
Christians should come to each other's assistance 
in want, and if they themselves can do nothing, 
they should fly to God to create help. — Canstein : 
If Christ receives not dictation from His mother 
in His humiliation, how much less in His glory. 
— Mary pointing away from herself to Christ. — 
Ma jus : Mary was a sinner, therefore she can- 
not be a mediator. — God has a very different 
hour from that which we men have. — The con- 
versations at Christian weddings (and festivals). 
— If we would have God work miracles in us, we 
must first be obedient to His word. — On the 
drawing of the water (ver. 8). Bibl. Wirt.: With- 
out labor heaven will yield nothing. — First: 
Hands on (labor), then: Hands up (to receive 

the blessing). — The hearts which before were 
vessels of trouble, God makes afterwards vessels 
of the greatest joy. — Cramer: God lets no one 
to come to shame, who waits for Him. — God 
gives His gifts not sparingly, but in profusion. — 
Jesus transforms everything for the better, not 
for the worse. We should imitate Him in this, 
as far as possible, Ps. xxxiv. 8. — Chrtsostom : 
Christ made not wine simply, but the best wine. 
— God keeps the best drink for His children for 
the most part for the last, many a time even for 
heaven. — The first miracle of Moses was the 
changing of water into blood, for the punish- 
ment of the Egyptians : the first miracle of Je- 
sus was the changing of water into wine, for the 
comfort of the poor (contrast between the law 
and the gospel). — The first sign, but not the last 
Lisco : — We must not allow ourselves to be 
discouraged, if the help delays. — Gkblach : In 
the previous words Jesus had promised the re- 
opening of an uninterrupted communication be- 
tween heaven and earth, God and man, in the 
person of the Son of Man. Here He now con- 
firms this promise by His first miracle, which, 
however, like all miraculous occurrences in this 
Gospel, is related as if not for its own sake, but 
as an emblem of a perpetual miracle, whereby 
the Saviour is continually acting directly upon 
the human race (and the world). — Though there 
is no greater authority on earth than that of 
father and mother, yet it is nothing when the 
word and work of God approach (Luther). — The 
world gives first the best it has, thereby entices, 
and therewith intoxicates ; Christ always keeps 
the best till the last. — Heubner : Influence of 
Christianity on the married life.— Jesus partici- 
pates in social enjoyments, in banquets ; there- 
fore the Christian may. Christ teaches us the 
true behaviour in such society. — Christianity 
would sanctify the social propensity. — The good 
and bad sides of our social life. — We should sanc- 
tify the bonds of consanguinity. — The [bad] pro- 
verb : Ehestand, Wehettand: Wedded state, woful 
state. — Pious, needy families are a special object 
of the providence of God, and should be a special 
object of Christian philanthropy. — Romanists 
would find here a proof of the intercession of 
Mary. We find here rather a refutation of it, 
Ps. xxxvL 8. — Jesus the true giver of joys, awa- 
kener of life, reliever of cares (invert the or- 
der). — The glory of Jesus manifesting itself on 
His first appearance. — The conduct of Jesus a 
model for Christians in social life. — The wedding 
at Cana, the picture of a Christian marriage: 
(1) The beginning, holy and happy ; (2) the pro- 
gress, bringing need and care, which Christ, 
however, helps to bear ; (3) the end, the seeing 
of the glory of Jesus. — Pischon: How can we 
build up the kingdom of God in our domestic 
life? — Rambach-: The great value of domestic 
joys. — Harms : When need is greatest, God is 
nearest. — Schlxiermachbr: How, under the di- 
rection of God, the nobler element, instead of the 
common and low, usually gains the upper hand 
in human society. — Rein hard : The special care 
on which needy, but spiritually-minded Christian 
families may rely. — Draesbkb: How Christians 
make wine out of water (a source of enjoyment 
out of everyday life). — Rautenbero: Jesus, the 
best family friend. — Mine hour is not yet come. 

Digitized by 


CHAP. II. 12-25. 


This word should quiet us I) amidst the faults 
of the church ; 2) amidst trouble in our houses ; 
3) amidst the conflict in our hearts. — Habless : 
Marks of the grace of Christ: 1) That Christ 
gives us the most precious for nothing ; 2) makes 
a glorious thing out of a common ; 3) gives the 
best last ; 4) gives according to His own time, 
not according to our ideas. 

[Mattubw Hknry: — The curse of the law 
tarns water into blood (Ex. iv. 9), common com- 
forts into bitterness and terror; the blessing of 
the gospel turns water into wine. Christ's er- 
rand was to heighten and improve creature- 
comforts to all believers, and make them comforts 
indeed. — The transformation of the substance of 
water into a new form with all the qualities of 
wine, is a miracle; but the popish transubstantia- 
tion, the substance changed, the form and appear- 
ance remaining the same, is a monster. — Christ 
is often better than His words, but never worse. 
—Temperance, per force, is a thankless virtue; 
bat if Providence gives us the delights of sense, 
and grace enables us to use them moderately, 
this is self-denial that is praiseworthy. — And 
U'a dUcipUa believed in Jlim. Even the faith that 
is true, at first is but weak. The strongest men 
were once babes, so were the strongest Christians. 
—Christ Himself the greatest miracle. — P. S.] 

[Trench (after Augustine, Serm. 123, ch. ii.): 
He who made wine out of water, might have • 

made bread out of stones. But Ho will do no- 
thing at the suggestion of Satan, though all at 
the suggestion of love. — Trench : The Lord a 
witness. against the tendency of our indolent na- 
ture of giving up to the world or the devil any 
portion of life, which, in itself innocent, is capa- 
ble of being drawn up into the higher world of 
holiness, as it is in danger of sinking down and 
coming under the law of the flesh and of the 
world. — Trench quotes in contrast Cyprian who 
says (De hab. virg. 8, 4) : Nuptiarum fata im~ 
prob* el convivia lasciva vitentur, quorum pericu- 
losa contagio tit ; but Cyprian and Chrysostom 
warned against participation in marriage festi- 
vals which were essentially heathen; while 
Christ was in a God-fearing Jewish family, which 
was probably related to Him. — P. S.] 

[Christians should never conform to the world, 
but always endeavor to transform it into the 
kingdom of Christ ; but where the world is too 
strong for you, keep off, for the world might 
transform« you. — Thou hast kept the good wine un- 
til now. Sin gives its best first : pleasure, riches, 
honors, etc. — its worst last: sorrow, poverty, 
disgrace, ruin. Christ on the contrary givoi 
His followers first the cross, the race, the battle, 
but last the crown, the rest, and the glory. — The 
marriage-feast of Cana, a prelude and pledge Of 
the marriage-supper of the Lamb in the kingdom 
of glory, Matth. xxvi. 29 ; Rev. xix. 8.— P. S.] 



Chap. II. 12-25. 

12 After this he went down to Capernaum [Kapharnaum], he, and his mother, and 
his 1 brethren [brothers], 1 and his disciples; and they continued there [and there they 
abode, xat hzl epLstva-/] 9 not many days. 

13 And the Jews' passover [the passover of the Jews, rd Ttda%a rmv '/.] was at hand 

14 [or, n8ar, Iffus], and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, [.] And [he] found in the tem- 
ple those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money [money- 

15 changers] sitting [established] : And when he had made [having made, nonjeaz] 
a scourge of small cords, he drove them [omit them] all out of the temple, and 
[both] the sheep, and the oxen ; 4 and poured out the changers' money 5 [the money of 

16 the exchangers], and overthrew the taoles ; And said unto them that [to those wno] 
sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house a house of mer- 

• 17 chandise [a market]. And his disciples remembered that it was [is] written, The 

18 zeal of [for] thine house hath eaten me up [will eat me up]. 6 (Ps. Ixix. 9.) Then 
answered the Jews [The Jews therefore answered] and said unto him, What sigrj 

19 shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou does't these things ? Jesus answered and 
said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up [again]. 

20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt 

21 thou rear [raise] it up in three days ? But he spake oi the temple of his body* 


Digitized by 




22 When therefore he was [had] risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that 
he had said this unto them [omit unto them] ; 7 and they believed the Scripture, and 
the word which Jesus had said [spoken]. 

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passovcr in the feast day [at the feast, h 
rg £opT7j~\ t many believed in his name [&m<rrsu<Fav 9 trusted in his name], when they 

24 saw the miracle3 [his signs, abruo rd. <ny/*s?a] which he did [wrought]. But Jesus 
did not commit himself unto them [oux teVreuri/ wj-6v auTolq, did not trust himself 

25 to them], because he knew all men, And needed not [had no need] that any [one] 
should testify of [concerning] man; for he [himself, abroq] knew what was in 



{The Messianic purification of the temple was 
(be first, and, according to theSynoptists (Matth. 
xxi. 12, 13; Mark xi. 15-17; Luke xix. 45, 46), 
also the last public act of Christ in Jerusalem.* 
It very appropriately opens and closes His la- 
bors in the sanctuary of the theocracy. It was 
foretold by the prophet Malachi, jii. Iff., that 
immediately after the forerunner the Messiah 
Himself " shall suddenly come to His temple," 
for the purpose of cleansing it : " He shall purify 
the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and sil- 
ver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offer- 
ing in righteousness. 11 The gross scandaj in the 
Court of the Gentiles represented the general 
profanation and corruption of the theocracy (as 
Tetzel's and Samson's sale of indulgences re- 
vealed the secularization of the Latin Church in 
the 16th century). Christ commenced the refor- 
mation at the fountain-head, in Jerusalem and 
the temple where it was most needed. The ex- 
pulsion was a judicial act of the Lord of the Sab- 
bath and the temple. He acted here not simply 
as a prophet or Zealot, but as the Messiah, as 
the Son of God ; and hence calls the temple the 
house of 27m, not our, Father (ver. 16). Some in- 
fidels have misrepresented it as an outburst of 
passion and an argument against the sinless per- 
fection of Christ. But the result conclusively 
shows that it was an exhibition of superhuman 
power and majesty, which so overawed the pro- 
fane traffickers, that, losing sight of their supe- 
riority in number and physical strength,, they 

l Ver. 12. [avrow after ol o&A^o/, is omitted by B. L., Treg., Westcott and Hort, hut supported by K. A. al and retained 
l^r Tischend and Aif. (the latter in brackets). Westcott and Hort brackot nau ot /*.a07/Tai avrou. lue lalse view about the 
cu3eA6oi of Christ may have had some influence on these variations. — P. 8.1 

* Ver. 12. [A* "brethren" U now almost exclusively used in the spiritual sense, it is better to substitute ** brothers, 1 ' 
where, as hero, kinsmen, i. «., either cousins, or more probably half brothers of Jesus, are intended. In the Scriptures the term 
denotes either (1) actual brotherhood, or (2) kinsmanihip (cousins), or (3) common nationality, or (4) friendship and sym- 
pathy. Where there are no obvious objections, the first sense, being the most nitural, must arways be preferred, especially 
when the term, as here, occurs in connection with mother. 8eo the Exko. Notes. — P. S.J 

• Ver. 12. [The singular e^tivtv (instead of the plural i^tivav) in A. F. G. was occasioned by the preceding kot«£^ and 
the succeeding dpc'0i).— P. 8.J 

* Ver. 15. [The words rd ri trp6?<xTa. * a I to&« floats, " the sheep as well as the oxen,'* are merely epexegetical of «•«>- 
Tas (masc. on account of flea?), and imply that the 4>p*yi\\t.ov was used on the beasts only, although it scared the men away 
likewise. The them and and of the E. V. convey a false impression.— P. S.] 

• Ver. 15.— B. L. X., etc. [Alford, Tregelles] read : Td Kipnara [moneys, small change, instead of the singular, rh jeipfta 
(text rec., Tischend). Greek writers generally use the plural. The singular is hero collective. — P. 8.] 

• Ver. 17. — The reading of the Recepta [Kar4<t>aye\ Is conformed to the geptuagint. The most important codd., particu- 
larly K. A. B. R., besides Origen, etc., read Kara^dyrrai [the future, contracted from jeaTa^ayiTcerat, will consume WiC, in 
the Seot. and the Apocrypha. — P. S.l 

* Ver. 22.— The addition avroU is very feebly accredited. [Omitted by all the modern critical ed.] 

submitted at once, and without a murmur to the 
well deserved punishment* Their bad con- 
science, which always makes men cowardly, and 
the conceded right of prophets like Elijah, to re- 
buke scandulous profanations of religion, would 
not sufficiently account for this complete victory. 
A similar instance is recorded, John xviii. 6, 
where Judas and his band of men and officers 
shrunk back and fell to the ground before the 
defenceless Jesus. — P. S.] 

Ver. 12. After this he went down [jcri- 
r t p rf\ to Capernaum. — No doubt not directly 
from Cana, but from Nazareth. Not that, as 
Meyer says, the brethren here mentioned were 
not with Him at the wedding (this is not neces- 
sarily to be inferred from the silence respecting 
them), but that Nazareth was still the residence 
of Jesus and of the family of Mary, who no doubt 
returned homo before they all went together to 
Capernaum, that they might thence join the 
nearest festival caravan for Jerusalem. He went 
down from the hill country towards the sea, on 
the coast of which Capernaum lay. On Caper- 
naum, see the Matth. at ch. iv. 18. [Am. ed. pp. 
90, 91. The question of the site of Capernaum, 
or properly Kapharnaum (i. e., the Village of 
Nahum), is still unsettled between the rival 
claims of Tell R&m (t. e. y the hill of Nahum) and 
Khan (i. «., lodging-place) Minyeh (with a near 
fountain called Ain-et-Tin, t. c, the spring of the 
fig-tree), two heaps of ruins on the Western 
shore of the sea of Galilee about three miles 
apart. Robinson (Researches U. 403 ff. ) and Por- 
ter (Handbook of Syria, II. 4251 decide for Khan 
Minyeh, but Van de Velde, Ebrard, Thomson, 

* [Hieronymus : Igwum, auiddam tt sidertum radiahat e* 
occtuis ejus ft dlvinitatis majestas Uicebat in/ads. Comp. the 
remarks of Oodet, I. p. 379, who attributes the effect chiefly 
to the imposing majesty of Christ's appearance, and the irre- 
sistible force of UU consciousness of supernatural power.— 

* [The double purgation of the temple is rightly defended 
by all the older commentators, and by Schleiermacher, Ols- 
hausen, Tholuck, Ebrard, Meyer, Lange, Hengstenberg, Oo- 
det, Alford. Among those who admit only one, Strauss, 
Bapr and Schenkel defend tho report of the 8ynoptists, while 
LUcke, D« Wette, Ew&ld decide in favor of John], 

Digitized by 


CHAP. IT. 12-25. 


and Dixon, for Tell Hum, at the head of the 
Lake. For this view speaks the similarity of 
name. (Hum is a mutilated D171J = vaov^i), and 
the far greater importance of the ruins. The 
English explorers, Captain Wilson and his asso- 
ciates, are reported to have discovered in 18(56, 
among the ruins of Tell Hum, a synagogue of 
elegant architecture dating from a time before 
the Christian era. See, besides Robinson, II. 
403-405, the article Capernaum, by Grove, with 
the additional note of Hackett, in Smith's Dic- 
tionary, JL p. 382 ; the Lond. Athenseum, Feb. 24, 
and Mar. 31, 18G6 ; and an essay of Prof. Eb- 
rard in the Studien and Kritiken, for 18o7, Nq. 
IV., pp. 723-740.— P. 8.] 

He. and his mother, and his brothers, 
and his disciples. — The singular {nartjiq) is 
explained by the fact that Jesus was the leader 
of the train. That the family had already set- 
tled in Capernaum (which, according to Ewald, 
is here stated, according to De Wette presup- 
posed), is contradicted by the distinct indica- 
tions that this removal did not take place till 
after the return of Jesus from Judea, and His 
appearance in Nazareth (Matth. iv. 13; Luke iv. 
31 ; Jno. iv. 43) ; though Meyer maintains that 
there also the removal is neither intimated nor 
supposed. But no doubt the removal had al- 
ready been virtually induced by the connection 
with the disciples from .the sea. The brothers 
of Jesus are distinguished from the disciples. 
Even though now His brothers, James, Judas, 
and Simon, had been called to be disciples, 
which is not at all probable, a separate category 
had still to be made, because there were yet Jo- 
ses and the sisters, Matth. xiii. 55, 56. And 
that they had already attached themselves to the 
company of Jesus, shows that the usual exagge- 
rated and extreme pressing of the statement in 
John vii. 5 is false. See Hengstenberg : Das 
Ecang. Joh. % I. p. 149 sqq. 

[The gradual transition from Christ's private 
to His public life is here indicated. At Cana 
and at Capernaum His earthly relations are still 
with Him, but in the next verse He appears 
alone with His disciples or spiritual relatives. 
As to the vexed question of the brothers of Je- 
sus, I have given my views in full in my German 
work on James, the brother of Christ, Berlin, 1812, 
and in a note on Matth. xiii. 55, pp. 256-260. 
Comp. also the notes on Matth. i. 25, and John vii. 
3, 5. Meyer, Godet (I. 368 ff.), and Alford take 
adth^oi here in the proper sense, as brothers, i. e. 9 
sons of Joseph and Mary. Hengstenberg (in 
loc.) revives the R. Catholic cousin-theory which 
dates from Jerome in the 4th century, and owes 
its origin and spread mainly to an ascetic over- 
estimate of the perpetual virginity of Mary, as 
expressed in the words of Augustine : Maria ma- 
ter essepotuit, mulier esse nonpotuit. Dr. Lange's 
hypothesis is an ingenious, but somewhat arti- 
ficial modification of this view, and assumes that 
Mary, though in the full sense the wife of Joseph, 
could bear no children after giving birth to the 
Messiah, and that the brethren of the Lord were 
both His cousins (as the sons of Clopas, a brother 
of Joseph, not as the sons of a supposed sister of 
Mary), and His foster-brothers (having been 
adopted, after the death of their father, into the 
holy family). To my mind the only alternative 

lies between the Epiphanian or old Greek view, 
which makes them elder sons of Joseph from a 
former marriage, and the view held by Tertullian 
and Helvidius, that they were younger children 
of Mary and Joseph, and so half-brothers of Jesus. 
Aucicnt tradition favors the former, an unpre- 
judiced exegesis the latter view. Prof. J. B. 
Lightfoot, of Cambridge (in a learned excursus 
on Galatians, Lond., 1866, pp. 247-281, where 
much use is made of my book on James), elabo- 
rately defends the Epiphanian theory, mainly on 
account of John xix. 26, 27, which he regards as 
conclusive against the Helvidian hypothesis ; but 
if this passage is allowed to decide the contro- 
versy, it overthrows also the Epiphanian theory. 
It receives its true light from the peculiar inti- 
macy of Christ with John, and the fact that His 
brothers were still unbelievers when He entrust- 
ed His earthly mother to the care of His bosom 
disciple, who was probably also His cousin ac- 
cording to the flesh. — R. S.] 

Not many days. — Depending solely on the 
preparation for the approaching passover, which 
Jesus attended fr company with His disciples, 
v. 23. But that during these few days Jesus 
wrought miracles in Capernaum, must be in- 
ferred from Luke iv. 23. 

Ver. 13. And the passover of the Jews 
was at hand. — On the passover see the Matlh^ 
p. 459. 

And Jesus went up. — Besides the attend- 
ance of Jesus at the feast when He was twelve 
years old, mentioned by Luke alone (ch. ii.), and 
the last attendance on tt^e passover in the year 
783, related by all the Evangelists, John gives 
the remaining occasions of this kind. Here the 
first attendance on the passover, in the year 781 ; 
then a visit to another feast, not named, most 
probably the feast of Purim of 782 [ch. v.] ; then 
the feast of tabernacles [ch. vii.], and the feast 
of the dedication [oh. x. 22], in the same year. 
See the Introduction, { 8. 

Ver. 14. And found in the temple. — In 
the fore-court of the temple. On the temple and 
the fore-court see the Matth, on ch. xxi. 12 [p. 
375], and Winer, sub. v. Also Braune: Das 
Eoangelium von Jesus Christus, p. 45. The first act 
of the Lord, in the confidential oircle of suscep- 
tible disciples, was an act of positive glorifica- 
tion, coming into the place of the symbolical pu- 
rification ; His second act, in the bosom of the 
corrupted religious life of the people, was ajx act 
of negative purification, significant at the same 
time of His glorification. That this deed was 
looked upon by. the better people as a miraculous 
sign also, and that besides this Jesus wrought 
other miracles in Jerusalem, may be inferred 
from ch. iii. 2. But John relates the purging 
of the temple alone as the first characteristic 
work, the signal-miracle of the Lord on His pub- 
lic appearance. To him the first cleansing of 
the temple was more important than the second. 
But the fact that John mentions only this clean- 
sing at the opening of the Lord's official life, and 
the Synoptists mention only the similar act at its 
close, proves nothing against the truth of either 
or both the occurrences. See the Matth. on 
ch. xxi. 

[The market in the Court of the GentWes (the 
ifatiev lep6v) was introduced, we know not when, 

Digitized by 




from avaricious motives, in violation of the spirit 
of the law and to the serious injury of public 
worship, though it was no doubt justified or ex- 
cused, as a convenience to foreign Jews for the 
purchase of sacrificial beasts, incense, oil, and 
the sacred shekel or double drachma in which 
the temple-tax had to be paid (Ex. xxx. 13). Si- 
milar conveniences and nuisances, markets, lot- 
teries and fairs, are not seldom found in connec- 
tion with Christian churches. The most striking 
analogy is the traffic in indulgences, which made 
the forgiveness of sin an article of merchandise 
and became the occasion (not the cause) of the 
Reformation in Germany and Switzerland. — 
P. S.] 

Ver. 15. He drove all out. — Referring gram- 
matically not to the animals, but to the men. 
But He drove the men out by raising the whip 
against their animals; precisely after the ana- 
logy of His method with the money-changers, 
whose tables He overthrew. To drive the men 
themselves, by themselves, from the temple, was 
not His design. Grotius : The whip, a symbol 
of the divine wrath.* Meyer rejects all typical 
import. Yet even about the whip of an actual 
ox-driver there is somewhat typical ; and the 
whip in the hand of Christ is at least a type of 
the punitive, reformatory office of discipline in 
the theocracy and the church. 

And poured out the money of the ex- 
changers, and overthrew, etc. — That is, 
He first dashed upon the tables hither and thither 
and then overturned them. The right of free 
motion in the temple-space, where tables of 
money-changers did not belong. 

Ver. 16. Unto them that sold doves, — 
Because the doves were in baskets, they must be 
carried away (Rosenmiiller, Schweizer). His 
command now sufficed for this, after the dove- 
traders had seen His earnestness. Showing, that 
even the ox-traders also He had not driven out 
with the lash ; and showing likewise that He in- 
tended no injury, else He would have let the 
doves go. De Wette : He dealt more gently with 
the dove-merchants, because the doves were 
bought by the poor. Stier : Because He saw in 
the dove the emblem of the Holy Ghost. Both 
groundless. The difference in the mode of ex- 
pulsion arises simply from the nature of the ar- 
ticles : doves in baskets. That the dove-sellers 
came last, may have been determined by the mo- 
desty* of their business, which generally makes 
also modest people. These people were doubt- 
less not so much traders properly speaking, as 
they were poor farmers or farmers' boys. As to 
the doves being emblems, so were also the sheep 
and oxen. 

My Father's house.— See Luke ii. 49. f The 
temple was still His Father's house, because He 
was still waiting for the repentance of the people. 
The moment He 'takes His departure from the 
temple on account of their obduracy, He calls it: 
Your house, given over to desolation, Matth. 
xxiii. 38. Our Father's, even a prophet might 

• [So also Godet : a sign of authority and judgment. If 
Christ had intended physical punishment, the instrument 
would have heen disproportionate to the end.— P. 8.] 

f [Alford: The coincidence with Luko ii. 49 is remarkable. 
By this expression thus publicly used, our Lord openly an- 
nounces Ills Mossiahship. — P. S.J 

perhaps have said ; 3ft/ Father's, Jesus says in 
the consciousness of His divine dignity and au- 
thority, as it were betraying Himself, without 
their understanding immediately the full sense 
of His word. The Pharisees, however, have 
doubtless already reflected upon the word as very 
suspicious (see John x.). 

A house of merchandize. — The term here 
is not so strong as at the second purification. It 
denotes the entire secularization of the system 
of worship. Tho term "den of thieves" [o~ii- 
7.uov At/ot&j/], in Matth. xxi. 13, on fhe contrary, 
denotes the prophet-killing and spirit-killing fa- 
naticism, into which this secularization at last 
ran out. 

Ver. 17. And his disciples remembered. 
— Olshausen : After the resurrection. Meyer. 
[Godet, Alford], on the contrary, rightly : At the 
occurrence itself. Tho passage is Ps. lxix. 9, 
(10): "For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me 
up ; and the reproaches of them that reproached 
thee are fallen upon me."* Whether the Psalm 
be by David (Tholuck; comp. v. 81 ; Ps. Ii.), or 
by Jeremiah (Hitzig, see v. 14?), or by some 
other theocratic sufferer, it belongs at all events, 
like Ps. xxii., to that class of typical passages, in 
which the passion of Christ miraculously reflects 
and foreshows itself. Hence also Peter, Acts, i. 
20, applies to Judas the words of v. 25 (" Let 
their habitation be desolate "), and Paul applies 
the Psalm several times to the conduct of the 
Jews towards Jesus, Rom. xi. 9 ; xv. 8. When 
Bengel, Olshausen, etc , and Luthardt refer the 
words : hath eaten me up, to the death of Jesus, + 
and Meyer says, on the contrary, that the word 
is to be understood of the inward attrition of 
zeal (so that the disciples would mean, His zeal 
will yet consume Him from within), we may 
freely march over this difference of schools, and 
suppose (against Meyer) that the disciples, with 
anxious forebodings for the future of Christ, were 
smilten with the remembrance of that passage of 
the Psalm. For it is not necessary to suppose 
they had made out a clear idea of the sense of 
those words ; any more than that Mary, with her 
words, meant: "Make wine!" or: "Go home!" 
The school always reaches after fully expressed 
ideas or thoughts; actual life has also vague pre- 
sentiments, anxious forebodings, dim, confused 
ideas ; that is, life is subject to the fundamental 
law of gradual development. That the disciples 
did not connect a distinct expectation of the 
death of Jesus with their application of the verse 
of the Psalm to this action of their Lord, is 
proved by ver. 22 ; after Ps. xxii. 6-8, etc., they 
could not confine their thoughts to an exclusively 
internal self-attrition; probably they did not 
think of it at all in the Old Testament sense, 
though the metaphorical use of itrdatv is clear, 
and consuming passions too (see Meyer, with a 
reference to Chry'sostom, Lampe, Wolf) are not 
wholly excluded. But here for the first time met 
and struck them the conflict of the spirit of 
Christ with the spirit of the people, the terrible 

•[Sept.: "On 6 £tjAos too oZkov <rov xari^ayiv fxt 
(Vulg. : comedU m^*), «ai oi owiSia/xoi twc 6pct6t£oVrwr at 
trrtrrnrov eir' efi«. — r. S.] 

f [" The Kara^tdyttv spoken of In that passion Psalm, tras 
the marring and wostmg of tho Siviour'u frame by Ilia 
zeal for God and God's Church, which resulted in the UufifcU 
lug, the scourging, tho Cruas." - AUonl]. 

Digitized by 


CHAP. II. 12-25. 


life-staking earnestness in the appearance of 
Christ, which threatened to bring incalculable 
dangers after it. We may no doubt further 
■appose that this remembrance indicates great 
apprehensiveness in the disciples respectiug the 
Lord. Though the future *ara<f>6yrrai may occur 
ia the sense of the present,* it does not follow 
that, according to Tholuck, it is to* be read as 
present here. In this cose the Evangelist might 
better have used the Kariipaye of the Septua- 

Ver. 18. Then answered the Jews. — 'Aire- 
Kflld/joav ovi>. Here the Jews already begin to 
appear in opposition to Jesus ; accordingly the 
Pharisaic and Judaistic Jews are intended, par- 
ticularly the rulers. They regarded the act of 
Christ as a reproach to their religious govern- 
ment ; therefore their interruption was an an- 
swer. And from their spirit it was to be ex- 
pected ; hence ovv. — What sign she west thou 
unto as ? — They did not see that the majestic 
and successful act itself was a great moral, theo- 
cratic sign, which accredited him ; they intended 
therefore a sign after some magical, chiliastio 
sort. It should be noticed that they did not 
venture to dispute the theocratic propriety of the 
act itself. The right of zealotry against t heocra- 
tic abuses was legalized in the example of Numb. 
xxy. 7 ; yet the prophets were accustomed to 
support great acts of zealotry by special miracu- 
lous signs, 1 Kings xviii. 23. The idea of such 
signs, however, particularly of the sign with 
' which the Messiah should attest Himself, had 
gradually passed into the magical and monstrous. 
At all events, the challenge of a sign from hea- 
ven, Matth. xii. 38 ; xvi. 1, is hero already put 

Ver. 19. Destroy this temple. — [One of 
those paradoxical and mysterious sayings which, 
though not understood at the time, stuck in the 
memory as seed thoughts for future sprouting. f 
Comp. Christ's word on the sign of Jonah, Matth. 
xii. 39, 40, in which He likewise mysteriously 
and typologically predicts His resurrection. — 
p. S.] — This is the sign which He would give 
them. The imperative is permissive. (Glassius: 
est Imperat. pro Futuro permissive). J The Jews took 
the words of Jesus in an entirely literal sense, as 
ver. 20 proves, yet hardly without design. From 
this conception gradually arose the malignant 
perversion, slander, and accusation : This fellow 
said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and 
to build it in three days, Matth. xxvi. 61 ; Mark 
xiv. 58 ; comp. Acts vi. 13. This conception 

* fSo also Tholuck, Hengstenberg, Godet, but Meyer con- 
fcnids that caTa^ayt Tat (— Kara^ay^arrcu) is only used in the 
sense of the future. — P. 8] 

t [Renaa ( Vie de Jesus, p. 8M) can see in this profound 
•nigina of our Lord only "an imprudent word spoken in bad 
humor" {•* Cn Jour su mauraise humeur centre le temple 
ini arracAd un mot imprudent)" \ Godot, I. 3b7, well re- 
marks : " La me hode de JeWus est de jeter une inigme et de 
ne rereler ta rerile qu'en la voilant sous un divin paradoxe* 
qti ne pent i:re compris qiCen rhangcant de aeur. Cent 
Id un Mrret de laprqfonde p&lagouie."—V. S.] 

% [Meyer, with his usual and at times pedantic philological 
Arictne**. takes the imperative Avo-ar* as strictly provwa- 
tox, and explains it from a painful excitement of feeling in 
view of the opposition already manifesting itself. But the 
apparent harshness is softened by the prophetic character 
of the word and the double reference to the temple and the 
pe.">cn, John xiLL 27. where Christ calls upon Judas to do 
qikrkly what he intended to do, furnishes a parallel. If 
tho fruit is onoe matured, it must fall.— P. S.] 

John corrects in ver. 21 : He spake of the 
temple of his body [for His humanity]. The 
fathers universally acknowledge this interpreta- 
tion. It has been supposed, lie pointed to His 
body as He spoke.* Of this there is no indi- 

Since Herder, Henke, and Paulus, down to 
Liicke [De Wette], Bleek, Ewald (see Meyer, tn 
/oc), it lias been suggested, on the contrary, that 
John misunderstood the Lord ; that Christ spoke 
of the temple as the symbol of the Jewish system 
of religion.f Destroy this edifice of religion, and 
in three days, i. e. t in a short time, proverbially 
(with reference to Hos. vi. 2) represented by 
three days, I will set it up again renewed. 

Kuinoel, Tholuck, Meyer, and many others J 
have maintained the correctness of John's inter- 
pretation. And with all reason ; for an error of 
the Apostle and the whole company of disciples 
in respect to so important a word of the Lord is 
utterly inadmissible (see the several, not abso- 
lutely irrefragable arguments in Meyer). J 

A third view adheres to John's interpreta- 
tion, but holds likewise an element of truth in 
the second view, and puts them in connection. 
The temple on Zion was the symbolical dwelling 
of God ; the body of Christ was the real dwelling 
of God [and hence more than the temple, comp. 
Matth. xii. 6].|| The word of Christ, therefore, 
underneath its immediate reference to the exter- 
nal temple, has a deeper meaning: Destroy this 
temple and worship, as ye have already begun 
to do by your desecration, — destroy it entirely, 
by putting the Messiah to death, and in three 
days I will build it new, t. c, not only rise from 
the dead, but also by the resurrection establish 
a new theocracy (Theodore of Mopsuestia, Ols- 
hausen, Lange, Leben Jcsu, I., p. 200; simulta- 
neously Ebrard, Kritik, p. 325 ; later, in similar 
manner, Luthardt).^ 

* [So Bengel (nutu g*stuve) and Meyer. But in the fifth 
ed., p. 144, note, M. gives up this reference. Such pointing 
would have been the solution of the riddle, contrary to its in- 
tention ; but neither the Jews nor the disciple* understood 
Him at the time. Tho Jews on this and the second purgation 
referred to* vahv rovrov to the temple, ver. 20 ; Matth. xxvi. 
01 ; xxvii. 40. Meyer now assumes that Christ the 
temple (this temple bjforo you), but meant His body as the 
antitype of the temple and tho true dwelling of God, and thus 
put tho image in the place of tho thing typified, " so dast ditte 
scharfen Ubendigen, o/tne Aiulegung hinge.wor/ensn HUdxugt 
wit in einent Bddtrr'dthsel tine symbolisch propMische Vtnr- 
hf.rsagung seiner AufersteJiung entlialten, wU MjUth.vii.3Q; 
&1.4."— P.S.] 

| (See Heubner, p. 242. Henke was not the first to take 
this view, but Zinzoudorf has it iu his Homik uber die Wun- 
denliUmei, p. 1W.) 

t [Olshttiisen, Stier, Brlickner (versus De Wette), Alford, 
God^t.— P. S.J 

\ [Meyer, pp. 145-147, raises seven objections against this 
view. It is plainly irreconcilable with apostolic inspiration. 
In ray Lectures on the ( Jospel of John, written at Berlin, 1«42, 
I find the remark : " It involves an immense presumption on 
the part of theologians of the nineteenth century, however re- 
spectable, if they imagine that they understand Christ better 
than His favorite disciple and bosom-friend to whom He re- 
vealed tho futuro struggles and triumphs of His Kingdom." 
Alford also justly protests against such liberty of interpreta- 
tion. For we have here not a chronological statement, but a 
doctrinal exposition of a most important declaration of Christ. 
—P. 8.] ' 

| [This idea John expresses in ivK^vrnviv, i. 14 (see notes 
on pp. 71, 73), and Paul when he says that the whole fulness 
of the Godhead dwelled in Christ bodily. Col. ii. 9.— 

% [Comp. also Hengstenl>erg, I. 1G5. ne thinks that no 
justice can l>e done to this holy enigma which Christ proposed 
to the Jews, unless we recognize the essential identity of tho 
temple, the appearance of Christ in the flesh and the church 

Digitized by 




This combination is supported (1) by the actual 
connection. The crucifixion of Christ was the 
desecration, the spiritual dissolution of the tem- 
ple, which must be followed by its outward de- 
struction (see Matth. xxiii. 38; xxvii. 51), be- 
cause the body of Christ was the real temple of 
God. (2) Christ, on this account, has repeatedly 
represented His death and resurrection as the 
one great sign which was to be given to the Jews 
instead of the required sign from heaven (John 
iii. 14; Matth. xii. 89; xvi. 4), and this sign too 
always connected with an antecedent Old Tes- 
tament type. (3) A word concerning His death, 
without connection with an intelligible figure, 
would have assuredly been as yet wholly unin- 
telligible to the Jews. (4) John gave the inmost 
and ultimate significance of the expression of 
Christ for the sole reason, that it was the main 
matter, and that the figurative sense was self- 
evident. (5) In Matth. xxvi. 61 Christ puts in 
the true explanation, ver. 04, immediately upon 
the false interpretation, besides perversion, of 
His utterance. 

la three days, a round number, 1 Sam. 
xxx. 12; see the Matth. on chap. xii. 40, p. 

I will raise it up (again). — "It is only ap- 
parently contrary to John's explanation, that 
Christ, according to the New Testament doctrine, 
did not raise Himself, but was raised by the Fa- 
ther." Meyer. And besides, the resurrection of 
Jesus was in one view as much 'His own act 
[John x. 18 ; Rev. v. 5], as, in another view, the 
act of His Father, especially in its results, 1 Cor. 
xv. 67 ; Eph. iv. 8. That Jesus was already fa- 
miliar with the thought of His death, appears 
from the conversation which soon followed, John 
iii. 14. The explanation of Athanasius, quoted 
by Tholiick, is an ingenious modified form of our 
third : With the putting to death of the body of 
Christ the Jewish system of types and shadows 
also is dissolved, and the real church thereby 
(by means of the resurrection) established. 

Ver. 20. Then said the Jews.— With an 
ovv; it was to be expected that they would finish 
their malicious misunderstanding consistently. — 
Forty and six years. — They mean the reno- 
vation and enlargement of the temple of Zerub- 
babel, which begun in the eighteenth year of 
Herod's reign, 20 B. C. (Joseph. Antiq. XV. 11, 
1), and was finished under Herod Agrippa II. in 
A. D. 64 (Joseph. Antiq. XX. 9, 7). According 
to Wieseler, it appears, therefore, that in this 
computation of forty-six years since the work was 
begun, the passover of the year 781 is the occa- 
sion on which it is made (Ohronol. St/nops. p. 106). 

Ver. 21. The temple of his body.—Genitiv. 

Ver. 22. His disciples remembered that 
he had said this. — This remembrance does not 
exclude former remindings; but the right re- 

of the N. T. He explain* : ** If yo onco destroy the temple of 
my body, and with it this external tomplp, the symbol and 
piedgo of the kingdom of Qod among you. I shall* rebuild in 
three days the temple of My body and with it at the same time 
<he substance of the eternal temple, tho kingdom of God." 
The crucifixion of Christ involved as a necessary consequence 
tht> dastruction of the temple and the O. T. worship: the re 
eurrection of Christ the creation of the Christian church, and 
worship, of which the temple was the type and shadow. Go- 
dot explains: "Destroy thia your temple, by killing Me, the 
Meaelah."-P. 8.] 

membrance came now with the right understand- 
ing of it. [Remarks like this impress upon the 
reports of the discourses of Christ the stamp of 
historical fidelity. A later falsifier would have 
made the reference to the resurrection much 
plainer. — P. 8.]— And they believed the 
Soripture. — [Faith in Christ is the key to the 
understanding of the Scriptures of the O. T.; 
comp. vii. 38, 42 ; X. 35 ; xiii. 18. The singular 
r y ypa$y indicates the unity and harmony of the 
canonical books from Genesis to Malachi, which, 
considering the great number of authors, the 
long period of time, and the variety of circum- 
stances in and under which they were composed, 
is a strong evidence of their divine origin. — P. S.] 
Comp. Luke xxiv. 20 : «* Ought not Christ to have 
suffered these things," etc. As they now found 
the death of Christ foretold in the Old Testament, 
30 they found also His glorification, which in- 
cluded His resurrection, Ps. xvi. 10; comp. Acts 
ii. 27; xiii. 35; 1 Pet. iii. 19; Ps. lxviii. 18; 
comp. Eph. iv. 8; Is. liii. 7; comp. Acts viii. 35. 

[Alford : "At first sight it appears difficult to 
fix on any passage in which the resurrection 
is directly announced : but with the deeper un- 
derstanding of the Scriptures which the Holy 
Spirit gave to the Apostles and still gives to the 
Christian church, such prophecies as that in Ps. 
xvi. are recognized as belonging to Him in whom 
alone they are properly fulfilled: see also Hosea 
vi. 2." This is not satisfactory. The 0. T. in- 
deed does not expressly prophesy the resurrec- 
tion, as a separate fact, but very often the exalta- 
tion and glorification of the Messiah after His 
humiliation and suffering, and this implies the 
resurrection, as the intervening link or the be- 
ginning of the exaltation itself. Hence we may 
count here in a wider sense, with Hengstenberg 
(I. 171), the prophecy of Shilo as a ruler, Gen. 
xlix. 10; Ps. ex., where the Messiah is repre- 
sented as sitting at the right of God and ruling 
over all His enemies; Dan. vii. 13, 14, where He 
appears at the head of a universal Kingdom; 
Isa. liii., where, after His atoning death, He is 
raised to great glory; Zech. ix. 9, 10, where 
Zion's King appears first lowly and riding upon 
an ass, yea, as dying (comp. xii. 10; xiii. 7), but 
afterwards speaking peace to the heathen aud 
having dominion from sea to sea and from the 
river to the ends of the earth ; comp. also Isa. 
ix.; xi.; Mich, v.; Ps. xvi. It is quite in keep- 
ing with the character of prophecy to behold tho 
various stages of the exaltation as one continuous 
panorama. It is under this view that the Scrip- 
ture of the 0. T. is said to have foretold the re- 
surrection; Luke xxiv. 20 ("to enter into His 
glory ") ; John xx. 9 ; 1 Cor. xv. 4 ; \ Pet. i. 11 
("the sufferings of Christ and the glory that 
should follow ").— P. S.] 

Ver. 23. Now when he was in Jerusalem 
at the passover. — The Evangelist thus distin- 
guishes the stay of Jesus in Jerusalem during 
the passover from His first appearance there. — 
On the feast. — Meyer justly says, this ad- 
dition is not intended to explain the term pass- 
over for Greek readers; that must have been 
done by ver. 13. The expression signifies par- 
ticipation in the celebration of the foast We 
suppose the feast days themselves are set off 
against the day of His entrance. On the day of 

Digitized by 


CHAP. II. 12-26. 


the symbolical castigation He wrought other mi- 
racles, probably miracles of healing; and the 
first surprise of the Jews was followed by a 
demonstration of faith on the part of many at- 
tendants of the feast. The signs. — Evidently 
implying a multiplicity of signs, and such as 
determined those people to believe. He must 
therefore have done many miracles in Jerusa- 

Ver. 24. Did not commit himself tin to 
them. — The second mortbeiv iavrdv is evidently 
connected with the first Triare'ueiv. He believed not 
in their believing, to such a degree as to commit 
or deliver up Himself to them. Various 
interpretations: (1) He withheld His doctrine 
(Chrysostom, Kumoel) ; (2) He did not yield 
Himself to personal intercourse with them 
(Meyer). Without doubt simply: He did not 
yet entrust Himself to them as the Messiah, did 
not offer Himself as the Messiah, though they 
seemed inclined to recognize Him as such. It is 
the Lord's determination, not to appear publicly 
under the title of Messiah ; and He follows 
it henceforth till the triumphal entry into Jeru- 
salem ; in full accordance with Matth. iv. 1-11. 

Because he. — He Himself, in distinction 
from indirect knowledge through others. How 
He knew them all, is in part shown by what has 
preceded. He knew in general that the secular 
spirit predominated in them ; but He also saw 
through each one, as He met him, with a divine 
physiognomic discernment. In both cases is in- 
tended not only the general prophetic illumina- 
tion, but the penetrating spiritual eye of the 

Ver. 25. And needed not. — Explanatory 
ofatTdf in the previous clause. — Of man. — Of 
man as to his sinful nature in general, and of 
man in particular, as He encountered each indi- 
vidual. — Por he knew. — The positive expres- 
sion for : He needed not, — What was in man. 
— Not only the special, miraculous, physiogno- 
mic knowledge (Meyer cites ch. i. 48; iv. 18; 
tl 61, 64 ; xi. 4, 14 ; xiii. 11 ; xxi. 17), butalsQ 
the general knowledge of the constitution of hu- 
man nature (John iii.), of the order of the uni- 
verse (xix. 11), and of the situation of the Jew- 
ish people in particular. Result : In the fami- 
liar circle of His disciples Jesus manifested His 
glory; in public He preserved His mysterious 
anonymousness as to the Messianic office. 

[Christ knows us better than we know our- 
selves. He sees the end from the beginning, we 
the beginning from the end. He, says Calvin, 
knows the roots of the tree, we know the tree 
only by its fruits.— P. S.] 


1. The different meanings of the two purifications 
of the tempU. According to Meyer, no essential 
difference should be perceived between the two 
acts. Yet the difference between the expres- 
sions "house of merchandize"' in John, and 
"den of thieves " in the SynopUsts, " the house 
of My Father" ,{b ohoc rov irarpbc fiov) in John, 
and " My house {b oIk6q port) in the Synoptists, 
as well as the greater rigor in the second case as 
described by Mark (not suffering any man to 
carry any Teasel through the temple), is plain 

enough. According to Hofmann, Lichtenstein, 
and Luthardt, Christ in the Synoptists appears 
as a prophet to protect the place of prayer, in 
John as the Son to execute His domestic right. 
But this would lead to an entire reversal of the 
order of things in the self-manifestation of the 
Lord. The case is just the reverse. Christ per- 
formed the first cleansing of the temple, as an 
anonymous prophet in the right of sealotism and 
the right of a prophet (see the Matth. on xxi. 12, 
p. 37b* ) ; the second, as the Lord of the temple, 
publicly introduced by the people to the holy 
city and temple as the Messiah. 

2. The body of Christ, the most real temple of 
God. The crucifixion, the destruction of the 
temple in the strictest sense ( Rom. ii. 22) ; the 
resurrection, the building of the eternal temple. 
Meaning of the sign: He who builds the eternal, 
essential temple, has power also to purge the 
symbolical. The truth, that Christ is perpetu- 
ally building greater, more glorious the temple 
of God, which the sin of man demolishes. The 
centre of this truth is the death and resurrection 
of Christ ; its first tokens, the fall of Adam and the 
first promise (the protevangelium), the flood and 
the rain-bow, etc. ; its unfolding, the destruction 
of the theocracy and temple in Jerusalem, the 
rise of the church, the ruin of the medimvnl 
church by the hierarchy, and its rebuilding in 
the Reformation, the inducing of the judgment 
of the world by anti-christianity, and the crea- 
tion of a new heavens and a new earth. The 
wedding at Cana before the purification of the 
temple, the token of the transfiguration of the 
world before the judgment of the world. 

3. The first and second purifications of the temple : 
when once the temple is made a house of mer- 
chandize (John ii.), it has also become in effect 
a den of robbers or of murderers, Matth. xxi. 
First the selling of indulgences, then persecution 
and reformation. 

4. Christ entrusts Himself to no one in Jeru- 
salem ; i. «., Ho does not as yet come on tho 
stage in His office as Messiah. Comp. the Com. 
on Matth. on ch. iv. 

5. The supernatural knowledge of Christy the 
source of His miracles of knowledge, and in fact 
everywhere divine-human; i. *., on the one hand 
not merely divine, nor on the other merely hu- 
man, but both at once ; divinely immediato, hu- 
manly exercised through means and organs. 


8ee Comm. on Matthew, on ch. xxi. 12-22, p. 
377; Mark, on ch. xi. 12-20; Luke, on ch. xix. 
41-48. — The visit of Jesus the youth to tho tem- 
ple, and the visit of the man matured for the exe- 
cution of His Messianic office. — The first, se- 
cond, aud last solemn appearance of Jesus in the 
temple (the last, Matth. xxi. — xxiii.).— As the 
crucifixion of Christ completed the desecration 
of the temple, so the resurrection of Christ com- 
pleted the restoration of the temple. — Out of His, 
word of holiest zeal for the temple, they made a 
word of blasphemy and deadly sin against the 
temple. — The purification of the temple, the per- 
petual charter of reformation. — What sign shew- 
cst thou, etc. f The spiritual blindness which 
demands a sensible sign for the holiest sign of 

Digitized by 




the Spirit. — How Judaism, by overdoing itself, 
falls back into heathenism, in asking a sign for 
the sense, when the sign of the Spirit gloriously 
stands forth. — So also the Judaism of legality in 
Christendom. — The scourge in the hand of Jesus, 
or the anger of personal gentleness itself. (1) 
The overpowering sign of the highest zeal 
(against sin) ; (2) the humbling sign of the high- 
est majesty (against frivolity); (3) the ocular 
sign of the highest assurance (against doubt). — 
The Old Testament spirit in which the disciples 
viewed the matter, indicated by their word: 
The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up ; the 
New Testament watchword of Jesus: My meat is 
to do the will, etc., John iv. 84. — To the temple 
of a Herod the hierarchs had even a right ; in 
the temple of Christ they found themselves ut- 
terly out of place. — The token which Christ gives 
the Jews for the truth of His divine mission. — 
This token, the token also of reformation : Com- 
mit the utmost abominations in the temple, the 
more gloriously will the ruined temple be re- 
stored! — The conduct of the Jews on Christ's 
purifying of the temple, in its permanent import. 
— The destroyers of the temple would be its re- 
storers, and the restorers must pass for destroy- 
ers. — From this first day of the public appear- 
ance of Christ, enmity calumniously laid up the 
word, which was to bring it to naught. — The 
Lord's great word concerning nis end, at the be- 
ginning of His career. — The subsequent Temera- 
brance of Christ's words by Hia'cnemies, and the 
subsequent remembrance of them by His friends. 
— When He was at Jerusalem, many believed on 
Him; or, (1) festival believers, believers of fes- 
tival seasons whe* things go grandly in the 
church; (2) yet festival times, also true birth- 
days of faith. — But Jesus did not commit Him- 
self to them ; or, secret disciples, and a secret 
Saviour (anonymous believers, and an anony- 
mous Christ). — Christ, the knower of hearts. — 
The first sign of Christ in the pious house, and 
His first sign in the impious church. — The trans- 
formation of water into wine, and of the driver's 
whip into a beneficent sceptre (in contrast with 
those who have turned the sceptre into a whip). 
— Christ and the hierarchs with reference to the 
temple of God: (1) Ho purifies and sanctifies it, 
they would make its desecrated condition its ho- 
liness; (2) He gives a moral and religious sign 
of the Spirit, they demand a magical, sensuous 
sign to accredit it; (3) He gives them for a sign 
the prophecy that they will kill Him, and they 
make of it a mortal charge against Him; (4) He 
announces to them a new supernatural temple, 
and they harden themselves in their old system 
to their judgment. — The first public Easter festi- 
val of Jesus, a foretokening of His future aud 
eternal Easter. — Christ's observance of the pre- 
scribed feasts the dawn of the free festivity of 
the gospel. — Christ at the feast: (1) As an Is- 
raelite, in the spirit of the patriarchs ; (2) as a 
Jew, according to the law of Moses; (3) as a 
• prophet, after the manner of the prophets (my 
Father's house not a house of merchandize, the 
court of the Gentiles not a cattle-market) ; (4) 
as the Christ, introducing and indicating the 
course of His life and work. — Holy zeal and un- 
holy zeal in contrast in the purification of the 
.temple. — The open, noble indignation of Jesus, 

and the impure malicious reserve of His oppo- 
nents. — Jesus, here as in Cana, a man, and a sin- 
less man. — The keeping holy the temple: (1) 
The house of God; (2) the body; (3) the church. 
The rising of the divine above the corruption 
and ruin of the human ; the eternal divine token 
thereof, the luminous centre of all divine signs : 
the resurrection of Christ from the death of the 

Starke : Majus : Though the word and 
works of God are not bound to place, yet it is 
right, after the example of Christ, to observe pro- 
prieties of place and time. — Osiandbk: Christ, 
the Lord of the law, submitted Himself to it, that 
He might redeem men from it. — Cramer : Christ, 
not a secular king, but Lord of the temple ; there- 
fore He comes into the temple, and there begins 
His public function, Hag. ii. 3, 18. — Hedihoeb: 
What has the abomination of usury to do in the 
temple of God ? What the indulgence-monger in 
the sanctuary ? — Ah, our churches to this day 
are sufficiently profaned by sinful garrulity, 
proud display of dress, etc. (oven by unsancti- 
fied discourses). — Nora Bibl. Tub. : The abuses 
which have crept into the church must bo 
scourged and banished. How much more must 
traditional abuses call forth our zeal ! Hos. xii. 
8 ; Zech. xiv. 21. — It is incumbent on all Chris- 
tians, particularly on ministers, to be zealous 
for the house of God ; yet should every one take 
good heed lest it be not according to knowledge. 
— OSiander : He who diligently pursues his call- 
ing, may fear no danger. The protection of God 
will bo with him. — Majus : The works of God 
need no miraculous attestation. They shine so 
brightly upon the eye, that God and His divino 

glory may bo sufficiently recognized in them. 

Hkdinger: Unbelief demands miracles and 
signs.— Zeisius : Where we have to do with false, 
malicious men, wo are not called upon to make 
the truth so clear and bright, to their greater 

condemnation (dark words for dark men). A 

mind occupied only with the earthly, cannot per- 
ceive the mysteries of God. — Instruction often 
serves more for others in the future, than for 
those to whom it is given at the time. — Ibid: 
Fulfilment yields the best interpretation. — Qdes- 
nel : Truth brings forth its fruits in their sea- 
son. — Ibid. : Christian prudence requires that we 
do not lightly judge and condemn any, yet that 
we do not easily trust ourselves to any who pre- 
sent a good appearance. 

Gerlach: "As Christ's kingdom is not a 
sword, how is it that He deals so hardly and 
harshly here with the priests of the temple, and 
concerns Himself with what properly belongs to 
the secular power? Because the Lord at that 
time stood between the Old Testament and the 
New, between what Moses had established in Is- 
rael, and what Christ was to establish after His 
death through His Holy Spirit and the preaching 
of the gospel; and He shows thereby that He is 
a Lord who holds both dispensations in His 
hand " (Luther). — Lisco : A picture of the re- 
formation of a temple-desecration which had 

arisen from an abuse of Deut. xiv. 24-26. Heu b- 

ner: How much is contained in completely 
trusting one ! — We must judge not, yet not has- 
tily open and surrender ourselves to auy. The 
more perfect and noble a man is, the more true 

Digitized by 


CHAP. III. 1-21. 


and open (and yet the more is he, again, a high- 
er mystery). — Schleieemacher: What a zeal 
for His Father's house did the Lord Himself 
sanctify, in doing that ! — But there afterwards 
Came a time, when even the Christian church 
was a house of merchandize. — Then He again 
gathered a whip; Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and 
all the reformers. — It was not the whip that ef- 
fected what the Redeemer did, but the spiritual 
power, of which that was only a sign and seal. — 
Our failure to act in many cases as the Redeemer 
acted here, is the cause of many evils in the 
Christian church and in all human affairs. That 
one is always putting upon another the perform- 
ance of works well-pleasing to God, and no one 
maintains a fresh and free consciousness of the 
power which God the Lord has given him, and 
does all he can do to promote truth and good- 
ness and prevent wickedness, — this is the reason 
why s# many disorders are daily renewed in the 

smaller and larger relations of men. — Bksser: 
The Saviour (because they stifle the voice of con- 
science) draws back from them, and veils in a 
holy riddle the sign which they demand, and 
which was iutended to be given them as the sign 
of all signs, the proper sign of Christ. — From 
every defeat a victory unfolds to the church ;' 
from every shame a glory. — When therefore He 
was risen, etc. Chemnitz presents the disciples, in 
their relation to the discourse of Jesus to them, 
as an example for all Bible-readers : They should 
not at once despise and reject everything in the 
Holy Scriptures which they cannot at first glance 
understand; nor must they despair of under- 
standing, if they cannot at once penetrate the 
deep mysteries of the word. For the Spirit of 
knowledge leads us into the truth by degrees. — 
Christ's power of trying spirits (Isa. xi. 8* 
comp. with 1 Sam. xvi. 7 ; 1 Tim. v. 22). 


Chap. III. 1-21. 
(Chap. iii. 1-15, Gospel for Trinity Sunday ; 16-21, Gospel for 2nd Pentecost). 

1 [But] 1 there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews : 

2 The same came to Jesus [him] 2 by night, and said unto him, Rabbi [Master], we 
know that thou art a teacher come from God ; for no man can do these miracles 

3 that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Ve- 
rily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born 8 again [from above]* he cannot 

4 see the kingdom of God. 5 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born 
when he is old ? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born ? 

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water 
and of the [omit of the] 6 Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God [of hea- 

6 ven]. 7 That which is [hath been] born of the flesh is flesh ; and that which h 

7 [hath been] born of the Spirit 8 is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye 

8 mu3t be born again [from above]. The wind 9 bloweth where it listeth [will], and 
thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell [knowestnot, oux olfias'], whence it 
cometh, and 10 whither it goeth ; so is [it witli] every one that is [hath been] born 

9 of the Spirit Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 

10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master [the teacher, 6 dtud<jxaXo$] of 
Israel, and knowest not these things ? 

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

12 If I have told you earthly [human] things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe. 

13 if I tell you of [omit of] heavenly [divine] thing3? 11 And no man hath ascendecU 
up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which 

14 [who] is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness [made it 
a high signal for the surrounding wilderness], even so must the Son of man be lifted 

15 up : That whosoever believeth in him 12 should [may] not perish, but [omit not pe- 
rish but] 18 have eternal life. 

Digitized by 




16 For God so loved the world, that he gave hia only begotten Son, that whosoever 

17 believeth in him should [might] not perish, but have everlasting life. For God 
sent not his Son into the world to condemn [judge] 14 the world ; but that the 

18 world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned 
[judged] ; but he that believeth not is condemned [hath been judged] already, be- 

19 cause he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this 
is the condemnation [judgment] that [the] 14 light is come into the world, and men 

23 loved [the] darkness rather than [the] light, because their deeds were evil. 1 * For 
every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh [and cometh not] to the 
light, lest his deeds should be reproved [detested, discovered, shown to bepunish- 

21 able]. But he that doeth [the] truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be 
made manifest, that [for] 17 they are wrought in God. 


i Ver. 1. *U aft-r $r s^ra to imply thit Nicodomns was not one of those to whom Christ did not treat Himself, U. 24 • 
for IIp o|*n**d to lorn th** |>r-»f.»a») 1 -,t iwn'U of tho kingdom or' (Jod. It may be, however, merely continuative — and.— P. 8 * 

* Ver. -J.— The H«*< fj,u hm N vpo* t'ov 'Irpovv, against which there are decisive authorities, particularly A. B. **Be- 
ginning of a section an<i a lr™*-* »n." Meyer. a « 

* Ver. X [ywvim m«*an* usually to beget (of the Father), Matth. I. 2ff. and often ; hence 6 yevrfras, the father* rarely 
to bear, to bring forth (of th<- mother), as Luke i. 67. God or tho Holy Spirit produces the higher spiritual life: hence 6c 
attUcn/ntm aV/rv, would perhaps belter express the idea ; comp. i. 13 ; 1 Cor. iv. 13 ; Philem. 10 ; 1 John ii. 29* iii. 9 • ir 7 • 
y. 1,4,18; Ueb.L 5; Y.5.-P.8.J * ' *' 1T - 4 » 

* Ver. 3. [avmBtr, 7>*"X the reverse of KdratOev, and equivalent to the tow ovpavov, from Agree*, iiL 31 ; xix. 11 23* 

Matth. xxvii. 51: Mark xt. 3?; James 1.17; iii. 13, 17, or c« Btov,from God, comp. John i. 13; «!« toS trvsv/aarot*, iii. 6, 9 

whit h may lie taken a*j tie* tru<- <»xplieat ion. If tho temporal sanse be preferred (in which Nicodemns misunderstands \t, 
ver. 4>; romp. Luke i. 3; ( iv. *», it should be rendered anew, afresh (from the root, entirely new) rather than again. Tyn- 
d-*l«: boren a newt; Crannn*r: boren from above ; Oeneya: begotten again*. ; Rheims: borne againe; Conant: born again; 
Alfonl: 6orn anew, with a mir^inil note : or, from above ; Young: from above; Vulg. : renatus fuerit denuo ; Luth. : von 
neuem gtboren werde ; Ewahl : von rorne an ( i. e , gam von neuem) geb. vn'rd. S?e the Exegesis. — P. S.J 

* Ver. 3. [0a<riAeui too dtov only hero and ver. 5in John, but in xviii. 3G Christ speaks of His kingdom. The SynoptisN 
use for it more fre jueutly the torm flaa. ri>v ovpavitv, which John never employs unless it be In ver. 5. (See note 7 be- 
low.— P. 8.) 

* Ver. 5. [The alienee of the article both before v&arot and trvev'iaro*; should bi noticed. It gives to tho two agents a 
generic character, an 1 favors a more eomprehen«ive interpretation of water than that which confines it to a particular kind 
of baptism, Jewish, Johannean, or Christian. See Exeg. Notes. — P. 8.J 

■" Ver. 5. [Instead of the text. roc. fia<r. rov B* ou, which Is retained by Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort, and 
others, Tischendorf (ed. viii.) raid* 0aT. r£tv ovpavStv on the authority of X 1 and tho still older Euseb., Orig., ilippol., 
Iren., and Just. M. Irenreu* (Fragm. 35) quotes tho passage literally thus: xaffcaf *ai 6 icvptof ifa, eav fir/ t*.**, #-. t. A., «c t. 
flour, t w v ovpavStv. Justin M. (middle of tho 2d cent.), Apol. I. c. 61 (ed. Otto, I. p. 144), cites less accurately from nit~ 
mory : Kai yap 6 xpiorbt tlttev. *Kv /*?} avay*yviflr)T* (in«tead of kav jiif Tit? y«*»-T**9p), ov /i>l tioiMhjTt (instead of ov ivva- 
rat t t<rcA0eir) «t9 tiji* fleurikeiav tw v ov pavmv. Chryso-»tom atao, in his homilies on John iii , reads several times fkur. 
nil* ovpayiav. Tho change from this into th"* receive*! reading may be'traced to a desire to conform to ver. 3. — P. 8.J 

* Ver. 6. [Here and in ver. 8 the article is used before •rpev/Aarof, and of course should be retained in the translation 
—P. 8.1 

* Ver. 8. [The double moaning of the Greek rvej/xa and tho Hebrew n*H» wind and spirit, suggoited this analogy. 

—P. 8.1 

w Ver. 8.— Lachmann: ^ vov, or tohere^ according to A., tho Vulgate, and other versions, Armenian, Arabic, Syriac, and 

several of the fithors. Tho <ai. thor«for», ar-M- pro'»ably from tho noed of a provorhial form of tho sentence. [The usual 

reoding « a I nou, and where (whither), ij retained by Treg., Alf., Tischond. on tho authority of X. B. L. T., etc^ also Ignatitu 


•• Ver. 12. [Literally fas earthly thin«rs— the h»avf»nly things : rft iiriytia — ra evovptvia.—V. 8.] i* 
W Ver. 15. — Ijachm ".nn : iw' avriv, a'*eordin? t^ Co 1. A. ; Tischondorf: iv avrtf, according to Cod. B. and c and Col. L. read *5*r' avr^; Mwyer U f»r iv avrtZ, and proposes to connect this with " * * "" 

v. 10. Probably tli3 ab?vo variations are olfjrts of tho catholic spirit to sharpen tho idea c 

I others. Theo- 

; sis avToi* being a more ge- 

w Ver. ii —Ma air6\nrai, AAA' is wanting In \tf) B. L. J., and many others. It Is omitted by Tischendorf [Treg, Alf.], 
and nut in brackets by Lachmann. It has probably been taken from ver. 16. 

" Ver. 17. [Kpivetv, tojulgt, isu-ed, not Karaxpivtiv, to condemn, here and ver. 18, and ») *cpcVi«,ver. 19. TheB. V. is not 
consistent in the rendering of **piVeti/, #tpt>a and icptVtff, using alternately to judge, to condemn, to damn, yet in the great 
majority of esses to jwlge. KaraKpivetv is seventeen times translated to coniemn, twice to damn. — P. 8.J 

•* Ver. 19. [to £ws, the true pergonal Light, Christ, comp. i. 4, 5, 8, 9. The importance of the definite article Is obvious. 
The E. V. ret;dn«*d it in ver. 20, but dropped it here — one of its innumerable inconsistencies. — P. S.] 

w Ver. 19. — The order: avrii* novrfoa [instead of irorrjpa avrwi*J. 

-■" Ver. 21. [5 ti assigns tho reason for tho preceding intention. Seo Exej. — P. 8.] 


[This is one of the richest find most import- 
ant sections of the Bible. The sixteenth verse 
alone contains the whole gospel in a nutshejl, or 
*• the Bible in miniature,'* and is worth more 
than all tho wisdom of the world. The infinite 
love of the Father, tho mission of His Son, the 
work of the Holy Spirit, the lost condition of 
man, the necessity of a new birth from above, 
faith in Christ as a condition of salvation, the 
kingdom of God, eternal life — all those funda- 

mental doctrines are set forth by tho unerring 
mouth of*our Lord in this interview with a timid, 
yet earnest and anxious inquirer. The central 
idea of the passage is the new birth, which im- 
plies the total depravity of man and the work of 
divine grace. This great doctrino stands in the 
pvoper plaoo at the beginning of Christ's minis- 

The first miracle of Christ was a miracle of 
transformation, His first public act in Jerusalem 
an act of reformation, His first discourse a dis- 
course on regeneration. He is not satisfied with 
mere improvements of the old, but demands a 

Digitized by 


CHAP. III. 1-21. 


new life, lays a new foundation. True religion 
in the soul begins with a personal conviction of 
sin and guilt, and of the necessity of a radical 
change. Without such a conviction all efforts 
to convert a man are in vain. The night dis- 
course with Nicodemus is the locus clasricu* on 
the new birth, as the indispensable condition of 
admission into the kingdom of God. It occu- 
pies a position in the Gospel of John, similar to 
that which the Sermon on the Mount does in the 
Gospel of Matthew. 

It is characteristic of the idealism and mysti- 
cism of John that in his Gospel he gives no ac- 
count of the institution of the church* and the 
sacraments. But, anticipating the visible rite, 
he presents in ch. iii. the idea of the new birth, 
which is symbolized in Christian baptism, to- 
gether with the idea of " the kingdom of God," 
which is the internal and abiding essence of the 
church. So in ch. vi. he gives the general idea 
of vital union with Christ, which underlies the 
sacrament of the Lord's Supper. 

According to the Synoptists, Christ began 
His public ministry by preaching to the peo- 
ple : ** The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom 
of God is at hand; repent ye (change your 
mind, furavoelTe), and believe in the gospel" 
(Mark i. 15). According to John, He made, at 
the outset of His ministry, the same demand, 
first indirectly, and then directly (del iftag, ver. 
7), upon an individual, a man circumcised, or- 
thodox, honest, unblemished, yea, of the highest 
rank, a member of the Supreme Council of the 
theocracy, even favorably disposed to Christ and 
almost ready to accept Him as the Messiah, in a 
word, a man endowed with every personal and 
official claim to membership of the Messianic 
kingdom, yet lacking one fundamental condition : 
a new birth from above. Christ answers not so 
much to the words, as to the thoughts of Nico- 
demus, penetrating his heart to the very core 
(ii. 25). With historical faithfulness, John does 
not state the result of the conversation, because 
it did not appear at once, but some time after- 
wards (vii. 50; xix. 39). 

Regeneration (avayhvvaic, iraXtyyeveala) is, a 
creative act of God the Holy Spirit, whereby a 
new spiritual l^e from above is implanted in 
man, through tne means of grace, especially the 
preaching of the gospel; like the natural birth, it 
can occur but once. Conversion (fier&vom, which 
must not be confounded with regeneration) is 
the corresponding subjective chatige of heart, 
whereby man, under the influence of the Spirit, 
in conscious repentance and faith, turns from 
the service of sin to the service of God ; this may 
he repeated after a relapse. Regeneration, as to 
its origin and mode of operation, is a mystery 
like the natural generation and birth, but a mys- 
tery manifest in its effects to all who have spi- 
ritual eyes to see; it meets us as a fact in every 
true Christian, or child of God, who is as sure 
of the higher life of Christ in his own soul as he 
is of his natural existence. The difficulties in 

* FThe term e#r*cAijcn'a nerer occurs in John's Gospel and 
first Epistle, though repeatedly in his third Epistle, and in 
the Apocalypse, in the Gospel and first Epistle tho ideal 
side of the church prevails, in the Apocalypse the real, em- 
pirical, because it is there represented in its historical conflict 
with the powers of darkness.] 

the exposition of this passage are mainly dogma- 
tical, and arise from the relation of regeneration 
to baptism, viz., whether water means baptism at 
all, and, if so, whether it refers to John's bap- 
tism, or the baptism of the disciples of Jesus, or, 
by anticipation, to Christian baptism (which did 
not appear till the day of Pentecost), or the ge- 
neral idea of baptism in its various forms as a 
historic preparation for Christian discipleship; 
and also from the question as to the necessity of 
baptism for salvation. These difficulties are 
fully discussed below. — P. S.] 

Ver. 1. There was a man. — An important 
incident of the residence of Jesus in Jerusalem, 
exemplifying what has just been said, and in- 
troduced with the continuative 6k. [Comp. how- 
ever, Text Note 1.— P. S.] Lucke [and Godet] : 
An example of the higher knowledge just men- 
tioned ; Tholuck: Of the weak faith just men- 
tioned;* Do Wette: A proof of vers. 23-25 ; 
Luthardt: Transition from the people to an 
individual; Ewald: Nicodemus an exception; 
Strauss : Added through desire to show a be- 
liever from the cultivated world ; Baur : Nico- 
demus a typical figure : outwardly believing, in- 
wardly unbelieving Judaism. (On the contrary 
Lutbardt: He is in facta genuine disciple in 
disguise, see Tholuck.) The views of Lucke and 
Tholuck do not exclude, but meet in, that of Do 
Wette. An example, that is to say, at once of 
the weak faith to which Jesus cannot entrust 
Himself, and of His power to discern it. Yet 
John has especially selected this incident also on 
account of its great didactic importance, and as 
an example of the enthusiasm which Jesus at 
first awakened, extending even into the circle of 
the Pharisees, f 

Nicodemus. — A current name, first with the 
Greeks, then with the Jews (0"lp3, pDHpJ; 
Lightfoot and Wetstein). Akin to T8ik67.ooc. 
Starke : " If the name be Hebrew, it is equiva- 
lent to innocent blood (W and Dl), but if Greek, 
conqueror of people (the same as Nicolaus). As 
the Jews gave not only Hebrew, but Greek and 
Latin names also, to their children, both mean- 
ings at last met in Nicodemus." The gradual 
unfolding of his faith appears by stages in this 
place, ch. vii. 50 and ch. xix. 89. "Tradition 
adds that he afterwards, having publicly ac- 
knowledged the doctrine of Jesus, and having 
been baptized by Peter and John, was deposed 
from his office and banished from Jerusalem 
(Photius, Biblioth., Cod. 171), but was supported 
in a country-seat by his kinsman Gamaliel, till 
his death." Winer. Thus tradition makes him 
again in an unworthy manner keep out of sight 
with his ftiith. The Talmud mentions also a 
Nicodemus, Son of Gorion, properly called Bunni, 
who was a disciple of Jesus, and survived the 
destruction of Jerusalem, whose family sank 
from wealth into great poverty (Delitzsch, 

* [So If engstonberg, and Alford : One of the believers on 
account of Christ's miracles, ii. 23. Bengel : Ex iw, de quxbui 
c. ii. in fine; sed nannihU mdior multis. — P. S.] 

t Treatises on the section : Kjpapp, Scripta varii arg. L, p. 
183 sqq ; Fabricius, Omvuntat. Gott. 1825 ; 8c hoi 1, in Kkii- 
ber'S Studien V. 1, p. 71 : Jacobi, Stud, und Krit. 1835, 1. 
Hengstenberg, Evavg. Kirchen-Zjitung, 1860, No. 49. [A large 
number of English tracts on Regeneration (mostly doctrinnl 
and practical) are noticed in Malconi's Th€oloffical Index 
(Bostou, 1869) pp. 39C, 397.—P. S.J 

Digitized by 




(ZeiUckr. f. Lulh. TKtolog. 18o4, p. 643). The 
identity is not proved. Josephus also, Antiq. 
XIV. 3, 2, speaks of a Nicodemus, who was sent 
as a legate of the Maccabean Aristobulus to 
Fompey. The apocryphal literature has com- 
pleted the biography of Nicodemus in a Gospel 
ascribed to him.* 

The germ of a genuine faith had to contend in 
Nicodemus with regard for the polite world, 
thoughts of his station, fear of men, Pharisaic 
prejudice, but, on a foundation of sincerity, 
conscientiousness, rectitude, and to higher fidelity 
even to his office, issues victorious in courageous 
confession and joyful offerings; and the closing 
words of the conversation, ver. 21, are plainly 
enough a prediction of the Lord respecting him, 
after a reproof, ver. 20, of his stealthy coming in 
the night as a suspicious sign. Similar charac- 
ters, though they probably did not all so de- 
cidedly come out, are described in ch. zii. 42. 

A ruler of the Jews. — Member of the.San- 
hedrin [comp. Luke zxiii. 13; xxiv. 20; Acts 
xiii. 27], like Joseph of Arimathea, ch. vii. 50. 
Of the party of the Pharisees. [Ik rdv <p a pi- 
ca iuv. This is not mentioned as derogatory. 
Hcngstenberg remarks that the Pharisees were 
specially hostile to the doctrine of regeneration 
and resolved religion into a self-made holiness. 
But the Sadducees were even more opposed to 
spiritual religion. A Paul could proceed from 
the earnest Pharisees, but not from the frivolous 
and skeptical Sadducees. — P. S.l 

Ver. 2. By night. f—That this is intended for 
a mark of weakness, is proved by ver. 20; and 
even by the particular mention of this circum- 
stance itself, as well as by the very gradual ap- 
pearing of his adhesion to Jesus. t Koppe puts 
him down as a hypocrite (see LiicKe), who came 
to question the Lord with evil intent, and who 
feigned simplicity; Niemeyer, on the contrary, 
represents his shyness as a true caution. "He 
was an honorable character, rather slow of na- 
ture," says Meyer. Yet no doubt something 
more. An educated man of age, sitting as pupil 
to a young, untitled rabbi ; a Pharisee, stepping 
free of the despotic and heresy-scenting spirit of 
his sect; a Sanhedrist, who soon ventures to op- 
pose the fanaticism of the whole council; a pro- 
minent, serene-tempered, mature man of the 
world, who under the cross of the dead Jesus 
appears as a disciple, and in a costly burial-gift 
gives token of his unreserved and joyful devo- 
tion, and thus evinces that there were given to 
him and have continued with him, in his frigid 
school, a noble vigor of spirit, in his legal dig- 
nity a living yearning, in his high age a youth- 
ful striving, under all traditional prejudice a 
large ingenuousness, above all, under the whole 

* [The Eeangehum Nicodemi comprises the Acta Pilati and 
the Descensui thristi ad inferos. See Teschendorf, EvangeUa 
Apocrypha, Lips. 1ST>3, pp. 203-412, where the whole is given 
in Oreek and Latin.— P. S.] 

f [Bcngel remarks to vvkto? : " Nuniuam non recipit Chris- 
tus ad se venientes." — P. 8.] 

% [Augustine : Quamvisad Jesum ventrit, tamen quia node 
wnit, aahuc de Uriebris carnis nut loquitur. Hcngstenberg : 
The night is mentioned as a symbol of tho darkness of the 
mind of Nicodemus (xi. 10; xiii. 30). Better: lie came in 
the dark from fear of public opinion. Yet he came, which is 
fur better than not coming at all. The remark does not ex- 
elude company. John and other disciples of Christ were pro- 
KiMy present at the interview. Bwald conjectures that also 
Nicodemus bad some attendants with him.— P. 8.] 

system of Pharisaic show a sincere heart, and 
under all the rust of worldliness the metal of a 
turn for the faith and devotion of the Christian. 
Meyer justly observes, against De Wette and 
others, that the coming of Nicodemus by night 
does not imply that no disciples were present at 
the interview; and the directness of the narra- 
tive, though bearing the Johannean stamp, leads 
us to supppose that John was a witness. 

Rabbi, we know [oldajiev]. — First of all, 
Nicodemus accords to the Lord the dignity of 
Rabbi, denied to Him by many (ch. vii. 16); and 
this, considering the importance attached by the 
scribes to this title, is not without a favorable 
significance. This "we know" implies that he 
had kindred spirits in his circle, who acknow- 
ledged the high office of Jesus.* Yet the word 
shades off, in a somewhat politic sense, from a 
Pluralis excellentira into a suggestion of an in- 
definite prospect of recognition by the whole 
Sanhedrin.f It expresses also the self-sufficient 
scribe-spirit, and unconsciously betrays over- 
valuation of knowledge and under-valuation of 

A teacher come from God. — Acknow- 
ledgment of an indefinite prophetic character. J — 

For no man can do these miracles. — Ac- 
knowledgment of a number of accredited, im- 
portant miraculous signs [ravra rd GTjpela, hxece 
iania tig no], which Jesus had done in Jerusalem, 
and which, in the judgment of Nicodemus, certi- 
fied Him to be a new prophet of God. Miracle a 
test of a prophet, but under qualifications, Dent, 
xiii. 1 ; xviii. 20. 

Except God be with him. — The miracle 
proves the supernatural power which stands by 
the worker. False miracles might be performed 
through Satanic agency, Ex. vii. But the cha- 
racter and greatness of the miracles of Jesns 
made it certain to Nicodemus that He wrought 
them in the power of Qod. And this involved 
the further inference that He was accredited by 
the miracles as a prophet sent from God. The 
ipxeaOat is significant, ch. i. 6, 15. 

Ver. 8. Verily, verily, I say unto thee. — 
One of the great cardinal truths of the kingdom 
of heaven, solemnly introduced. The answer 
consists of a series of antitluses: (1) The ad- 
dress of Rabbi is answered by an address with- 
out Rabbi; (2) the "we know" is met with 
"verily, verily, I say unto thee;" (3) the word: 
Thou art come from above, and therefore art a 
teacher (from the kingdom of God), is met by the 
word : A man must be even born from above* if he 
would so much as see the kingdom of God; (4) 
the sign is met by the kingdom of God itself. 
And this antithesis runs through all: Thou 
wouldst know that I am a prophet, but thou still 
lackest the qualifications for seeing who I am, 
and seeing in me the personal manifestation of 
the kingdom of God. 

Various views of the relation of the answer of 

* [Bengel : Ego el met similes, principes points, quam Pha- 
risadjXM. 42. Huicplurali respondet pluralis, ver. 7. — P. 8.^ 

f [Comp. here the note of Alford. Stier thinks that Nice' 
demus, in using the plural, concealed his own conviction, so 
as to be able to draw back again if necessary. Rather far- 
fetched.— P. 8.1 

X [The word 6t5a<rcaAot seems to imply a cautions incon- 
sistency. The expected Messiah was a king, and never re- 
garded "as a mere teachtr till thj djys of modern Socini- 
ankm." Alford]. 

Digitized by 


CHAP. III. 1-21. 


Jesus to the address of Nicodemus: (1) Interme- 
diate talk omitted (Kuinoel and others). (2) 
Jesus would lead him from the faith of miracles 
to the faith which morally transforms (Augus- 
tine, De Wette). (3) Jesus is come not as a 
teacher, but for the moral transformation of the 
world (Baumgarten-Crusius). (4) Thouthinkest 
thou already seest a sign of the kingdom of God; 
no man can see the kingdom of God, unless he 
be born anew (Lightfoot, Lucke). (6) Meyer: 
The address of Nicodemus is interrupted by 
Christ, and must therefore be completed from 
this answer. Nicodemus intended to ask: What 
must I do, to enter into the kingdom of the Mes- 
siah ? To this Christ here gives him the answer. 
But (a) the hypothesis of interruption is unsuit- 
able; better, that of hesitation; best, that of po- 
lite, skilful waiting, as if to say: What more? 
(6) Nicodemus was as yet hardly so far advanced 
as to ask what Meyer puts into his mouth. The 
connection is probably this: Thou thinkest that 
I am come from God. But he who would even 
*« the kingdom of God, must be more than this; 
lie most be born from above ; how inuoh greater 
must be said of the Founder of the kingdom of 

Jesus gave him to understand that he had not 
yet reached the forecourt of true knowledge. 
At least Christ' 8 answer confronts the proud con- 
sciousness of the address with the humbling na- 
ture of truth. And when He requires the new 
birth from above as the condition of seeing the 
kingdom of God, He means, according to the ana- 
logy of the Jewish designation of proselytes as 
born again (Jeramoth fol. 62, etc.), primarily x 
Except a man come out from the old system, be- 
come a proselyte, publicly commit himself to a 
new position. And in birth from above the word 
demands a great transition. Nicodemus would 
privately assure Him of the adhesion of a party 
of the Pharisees, implying the presumption that 
he would attach himself to the old order of 
things. Jesus demands of him a proselytism 
wrought by God, a coming forth from the dark- 
ness of night and of the old party, if he would 
have any understanding at all of the kingdom of 
God which he himself announces. We may still 
suppose that John relates only the essential, sa- 
lient words, and omits intervening details ; the 
main progress of thought, however, he has un- 
doubtedly given, though in the color of his own 

Except a man be born from above ['Ed v 
ftij tic yevvq&y fivatfev].* Various interpre- 
tations of dvu&ev: (1) Locally: from heaven (en 
tov ovpavov) ; (2) temporally : afresh, from tne 
very beginning (££ apxys). Both views are ad- 
duced by Chrysostom [who himself explains the 
word by iraTuyytvecia']. In favor of the latter, in 
the sense of iterum, denuo, are the Vulgate [Au- 
gustine], Luther [Calvin, Beza], Olshausen, Ne- 
ander, Tholuck [Alford, Hengstenberg, Godet]. 
Against it are the verbal criticisms, that &v(j- 
dev, taken temporally, means not again, but from 
the beginning, and that the rendering again has 

•[Bengal: " Sarmo indeflnitus, quem Nicodemus tamen 
rrcte'ad «e appticat, camp. ver. 7, w»." This passage was 
ainady aooted in the middle of the second century by Justin 
M. 8^ Text. Note 7., The idea of aoine modern hyper-cri- 
tki that the author of the Gospel should have borrowed from 
Justin is simply ridiculous.— P. S.J 

probably arisen under the influence of the ex- 
pressions of Paul in Rom. xii. 2; Gal. vi. 15; 
Eph. iv. 23; Col. Hi. 10; Tit. iii. 5; and of Pet. 
in 1 Pet. i. 23. For the local explanation are 
Origen and many others, down to Bengel [su- 
pbbne, unde Filius hominis de$cendit\, Lucke, and 
Meyer [also De Wette, Robinson, Baur, Baum- 
lein, Weizs'aoker, Owen, Wordsworth]. From 
above, in the sense of from God, tn deov. This is 
further favored by* the consideration "that John 
conceives regeneration not under the aspect of a 
second birth, but of a divine birth, ch. i. 13 ; 1 
John ii. 29; iii. 9; iv. 7; v. 1." Meyer. The 
ideas of befog born from above or of God and be- 
ing born anew are, however, in substance inter- 
changeable, and Thoiuck's objections to Lucke, 
etc. [Krauth's trs., p. 114], are untenable. 

[Often as the fact of regeneration appears in 
the N. T., the terms for it are rare, and not near 
as frequent as the terms jierdvoia and others, which 
signify the corresponding act of man in turning to 
God under the regenerating operation of the Holy 
Spirit. The verb avudev yEvve&qmi, to be begotten, 
or born from above, t. e., from God, which is used 
twice in this ch. (vers. 6, 7), occurs nowhere 
else in the N. T. John also uses once to be born 
of water and Spirit (yevvTj^vai cf vdarog nal irvev- 
fiaros), ver. 6, and twice to be born of the Spirit 
(rb ytyewnpkvov en tov irvebfMTOQ, ver. 6, 6 yey. k< 
r. 7rv., ver. 8, without the water), but the more 
usual phrase with him is to be begotten, or born of 
God (yevvir&ffvai etc $eov\ i. 13; 1 John ii. 19; 
iii. 9; iv. 7; v. 1, 4, 18. The verb dvayewdo- 
fiai, to be begotten, or born again, occurs but once or 
twice, 1 Pet. i. 23 (avayeyewntikvoi ovk Ik (ttto- 
pdg Q&apryg aXhd. dfddprov, did Myov favroc 
$eov) ; 1 Pet. i. 8 (avayewqaas fade ei? kXmda) ; 
co rap. James i. 18 (d n e k i na e v j^af Myy dA?- 
#e/af). The noun dvayivvtfaic, regeneration, is not 
found at all in the N. T. (although often in the 
Greek fathers), but the analogous noun TraXiyyev- 
veaia occurs twice, once in connection with bap- 
tism, Tit. iii. 6 (ioooev $/xdQ did Tuovrpov irafayyeve- 
aiag koI dvaKaiv6oeug irveifiarog dyiov), and onco 
in a more comprehensive sense, with reference to 
the final resurrection and consummation of all 
things, Matth. xix. 28 (ev t# iraXiyysveoig, otqv 
k. t. %.). Paul speaks of a new creature (naivi) 
Krfotc) in Christ, 2 Cor. v. 17, and of the new man 
(naivbc avtipemos), Eph. iv. 24. The Rabbinical 
theology had a very superficial conception of the 
new birth and confined it pretty much to the 
change in the external status of a proselyte to Ju- 
daism. Hence the comparative ignorance and 
perplexity of Nicodemus who, being a circum- 
cised Jew, did not feel the need of such a radical 
change. — P. S.] 

The kingdom of God. — The fact that the 
phrase " kingdom of God " occurs only here and 
in ver. 5, and nowhere else in John i except ch. 
xviii. 86, the fiaeiteia Xpiorov, which Meyer has 
overlooked), not only proves, as Meyer rightly 
observes, the independent originality of this Gos- 
pel, but also characterizes John's view of Chris- 
tianity. From his point of view John sees not 
the form of a universal kingdom, but the world 
transfigured in personal being. Lucke : John 
seems to have transformed the positive Jewish 
idea into the more abstract, and to the Greeks 
more intelligible formula of fellowship (noivwvia, 

Digitized by 




1 John.i. 3), the unity of believers with God and 
Christ. The essential elements of the idea of a 
kingdom, however, come out distinctly in chap- 
ters x. and xvii., and are fully developed in the 
Apocalypse. On the paoiXeia rob deov see Com. 
on Matthew iii. 2, p. 6 ( J. [The kingdom of God 
is a deeper and more spiritual conception than 
the church, which is the earthly training school 
for the heavenly and everlasting kingdom. We 
could not with any propriety substitute here: 
"Except . . . he cannot see the church." — P. S.] 

He cannot see. — Not even see; to say no- 
thing of entering, being at home therein. Meyer 
disputes this interpretation; conip. elacA.&etv, vcr. 
5. That entrance and experience go with the 
seeing, must of course be understood. 

Ver. 4. How can a man be born when 
he is old ? — Taken literally, this roply of Nico- 
demu3 supposes an absurdity. And so Meyer, 
after Strauss, would take it. He admits that 
a Jewish theologian must have been familiar with 
the Old Testament ideas of circumcision of the 
heart (Deut. xxx. G; Jer. iv. 4), and anew heart 
and spirit (Ezek. xi. 19; xxxvi. 26; Ps. li. 10; 
lxxxvi. 11); yet Nicodemus may have been 
limited in other respects ; and now on meet- 
ing Jesus, become really perplexed. We might 
rather suppose that the good-humored old 
man spoke, possibly even wittily, with a dou- 
ble meaning.* The first sentence may mean 
either: How can a Jewish Senator, an el- 
der of the people, become a heathen proselyte ? 
or: How can a physically old man, undergo 
new, fundamental, spiritual transformation? 
The second sentence would then illustrate this 
impossibility by a physical impossibility: Can 
lie enter the second time into his mother's womb ? 
The expositor must remember that the Orientals 
constantly express their thoughts in such simi- 
litudes. Meyer: " Tho avwtfev he understood 
not as debrcpov, but not at all." He assuredly did 
understand it as an equivalent of debrepov, for 
the total antithesis is evidently implied: aw 
-dsv yevvy&Tjvai, U rye yfa yewq&ijvai. Then the 
idea of being born from above involves that of 
being born anew. Various interpretations. (1) 
A Jew is required to make himself the same as 
a proselyte (Wetstein, Knapp). (2) Luthardt: 
The beginning of a new spiritual life is not to be 
conceived without a new beginning of the natu- 
ral. (This could not be said by one familiar with 
the Old Testameut). (3) The demand is as un- 
reasonable as that one should enter a second 
time into his mother's womb, etc. (Schwejzer, 
Tholuck). (4) No one can turn in mature age 
into a different spiritual state (Schleiermacher, 
Baumgarten-Crusius). Besides the two anti- 
theses here quoted — an old man required to make 
a new spiritual beginning, a Jewish elder to be- 
come a proselyte — the expression contains also 
the intimation that an old, matured stage of the 
Jewish spirit could not pass into a new and dif- 
ferent youthful life. But we still suppose that 
Nicodemus employs the sensuous expression in 
innocent good-nature, to bring out vividly, with 

• [Godet finds in tho words of Nicodemus no absurdity, hut 
a good-natured irony, une bonhomie un peu ironiaw. This 
hiinlly suits the' seriousness of the occasion. Nicodemus 
■pOiifcs comparatively. A moral new birth in an old man 
feems to him as impossible as a second natural birth.— P. S.J I 

rabbinic art, the impossibility of the requirement 
of Jesus. 

Ver. 6. Born of water and Spirit [y e v v if- 
#9 eg vdaroc. ical Kvebfiaroc]. — The next 
answer of Jesus has three noticeable features: 
(1) The imperturbable confidence expressed in the 
repetition; (2) The advance of the thought; the 
explanation of the birth from above as a being 
born of water and Spirit; (3) The entering into 
the kingdom of God, instead of seeing it Where- 
upon further explanations follow, vers. 6, 7, and 8. 
[Before giving the various interpretations, we 
shall briefly state our own view on this impor- 
tant and difficult passage. The key to it is fur- 
nished by the declaration of the Baptist that he 
baptized only with water, but Christ would bap- 
tize with the Holy Ghost, John i. 33 (fiairrifrtv 
h vtiari — rb Trvevfia); Matth. iii. 11, and by the 
passage of Paul where he connects Christian bap- 
tism, as *• the bath of regeneration" (hnrrpdv ira- 
?uyyeveoiag) with "the renewal of the Holy 
Ghost " (avaicaivuHJtg irvebfiaroe. ayiov), and yet dis- 
tinguishes both, Tit iii. 5. Comp. also Bph. vi. 
26 {Ka&apioae r£ ?j)vrp<t> tov vdarog) ; 1 John v. 6 
(*• that came by water and blood," after which 
X. B. insert ical rrvcvfiaToe, " not by water only, 
but by water and blood"); ver. 8 ("three that 
bear witness on earth, the Spirit, and the water, 
and tho blood "). The term vtiop then is closely 
related to, and yet clearly distinguished from, 
nvevpa, and in such connection always refers to 
baptismal water. It is water in its well known 
symbolic significance, as representing purifica- 
tion from sin by the cleansing blood of atone- 
ment. So water appears often already in the 
O. T., especially in Messianic passages. Ps. li. 
2: "Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, 
and cleanse me from my sin." Isa. Iii. 15: "So 
shall He sprinkle many nations." Ezek. xxxvi. 
25: " Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, 
and ye shall be clean ;" to which is added, ver. 
26, t he promise of a new spirit and a new heart, 
Zech. xiii. 1 : "In that day there shall be * foun- 
tain opened in the house of David and to the in- 
habitants of Jerusalem for sin and for unclean- 
ness;" comp. xii. 10, where the outpouring of 
the Spirit of grace is promised at the coming of 
the Messiah. Nicodemus, though ignorant of 
Christian baptism, which did not appear till the 
day of Pentecost-, was familiar with these pas- 
sages, with Jewish lustrations, with the baptism 
of John unto repentance, probably also with the 
baptism of the disciples of Jesus (mentioned soon 
afterwards, John iii. 22; iv. 2), and the baptism 
of proselytes which Jewish tradition traces back 
to remote antiquity. The idea which underlies 
all these baptisms is essentially the same. We 
would therefore not confine vSup to any particu- 
lar form of baptism, but (with Lange, see below, 
No. 5) extend it to all preparatory lustrations; 
nor would we refer it directly to the sacrament 
as an external act or rite, but (with Olshausen) 
to the idea rather of which the cleansing with 
water is the symbolic expression; just as in ch. 
vi. we have an exposition of the general idea of 
the holy communion before the sacrament was in- 
stituted in which it comes to its full embodiment 
The idea underlying all forms of baptism, is the 
forgiveness of sins on condition of repentance. 
This is the negative part of regeneration, while 

Digitized by 


CHAP. III. 1-21. 


the new life communicated by the Holy Spirit is 
the positive part, or regeneration proper. So 
Peter in his penteoostal sermon represents the 
matter when he calls upon his hearers: "Re- 
pent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ 
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the 
gift of the Holy Ghost " (Acts ii. 38). The chief 
matter is, of course, the positive part, the gift of 
the Holy Spirit, who is the efficient cause, the 
creative and vivifying agent of regeneration, and 
who alone can make the word and the sacrament 
effective. Hence the Spirit alone is mentioned 
vers. 6 and 8. The omission of water here is as 
significant, as the omission of baptism in the ne- 
gative clause of Mark xvi. 16, where the condi- 
tion of salvation and the reason of damnation are 
laid down. This is a sufficient hint that the ne- 
cessity of water baptism to salvation is not ab- 
solute, but relative only. The penitent thief 
passed into paradise without water baptism. 
Cornelius was regenerated before he was bap- 
tized, and many martyrs in the early ages died 
for Christ before they had a chance to receive 
the sacrament. It is possible to have the sub- 
stance without the form, the baptism of the Spi- 
rit, without the baptism of water; as it is quite 
common, on the other hand, to be baptized with 
water and have the Christian name without the 
Christian spirit and life. The Apostles them- 
selves (except Paul) never received Christian 
baptism, for Christ Himself who alone could have 
administered it to them, did not baptize (iv. 2). 
In their case the penteoostal effusion of the 
Spirit was sufficient. We are bound to God's 
appointed means of grace, but God is free, and 
the Spirit "bloweth where it listeth."— P. S.] 
Different interpretations of water. 
(1) The water signifies [Christian] baptism 
(fathers, and older Lutheran divines, Meyer,* 
Tboluck, De Wette).f Baptism is XovTpSv KaXiy- 
ytvzalaq as the means of cleansing, Tit. iii. 5; 
1 Peu iii. 21 ; Eph. v. 26; Heb. x. 22; 1 John 
v. 6, 8. With baptism the gift of the Holy Ghost 
is joined, Acts ii. 38. Tholuck: "The water is 
(ch. vii. 39) the symbol of the communication of 
the Spirit/' Yet probably in another sense. 
Calvin's objection: The words would then have 
been unintelligible, because the baptism of Christ 
had not yet begun. J Strauss: This very thing 

* [Meyer : Baptism is meant as the causa medians, the Holy 
Bpfrtt m the causa efficient of regeneration. lie thinks that 
no other bat Christian baptism can be meant because it is 
connected with the Holy Spirit.— P. S.] 

f [So also Hengstenberg, Godet, Webster and Wilkinson, A. 
Barnes, Owen (who explains: except ye receive Vie rite of 
Christian baptism). Hooker, as quoted by Wordsworth, re- 
marks : " Of all ancient writers there is not one to bo named 
who ever expounded the text otherwise than as implying ex- 
temal baptism." Wordsworth, who follows the fathers into 
all their allegorical fancies, has a curious note here to show 
what an important part water occupies in the Oospel of John. 
Christ just came from the water, Christ turned water into 
vine, Christ presents Himself as the water of life (ch. iv.), 
Christ does nothing without water, e/c— P. 8.] 

X [True ; but Nlcodemus understood from the lustrations of 
the 0. T. and the public baptism of John, the general idea of 
baptismal purification which culminated in Christian bap- 
tism ; and besides Christ spoke not only to Nicodomus, but 
through him to all men and all ages. J. C. Ryle (of the 
•rang, party of the Church of England), in his Expository 
Thoughts on John, urges six arguments against the usual in- 
terpretation, especially because the reference of water to bap- 
tism wouki imply the regenerate state of all the baptized and 
the abwlute necessity of baptism for salvation. But this is 
reasoning from dogmatical inferences which are not justified 
either by the context or the analogy of Scripture, Christ 

proves a later insertion [a proleptic fiction] of 
the Evangelist. 

(2) The older Reformed divines (except Beza, 
Aretius), also Arminians, Socinians: vAup is a 
figurative term for the purifying power of the Spirit; 
therefore iv did dvotv.* 

(3) Piscator, Grotius, Episcopius, Neander, 
Baumgarten-Crusius : the baptism of JbAn.f 

(4) Schweizer: the proselyte baptism, with: 
not only, but also— to be supplied. J 

(5) Baptism in the comprehensive 8 e rise as a 
theocratic historical lustration in its various 
phases according to the degree of the develop- 
ment of the kingdom of God. Thus the flood 
even is represented as a prototype of Christian 
baptism [1 Pot. iii. 20, 21]. Lucke alone brings 

clearly demands, besides baptism, the new birth of tho Spirit, 
and lays the main stress on this (vers. ii, 8), as lie does on 
faith, Mark xvi. 16, as the indispensable condition to salva- 
tion. See below. — P. S.] 

* [Calvin : Of water, which is the purifying Spirit, so that 
water and Spirit mean the same thing, as spirit and fire, 
Matth. iii. 11. Coccejus : Orutia Dei, sordes et vttia abluent. 
Liimpo : Obedientia C/tristi. Grotius : Spiritus aqueus, i. e., 
aqtue instar emctidans. But in view of the facts that John 
baptized, that Christ Himself was baptized, that His disci- 
pies (iv. 2) baptized in His name, it seems impossible to dis- 
connect water from baptism. Calvin's interpretation aroso 
from doctrinal opposition to tho It. Catholic over-valuation 
of tho sacrament, which must be guarded against in another 
way. Godet, of the Reformed Church of Switzerland, cor- 
rectly remarks (1. 408) : " 11 est impossible de ne pas prendre 
le mot eau dans son sens naturel et de nt pas Vappliquer au 
baptimer—P. &] 

t [This view is also held by Bengel, ITofmann, and Dean 
Alford ; yet by tho latter so as to allow for a wider applica- 
tion to Christian baptism, which certainly should not be ex- 
cluded. After showing that v6o>p must mean baptismal 
water, Alford goes on to say : " This being then recognised, 
to what does vooap refer f At that time, two kinds of bap- 
tism were known : that of tho proselytes by which they wore 
received into Judaism, — and that of John, by which, as a pre- 
paratory rito, symbolizing repentance, the peoplo were made 
ready for Him who was to baptize them with the Holy Ghost. 
But both these were significant of one and the same truth ; 
that namely of the entire cleansing of the man for the new 
and spiritual life on which he was to enter, symbolized by 
water cleansing the outward person. Both were appointed 
means, — the one by the Jewish Church, — tho other, stamping 
that first with approval, by God Himself, — towards their re- 
spective ends. John himself declared his baptism to be t'n- 
complete,— it was only with water ; one was coming, who 
should baptize with the Holy Ghost. That declaration of his 
is tlie key to Vie understanding of this verse. Baptism, com- 
plete, with water and the Spirit, is the admission into the 
kingdom of God. Those who have received the outward sign 
and the spiritual grace, have entered into that kingdom. And 
this entrance was fullv ministered to tho disciples when the 
Spirit descended on them on the day of Pentecost. So that, 
as spoken to Nicodemus, theso words referred him to the bap- 
tism of John, which probably (see Luke vii. 30) ho had 
slighted. But they were not only spoken to him. The words 
of our Lord havo in them life and meaning for all ages of His 
Church : and more especially these opening declarations of 
His ministry. He here unites together tho two elements of 
a complete Baptism which were sundered in tho words of tho 
Baptist, ch. i. 33 — in which united form He afterwards (Matth. 
xxviii. 19, 20; Mark xvi. 16) ordained it as a sacrament of 
His Church. Hero He speaks of spiritual Baptism, as in ch. 
vi. of spiritual Communion, and in both places in connection 
with the outward conditions and media of those sacraments. 
It is observable that here, as ordinarily (with a special ex- 
ception, Acts x. 44 AT.), the outward sign comes first, and then 
tho spiritual grace, vouchsafed in and by means of it where 
duly received." The objection to a reference of ii&ap to John's 
baptism is, that Christ after manifesting Himself as the Mes- 
siah could not well have made tho lxiptinra of His forerunner 
a condition of admission to His kingdom. In this case He 
would have said at least owe c£ v&aro? pdVop, aAAa xcu, 
not only of water, but also and chiefly of the Spirit.— P. S.] 

t [This is entirely inapplicable to Nicodomus, who was ft 
Jew In full communion. Besides it is not quite certain, al- 
though probable, that the Jewish proselyte baptism existed 
before Christ. Comp. Schneckenburger, Ueber das Alter der 
tiki. Proselytentavfe und derm Zusammenhang mil dem jo- 
hanneischen und chrisi lichen RUus, and Horzog'a £ncycL. 
vol.XII„nv245.-P.S.J ^ 

Digitized by 




forward the universal idea of baptism in its sym- 
bolical import. " Wuter is here, as in the bap- 
tism of John, the symbol of purification, of pird- 
voia, of the essential but negative beginning of 
the being born of God.'* It is only to be ob- 
served, first, that a merely negative beginning 
is inconceivable; and secondly, that the fieravota 
in question is one which completes itself by en- 
trance into a new, higher fellowship by means 
of the corresponding' lustration. And this lus- 
tration, of course, was not yet before Nicodemus 
in the Christian form, but only in the form of 
the baptism of John. The word refers, there- 
fore, primarily to the baptism of John. But to 
lb is, as the lustration of its time. The word found 
its fulfilment in the Christian baptism, which ac- 
tually asserts its character as a dividing lustra- 
tion between the old world and the new. The pas- 
sage is therefore to bo explained from the words 
of John : " I baptize with water, etc.;** except 
that Christ makes of the antithesis a synthesis. 
Concretely: One must become a divinely begot- 
ten proselyte, through the medium of disciple- 
ehip under John and disciplcship under Christ. 
It cannot be objected, that John's office is only 
temporary (against Meyer). As the transition 
is through the Old Testament into the New, so it 
is also through the person who closes the Old 
Testament to him who opens the New, to Christ. 
One must first become historically a Christian, re- 
ceiving the lustration of Christian discipline ; then, 
spiritually a Christian. As the condition of salva- 
tion, the two things are a concrete unit; the first 
not without the second, the second not without the 
first; yet the second, the baptism of the Spirit, the 
chief and decisive thing according to ver. G. 

Of water and Spirit. — The relation of the 
two. — Olshausen: The water denotes the soul pu- 
rified in simple repentance, as the feminine prin- 
ciple, the Spirit, the masculine. (Is this a rem- 
nant of theosophy?)* Meyer: The passage shows 
the necessity of baptism to participation in the 
kingdom of the Messiah, but only to those passing 
over to Christianity, not to Christian children (for 
which he quotes, without warrant, 1 Cor. vii. 14). 
Tboluck: According to the Lutheran doctrine 
the communication of the Spirit is not absolute, 
but only ordinarie dependent on baptism. The 
i k, according to the Lutheran doctrine, denotes 
the causa materialis, according to Musasus, w- 
strununtalit. Tholuck himself proposes a mid- 
dle view, making U denote the visible source, 
the operating cause. This, however, is not a 
middle view, but a still stronger form of the 
causa materialis. Unquestionably the etc with 
water denotes the historical means, with Spirit, 
the vital. — The water is the predominantly nega- 
tive medium of the birth, the Spirit, the pre- 
dominantly positive. In general, the birth from 
water might be intelligible to the Israelite from 
his usual lustrations, and particularly from the 
promises in Is. i. 16 ; Mai. iii. 8 ; Jer. xxxiii. 
8; Ezek. xxxvi. 25; and the birth from the 
Spirit, from circumcision, and such promises as 
Ezek. xxxvi. 26 ; Joel ii. 28 ; Zech. xii. 10. 

* [Olehatwen refers for illustration to the brooding of the 
Spirit of God over the waters of the deep in the first creation, 
which in a certain sense is repeated in every new birth ; 
hence the regenerate is called a new creature, 2 Cor. v. 17. 
—P. S.J 

Ho cannot enter. — Liicke : In the nature of 
the case eio£Ai)eiv must be the same as Idtiv; that 
is, have a share in the presence of the kingdom 
of God. [So also Meyer]. Still Idelv denotes this 
rather in the aspect of perceiving as an object, 
tlaeMelv, of entering into it. And this makes 
the expression a further development of the idea 
of the participation, corresponding to the further 
definition of the being born from above, as a be- 
ing born of water and of the Spirit. 

[It is from this expression mainly (ov dvvarat 
eloe/.deiv, etc.), that the fathers inferred the doc- 
trine of the absolute necessity of baptism for sal- 
vation, which is still taught in the symbols of the 
Greek, Roman, and Lutheran churches. Clement 
of Alexandria assumed that even the saints of the 
0. T. were baptized in hades before they could 
pass into heaven, and Augustine went so far as 
to exclude all unbaptized infants who die in in- 
fancy from heaven, — an inference against which 
all our nobler feelings instinctively rebel. Bap- 
tism no doubt is the ordinary and regular way 
to Christ's church, as circumcision was to the 
Jewish church. But on the other hand it has 
always been maintained by judicious divines in 
all churches, that*it is not the want, but the con- 
tempt of the sacrament that condemns (non defee- 
tus, or privatio, sed contemptus sacrament* damnat), 
and that under certain conditions the baptism 
of desire (baptismus flaminis), and the baptism of 
blood in martyrdom (baptismus sanguinis), may be 
a full equivalent of baptism proper (baptismus 
fluminis). The omission of water in vers. 6 and 8, 
implies that the Holy Spirit may produce rege- 
neration without baptism, as He undoubtedly did 
under the Jewish dispensation and in the case of 
Cornelius; while on the other hand the example 
of Simon Magus proves that baptism may take 
place without being accompanied by spiritual 
regeneration. The necessity of regeneration and 
faiih to salvation is absolute, the necessity of 
baptism, or any thing else, is merely relative. 
Only unbelief, t. e., tho rejection of the gospel, 
with or without baptism, condemns. This is 
clearly taught, Mark xvi. 16; 6 6i airiorfcac 
(without the addition teal //# (ianTiodelc) KaraKpt- 
VT/oETat. Comp. my remarks on p. 127. — P. S.] 

Ver. G. That which is born of the flesh. 
— The o&pg here is the designation of human na- 
ture in its sinful tendency, antithetic to spirit. 
Generally John uses oap% for human nature as a 
whole. He now, at the outset, views human na- 
ture as sinful odpg in contrast with the Spirit 
(ch. i. 18, and here). But that he can conceive 
it also as regenerate o&p£, appears from ch. i. 14, 
and vi. 51 sqq. From this alone it follows, that 
he must have an idea of an original pure o6p£ ; 
and this is evident also from ch. xvii. 2. 2ap£, 
absolutely, therefore, is not "the material na- 
ture of man, ethically determined by sinful incli- 
nation of which it is the seat, with the principle 
of the sensuous life of the i}wx4" (Meyer). 
2(fy>£ is here, as in ch. i. 13, the whole human 
nature, body, soul, and spirit, but under per- 
verse dominion of the o&pi; in the narrower sense, 
in contrast with the ruling of the human spirit 
by the Spirit of God. The neuter stands for 
the personal, to make the expression as general 
as possible (Winer, p. 160). There is thus tho 
same antithesis as in oh. i. 13. All men are 

Digitized by 


CHAP. III. 1-21. 


flesh, in bo far as they have proceeded from the 
natural, carnal generation, stand opposed to the 
kingdom of God, and need the birth from the 
Spirit. What, therefore, is born of the flesh is 
flesh, and would be flesh again, though a man 
could be born the second time of his mother. 
Besser says: "Not something in us is carnal, 
but everything" (see Flacius.) 

That which is born of the Spirit.— The 
water in ver. 5 is omitted as less decisive, but is 
implied, especially in so far as the office of the 
water is to abnegate that which is sinful in the 
birth from the oapi- in order to mediate the birth 
from the Spirit. The passage relates not only 
to a proceeding of the moral nature and life from 
the Spirit of God (Meyer), but to a transforma- 
tion of the whole person himself by the opera- 
tions of the Spirit. — Is spirit. That is: Is de- 
termined in its whole nature by the Spirit as its 
principle, growing towards entire spiritualiza- 
tion, as that which is born of the flesh is deter- 
mined by the flesh as its principle, and in its 
abnormal development sinks into carnality, Rom. 
TiiL 5. Evidently the whole sentence applies to the 
whole human race (not, as Kuinoel holds, to the 
Jews alone), and expresses: (1) The contrast be- 
tween the old man and Christ as the Son of Man ; 
(2) The contrast between the un regenerate and 
the regenerate (see Rom. v.). Meyer: "In the 
conclusions respectively, the substantives o&pi; and 
rvevjia stand significantly and strongly [comp. 
1 John iv. 8] for the adjectives aaptuKog and 
xvrvfiariKdc, and are to be taken qualitatively." 
Ver. 7 Marvel not. — The expression of 
Jesus reflects the astonishment of the aged 
hearer. 11 is confusion seems to pass into waiting 
admiration. Christ then shows him why he 
should not wonder, by illustrating the spiritual 
mystery by a mystery of nature. With great 
force He here brings out the word : Ye must, etc. 
Ben gel : Te et eos, quorum nomine locutus es. 

Ver. 8. The wind bloweth where it 
listeth. — The comparison of the one nvevfia with 
the other, as well as the verb irvei, sitisfies us 
that the subject here is the wind, not the Spirit, 
as Origen and Augustine took the word. Not 
alone the double sense of the word {nvevpa, HI*)), 
bat the symbolical import of the wind also occa- 
sions the illustration of the spiritual case by the 
natural analogy. With John, concrete, graphic 
circumstances always reflect themselves in high 
thoughts*; and thus we may suppose the figure 
here to have been furnished by a storm or roaring 
wind in the night. Now first comes the ques- 
tion: What does the figure say? Then: What 
does it mean ? The wind in its blowing, the air 
in its motion, U a type of the Spirit, because it is 
in fact the element of the unity and union of the 
diversities of the earth. It bloweth where it listeth. 
The personification of the wind is suggested by its 
uncon fined, apparently free motion, as unaccount- 
able as original, personal will. Where f Meyer 
presents an example of ttov with a verb of mo- 
tion; but here the where is emphatic, the place 
where the wind whistles and roars in its strength. 
[There are three points of comparison between 
the wind and the Spirit in the work of regenera- 
tion: 1) the freedom and independence: birov 
$&u *v€l; 2) the irresistible effect: ttjv <ponn/v 
axobeic; 8) the incomprehensibility: ovk 

olSac, both as to origin (ir6dev) and termination 
(ttov bndyet). To these might be added a fourth 
analogy, which, however, is not stated in the' 
text, viz., the different degrees of power; the 
Holy Spirit acts now like the gentle breeze upon 
minds as tenderly constituted as John, Melanch- 
thon, Zinzendorf, now like a sweeping storm or 
whirlwind upon characters as strong as Paul, 
Luther, Calvin, Knox. Hence the presumption 
and folly to make our own experience the measure 
and rule for all others. We should rather adore 
the wisdom and goodness of God in the variety 
of His operation. — P. S.] 

And thon nearest the sound thereof; 
bnt canst not tell.— Though perfectly mani- 
fest, the deepest mystery. And first in reference 
to the whence. Even if the general conditions 
of its origin be known, as they were only in part 
to the ancients (locality, season, heat, etc.), yet 
the particular actual conditions, and the precise 
origin of a given current, are not known. No 
more the end of the current, its particular actual 
effects. So with the Spirit, both as to its origin 
and its effects, in the matter of regeneration. 
The origin of the rustling wind of the new life- 
word of Christ, which stirs him, Nicodemus does 
not know. The wind comes down mysteriously 
through the Old Testament with ever increasing 
strength. Nicodemus has marked many things 
in the Old Testament, but not the rising motion 
of the Spirit. Still less knows he whither this 
mighty Spirit-current leads, out over Israel into 
the Gentile world, and out over the earth iuto the 
eternal heaven. Yet the Lord immediately gives 
to the figure a definite application. In whatever 
soul the Spirit of regeneration would act, there 
he is present all at once in his untrammelled 
power. The beginnings are a mystery. So the 
issues in the eternal life. This, too, Nicodemus 
did not yet know; how the Spirit had seized him, 
and whither it would go with him, 1 Cor. xv. 28. 
How some of the older theologians used this pas- 
sage for the doctrine of gratia irresisiibilis, while* 
others denied this use of it, and how Calvin inter- 
preted it, not for his system, but only as present- 
ing the incomprehensible and mysterious in the 
work of the Spirit, see in Tholuck. The words 
concerning the wind and regeneration would evi- 
dently say: Regeneration is a thing which, both 
as to its origin and its goal, is a mystery of faith, 
but in its manifestation, especially under the 
preaching of the Gospel and under awakening mi- 
racles, is a mighty, unmistakable life. Faith as 
life is plain : life as faith is a mystery. The wind 
a type of divine operation ; Xenoph. Memorab., 4, 
8, 1 4. Comp. Ps. cxxxv. 7 ; Eccles. xi. 6. 

So Is every one. — Popular phrase for: So 
is it with every one. 

Ver. 9. How can these things be? — 
Luther: "Nicodemus becomes more foolish and 
gets no idea of the parable.' 1 Slier: *'He now 
really asks, instead of contradicting." If the 
question be interpreted from the advance of the 
discourse of Jesus, it says far more, and the nag 
is not hxsitanlu, as Grotius takes it. Nicodemus 
asks now with the wish that such a regeneration 
may be possible by a power which makes water 
and Spirit operative. Though the wind so mys- 
teriously comes and goes, it yet has its sufficient 
cause; where lies the sufficient cause for the 

Digitized by 




mysterious regeneration of water and the Spirit? 
The 6 b vara i haying been already treated, the 
emphasis now is not on it> but on jruf. 

Ver. 10. Master of Israel, and knowest 
not these things? — Not now a rebuke for 
want of faith in the power of the divine Spirit 
(Tholuck), but a reminder that he, as Master of 
Israel, ought to know the ground for the out- 
pouring of the Spirit, to wit, the dootrine of 
Christ the Son of God, and His sufferings and 
His redeeming work. — Master of Israel. Ac- 
cording to Scholl (see Liioke, I. p. 627) three 
men stood at the head of the Sanhedrin: The 
president (M'fettn), who was called, by eminence, 
the publio teacher of the law; the rice-president, 
or paler domut judicii, site SynedrU (j'l JV3 3K) ; 
and the wise man (D3H), sitting on the left of the 
president Now Nicodemus could hardly haye 
been the president of the Sanhedrin; but he 
might haye been "the wise man" Tet, as Liicke 
remarks, this last office is doubtful, and the ideas 
of wise man, teacher, etc., do not coincide. Liicke, 
after Erasmus: "IUe doctor, cujus tarn Celebris est 
opinio" Nicodemus took the lead of those who 
desired to know concerning Jesus; so far he was 
the teacher of Israel He wished to know what 
he was, and did not know that he was the Mes- 
siah, or what the Messiah was, as the basis of 
the sending of the Spirit and of regeneration. 
This he might know from Is. xi. and lxi. 

Ver. 11. Verily, verily, We speak that 
whiohweknow. — The introduction of another 
cardinal truth of the doctrine of Christ the Son 
of God, His sufferings and His work. An intima- 
tion that it is He himself, without the declaration 
that it is He. That toe do know. The personal 
oertitude of Christ meeting the ignorance of 
Nicodemus. A plural of personal dignity, reiled 
, in the plural of the new Christian community. 
The plural, therefore, does not mean simply : (1) 
Christ and John the Baptist (Knnpp, Luthardt) ; 
(2) Christ and the prophets (Luther, [Calvin], 
Tholuck); (8) Christ and God (Chrysostom, and 
others);* (4) Christ and the Holy Ghost (Ben gel) ; 
(6) Men (Baumgarten-Crusius) ; (6) The uni- 
versal Christian consciousness (Hilgenfeld); (7) 
Jesus alone (Meyer). f " We speak that which we 
know," has reference to the consciousness of 
Christ alone. " Testify that which we hare seen, 1 ' 
relates to Christ and his associates, the Baptist 
and the disciples, who recognized in him the 

Slory of the Son of God, [^Hengstenberg and Go- 
et include the disciples in both plurals. Godet 
makes some good remarks here (I. p. 420), and 
says that the plural gives to the passage a festive 
rhythmical character in the consciousness of 
standing no more alone. It reminds one of 
Matth. zi. 25, where our Lord thanks His Father 
that He had revealed the mysteries of the king- 
dom to babes, while they are hid from the wise 
and prudent. — P. 8.] Meyer refers lopdicafiev 
to Christ's having seen with God in his prm- 
existence. But here the prm-existence and the 
life of Christ form a concrete unit. 

• [Stler : The three Persons in the Holy Trinity. Bnt fc*- 
p&xap.<v suits neither Ood the Father nor the Holy Spirit. 
—P. 8.1 

f [Lttcke, De Wette. So also Alford, but in a proverbial ra- 
ther than rhetorical sense.— F. 8.] 

And ye receive not our witness.-— The 

Sanhedrin had not admitted the testimony of 
John or the manifestation of Christ; Nicodemus 
himself acknowledged only the prophet in Him, 
and had objected to the doctrine of regeneration. 

Ver. 12. If I have told you earthly (hu- 
man) things. — 'Eiriyeta, in antithesis with 
kirovpdvia. According to the context, the Lord 
evidently means by kniyeia the doctrine of re- 
generation and its conditions, as He afterwards 
means by kirovpdvia the doctrine of the Son of 
God, the suffering Christ, the redemption of the 
world. But why these terms? By Myeia we 
understand the truths and facts already, having 
place on earth (kirlyetov f that which is found on 
earth),* by kirovpdvia (kirovpdviov, that which is 
found in heaven ),f hew heavenly revelations and 
things. The doctrines of regeneration, of bap- 
tism, of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, were 
more distinctly expressed in the Old Testament 
than the doctrine of their cause, the Son of God, 
etc. ; they were in some sense already at home in 
Israel. For though the knovpdvia, before God 
and in idea, form the jprtto, and are the ba.sis of 
the kiriyeia, yet here, as every where, ihe posterity 
comes to view before the prius in its whole, es- 
sential glory. It should be noticed that further 
on yrj and ovpavdc come in the same sort of anti- 
thesis. In a theological point of view the brl- 
yeia might be compared with anthropological 
truths, the knovpdvia with the strictly theological, 
Christologicftl, and soteriologioaL 

Various interpretations. 

(1) Luther, Bera, Grotius: The hrlyeta, are 
the preceding figurative expressions ; therefore 
the kirovpdvia, what they mean. 

(2) Liicke: iiriyeia, synonymous with ra h 
X*pow, as in Wisd. ix. 16; J tangible things, ly- 
ing near to men, at hand [easily understood] ; 
those kv ovpavotc, unsearchable, remote from 
men J (Tholuck : the divine counsels). 

(3) De Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius: Moral 
things, in which the man has a receptive acti- 
vity, and heavenly things, in which he bears 
himself with receptive faith. || 

(4) Meyer, somewhat more uncertainly: What 
Jesus had hitherto presented, among other things 
the doctrine of regeneration, in distinction from 
what He would present in future, heavenly mys- 
teries, fl 

•[Comp. 1 Cor. xv.40; 2 Cor. v. 1: Phil. II. 10; ill. 19; 
James iii. 15 : gap. ix. 16.-P. 8J 
t (Comp. Mutth. xvili. 35 ; 1 Cor. xv. 40, 48 ; Eph. t. 3 ; PhIL 

X [A striking parallel : xal fuSAtc cut4£oper rft eirt rift yjjt 
«rai t4 iv xcpfftr ti/pi<TKOfity perA irovov, ta to iv ovoarot* vt» 
jttxwaffc. Bat in this passage the earthly things belong to 
the order of nature, while in our passage the Lord distin- 
guishes between earthly things and heavenly things in the 
sphere of religion and revelation. — P. 8.1 

Jl8oal8oReus8,£ru<.deJatW>i.eAr^t.n^ p. 427. But 
is-ovpaVia never has this meaning. — P. 8. J 

| [Similarly Godet: d*t chow* dont vout pomrier comtater 
en vout-mimct la reality and on the other hand Us secret* dm 
del auHlfaudra croirf. uniquement txtr ma parole.— P. S.l 

fl [itegeneration, says Meyer (5th ed. p. Id2), though origi- 
nating in heaven, takes placo on earth and so far belongs to 
the category of the iviytia. He includes in this, however, 
all that Jesus had hitherto told the Jews (cIs-op vf-iv), as dis- 
tinct from the iuovfxivia, i. «., the Messianic mysteries and 
divine counsels in regard to the redemption of the world. 
Hengstcnberg essentially agrees with Meyer (1. 197). Alford 
takes the earthly and the heavenly things to mean the 
same mysteries but viewed under two aspects, either as oc- 
curring on earth and among men, or as having their orhrin 
In the divine counsels.— P. S.J * ^ 

Digitized by 


CHAP. III. 1-21. 


(5) Lampe, more clearly:. The earthly things, 
that which had hitherto been presented, because 
(a) the work of grace is wrought upon earth; 
(6) Israel had been already instructed concerning 
it under the economy of the law. The heavenly 
things, the new things which were to be presented 
concerning the heavenly origin of that work and 
the nature of the divine decree, etc., as dark things, 
and for the most part remaining yet unknown. 

How will ye believe, etc. — Expressing ap- 
prehension of finding Nioodemus still more obtuse 
to what he had yet to say. It should be observed 
that in both eases Nicodemus is regarded in his 
connection with the Jews. Just this connection 
makes it so hard for him to believe. The singular 
also should be noticed, which here comes in with 
great strength in contrast with the previous 
plural : If I tell you, — introducing what follows. 
Ver. 13. And no man hath ascended. — Now 
follows first the doctrine of the Son of God Him- 
self, yet in deep, obscure hints corresponding to 
the indecision and incredulity of Nicodemus. The 
koI here must be noted at the outset. Olshausen 
makes it adversative (yet), Beza demonstrative 
(for), Baumgarten-Crusius concessive (indeed), 
Meyer continuative, that is unmeaning, Liioke 
corroborative of the preceding. Correctly, "And 
yet He alone can tell, kirovpavta, who is Himself 
ixovp&iHoc." That is : And yet you must be told 
heavenly things by Him who, being the heavenly 
One, is Himself the first subject of this revelation. 
Next must be observed the three significant 
tenses: Perfeot, avafikpjjKev, aorist, icara/ftf?, and 
present, 6 bv. Evidently, the first proposition is 
founded on the second, the second on the third ; 
therefore, conversely the third is proved by the 
second, the second by the first. If now the whole 
amounts to: The Son of Man hath ascended into 
heaven, the perfect cannot bo taken for future, 
referring to the future adscensio (Augustine, Ben- 
gel, and others) ; nor as denoting an ecstatic 
raptui in caelum, according to the Socinians ; nor 
tropically, for the immediate knowledge of divine 
things, which Christ as it were brings down from 
heaven (Beza, Lucke, referring to Prov. xxx. 4) ; 
still less does it say, according to Jansen, Meyer, 
Tholuok, and others : " NuUus hominum in ccelo 
fuit t quod adseendendo fieri solet, ut ibi coelestia con- 
templaretur, nisi;" that is: No man hath been in 
heaven, but He, etc. This would reduce the mat- 
ter to a mere assurance. From the miracles, 
which Nicodemus himself acknowledged, it 
should be concluded that Jesus has perfectly as- 
cended to heaven, that is, in virtue of His moral 
perfection He is a new revelation, and that, the 
new one, which brings the kingdom of heaven 
down from heaven. And again from this should 
hi inferred that He came from heaven, that is, 
has constitutionally a heavenly origin, became 
man from heaven. From this should further be 
inferred that He Himself in His incarnation con- 
tinues one with God, in the presence of God, and 
thus in heaven. And from this root we pass 
back again. From the Godhead of Christ, and 
from the divine consciousness of Christ as the 
Son of Man, results His incarnation, and from 
this the new revelation which He, in virtue of 
His moral perfection, brings from heaven. Then 
the ovpav6$ explains itself. " Lampe, in opposi- 
tion to the doctrine of the ccelum empyreum of the 

Reformed theology : Oeneratim ccelum est symbo- 
lum rerum omnium supra nos et extra conspectum nos- 
trum in altum evectarum. Corresponding to this 
is the Lutheran conception: non rom/cog, sed rpo~ 
iriK&g sumendum, of the status majestatis divinm 
fcomp. Flacius, Clavis). Yet Quenstedt (III., p. 
895) thinks that in the third kv ovpavy the status 
beatitudinis is meant. It accords with John's use 
of language simply to suppose, aocording to rab- 
binic usage, a metonymio transfer of ovpavdg, the 
sedes dioina, to God Himself; so k$ ovpavov epx6- 
fuvoc, ch. iii. 81 ; «r. ovp. 6ed6fievov t ch. iii. 27." 
Tholuok. Yet different elements are to be dis- 
tinguished in the one conception : (1) The world 
of heavenly spiritual revelations ; (z) the world 
of heavenly life, origin, centre, and goal; (8) 
the world of the heavenly glory of God, of the 
omnipresence. The idea of the heaven to which 
Christ ascends, and which expressly is to be con- 
ceived ToKiKo>£, attaches itself to the second of 
these elements. *0 /cara/Jdf, Hunnius and 
others: " Descendit ratione divinm naturm, non 
quidem motu locali, sed humanm natures assumtione, 
et voluntaria ezinanitione." The 6 kv was referred 
by the older theologians to the omniprtesentia, or 
the status beatitudinis. Erasmus, the Socinians, 
Semler, Luthardt quite gratuitously substitute 
an imperfect: be f]v. Nor does it denote, aocord- 
ing to De Wette and Tholuck, the abiding, real 
manifestation of God in Christ; for the being of 
the Son of Man in God is to be distinguished 
from the being of God in Him. — The Son of Man. 
Intimating that those characteristics belong to 
the Messiah ; that the Son of Man is the Messiah ; 
and the Messiah is the Son of Man; without 
more particular explanation.* 

Ver. 14. And as Moses in the wilderness. 
— The dark expression of the divinity of Christ 
and His Messiahship is followed by a dark ex- 
pression of the appointment of the Messiah 
to suffering, and to exaltation through suf- 
fering. The connection (the nal) is variously 
taken. Meyer: The transition is "neither 
from the being able to communicate heavenly 
things to the being obliged to oommunicato 
them (Lucke), nor from the theoretical to 
the practical (De Wette), nor from word to 
fact (Olshausen), nor from enlightenment to sal- 
vation (Scholl), nor from present lack of faith to 
the future origin of it (Jacobi), nor from the 
subjective condition of the kingdom of God, re- 
generation, to the objective redemption (Tho- 
luck), nor from the work of Christ to His person 
(Baumgarten-Crusius). Nor, we add, "from the 
ground for believing to the blessedness of him 
who believes" (Meyer himself ). Aocording to 
Tholuck, 7th ed., it is the transition to the com- 
munication of the ixovpdviov ; which, however, 
he too evidently began in ver. 12. It is clearly 

* [Alford remarks against the figurative explanation of 
this passage : *' Hebrew metaphors are founded on deep in- 
sight into divine truth ; these words in fact express the truths 
on which Hebrew metaphors are constructed." As uniting 
in Himself God who dwells in heaven, and man who dwells 
on earth, Christ was always both in heaven and on earth, the 
golden clasp of both. Augustine : Ecce hie trot et in catio 
erat : hie erat in carne, in ccelo tral divinttafa, natus de moire, 
nnn rectdens a Putre. Augustine adds that in some sense all 
tran Christians partake of this double existence. Tales fecit 
discipulos suos. Paulum audi apostolum dicentem, nostra aw- 
Utn conversatio in calx*. Si homo Paulas apostolus ambulx~ 
bat in came in terra et conversabatur in wrfo, Deus cadi et 
terra poterat esse et in ccelo et in terra.— P. S.J 

Digitized by 




the transition from tho Son of God to the work 
of redemption. 

The serpent in the wilderness. — Christ 
attaches His doctrine to the event in Num. xxi. 
8: Moses, at the command of God, set up a 
brazen serpent as a standard of salvation for 
those who were bitten by the fiery serpents in 
the camp.* Glossa ord. : "Magistrum legit ad 
significationem legit inoitat." Meyer recognizes 
only two points of comparison: (1) The lifting 
up of the brazen serpent, and of Jesus on the 
cross; (2) the being restored to health by look- 
ing on the serpent, and to eternal life, by faith 
in Christ. He unwarrantably rejects Bengel's 
further point: Ut serpent ille fuit serpent tine 
veneno contra serpentes venenatos, sic Christus homo, 
homo sine peccato eontra serpentem antiquum. But 
we should go still farther. As the brazen ser- 
pent, the image of the deadly serpent, was 
changed into an image of the remedy, so Christ, 
the crucified, made in the likeness of the sin- 
ner (so Luther, Bengel, Olshausen, Jacobi, 
Stier, Lechler), of the deooiver of the people 
(Matth. xxvii. G3), of the false Christ and Anti- 
christ (Matth. xii. 24; Jno. xviii. 83), a curse 
[Gal. iii. 13) and image of sin itself (2 Cor. v. 
21), as if He were the very manifestation of the 
murderer of men (Jno. viii. 44), was made with 
His cross tho sign of salvation, by looking upon 
which in faith men should be saved. The con- 
trasts: Bad appearance, good reality; appa- 
rently poisonous, in reality wholesome; appa- 
rently overcome, made powerless, in fact vic- 
torious; lifted up apparently as a reproach, in 
fact as an honor. Ethical idea at the bottom of 
these paradoxes, and the same in both cases: 

•[Num. xxi. 8f: u And the Lord said unto Moses, Make 
thoea fiery sarpont (Mfe?, Sept. tyir xoAjcovk, Vulg. terpm- 

UmKnnm, brazen serpent) and set It upon a pole: and it 
shall come to puss, that everv one that is bitten, when ho 
lookHth upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of 
brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a 
serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of 
brass, he lived." Hero we have two kinds of serpents, 1) the 
living, poisonous serpent who 4e bite is deadly — image of sin ; 
2) the dead, brazen serpent without the poison — a symbol of 
Christ and His salvation, tie was made " in the likeness of 
■in," yet without sin. (Rom. viii. 3; 2 Cor. v. 21; 1 Pet. ii. 
24). This furnisher the first point of comparison: the brazen 
serpent and Christ. The other two points are the elevation to 
the pole— to the cross, and the healing effect, which in the 
0. T. was physical and temporary, in the N. T. is spiritual and 
permanent. The Uebrew sarapk is so called, from the red 
spots on Its skin, or from the bnrning effect or its poison 
which is like a consuming fire : hence certain serpents were 
called by the Greeks wprjfrr^pc? and Kav<r<ay<*. Moses took 
not a living serpent, but a dead imago of it, which had the ap- 
pearance, but not the poison of a serpent, and acted as a healer 
Instead of a destroyer. In Egyptlnn theology the serpent is tho 
symbol of healing, and in Sap xvi. 6 it is called o-v/a/SoAop 
ffwnjpiac In the Bible it is primarily the symbol of the devil, 
of sin and death, from Genesis down to tho Apocalypse (xx. 2: 
tof 5<pii' rbv i.pxalov 5* icrri dtd/9oAoc). The physiology of 
the serpent aids in understanding its agency in the fall. A. 
"P. Krummacher (the father of the celebrated pulpit orator) 
gives tho following unique and suggestive description of this 
mysterious reptile : " Tho serpent, a beast like to an embodied 
thunderbolt that has had its origin in the deepest night, 
parti-colored, painted like fire, as black and dark as night, 
its eyes like glowing sparks, its tongue black, yet cloven like 
a flame, its Jaws a chasm of the unknown, its teeth fountains 
of venom, the sound of its mouth a hiss. Add to this the 
strange and wonderful motion, evor striving like a flash to 
quiver, and like an arrow to flee, wore it not hindered by its 
bodily organization. It appears among the beasts like a 
condemned and (alien angel ; in the heathen world of false 
gods, it hath found and still finds ever awe and adoration ; its 
subtlety has become a byword, its name a naming of Satan 
whilst the popular feeling, even now, as in all times past! 
connects a curse and exorcism with its appearance," PVs.J 

Reconciliation with the image of the evil, and 
infinite calmness resulting therefrom through the 
believing look, through the Triariq. The serpent 
bites Him who is lifted up, who destroys it ; sin 
has power oyer him who has not reconciled him- 
self to the judgment of God, to the evil, as a 
remedy against the sin. The believing look upon 
the brazen serpent healed by calming and ele- 
vating the soul. Faith in the Crucified is the 
faith that Christ in the form of one condemned 
has transformed the judgment of God into de- 
liverance, and the consequent, willingness to 
suffer the cross with Him. Wisd. xvi. 6 : ovpfioTjov 

Of course the tyoiHjvai primarily means a be- 
ing lifted up under suffering and shame, not, as 
Paulus makes it, a being glorified outright; and 
it darkly points to the lifting up of malefactors 
on the post; yet the passages Jno. viii. 28; xii. 
32 involve also glorification in the death of the 
cross. And this is also probably (as Lechler, 
Tholuck, and others think) included here. Hof- 
mann wavers between the wholly opposite ideas 
of elevation for exhibition ( Weissagung und Er- 
fullang, II. p. 143), and for putting away (Schrifl- 
beweis, II. p. 198). Tholuck: "A word must 
have been used in the Aramaic, which admitted 
both conceptions; and this is the case with *]pt 
(against Bleek's Beitrdge, p. 231), which means 
in the later Chaldaic, as in the Hebrew, to •set 
up, 1 in the Syriao, to 'crucify, 1 but also to 
♦lift up,' Targum Jer. iii. 2: ^r# Wpi." This 
secondary sense Bleek and, according to the im- 
pression of Hofmann (II., 1, 198), also Luthardt 
would make in fact the only one, excluding from 
the passage all reference to the cross, and taking 
it only as saying that Christ will be, not only as 
humble, but also as exalted, the object of faith. 
But both ch. viii. 28, and John's own interpreta- 
tion, ch. xii. 83, put this out of the question. 
On the contrary the double sense is plainly sug- 
gested by the way in which Christ conceives His 
death as His essential 6o!;aofi6$ (ch. xiii. 31, 32); 
according to the sentence of Hamann, "the cross 
is the star with the rays taken off." Tholuck's 
exposition: "The comparison primarily offered 
is: Ignominious elevation made saving to be- 
lievers." The ignominious, however, does not 
come first in the imago of the serpent, but the 
appearance of the hostilo and destructive. 

Even so must.— The preparation of this 
remedy rests upon the divine counsel (del, comp. 
Lu. xxiv. 46). It is evident also from this pas- 
sage, that Christ was from the beginning con- 
scious of the necessity of His dying for the sal- 
vation of mankind, and of dying an ignominious 
death under the condemnation of men (see oh. 
ii. 19), and that He from the beginning spoke of 
it; but at first only in mysterious hints. His 
unveiled utterances, especially to His disciples, 
came later. Liicke justly suggests that the must 
(rfeZ) does not say the death of Christ was ren- 
dered necessary by that type of the brazen ser- 
pent; still the lifting up of the serpent was made 
a type only because it really was a type, if not 
in the mind of the bitten Israelite, at least in the 
mind of the ordaining Spirit. In Moses, too, 
must have already flashed the presentiment that 
evil, the consequence of sin, must become the 

Digitized by 


CHAP. III. l-2i: 


remedy for evil, the serpent's bite be healed by 
the serpent's image. The ovrug here has pecu- 
liar force: expressing the feeling and contem- 
plation of the infinite contrast between the glory 
of the Son of Man and His suffering on the cross. 

Works: Buxtorf, Dissertat., the treatise: Histo- 
rian serpentis senei ; Vitringa, Observat. I., 2, ch. 11 ; 
Rambach, Oeheimniss der t hern en Schlange; Men- 
ken, Ueber die eherne Schlange, 1812. In Men- 
ken's Works, Bremen, 1858, Vol VI., p. 853 sqq. 
[Erskine, on the Brazen Serpent."] 

The serpent, primarily the type of the devil, 
is supposed to have been, in the form of the 
brazen serpent which was attached to the sacred 
banner of Israel (?), a figure of the sanctification 
of the human nature of Christ perfected on the 
cross, and thus the brazen serpent was a sym- 
bol of salvation. The fiery serpents in the 
wilderness, however, were primarily the form of 
a divine punishment, presented in a form else- 
where denoting sin. The elevated serpent- 
standard was thus the type of punishment lifted 
in the phantom of sin, and transformed into a 
means of salvation. This is the nature of the 
cross. The look at the cross, is a look at the 
curse-laden One, who is not a sinner, but a divine 
token of evil and penalty, and of the suffering 
of penalty, which is holy and therefore trans- 
formed into deliverance. Reconciliation by the 
suffering of penalty becomes in the believing heart 
reconciliation with the suffering 0/ penalty, and so 
salvation. It may even be ssid: In the form of 
the cross, as in the form of the serpent, the dis- 
tinction between damnable sin, which the sin- 
ner did not recognize, and wholesome punish- 
ment, healing evil, in which he would see his 
misfortune, is made perfect and clear; and faith 
means purely distinguishing between bad sin 
and good penalty or evil. Jacobi, Stud, und 
KrU. 9 1835, p. 37; Lechier, Stud. undKrit., 1851, 
p. 826. 

[I add here the note of Alford: "The serpent 
is in Scripture symbolism, the devil, — from the 
historical temptation in Gen. iii. downwards. 
But why is the devil set forth by the serpent f 
How does the bite of the serpent operate? It 
pervades with Us poison the frame of its victim: that 
frame becomes poisoned: and death ensues. 80 
sin, the poison of the devil, being instilled into our 
nature, that nature has become o&pfj duapriar, a 
poisoned nature, — ^ flesh of sin. Now the brazen 
serpent was made in the likeness of the serpents 
which had bitten them. It represented to them 
the poison which had gone through their frames, 
and it was hung up there on the banner-staff, as 
a trophy, to show them that for the poison, there 
teas healing; — that tho plague had been over- 
come. In it, there was no poison, only the like- 
ness of it. Now was not the Lord Jesus made 
h 6/jxMufiari aapKJbq dfiapriac, Rom. via. 3 ? Was 
not He made 'Sin for us, who knew no sin' (2 
Cor. r. 21)? Did not He, on His cross, make an 
open show of and triumph over the Enemy, so 
that it was as if the Enemy himself had been nailed 
to that cross (Col. ii. 15J? Were not Sin and 
Death and Satan crucified, when He was cruci- 
fied? Uzi fiiv iirel 6C bfcuq rj ffodftrf, oV bfeug koI 
Jj Otpaireia* evravda 6i t eml oV av&p&rrov 6 Bavaroq 
tunjWtv u$ rbv icdofiov, 6C dvOptinov koX j} £gm7 nap* 
eyzvero. Buthym.— P. S.] 

Ver. 15. That whosoever believeth in 
him. — Application of the figure. The look* at 
the brazen serpent a type of faith. The thing 
there to be prevented, death; here, perdition. 
The thing there to be gained, healing; here, sal- 
vation, eternal life. Yet the theocratic looking 
at the brazen serpent was not without an in- 
ternal element of faith ; and so, on its part, the 
moral salvation has its external side; it is an 
iufinito vital development from within outward. 
The C«# aluvtoe, the opposite of tidvaros and 
dn<l>%eia; beginning with the new life of faith and 
love, in the spirit; already manifesting itself in 
this world in the healthful issues of the spirit 
through the "tyvxft and otipa as a real, substantial, 
not merely moral £&>#; completing itself in 
eternity and in the appearing of Christ as 66£a 
and dvdoraoic,. ZuS/ in the essential sense, as 
life from God and participation of His life in 
Christ, in opposition to essential death in sin; 
aluvtog, not simply the eternity of duration and 
of the world to come, but the eternity of the 
transcendent presence of all times and places, ac- 
cording as to their divine purport at every point, 
as against the diroAeta, in which the man is lost 
not only from God and from himself, but also 
from time and space, to go down without bot- 
tom and without end. The divine life, or the 
spiritual, embracing the depth and breadth of 
eternity. The whosoever must here already be 
noted. It marks the accessibleness of the salva- 
tion to all, its individual and universal character 
at once, as well as the moral nature of faith 
("whosoever believeth in Him.") 

Ver. 16. For Ood so loved the world.— 
The summing up of the several preceding doc- 
trines in a total picture of the eirovpdvia, after 
the analogy of ch. i. 14, and like passages. 
Christology here goes back to the basis of the- 
ology; soteriology unfolds itself to the ordo 
salutis and to eschatology. A gospel in nuce, like 
the sentences of 1 Tim. iii. 16, and others. 

Through Erasmus (see Llicke, I. p. 643) the 
view has become current with later scholars, 
Kuinoel, Paulus, Tholuck, Olshausen, Maier, and 
others, that from ver. 16 the Evangelist continues 
the discussion on his own part. The disappear- 
ance of dialogue, the preterites yydirtpev, ijv, the 
term fiovoyev^g peculiar to John, and the general 
character of the discourse, are taken to show 
this. But this hypothesis has been with good 
reason contradicted by Meyer [p. 168], Stier, 
Baumgarten-Crusius, and myself in the Leben 
Jesu ii. p. 608.* John's coloring is in fact ad- 
mitted elsewhere ; why not here ? Lucke pro- 
poses a middle view. The conversation con- 
tinues in ver. 16, narrated by John, but with the 
illustrative, amplifying hand of the narrator 
more free than before. But Kling has justly 
objected that this even would lead to an undis- 
tinguishable mingling of narration and refleo- 

• [Also by Alford, in toe, who well sums up the chief ar- 
gument*. The Dean justly remarks, that It would give us a 
very mean idea of the honesty or reverence of the Evangelist 
to suppose him capable of attributing to his Master words 
and sentiments of his own invention. Of the two examples 
which are quoted on the other side, ch. i. 16 is not to the 
point, for the whole prologue is John's, and iii. 81 ff. is dis- 
puted, see notes there. In any case John could get such 
words and ideas only from his divine Master, and would not 
have ventured on expressing them without authority from 
Him.- P. 8.J 

Digitized by 




iion. Against the breaking off of the dialogue 
it is enough to remark, that there would be no 
close; in favor of the continuance of it, that all 
that follows is very specially appropriate for 
Nioodemus, and peculiarly the closing words in 
▼era. 20 and 21. The disappearance of the form 
of the dialogue is expressive, showing that 
Nioodemus has become a willing hearer. Tho- 
luck in support of his view cites ch. iii. 81, 
where it is thought still more necessary to as- 
sume a continuation by the Evangelist himself. 
But there, no more than here and in ch. i. 16-18 
[?], can an unmarked interruption of the his- 
torical narrative be conceded. 

Ver. 16 contains not merely a confirmative 
repetition of ver. 15 (Tholuck), but gathers the 
statements of ver. 13, 14, and 15 into one. Here 
each several word has the utmost weight. The 
for (ydp) bases the two preceding statements, 
the Christological and the soteriological, upon 
the love of God. The so (obro;) is a resonance 
of the ourug in ver. 14. Loved (qyaxTjoev) de- 
notes infinite love as the motive, the purpose, 
and the act of redemption, or as love, grace, and 
mercy. God (0 e 6 c ), the Holy in His entire an- 
tagonism to the world, the Merciful" in His entire 
yearning towards the world. The World 
(k da ftog) the world of man, founded on the 
world of God, now lost in worldliness. Against 
the Jewish particularism (with Lampe : Unioer- 
titat electorum).* His only begotten Son 
(See note on oh. i. 14). [Here John learned the 
term povoyevfc from Christ Himself.] Expresses 
the singular proof of love, 1 Jno. iv. 9 ; Rom. 
viii. 82 ; Heb. xi. 17. An allusion to Abraham's 
offering, Gen. xxii. 2.f At the same time trans- 
forming the designation Son of Man into Son of 
God. Gave. Combining the two ideas of the 
simple didovai (aweoreiXev, 1 Jno. iv. 9 ; see here 
ver. 13 and 17) and didovcu vwkp (Lu. zxii. 19) or 
napadi66i>ai (Rom. viii. 82), which appears in 
ver. 14 and 15. Meyer properly remarks, 
IduKtv contained more than axioTetXev, ver. 17 
(which itself, however, in another aspect, con- 
tains a specific idea) ; but when he adds, that it 
denotes not specially a giving up to death, but 
the entire state of humiliation, we must observe 
(1) that the preoeding words [ver. 15] refer to 

• [To confine KoVy&ot to the munduM eUctorum (as is done by 
•npralupsarian CaJrinists,and the Swiss Formula Consensus), 
is to dMtror the beauty and force of the passage which is to 
bring out the boundless love of God to all His creatures. God 
hates nothing that He has made, and Christ died for all, but 
the benefits of Ills death are available only to those who ac- 
cept them by faith. World means in the Scriptures and 
in popular language 1) the whole universe; 2) the earth; 
3) all men (so here); 4) the present order of things as dis- 
tinct from the future world ; 5) the ungodly world, in oppo- 
sition to the kingdom of God, and as subject to Satan, who is 
called "the prince of this world" (John xii. 31). But it 
never means the elect or the saints, which would be just the 
reverae of the last mentioned signification. If it had this 
meaning here, Christ might have said : " God so loved the 
world . . . that the world (instead of whosoever believeth) 
might not perish/' The universality of God's love and the 
all-sufflciency of Christ's atonement (which, however, must 
not be confounded with its actual efficiency) is mo<t clearly 
taught here and In such passages as I Tim. ii. 4 ; 2 Pet. iii. 9 ; 
1 John ii. 2 (which illustrates our passage) : " He is the pro- 
pitiation for our sins : and not for ours only, but alto for the 
sins of the whole world. 1 '— P. 8. J 

t [So also Stler, Hcngstenberg, and Alford. Nfcodemus, in 
being reminded of Isaac's offering, was reminded of the love 
required, the substitution made, and the prophecy there ut- 
tered to Abraham, to which Iva wait A mortwav nearly cor- 
responds. Comp. Heb. xi. 19 ; Gen. xxii. 16.— P. 8.] 

death, and (2) that Christ is given to the world 
not ouly in His humiliation, but also in His 
glory to all eternity. That (iva) marks the sole 
object of the sending of Christ; whosoever be- 
lieveth (ir&c 6 irtorevuv) expresses at once 
the universal offer of salvation and the condition 
of it; might not perish (/*$ an6Xtjrai) % &c, 
the salvation itself in its negative and positive 
infinity. The alternation of the aorist [airdXtrrai] 
and the present [ixv] not onlv denotes the being 
lost and being saved as already beginning in the 
present, but also expressing, like the aorist: he 
gave, the actual present existence of the Redeemer. 
Ver. 17. For God sent not his Son. — A 
contradiction of the Jewish exclusivism was 
contained in ver. 16. Here it comes out more 
distinctly. Offsetting the lowly, suffering form 
of Christ in ver. 15, which is visible also through 
ver. 16, the kingly side of Christ in His work is 
here brought forward. Hence we have here sent 
instead of given; the power to judge is attributed 
to Him in reference to the bnng lost, and it is 
His power to save which secures for believers 
eternal life. It is asserted, howeveY, that the 
saving of the world is the object of His mission, 
not the judging. According to the Jewish Christ- 
ology (Bertholdt, Christologie, pp. 203 and 228) 
the Messiah was to come for judgment against 
the heathen. Carnal interpretations of Old Tes- 
tament passages like Ps. ii. 9 ; Mai. iv. 1 ; comp. 
Matt. iii. 10, had led the exclusive Pharisaic 
spirit to this view. This decidedly bespeaks 
this verse as a continuation of the conversation 
with Nicodemus; yet the second rbv icfafwv is not 
on this account to be specially referred merely 
to the heathen world (Lucke and Tholuck here 
are not accurately represented by Meyer). The 
statement, however, is negative enough in its ex- 
pression of the Christian universalism over 
against the Jewish particularism. And not only 
*« has the thrice pronounced xdafiof something 
solemn about it" (Meyer), but also something 
doctrinally decisive against that particularism. 
As regards the fact that Christ is nevertheless 
also Judge of the world, Tholuck puts this right: 
A damnatory judgment was to be only an inci- 
dental result of His advent, as also in Lu. xii. 
61. Meyer distinguishes with more dogmatic 
clearness between the first advent of Christ to 
ourqpia, which was not a coming to judgment, 
because, if this were to judgment, it would 
bring condemnation upon all; and the second 
advent to judgment against those who remain 
unbelieving, oh. v. 22, 27. Both views are right, 
but not sufficient. The first coming of Christ 
also brings a judgment with it (ver. 19), and 
the second has for its first feature the consum- 
mation of the ourrfpia, and the final judgment, as 
a judgment to condemnation, is only a revelation 
of the self-condemnation of the unbelieving, 
which began with their induration in unbelief. 
The difference between the Old and New Testa- 
ment types of the Messiah is this : In the Old 
Testament the Judge becomes Redeemer by His 
judging (Is. x. 22; lxv. 8, &c; a enkppa is 
saved); in the New the Redeemer becomes 
Judge by His redeeming. Acknowledgment of 
the need of redemption is voluntary self-judg- 
ment, repentance ; rejection of redemption, un- 
belief, is the ideal, virtual judgment, whioh be- 

Digitized by 


CHAP. III. 1-21 


gins at once upon the manifestation of Christ 
[ch. xii. 48] ; the establishing of the fact that 
the man has entirely alienated himself from the 
Redeemer and the redeemed, and cannot in any 
way have part in the final redemption, is the last 

Ver. 18. He that believeth on Him is 
not judged. — New Testament transfiguration 
of the Old Testament doctrine of salvation by 
faith, Gen. xv.; Is. xxviii. 16; Hab. ii. 4. 
Manifestly these words again are perfectly fitted 
and designed to shake the Jewish views of Nico- 
demus. Pharisaic Judaism had perverted the 
principle: The believer is not judged, the unbe- 
liever is judged, — into the principle : The Jew 
is not judged, he who is not a Jew is judged. 
So the Roman Catholio dogma : He who is with- 
in the pale of the Catholic faith, is saved ; he 
who is not, is damned. Likewise the old Pro- 
testant formula : Ho who comes in thit life into 
the sphere of the faith of the gospel, &c. Christ, 
on the contrary, makes 6alvaiion dependent on 
an individual, personal, living faith, and perdi- 
tion on decided, obstinate personal unbelief. 
The believer is not judged because he as a sin- 
ner puts himself voluntarily under a spiritual 
judgment, and thereby receives the righteous- 
ness of faith for the perfecting of his life in the 
sphere of salvation. 

The guilt of the unbeliever is strongly em- 
phasised as a treble guilt: He has not accepted 
God in His Son. He has not received the Only 
Begotten, in whom all the value of faith, the 
fulness of the manifestation of God, is concen- 
trated. Finally he has not believed in his name, 
t. t, in the developed knowledge of Christ as 
concentrated in the sphere of His Spirit. He 
hath not believed (perfect), i. e, he is fixed in 
unbelief, and in so much as he is fixed, the fact 
also is fixed that he has fallen under condemna- 
tion to meet the final judgment by the sheer un- 
foldings of his condemnation. The antithesis is 
put here with all its sharpness ; but not as pass- 
ing upon the given unbeliever the opinion that 
he is fixed in his unbelief. The ideal unbeliever 
is condemned quia, the actual unbeliever quale- 
tuts. Tholuck : " But bri gives not the external 
ground on which the judgment rests (Chrysos- 
tom) — for neglect of the Son of God— but the 
way in which the condemnation is wrought." 
Yet it also gives the decisive ground ; only the 
Son of God, in the case, is not to be conceived 
as external. 

Ver. 19. And this is the judgment.— The 
tale now, by it* form. it* choice of terms, turns di- 
rectly towards Nicodemus, to press him to a de- 
cision and bring him to the light. At the same 
time, as to its matter, it proceeds to the explana- 
tion of the immoral, damnable nature of unbe- 
lief, and to the intimation that the rulers of the 
Jews are already further gone in this unbelief 
than Nicodemus suspects. Thus they are al- 
ready judged. The actual beginning of the vir- 
tual judgment of the world, whiohfrom Jerusalem 
is spreading through the world, working outward 
from within, runs parallel with the unfolding of 
faith, till the consummation in the day of glory. 

That light is oome into the world. — 
This belongs to the judgment, because it calls 
Dor the separation, npiois. 

And men loved.— Particular signs of this, 
therefore, have already come to view [see above]. 
While Nicodemus can still fancy that the Sanhe- 
drin is with him inclined to faith, Christ already 
sees the beginning of the end. Indeed the 6d 
in ver. 15 is connected with this. The aorist, 
therefore, does not imply that a later period is 
in mind. 

The darkness rather.— Is the paZAov magi* 
or potiusf Bengel, Tholuck («• because the ^«c, 
ch. i. 4, which man originally possessed, prevents 
him from entirely mistaking the aZqtieia in the 
light") say the former; Origen, Meyer, the 
latter : and no* doubt rightly, because the Lord 
is speaking of the time of decision, at which the 
lesser love of the light passes into hatred of it, 
ver. 20. Before the critical manifestation of the 
light, it might mean magi*; now it means 
potvu*. It is the decided choice of the evil, 
that is in view.— Because their deeds. — 
Avtuv placed first is significant. Far more than : 
They had sin. Their whole bent was to do evil, 
hence they needed the cover of darkness for 
their evil deeds. See Matt, xxiii. 

Ver. 20. For every one that doeth evil. 
Looking to those who persist in unbelief. Tap 
comes not to justify the preceding yhp (Meyer), 
but to explain it and define the expression for 
the evil choice: f/ydinjaev fiaXkov. The doing 
evil (<pav?A) denotes the law of the nature. The 
adjective denotes not only bad, cowardly, hate- 
ful, but also trifling, insignificant ; and in anti- 
thesis to ver. 21 probably corrupt, false. — 
Hateth the light. — Comp. Rom. viii. 7. Un- 
belief is the root of impious conduct. — Lest his 
deeds. — The evil consciousness and intention 
of unbelief. — Should be reproved. — The 
&*yX°St the exposure, the conviction, the con- 
demnation of the deeds, shunned by him who 
through pride and cowardice will not submit to 
the condemnation of shame, accept the judgment 
of the penitent spirit, nor renounce his false 
deeds. Thus he chooses the darkness, u e. the 
dominion of delusion, falsehood, with sense of 
the falsehood. Luke iii. 7 ; John viii. 9 ,* Eph. 
v. 11, 13. 

Ver. 21. Bat he that doeth the truth.— 
A most suitable parting word for Nicodemus. 
If thou art and continuest to be honest, thou 
wilt yet come to the light. Thus a conditional 
promise. This, however, is the specific reference 
of the expression ; the general truth is : The 
Lord gives good speed to the upright, Prov. ii. 
7. Doeth the truth. — Meyer: That whioh is 
really moral; Tholuck; Acting in the whole 
spirit of his life according to objective truth. 
The doing of the objective truth, however, is 
expressed by the coming to the light. Hence 
the references to subjective truth. He who in- 
wardly loves sincerity shuns deceit, is faithful 
against himself, and acts in this spirit (is true to 
the inner light), has a leaning towards the light 
of revelation, towards faith ; he feels himself 
attracted by the light as the false man feels 
himself repelled. — That his deeds may be 
made manifest. — Not that he would parade 
them, but that he would be made certain of his 
actions and his spirit in the full light of moral 
day. " The need of moral satisfaction in itself, 
and of the victory of the good over the world " 

Digitized by 




(Meyer). — For they are wrought in God. — 

This is the ground of his moral courage and striv- 
ing after truth. So far as he has acted in sincere 
regard for the inner light, he has done his work 
in God. In other words, the drawing of the 
Father to the Son (ch. vi. 44, 45), the work of 
the gratia praoeniens, is in it. The for does not 
mean at all, he is conscious that his deeds are 
wrought in God. but this direction of his doing 
is the unconscious ground of his courage. Ac- 
cording to his best knowledge and conscience he 
has acted with inward trembling before the 
divine, therefore he cannot tremble before the 
objective light of God in the world. Calvin 
(with others) takes ver. 21 as set against ver. 
20 only to show what the truth-loving man on 
the contrary would do (the ideal conception of 
the truth-loving man). In answer to this Tho- 
luck : Then either all men would fall into the 
first class and no one would come to Christ, or the 
regenerate man must be intended. The Greek, 
Roman Catholic, and Arminian exegesis holds, 
according to Tholuck's concurring statement: 
The good conscience, which may present its 
strivings, weak as they are, before Christ, what- 
ever of darkness is still about them, however, 
thereby receiving its Kphic. Tholuck refers to 
John viii. 47 ; xviii. 87 ; vi. 44, 45 ; to a Synesius, 
to the rich young man, to the scribe, Mark xii. 
34. Over against this he places another inter, 
pretation : The Protestant exegesis and Augus- 
tine found this sense contrary to the analogia 
scrip tune, according to which a bonum spiritual* 
before regeneration is impossible. According to 
Augu9tine, Luther, Olshausen, Stier, the iroisiv 
r%v aX. therefore must mean: "to be upright, 
sincere." We cannot consider this interpretation 
clearly distinct from the other. It is plain that 
the doing of the truth here still cannot mean 
the doing of revealed truth. Such truth might 
be spoken of in the case of the Jews before 
Christ ; hardly in the case of the Gentiles before 
Christ. And even though it be, the doing will 
be in both cases the doing of objective truth as 
it shines upon the consciousness. And to en- 
deavor earnestly to conform to this truth would 
be, to be upright, to act according to the best of 
one's knowledge and conscience. The works which 
proceed from this are works done in God, t. «., 
relatively -good works, striving towards their 
perfection in God ; comp. Rom. ii. 7. Thus the 
uprightness is not to be conoeived without the 
fruit of such deeds, nor indeed the doing with- 
out the root of uprightness. They are wrought 
in Ood. The upright man works unconsciously 
under the influence of the gratia prseveniens, or 
the Logos, and thus his works, having their start- 
ing point in God, will continually reach out to- 
wards their full manifestation in the light. 

In these words Jesus seemed to say to Nicode- 
mus: Thou art now come to Me in the night; 
thou wilt yet come to Me in the light ; farewell, 
to meet again in the light. 


[Comp. my introductory remarks, p. 122 f. — 
P. 8.3 

1. The interview of Christ with Nicodemus by 
night. Even a secret disciple Christ admits, if 

he be sincere, and therefore be tending towards 
openness. Proof in the history of Christianity: 
Disciplina arcani, Hugenots, etc. The contrast 
between a pure secrecy which works towards 
openness, and an openness which conceals itself 
in evil secrets. Regeneration itself, the subject 
of this nocturnal conversation, is a deep secret, 
which presses towards the most open manifesta- 
tion in a consistent life and at the day of Christ. 

2. The unwavering certainty of Christ towards 
Nicodemus is reflected in the posture of pure 
Christianity towards human hierarchy, tradition, 
rank, and policy. Nicodemus is better than his 
theology ; in theology he is the type of a ration- 
alising supernaturalism ; in character he is an 
inquiring child involved in the prejudices of old 

3. Christianity is not merely a purer, newer 
life, but life absolutely pure and new. [Still less 
is Christianity mere doctrine, although doctrine 
is included in life. Luther explains ver. 3: 
«« My teaching is not of doing and leaving un-. 
done, but of a radical change in the man, so 
that it is not new works done, but a new man to 
do them; not another life only, but another 
birth." Alford: "Our Lord replies, It is not 
learning, but life, that is wanted for the Mes- 
siah's kingdom ; and life must begin by birth." 
—P. 8.] 

4. Regeneration is the fundamental condition of 
seeing and entering the kingdom of God. 

5. Regeneration, a birth from above. See the 
exegesis, ver. 3. (1) The counterpart of the 
carnal birth (see Rom. v. 12 sqq.) ; (2) the glo- 
rification of pure natural birth as it would have 
been in paradise; (3) the fulfilment of the typi- 
cal Old Testament regeneration, represented by 
ciroumoision ; (4) the groundwork of the future 
great regeneration in the resurrection and th§ 
regeneration, the palingenesia, Matt. xix. 28. 

6. The media or elements of regeneration: (1) 
The historical and symbolical: washing with 
water ; (2) the active and real : the Spirit. — Of 
water and Spirit the first creation (Gen. i.); of 
water and Spirit the second and higher. [But 
in the first creation, the Spirit brooding over the 
waters; in the new, the water signifying and 
sealing the Spirit. In the old, the Spirit apply- 
ing the wster, moulding it to its purposes; in 
the new and higher, the water applying the 
Spirit.— E. D. Y.J 

7. Christian baptism : (1) The glorification of 
water: (2) the fulfilment of the symbolical wash- 
ings, the baptism of John, and the baptism of 
the disciples of Jesus: (8) the goal of the his- 
torical types, the flood and the passage of the 
Red Sea; (4) the fellowship of the baptism of 
Jesus with water in the Jordan ; (5) the fellow- 
ship, the symbol and sacrament of the baptism 
of Jesus with blood (Rom. vi. 6) ; (6) a separa- 
tion through Him and with Him out of the* old 
world and from it. 

8. The Spirit which aocompanies baptism : (1) 
The glorification of the vital air, the blowing 
wind, the storm at night (as also of fire, Acts 
ii. ; see Ps. civ. 4; Ezek. l. 4: xxxvii. 9; Dan. 
vii. 2; Hag. ii. 6); (2) the fulfilment of the sym- 
bolical and typical Spirit — breathings: inspira- 
tions, trances, visions, single words and works 
of the Spirit. 

Digitized by 


chap. ni. 1-21. 


9. Water and Spirit inseparable in the ground- 
work of the kingdom of God. The word and the 
sacrament, accompanied by the quickening Spi 

10. The birth of the new life a deep mystery 
and the most open manifestation, 1 Tim. iii. 16. 

11. The necessity of being born again of water 
and the Spirit, and its apparent impossibility, ▼. 
1-8. The possibility, the conditions and basis of 
it, r. 9-16. The basis of the regeneration to be 
realixed on earth lies in the hearenly origin of 
Christ: His eternal, divine generation, and His 
heavenly, divine-human birth. This birth is 
consummated, as to its historical process, in His 
elevation on the Cross and His death upon the 
throne of glory, by His atoning death and His 
victory. And the basis and unity of both lies 
in the love of God and His giving of His Son for 
the redemption of the world. 

12. The earth, in Scripture, the symbol of the 
theocracy, of divine institution and administra- 
tion upon earth, of the historical tradition of sal- 
vation, Ps. xciii. 1; civ. 5; Rev. xiii. 11. As dis- 
tinguished on the one hand from the sea, emblem 
of the swelling, formlessly moving life of the na- 
tions, Ps. xciii. 3 ; Dan. vii. 8 ; Rev. xiii. 1. On 
the other hand from the heavens, emblem of the 
future kingdom of heaven, the completed reve- 
lation of God, Is. lxiv. 1 ; Matth. iii. 16. 

18. Christ descending and ascending between hea- 
ven and earth, because He is in heaven. On His 
eternal, divine-human constitution and office rest 
(a) His descending, His incarnation and humi- 
liation, (6) His ascending and exaltation. 

14. The brazen serpent the most obscure and 
the most pregnant mystery of the Old Testament 
typical system . 8ee the exegesis, v. 14. Its 
connection with the symbolical use of the ser- 
pent in general in the Scriptures. 

15. The condition of the appropriation of sal- 
vation, faith, and the consequent twofold opera- 
tion of salvation: redemption and condemnation. 
Deciding for Christ by faith, secures redemp- 
tion; deciding against Him by unbelief, begins 
condemnation (see 1 Cor. i. 18; 2 Cor. ii. 16; 
comp. Deut xxx. 15). 

16. The condition of susceptibility to faith: 
Sincerity, subjective truth, t. c, obedience to the 
gratia prmveniens. Inward falsehood the source 
of unbelief, a poison which perverts the form of 
faith itself into hypocrisy. 

17. Yet sincerity or uprightness (Prov. ii. 7; 
Eccl. vii. 29; John i. 47) not to be confounded 
with proud bluntness or downrightness, which 
may very easily strike over into self-deceit and 
falsehood. Uprightness moreover, even in com- 
pany with diffidence, and notwithstanding its ti- 
midity, in constant submission to the guidance 
of God, or through the obedience of truth, issues 
in the gladness of confession and the light. 
(Moses, Jeremiah, Calvin,* like Nicodemus, 
originally timid characters, but faithfully sin- 

18. The Pharisee Nicodemus a fore-runner of 
the Pharisee Paul. [Both alike sincere, but very 
unlike in energy and decision. — P. 8.] 

• [Calvin aays of himself (Prtef. ad Ptalm.) : "Ego qui no- 
tun timido, maUi H pusiiio ammo me tut fateor" and he fairly 
tr*a»Med when FareL, as by divine authority, detained him 
in Genera as bis proper field of labor—?. 8.J 

19. The Pericope for Trinity* See Strauss 
[late court-preacher of the King of Prussia and 
Prof, at Berlin] : Das evang. Kirchenjahr, p. 279. 
Braune: This account is the gospel for Trinity. 
The feast arose upon this doctrine, not upon an 
eternal divine fact ( — yet the triune God reveals 
Himself here through His act as triune God in 

the triune operation of the new birth ). The 

church feared that the people might be led by 
the Christmas festival in honor of the All-Merci- 
ful, the Easter festival in honor of the Conqueror 
of the power of darkness, and Pentecost in honor 
of the All-Sanctifying Spirit, to worship three 
Gods in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. 
(It no doubt had also a more joyful motive). 
Strauss distinguishes four periods of the Trinity 
festival. First period : The day of the feast not 
yet distinctly prominent Second period : The 
trichotomy of the church year makes the feast 
the octave and appendix of Pentecost (" little 
Pentecost"). At first Festum omnium sanctorum. 
This festival Gregory III. or IV. transferred to 
the 1st November; the Sunday after Pentecost 
at first became again the Pentecostal octave, 
while in the East it continued to be All Saints' 
day. Third period : Formerly a Trinity festival 
had been celebrated on the last Sunday of the 
year; now this is transferred to the octave of 
Pentecost. Gradual development in the thir- 
teenth and fourteenth centuries, in which the 
feast of Tritiity becomes the prelude to Corpus 
ChristL-f Fourth period : Protestant settlement 
of it as neither a prelude nor a close, but a fes- 
tival for the opening of the second part of the 
church year, the Trinity season. On the changes 
of the perioopes, see Strauss, p. 282. 


See hints already given under the two former 
heads. What is true of every section of the Bi- 
ble, is true in a peculiar degree of this : It is 
homiletically inexhaustible. Many a single verse 
forms a theme of itself; vers. 3, 6, 6, 16, etc. — 
If we would treat it in larger sections, we must 
first embrace the whole. 

The sacred discourse of the Lord with Nico- 
demus by night concerning the sacred mysteries 
of God's night: (1) Concerning the divine night 
of regeneration in the soul ; (2) by means of the 
divine night in the operation of means of grace; 
(3) on the basis of the divine night ( Weihnacht, 
"holy night," as Christmas is called in the Ger- 
man) of the incarnation of Christ; (4) decided 

• [Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost or 
Whitsunday. It commemorates the mystery of the Holy 
Trinity, and closes the festival part of the Christian year. It 
is of Latin origin and cannot be clearly traced beyond the 
tenth century. The Greek church (from the times of Chry- 
sostom) celebrates on the same Sunday the feast of all 
Saints and Martyrs (which in the Latin church falls on the 
first of November). The Lutheran and Episcopal churches 
have together with the other great festivals retained Trinity 
Sunday. The discourse with Nicodemus is the gospel for the 
day, because regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit and 
the basis of Christian life.— P. 8.1 

f [The feast of transubstantiatlon, which, of course, is re- 
jected by all Protestant churches. It is celebrated in the 
Roman church with unusually solemn processions on the 
first Thursday following Trinity Sunday (feria quinta prox- 
imo, pogtoctavam pentecogUs), with reference to Maunday 
Thursday, as the day of the institution of the Eucharist. In 
German it is called Fronkiclwamtfest, i. e.. the feaat of the 
Lord's body.— P. 8.J 

Digitized by 




by the divine night of the death and glorification 
of Christ; (5) all prooeeding from the (Urine 
night of the purpose and lore of God for the re- 
demption of the world; and (6) unfolding its 
complete operation in the decision between the 
divine morning of eternal salvation, and the 
night of judgment. — The conversation of Christ 
with Nicodeuius concerning the being born from 
above: (1) Concerning the necessity of it fin or- 
der to see the kingdom of God), vers. 1-4; (2) 
concerning the effecting of it (through water and 
the Spirit), vers. 6 8; (3) concerning the con- 
ditions precedent for the possibility of it; (a) 
objectively: the incarnation of the Son of God, 
His passion : both resting on the purpose of di- 
vine love; (b) subjectively: faith in the love of 
God in giving Christ; (4) concerning its deci- 
sive operation ; (a) saving, negatively : deliver- 
ance from corruption, death, perdition; posi- 
tively: the gift and possession of eternal life; 
(6) condemning : manifestation of the self-judg- 
ment and self-condemnation of unbelief. — 
Awaking to a Christian life of faith, a birth : 
(1 ) A regeneration, or second birth, as distinct 
from the first; (2) a birth from above, as the 
perfect, real birth for the eternal kingdom of 
God. — How Christian earthly things, the perso- 
nal experiences of the Christian, are rooted in 
Christian heavenly things, the mysteries of God. 
— Water and wind, the fundamental elements of 
the first creation, emblems of the second. — Chris- 
tianity the most hidden life, and at the same 
time the most manifest — The conversion of Ni- 
oodemus, or Christ the Saviour even of the great 
of this world. — And the Saviour of an honest 
Pharisee. — The being born from heaven alone 
leads to heaven. — Twice, the number of life: (1) 
Twice to be born; (2) twice to die; (3) twice to 
live. — A ruler of the Jews and the King of the 
Jews, or the hierarch and the Lord. — The hea- 
venly birth and the heavenly eye. — Water and 
the Spirit. — Wind and the Spirit. — The voice of 
the wind and the course of the wind.— The newly 
born: A broath of the Spirit, manifested by its 
sound. — The knowledge of Nicodemus and the 
knowledge of Christ. — The threefold relation of 
Christ to heaven: (U The inner heaven; (2) 
the upper heaven ; (3) the open heaven. — The ser- 
pent emblem, and tue emblem of the Crucified. — 
The elevation in supreme judgment. — God to 
loved, etc., (ver. 1) the infinite scale of the love 
of God. — Condemnation, despised salvation. — 
Unbelief, the second and irremediable fall. — Un- 
belief, sin in its desperate form, as the root, the 
sum, and the denial of sin. Unbelief once de- 
cided, judgment begins. — The false man and the 
sincere. — The shunning and the seeking of light. 
The works of the upright strive as shoots of light 
towards the light of day. 

The Pericope for Trinity, vers. 1-15. The Fa- 
ther, the Son, and the Holy Ghost active and ma- 
nifest in the work of regeneration. — The experi- 
ence of the Christian an experience of the Holy 
Trinity; (1) Of the Spirit, in the virtue of the 
word and sacrament ; (2) of the Son, in the vir- 
tue of the death and resurrection of Christ; (3) 
of the Father, in the virtue of manifested, world- 
embracing love. 

The Pericope for 2. Penteeott, v. 16-21. The 
love of God for the worjd, the motive to the di- 

vine consummation of the world: (1) In the re- 
deeming gift of the Son ; (2) in the testing opera- 
tion of the Spirit. — The redeeming motion of the 
love of God in its all-embracing majesty: (1) 
Comprehended in the gift of the Son, and there- 
fore embracing the world (Jews, heathen, etc.); 
(2) directed to each lost individual, and to all, 
as a power of salvation; (3) embracing depth 
and height (death and life) to raise sinners from 
perdition to the eternal life of heaven; (4) a 
redeeming operation so decisive that, embracing 
heaven and hell, it is manifest both in the con- 
demned and in the saved (in the one as love de- 
spised, in the other as love believed); (3) em- 
bracing beginning and end, manifest in a process 
of grace having its root in the election of grace 
passed upon all the children of truth (gratia 
prsevenient), and its top shining in the light of 
eternal glory. — Christianity not in any wise a 
condemnation: (I) Neither in its source (the 
love of God), (2) nor in its design (the sending 
of Christ); (3) nor in its operation (the believer 
if not judged, the unbeliever Aa* judged himself). 
— The gift of the Son a precursor of the outpour- 
ing of the Spirit. — The mysteries of darkness and 
the mysteries of light in the world, as all brought 
into day by the light of Christ. 

Starke: Examples of notable converts are 
worth recording, that the goodness of God may be 
magnified, and others may be encouraged. Those 
who sit in the highest ranks and the most honor* 
rable offices, should think more of their human 
misery than of their elevation and dignity in the 
world. — A man, though living in the most hard- 
ened condition (Pharisaism), may nevertheless 
be converted. — Hank, office, and fear often stand 
in the way of conversion; but happy they who 
value more the salvation of their souls, and over- 
come those hindrances. — Majus: Not all noc- 
turnal meetings for edification are suspicious 
and to be forbidden. — Fear a great hindrance to 
goodness. — Osianoeb: The weak in faith must 
not be despised. — Langs: The ground of the 
necessity of regeneration lies in the nature of 
God ana of man. — The doctrine of regeneration 
must be diligently pressed, 1 Cor. ii. 14. — The 
scruples of scholars. — Tit. Hi. 5. — 1 Peter iii. 
21. — The patience of Christ with the weakness 
of man, and His friendly care to remove all doubts 
and scruples, are a model for us, 1 John iii. 9; 
2 Peter i. 4; Rom. viii. 5. — Zbisius: All that pro- 
ceeds not from spiritual regeneration, be it never 
so pure and brilliant in its glitter, is nothing to- 
wards salvation, and cannot please God. — The 
nobility of the regenerate: raised to the 
highest ranks of heaven. Col. iii. 9, 10. — Majus: 
The senseless astonishment of unbelief is good for 
nothing, but before the sublimity of the divine 
mysteries one loves in reverenoe to wonder. — 
The tame: The grace of the Holy Ghost is free, 
not bound either to means, persons, or times. — 
Canstbin: As often as we hear the wind, we 
ought to think of the mystery of regeneration, 
Job xxxvii. 9. — Art thou a matter, etc. The true 
heart-theology is not always to be found among 
people of great titles and places. — God to loved 
(v. 16). So overflow ingly and so intensely, and 
after this manner and in this order. The love 
of God the first and true source of all our blessed- 
ness. — Believers must, it is true, stand before 

Digitized by 


CHAP. III. 1-21. 


the judgment, but they come not into judgment. 
— BibL Wirt. : Faith alone is the means of sal- 
ration; therefore unbelief is the sole cause of 
damnation, — The blame lies with men, Hos. xiii. 
9. — Hbdinobb, on the words: Every one that 
doeth evil: Wickedness shuns the light, yet it 
must come to the light. — Zbisius: Could the 
stones and beams of many a palace and dwelling 
speak, what abominations, wrought in secret, 
should we not hear ! Yet that great day of judg- 
ment will make manifest every hidden thing, as 
truly as God is God. — Osiander: Many would 
rather in eternity be put to shame before God, 
angels, and the elect, than blush a moment be- 
fore a few people in the world. 

Girlach: A chief point of corruption in the 
doctrine of the Pharisees of that day was their 
entirely outward conception of the law, and 
their consequent utter mistaking of the relation 
of man to God. The deep, sinful corruption of 
human nature and the necessity of a regeneration 
were to all purpose utterly hidden from them. 
If, therefore, they would partake of the salva- 
tion which Christ brings, they must clearly per- 
ceive the need of it. — At all events Nicodemus 
hoped to find out whether the kingdom of God 
was soon to appear; that he, in that case, was 
to have a share in that kingdom, he had no 
doubt. — Jesus shows him that the kingdom of 
God, which ho was expecting as future and ex- 
ternal to himself, was already inwardly present; 
but not yet for him, because this required an 
entire transformation and renewal of the mind. 
—The baptism with water was an emblem of 
repentance under the law, grief for sin; the 
baptism with the Spirit denotes the operation of 
the renewing, inwardly transforming power of 
the grace and truth of God in Christ Jesus. To 
the water baptism of John (which Jesus conti- 
nued by His disciples), he therefore says, must 
be added the Spirit-baptism of the Messiah, 
which was promised by John himself. — Every 
force produces its like. If a man should even 
be bodily born a second time by an external 
miracle, he would remain the same. — The Spirit, 
the eternal, almighty, all-oreating and all-renew- 
ing divine life which is in God and is God Him- 
self, by partaking of which man, against and 
above nature, is renewed to holiness and to vic- 
tory over the world and death. — Christ was be- 
gotten of the Holy Ghost, anjl those who believe 
in Him are children of God by the same Spirit 
—The beginning of good works is the confession 
of evil works. 
Lisco : Regeneration is necessary in part on 
I account of the constitution of the spiritual king- 
1 dom to which the man is to belong, in part on 
account of the natural state in which the human 
heart is found, which is flesh (Luther's Marginal 
Note). — The two parts: Word and Spirit, belong 
together, as in wind the two things: sound and 
blowing. — Faith and unbelief as the inner ground 
of the opposite fates of men. — Braune: Nicode- 
mus came to Jesus by night. If not through 
cowardice, at least through delicate self-love and 
regard for his associates in rank and office. Yet 
he came, and had much to overcome: riches of 
earthly goods, riches of reputation and power, 
riches even of rirtue and righteousness. — Gide- 
i on's act in the night, Jud. vi. 27.-2 Cor. ▼. 17. 

— Every soul has its determination either to rise 
to glorification in the clear light of the divine 
Spirit, or to sink into the perdition of the curse, 
and God would that every soul should be born 
again not of corruptible seed, but of incorrupti- 
ble, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth 
forever, 1 Peter i. 23. — Rikger: Christ leaves 
Nicodemus time to take root and bear fruit. 

Hkubner; Noctea Christiana more than Node* 
Attica. — The danger of worldly honor. He who 
stands high in the world, must be at unspeaka- 
ble pains to become small and humble. — The 
miracles a legitimate ground of belief in the di- 
vine mission of Jesus. — Nicodemus here stood in 
the fore-court of conversion. — A man is always- 
only one thing, ruled either by the flesh, or by the 
Spirit (there is, however, a stage of transition, 
Rom.vii). Nothing more astonishes and offends an 
unconverted man, than to say to him: Thou must 
be radically changed. The doctrine of the Father, 
the Son, and the Spirit, as the sum of Christi- 
anity: (1) God the Father, full of severity and 
love, has founded a kingdom for which man is 
destined; (2) for this fallen man needed regen- 
eration by the Spirit; (3) this he now receives 
through Christ, by faith in Him. — Love of sin 
prepossesses against truth. — Here is to be found 
the Christian conception of those who are really 
obscurantists. — Often the opinion steals in, that 
the inward alone (that is, what is kept back, 
shut up,) makes the Christian. When Victorious 
(so Augustine relates), deeply moved by reading 
the Holy Scriptures, said confidently to Simpli- 
cianus in Rome: "Enow that I am already a 
Christian," and Simplicianus answered: "I will 
not believe it, nor count thee among the Chris- 
tians, till I see thee in the church of Christ." 
Viotorinus laughed and said: "Do the walls then 
make a Christian?" But afterwards, fearing 
Christ might not confess him, unless he con- 
fessed Christ, he suddenly came to Simplicianus 
and said: "Eamus ad ccclesiam, ChrUtianut volo 
fieri 1 * (August. Con/., ch. 2, J 8, 4). Swift held 
his family worship with his servants in perfect 
secresy, merely to avoid suspicion of hypocrisy 
(see his Life of Sheridan). Learn to rise above 
the judgment of the world; be not ashamed of 
your better principles. 

ScHLEiERMACHEB : In every one the beginning 
of the divine working can no more bo deter- 
mined, than the end of it can be descried. — 
Even those whom we may compare to the master 
of Israel, have continued but too long in that 
which could be the property and benefit of only 
a particular age or a small part of tho Christian 
Church ; and they had not been able to rise 
above this narrow horizon, and view the work 
of grace in its whole grand compass; and just 
by reason of this, they have led believers astray. 
— Vers. 16-18: The great object of Christ's 
mission. He appeared among us as a (the) token 
(token and seal) of the love of God, the object 
of faith, the universal possession of all men. — • 
Bbssbr, on the brazen serpent: Jesus the life 
of my life, Jesus the death of my death. — 
Nitzsch: The mystery of our spiritual regene- 
ration: (1) The necessity of it; (2) the possi- 
bility of it; (3) the actuality of it. — Hosbach: 
The new birth : (1) What is it? (2) How does 
it arise? (3) Whither does it lead ?— 0. v. Geb- • 

Digitized by 




lach: The glorification of the jLrinne God in 
the regeneration of man. — Klino: The being 
born of the Spirit, on the one hand manifest, on 
the other hidden as to its origin and end. 

[Borkitt : 'Tin not enough that we be new- 
dressed, but we must be new-made, that is, 
thoroughly and universally changed, the will by 
renovation, the affections by sanctification, the 
life by reformation. We must be like God, or 
we can never live with Him. If we be not like 
Him in the temper of our minds on earth, we 
can never be happy in the enjoyment of Him in 
heaven; for heaven, which is a place of the 
greatest holiness, would be a place of the great- 
est uneasiness to an unregenerate and an un- 
holy person ; the contagion is universal, deep, 
and inward, therefore such must the change be. 
— The way and work of the Holy Spirit in the 
bouVs regeneration, is oft-times very secret, and 
usually exceeding various. Yarious as to tho 
time. Some are wrought upon in youth, others 
in old age. Various in His methods of working: 
Some are wrought upon by the corrosives of the 
law, others by lenitives of the gospel. Various 
in the manner of His working, and in the means 
by which He works : Upon some by a powerful 
ordinance, upon others by an awakening Provi- 
dence. But the Spirit's work in all still the same, 
it produces likeness to God. — Rtlk: What a 
feeble beginning a man may make in religion, 
and yet finally prove a strong Christian. Never 
despise the day of small things (Zech. iv. 10). — 

What a mighty change our Lord declares to be 
needful to salvation, and what a remarkable ex- 
pression He uses in describing it. — A day will 
come when those who are not born again will 
wish that they had never been born at all. — 
Augustus (on ver. 15) : The bite of the Serpent 
brought death ; the death of Christ brings life. 
Look at the Serpent, that the Serpent may not 
harm you. Look at death that death may not 
hurt you. But at whose death ? At the death 
of Him who is the Life. Death died in Christ, 
so that we may now say: "O death, where is 
thy sting," etc. — Luthir: Henceforward, be 
who is condemned must not complain of Adam, 
and his inborn sin. The seed of the woman, 
promised by God to bruise the head of the ser- 
pent, is now come and has atoned for sin and 
taken away condemnation. But he must cry out 
against himself for not having accepted and be* 
lieved in the Christ, the devil's head-bruiser and 
sin-strangler. If I do not believe the same, sin 
and condemnation must continue. — Lavatbb, 
(ver. 1G): Jesus means one who creates joy and 
happiness. He who views Jesus otherwise than 
as a bringer of joy, the gospel as anything else 
but a messago of joy, suffering as anything but 
a fountain of joy, knows neither God nor Christ 
nor the gospel. God is love, and love can only 
love. God is the living will of love. Love is 
pure joy and makes happy all who come in con- 
tact with it.— P. S.] 



bridegroom of the church, wuo comes from hbaven. (The Real Song of Songs.) 

Chap. III. 22-36. 

22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples [came] into the land of Judea; 

23 and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was [still] baptizing 
in JSnon near to [omit to] Salim, because there was much water there: and they 

24, 25 came and were baptized. For John 1 was not yet cast into prison. Then there 
arose a question between some of [on the part of J John's disciples and the Jews 
[a Jew] 1 about purifying [religious washing]. And they came unto John, and said 
unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond [the] Jordan, to whom thou barest 
[hast borne] witness [didst servo as a witness], behold the same baptizeth, and all 
men come [are going] to him. 

John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except [unless] it be given 
him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, 

29 but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom : but the 
friend of the bridegroom, which [who] standeth and heareth him rejoiceth greatly 
[lit., rejoiceth with joy, x a P9 X a tp el ] because of the bridegroom's voice: [.] this my 

30 joy therefore is fulfilled [is made full, complete]. He must increase, but I must de- 

31 crease. He that cometh from above is above all : he that is of the earth is earthly 
[is of the earth], 8 and speaketh of the earth : he that cometh from heaven is above 

32 all. 4 And [omit And]* what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth ; and no 

33 man receiveth his testimony [and his testimony no one receiveth]. He that 
hath received his [his emphatic, abrov rip pJ\ testimony hath set to [omit to] his 

34 seal that God is true. For he whom God hath [omit hath] sent speaketh the 
words of God : for God [he]* giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him [omit unto 




Digitized by 


CHAP. III. 22-86. 



35 him]. 1 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. 

36 He that belie veth on [in] the Son hath everlasting life : and he that belie veth not 
[disobeyeth, 6 dk azu&wv] the Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God abideth 
on him. 


1 Ver. 23. [The art. & before Twiw^ is wanting in ft. B. and omitted by Tischend., bracketed by Air.— P. S.] 

* Ver. 23. tiyirrro ovv £ifrj|*«.? i< r*v n*9nT*v 'haiwov prr* 'lov&aiov. The singular is strongly sustained by K.« 
A. B. L., etc, and adopted by TLichond., Treg., Alf, W. and H., against the text. rec. 'Iov&umk which is supported by £.• ' 
G.. etc 'Meyer: Dtr Plural bot sich mechanuch dar, tri*. % to conform to narrow.— P. 8.1 

* Ver. 31. [4 *»v cxr^fy^f «« tm yn* «<mV, is apparently tautological, but the difference lies in the emphasis: 
to the origin of a man corresponds his character.— P. S.J 

4 Ver. 31. [The second cn-arti wavrmv itrriv is omitted by tf.* !>• and Tischend. (ed. VIII ), supported by tf.« A. B. L. 
and retained by Treg., Alf., Westc.and li. (in brackets), Meyer, Lunge.— P. S.J 

* Ver. 32. [The *«u is wanting in several codd., also in B. L. al. which retain the second iwdy* wdvretv itrriv, and is 
omittM by Tischend., Alt, Treg., W. and H.— P. S.] 

* Ver. 34. 'O 9*6% is wanting in B. and in other considerable codd. [$<• CA L., omitted by Tischend , Alf„ etc. — P. 8.] 

' Ver. 34. [The A. V., with many commentators, refers the passage to Christ, and hence supplies aury. But the sen- 
tence is general in its character, hence the present &oWt. Christ had already received tho fulness of the Spirit in baptism. 
-P. S.J 

ing blood of atonement (xix. 34; 1 John i. 7). 
This baptism then had a prophetic character, and 
was subsequently not repeated, but completed 
by the pentecostal baptism of the Spirit. — P. S.] 
Ver. 23. And John also was baptizing. — 
This statement serves to explain what follows. — 
In Aenon ; jr# flrg, adjective of J.X " place 
abounding in springs." Meyer makes out of it 
P.4? P' " dove-fountain," without arguing the 
matter. According to Eusebius and Jerome * 

{Onomasticon under Aenon and SaUm] Aenon 
ay in'oetavo lapide Scythopoleos ad meridiem juxta 
Salem et Jordanem; and Salem: in octavo lapide a 
Scythopoli in eampo View Salami as. From this it is 
inferred that both places were in Samaria; which 
Epiphanius (User. lvii. 2) confirms.* This has 
been thought so inconsistent with our passage, 
that two places of similar names, Shilhim and 
Ain, which, according to Josh. xv. 82, lay on the 
southern border of Judea, have been substituted.-}- 
According to others the places in question might 
have lain in Judea hard by tho Samaritan bor- 
der (see Meyer). Robinson (III., p. 322) found a 
Salem near Nablus, remote from the Jordan. Ac- 
cording to this it has been held improbable that 
Aenon was on the Jordan, and Liicke thinks it 
was a place of springs. We suppose that John 
might very probably have been baptizing tem- 
porarily on Samaritan ground. Elijah, his pro- 

Ver. 22. After these things. — Men! ravra. 
Probably not only after th9 interview with Nico- 
demus (Meyer), but after all that is related of 
His stay in Jerusalem. 

Into the land of Judea. — Judea here, of 
course, not in the wider sense of Palestine, but 
in the narrower sense, as distinguished from 
Samaria, Galilee, and Perea; Southern Palestine, 
on this side the Jordan, having Samaria on the 
north, the Jordan and the Dead Sea on the east, 
Idumea on the south, Philistia and the Mediterra- 
nean on the west. And here, too, not the province 
of Judea itself is meant, to which in fact Jeru- 
salem especially belonged, but the Judean coun- 
try ; 'Iovdafa being here used adjectively [x&pa 
'lov&aia, Mark i. 6; Acts xvf. 1], From the 
baptizing Meyer infers a sojourn on the Jordan 
towards the north-east. 

And there he tarried with them. — From 
the time of His return to Samaria (probably 
about seeding time, see ch. iv. 35) we may infer 
that He continued in the Judean country from 
the month of March till perhaps November or 
December, at least half a year (see the place 
referred to). 

And baptized. — According to ch. iv. 2 Jesus 
Himself did not baptize ; but as John remarks 
this only in a passing and supplemental way, he 
evidently intends to designate this baptism as a 
baptism of Jesus Himself. [Virtually (accord- 
ing to the maxim : quod quia per alium facit, id 
ipufeciue dicilur), but not literally ; for the testi- 
mony of iv. 2 is explicit, that Jesus Himself did 
not baptize. His work was to preach and to 
baptize with the Holy Spirit; water baptism 
was a subordinate ministerial office, and could 
as well be performed by others. For the same 
reason Paul did not baptize except in a few 
eases-, 1 Cor. i. 14-16. The baptism of the dis- 
ciples of Jesus, which is only mentioned here and 
iv. 2, was still essentially the baptism of John, 
but it prepared the way for Christian baptism, 
which was instituted after the resurrection, Matt, 
xviit 19, and first performed on the birth-day of 
the Christian Chnrch, Acts ii. 41. Before Christ 
had finished His work on earth, the Holy Spirit 
was not yet in full regenerative operation (vii. 
39), nor could baptismal water signify the cleans- 

• [This riew is hold by Dr. Thomson (The Land and the 
Book, IT., 176). He visited Bcitun (Scythopoli*) and the 
neighborhood, and represents the valley there as abounding 
in fountains and brooks and as one of tho most fertile In 
Palestine ; yet he found no traces of tho name. ** The lovely 
valley of Jezreel," he says, *• irrigated by tho JalAd, and the 
Ghor Beisan below, watered in erery part by many fertilizing 
streams, are capable of sustaining a little nation in and of 
themselves. Besides, Beisan is the natural highway from 
Bashan and the east to tho sea-board at Haifa aud Acre, and 
also to southern Palestine and Egypt. The G hor once teemed 
with inhabitants, as is evident from ruined sites, and from 
tells too old for ruins, which are scattered over the plain. 
I took down their names as now known to tho Arabs, but 
none of them have any historic significance. Of Sallm and 
Enon, which must have been in the ghor at no great distance, 
I could hear nothing."— P. 8.] 

f [So also Ilengstenberg, I., 224. The Alex Codex of the 
8ept. renders the three names of places in Jos. xv., 2«Arci/ub 
*ai 'Air «cal Ptnntay. In Neh. xi. 20 the last two names are 
combined in En-rimmon. The southern country was very 
dry. a continuation of the Arabian desert. Hence the re- 
mark. " there was much water there," which would be rather 
superfluous if applied to a place in Galiiee or on tho banks 
of the Jordan, receives its full meaning. Yet this holds gqod 
also of Dr. Lange's view, who, with Bobinson, locates Salem 
near Nablus.— P. S.J 

Digitized by 




totype, dwelt long with a Phenician widow; 
Elisha healed the Syrian Naaman by directing 
him to wash in the Jordan. John, on his ap- 
pearance, preached: Qod is able of these stones 
to raise up children unto Abraham. If John 
was to execute his office as fore-runner of Christ 
in His universal character, he must hare come 
to Samaria, and even to the Galilean court (see 
.the direction of the angel, Luke i. 17 and 76). 
He might have had, moreover, special reasons 
for this. He could not give up his work, be- 
cause he felt himself appointed to die in his 
official service ; yet he wished also to give way 
to the Lord, and, not as compelled by events, 
but voluntarily, to decrease by the side of Him. 
This purpose would be exactly served by his 
retiring into a small place, and especially by his 
beginning to labor in Samaria. It is further 
noteworthy, that immediately after this Christ 
begins to teach in Samaria, though only in 
passing, and that the passage before us relates 
to the disciples of John who were involved in a 
controversy with a Jew concerning purification. 
If this Jew seems to have given the preference, 
as a Jew, to the baptism of Jesus, it is natural 
to suppose that he based his preference on the 
fact' that Jesus was baptizing on Judean soil, 
John in Samaria. Enon at all events lay this 
side the Jordan. The objection that John was 
still baptizing in his old way, is solved by his 
calling. As to the objection that he was not 
baptizing "into Jesus," he had only to baptize 
into Christ; to point out the Christ in Josus was 
the business of his testimony. Meyer remarks, 
against Bretschneider and others, that he did 
not baptize into Jesus because Jesus had not yet 
appeared at all as the Messiah. Tet John had de- 
signated Him as the Messiah, and now did so again 
with the ntmost clearness. But his office as 
fore-runner had not ceased with a publio ap- 
pearance of Jesus as the Messiah. 

There was much water. — This can be 
mentioned to define only the spot, not the region. 
Ver. 24. John was not yet thrown into 
prison. — This, according to De Wette, Meyer, 
etc., is intended to be a correction of the Synop- 
tical tradition. But it is only a completion of it ; 
for the Synoptists open the ministry of Jesus with 
His labors in Galilee, not because these were the 
"very beginning" (Tholuck), but because this 
was the current tradition, and because their 
method of construing the history, particularly 
with regard to the contrast between John and 
Christ, required it. At the time of the return 
of Christ from the country of Judea to Galilee 
in the winter of 781 John had been cast into 
prison, according to Marki. 14; during his first 
great tour in Galilee He received the embassy 
from the Baptist in the spring of 782; after His 
return from the feast of Purim in March of 782, 
however, He received the intelligence of the exe- 
cution of the Baptist, according to Matth. xiv. 
12; comp. John vi. 1. 

Ver. 23. A question. — ZfjTTjaic, disputation. 
Not with the Jews, but with a Jew. [Seo Textual 
Notes.] The one Jew, who disputes with the 
disciples of John concerning purification (wept 
Ka&aptouov), that is, concerning the religious 
washing for purification, which must precede the 
kingdom of heaven [Ezek. xxxvi. 25; Zech. xiii. 

1], or concerning the baptisms of John and Je- 
sus as to their purifying virtue and Messianic 
validity, gives exegeticaJ trouble. According 
to T ho hick the controversy was begun by dis- 
ciples of John, and yet the Jew on his part con- 
ten tiously extolled the baptism of Jesus, to pro- 
voke the disciples of John ; in other words, with 
not the bost design. This evil design is more 
strongly represented by Luthardt: An intent to 
make the Baptist untrue to his office, in order to 
operate the more effectually against Jesus, 
Chrysostom and Semler, on the contrary, have 
supposed that the Jew had been baptized by Je- 
sus, which seems also implied in the complaint 
of John's disciples in the next verse. [The first 
sacramental controversy, and the forerunner of 
a good many. — P. S.] 

Ver. 26. He that was with thee, to whom 
thou hast borne witness. — Jealousy is at the 
out-set betrayed by the avoidance of the name of 
Jesus (comp. Luke x. 87 ; xv. 80) ; then it is 
implied that Jesus had been at first Himself de- 
pendent on him, that is, as one baptized by him; 
though it is not asserted, as by the modern criti- 
cism, that He had been a pupil of John. To tchom 
thou barest witness, etc. A reproach against John 
and Jesus at once ("behold, the same"). Yet 
expressed only in the tone, in the choice of 
words, while nothing is literally ventured be- 
yond historical statement. But that they, them- 
selves irritated, wished to provoke the Baptist to 
see in Jesus an unauthorized rival in the matter of 
baptism, no matter how much He may be in other 
respects, is manifest. Every expression, in this 
view, is pregnant Even the words: "beyond 
Jordan," might imply that they had known bet- 
ter baptism-days on a better soil. Finally their 
displeasure expresses itself in the exaggeration : 
" all men come to Him. " Nevertheless they can- 
not bo considered decidedly hostile; they show 
an uncertainty, a wavering, in the issue of which 
the mass of John's disciples afterwards split into 
two branches, one friendly, the other hostile. 
The Baptist was to express himself on this distinc- 
tion of two baptismal communions existing together. 
Ver. 27. A man oan receive nothing 
(take nothing upon himself). — A general princi- 
ple of religion, applied to the kingdom of God. 
Gifts and positions in the kingdom of God rest 
upon the free grace and investiture of God Him- 
self. Here lies the obligation of humility before 
God, reverence for the gifted, freedom from 
envy, modesty, self-respect. The form of the ex- 
pression silences by its universality, the spirit of 
the expression purifies by its repression of human 
nature, its emphasizing of the divine. The refer- 
ence of the maxim : (I) To the Baptist, accord- 
ing to many ancients ana moderns ( Lucke). Wet- 
stein: Non possum mihi arrogare et rapere, gum 
deus non dedit. (2) To Jesus ; De Wette, Meyer : 
The greater ministry is given by God to Him. 
(8) To John and Jesus (Kuinoel, Luthardt; 
Tholuck doubtful). The last view is no doubt 
the true ; for the maxim is the general superscrip- 
tion of the following contrasts: Christ and John ; 
(1) Christand the forerunner ; (2) the Bridegroom 
and the Bridegroom's friend; (8) the increasing 
One, and the decreasing; (4) He who is from 
heaven, and he that is of the earth. God is above 
the distinction, and gives to each one his own. 

Digitized by 


CHAP. IIL 22-46. 


Ver. 28. Ye yourselves bear me wit- 
ness. — Ye yourselves, so jealous, bear witness 
to my modesty, in that ye recall how I bore wit- 
ness to Uim. Bat that. — 'AAA' brt seem only a 
transition to the discourse dependent on it 
(Meyer, Winer). Yet the expression might also 
point back to the Baptist's description of him- 
self (ch. i. 23), with the sense; rovro elfil, brt aw. 
— Exsivos refers to Jesus, of whom they had 
been speaking. De Wette. 

Yer. 29. He that hath the bride.— The 
Old Testament theocratic figure of the marriage- 
union between Jehovah and His people, Is. liv. 
6; Hos. ii. 19; and the Song of Songs, according 
to Beogel and Luthardt;* which Meyer doubts, 
because that book is not quoted in the New 
Testament; yet it is manifestly an example at 
least in favor of the view here mentioned. — This 
figure passed over to the relation between Christ 
and the renewed and adorned theooratio people, 
Eph. r. 82; Rev. xxi. 2, 9. He that hath the 
bride, is therefore he to whom *he is given from 
above, and who is thereby distinguished as the 
supremely Gifted. He is the bridegroom (De 
Wette: Comp. the proverb: Wer da* Oluek hat, 
Juhrt die Brant heim). — From him is here distin- 
guished the friend of the bridegroom, a dis- 
tinct personage in the Jewish wedding usage. 
Lucke: ttAo? tov wfiftov answers to the Hebrew 
f21EftZ?, in which, however, the ideas of £&oc tov 
wp*, and leapavbfi^iog or wfifayoySc are com- 
bined. According to the Hebrew custom, the 
Shoshben, a friend of the bridegroom, was a 
necessary mediator both in the formation and in 
the conclusion of the marriage. In behalf of 
his friend he made suit with the bride, and was 
the indispensable negotiator between the bride 
and bridegroom in relation to the wedding. At 
the wedding itself he was a chief manager of the 
feast, a necessary functionary at the inspection 
of the wedding-chamber, and even after the close 
of the marriage a mediator in misunderstandings 
and dissensions. — In a passage Ketuvoth (foL 12, 
1) it is expressly said: Duo* D'J32H& corulitue- 
banty unum *pon*o> alierum tpontm (Schottgen, 
Eorm llcbr. et Talnu). Another name is 2Sl# (tr. 
Sanhedrin f. 27, 2). Doubtless John has es- 
pecially in his eye the business of the wooing, 
to which he was appointed. And then besides his 
subordination to the bridegroom, and his unen- 
vious service in relation to the bride, he ex- 
presses also the honor and satisfaction he has in 
his position. 

Standeth and heareth him.— (1) Interpre- 
tation according to rabbinic passages : customary 
listening of the shoshbenim at the door (twl ry 
Q'vpa) of the bride-chamber. For the particu- 
lars see LUcke, I., p. 564. Probably only iso- 
lated apocryphal instances suggested by apocry- 
phal accounts (Tobias. Something like it here 
snd there perhaps in the history of Jesuitism and 
Herrnhntism ). Hard to imagine as general cus- 
tom. (2) Baumgarten-Crusius, Luthardt: He 
waits for him that is to come, and hears his voice 
as he approaches, bringing his bride home. 
Against this Meyer : The irapavbfi^iog does not 

* [Tfoogsteotorg alao (L 232 f.) sees in the whole passage, 
and especially in the trice of the beloved, and the friend of 
the bridegroom, clear allusion* to Cant. U. 8 ; V. 2.— P. S.J 

stand waiting for the bridegroom, but accompa- 
nies him on the way to the house of the bride. 
Such waiting is the part of the bride's-maid, 
Matth. zzv. 1. (3) Eckermann, Meyer: He 
stands at bis service, waiting his bidding, and 
meantime rejoices in his conversation and glad- 
ness in general. (4) Tholuok: The conversa- 
tion of the bridegroom with the bride preceding 
the wedding. (5) Lucke : The voice of the bride- 
groom has in the Old Testament almost the tone 
of a proverb, Jer. vii. 84 ; xvi. 9 ; xxv. 10. The 
friend stands at his side and hears the happy 
voioe of the bridegroom. More accurately Gro- 
tius : 1D#, stare e*t ministrare, ut Oene*. xli. 46 ; 
Deut. 1. 88; Zach. iii. 7: audiens blandimenta ad 
iponsam. Vide Cant. Canlic. : Jl&c est vox Quvt) 
vvfifiov. The reference is no doubt to affec- 
tionate and tender greetings to the bride, not 
commissions (Meyer: bidding) to the friend. 
The friend stands (back) and hears in silence 
how the bridegroom himself talks to the bride of 
his love, contrasted with his own business-like 
talking of it to her in urging the suit. 

The voice of the bridegroom is therefore the 
New Testament words of love, the gospel of 
Christ, and that even in distinction from the now 
ceasing lispings of prophecy concerning the new 
covenant. De Wette also: Of the gladness of the 
bridegroom. When Tholuck observes that fawfi 
must not be referred to the rejoicings at the wed- 
ding, since the wedding begins later with the 
inauguration of the kingdom, and thus far only 
the conversation of the bridegroom is introduced, 
it must be remarked that the figure of the wed- 
ding is not intended to be pressed. According 
to the word of Christ, Matth. ix. 15, the wedding 
had already in oue view begun with His appear- 
ance. In another view it began with His> resur- 
rection and the founding of the church, Matth. 
xxii. 9. In still another view it is to come at 
the second appearing of Christ, and meantime 
the Apostles are the wooers of the bride, 2 Cor. 
xi. 2; Rev. xxi. 19. These aspects might per- 
haps be distinguished by the three stages of go- 
ing for and saluting the bride (the act primarily 
meant here), the wedding-feast, and the final 
nuptials; denoting the preaching of the gospel, 
the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and founding 
of the church, and the* manifestation of the king- 
dom. Yet we cannot apply this distinction of 
periods to the words of the Baptist. To his pro- 
phetic view the wedding was begun. 

Rejoiceth with joy. — Xapp x a ^P e ^ see 
Luke xxii. 15, [and V % V* VW, Is. lxi. 10. A 
Hebraizing mode of intensification: pure joy, 
joy and joy only.— P. S.J The did, as in 1 Thess. 
iii. 9, which is unusual, in place of the classical 
kwl, etc., adds emphasis to the voioe in itself. He 
finds that voice a compensation to his position. 
Contrast of this unenvious joy with the jealous 
tones of the disciples of John. 

This my joy. — This his share in the wed- 
ding. Hath been made full (wewXyporat, per- 
fect tense). — In the happy meeting of the bride- 
groom and bride in the house of the bride the 
wedding itself is, to him, as good as come. He 
has happily completed his task as wooer of the 
bride. He has done the work of his life. See 
the analogous perfect: fiefiaptvp^Ka, and the exe- 
gesis, ch. L 84. I* fulfilled, has become perfect* 

Digitized by 




Yet only in its kind, as the joy of the friend of 
the bridegroom; therefore to ho distinguished 
from the perfection of the New Testament joy of 
faith, John xt. 11; xyL 24; xvii. 13 (which 
places Meyer cites). He meant not by this 
the ceasing of his work, but the decreasing and 
diminishing of it before the increasing glory of 
the word and work of Christ. 

Ver. 30. He must increase. — The true de- 
scription of the relation between John and Christ, 
and between the Old Covenant and the New, in 
the primitive church, in the mediae val church, in 
this modern age, in the life of every evangelical 
community, and of every individual Christian. 
Increase: In labors, in authority, in disciples. 
Decrease: e?MTTobadai, be diminished. Noble 
freedom from envy. An admonition to His dis- 
ciples. St. John Baptist's day in the calendar, 
the longest day [June 24th], after which the 
days decrease; the birth-day of Christ [Dec. 25], 
one of the shortest, from which the days grow 

Ver. 31 . He that cometh from above is 
above all. — The relation of the section now fol- 
lowing to the preceding. Different views [of the 
authorship of vers. 31-36] : (1) A meditation of 
the Evangelist (Wetstein, Bengel, Kuinoel, Schott, 
Paulus, Olshausen, Tboluck, etc.), as supposed 
to be indicated by the John-like strain, an as- 
sumed contradiction between vers. 32 and 20, 
and the disappearance of all reference to the 
Baptist. Against this it is observed, that there 
is no break at any point, and the present in vers. 
81 and 32 indicates the time of John the Baptist. 
(2) A middle view (Liicke, De Wette, Hofmann): 
The discourse of the Baptist is continued indeed, 
but the subjective reproduction of the Evangelist 
Snakes it almost a reflection of his own. (8) Con- 
tinuation of the address of the Baptist, like vers. 
16-18 in ch. i., and as in ch. iii. vers. 16-21 con- 
tinue the discourse of Christ; my LebenJesu, II., 
2, p. 621, Ebrard, Kritik, p. 294; also Meyer, [p. 
180] ;* the Johannean character and coloring 
being also admitted even here. The stately con- 
clusion of the prophetic testimony of the Baptist 
concerning Christ is not at all inconsistent with 
his subsequent expression of human feeling, 
Matth. xi. According to Strauss and Weisse 
this passage in particular is supposed to prove, 
that the discourses in John are not historical, 
but composed by himself. From this passage 
then, on the contrary, a clear light may be shed 
upon the exquisite, far-reaching, teeming histo- 
rical truth of the whole gospel. 

'0 avuOev epxdfievoc. Present, referring to the 
mission of Christ, which is just unfolding itself. 
See the testimonies of the Baptist concerning the 
divine dignity of Jesus, ch. i. 15-18; ver. 27; 
vers. 29. 34.— Above all. — With respect to 
Christ all men are put in the category of the 
need of salvation. 

He that is of the earth, etc. — Not a tauto- 
logy* hut signalizing the difference of origin and 
of consequent quality. From the origin of the per- 
son, his nature appears, and from this his mode 

* f Alford likwiie ascribes the last verses to the Baptist, 
and urges the inner coherence of the discourse itself, In 
which John explains to his disciples the reason why Christ 
must increase and thrdw his own dignity into the shade. 

of speaking. But how could John say this of 
his testimony (Hofmann)? Tholuck argues: 
Therefore the Evangelist says (his, not the Bap- 
tist. But the thing said must nevertheless he 
true, and then it might even better be said by the 
Baptist in his humility, than by the Evangelist 
respecting his former teacher. The Baptist him- 
self therefore must have said it. The question 
is in what sense? We have a parallel at John i. 
18. In full comparison with the full glory of 
Christ no one, not even of the prophets, nor the 
Baptist, has ever seen God ; in this comparison 
every man, even of the prophets, the Baptist not 
excepted, is of the earth. Then does this mean: 
of the earth, in the sense of John i. 13; iii. 6, 
belonging to the old, sinful world as to his ori- 
gin, therefore in his kind, therefore also in his 
speech, since, even as prophet, he can speak the 
divine but rarely, in fragments, and under the 
veil of figures ; or in the sense of the mytta as 
distinguished from the kirovpavia in ver. 12? 
Exegesis passes by this question, and treats the 
antithesis as if it had the sense of ch. iii. 6; the 
otipt; in distinction from the mevpa. We under- 
stand, however, by the earth (yfA primarily the 
old economy and Theocracy in distinction from 
the heaven (ovpavdc), whence the new revelation 
comes (see on ver. 12). With the idea of the old 
is then connected unquestionably the idea of the 
imperfect and defective. The antithesis of 
earthly and heavenly, or carnal and spiritual 
descent passes into the antithesis of the old and 
the new time, and this into the antithesis of man- 
kind needing revelation and redemption, and the 
Redeemer. Moreover John speaks here of his 
human Xafatv, not of his prophetic eiirelv, or this 
latter is reduced in his view to a minimum in his 
human lakeiv, in comparison with the divine pap- 
rvpelv of Christ, and it should be observed thai 
John says: Xafal ik nfr yr t c, not ra r^r yrjq. 

He that cometh from heaven. — A solemn 
repetition of the preceding, giving it the Btrong 
form of a dogmatical statement. • 

Ver. 82. What he hath seen and heard. 
— See ch. iii. 18; also i. 18. Meyer: In His 
pro-existence. Rather, in His whole living di- 
vine nature, in virtue of which His testifying is 
at every moment preceded by a having seen or a 
having heard. The seeing and hearing denotes 
not only the directness of His knowledge, but 
also the full reality, the total scope of it, identi- 
fying it with His bodily vision (Leben Jesu II., 
p. 618). 

And no man reoeiveth his testimony. — 
According to the critics, in contradiction with 
ver. 26. Unquestionably a contradiction of the 
noble-minded master to his small-minded disci- 
ples. For them it was quite too much to see all 
running to Jesus ; but to him it was quite too 
little; to him it was as nothing. A hyperbole, 
therefore, of grief and indignation. A rebuke 
to the disposition of his disciples; moreover, an 
admonition to them to go to Jesus, as in ch. L 
29. He could not send them away by force, be- 
cause his school was a school of preparation, in 
which those only had become perfect, who went 
of their own will to Jesus. The Baptist qualifies 
his hyperbole (see similar expressions of the 
Evangelist, ch. l. 11; xii. 87) by what follows. 
Tholuck: "John reviews the history as a whole, 

Digitized by 


CHAP. III. 22-30. 


in the course of which the believers are a va- 
nishing minority." John no doubt speaks here 
with the conduot of the Jews chiefly in view. 
See Rom. ix. 

Vers. 33, 31. He that hath received his 
testimony .... for God giveth not the 
Spirit by measure. — Aorist: 6 "kafidv. And 
this doubtless with special reference to such dis- 
ciples of John as had gone to Christ; commending 
them, and recommending imitation. Hath set 
his seal, hath sealed. A tropical term, denoting 
generally in the Old Testament fastening up, in 
the New rather complete authentication; affixing 
the signature of execution, ch. vi. 27; Rom. iv. 
11, tic In Christ the truth of God as revelation 
is completed, 2 Cor. i. 20; by the believing con- 
fession of Him this fact, that the truth of God 
has proved itself perfect, is attested, sealed. 
How fart The answer to this question depends 
on the right interpretation of the two following 
verses, (a) If v. 31 refer to Christ, the syllogism 
is this; Christ as the messenger of God speaks 
the words of God, because God has given to Him 
the Spirit not by measure, but in immeasurable 
fulness (LUclte, DeWette); he, therefore, who 
acknowledges the word of Christ to be true, ac- 
knowledges the word of God himself; he who 
believes not Christ, makes God a liar, (b) But 
the 84th verse may refer to the prophets, sum- 
med up and represented in John: The messen- 
ger of God speaks the words of God, for God 
gives his Spirit copiously enough for this; he, 
therefore, who acoepts not Christ, denies, in the 
Fnlfiller of the testimony of the prophets, the 
word of God also in that testimony itself, or 
rather he necessitates the inference, that God 
promised that the Messiah should come, and has 
sot kept His word, or that in His different reve- 
lations He has contradicted Himself, (c) Then 
again these opposite interpretations may be 
modified. The first interpretation thus, ao- 
eording to Meyer: * Whom God hath sent,' fits not 
every prophet, but Christ alone, according to 
ver. 81, in view of His mission from heaven. On 
the other hand, the ov yap U ftfrpov, expressing 
a general truth, should not be referred primarily 
to Christ; else airy must have been added. The 
statement is, that God gives the Spirit in general 
sot ix fierpov, but regardless of fitrpov, to one 
more, to another less, yet to every one enough 
for inspiration ; whence it follows that Christ is 
the most richly endowed (U denoting the norm). 
Yet the more to one and less to another may be 
given in limited measure, and it is a preliminary 
question whether the pkrpov should mean a gene- 
ral proportion for all, or a limited measure for each 
individual. The passage in Vajikra rabba Sectio 
15 (cited by Lucke and others) : "Etiam spiritus 
smutus nun habitavil super prophetas, nisi mensura 

quadam (Sp??02) ; quidam enim librum unum, qui' 

dam duos vaticiniorum ediderunt** — speaks not of 
a proportion, but of limited portions for differ- 
ent individuals. If now the expression be re- 
ferred to the prophets, it cannot mean: God 
gives the Spirit immeasurably. If we would re- 
fer it directly to Christ, avrp is wanting. But 
we may take the expression as a motto of the 
Mew Testament age which has now opened. God 
sow gives the Spirit, and gives it not according 

to a limited measure (Joel ii.; Acts ii.). — Not 
by measure. GerUch: «• Perhaps this is an 
allusion to the fact that the priests were only 
sprinkled with the anointing oil, while upon the 
head of the high-priest the whole of the oil was 
poured, Exod. xxix. 7 ; Ps. cxxxiii. 2." From 
this it is clear that He whom now pre-eminently 
God hath sent, Christ, speak'eth rd pfjuara (not 
only ft/jfiara) tov &eov t u e. t all the words of God, 
tho entire revelation, which has hitherto been 
spoken only piecemeal (see ch. i. 17, 18; Heb. 
i. 1). This the believer seals. He attests it with 
the confidence of the confessor and martyr, as it 
is attested to him in his heart! The second in- 
terpretation is modified by referring the mes- 
senger of God [ver. 84] to the prophetic office, 
as represented by John, and then taking the 
sentence about the Spirit thus: In this day, 
wherein God gives the Messiah the fulness of the 
Spirit, tho Baptist also has his share in the 
abundance (see the history of the Baptism of 
Jesus). Then with this John Christ is com- 
pared, as described in ver. 85. In favor of this 
antithesis are the facts, (I) that John here still 
appears as pre-eminently the a7reoTa?*fiti>os; [ch. 
i. tt], Christ as the ipx6fievoc; (2) that it is said 
in ver. 84 : 6 #edf diriareiTiev, in ver. 35 ; 6 naHjp 
ayaiv$\ (3) that here the faXeiv (not eiwelv) of 
the faqfiara $eov is set against the fact that all 
things are given into the hands of Christ. 

The result is, we find ourselves compelled to 
decide for the second explanation of the difficult 
passage: The last messenger, in virtue of his 
participation in the New Testament advent of 
the Spirit, speaks the prophetic words of God as 
such (in distinction from fact) ; the Son presents 
Himself as the fulfilment of these words in fact. 
He, therefore, who receives Him, seals that God 
in His propbetio words (spoken by the Baptist) 
is true. He who disavows Christ, disavows, 
therefore, His fore-runner also. A good disciple 
of John must become a disciple of Christ. 

Ver. 85. Loveth the Son.— Emphatic: in 
singular manner. This love is the cause of the 
glorifying of the Son. All things : not to be quali- 
fied ( Grot i us: Omnia mysteria regni; Kuinoel: 
Doctrinx partes). Matth. xi. 27; xxviii. 18; John 
xiii.* 3.— -Into his hand.— Strictly : in his hand 
[kv ry x et pi ovrov]. Pregnant diction: so into His 
hand, that they are in His hand (Winer, p. 385). 

Ver. 36. He that believeth in the Son.— 
The Baptist concludes his prophetic preaching: 
with the great alternative, which Christ also, 
pronounces in ver. 18, and at His departure 
from the earth. — Everlasting life, see ver. 15. 
Hath. — It is noteworthy that this inwardness 
of the eternal life was already recognized by the 
Baptist. — He who is not obedient in faith 
to the Son, dT«#wi>; not: believeth not (Lu- 
ther [and the E. V.] ),* but is disobedient; mean- 
ing, however, as standing opposed to faith, the 
refusal of the obedience of faith. In faith lies 
the moral kernel of obedience veiled in love, 
peace, joy; hence 6 irtorevuv. Out of unbelief 
disobedience, or even avopia, as a moral worm 
comes forth openly; hence axtiduv. Meyer: 
" Disobedient to the Son, inasmuch as He re- 
quires faith." Right, but not enough. Tholuck: 

♦[Alfprd defends the B. V. : "amttOStv may mean <Us» 
bdismng. Unbeuef implies diaobedieuc©."-- P. 8.J 

Digitized by 




'ATtttJelv alternates with amoreiv, Rom. xi. 80. — 
Shall not see life. — With the everlasting life 
he fails of life in general; he shall not even see it, 
to say nothing of having it. Bat the wrath of 
God. — Neither punishment on the one hand, nor 
a holy passion on the other, but the righteous- 
ness of God combined with His veiled jealousy in 
its visitation of judgment, Rom. i. 18; Eph. ii. 8; 
Matth. iii. 7. Abideth on him; in proportion 
as his unbelief is incorrigible (strictly : abideth 
towards him; pressing more and more strongly 
upon him). The effect of the bpyrj is -ddvarog. 
[The fdvei implies, that we are by nature in a 
state of condemnation; comp. riicua Qvoei bpyifc, 
Eph. ii. 8; John iii. 6.— P. S.] 

A worthy closing word of the Old Testament; 
the last peal of the thunder of the law ; the fare- 
well of the Baptist. For what he afterwards 
says to Herod, he says as teacher, not as pro- 
phet; and the question with which he sends his 
disciples to Christ, is the question of a tempted, 
believing man. 


1. The firtt ministry of the Lord in the Judean 
country, a counterpart of His last public ministry 
in the temple on Zion from the triumphal entry 
to the Tuesday evening (see Com, on Matt, on 
ch. xxi. 12-14, p. 879); in that in the first case 
the hostility of the rulers of the Jews had not 
yet broken out, in the last case it seemed van- 
quished by the hosanna of a believing people. 
Hence here a preliminary baptizing finds place, 
there a teaching and healing in the temple. And 
the cessation of baptism in the Jewish country 
is a prelude of the final departure of Jesus from 
the temple (Matth. xxiii.) 

2. The baptizing of Jesus through His dis- 
ciples a connecting link between the New Testa- 
ment baptism of the Spirit and the baptism of 
John, as John's baptism was a connecting link 
between the Old Testament washing and circum- 
cision, and the baptism of Christ. 

8. The last prophetic testimony to Christ given 
by the Baptist in his glory and in elevation above 
his last struggle [Matth. xi.]; the last flash, so 
to speak, of the Old Testament in the light of 
the New Testament itself, and a testimony to the 
higher glory of the New. 

4. The symbol of ihe intimate relation^ the be- 
trothal between Jehovah and His people (Ps. xlv. ; 
Bong of Solomon ; Is. liv.; lxii. ; Ezek. xvi. 8; 
xxiii. ; Hos. ii. 19) finds its fulfilment in the bri- 
dal relations between Christ and the church coming 
forth to meet Him. It belonged to the office of 
the Baptist to complete this prophecy in the most 
concrete vivid form. Christ on His part has 
taken up the word in the most varied applica- 
tions, first to the disciples of John himself (Matth. 
ix. 15), and afterwards throughout the whole 
New Testament, 1 Cor. xi. 8 ; Eph. v. 28 ; Rev. 
xxi. 9. The love of the bride is the Bymbol of 
the life of the Spirit. Plato's Symposion is a 
heathen parallel to the Song of Solomon. 

6. The perpetual force of the maxim : He must 
increase, but J must decrease. 

6. So far as in him lay, John sent all his dis- 
ciples forward to Christ, and pointed all the Jews 
tto Him. Not only most of the Jews, however, 

but even many of John's disciples failed to come 
up to the word of the prophet, and fell under the 
condemnation pronounced by him. On the dis- 
ciples of John see Gieseler, Kirchengeschichte, L, 
p. 69 [Edinb. ed. I., 68]. 

7. Both of the glory of Christ, and of the con- 
demnation, John speaks in a more Old Testament 
way than Christ Himself (comp. vers. 85 and 18 ; 
vers. 86 and 18) ; quite in keeping with his mis- 
sion. His last word is a last thunder-clap from 
Sinai and a last lightning-flash of Elijah, pro- 
phesying of the baptism of fire (Matth. iii.) and 
the flames of the judgment of the world (2 Pet. 
iii. 10). 


A aeries of separate themes in the sentences 
of the Baptist, vers. 27, 29, 80, 81 sqq.— The bap- 
tism of Jesus by the side of the baptism of John, 
the gradual transfer of the Old Testament order 
of things into the churoh of Christ. — Relation of 
the baptism of Jesus to the baptism of John: (1) 
Points in common ; (2) points of difference. — 
The harmony between John and Christ, and the 
dissension between their disciples, the living 
type of a primeval and a constantly repeated his- 
tory (see Gen. xiii. 7). — Two divided purifica- 
tion or reformation churches, to be united by 
being pointed from men to the Lord. — The jea- 
lousy of the disciples and the purity of the Mas- 
ter. — The last testimony of the Baptist concern- 
ing Christ, an expression at once of the highest, 
gentlest love and the mightiest wrath. — Christ 
the Bridegroom of the bride: (1) Adorned to be 
such by the election of God ; (2) recognized as 
such by the greeting of the bride ; (8) honored 
as such by the wooer and friend ; (4) proved 
such by His fidelity and glory. — The word of the 
Baptist: He must increase, but I must decrease, 
in its application to the natural life (1) of the 
world, (2) of the church, (8) of the Christian. — 
Christ tne Witness from heaven. — Faith in Christ, 
a sealing of all the words of God in the Old Tes- 
tament. Truth is the unity of correlative oppo- 
sites. — Without faith in the truth of God, we 
cannot perceive the unity in the great distinc- 
tion between the Old Testament and the New. — 
With the New Testament the Jews lost also the 
truth of the Old. — With their acknowledgment 
of the Old Testament, Christians may also ob- 
scure the truth of the New. — The life of faith a 
moral life on a heavenly scale: (1) Faith, an 
obedience rising into free, blissful confidence, 
and veiled in it; (2) Unbelief, a moral disobedi- 
ence (immorality) in naked, open deformity. — 
The wrath of God, the jealousy of rejected love, 
t. «., a full tide of gracious operation, changed 
by the unbelief of the man himself into judgment. 
See Rom. ii. 6. — Jesus in the Judean country, or 
an effort in hope to lead the people of Israel over 
by gentle ways into the new covenant (comp. 
Gen. v. 6). — The two baptizers together. — Reli- 
gious controversy in its bad and its good opera- 
tion (the words of the disciples of John, and the 
words 6f their master). — The word of the disci- 
ples: All men come to Him, and the word of the 
master; No man receiveth His testimony. — Only 
what is given him from heaven can a man truly 
take to himself: (1) What he usurps is given 

Digitized by 


CHAP. III. 22-86. 


htm ia wrath, and received to condemnation ; 
(2) what ia given to him is forever his own. — He 
that hath the bride is the bridegroom ; or, the 
life of Christendom a testimony to Christ. — The 
wedding of the Son. — The friend of the bride- 
groom, in His behaviour, an example for gui- 
dance and warning, to bishops, ministers, di- 
vines. — The decreasing of the Baptist, his in- 
crease. — The man of the earth, and the Man from 
heaven above all. — The believer, a witness of 
Qod attested by God. — Christ the seal of the 
word of Qod, manifest in the burning seal of 
living Christian hearts, 2 Cor. i. 20 ; Rev. iii. 
14. — The outpouring of the Spirit without mea- 
Baro . — The Father, the Son, the Spirit. — The 
last word of the Baptist concerning the Son: (1) 
What the Son is ; (2) what He has; (8) what He 
gives; (4) what He is worth [vers. 84-86]. 

Stark b : Nova Bibl. Tub. : Premature zeal, 
envy, dependence on human authority, and self- 
interest : O how much harm they do !—Canstein : 
Satan and his tools know too well how much de- 
pends on the unity of Christians; hence they 
take special pains to make schism of every kind 
among them, Gal. v. 20. — Majus: It is danger- 
ous for hearers to flatter their teachers. — People 
must not hang with sinful passion upon a teacher 
who is renowned. — As the peace-makers are 
called the children of God, so the instigators of 
division are justly called children of the devil. — 
Hbdixqkr: The office of the preacher and its 
profitable success come from God. — We men have 
nothing from ourselves, but everything from hea- 
ven ; therefore should we ascribe nothing to our- 
selves, but everything to God alone, and thank 
Him for it, 1 Cor. iv. 7. — Osiander: He who 
attempts high things, to which he is not called 
of God, spends all his care and labor in vain, and 
comes to shame at last, as the examples of Ab- 
salom, Theudas, Judas of Galilee, and others, 
p/ove, Sirach iii. 28. — Hedinoee: Let no man 
thrust himself into an office, without the will of 
God. — Qubsnbl: Every calling, every grace 
(gift) has oertain limits above which no man may 
elevate himself. — He who purely and steadfastly 
preaches Christ, may appeal to the testimony of 
his hearers. — A servant of the church, though in 
high office, has yet more cause to be humble than 
to be exalted.— Servants of God justly rejoice, 
when they can lead many bouIs to the Lord. — 
Moon and stars are lost when the sun rises; bo 
with me, when the Sun of Righteousness appears. 

Hedinger: Christ, the Alpha and Omega, 

should be all; we instruments are nothing. — 
Canstbin: Because all ministers are men, their 
word must be tested by the doctrine of Christ. — 
Christ's testimony is the whole counsel of God 
for our salvation. — Christ spoke the word, or 
proclaimed the counsel of God, as the personal 
and independent Word of God. — Majus : The be- 

liever may verily be sure of his salvation, be- 
cause he already has eternal life, though in the 
world he still is subject to much suffering. — Can- 
stein: Unbelief, (he cause of condemnation, be- 
cause it rejects the means by which the wrath of 
God might be averted. 

G08SNER : Eternal life is given to the believer 
from the hour he believes. He need not wait 
for it ; he has it already here. — Bbaune : As a 
man stands towards the Saviour, so stands he 
towards God and the gift of God, eternal life. — 
Schlbibrmacher : It is an old fault, which re- 
appears continually in a multitude of forms, and 
even in the Christian church, — the strong dispo- 
sition of men to believe in a man. — And how does 
God give from heaven, what He gives to a man ? 
Surely not otherwise than through the man's own 
conduct and that of other men. So long then as 
our own conduct is in contradiction with the di- 
vine working, we should not console ourselves 
with the knowledge that a man can receive no- 
thing except it be given him from heaven, but do 
our utmost to find out what and how much is 
given us from heaven. — That John must decrease, 
and the Lord increase, — this is the true relation 
between the old covenant and the new, between 
every imperfect worship of God, every other less 
firmly closed relation of men to Him, and that 
which is offered in Christ. — Schenkel : Our fu- 
ture welfare rests not on man, but on Christ: 
(I) Not on the word of man, but on the Gospel 
of Christ; (2) not on the work of man, but on 
the atoning work of Christ; (8) not on the name 
of man, but on the glorious name of Christ. 

Hbubner: True calling comes only from God, 
from Him alone success; the rise and fall of hu- 
man names, success and failure, are matters of 
divine control. — (From Zinzendorp) : When 
souls depend on men, etc., they are in most cases 
betrayed. Then when one such poor man comes 
to confusion, they are all confounded ; when he 
is taken suddenly from them, they are all lost. — 
How rarely are men like John ! Often the later 
exalt themselves over the earlier, pupils above 
masters; and how men envy, attack, belittle 
the greater merit! Men will not see others, 
especially their followers, outstrip them (true, 
alas, peculiarly of Germany, and to not the least 
extent of Evangelical theologians and clergy, 
men). — Hath set his seal: Every believer is a 
living attestation of the true God himself. What 
honor, to confirm the truth of God to others I — 
God gives not the Spirit by measure. All, even 
the most gifted, are capable of growing in the 
Spirit in infinitum. — The guilt of rejecting divine 
grace leaves in the heart of the unbeliever no- 
thing but the sense of an angry God. Conscience 
is the preacher of this wrath (yet the wrath 
manifests itself especially in swelling judgments 
against the unbeliever). 

Digitized by 





Chap. IV. 1-42. 

1 When therefore the Lord [Jesus] 1 knew how [that] the Pharisees had heard that 

2 Jesus made [makes] and baptized [baptizes] more disciples than John (Though 

3 Jesus himself baptized not [did not baptize], but his disciples), He left Judea, and 

4 departed again 1 into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. 
6 Then cometh he [He cometh, therefore] to a city of Samaria, which is [omit which 

is] called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground [or piece of land] that Jacob gave to his 

6 son Joseph. Now [And] Jacob's well [fountain] 1 was there. Jesu3 therefore, be- 
ing weaned with his journey, sat thus [simply sat down] on the well : [.] and [omit 
and] it was about 4 the sixth hour. 

7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water : Jesus saith unto her, Give 

8 me to drink.* (For his disciples were [had] gone away unto the city to buy meat 

9 [food]). Th8n s saith the woman of Samaria [The Samaritan woman 7 saith] unto 
him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which [who] am a wo- 
man of Samaria [a Samaritan woman]? for the [omit the] Jews have no dealings 

10 with the [omit the] Samaritans. 8 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knew- 
est the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink ; thou wouldst 

11 have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith 
unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, 9 and the well is deep : from whence 

12 then hast thou that [the] living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, 
which [who] gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children [sons], 

13 and his cattle ? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever [Every one that] 

14 drinketh [*a? 6 *eW/| of this water shall [will] thirst again: But whosoever drink- 
eth [whosoever shall drink, h d 9 uv my] 10 of the water that I shall give him 
shall [will] never thirst; but the water that I shall give him 11 shall be [be- 
come, YvsfjGiTai] in him a well [fountain] of water springing up into everlasting 

15 life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not [may 

16 not thirst], neither [nor] come [all the way, dilp'/wnai] hither [Iv&dde] to draw. Jesiu 

17 [He] la saith unto her, Go, call thv husband, 1 ' and come hither. The woman answered 
and said, I have no husband [oox e%a> Hvdpa}. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well 
said, I have no husband [A husband I have not, or, Husband I have none, avd p a 

18 oox fya)] : For thou hast had five husbands ; and he whom thou now hast is not thy 
husband : in that saidst thou trulv [in this thou hast spoken truly, or, truth, touto 

19 aXrj&ss e'pyzas]. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a pro- 

20 phet. Our fathers worshipped in [or, on] this mountain ; and ye say, that in Jeru- 

21 salem is the place where men ought to worship. ' Jesus saith unto her, Woman, be- 
lieve me, 14 the [an] hour cometh [is coming], when ye shall neither in [or, on] this 

22 mountain, nor yet [omit yet] at [in] Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship 
ye know not what [that which ye know not] : we know what we worship [we wor- 
ship that which we know] ; for [the] salvation 1 * is [or, comes] of [from] the Jews. 

23 But the [an] hour cometh [is coming], and now is, when the true worshippers shall 
[will] worship the Father in spirit and in truth : for the Father seeketh such to 

24 worship him [for also (za\ yap) such worshippers the Father seeketh]. God is a 
Spirit [is spirit] : u and they that worship him must worship Mm [omit him] in spi- 

25 rit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which 
2G [who] is called Christ : 1T when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith 

unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 
27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the [a] wo- 
man : u yet no man [no one] said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her I 

Digitized by 


CHAP. IV. 1-42. 149 

28 The woman then left her water-pot, and went her way [went away] into the city, 

29 and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which [who] told me all things that ever 9 

30 I did : is not [omit not] 10 this the Christ ? Then [omit Then] M they went out of the 
city, and came unto [to] him. 

31 la the mean while his disciples prayed [asked] him, saying, Master [Rabbi], eat 

32 But he said unto them, 1 have meat [food] to eat that ye know not of. 

33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him aught [any 

34 thing] to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat [food] is to do 33 the will of him 

35 that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye [Do ye not say], "There are yet 
four months [it is yet a four-month 9 ], and then cometh [the] harvest ? behold [Lo !] 
I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields ; for they are white already 

36 to harvest [white for harvest already]. Ani [omit And]** he that reapeth [the 
reaper] receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal : that both he that 

37 soweth and he that reapeth [the sower and the reaper] may rejoice together. And 
[For, ydp] herein [in this spiritual field] is that saying [fully] true, One soweth, and 

38 another reapeth. I [have] sent you to reap that whereon ye [have] bestowed no 
labour : other men [others have] laboured, and ye' are [have] entered into their 

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on [in] him for the saying [be- 
cause of the word, dtd rdv Xoyov] of the woman, which [who] testified, He told me 

40 all that ever I did. So when [When, therefore] the Samaritans were come [came] 
unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them [to abide with them] : 

41 and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own [omit 

42 own] word [oVi tov Aoyov wjtoo] ; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not 
[No longer do we believe] because of thy saying [story, did, rr t v try* XaXiav] : for we 
have heard him [omit him] ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ [omit 
the Christ], 15 the Saviour of the world. 


i Ver. 1.— {* *Iif?ovf la supported by K. D. A. Vulg. Syr- Tischend. (ed. VIII.) ; the text. rec. o *v>©« by A. B. C. at, 
Treg^, Alf-, Wentc. and Hort.— P. 8.J 

* Ver. 3. — The water fa doubtful, being wanting in Oodd. A. E. P., rtc., many minuscules, and many Torsions among them. 
[Sustained by K. B.« C. D. t/c, Tischend., Alf.-P. 8.J 

* Ver. 6.— { John uses, alternately, with good reason, inrytf (vers. 6. 14) and <f>ptap (It, 12); the Vulgate retains the dis- 
tinction, rendering the former by /oiw, the latter by putetu. Augustine says: omnis puteus font, tvm omnit fons putetu. 
Only such a spring as is not on the surface, but deep and low down, is called a well (comp. ver. 11 : " the well is deep "Y The 
Arabs make a similar distinction between 'ain or fountain, which bubbles and gushes up at its source, and beer (6tr) or 
well, which is constructed by a shaft sunk deep into the earth, either built of stone or excavated in the solid rock. The 
A V. obliterates the distinction. " Fountain " is a better rendering of mryj, at least in connection with " springing," rer. 
14-— P. S.] 

« Ver. «.— A. B. C. etc., in. [Text. rec. <*m with E. Chrys. Cyr.— P. 8J 

* Ver. 7. — On the writing error wiv, comp. Meyer. [Text, rec; iruif, Tischend., Alf.: «•«*, which is best supported. It is 
the infin. a r. of nlw*. Both forms are used, but the dissylabic vuiy is more correct. See the quotation from Herodian 
in the 8th ed. of Tischend.— P. 8.1 

• Ver. 9 .— lo«* is omitted by Tischend. (Vm ) and Alford.— P. 8.] 

7 Ver. 9. — £jf yvri) q Sajiaptirtt . In rer. 7 it is yvv*i «Vc r^c Za/Aapci'af . The country is meant, not the city of Samaria 
(Bebast*). which was two hours distant.— P. 8.] 

• Ver. 9. — [The explanatory words : ov y&p ovyxpurrat lovtatoi Sapapc trout , are omitted by Tischend. in his 8th ed., 
kit retained by Lachm., Treg.. Alf. Westcott and Uort include them in brackets. Meyer, Trench and most commentators 
take the words as an insertion of the Evangelist, but Lango ascribes them to the woman. — P. 8.] 

• Ver. 11. — [Kvptc, oure aVrAtyta «x«t«. The dt-rAij/xa, haustrum (hauritnrium in Augustine), bucket in most of the early 
1. V., fa not the same with the vtpia or water-pot which the woman leaves behind in hor aeal to communicate the good news 
to the people in town (ver. 28), but, another vessel, with a rope or stick to draw up the water from the well. Trench, quoting 
from Malan, says, it fa "the situla [?1 generally made of skin, with three cross sticks tied round the mouth to keep it open. 
It fa let down by a rope of goat's hair, and may be seen lying ou the curb stones of almost every well in the Holy Land.*' 
—P. 8.1 

» Ver. 14. — [**The 6 rt'wr sets forth the recurrence, the interrupted seasons, of the drinking of earthly water;— the U & 
lr rip— the once having taMtea\ and ever continuing in the increasing power, and living forth-flowing, of that life-long 
draught." Alford.— P. 8.] 

u Vrr. 14. — Lachmann has put the words : ov /tif flufnftm «i« top aiwea, a\\a rb viotp, o 6Jttrta avrw In brackets, because 
they are wanting in Cod. 0., in Origen, and in several minuscules. These words, however, are sufficiently attested. Probably 
the omission has arisen through a confounding of the second avr$ with the first. It should be further noted that there is a 
wavering between Buff joy and ftt^o-st. Most of the authorities (A. D. L.) ure for &upn<rti. [Wordsworth prefers theMect. 
rec. Udjutrn (nhatt not thirst) as intimating that the believer shall be preserved from thirst by divine power. But Utfrqo^t 
{will not thirst) Is supported by K. A. B. D.L.M., etc., aud adopted by Tischendorf, Alford, etc— P. 8.] 

* Ver. 16.— 'O 'Iiproi* fa wanting in B. C* etc 

u Ibid.— The order <rov rbv aVopa in Cod. B., minuscules, and Origen, adopted by Tischendorf, has the advantage of 
stronger emphasis. [Led. rec ibv *6p* avv.— P. 8.] 

w Ver. set. — [In the boat authorities vvV<u follows after the verb: Believe me, loosum.— P. 8.] 

u Ver. 22. — [i ctarrjpia. the promised salvation, the only salvation.— P. S.] 

w Ver. 24. — [Iltw/Aa, which in the original stands empliatically first, fa Iicm not the Holy Spirit as a distinct Person, but 
the spiritual, immaterial nature of Ood which is common to all persons of the Holy Trinity. Hence spirit should not be 
capitalised, as in the A. V. Nor should the indefinite article be rebdn<»d. The meaning fa: Ood fa pure spirit, spirit in the 
highest, absolute sense, nothing but spirit. Comp. God it tight, I John 1. 5 , Ood it love, 1 John iv. 8.— P. S.[ 

Digitized by 




17 Ter. 25.— [The words o Ar^/Acroc xpurrfc are probably the words of the woman, not a parenthetical explanation of the 
Evangelist. Comp. ver. 29.— P. 8.] 

m Ver. 27.— [The insertion of the definite article by tho A. V. shlfU the astonishment from the sex to this particular wo- 
man, of whom the disciples knew nothing, bee Exeo. Notes.— P. S.] 

1* Ver. 29.— The 6<ra of the Recepta, after A. D., is more expressive and more probable than the a of B. C, adopted by 
Tischendorf. The same in ver. 39. |a is rather better sustuined by K. B. C* Syr. Orig., and adopted by Tischend. ed. VllL 
Alford reads ova. — P. S.] 

» Ver. 29.— (u^rt (and /tift, m interrogative particle, presupposes a negative answer, or at least leaves the matter in 
doubt, like the German: dock voohl nicht, comp. Matth. vii. 9, 10; Luke vi. 39. The woman is afraid to trust her own great 
discovery, and therefore modestly asks in this doubting style.— P. 8.] 

» Ver. 30 —The ovv of the Recepta is too feebly attested. 

* Ver. 34.— The reading tva wow (TUchend.) is better supported than wot>}9» (Lachm.), which nas come from the soo- 

» Ver. 35.— The reading of the Recepta: rtrpitirfvov would elucidate the well supported Tcrpa/upot. [The latter is the 
reading of the oldest uncial MSS. including X. K., and adopted by Tischend. and Alf.— P. S.] 

* Ver. 36.— Kai is wanting in Codd. B. C* D. [Cod. Sin.— E. D. Y.J, and others. Probably inserted to prevent the connect- 
ing of f)&y) (ver. 35) with what follows (ver. 36) as in Cod. A. and others. The rfiii nevertheless belongs to ver. 35. [Tischen- 
dorf and others connect ijfc) with ver. 36.— P. S.] 

» Ver. 42.— The addition of 6 Xpumfc in the Recepta [after: "the 8aviour of the world;" the Engl. Vers., like Lnther's, 
reverses the order.— E. D. Y.J, supported by A. D., is made uncertain by B. C. [Cod. Bin.— E. D. Y.J, Origen, Irens&us, and 


Sin this section our Saviour, sitting on Jacob's 
1 in weariness of body, yet with ever fresh sym- 
pathy for man, discourses on the water of eternal 
life with an ignorant, degraded, semi-heathenish, 
yet quick-witted, sprightly and susceptible wo- 
man, a sort of "Samaritan Magdalene,"* and 
teaches her the sublime truths of the true worship 
of God which broke down the partition wall be- 
tween Jews and Gentiles. He saw, by super-natu- 
ral intuition, the dark spots in her character, but 
also the deeper aspirations of her soul which had 
not been extinguished by a life of shame; and 
when she began to repent and believe, He un- 
veiled to her the future of His kingdom, as He 
had not done to an orthodox Jew. This scene is 
in striking contrast with the one related in the 
third chapter, where He instructed a Jew of the 
highest respectability in Jerusalem on the mys- 
tery of regeneration and the divine counsel of 
redemption. Christianity touohes the extremes 
of society: humbling the lofty, raising the lowly, 
saving both. Christ's intercourse with women, 
"the last at the cross and the earliest at the tomb," 
was marked by freedom from Jewish and Orien- 
tal contempt of the weaker sex (comp. ver. 27), 
by elevation above earthly passion, and a mar- 
vellous union of purity and frankness, dignity 
and tenderness. He approached them as a friend 
and brother, and yet as their Lord and Saviour, 
while they were irresistibly drawn towards Him 
with mingled feelings of affection and adoration. 
He dealt with them as one who condemned even 
an impure look (Matth. v. 28), and yet He permit- 
ted the sinful woman to wash His feet with tears 
of repentance (Luke vii. 37 ff.). He partook of 
the hospitality of practical, busy Martha, while 
gently reminding her of the better part which 
her contemplative sister Mary had chosen in re- 
verently listening to His instruction (Luke x. 
88 ff.), and comforted them both at the death of 
their brother (John xi. ) ; He lent a sympathizing 
ear to the sorrows of travail and the joy of deli- 
verance (John xvi. 21); He remembered His 
mother in the last agony on the cross (xix. 26, 
27) ; and He appeared first in His resurrection 
glory to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had 
cast seven devils, f 

* [So Dr. Lange calls her.] 

f [Comp. Guizots remarks on this subject, quoted below, 
Pocta. ajto Ethio. No. 6.— P. 8.] 

[The Samaritans, whether we regard them 
(with Gesenius and the majority of modern scho- 
lars) as the descendants of the remnants of the 
ten tribes and the heathen colonists introduced 
by the Assyrians, or (with Hengstenberg, Robin- 
son, and the older writers) as pure heathen in 
descent, who afterwards adopted certain features 
of the Jewish religion, such as circumcision, the 
worship of Jehovah and the hopes of the Messiah 
(comp. note on ver. 4), were, at all events, in 
their religion, a mongrel people, at one time 
more Jewish, at another more heathenish, ac- 
cording to circumstances and policy, much given 
to deceit and lying, and more cordially hated by 
the Jew 8 than the pure Gentiles. Christ broke 
the spell of this long nourished national pre- 
judice. It is true, He forbade the disciples, in 
their early missionary labors, to go to the Sama- 
ritans (Matth. x. 6, 6), and this seems to be in- 
consistent with His own conduct as related in 
this chapter. But the prohibition was only tem- 
porary and well founded in the divine law of or- 
der and progress. The Apostles were first sent 
to the house of Israel ; they must lay the foun- 
dation of Christianity in that soil which had been 
providentially prepared for centuries, before it 
could be successfully planted among Gentiles. 
At the same time Christ HimBelf, though in the 
days of His flesh "sent to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel," incidentally and by prophetic 
anticipation, as it were, made- an exception, not 
only in this case, but also in the case of the 
Syro-Phenician woman (Matth. xv. 21 ff.), and 
the heathen centurion of Capernaum (Matth. 
viii. 5 ff.); and, in the parable of the good Sa- 
maritan (Luke x. 80 ff.), He rebuked the pride 
and prejudice of the Jews with regard to that 
people. His favorable reception among them is 
confirmed by the report of Luke xvii. 11 ff., that 
of the ten lepers whom He healed on a journey 
through Samaria, only one returned thanks, and 
he a Samaritan, putting to shame the remaining 
nine, who were Jews. 

[The discourse here told has all the artless 
simplicity, freshness, vivacity and truthfulness 
of historical reality. No one could have invented 
it. The portrait of the woman is remarkably 
life-like — every word and aot is characteristic. 
The whole scenery remains to this day almost 
unchanged: Jacob's well, though partly in ruins; 
round about the waving harvests of a fertile and 
beautiful valley, with abundance of water; the 
mountains of Ebal and Gerizim ; a heap of stones 

Digitized by 


CHAP. IV. 1-42. 


on the spot where the Samaritan temple stood ; the 
flat roofs of the neighboring town, risible through 
olive trees; veiled women in oriental costume 
coming for water, bearing a stone pitcher on the 
head or the shoulder ; the weary traveller thirst- 
ing for a refreshing drink ; the old bigotry and 
hatred of race and religion still burning beneath 
the ashes. How often has this chapter been read 
since by Christian pilgrims on the very spot 
where the Saviour rested, with the irresistible 
impression that every word is true and adapted 
to the time and place, yet applicable to all times 
and places. Jacob's well is no more used, but 
the living spring of water which the Saviour first 
opened there to a poor, sinful, yet penitent wo- 
man, is as deep and fresh as ever, and will quench 
the thirst of souls to the end of time. 

[On this visit of our Saviour, the seed was sown 
which, a few years afterwards, as He propheti- 
cally foresaw (ver. 35), grew up into a plentiful 
harvest and resulted in the conversion of the Sa- 
maritans, as related Aots viii. 5 ff., and this in 
tarn prepared the way for the conversion of the 
Gentiles. From Samaria hailed Simon Magus 
with the first doctrinal corruptions of Christianity 
by the admixture of heathen notions, but also 
Justin Maf tyr, the fearless apologist, who was a 
native of that very Syohar or Flavia Neapolis, 
where Christ met the Samaritan woman. But 
of far greater consequence than the result related 
in the Acts, is the example here set by Christ for 
missionary operations, and the doctrines laid 
down for all ages. — P. S.] 

See the Literature in Heubner, p. 269 et at.; 
Nikdhofbr: Jesus und die Samariterin (Homiletic 
Discourses), Augsburg, 1821. [Archbishop 
Trench: Christ and the Samaritan woman, in his 
Studies in the Gospels, pp. 83-137. Dr. J. R. 
Macduff: Noontide at Sychar ; or the Story of 
Jacob's Well. A N. Test, chapter in Providence 
and grace. N. York, 1869 (pp. 269).— P. S.] 

Ver. 1. When therefore the Lord [Jeans] 
knew. — The Isord, for the first time in this Gos- 
peL* *E y v u or yvoi^ no doubt has in John, 
after what he has previously said of Christ's 
immediate knowledge of men's hearts, a special 
signification when it relates to human thoughts 
and purposes connected with Christ. f Ouv pri- 
marily looks back to the preoeding account of 
the growing labors of Jesus ; but it also points 
to the insight of Jesus into the spirit of the 
Pharisees, which was well understood, as natu- 
ral means of knowledge are not excluded. 

The Pharisees had heard. — Their hearing 
carries with it the idea of their having sought in- 
formation, and keeping a jealous watch. Hence 
Jesus, it is true, avoids a premature hindrauce 
to his labors, or, as Meyer says, a danger. J 

* (But the reading is doubtful, see Text. Notes. The term 
xvptoc,as equivalent to Jehovah or Adonal in the O. T., is not 
near at often applied to Christ in the Oospels (romp. vi. 23, 
M; xi. 2; xx. 28, etc.) as In the Epistles, because in its full 
sense it presupposes the elevation of Christ to glory. In the 
month of the Samaritan woman, ver. 11, and others not ac- 
quainted with the true character of Christ, it is simply a title 
of courtesy .—P. S.] 

fJMeyer denies the supernatural character of «yy here. — 

X [Against the artificial interpretation of this occurrence by 
Hofmann. Schri/tbeweU, I. p. 168. see Meyer, p. 186, note (6th 
ed.). Withdrawal from danger, no less than Arm courage in 
the face of martyrdom, is under circumstances a duty to God 
•ad the church, expressly enjoined by Christ, Mattb. x. 23, 

Yet this one motive, which John states, does not 
exclude another: that the Baptist was about this 
time cast into prison, after having labored last 
in Galilee, and that in answer to the special oc- 
casion thus arising for a confirming of hearts in 
that region, Christ appeared in the place of John 
in Galilee. Besides, enough for the present had 
been done for Judea. A third motive probably 
was, that Jesus had now determined for a while 
entirely to cease baptizing. 

That Jesus made more disciples. — Lite- 
rally: "makes and baptizes. The verbal 
quoting of what they had heard, expressed by 
the present tense, indicates a very definite or a 
very well known report. More disciples than 
John. — Jesus gave the Pharisaic spirit more to 
fear: His freer address; more public appearance 
in Jerusalem; His stronger' influence ; the puri- 
fication of the temple: His higher authority; 
miracles ; Himself accredited as the -Messiah by 

Ver. 2. Though Jesus himself.— Evidently 
•a parenthesis, otherwise it would belong to what 
the Pharisees had heard.* The Evangelist does 
not correct the report (Meyer), for it was true; 
he only states the fact more precisely. The ob- 
servation no doubt means not that it so happened, 
but that it was a rule, that Jesus Himself bap- 
tized not. Why? (1) Because the work of 
teaching was more important (I Cor. i. 17, De 
Wette [Alford]) ; (2) because ne would have had 
to baptize into Himself (Tcrtullian) ; (3) Bengel : 
"Baptizare actio ministerialis est. . . . Christ us 
baptizat Spiritu sancto." [So Godet, Trench. Go- 
det: "11 Stait le Seigneur, et il se reservait le baptime 
de I* Esprit."— P. S.] Nonnus follows this: the 
Lord baptizes not with water. Tertullian's ex- 
planation, too, has warrant. As Christ is the 
object of baptism, the centre of the new king- 
dom, He would obscure the idea of baptism, if 
He should not have the transition from the old 
system to the new, so far as the baptism was con- 
cerned, administered by others.f 

Ver. 8. He left Judea. — At the same time 
giving up baptizing. Why ? Because the im- 
prisonment of the Baptist in the midst of the 
Jewish people had brought a ban of uncleannoss 
again upon the whole congregation of Israel (see 
my Leben Jesu, II. 2, p. 515). This settled it, 
that a new baptism could proceed only from the 
baptism of blood, which at the same time would 
give it a deeper significance (as the final ideal 
consecration of death). 

Departed again into Galilee. — As after He 
was baptized. 

Ver. 4. Through Samaria. — Samaria lay 
between Judea and Galilee, and through this 

and sanctioned by II is example. Flight from cowardice is 
always contemptible, flight from fidelity to duty is compa- 
tible with unflinching courage. An humble retreat may at 
times imply more self-denial than proud and ambitious re- 
sistance.— P. 8.] 
* [Hence the use of Jesus instead of Be. — P. 8.] 
f [Clement of Alex, and other fathers, in their over-estimate 
of water baptism, assumed, without any warrant from the 
text, that Jesus baptized at le tst Peter, who then baptized 
Andrew, etc. To the three reasons mentioned above for 
Christ's not administering baptism. Lightfoot adds a fourth, 
vis., Because lie would prevent all quarrels and jealousies 
which might have arisen if some had been baptized by Christ 
Uimself and others only by His disciples. But the one suffi- 
cient reason is no doubt because water baptism is a ministe- 
rial act of secondary importance and that Christ reserved to 
Himself instead the baptism with the Holy Ghost— P. S.J 

Digitized by 




province, therefore, the usual route of pilgrimage 
also passed (Joseph. Antiq. XX. 6 f 1).* The 
custom of scrupulous Jews, to make a circuit 
through Peraea, could have no force with Jesus ; 
though afterwards the Samaritans themselves 
once occasioned His following it. But He then 
also had probably already come near the boun- 
dary of Samaria (see Maier, Commentary p. 828), 
Luke ix. 62. Samaria, plDfr ; Chald. potf, 
Ezra iv. 10, 17, primarily the name of a city. 
The city lay in the kingdom of the ten tribes in 
middle Palestine, on a mountain (Robinson 
[Germ, ed.] III. p. 365); built by Omri about 
922 B. C, and made the seat of the kingdom of 
Israel (1 Kings xvi. 24, and elsewhere) ; a chief 
seat of the worship of Baal during the time of 
the apostasy, 1 Kings xvi. 81 ; as the capital of 
Ephraim, the counterpart of Jerusalem (Ezek. 
xvi. 46, and elsewhere). Shalmanezer conquered 
the city and filled it with colonists, 2 Kings xvii. 
6 sqq. John Hyroanus destroyed it, but it was 
soon rebuilt. Herod the Great, to whom Csesar 
Augustus gave the city, beautified it, strength- 
ened it, planted a colony of veterans in it, and 
named it Sebaete [Augueta, in honor of Augustus, 
Joseph. Antig. XV. 8, 5]. The growth of Si- 
chem [Neapolis] in the vicinity threw back the 
city to a hamlet, which still exists as Sebustieb, 
in ruins. From the city of Samaria (Zajid- 
peca) the region of Middle Palestine gradually 
took its name, lapapelrig (I Mace. x. 30) ; it is a 
separate province in the time of tho Syrian kings 
(also lafiapic latidpeia in Josephus). The de- 
scription which Josephus gives of tue country, 
see in Winer under the word. Samaria appears 
more friendly than Judea, rich in vegetation and 
forest-clad hills. In the same article are the ac- 
counts of modern tourists respecting the city of 

By the Samaritans, D^ipP* lapapelrai, la,ua- 
ptt?, history understands the later post-exilian 
inhabitants of the country, tho Xov&aloi (Joseph. 
Antiq. IX. 14, 3, etc.). According to the pre- 
vailing view, a mixed population grew tip from 
the heathen colonists of Shalmanezer (ana Esar- 
haddon, Ezra iv. 2) from Assyrian provinces (2 
Kings xvii. 21), Babylon, Cuthab, Ava, Hameth, 
and Sepharvaim, and from the remnants of the 
Israelites. In the land of Israel they adopted 
the Israelite religion (2 Kings xvii. 25 ; Ezra vi. 
21 ; Nehem. x, 28), and soon went so far as to 
call themselves the genuine offspring of Israel, 
or of the house of Joseph (Joseph. Antiq. XI. 8, 
6). And now they would still be called Israel- 
ites, but not Jews. But as they presumed in 
pride to boast an Israelite descent, so too they 
often permitted themselves through policy utterly 
to deny this extraction, and give themselves out 
for Persians (Joseph. Antiq. XI. 9, 4) or Sidoni- 
ans [Ibid. XL 8, 6]. 

After Hottinger and others, Hengstenberg in 
particular [Beitrage I. 117; II. 8 sqq] has 
wholly denied to the Samaritans any genealogi- 
cal connection with the Jews. The document, 2 
Kings xvii., mentions nothing, it is true, of re- 
maining Israelites, and the Samaritans have of- 

* ("Hence «foct, which expresses a geographical necessity, if 
the thnrUM route was to Ikj chosen. This necessity became 
a providential opportunity for doing good.— P. S.J 

ten boasted that they were of heathen origin. 
This last fact, however, can signify nothing; for 
they likewise boasted, generally, that they were 
pure Jews (and the aTiXoycvijCt Luke xvii. 18, evi- 
dently proves nothing). But it is said in 2 Kings 
xvii. 24, that the colonists were placed in the 
cities; so that the colonization was limited. Be- 
sides, the deportations of this kind in history, as 
Winer observes, are never radical. The Samari- 
tans were also early distinguished from the 
heathen (1 Mace. iii. 10). Under Hezekiah (2 
Chron. xxx. 6, 10) and under Josiah (2 Chron. 
xxxiv. 9) there were remnants of Israel ia 
Ephraim and Manasseh. And Christ, as well as 
the Apostles after Him, considered the Samari- 
tans a middle people between Jews and heathen. 
Acts i. 8 ; viii. 6. A predominance of heathen 
blood is assumed by many. 

As might be expected of such a mixed people, 
adopting Judaism in an outward way, (I) they 
were not consistent in their national and religious 
spirit ; they professed now to be Jews, now to be 
Gentiles, as their interest might require. Under 
Antiochus Epiphanes their temple was dedicated 
to Jupiter Hellenius. Heresy in the Christian 
church, which is mainly a mixture of Christianity 
with heathenism, takes its rise in the Christianity 
of Samaria.* (2) They attained no living deve- 
lopment of their religious ideas; so that in their 
canon (the Pentateuch), their Messianic expec- 
tation, and their use of the law, they stopped 
where they began ; whence they in many respects 
resembled the Sadducees (though the Sadduceea 
had their abridged and stunted Judaism for 
having gone backwards with a negative criticism, 
the Samaritans for having gotten fast in the let- 
ter, and not gone forwards). (8) For this very 
reason, however, their Messianic hope remained 
more simple and pure. (4) After having been 
refused a share in the re-building of the temple 
in Jerusalem [Ezra iv. 1 sqq.] they fully recip- 
rocated (first of all by hindering the building of 
the temple, Ezra iv. 4, and the subsequent 
strengthening of the city, Neh. iv. I ) the fanatical 
hatred of the Jews, who looked upon them as he- 
retics, not as heathen [see Sir. L. 27]; and they 
built a temple of their own on Gerizim. Accord- 
ing to Josephus, Antiq. XI. 8, 4, this took place 
in the time of Alexander the Great. Manasseh, 
brother of the Jewish high-priest Jaddus, had a 
heathen lady for his wife. The Jewish rulers 
demanded his circumcision ; whereupon Sanbal- 
lat induced him to renounce his membership in 
the Jewish religion, and built the temple on Ge- 
rizim, of which Manasseh became high-priest. 
According to Neh. xiii. 28, a son of the high- 
priest Joiada, not named, had married a daugh- 
ter of Sanballat, and was excommunicated for it. 
We may suppose that tho two accounts relate to 
the same case, and that the chronology of Jose- 
ph us is here at fault, the case having occurred 
under Darius Nothus (see Winer, Samaritaner). 
On the further fortunes of the Samaritans, see 
Winer, I. c. (comp. Com. on Malik, x. 6, p. 185; 
Leben Jetu II. 2, p. 639). 

Ver. 6. To a city of Samaria, which is 
called Syohar [lit. drunken] — Near to the city, 

• [Simon Magus : See my Getchichte den apostnt. ZriUdOrt. 
I. p. 301 If ; and the treatise: Die SamariUr und ihrr. StH'uxa 
in der WdtgetchicliU von J. Grimm (priest), Munich, 1854JT 

Digitized by 


CHAP. IV. 1-42. 


into its vicinity : elf n67*v. 2vx&p=SKechem or 
Siehem (OJff), Gen. xxxiii. 18, etc.; Ze*^, Sept., 
Acts Tit. 16; also lltaua; after the time of 
Christ, Neapoli* [Joseph. De bello Jud. IV. 8, 1] ; 
now Nabulus (Robinson, III. p. 836; Sohubert, 
III. p. 136).* 

Its general identity with Siehem is established 
by the particular statement that Jacob's well was 
near. But the name Sychar for Siehem is not 
otherwise known, apart from the statement in 
Wieselcr, that in the Talmud occurs the name of 
a place "OlQ |\P, well of the grave, literally of the 
purchased, that is, of the purchased burial-ground. 
Hug also (Einleitunj II. p. 218) supposes the 
name comes from Sucbar, and denotes the place 
of burial where the bones of Joseph [Josh. xxiv. 
82] and, according to the tradition common in 
the times of Jesus, of the twelve patriarohs of the 
children of Israel, were deposited. Acts vii. 15, 
16. It is the prevailing presumption that Xv- 
X&p is a popular Jewish nick-name, a contemptu- 
ous travesty of Siehem; with allusion, according 
to Reland, to Is. xxviii. 1, 7 : Samaria the crown 
of pride of the drunkards in Ephraim, therefore 
the city of drunkards pte#, drunkard] ; accord- 
ing to Li Jfct foot, alluding to ^p.^t heathenism as 
falsehood [Hab. ii. 18], therefore the city of de- 
ceit, f According to Hug and others, Sychar is 
to be distinguished from Siehem itself somewhat 
as a suburb, and then means the city of the se- 
pulchre. This view is favored by the fact that 
both Schubert and Robinson put the ancient Si- 
ehem nearer Jacob's well, than the present town 
lies, and that at the time of Eusebius, Sychar and 
Siehem were distinguished as two places. Con- 
sequently the views of Roland and Light foot may 
well be dismissed as ingenious scholastic con- 

• [The ol J Ilebrew Shechem, or Siehem, or Sychar, the Gneco- 
Jtoaun colony Flavia NtapolU (founded probably after the 
detraction of Jerusalem, by Flavius Vesnasianus), and the 
modern Arabic Nabubu, or Nablus (i. «., Neu polls), are sub- 
KantUlIv identical a* to location, though probably a little 
apart from each other (see below) and most be sought in the 
aarrow, fertile and beautiful valley between Mt. Kbal and Mt. 
Gerizfcn, which is much admired by modern travellers, as the 
Eden of Palestine. Dr. Robinson, who is by no means en- 
thusiastic in his descriptions, says of Shechem : " It came upon 
as suddenly like a scene of enchantment. We saw nothing 
Uke it in all Palestine." The place figures very conspicu- 
ously in sacred history. At Siehem Abraham built his first 
altar in Canaan; there Jacob pitched his tent, buried the 
idols of his household, built the well and bought the tomb 
of Joseph; there Dinah was defiled by Shechem, the son 
of Uamor, prince of the country ; there Joseph was sold by 
his brethren and found the last resting-place for his bones. 
After the conquest of Canaan under Joshua, Shechem was 
made a city of refuge and a centre of union to the tribes ; 
under the judges it was the capital of the abortive king* 
dom of Abimelech : subsequently the capital of the kingdom 
of the ten tribes till Samaria deprived it of that honor; it 
eontiaued during the exile and long afterwards the ecclesias- 
tical metropolis of Samaria, the only temple of tho 8amaritan 
wonhlp being close by on Mount Oerizim. The present city 
of Nabulus has. according to Dr. Robinson, about 8,000 inhab- 
itant*, all Mohammedans, except about 600 Jews and as many 
Greek Christians, with a bishop, who, however, resides in a 
convent at Jerusalem. Dr. R< «en (in the ZrUschrifl der M. D. 
GetdUhaft for 1860, pp. 022-639, as quoted by the writer of 
the art. siochem in Smith's Dictionary), estimates the popu- 
lation of Nabulus at about 6,000, among whom are 600 Greek 
Christians, 15 > 8amaritana, and a few Jews, the Mohamme- 
dans making up the bulk of inhabitants.— P. 8.1 

t[0r Lietown, Lvgstadt. So also Uengstenberg (I. 244), 
Wordsworth, Trench: **8t. John, by this turn of the word, 
vhkb has brought it into closest connection with the Hebrew 
for a lie, declares at what rate he esteemed tho Samaritan 
worship, d-clares by anticipation at what rate it was* esteemed 
be oil Lord."— P. £] 

jectures (especially since the first view would 
make the city of Samaria, not Siehem, a Sychar, 
and since the allusion to llabakkuk is quite too 
subtile), though it might be some relief to sup. 
pose, with Meyer, that John uses the name Sy- 
char only as the vulgar name. Yet then we 
might have to admit ignorance in reference to the 
true name; which we could hardly do; still less 
admit that John made nick-names. The hypo- 
thesis of an interchange of the liquid* (Tholuck) 
is also inconclusive. We abide, therefore, by tho 
hypothesis that Sychar is distinguished as tho 
city of the sepulchre from Siehem * On the si- 
tuation of Nablus between Oerizim and Ebal, see 
Schubert, Robinson, and others (comp. Ltben 
Jesu II. 2, p. 625). 

Near to the parcel of ground that Ja- 
cob, etc. — The basis of the tradition is Oeu. 
xxxiii. 19. Jacob buys of the children of Ha- 
mor a field in Shechem on which to settle. The 
passage, Oen. xlviii. 22, is to be regarded 
as a propheoy ; he would give Joseph a portion 
above his brethren, which he (in his posterity) 
would win (not had won; see Koobel on the 
passage) from the hand of the Amorites with his 
sword and bow. Finally, in Josh. xxiv. 32 it is 
said that the bones of Joseph were buried at 
Shechem in the parcel of ground which Jacob 
bought of the sons of Hamor, and the sons of 
Joseph received them (with the field) for an in- 
heritance. The somewhat inaccurate version of 
the Sept. is of no importance at all to the esti- 
mate of the perfectly correct account (against 

Ver. 6. Jacob's Well.f— The well which 
Jacob, aocording to the Israelitish tradition, dug; 
which by this tradition was made highly sacred. 
It is thirty-five minutes from the present Nablus, 
sunk in rock to t he depth of a hundred and five feet 
[now only about seventy-five feet. — P. S.], with a 
diameter of nine. Maundrell found fifteen feet of 
water in it ; Robinson and others found it dry. J 

•[Dr. Thomson, The Land and the Book, and othors, likewise 
distinguish them for the reason that at Siehem (Nablus) thero 
are de iclous fountains of water which the Samaritan womau 
would hardly have left to draw from a well that is nearly two 
miles off. Buret, of Neuchatel ( Voyage en Terre Saintt, p. 
363, as quoted by Godet) thinks he has discovered some ruins 
of Siehem in the midst Of olive plantations between the pre- 
sent Nablus aud the well of Jacob. " Lt *om menu de No- 
ploute," adds God<t, ** indique un nouvel emplacement ; autre- 
ment la nouve'le ville eut coruervi le nam de Siehem. Cette cir- 
oonttance explique pent etre comment lafemme Simaritaine vc- 
nait chercher le I eau au puitt de Jacob." This conjecture 
may be correct, but the narrative does not require it. The 
woman may have labored or dwelt near tho well of Jacob, 
or put a special value on Its sacred waters to induce her to go 
to special trouble. Porter, who identifies the two places, but 
assumes that tho ancient Shechem was a much larger city ■ 
than the present Nablous, says ( Handbottk f«r Traveller* in 
Syria and Palestine.. Part II n p. 812) : " The mere fact of the 
well having been Jacob's would have brought numbers to it 
had the distance been twice as great. Aud even independent 
of its history, some little superiority in the quality of the 
water, such as we might expect in a deep well, would have 
attracted the Orientals, who are, and have always been, epi- 
cures in this element. There is a well called ez-Zf nablyeh, 
a mile or more outside St. Thomas' Gate, Damascus, to which 
numbers of the inhabitants send for their daily supply, 
though they have fountains and wells in their own houses 
far more abundant than ever existed in the city of Shechem." 
—P. 8.1 

t fThe same is now called by the natives Bir-Jakoub. Re- 
nan, Vte de J'tus, p. 233.— P. S.J 

X [it should be remembered, however, that Dr. Robinson 
visited the well in tho middle of June. He remarks that 
" it was said usually to contain living water, and not merely 
to be filled by the rains." Jews, Samaritans, Christian* and 

Digitized by 




Probably it was not the well nearest the city. 
The woman, however, might have had oocasion to 
avoid the conversation of other women at other 
wells; perhaps for the same reason she chose 
the unusual hour of noon (other possible rea- 
sons, from Robinson, in Leben Jeau, II. 2, p. 

Sat thus [£K<x#lfero ot/ruf, a graphic 
touch]. — Simply sat Probably indicating the 
absence of all constraint and reserve.* About 
the sixth hoar. — According to the Jewish 
rockoning, noon. Meyer: " Never to be for- 
gotten by John." 

[The hour is probably also mentioned to 
bring more vividly to our mind the weariness of 
our Saviour at the heat of the midday sun, the 
burden and toil He suffered for us at the very 
moment He opened a fountain of refreshment to 
this poor thirsty woman and to us all On the 
dates of John, see note on i. 89, p. 92 f. There 
are additional reasons for assuming that he 
reckoned here in the Jewish manner from sun- 
rise to sunset. Otherwise he would have noted 
whether it was six in the morning (as Rettig as- 
sumes), or six in the evening (as Ebrard and 
Wordsworth hold). The former is too early to ac- 
count for the fatigue of the Lord, the latter leaves 
no time for what follows, as the night sets in 
with little or no intervening twilight in Eastern 
countries. The conversation must have lasted 
at least half an hour, then the woman goes away 
to the city, tells her experience to the men, and 
they come to the well of Jacob ; and yet after 

medans all agree in this tradition respecting both Ja- 
cob's well and Josoph s tomb. AdJ icent to the well are the 
ruins of an ancient church forming mounds of rubbish, among 
which Robinson discovered threo granite columns. When 
last measured, the well was only about seventy-five feet deep. 
A portion of the vault has fallen iu and completely covered up 
the mouth so that nothing can be seen but a shallow pit half 
filled with stones and rubbish. See Porter's Handbook for 
Travellers in Syria and Palestine, IL, p. 341. 

My friend, the Rev. W. W. Atterbury, who visited Jacob's 
well, April 7, I860, kindly permits me to extract the following 
observations from his Journal, which confirm Dr. Robinson's 
account as to the present condition of the well : 

"At the entrance of the Nablus valley we stopped to visit 
Jacob's Well. In the middle of a ploughed field, a low stono 
wall enclosed a ruined vault, through the broken arch of 
which wo let ourselves down to its floor, where, almost en- 
tirely closed with fragments of stone, was the well. We could 
judge something of its depth by the fall of a stone, and thus 
ascertained that there is now no wator in It. It is said to be 
70 ft. deep, and is hewn out of the solid rock. Sitting on the 
fallen stones that covered the mouth of the well, I read the 
4th chap, of John. A few rods N. W. is a small Moslem tomb, 
of stone, said to cover the grave of Joseph. The way up the 
vale to Nablus was charming. Gerizim and Kbal, bare of 
trees, and but scantily carpeted with vegetation, except near 
their bases, were at first so near each other that ordinary 
voices might shout audibly from one sido to the other. The 
valley widened as we advanced. A recess occurs on each 
side, opposite tho one to the other, like the transepts of a 
vast Cathedral in which it is easy to suppose respective divi- 
sions of the trilies were stationed when, the priest standing in 
the midst, the people responded to the blessings and tho 
curses."— P. 8.] 

• [So Chrysostom and the Greek commentators : &«*£« *e 
irvx<Ju*t a* # happened, i. «., on the ground or the stones 
surrounding the well ; Grotius: ut locus seobtulerat; Bengel: 
sine pompa (to which he adds : admirabilis popularitas vita 
Jesu); Meyer: soohne weiteres, i. «., without ceremony and 

5 reparation; Wordsworth: as any one among men. Bnt 
irasmus, Beza, Winer, Stier, Ilengstenberg, Webster and Wil- 
kinson and Alford, refer ovrut to K«Ko*rta«w?, i. «., sic nempe 
qttiafatigatus, fitiffued as He was, as a weary man would, or 
accordingly. We might say (with Godet) that the word was 
inspired by the contrast to the unexpected task before Him. 
But FritJEscho and Mqyer object that in this case ovt*k should 
precede lca9«£«ro, as in Acts xx. 11 : xxvii. 17 : to which may 
be added Hebr. vi. 16.- P. 8.] 

all this it must have been still daylight, to ac- 
count for the words of Jesus : *' Lift up your 
eyes and look on the fields " (ver. 35). Con- 
sidering the oriental contempt for woman and 
the prejudice even of the disciples (ver. 27), a 
conversation with a woman late in the evening 
would have been even more unseemly than at 
noon-day. The fact that the woman was alone 
sufficiently explains that she came so early to 
draw water, instead of the evening as usual. 
The time of the year — it was at the end of De- 
cember — permitted travelling till towards noon. 
Porter, in his excellent Handbook for Travellers 
in Syria and Palestine, ii. p. 341, takes the same 
view. " Christ probably came up the plain of 
Mukhna, and about noon reached tho well." So 
also Macduff, p. 36.— P. S.] 

Ver. 7. A woman of Samaria — That is, of 
the country. The city of Sebaste was two 
hours [six miles] distant.* Tholuck remarks 
that the characteristic traits of this very highly 
individualized woman are indifference to higher 
interests and roguish frivolity.f But these are 
hardly individual traits ; and these traits form 
hardly the whole outline of a deeply fallen 
character, who shows, however, a considerable 
versatility of mind and great energy f besides a 
deeper susceptibility under the veil of a bright, 
resolute nature. A sort of Samaritan Magda- 
lene. With good reason Tholuck insists on the 
individuality of the woman against Strauss and 
Weisse. The striking invalidation of Baur's fic- 
tion respecting the design of this supposed fic- 
tion is likewise worthy of notice. 

Give me to drink. — Points: (1) The truth 
of Christ's thirst; (2) the freedom of His inter- 
course, — with a Samaritan, and a woman ; (3) 
the higher purpose of His words; (4) the mas- 
tery of the great Fisher of souls [Luke v. 10], 
in having the earthly given to Him in order to 
give the neavenly.J 

Ver. 8. For his disciples. — Immediate oc- 
casion : The disciples had gone to the city. Pro- 
bably they also carried a vessel for drawing 
water (avrXrjfia, ver. 11) with them { To buy 

* [The Roman martyrology knows the name of the woman 
(Photina) and of her children. Augustine: " Vmit mu'ierad 
puteum, etfonUm quern non speravit, inveniL" Trench : u To 
that same well she oftentimes may have comealrendy, day by 
day, perhaps, during many a weary year of th* past. And 
now she came once more, little guessing how diftVruut was to 
be the issue of this day's coming from that of all the days 
which had gone before . . . that in the midst of that and 
all the other weary toil, outward and inward, of this earthly 
life, she should have within herself a fountain of joy, spring- 
ing up unto life eternal, should draw wator with joy from un- 
failing wells of salvation."— P. 8.] 

f [Dr. Lange very properly objects to this low estimate of 
tho Samaritan woman who, with all her vices, had some 
higher traits of character. Ilengstenberg justly remarks (I. 
254) that Jesus would hardly have entered into a conver- 
sation with her, if He had not discovered in her an open sus- 
ceptibility to the truth.— P. 8.] 

I [The physical thirst introduced the deeper spiritual thirst. 
While appearing as the receiver of natural water, lie was the 
giver of supernatural water and thirsted to communicate 
this to the woman. Somewhat differently Augustine : IUs 
qui bibere qussrebat, Jldem ipsius mulieris sUiebaL Trench 
observes in this request of Jesus, and the discourse to which 
it was the prelude, a threefold testimony against the narrow- 
heartodnoss of His age and people— against that of the Jew 
who hated the Pamaritan, of the Rabbi who would have 
scorned such familiar intercourse with a woman (ver. 27), of 
the Pharisee who would have shrunk from this near contact 
with a sinner (Luke vii. 39).— P. 8.] 

{ [This Is the usual interpretation, but the Saviour may 
have isolated Himself from His disciples in the spiritual in* 

Digitized by 


CHAP. IV. 1-42. 


food. — Meyer : " The later [Rabbinical] tradi- 
tion* would not hare allowed this. But at that 
time the separation may not hare been so rigid, 
especially for Galileans, whose route of pilgrim- 
age passed through Samaria. Besides, Jesus 
was above the divisions of the people, Luke 
ix. 52." 

Ver. 9. How Is it that thou, being a Jew, 
aakest, etc.— She recognizes Him in particular 
by His Jewish dialect and pronunciation [per- 
haps also from His Jewish physiognomy and the 
dress of a Rabbi]. Tholuck: Tbe Samaritan 
tongue is between the Hebrew and the Aramaic. 
As Jesus Himself spoke Aramaic, this is not 
quite clear, and probably a medium between 
Western and Eastern Aramaic is meant. f More 
than one thing might surprise her: not only 
that a Jew spoke with her, and asked drink 
from her pitcher, but also that this distinguished 
Jew condescended to ask of her. In truth we 
might well suppose that she was moved with a 
feeling of her un worthiness in the dignified 
presence: He unconsciously defiles Himself on 
my pitcher; at least she hints at the differ- 
ence between the man and the always less re- 
garded woman. Though the national enmity 
could not wholly prevent her asking water in 
her tarn (Tholuck), yet the breach was wide 
enough to make her feel the request of Jesus to be 
a great and free condescension. Then the ex- 
pression of this feeling may easily have been ac- 
companied or disguised by a certain humor 
giving vent to her national spirit, as she now, 
with her pitcher, seems to have the better of the 
stranger. The addition : The Jews have no 
dealings, e/c, is commonly taken as an expla- 
natory note of the Evangelist. But in that case 
we should expect : The Jews and the Samaritans 
have no dealings with one another. The disdain 
being here ascribed to the Jew alone, the words 
no doubt belong to the woman's reply. 

[The question of the woman illustrates the in- 
tensity and bitterness of sectarian bigotry and 
hatred as it then prevailed, and sets in stronger 
contrast the marvellous freedom of Christ from 
existing prejudices.J According to Dr. Robin- 

tersst of the woman in order to win the outer her repentance 
and confession of sin. (Cornelius a Lap. and Tronchl Hcng- 
■tenberg (I. £>3) plausibly assumes that John remained with 
the Lord and heard the conTorsation which he so accurately 
and vividly records, lie was afterwards with Peter delogated 
to Samaria, Acts vlii. 14. But ho may have learned the con- 
versation from Jesus or from the woman after her conversion. 
—P. 8.1 

• [Raseht ad Sola, p. 615: "Honinit Samaritani pattern 
emudere out vinum ejus bibcrt prohibitum (nefas) estr Tun- 
chmma fol., 43, 1 : " Dicunt, qui edit frustum Samaritani, est 
«t edens carnem pord, et non prosrtytusJU Samaritanus in Is- 
mHe. nee est ipsts pars in resurrectione mortuorum."] 

f [gtier (Beden Jem) thinks that the woman recognized the 
Jew rather by his dress (after tho manner of the Rabbis), 
than by His softer dialect. If the Samaritans, like the Kph- 
raimites of old ( Judg xli. 6) were still distinguished by lack 
of the full sibilant (sh) In their pronunciation, the words 

which Jews probably used 8J 'rpffH or nW? ^ >*! 

(terf Ushetkoth, Samaritan : ttni li*«thoth\ were enough to in- 
dicate the nationality. In any case we may infer from the 
words of the woman that our Lord had nothing in His per- 
sonal appearance, dress or manner to distinguish Him from 
other Jews, and to attract the superficial observer. Yet the 

Sotless beauty and peace of His sonl must have shone 
rough His eye and the expression of His face. He had not 
the physiognomy of a sinner.— P. 8.1 

irEcchn. c 25, 2ft: "There be two manner of nations 
which my heart abborreth, and the third is no nation : they 

son and olhers the ancient hatred is still kept 
up, and the remnant of Samaritans neither eat, 
nor drink, nor marry, nor associate with the 
Jews, but only trade with them. An experi- 
enced traveller says, apparently to tho contrary: 
"Never yet, during many years' residence in 
Syria, and many a long day's travel, have I been 
refused a draught of water by a single individual 
of any sect or race. The Bedawy in the desert 
has shared with me the last drop in his water- 
skin. Yet the only reply of the woman to the 
weary traveller was, * How is it that thou, be- 
ing a Jew,' " etc. (Porter's Handbook for Trav- 
ellers in Syria and Palestine, P. II., p. 342.) But 
this courtesy to strangers is not inconsistent with 
Dr. Robinson's statement, nor with .our narra- 
tive, for the woman did not refuse a drink of 
water to Jesus, but only expressed her surprise 
at His asking her for it. — P. S ] 

Ver. 10. If thou knewest tho gift of God. 
— Tholuck: "This answer indicates that she, 
instead of hesitating, must have felt herself ho- 
nored, and made haste." More pertinently 
Meyer: "Unquestionably Jesus immediately 
perceived the susceptibility of the woman ; hence 
His leaving His own want, and entering upon a 
conversation so striking as to arouse the whole 
interest of the sanguine woman." She is sur- 
prised that He, the supposed haughty Jew, is 
the asker ; the Lord brings out the opposite re- 
lation, that she is the needy one, He the posses- 
sor of the true fountain of satisfaction. 

The gift of God : (I) The person of Jesus 
(Greek com., Erasmus). [Ifengstenberg relers 
to iii. ltt » "God gave His only begotten Son," 
and Isa. ix. 5 : " to us a Son \% given" as deci- 
sive proofs that Christ designated Himself " the 
gift of God."] (2) The Holy Spirit [with refe- 
rence to vii. 38, 31)] (Augustine, etc) (3) Cor- 
reotly : The singular grace of God in the golden 
opportunity of this moment (Grotiusand others).* 
[f 4) Eternal life. So Lampe and Godet ; vers. 13, 
14; com p. Rom. vi. 23 where eternal life is styled 
" ths gift of God " (xapiopa, but here we have 
dCtpov) ; Rev. xxil. 17. (5) Living water, in 
anticipation of what immediately follows : " He 
would have given thee living water." So Stier 
and Trench. Alford regards this as the primary 
view, but combines with it the first three, like 
Dr. Yeomans in tho preceding footnote. — P. S.J 

that sit upon the m on n tain of Samaria, and they that dwell 
among the Philistines, and that foolish peoplo that dwell in 
Sichem."— P. S.J 

* f Neither of these interpretations alone seems sufficient 
for this very full expression. The third is certainly tho lead- 
ing one, hut it includes the others. The third itself, as here 
given, is too vague. The " singular grace of God in the 
opportunity of this moment " is, in particular, that God, so 
far from being beyond the reach of our requests, appears as 
a fellow-man asking a servico from us. His taking such a 

{►lace, to be kindly served of us for our Joy and salvation is 
tself a gracious gift of God. In Jesus alone could this won- 
derful relation between God and man be established and of- 
fered ; He alone is God-Man ; " the gift of God " therefore in- 
cludes the person of Jesus. And it includes a gift of life still 
in reserve for those who, knowing Christ, ask of Hint; and 
this gift of God, waiting for our asking, is in substance tho 
Holy Ghost. J. J. Owen : *• The connection refers it evidently 
to the gift of living water, which was emphatically the gift of 
God bestowed through the agency of His Spirit." But a fttill 
more careful weighing of the context shows that it rather 
refers this "giftofQod" to a gift which God had already 
given, than to one which He had yet to give; rath**r to the 
actual gift of His condescension, than to the offered gift of 
living water or the Holy Ghost.— E. D. Y.J 

Digitized by 




And who it Is. — Unfolding the thought of the 
gift of God. Thou (av) wouldest (already) 
have asked (not : wouldest ask him, Luther) 
of him. — Expressing the greatness of her need, 
the greatness of His gift, the urgency her re- 
quest would hare ; doubtless also her suscepti- 
bility. [Mark the difference between 6 X&ycv 
ooi which Christ uses of Himself, after the wo- 
man had naturally asked: ttCx; av Trap' ipov al- 
relc (ver. 0), and ah av yrtjaac, which assigns 
at once to the woman a position of inferiority 
and dependence on Him, the possessor and giver 
of that living water. «• There lies often," says 
Trench, " in little details like this an implicit 
assertion of the unique'dignity of His person, 
which it is very interesting and not unimpor- 
tant to trace."— P. S.] 

He would have given thee living water. 
— D^H D'3 [Sept. t/,T«/> r o>u] well-water.* Ex- 
pressing at once the greatness of the gift and the 
readiness of the giving, in a figure drawn from 
His own. request, but answering perfectly to her 
unsatisfied state of mind. The figures of Ps. 
xxxvi. 8; Jer. ii. 13; xvii. 13. The sense of 
the words, living water, explained in ver. 14. Va- 
rious interpretations: (1) Baptism (Justin, Cy- 
ril [Cyprian, Ambrose]. But the water of Bap- 
tism is not water for drinking, which becomes a 
fountain in him who drinks it. (2) The evan- 
gelic doctrine. Grotius, similarly Meyer: The 
truth. f Shall a man then after that thirst no 
more? (3) Tarnow; Gratia Justificans. Like 
most of the explanations, too dogmatically exclu- 
sive. (4) Institutio salutaris (Samler). (5) 
Liicke: Faith. (6) Olshausen: Life (ch. vt. 83). 
(7) The Holy Spirit, vii. 89 (Maldonatus, Bucer, 
[Webster and Wilkinson, Wordsworth] and 
others). The act of giving must no doubt bo 
distinguished from the living water itself: The 
giving of the water is the gospel, the word of 
Christ; see ver. 26. The water itself, which 
quenches thirst, proves itself already operating 
when the woman sets her pitcher down, [ver. 
28] : it is evidently the inner-life as the operation 
of the life of Christ, conceived predominantly 
under the aspect of inward peace (no longer thirst- 
ing), developing into regeneration, life in the 
Holy Ghost (the water's becoming a fountain) 
and perfection in blessedness (springing up into 
everlasting life). Tholuck: "The word of sal- 
vation the medium of a living power of the Spi- 
rit, ch. vii. 88; xi. 20." [Godet: Living water 
is the life eternal, which is Christ Himself living 
in the soul by the Holy Spirit Donner Veau vive, 
J est pour lui se communiquer lui-m&me ; car la vie 
est identifi&e avec sonprincipe. — P. S.] 

* [As distinct from cistern water, or water of reservoirs, or 
stagnant water, comp. Gen. xxvl. 1»; Lev. xiv.5; Cant. Iv.5; 
Jer. il. 13; the vivt/ontes of the Romans. Then used raeta- 

Ehorically for splr.tual blessings, truth, wisdom, even the 
[oly Spirit. On this double moaning rests the turn of the 
discourse from the earthly to the heavenly, and the point of 
comparison ii the refreshing power and the satisfaction of 
thirst. Here the vSiap frv means, in the highest spiritual 
senso, fresh, springing, life-giving, self-renewing water from 
Uim who is avro£<n»i}, life itself, and imparts life to all His 
followers (John I. 4; v. 40; Rov. vii. 17; xxi. 6: xxii. 1, 17] 
In fulfilment of the prophecy, Kzok. xlvii. 9 : "Everything 
•hall live whither the river cometh " (that Issues from under 
tho threshold of the hotue of God).— P. 8.] 

t f Meyer (5th ed.) agrees substantially with Calvin, who 
Bees hero toti rwvitimii firnti », and refers tho living water 
to both grace atul t*\0\ with reference to i. H.~-P. 8.J 

Ver. 11. Sir, thou hast nothing to draw 
with. — Sir. A title of respect usual even at 
that time among men, ch. v. 7 ; vi. 84, etc. Used 
in the ordinary sense.* The spiritual concep- 
tion was rendered difficult by the lack of the 
prophets among the Samaritans, and the want 
of knowledge of the prophetic metaphors (Tho- 
luck). On this presumption the reply is not ex- 
actly " saucy " (Tholuck), but no doubt clearly 
thought, firm, savoring of national pride, exult- 
ing again in easy humor. Thou hast nothing. 
Exactly: Thou hast not even a vessel to draw 
with'.f She evidently distinguishes between the 
water itself standing in the well, and the spring 
at the bottom of it. Thou hast not even a bucket, 
i. e. y thou canst not even reach down to the 
standing water. And the well is deep — That 
is, even with the bucket thou couldest not come 
to the living spring. J 

Ver. 12. Art thou greater. — 20 emphatic 
Mei£w cannot mean nobler, of higher rank, as 
Meyer thinks; for noble lords, as such, are not 
exaotly masters in water-drawing or well-dig- 
ging. The question proceeds from a feeling that 
Jesus assumed some extraordinary character, 
that He claimed a spiritual power; perhaps 
claimed to be a prophet, like Moses, who could 
make a fountain of water by miracle. Than 
oar father Jacob. — Expressing the national 
jealousy towards the Jew. The Samaritans 
traced their descent from Joseph [Joseph. An~ 
tiq. % viii. 14, 8 ; xi. 8, 6]. 

Who gave as the well. — This was a sim- 
ple inference from the tradition that Jacob dug 
the well and left it to his posterity. The sense 
is : The patriarch himself knew not what better 
to give, and this sufficed for all the wants of his 
entire nomadic establishment. Meyer : " The 
woman treats the enigmatical word of Christ at 
first as Nicodemus does, ch. iii. 4, but more 
thoughtfully [considering the false conception 
of Nicodemus J, and at the same time more pertly 
and with feminine readiness of speech." la 
her last word: Vpififiara, cattle, she finishes her 
carnal misapprehension of His spiritual words. 
[The mention of the cattle (which does not neces- 
sarily include the slaves, as sometimes on in- 
scriptions (see Meyer, p. 192), completes at the 
same time the picture of the nomadic life of the 
patriaroh. Slier is wrong therefore in regard- 
ing it as a falling off in the lofty language of 
the woman to descend from Jacob's sacred per- 
son to his cattle. There is in the question of the 
woman a slight resentment at the seeming inten- 
tional disregard of the venerable traditions and 
memorials of her people by whioh they connect- 

* [Yet «vpi« is an advance on <rv lovdaioc, ver. 8, and In- 
dicates a dawning sense of the dignity of the stranger. Wo 
Infer this, however, more from the connection titan from the 
word itself, for this is also used by Kebekah in addressing 
the servant of Abraham, Gen. xxiv. 18, and by Mary Magda- 
lene in speaking to Je • us whom she mistook for t he gardener, 
John xx. 16. Euthymius : Kvptovavroy rpoongyopcuo*, poju- 
<raaa tkiyav tlvai tiko. — P. 8.] 

f [*AyrAi)pa is not to be confounded with vjpta, ver. 28. 
Comp. the Text. Notrs.— P. S.] 

J [Or rather: Neither (ovre) hasf thou a Teasel to draw 
with, and (icai, Instead of owt«, nor) the well is too deep (over 
a hundred feet) to g-t at it without such a vessel. There is a 
change of construction here, ovr«— *af, instead of ©vr* — ovtv 
(comp. the Littin n'qtv!—+t\ as John ver. 10, and often In the 
classics. Comp. Winer, p. 4W (7th ed.), and Jelf, $ 775,— 
P. S.J 

Digitized by 


CHAP. IV. 1-42. 


ed themselves with the patriarohal history. She 
had evidently a considerable degree of self-re- 
spect, national pride and interest in religious 
questions, and was a brave upholder of patriar- 
chal succession. — P. S.] 

Ver. 13. Shall thirst again. — [As Christ 
Himself did, physically, on this occasion, and 
when He exclaimed on the oross dtyw. — P. S.] — 
The excellence of that well Jesus suffers to pass.* 
But in His view of the spiritual water, that has 
the fundamental defect of every earthly satisfac- 
tion: the partaker thirsts again. So it was with 
all the woman's enjoyment of life hitherto. [She 
had by successive draughts at the " broken cis- 
tern " of carnal lust only increased her thirst, 
and the sense of the utter vanity of all earthly 
pleasures]. Shall never thirst. — [Comp. vi. 
33 : " I am the bread of life : he that cometh to 
me shall not hunger; and he that believeth in 
Me shall never thirst." Apos. vii. 16: "They 
snail hunger no more, neither thirst any more." 
xxi. 6 : «• I will give unto him that is at hirst of 
the fountain of the water of life freely." Old 
Test, passages: Isa. Iv. 1; xlix. 10.— P. S.] An 
opposite word : the sentence of Wisdom in [the 
apocryphal book of the son of] Sirach, xxiv. 21 : 
" Those who drink of mo (the Wisdom) shall 
thirst again " (Oi irivovric fie, in dirfrfaowri). 
Meyer, not clearly : " This figure rests on an- 
other aspect of the drinking, as viewed in its 
.particular moments, not in the continuity con- 
stituted by them." Jesus Christ expresses the 
absolute satisfaction which is given in prinoiple 
in the peace of the Christian life ; Jesus Sirach 
describes the desire for further knowledge be- 
gotten by the first taste of wisdom. Not only is 
the object viewed on different sides ; the object 
itself is in Sirach imperfectly conceived, with re- 
ference rather to quantity than quality. The 
Old Testament strives after life, the New strives 
in the life. What Sirach calls a thirsting again, 
Christ calls an everlasting springing up f 

Shall be in him a fountain of water. J— 
Not •• after the negative operation the positive " 
(Meyer), for the quenching of the thirst is itself 
positive ; but, after the elemental working of 
Christianity, ooming point by point from with- 
out, as a meant, its life as a principle continually 
reproducing and propagating itself as its own 

• [A dispute about the comparative greatness of Jacob 
could hare led to no result, and is therefore wisely avoided, 
bat the question, un <tv u*i£*v ct, is virtually answered by 
what follows. If Jesus is the Messiah and the Giver of the 
water of eternal life, lie Is, of course, greater than Jacob, and 
all the patriarchs and prophets. — P. S.J 

f [Bengel (with whom Alford agrees) reconciles the two 
passngns thus : **Scme aqua ilia, quantum in seal, permnem 
lutbtttdrtutem ; et ubi ntis reeurrit, hnminit, nnn aqum deffc- 
tm* est: at aqum elementarit potto sitim tubind* ad aliquot 
tamtmmmodo Kara* tedar* valet." Olshausen sees in Sirach the 
negative expression of the same idea, i. e., who drinks of the 
(essential, divine) Wisdom, is ever turned away from the 
temporal, and ever turned towards the eternal." The apoc- 
ryphal writer looks upon revelation as a growth, Christ as 
atmiifhtng completed. Hengstenberg : There is always deep 
contentment in the believer's heart, though often concealed. 
(Calvin: nunqumm prortut aridi). Stler: Christ intensifies 
and re ve rs e s] the more imperfect exp