John 1

The Word in the beginning 1
John [the Baptist] to bear witness 6
Jehovah's Witnesses 1-notes
The true light came and was made flesh but was rejected by His people 9
John bore witness; Christ provides grace 15
John witnesses to the Jews; He was not Christ or Elijah 19
Authority to baptize questioned 24
Behold the Lamb of God; John's witness 29
Two disciples follow Jesus 35
Philip and Nathaniel 43
Jesus encounters Nathaniel 47
Text Comments
.1 ¶ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
 2  The same was in the beginning with God.

In proving or understanding the infinite Christ, we must be careful not to go beyond what the Scriptures say. ro1133. We have plenty of evidence for truth already revealed de2929.
   In the beginning This draws our attention to the first verse in the Bible ge0101. The Word, Christ, was there "with God." That was, however, not His beginning. The Word was already there he0703, pr0822ff. The Greek text has no article before "beginning" tending to free the term from pointing to a specific beginning. Because all things were made by Him, the "beginning" was before the creation of our particular world. See note on Gen. 1:1 linked above.
   Word Why was this name chosen for Christ? Because He is the expression of the Father, he0101ff, 2co0519. Compare 1jo0101.
   Word was with God Christ was with God, not simply in proximity but in purpose. This is emphasized by the Greek word John chose for "with." pros. The Father was there as a separate individual and Christ was also divine. Christ depended on His Father jn1702, jn1510.
  Word was God This statement is not intended to express total equivalence. The absence of the definite article in Greek before "God" means that we cannot say, "God was the Word." This would be like taking 1jo0416 to mean, love is God. Christ is here identified as the Word in the sense that He is the expression of God. Also we cannot translate the phrase as, "the Word was a god" because the absence of the article leaves us no room to add one making the unique God to be one of many. Here His identity is understood without further explanation. See is4310, 1co0804.
   Repetition I like the literary beauty of repetition in the first three verses. It shows emphasis.
.3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
.4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
   All things made Christ was the creator. The Father and the Spirit were also involved ge0102. "All things" indicates the universe 1co0806, co0116, he0101f.
   In Him was life We have life in us, too, but not in the sense that Jesus did jn0526.
  Light of men How can Jesus' life be light? He is the source of life jn0526. Sin is the way of death ez1804, ro0623 and total eternal darkness. See on mt2213. We may have spiritual (and physical) light only through Him. What a privilege.
.5 ¶ And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not [alternative translation, ". . . did not take possession of it"].    Darkness Jesus came at a time of great spiritual darkness. And the forces of evil are drawing the masses of people into darkness again through false spiritual security da0825, procrastination, evil entertainment, and the occult. Yet a remnant will be saved lu1808, ro0927. May you and I be among them by the grace of Christ!
   Darkness comprehended it not John had a sense of awe and love for the gift of heaven that would bring joy and happiness. In looking back at the time Christ was on earth he saw the tragedy of rejecting Him as the Messiah. And how foolish it would be for us to grab the glitter of the world and reject the happiness of eternity.
.6  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
.7  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
 8  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
   6 - Man sent ... John The other gospel writers identify this person as John the Baptist to distinguish him from the apostle John who is author of this book. John the apostle, doesn't use his name in this book but refers to himself often as the disciple Jesus loved jn1926 or as "that disciple." He does identify himself by name at the beginning of the book of Revelation re0109.
   6 - Sent from God John the Baptist had a special calling lu0176.
.9  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
.10  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
.11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
   9 - Lighteth every man Even the wicked are blessed by light from Christ. They reject it, however, as we saw in verse 5 ro1203. Also jn0668, ac0412.
   11 - His own The chosen Jewish people.
.12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:    Power We receive Christ, coming with our burden of sin. He gives us power to become like God. These are justification and sanctification. We need to apply the power 1jo0109. co0111, ep0119.
   Believe on His name The word translated "name" is an Aramaic term meaning the person himself. Aramaic was the native language but similar to Hebrew. We can believe someone without believing on him or in him ja0219. Believing on the name of Christ means we trust Him, accepting the way of salvation. And this is faith.
.13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.    Born of God The apostle introduces the new-birth concept which Jesus explained to Nicodemus. jn0303.
.14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

   Made flesh Jesus took human flesh to to be our substitute carrying our guilt to the cross! He will forever retain human flesh zc1306 although He never stopped being God along with the Father. Also is4902. We see that He was the divine "Word" before being made flesh.
   Beheld His glory John saw Christ glorified mr0902, mt1702, ex0302.
   Only begotten Not correctly translated. The Greek monogenes is from two words "only" and "kind" So we have "one of a kind" or "unique." The word is used to describe Isaac although Abraham had other sons he1117. Isaac's uniqueness was that he was the son of promise. It also appears in lu0712, lu0842.
   Of the Father  Greek para theou, "beside the Father" or "with the Father." Other texts clarify that Christ came from the Father. He had been with the Father in heaven jn1628. On earth He was still with the Father jn1711,jn1030.
   Grace and truth The word, "grace,"  here means goodwill or mercy. "Truth" indicates truth about God ps08510.
.15 ¶ John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
 16  And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
   John bare witness John the Baptist was His witness in the rest of this chapter.
   After me ... before me John the Baptist would prepare the way for Christ. lu0117, lu0136. A concept worth some meditation. Also see on ex0314.
   Preferred Literally "has become." Here Jesus had the higher honor or place.
   Fullness See verse 14 above.
.17  For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.    By Moses Should read, "through Moses."
   But This word is not in the Greek text. Thus we cannot see grace as an alternative to law. Both were important in times of the OT as well as the NT. Grace came in fulfillment of the promises. In the OT, the grace possible through the blood of Christ was accepted by faith in what was to come. See he0722, he0923.
   By Jesus Christ He had spoken through the prophets 1pe0110f. Now He came to restore the truth of the law mt0517ff.
.18  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.    No man hath seen Not even Moses saw the Father ex3320, de0412. Some have seen His glory. Isaiah saw "the Lord of hosts" who would have been Christ is0605, jos0514.
.19 ¶ And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
 20  And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
 21  And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
 22  Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
.23  He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
   19 - Record of John That is, the testimony of John the Baptist about Jesus. Also v29, v35.
   19 - Jews The Jewish authority was the Sanhedrin. John uses the term "Jews" often. We assume he was writing basically to Greeks.
   21 - Elias The prophet Elijah was expected in connection with the Messiah. re1313b, mal0404, mr0911. The difference in the two names of the same person is from how the word sounds in Hebrew and in Greek.
   21 - That prophet They were expecting Moses to be resurrected. They had misinterpreted the text de1815.
  23 - I am the voice The Greek wording is a literal translation of the Hebrew text John the Baptist referred to. Generally NT writers quoted from the Septuagint (translation into Greek). See on mt0303. The word "I" is emphatic.
.24  And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
 25  And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
.26  John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
.27  He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
.28  These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
   25 - Why baptizest? This was an important issue for the Pharisees. He did not have (or need) their authorization. See mt0311.
    26 - There standeth Jesus had returned after His time of temptation.
    For more about the baptism of Jesus and the work of John see mt03. And on baptism, click.
   26 - Whom ye know not The word for "know" is oida and near the end of Christ's ministry they still claimed not to know whether John the Baptist's ministry was from God. oida. mt2127.
.29 ¶ The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
 30  This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
31  And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
.32  And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
.33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
 34  And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

The apostle John does not record more of the baptism than this, apparently assuming his readers knew the other gospel accounts.
.29 - Behold the Lamb of God The lamb in the sanctuary system had represented the Messiah by whose whipping the world would be healed is5305. He was the Passover Lamb 1co0507.
 29 - Taketh away More than forgiveness mt0121, 1jn0305.
 31 - I knew him not God had revealed it to him but John the Baptist had been living a solitary life in the desert and was not personally acquainted with Jesus. This means that, although relatives, the two had not made a plan to deceive the people.
 32 - Like a dove We do not take this to mean that a bird came and lit on Him. It could have been a dove-like cloud.
 33 - Knew Him not Compare v31 and lu0180.
.35  Again the next day after John [the Baptist] stood, and two of his disciples;
.36  And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
.37 ¶ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
.38  Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
 39  He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
  35 - Again the next day ... two ... disciples These became Jesus' first two followers. One was Andrew v40. The apostle John, with sensitive modesty, did not use his own name. We may assume that he was the other disciple. He uses the word "again" more as a transition or connecting word rather than to imply repetition.
  37 - Followed This does not mean that they were full-time disciples. They accepted the call more than a year later lu0511. The group included others mentioned in the rest of this chapter. The formal account of the twelve came still later mr0313f.
  38 - Rabbi Literally "My great one." A title of respect used for teachers of the law mt2307 and later in a general sense. In the apostle John's account those who realized Christ's divine mission recognized Him as Lord jn0936, jn1103j n0668, jn1112, jn2115. The other gospel writers do not differentiate between the two terms.
  38 - Being interpreted Of course it's all English here. John often recognizes Jesus actual words in Aramaic but they appear in the available manuscripts in Greek. John often adds clarification for non-Jewish readers.
  39 - The tenth hour Counting from the beginning of the light part of the day. For us, 4 p.m. or 1600 in 24-hour time.
.40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
 41  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
 42  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
  40 - Andrew mr0318 and Peter two verses earlier.
  41 - This says a lot about Andrew.
  42 - Simon ... Cephas See on mt1618.
.43 ¶ The day following Jesus would go [planned to go] forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
 44  Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
.45  Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. See map, west edge.
.46  And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

  43 - Follow me This sounds like a serious call but see on v35.
  44 - Bethsaida See NE corner of Galilee map.
  45 - Findeth Nathaniel Apparently also called Bartholomew mr0318.
  45 - Moses in the law [five books of Moses] See de1815.
  45 - Son of Joseph See mt0120f, lu0233.
  46 - Nazareth See mt0223. Illustration entitled "The well of the Virgin Mary, at Nazareth" from a 1915 book.
.47  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
48  Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
.49  Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
 50  Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
.51  And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

  47 - Israelite In spirit, as among God's faithful ones ro1126.
  47 - Guile Literally "bait" and hence deceit.
  49 - Thou art The Holy Spirit must have impressed Nathaniel 1co0214.
  51 - Angels of God A powerful promise for us, too. ge2812, he0114.
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