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Dylan Tew
Dylan Tew
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John 1:1-14 The Ultimate Revelation of God in Christ
John 1:14-18
The Apostle John makes strikingly clear that God has revealed himself fully and ultimately in the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ the Son.
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Published May 10th, 2021
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John 1:14-18
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John 1:14-18
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John 1:14-19 (personal translation)
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John 1:14-18 SBL
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John 1:14-18
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14 Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας· 15 (Ἰωάννης μαρτυρεῖ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ κέκραγεν λέγων· Οὗτος ἦν // ὃν εἶπον \\ · Ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν·) 16 ^ ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ πληρώματος αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἐλάβομεν, καὶ χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος· 17 ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη, ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο. 18 θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· // μονογενὴς θεὸς \\ ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο.
John 1:14-18 ESV
John 1:14-18
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14 And z the Word a became flesh and b dwelt among us, c and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of d grace and e truth. 15 ( f John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, g ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from h his fullness we have all received, i grace upon grace. 1 17 For j the law was given through Moses; k grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 l No one has ever seen God; m the only God, 1 who is at the Father’s side, 2 n he has made him known.
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John 1:14-19 (personal translation)
"14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory like the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace instead of grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
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John 1:14-18
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Καὶ
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λόγος
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ἐν
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John 1:14
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John 1:15
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ἦν
πρῶτός
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John 1:16
John 1:17
John 1:18
οὐδεὶς
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καὶ
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Χριστοῦ
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John 1:14-18
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Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν,
And z the Word a became flesh and b dwelt among us,
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ,
c and we have seen his glory,
and we beheld his glory,
δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας.
glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of d grace and e truth.
glory like the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
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Ἰωάννης μαρτυρεῖ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ κέκραγεν λέγων• οὗτος ἦν ὃν εἶπον• ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν.
( f John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, g ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)
(John bore witness about him, and cried out saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)
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ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ πληρώματος αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἐλάβομεν καὶ χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος•
For from h his fullness we have all received, i grace upon grace. 1
For from his fullness we have all received, grace instead of grace.
ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη,
For j the law was given through Moses;
For the law was given through Moses;
ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο.
k grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
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Θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε•
l No one has ever seen God;
No one has ever seen God;
μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο.
m the only God, 1 who is at the Father’s side, 2 n he has made him known.
the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
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Commentary Notes
1:14 The Early Church father, Irenaeus of Lyons, saw John 1:14 as a “summary”[1] of 1:1-13. Illustrating the idea of summation, the λόγος is mentioned for the first time since John 1:1 . Seeing the λόγος as best informed by Old Testament allusions and references D.A. Carson states, "God's 'Word' in the Old Testament is his powerful self-expression in creation, revelation and salvation, and the personification of that 'Word' makes it suitable for John to apply it as a title to God's ultimate self-disclosure, the person of his own Son."[2] Structurally, the phrase ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο follows Colwell's construction of an anarthrous preverbal predicate nominative and can be best described as a "qualitative predicate nominative."[3] Ἐ γένετο, meaning "made" or "born" and often rendered "became," does not mean that Jesus changed and ceased being God or that he merely had the appearance of humanity, but instead that "God has chosen to be with his people in a more personal way than ever before."[4] In writing ἐσκήνωσεν the Apostle John is alluding to and revealing with this term is related to the noun form σκηνη, which was used of the tabernacle ( Ex. 25:9 ) and tent of meeting ( ex. 33:7 ). As with Moses, God has said who he is, Yahweh, and then the word of God was given on two tablets ( Ex. 34:1-9 ), now God has spoken who he is, the Word , and given his Word, but this Word is now become flesh. [5] The glory, attested to by the statement “and we beheld his glory” is the very presence of God that first dwelt in the tabernacle and then temple, is now with men in the flesh of man. Glory is the description of Christ as "glory characterized both Jesus's eternal relationship with God ( 17:5 ) and his preincarnate state ( 12:41 )."[6] Though μονογενής in the Johannine corpus is always used for Jesus in relation to God the Father, neither the term’s lexical make-up nor contextual use necessitate ‘begotten-ness’ as translated since the Vulgate. On the contrary, not only does the lexical meaning stress ‘being’ but such an understanding removes the confusion between what would otherwise be a redundancy in the pairing of μονογενής with υιος in John 3:16 , John 2:28 and 1 John 4:9 . [7] Because of these reasons μονογενής in John 1:14-18 should be seen as a title for Christ indicating Him as “being the only one of [His] kind or class, unique (in kind)” [8] in relation to God. After clarifying who the Word is as the unique One of God enfleshed, the Apostle John returns to clarify the substance of this glory as “full of grace and truth.” The Apostle John seems to allude to the Old Testament ideas of "loving-kindness" and “truth” ( Exod. 34:6 ; 33:18-19 ) and by doing so does "refer to God's covenant faithfulness to his people Israel." [9] [1] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John . (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 40. [2] D.A. Carson The Gospel According to John . PNTC. (Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press William B. Eerdmans, 1991), 116. [3] Daniel B. Wallace, The Basics of New Testament Syntax: An Intermediate Greek Grammar. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2009), 118. [4] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John . (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 40. [5] D.A. Carson The Gospel According to John . PNTC. (Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press William B. Eerdmans, 1991), 127. [6] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John . (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 42. [7] J. Ramsey Michaels. The Gospel of John . NICNT (Cambridge, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 74. [8] BDAG 658. [9] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John . (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 45. 1:15 Following this glorious recapitulation and clarification the Apostle John again recalls another statement from the preceding prologue, John 1:6-8 , as an aside for the purpose of testifying to the glory and humanity of the Word in light of the Old Testament. The very purpose for which he came was this testimony ( John 1:7 ). In John 1:14 the witness of the Apostle John with John the Baptist in 1:15 creates a valid testimony of this event before the readers ( Deut. 19:15 ). John the Baptist is shown as the "prototypical OT prophet," [1] who as the last of the prophets can be seen as "the embodiment of the OT." [2] The Old Testament, longing and proclaiming the coming of God and the redemption of Israel is captured in the crying of John who unlike the prophets of old that saw these things afar off ( Heb. 11:13 ), beheld the incarnate Son. To overcome cultural emphasis related to age and rank, John the Baptist stresses that even though he preceded Christ in birth and public ministry, it is really Jesus who was before him and ranks in honor above him. This confirmation both elevates the divinity of the Word as preexistent while at the same time elevating the humanity of the Word as one able to be attested to as being born after John the Baptist. [1] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John . (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 45. [2] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John . (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 45. (Quoting Brodie, 1993, 143). 1:16-17 Moving past the confirming aside of John 1:15 , with the ὅτι clause enabling support of John the Baptist's assertion of Jesus' greater rank, 1:16 returns to the thought of 1:14. The fullness in reference is that mentioned in 1:14, the glory of God revealed as “full of grace and truth.” This glorious fulness, as stated earlier, is a description of the covenant faithfulness of God, not just as an event of the past, or one seen in the second Temple, but one seen in the incarnate Word. The grace and truth, that came through Jesus Christ, “instead of” or “in the place of” the grace of the law, that was given through Moses, is the most reasonable understanding of these verses. This “grace upon grace,” as commonly translated, is grace in the place of grace, the coming of Christ in the place of the law of Moses. Even though the law came first as mediated grace Christ is supreme and an even better mediated grace. It is no coincidence that the people of Israel, upon seeing the glory of God at Sinai received then the grace of the law to mediate access to God ( Ex. 34-35 ) and now the glory of God is again beheld by Israel and a new grace is given, but not through a mere human mediator or high priest, but through God himself. As J. Ramsey Michaels stated, "The law itself is grace from God, "given through Moses" as a preparation for more and greater grace to come. The point is not that the law failed because it could not provide "grace and truth," but that it paved the way for the latter to come into being "through Jesus Christ."" [1] [1] J. Ramsey Michaels. The Gospel of John . NICNT (Cambridge, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 90. 1:18 The Apostle John once again pulls the reader’s mind to the great Old Covenant mediation event in the Exodus by stating that “No one has ever seen God” ( Exodus 33:20 ). This statement of God creates and inlcusio with John 1:1 , as the Word was with God and was God, so Jesus Christ, the incarnated One is . [1] It is this very Word, the revealed Jesus Christ incarnate, that truly reveals God. [2] The law, though a gracious gift from God, as shown above, was unable to bring men to God. Following God’s revealed character through the law, God came to men, and so saved men from their sins. This Jesus who came to men is shown to be in closest possible relationship to God and is able to reveal Him in a new way. "Literally, John here says that Jesus is "in the Father's lap," an idiom for greatest possible closeness. [3] [1] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John . (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 48. [2] The revealing is a unique term in the sense of "telling the whole story" (Köstenberger, 50) so the "entire Gospel to follow should be read as an account of Jesus "telling the whole story" of God the Father"(Köstenberger, 50). Ibid., 50. [3] Ibid. , 49.
Devotional
Beginning in John 1:1 it is revealed, in Genesis-like language, that there was the Λ όγος in the beginning that was not only with God but was God. This Word was the Life through which all things were made and the Light. This Word, this Life, this Light, who is and is with God came into the world and came to His people who rejected Him, but those who did believe in His name, those who were born of God, He gave the right to become children of God. This God who is called the Λ όγος and is Life and Light is the Word met again in John 1:14 . In this evangelistic Gospel there are a few climatic points of revelation that lead each reader to make a decision. John 1:14-18 , as the culmination and pinnacle of the revelation of God in the Johannine prologue, is one such moment declaring to us, "Believe," "And keep believing." So brothers, my prayer is that this Word, Jesus Christ himself revealed, will be an encouragement to behold, to receive, to be amazed, and to continually believe. In this passage the Apostle John leads us on somewhat of a recapitulation of John 1:1-13 , but this time with astounding clarity that leads to two revelations. The first revelation made clear in this passage is the union of the Divine and man in the Word. The Apostle John begins this passage by stating the "Word became flesh" like men, like us. This statement is startling, not only because of what the Apostle John has just said about the Word but that this Word dwelt among men in glory. We see like in the days of old God is once again tabernacling among His people, but this time His tabernacle is different. God enfleshed has revealed His glory, the very glory of God from the tabernacle and temple. This revelation seen by the Apostle John and fellow-witnesses is no longer behind the curtain or seraphim any longer, but face to face in the incarnate Son. To confirm this, John the Baptist declares the validity of this Word, satisfying the need for witnesses ( Deut. 19:15 ). In his testimony John the Baptist again holds up and together the preexistence and humanity of the Word. He does this by clarifying that even though the Word was born after Him, the Word ranks before and above him because He was before him. In this statement it is made clear that John the Baptist is referring to the creation-making, light-giving, man-saving God who is also now a man. The second revelation of this passage is that God has finally and fully revealed himself in Jesus Christ, the Word. Throughout Israel's history God has been revealing himself and providing means to his presence through covenants. The greatest of these graces was the Law given through Moses, the gift of being able to approach God for the first time and make atonement. But now there is an even better grace. There is a more supreme mediation. There is a greater overflow of glorious fulness. There is now the ultimate revelation of God in Christ the Son. As those made children of God through Jesus (1:12) we have an insight into our new experience with God through Jesus' relationship with the Father. As Jesus was with God, literally idiomatic for being in the lap of the Father, so we can be that close to Christ. As we see in John 13:23, the Apostle writing this was literally later on in the bosom of Jesus! In this God-man there is no more separation or fear. The Law said that, “No one has ever seen God” ( Exodus 33:20 ), but in the face of Jesus Christ-the Word, the Light, and the Life of all men, God has been made known. Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God and these things "are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" ( John 20:31 ). So let us hold fast to this truth and not lose our child-like wonder at what our Father has given us- his Only Son.
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