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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on John

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1.1–18 : The prologue

signals the major concerns of the Gospel.

1–3 :

The Word (Gk “logos”) of God is more than speech; it is God's preeminent agent in the world, creating (Ps 33.6; Wis 9.1; Sir 43.26; cf. Gen 1.3, etc. ), redeeming (Ps 107.19–20; Wis 18.15 ). The Word is eternally (in the beginning) and personally (with God) divine (was God). Jesus is this Word (v. 14 ).

3 :

Using language derived from the depiction of Wisdom (Prov 8.27–30; Wis 9.9; Sir 24.9 ), Jesus is described as God's sole mediator of creation (see Col 1.16–17; Heb 1.2 ).

4 :

Cf. Wis 7.26 .

5 :

The “Word” shone in the primal darkness of creation (Gen 1.2 ) and continues to shine (cf. Ps 18.28 ).

6–8 :

Summary of John's role. John (the Baptist) was sent (commissioned by God; Isa 6.8; Jer 1.7; Mal 3.1 ) to be a witness to Jesus (vv. 19–34 ).

10 :

The primary meaning of world in the Fourth Gospel is the fallible social systems and social relations created by humanity (see 12.31; 16.11 ), but it also denotes physical creation, including humanity.

11 :

His own people, the Jews, who were uniquely God's own people ( 4.22; Ex 19.5; Rom 15.8 ).

12–13 :

Membership in the household of God is determined not by hereditary claims of privileged status, such as those of the hereditary priesthood of Israel, but by God alone. In this context will of man (lit. “will of a man”) could refer to religious officials.

14 :

Jesus was fully human (the Word became flesh) and fully involved in human society (and lived among us).

15 :

Jesus has both priority of status and priority in time, with regard to John (see vv. 2–3,30 ).

16 :

His grace is inexhaustible (grace upon grace).

17 :

God's earlier revelation of cove‐nant faithfulness is brought to fulfillment in Jesus.

18 :

Jesus’ priority over Moses (Ex 34.18–20 ) is reinforced.

1.19–34 : The testimony of John.

19 :

The Jews, the Temple religious authorities; also used for those who supported them (see v. 24n. ).

21 :

Elijah (2 Kings 2.11 ) was expected to return to prepare the messiah's way (Mal 4.5 ). The prophet was likewise an expected messianic forerunner ( 6.14; 7.40; see Deut 18.15 ).

23 :

As a voice John fulfills a prophetic role announcing the messiah's coming (Isa 40.3 ).

24 :

The Pharisees, along with the high priest and the chief priests, comprised “the Jews,” the religious authorities. These terms are used interchangeably (see v. 19; 7.32,45; 11.47,57; 18.3,12 ). The Pharisees were an influential Jewish sect committed to extending priestly standards of purity to all Jews.

25 :

John was challenged because he lacked a status recognized by the religious authorities and engaged in a ritual not sanctioned by them.

27 :

Untie … sandal, a slave's task. John's baptism is preparation for the appearance of the hidden messiah who is already in their midst.

28 :

Bethany across the Jordan, precise location unknown.

29 :

John identifies Jesus as the powerful Lamb who has come to change the sinful condition of society (see v. 10; Rev 5 ). The imagery of the Lamb is drawn from the Passover lamb (Ex 12; see Jn 19.36; 1 Cor 5.7 ) and from the depiction of the “servant” of the Lord in Isa 53.4–7 .

30 :

See v. 15n.

34 :

Son of God, the expected messiah (v. 49; 11.27 ).

1.35–51 : The testimony of Jesus’ first disciples.

37 :

They followed Jesus, the first known disciples of Jesus, Andrew (v. 40 ) and possibly the beloved disciple ( 13.23; 19.26; 20.2; 21.7,20 ; see Introduction) or Philip ( 6.58; 12.21–22 ); cf. Mk 1.16–20 .

42 :

In Aramaic Cephas (Gk “Petros”) means “rock”; cf. Mt 15.18 .

44 :

Bethsaida, on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

45 :

Moses … prophets, the Hebrew Bible is understood as having predicted Jesus.

46 :

Nazareth, located about 25 km (16 mi) west of the Sea of Galilee, was a small village in the first century CE, thought too insignificant to be the place of the messiah's origin.

47–51 :

Nathanael (Heb “God has given”) may be a collective character (see not a in v. 51 ) representing those in Israel who have no deceit, i.e., none of the qualities of Jacob before he became Israel (Gen 27.35; 32.28 ). Because of their openness to Jesus they will see him in the fullness of his role as mediator between heaven and earth; cf. Gen 28.12 .

49 :

For the understanding of the King of Israel as “Son of God,” see 2 Sam 7.14; Ps 2.7; 89.26 .

51 :

Son of Man, a messenger from heaven (see Dan. 7.13 ) who makes God known ( 3.13 ) and is the final judge ( 5.27 ).

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