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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on The Gospel According to John

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1.1–18 : The prologue.

1 :

The Word (Gk. logos) as the title of Jesus Christ (v. 17 ) appears only here in Jn.; compare 1 Jn. 1.1; Rev. 19.13 . Word and related terms in earlier Jewish tradition (see Wisd. 9.1–4, 9, 17–18; Ecclus. 24.1–12 ) prepared the way for its use here to denote Jesus as revealer of the unseen God.

4 :

Life in Jn. always means eternal (not merely natural) life (see 3.15 ). This life becomes the light of humanity in that it reveals God to them.

5 :

The darkness symbolizes those death-dealing forces in history irreconcilably opposed to God.

6 :

John (in Matt., Mk., Lk., “the Baptist”) is in Jn. a witness (see 1.19–51 n. ) to Jesus, but in every way less important than he ( 1.19–27; 3.25–30 ).

11 :

Own (first occurrence): the Holy Land. Own people: the people of Israel. John may think of the earlier appearance of the Word in the Mosaic Law (see v. 17 ; compare Ecclus. 24.1–3, 8, 23 ).

14 :

Flesh: human. Made his home (lit. pitched his tent): perhaps an echo of the glory of God which filled the Tent of Meeting (Exod. 40.34–38 ). Glory: radiance; therefore, the presence of God.

16 :

Grace upon grace: God's gift to humanity in Jesus Christ is added to that of the Mosaic Law.

18 :

The generalization that no one has ever seen God is modified in 14.9 ; there, to have seen Jesus is equivalent to having seen God.

1.19–51 : Testimonies to Jesus.

The language of the courtroom, frequent in biblical literature (e.g. Isa. 43.10–13 ), is particularly important to the description of Jesus' public life in Jn. Thus testimony (v. 19 and elsewhere) has a quasi-juridical meaning and seems to point to the climax at 12.31–32 (“judgement for this world”).

19 :

The Jews is the Evangelist's generalized name for the religious authorities who oppose Jesus (such as the chief priests, scribes, etc., of the Synoptics), not literally meant to include all Jews. The term probably also reflects tensions between the Johannine church and the synagogue late in the first century.

20–21 :

The Messiah: see Matt. 1.1 n. Elijah: see Matt. 17.10–13; Mk. 6.15 n. Prophet: see 6.14 n.; Mk. 8.28 n.

23 :

See Isa. 40.3 .

24 :

Pharisees: see Matt. 3.7 n.

27 :

To unfasten … his sandals: the task of the slave who washed the master's feet.

28 :

The exact location of this Bethany is unknown.

29 :

The Lamb of God derives from Isa. 53.7–12 , especially Isa. 53.7 . See also 1 Cor. 5.7 where Jesus is identified with the paschal lamb of Exod. 12.3–10 . Compare 19.14 n.

30 :

Although Jesus appears in history after John, in reality he already was, i.e. already existed before John's time. In Jn., Jesus has always existed ( 1.1; 8.56–57 ).

32 :

John does not narrate the baptism of Jesus as do Matt., Mk., Lk., but only the coming down of the Spirit which accompanied it; see Mk. 1.9–11 n.

34 :

Chosen One: see Isa. 42.1 .

35 :

Two … disciples: see v. 40 .

40 :

Andrew appears more prominently in Jn. ( 6.8; 12.22 ) than in the Synoptics.

44 :

Bethsaida lay north of the Lake of Galilee and east of the Jordan.

45 :

Although Nathanael is sometimes identified with Bartholomew (Mk. 3.18 ), this identification is not justified by NT evidence.

49 :

King: the Messiah (see Matt. 1.1 n. ).

51 :

Jacob's vision of God's angels mediating between heaven and earth (Gen. 28.12 ) provides this image about the Son of Man (see Mk. 2.10 n. ).

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