John 1 - Amplified Study Bible

1:1 In the beginning. Genesis 1:1 starts with the moment of creation and moves forward to the creation of humanity. John 1:1 starts with creation and contemplates eternity past. the Word was with God. This suggests a face-to-face relationship. In the ancient world, it was important that persons of equal station be on the same level when seated across from one another.

1:3 All things were made and came into existence through Him. God the Father created the world (Ge 1:1) through God the Son (Col 1:16; Heb 1:2). All creation was made through Him. Thus, He is the Creator God.

1:4 Light of men. This image conveys the concept of revelation. As the light, Jesus Christ reveals both sin and God to humans (Ps 36:9). Later in this Gospel, Christ declares Himself to be both the life (11:25) and the light (8:12). Death and darkness flee when the life and light enter.

1:5 Light shines on in the darkness. Although Satan and his forces resist the light, they cannot thwart its power. In short, Jesus is life and light; those who accept Him are “sons of light” (12:35–36). As the creation of light was the beginning of the original creation, so, when believers receive the light, they become part of the new creation (2Co 4:3–6).

1:7 as a witness. This phrase means “to testify” or “to declare.” John uses the word translated witness 33 times as a verb and 14 times as a noun in his Gospel. The term is particularly important to his purpose, which is to record adequate witnesses to Jesus as the Messiah so that individuals might believe Him (20:30–31). believe. This word means “to trust.” John uses this verb almost 100 times in his Gospel to express what must take place for a person to receive the gift of eternal life.

1:11 receive. This means “to receive with favor” and implies “welcome.” Instead of a welcome mat, Jesus had a door slammed in His face. The themes of rejection and reception (v. 12) introduced in the prologue (1:1–18) appear repeatedly throughout the Gospel of John.

1:12 He gave the right. This phrase refers to the legitimate entitlement to the position of children of God. By believing, undeserving sinners can become full members of God’s family.

1:14 the Word (Christ) became flesh. The Son of God who was from eternity became human, with limitations in time and space (Php 2:5–8). This is the doctrine of the incarnation: God became human. Nothing of the essential nature of deity was lost in this event; we might rephrase became as “took to Himself.” John uses the word flesh to refer to the physical nature of humans, not to our sinful disposition. lived among us. The Greek word for tent or lived was also used in the Greek Old Testament for the tabernacle, where the presence of God dwelt. only One. This means unique, one of a kind.

1:16 grace upon grace. The background of this doubled term, as well as the use of the term in verse 17, is found in Exodus 32–34. Moses and the people had received grace, but they were in tremendous need of more grace (Ex 33:13).

1:18 No one has seen God. God is Spirit (4:24) and is invisible (Col 1:15; 1Ti 1:17) unless God chooses to reveal Himself. Humans cannot look at God and live (Ex 33:20). However, the Son is in intimate relationship with the Father, face-to-face with God (1:1; 6:46; 1Jn 1:2). God became visible to human eyes in the man Jesus. It is through seeing the Son that we see God.

1:19–20 the Jews. This refers to the Jewish leaders or the council (the Sanhedrin), who would be responsible for examining anyone thought to be a prophet, to see if the person was true or false.

1:23 MAKE STRAIGHT. When a king traveled, roads were built so that the royal chariot would not have to travel over rough terrain or be stuck in the mud. Isaiah was saying that before God appeared to manifest His glory, a voice would be heard, inviting Israel to make straight the way by which God Himself would come.

1:24 the Pharisees. The Pharisees were an influential sect that numbered about 6,000. As strict interpreters of the law in Israel, they were extremely zealous for ritual and tradition.

1:27 strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie. Undoing the shoe strap was the job of a slave. The Jewish Talmud says, “Everything that a servant will do for his master, a scholar shall perform for his teacher, except the menial task of loosing his sandal thong.” Thus, John was saying that “Jesus Christ is the living Lord and I am the voice, His servant and slave. Actually, I’m not even worthy to be His slave.”

1:29 The Lamb of God. Jesus Christ is the Lamb that God would give as a sacrifice not only for Israel, but for the whole world (Isa 52:13–53:12).

1:33 this One is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Seven times, the New Testament mentions this ministry of Jesus. Five are prophetic (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16; Ac 1:5); one is historical (Ac 11:16–18); one is doctrinal (1Co 12:13).

1:42 Cephas. This is the Aramaic word for “rock” (Mt 16:18).

1:45 Nathanael. This name is not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels. But in every list of the apostles in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the name Bartholomew is listed with Philip, as Nathanael is linked with Philip here. It is likely that Nathanael and Bartholomew were the same person.

1:46 Nazareth. Nathanael knew that the Old Testament prophets had predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Furthermore, Nazareth was an obscure village. Nathanael simply could not fathom that such a significant person as the Messiah could come from such an insignificant place as Nazareth.

1:48–49 under the fig tree. In the Old Testament, this expression often suggests being safe and at leisure (1Ki 4:25; Mic 4:4; Zec 3:10).

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