John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt.—The reality of the moral power and change wrought in those that believed recalls and is itself evidence of the reality of that in which they believed. Man came to be a son of God, because the Son of God became man. They were not, as the Docetæ of that time said, believers in an appearance. “The Word was made flesh.” The term “flesh” expresses human nature as opposed to the divine, and material nature as opposed to the spiritual, and is for this reason used rather than “body,” for there may be a purely spiritual body (see Note on 1Corinthians 15:40-44); and rather than “man,” which is used in John 5:27; John 8:40, for of man the spiritual is the highest part. It is not the approach of the divine and human nature in the region of the spiritual which is common to both that strikes the writer with wonder, but that men should have power to become sons of God, and that the Word, of whose glory he has spoken in the earlier verses, should become flesh. (Comp. Philippians 2:6-8; 2Corinthians 8:9, Notes.)

Dwelt among us.—The Greek word means “tabernacled.” “sojourned” among us. It was, probably, suggested by the similarity of sound with “Shekhînah,” a term frequently applied in the Targums or Chaldee Paraphrases, though the substantive nowhere occurs in the Old Testament itself, to the visible symbol of the divine Presence which appeared in the Tabernacle and the Temple. The Targums, moreover, frequently identify the Shekhînah with the “Memra” or Word. (Comp. Excursus A.) The thought, then, of this Presence brings back to the writer’s mind the days and weeks and months they had spent with the Word who had pitched His tent among them. He had been among the first to follow Him, and of the last with Him. He had been of those who had seen the glory of the Transfiguration, who had entered with their Master into the chamber of death, who had been with Him in the garden of Gethsemane. His eye, more than that of any other, had pierced the veil and gazed upon the Presence within. And now the old man, looking forward to the unveiled Presence of the future, loves to think and tell of the past, that the Presence may be to others all it had been to him. He is conscious that the statement of this verse needs evidence of no common order; but this is present in the words and lives of men whose whole moral being declared it true, and the test is within the power of all. (Comp. especially 1 John 1)

The glory.—Comp. John 2:11; John 11:4. There is probably a special reference here to the Transfiguration. (See Note on Matthew 17:2, and comp. the testimony of another eye-witness in 2Peter 1:17.)

As of the only begotten.—Better, as of an only begotteni.e., glory such as is the attribute of an only begotten Son. The term as applied to the person of our Lord, is found only in St. John, John 1:18; John 3:16; John 3:18; 1John 4:9. It is used four times elsewhere in the New Testament, and always of the only child. (Luke 7:12; Luke 8:42; Luke 9:38; Hebrews 11:17.) The close connection here with the word Father, and the contrast with the sonship by moral generation in John 1:12, fixes the sense as the eternal generation of the Word, “the only begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds.”

Of the Father.—The English does not fully express the meaning. It would be better to read, from with the Father. (Comp. John 6:46; John 7:29; John 16:27.) The thought is of the glory witnessed on earth of the only begotten Son who had come from God.

Full of grace and truth.—These words do not refer to the “Father,” or to “the glory,” but to “the Word.” The structure of the English sentence is ambiguous, but the meaning of the Greek words is quite clear. They represent a Hebrew formula, expressing a divine attribute, and the passage which is almost certainly present to the thought here is the revelation of the divine nature to Moses (Exodus 34:6. Comp. 2Samuel 2:6; Psalm 25:10; Psalm 57:10; Psalm 89:15). These witnesses, too, had seen God, not indeed in the mountain only, but as dwelling among them. Every word a ray of truth, and every act a beam of love, they thought of that life “as one with the divine Essence; of that glory” as of the only begotten of the Father. (Comp. John 1:17.)

John

THE WORD IN ETERNITY, IN THE WORLD, AND IN THE FLESH

‘THREE TABERNACLES’

John 1:14
. - Revelation 7:15. - Revelation 21:3.

The word rendered ‘dwelt’ in these three passages, is a peculiar one. It is only found in the New Testament-in this Gospel and in the Book of Revelation. That fact constitutes one of the many subtle threads of connection between these two books, which at first sight seem so extremely unlike each other; and it is a morsel of evidence in favour of the common authorship of the Gospel and of the Apocalypse, which has often, and very vehemently in these latter days of criticism, been denied.

The force of the word, however, is the matter to which I desire especially to draw attention. It literally means ‘to dwell in a tent,’ or, if we may use such a word, ‘to tabernacle,’ and there is no doubt a reference to the Tabernacle in which the divine Presence abode in the wilderness and in the land of Israel before the erection. In all three passages, then, we may see allusion to that early symbolical dwelling of God with man. ‘The Word tabernacled among us’; so is the truth for earth and time. ‘He that sitteth upon the throne shall spread His tabernacle upon’ the multitude which no man can number, who have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb; that is the truth for the spirits of just men made perfect, the waiting Church, which expects the redemption of the body. ‘God shall tabernacle with them’; that is the truth for the highest condition of humanity, when the Tabernacle of God shall be with redeemed men in the new earth. ‘Let us build three tabernacles,’ one for the Incarnate Christ, one for the interspace between earth and heaven, and one for the culmination of all things. And it is to these three aspects of the one thought, set forth in rude symbol by the movable tent in the wilderness, that I ask you to turn now.

I. First, then, we have to think of that Tabernacle for earth. ‘The Word was made flesh, and dwelt, as in a tent, amongst us.’

The human nature, the visible, material body of Jesus Christ, in which there enshrined itself the everlasting Word, which from the beginning was the Agent of all divine revelation, that is the true Temple of God. When we begin to speak about the special presence of Omnipresence in any one place, we soon lose ourselves, and get into deep waters of glory, where there is no standing. And I do not care to deal here with theological definitions or thorny questions, but simply to set forth, as the language of my text sets before us, that one transcendent, wonderful, all-blessed thought that this poor human nature is capable of, and has really once in the history of the world received into itself, the real, actual presence of the whole fulness of the Divinity. What must be the kindred and likeness between Godhood and manhood when into the frail vehicle of our humanity that wondrous treasure can be poured; when the fire of God can burn in the bush of our human nature, and that nature not be consumed? So it has been. ‘In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.’

And when we come with our questions, How? In what manner? How can the lesser contain the greater? we have to be content with the recognition that the manner is beyond our fathoming, and to accept the fact, pressed upon our faith, that our hearts may grasp it and be at peace. God hath dwelt in humanity. The everlasting Word, who is the forthcoming of all the fulness of Deity into the realm of finite creatures, was made flesh and dwelt among us.

But the Tabernacle was not only the dwelling-place of God, it was also and, therefore, the place of Revelation of God. So in our text there follows, ‘we beheld His glory.’ As in the tent in the wilderness there hovered between the outstretched wings of the silent cherubim, above the Mercy-seat, the brightness of the symbolical cloud which was expressly named ‘the glory of God,’ and was the visible manifestation of His real presence; so John would have us think that in that lowly humanity, with its curtains and its coverings of flesh, there lay shrined in the inmost place the brightness of the light of the manifest glory of God. ‘We beheld His glory.’ The rapturous adoration of the remembrance overcomes him, and he breaks his sentence, reckless of grammatical connection, as the fulness of the blessed memory floods into his soul. ‘That glory was as of the Only Begotten of the Father.’ The manifestation of God in Christ is unique, as becomes Him who partakes of the nature of that God of whom He is the Representative and the Revealer.

And how did that glory make itself known to us? By miracle? Yes! As we read in the story of the first that Christ wrought, ‘He manifested forth His glory and His disciples believed upon Him.’ By miracle? Yes! As we read His own promise at the grave of Lazarus: ‘Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?’ But, blessed be His name, miracle is not the highest manifestation of Christ’s glory and of God’s. The uniqueness of the revelation of Christ’s glory in God does not depend upon the deeds which He wrought. For, as the context goes on to tell, the Word which tabernacled among us was ‘full of grace and truth,’ and therein is the glory most gloriously revealed.

The lambent light of stooping love that shone forth warning and attracting in His gentle life, and the clear white beam of unmingled truth that streamed from the radiant purity of Christ’s life, revealed God to hearts that pine for love and spirits that hunger for truth, as no others of God’s self-revealing works have done. And that revelation of the glory of God in the fulness of grace and truth is the highest possible revelation. For the divinest thing in God is love, and the true ‘glory of God’ is neither some symbolical flashing light nor the pomp of mere power and majesty; nor even those inconceivable and incommunicable attributes which we christen with names like Omnipotence and Omnipresence and Infinitude, and the like. These are all at the fringes of the brightness. The true central heart and lustrous light of the glory of God lie In His love, and of that glory Christ is the unique Representative and Revealer, because He is the only Begotten Son, and ‘full of grace and truth.’

Thus the Word tabernacled amongst us. And though the Tabernacle to outward seeming was covered by curtains and skins that hid all the glowing splendour within; yet in that lowly life that was lived in the body of His humiliation, and knew our limitations and our weaknesses, ‘the glory of the Lord was revealed; and all flesh hath seen it together’ and acknowledged the divine Presence there.

Still further the Tabernacle was the place of sacrifice. So in the tabernacle of His flesh Jesus offered up the one sacrifice for sins for ever. In the offering up of His human life in continuous obedience, and in the offering up of His body and blood in the bitter Passion of the Cross, He brought men nigh unto God.

Therefore, because of all these things, because the Tabernacle is the dwelling-place of God, the place of revelation, and the place of sacrifice, therefore, finally is it the meeting-place betwixt God and man. In the Old Testament it is always called by the name which our Revised Version has accurately substituted for ‘tabernacle of the congregation,’ namely ‘tent of meeting.’ The correctness of that rendering and the meaning of the name are established by several passages in the Old Testament, as for instance, ‘There I will meet with you, to speak there unto thee, and there I will meet with the children of Israel.’ So in Christ, who by His Incarnation lays His hand upon both, God touches man and man touches God. We who are afar off are made nigh, and in that ‘true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man’ we meet God and are glad.

‘And so the word was flesh, and wrought

With human hands the creed of creeds,

In loveliness of perfect deeds.’

The temple for earth is ‘the temple of His body.’

II. We have the Tabernacle for the Heavens.

In the context of our second passage we have a vision of the great multitude redeemed out of all nations and kindreds, ‘standing before the Throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes, and palms in their hands.’ The palms in their hands give important help towards understanding the vision. As has been often remarked, there are no heathen emblems in the Book of the Apocalypse. All its metaphors move within the circle of Jewish experiences and facts. So that we are not to think of the Roman palm of victory, but of the Jewish palm which was borne at the Feast of Tabernacles. What was the Feast of Tabernacles? A festival established on purpose to recall to the minds and to the gratitude of the Jews settled in their own land the days of their wandering in the wilderness. Part of the ritual of it was that during its celebration they builded for themselves booths or tabernacles of leaves and boughs of trees, under which they dwelt, thus reminding themselves of their nomad condition.

Now what beauty and power it gives to the word of my text, if we take in this allusion to the Jewish festival! The great multitude bearing the palms are keeping the feast, memorial of past wilderness wanderings; and ‘He that sitteth on the throne shall spread His tabernacle above them,’ as the word might be here rendered. That is to say, He Himself shall build and be the tent in which they dwell; He Himself shall dwell with them in it. He Himself, in closer union than can be conceived of here, shall keep them company during that feast.

What a thought of that condition-the condition as I believe represented in this vision-of the spirits of the just made perfect, ‘who wait for the adoption, to wit, the resurrection of the body,’ is given us if we take this point of view to interpret the whole lovely symbolism. It is all a time of glad, grateful remembrance of the wilderness march. It is all a time in which festal joys shall be theirs, and the memory of the trials and the weariness and the sorrow and the solitude that are past shall deepen to a more exquisite poignancy of delight, the rest and the fellowship and the felicity of that calm Presence, and God Himself shall spread His tent above them, lodge with them, and they with Him.

And so, dear brethren, rest in that assurance, that though we know so little of that state, we know this: ‘Absent from the body, present with the Lord,’ and that the happy company who bear the palms shall dwell in God, and God in them.

III. And now, lastly, look at that final vision which we have in these texts, which we may call the Tabernacle for the renewed earth.

I do not pretend to interpret the scenery and the setting of these Apocalyptic visions with dogmatic confidence, but it seems to me as if the emblems of this final vision coincide with dim hints in many other portions of Scripture; to the effect that some cosmical change having passed upon this material world in which we dwell, it, in some regenerated form, shall be the final abode of a regenerated and redeemed humanity. That, I think, is the natural interpretation of a great deal of Scriptural teaching.

For that highest condition there is set forth this as the all-sufficing light upon it. ‘Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them.’ The climax and the goal of all the divine working, and the long processes of God’s love for, and discipline of, the world, are to be this, that He and men shall abide together in unity and concord. That is God’s wish from the beginning. We read in one of the profound utterances of the Book of Proverbs how from of old the ‘delights’ of the Incarnate Wisdom which foreshadowed the Incarnate Word ‘were with the sons of men.’ And, at the close of all things, when the vision of this final chapter shall be fulfilled, God will say, settling Himself in the midst of a redeemed humanity, ‘Lo! here will I dwell, for I have desired it. This is My rest for ever.’ He will tabernacle with men, and men with Him.

We know not, and never shall know until experience strips the bandages from our eyes, what new methods of participation of the divine nature, and new possibilities of intimacy and intercourse with Him may be ours when the veils of flesh and sense and time have all dropped away. New windows may be opened in our spirits, from which we shall perceive new aspects of the divine character. New doors may be opened in our souls, from out of which we may pass to touch parts of His nature, all impalpable and inconceivable to us now. And when all the veils of a discordant moral nature are taken away, and we are pure, then we shall see, then we shall draw nigh to God. The thing that chiefly separates man from God is man’s sin. When that is removed, the centrifugal force which kept our tiny orb apart from the great central sun being withdrawn, we shall, as it were, fall into the brightness and be one, not losing our sense of individuality, which would be to lose all the blessedness, but united with Him in a union far more intimate than earth can parallel. ‘The Tabernacle of God shall be with men, and He will tabernacle with them.’

Do not let us forget that this highest and ultimate hope that is held forth here, of the union and communion, perfect and perpetual, of humanity with God, does not sweep aside Jesus Christ. For through all eternity the Everlasting Word, the Christ who bears our nature in its glorified form, or, rather, whose nature in its glorified form we shall bear, is the Medium of Revelation, and the Medium of communication between man and God.

‘I saw no Temple therein,’ says this final vision of the Apocalypse, but ‘God Almighty and the Lamb,’ and these are the Temples thereof. Therefore through eternity God shall tabernacle with men, as He does tabernacle with us now through Him, in whom dwelleth as in its perennial habitation, ‘all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.’

So we have the three tabernacles, for earth, for heaven, for the renewed earth; and these three, if I may say so, are like the triple division of that ancient Tabernacle in the wilderness: the Outer Court; the Holy Place; the Holiest of all. Let us enter into that outer court, and abide and commune with that God who comes near to us, revealing, forgiving, in the person of His Son, and then we shall pass from court to court, ‘and go from strength to strength, until every one of us in Zion appear before God’; and enter into the Holiest of all, where ‘within the veil’ we shall receive splendours of revelation undreamed of here, and enjoy depths of communion to which the selectest moments of fellowship with God on earth are shallow and poor.John 1:14. And the Word, &c. — And in order to raise us, sinful creatures, to this dignity and happiness, the Divine and Eternal Word, by a most amazing condescension; was made flesh — That is, united himself to our inferior and miserable nature, with all its innocent infirmities. If it be inquired how he did this, we answer, in the language of the Creed, “Not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God.” Observe, reader, the whole manhood, the complete human nature, consisting of soul and body, and not the body only. Accordingly, we read, (Luke 2:52,) that Jesus increased in wisdom as well as stature, having, as Man 1:1 st, A finite understanding, which gradually received information and knowledge. 2d, A will of his own, distinct from, but resigned to, the will of his heavenly Father; in consequence of which he could say, I came not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me: Father, not my will, but thine be done. 3d, All the innocent human passions and affections, such as, desire; with desire have I desired to eat this passover, &c., Luke 22:15 : aversion; Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me, Luke 22:42 : hope; for the felicity set before him, and expected by him, he endured the cross, &c., Hebrews 12:2 : fear; he was heard in that he feared, Hebrews 5:7 : joy; Jesus rejoiced in spirit, Luke 10:21 : sorrow; my soul is exceeding sorrowful, Matthew 26:38 : a peculiar human love; the disciple whom Jesus loved, John 21:20 : all which faculties belonged not to his body, but to his soul. When we read, therefore, that he was made flesh, partook of flesh and blood, (Hebrews 2:14,) came in the flesh, (1 John 4:2,) was manifest in the flesh, (1 Timothy 3:16,) had a body prepared for him, (Hebrews 10:5,) we must remember, that the whole human nature is intended to be signified by such expressions, and not the body only. It is, however, justly observed by Bishop Horne on this point, that “As the Divinity is an object by no means within the grasp of the human understanding, it were absurd to expect an adequate idea of the mode of its union with flesh, expressed in the text by the word made; (εγενετο;) The word was made flesh. It sufficeth, in this case, to maintain the general truth of the proposition against those, who, in different ways, by subtlety and sophistry, have laboured to oppugn and destroy. We must not, with Arius, deny the Saviour to be truly God, because he became man; nor assert, with Apollinaris, that he was not really man, because he was also God. We must not, with Nestorius, rend Christ asunder, and divide him into two persons; nor, after the example of Eutyches, confound in his person those natures which should be distinguished. These were the four capital errors, which, in the earlier ages, harassed and distracted the Christian church, on the point of the incarnation; and in opposition to which, the four most famous ancient general councils of Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon were called. Whatever was by them decreed, either in declaration of Christian belief, or refutation of heresy, may all be comprised, as judicious Hooker well noteth, in four words, αληθως, τελεως, αδιαιρετως, ασυνχυτως, ‘truly, perfectly, indivisibly, distinctly; truly God, perfectly man, indivisibly one person, distinctly two natures.’ ‘Within the compass of which,’ said he, ‘I may truly affirm, that all heresies which touch the person of Jesus Christ, (whether they have risen in these latter days, or in any age heretofore,) may be with great facility brought to confine themselves.’ Book 5. sect. 54. The apostle to the Hebrews, writing on the subject of the incarnation, thus expresseth himself: ου γαρ δηπου αγγελων επιλαμβανεται, αλλα σπερματος Αβρααμ επιλαμβανεται, He taketh not hold of angels, but he taketh hold of the seed of Abraham; he took, or assumed, the manhood into God. As the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ. The soul is not turned into, nor compounded with, the body; yet they two, though distinct in nature, form one man. The natures are preserved, without confusion; the person is entire, without division. ‘Sic factum est Caro, ut maneret verbum; non immutando quod erat, sed assumendo quod non erat; nostra auxit, sua non minuit; nec sacramentum pietatis detrimentum Deitatis.’ Concil. Chalced.” — Horne’s Sermons, vol. 1. pp. 203-205.

And dwelt among us — Not making us a transient visit for an hour, or a day, or appearing occasionally, as he did formerly, but making his abode with us for a considerable time. The original expression, εσκηνωσεν εν ημιν, properly signifies, he tabernacled among us, alluding, as some think, to his dwelling, in ancient times, first in the tabernacle, and afterward in the temple, where he manifested his presence and glory. His human nature was the true tabernacle, or temple of his Deity, and therein resided the fulness of the Godhead bodily, Colossians 2:9. Hence he says, Destroy this temple, meaning his body, and I will build it up in three days. Beza renders the word, Commoratus est, he sojourned, or tarried for a while. Doddridge reads, he pitched his tabernacle: Wesley, he tabernacled. Any of which readings give the primitive signification of the verb σκηνοω, from σκηνη, a tent or tabernacle. But words often come insensibly to deviate from their first signification, and this has evidently happened to the verb now spoken of, which frequently signifies to dwell, or inhabit, in the largest sense, without any limitation from the nature or duration of the dwelling. Hence it is applied, (Revelation 12:12; and, Revelation 13:6) to the inhabitants of heaven, and is made use of to express God’s abode with his people after the resurrection, which is always represented as eternal, Revelation 21:3. And the noun σκηνη, itself, from which the verb is derived, is used (Luke 16:9) for a permanent habitation, and joined with the epithet, αιωνιος, eternal. As the term, however, admits of both interpretations, and may be either rendered, to dwell, or to sojourn, and as our Lord’s life on earth, and especially his ministry, was of short duration, he may much more properly be said to have sojourned, than to have dwelt among us. And we — Who are now recording these things, we his disciples, beheld — Greek, εθεασαμεθα, (the word used 1 John 1:1,) contemplated his glory; and that with so strict an attention, that, from our own personal knowledge, we can testify it was, in every respect, such a glory as became the only begotten of the Father — For it shone forth, not only in his transfiguration, and in his continual miracles, but in all his tempers, ministrations, and conduct, through the whole course of his life. In all he appeared full of truth and grace — He was in himself most benevolent and upright: made those ample discoveries of pardon to sinners, which the Mosaic dispensation could not do; and exhibited the most substantial blessings, whereas that was but a shadow of good things to come. Observe, reader, we are all by nature false, depraved, and children of wrath, to whom both truth and grace are unknown; but we are made partakers of them, through him, when we believe in him with our hearts unto righteousness.1:6-14 John the Baptist came to bear witness concerning Jesus. Nothing more fully shows the darkness of men's minds, than that when the Light had appeared, there needed a witness to call attention to it. Christ was the true Light; that great Light which deserves to be called so. By his Spirit and grace he enlightens all that are enlightened to salvation; and those that are not enlightened by him, perish in darkness. Christ was in the world when he took our nature upon him, and dwelt among us. The Son of the Highest was here in this lower world. He was in the world, but not of it. He came to save a lost world, because it was a world of his own making. Yet the world knew him not. When he comes as a Judge, the world shall know him. Many say that they are Christ's own, yet do not receive him, because they will not part with their sins, nor have him to reign over them. All the children of God are born again. This new birth is through the word of God as the means, 1Pe 1:23, and by the Spirit of God as the Author. By his Divine presence Christ always was in the world. But now that the fulness of time was come, he was, after another manner, God manifested in the flesh. But observe the beams of his Divine glory, which darted through this veil of flesh. Men discover their weaknesses to those most familiar with them, but it was not so with Christ; those most intimate with him saw most of his glory. Although he was in the form of a servant, as to outward circumstances, yet, in respect of graces, his form was like the Son of God His Divine glory appeared in the holiness of his doctrine, and in his miracles. He was full of grace, fully acceptable to his Father, therefore qualified to plead for us; and full of truth, fully aware of the things he was to reveal.And the Word was made flesh - The word "flesh," here, is evidently used to denote "human nature" or "man." See Matthew 16:17; Matthew 19:5; Matthew 24:22; Luke 3:6; Romans 1:3; Romans 9:5. The "Word" was made "man." This is commonly expressed by saying that he became "incarnate." When we say that a being becomes "incarnate," we mean that one of a higher order than man, and of a different nature, assumes the appearance of man or becomes a man. Here it is meant that "the Word," or the second person of the Trinity, whom John had just proved to be equal with God, became a man, or was united with the man Jesus of Nazareth, so that it might be said that he "was made flesh."

Was made - This is the same word that is used in John 1:3; "All things were made by him." It is not simply affirmed that he was flesh, but that he was made flesh, implying that he had pre-existence, agreeably to John 1:1. This is in accordance with the doctrine of the Scriptures elsewhere. Hebrews 10:5; "a 'body' hast thou prepared me." Hebrews 2:14; "as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same." 1 John 4:2; "Jesus Christ is come in the flesh." See also 1 Timothy 3:16; Philippians 2:6; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Luke 1:35. The expression, then, means that he became a man, and that he became such by the power of God providing for him a body. It cannot mean that the divine nature was "changed" into the human, for that could not be; but it means that the λόγος Logos, or "Word," became so intimately united to Jesus that it might be said that the Logos, or "Word" "became" or "was" a man, as the soul becomes so united to the body that we may say that it is one person or a man.

And dwell among us - The word in the original denotes "dwelt as in a tabernacle or tent;" and some have supposed that John means to say that the human body was a tabernacle or tent for the λόγος Logos to abide in, in allusion to the tabernacle among the Jews, in which the Shechinah, or visible symbol of God, dwelt; but it is not necessary to suppose this. The object of John was to prove that "the Word" became "incarnate." To do this he appeals to various evidences. One was that he "dwelt" among them; sojourned with them; ate, drank, slept, and was with them for years, so that they "saw him with their eyes, they looked upon him, and their hands handled him," 1 John 1:1. To "dwell in a tent with one" is the same as to be in his family; and when John says he "tabernacled" with them, he means that he was with them as a friend and as one of a family, so that they had full opportunity of becoming familiarly acquainted with him, and could not be mistaken in supposing that "he was really a man."

We beheld his glory - This is a new proof of what he was affirming - "that the word of God became man." The first was, that they had seen him as a man. He now adds that they had seen him in his proper glory "as God and man united in one person," constituting him the unequalled Son of the Father. There is no doubt that there is reference here to the transfiguration on the holy mount. See Matthew 17:1-9. To this same evidence Peter also appeals, 2 Peter 1:16-18. John was one of the witnesses of that scene, and hence he says, "we beheld his glory," Mark 9:2. The word "glory" here means majesty, dignity, splendor.

The glory as of the only-begotten of the Father - The dignity which was appropriate to the only-begotten Son of God; such glory or splendor as could belong to no other. and as properly expressed his rank and character. This glory was seen eminently on the mount of transfiguration. It was also seen in his miracles, his doctrine, his resurrection, his ascension; all of which were such as to illustrate the perfections, and manifest the glory that belongs only to the Son of God.

Only-begotten - This term is never applied by John to any but Jesus Christ. It is applied by him five times to the Saviour, John 1:14, John 1:18; John 3:16, John 3:18; 1 John 4:9. It means literally an only child. Then, as an only child is especially dear to a parent, it means one that is especially beloved. Compare Genesis 22:2, Genesis 22:12, Genesis 22:16; Jeremiah 6:26; Zechariah 12:10. On both these accounts it is bestowed on the Saviour.

1. As he was eminently the Son of God, sustaining a special relation to Him in His divine nature, exalted above all human beings and angels, and thus worthy to be called, by way of eminence, His only Son. Saints are called His "sons" or children, because they are born of His Spirit, or are like Him; but the Lord Jesus is exalted far above all, and deserves eminently to be called His only-begotten Son.

2. He was especially dear to God, and therefore this appellation, implying tender affection, is bestowed upon him.

Full of grace and truth - The word "full" here refers to the "Word made flesh," which is declared to be full of grace and truth. The word "grace" means "favors," gifts, acts of beneficence. He was kind, merciful, gracious, doing good to all, and seeking man's welfare by great sacrifices and love; so much so, that it might be said to be characteristic of him, or he "abounded" in favors to mankind. He was also "full of truth." He declared the truth. In him was no falsehood. He was not like the false prophets and false Messiahs, who were wholly impostors; nor was he like the emblems and shadows of the old dispensation, which were only types of the true; but he was truth itself. He represented things as they are, and thus became the "truth" as well as "the way and the life."

14. And the Word, &c.—To raise the reader to the altitude of this climax were the thirteen foregoing verses written.

was made flesh—BECAME MAN, in man's present frail, mortal condition, denoted by the word "flesh" (Isa 40:6; 1Pe 1:24). It is directed probably against the Docetæ, who held that Christ was not really but only apparently man; against whom this gentle spirit is vehement in his Epistles (1Jo 4:3; 2Jo 7, 10, 11), [Lucke, &c.]. Nor could He be too much so, for with the verity of the Incarnation all substantial Christianity vanishes. But now, married to our nature, henceforth He is as personally conscious of all that is strictly human as of all that is properly divine; and our nature is in His Person redeemed and quickened, ennobled and transfigured.

and dwelt—tabernacled or pitched his tent; a word peculiar to John, who uses it four times, all in the sense of a permanent stay (Re 7:15; 12:12; 13:6; 21:3). For ever wedded to our "flesh," He has entered this tabernacle to "go no more out." The allusion is to that tabernacle where dwelt the Shekinah (see on [1757]Mt 23:38, 39), or manifested "Glory of the Lord," and with reference to God's permanent dwelling among His people (Le 26:11; Ps 68:18; 132:13, 14; Eze 37:27). This is put almost beyond doubt by what immediately follows, "And we beheld his glory" [Lucke, Meyer, De Wette which last critic, rising higher than usual, says that thus were perfected all former partial manifestations of God in an essentially Personal and historically Human manifestation].

full of grace and truth—So it should read: "He dwelt among us full of grace and truth"; or, in Old Testament phrase, "Mercy and truth," denoting the whole fruit of God's purposes of love towards sinners of mankind, which until now existed only in promise, and the fulfilment at length of that promise in Christ; in one great word, "the SURE MERCIES of David" (Isa 55:3; Ac 13:34; compare 2Sa 23:5). In His Person all that Grace and Truth which had been floating so long in shadowy forms, and darting into the souls of the poor and needy its broken beams, took everlasting possession of human flesh and filled it full. By this Incarnation of Grace and Truth, the teaching of thousands of years was at once transcended and beggared, and the family of God sprang into Manhood.

and we beheld his glory—not by the eye of sense, which saw in Him only "the carpenter." His glory was "spiritually discerned" (1Co 2:7-15; 2Co 3:18; 4:4, 6; 5:16)—the glory of surpassing grace, love, tenderness, wisdom, purity, spirituality; majesty and meekness, richness and poverty, power and weakness, meeting together in unique contrast; ever attracting and at times ravishing the "babes" that followed and forsook all for Him.

the glory as of the only begotten of the Father—(See on [1758]Lu 1:35); not like, but "such as (belongs to)," such as became or was befitting the only begotten of the Father [Chrysostom in Lucke, Calvin, &c.], according to a well-known use of the word "as."

The Word was made flesh; the Son of God, called the Word, for the reasons before specified, was made truly man, as flesh often signifieth in holy writ, Genesis 6:12 Psalm 65:2 Isaiah 40:5,6; not a vile, despicable, mortal man. The evangelist rather saith he was made flesh, than he was made man, more plainly to distinguish the two natures in Christ; to assert the truth of his human nature; to let us know that Christ assumed human nature in common, not the particular nature of any; to commend the love of God, and to let us see, that his plaster was proportioned to our sore, it reached all flesh.

The evangelist saith not he was changed into flesh; but, by assuming, he was made flesh. And dwelt amongst us: and he tabernacled amongst us; amongst us men, or amongst men that were his disciples: the word signifieth properly, he made no long stay.

And we beheld his glory; and we beheld the signs and effects of his glory; many of which were seen, both at the time of his transfiguration, and at his passion, resurrection, and ascension; the glory of his grace, holiness, truth, miraculous operations, &c.

The glory as of the only begotten of the Father; which glory was the glory of the only begotten of the Father; for the particle as here doth not signify likeness, but truth, Nehemiah 7:2 Job 24:14.

Full of grace and truth, as he was God manifested in the flesh. Grace signifieth love and good will, out of which it was that he delivered us from the curse and rigour of the law (to which grace is opposed). He was also full of truth, both as truth is opposed to falsehood, and to the shadows and figures of the law; and Christ was full of truth as he was the antitype to all the ceremonies, and all the promises had and have their completion and reality in him: see John 14:17 Romans 15:8 2 Corinthians 1:20. Truth also may signify the sincerity and integrity of Christ’s life, as he was without guile. And the word was made flesh,.... The same word, of whom so many things are said in the preceding verses; and is no other than the Son of God, or second person in the Trinity; for neither the Father, nor the Holy Ghost, were made flesh, as is here said of the word, but the Son only: and "flesh" here signifies, not a part of the body, nor the whole body only, but the whole human nature, consisting of a true body, and a reasonable soul; and is so called, to denote the frailty of it, being encompassed with infirmities, though not sinful; and to show, that it was a real human nature, and not a phantom, or appearance, that he assumed: and when he is said to be "made" flesh, this was not done by the change of one nature into another, the divine into the human, or the word into a man; but by the assumption of the human nature, the word, taking it into personal union with himself; whereby the natures are not altered; Christ remained what he was, and became what he was not; nor are they confounded, and blended together, and so make a third nature; nor are they separated, and divided, so as to constitute two persons, a divine person, and an human person; but are so united as to be but one person; and this is such an union, as can never be dissolved, and is the foundation of the virtue and efficacy of all Christ's works and actions, as Mediator:

and dwelt among us; or "tabernacled among us"; in allusion to the tabernacle, which was a type of Christ's human nature: the model of the tabernacle was of God, and not of man; it was coarse without, but full of holy things within; here God dwelt, granted his presence, and his glory was seen; here the sacrifices were brought, offered, and accepted. So the human nature of Christ was of God's pitching, and not man's; and though it looked mean without, the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in it, as well as a fulness of grace and truth; in the face of Christ the glory of God is seen, and through him, even the vail of his flesh, saints have access unto him, and enjoy his presence; and by him their spiritual sacrifices become acceptable to God: or this is observed, in allusion to the feast of tabernacles, when the Jews dwelt in booths, in remembrance of their manner of living in the wilderness: the feast of tabernacles was typical of Christ, and of his tabernacling in our nature. Solomon's temple, which was also a type of Christ, was dedicated at the time of that feast; and it seems probable, that our Lord was born at that time; for as he suffered at the time of the passover, which had respect unto him, and the pouring forth of the Spirit was on the very day of Pentecost, which that prefigured; so it is highly probable, that Christ was born at the time of the feast of tabernacles, which pointed out his dwelling among us; and is therefore very pertinently hinted at, when mention is here made of his incarnation. However, reference is manifestly had to the Shekinah, and the glory of it, in the tabernacle and temple; and almost the very word is here used. The Targumists sometimes speak of the Shekinah of the word dwelling among the Israelites: so Onkelos in Numbers 11:20 where the Israelites are threatened with flesh, until they loath it; because, says the paraphrast,

"ye have loathed "the word of the Lord", whose Shekinah dwelleth among you.

Jonathan ben Uzziel, on the same place, expresses it thus,

"because ye have loathed the word of the Lord, the glory of whose Shekinah dwelleth among you.

And it follows here,

and we beheld his glory; the glory of his divine nature, which is essential to him, and underived, is equal to the Father's glory, is transcendent to all creatures, and is ineffable, and incomprehensible; some breakings forth of which there were in his incarnate state, and which were observed by the evangelist, and his companions; who, in various instances, saw plainly, that Christ was possessed of divine perfections, such as omniscience, and omnipotence; since he knew the thoughts of the heart, and could do the things he did: his Father declared him to be his beloved Son; and the miracles he wrought, and the doctrines he taught, manifested forth his glory; and not only there were some beams of his glory at his transfiguration, which were seen by the apostles, among which the Evangelist John was one, and to which he may have here a particular reference; but even at his apprehension, and death, and especially at his resurrection from the dead. The Jews speak of the glory of the Messiah to be seen in the world to come. They say (h),

"If a man is worthy of the world to come, (i.e. the times of the Messiah,) he shall "see the glory" of the King Messiah.

And of Moses, they say (i),

"there was (or will be) no generation like that in which he lived, until the generation in which the King Messiah comes, which shall "behold the glory" of the holy, blessed God, as he.

This our evangelist, and the other disciples of Christ have seen:

the glory, as of the only begotten of the Father; a glory becoming him, suitable to him as such; the very real glory of the Son of God; for the "as", here, is not a note of similitude, but of certainty, as in Matthew 14:5 and the word is here called, "the only begotten of the Father"; which cannot be said of Christ, as man; for as such, he was not "begotten" at all: nor on the account of his resurrection from the dead; for so he could not be called the "only begotten", since there are others that have been, and millions that will be raised from the dead, besides him: nor by reason of adoption; for if adopted, then not begotten; these two are inconsistent; besides, he could not be called the only begotten, in this sense, because there are many adopted sons, even all the elect of God: nor by virtue of his office, as magistrates are called the sons of God; for then he would be so only in a figurative and metaphorical sense, and not properly; whereas he is called God's own Son, the Son of the same nature with him; and, as here, the only begotten of the Father, begotten by him in the same nature, in a way inconceivable and inexpressible by us:

full of grace and truth; that is, he dwelt among men, and appeared to have a fulness of each of these: for this clause is not to be joined with the glory of the only begotten, as if this was a branch of that; but regards him as incarnate, and in his office, as Mediator; who, as such, was full of "grace"; the Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit; of all the blessings of grace, of justifying, pardoning, adopting, sanctifying, and persevering grace; of all the promises of grace; of all light, life, strength, comfort, peace, and joy: and also of truth, of all Gospel truths; and as he had the truth, the sum, and substance of all the types and prophecies concerning him in him; and as he fulfilled all his own engagements, and his Father's promises; and as possessed of sincerity towards men, and faithfulness and integrity to God,

(h) Gloss. in T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 58. 1.((i) Zohar in Lev. fol. 9. 4.

{7} And the Word was made {u} flesh, and {x} dwelt among us, (and we beheld his {y} glory, the glory {z} as of the only begotten of the Father,) {a} full of grace and truth.

(7) That Son who is God from everlasting took upon himself man's nature, so that one and the selfsame might be both God and man, who manifestly appeared to many witnesses that saw him, amongst whom he was conversant and unto whom by sure and undoubted arguments he showed both of his natures.

(u) That is, man: so that, by the figure of speech synecdoche, the part is taken for the whole: for he took upon himself our entire nature, that is to say, a true body, and a true soul.

(x) For a time, and when that was ended, he went up into heaven: for the word which he uses is used with reference to tents: and yet nonetheless he is always present with us, though not in flesh, but by the power of his spirit.

(y) The glory which he speaks of here is that manifestation of Christ's majesty, which was as it were openly placed before our eyes when the Son of God appeared in the flesh.

(z) This word as does not indicate here a likeness, but rather the truth of the matter, for his meaning is this, that we saw such a glory which suited and was proper for the true and only begotten Son of God, who is Lord and King over all the world.

(a) He was not only a partaker of grace and truth, but was full of the very substance of grace and truth.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 1:14. Καὶ] and; not assigning a reason for the sonship just mentioned (Chrys., Theophyl., Jansen, Grotius, Lampe, and several others); nor even = οὖν (Bleek), nor in the sense of namely (Frommann), nor yea (Godet), but simply carrying forward the discourse, like every καὶ in the Prologue; and not therefore pointing back to John 1:4 (Maldonatus) or to John 1:9 (De Wette), nor joining on to John 1:11 (Lücke: “The Logos came not only to His own possession, but appeared visibly;” so, substantially, also Baur and Hilgenfeld), which would be a merely apparent advance in the exposition, because the visible manifestation is already intimated by φαίνει in John 1:5 and in John 1:9-13. No; after having in John 1:4-13 spoken of the Logos as the light, of the melancholy opposition of the darkness of unbelief to that true light which had been attested by the Baptist as divine, and of the exceedingly blessed effects which He exercised on believers through the bestowal of the gift of sonship, the evangelist, on arriving at this last point, which expresses his own deepest and most blessed experience, can no longer hesitate formally and solemnly again to proclaim the great event by which the visible manifestation of the Logos—previously so frequently presupposed and referred to—had, with all its saving power, been brought about; and thus by an outpouring of speech, which, prompted by the holiest recollections, soars involuntarily upwards until it reaches the highest height, to set forth and celebrate the How of that manifestation of the Logos which was attended with such blessed results (John 1:12-13), and which he had himself experienced. The transition, therefore, is from what is said in John 1:12-13 of the efficacy of the manifested Logos, to the nature and manner of that manifestation itself, i.e. consequently to the incarnation, as a result of which He, as Jesus Christ, exhibited the glory of the Only-begotten, and imparted the fulness of grace and truth,—that incarnation which historically determined what is recorded of Him in John 1:12-13. Accordingly καὶ is not definitive, “under such circumstances, with such consequences” (Brückner, who inappropriately compares Hebrews 3:19, where καὶ connects the answer with the question as in continuous narration), but it carries the discourse onwards, leading up to the highest summit, which even from John 1:5 showed itself as in the distance. We must interpret it: and—to advance now to the most momentous fact in the work of redemption, namely, how He who had come and wrought so much blessing was manifested and was able to accomplish such a work—the Word was made flesh, etc.

ὁ λόγος] John does not simply say καὶ σὰρξ ἐγένετο, but he names the great subject as he had done in John 1:1, to complete the solemnity of the weighty statement, which he now felt himself constrained still to subjoin and to carry onwards, as if in joyful triumph, to the close of the Prologue.

σὰρξ ἐγένετο] The word σάρξ is carefully chosen, not indeed in any sort of opposition to the divine idea of humanity, which in this place is very remote,[89] but as opposed to the purely divine, and hence also to the purely immaterial nature[90] of the Logos (Clem. ad Cor. II. 9, ὢν μὲν τὸ πρῶτον πνεῦμα ἐγένετο σάρξ; comp. Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. 197), whose transition, however, into this other form of existence necessarily presupposes that He is conceived of as a personality, not as a principle (Beyschlag, Christol. p. 169); as is, besides, required by the whole Prologue. The actual incarnation of a principle would be for John an unrealizable notion. Just as decidedly is ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο opposed to the representation that the Logos always became more and more completely σάρξ (Beyschlag) during the whole unfolding of His earthly life. The ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο is a definite act in the consummation of His history. He became flesh, i.e. a corporeal material being, visible and tangible (1 John 1:2), which He was not before,[91] and by which it is self-evident that the human mode of existence in which He appeared, which we have in the person of Jesus, and which was known to the reader, is intended. Ἐν σαρκὶ ἐλήλυθεν (1 John 4:2; 2 John 1:7; comp. 1 Timothy 3:16) is, in fact, the same thing, though expressed from the point of view of that modality of His coming which is conditioned by the σὰρξ ἐγένετο. As, however, ἐγένετο points out that He became what He was not before, the incarnation cannot be a mere accident of His substantial being (against Baur), but is the assumption of another real existence, whereby out of the purely divine Logos-Person, whose specific nature at the same time remained unaltered, and in order to accomplish the work of redemption (chap. 6; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:14-15), a really corporeal personality, i.e. the God-man Jesus Christ (John 1:17), came into existence. Comp. on the point, 1 John 4:2; Php 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14; Hebrews 5:7. Since σάρξ necessarily carries with it the idea only of the ψυχή (see Schulz, Abendm. p. 94 ff.; Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 256), it might seem as if John held the Apollinarian notion, that in Christ there was no human νοῦς, but that the λόγος took its place.[92] But it is not really so (see, on the other side, Mau, Progr. de Christolog. N. T., Kiel 1843, p. 13 ff.), because the human ψυχή does not exist by itself, but in necessary connection with the πνεῦμα (Beck, bibl. Seelenl. § 13; Hahn, Theol. d. N.T. I. § 154), and because the N. T. (comp. John 8:40) knows Jesus only as perfect man.[93] In fact, John in particular expressly speaks of the ΨΥΧΉ (John 12:27) and ΠΝΕῦΜΑ of Christ (John 11:33, John 13:21, John 19:30), which he does not identify with the Logos, but designates as the substratum of the human self-consciousness (John 11:38).[94] The transcendental character, however, of this self-consciousness, as necessarily given in the incarnation of the Logos, Weizsäcker has not succeeded, as is plain from his interpretation of the passages referred to, in explaining away by anything Jesus Himself says in this Gospel. The conception of weakness and susceptibility of suffering (see on Acts 2:17), which Luther, Melancthon, Calvin, Olshausen, Tholuck, Hengstenberg, Philippi, and others find in σάρξ, is quite remote from this verse (comp. 1 John 4:2), where the point in question is simply the change in the divine mode of existence, while the σάρξ is that which bears the δόξα; and so also is any anti-Docetic reference, such as Frommann and others, and even De Wette and Lechler, imagine.

The supernatural generation of Jesus is neither presupposed nor included (as even Godet maintains), nor excluded,[95] in John’s representation ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο, for the expression contains nothing as to the manner of the incarnation; it is an addition to the primitive apostolical Christology, of which we have no certain trace either in the oldest Gospel (Mark), or in the only one which is fully apostolic (John), or even anywhere in Paul: see on Matthew 1:18; comp. John 5:27, Romans 1:3-4.

καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν] and tabernacled, i.e. took up His abode, among us: ἐσκήνωσεν here is chosen merely to draw our attention to the manifestation of the incarnate Logos, whose holy σκήνωμα (2 Peter 1:13) was in fact His human substance,[96] as the fulfilment of the promise of God’s dwelling with His people (Exodus 25:8; Exodus 29:45; Leviticus 26:11; Joel 3:21; Ezekiel 37:27; Haggai 2:8 : comp. Sir 24:8; Revelation 21:3John 1:14-18. The manifestation of the Logos defined as Incarnation.14–18. The Incarnate Word’s revelation of the Father

14. And the Word was made flesh] Or, became flesh. This is the gulf which separates S. John from Philo. Philo would have assented to what precedes; from this he would have shrunk. From John 1:9-13 we have the subjective side; the inward result of the Word’s coming to those who receive Him. Here we have the objective; the coming of the Word as a historical fact. The Logos, existing from all eternity with the Father (John 1:1-2), not only manifested His power in Creation (John 1:3) and in influence on the minds of men (John 1:9; John 1:12-13), but manifested Himself in the form of a man of flesh. The important point is that the Word became terrestrial and material: and thus the inferior part of man is mentioned, the flesh, to mark His humiliation. He took the whole of man’s nature, including its frailty. “The majestic fulness of this brief sentence,” the Word became flesh, which affirms once for all the union of the Infinite and the finite, “is absolutely unique.” The Word became flesh; did not merely assume a body: and the Incarnate Word is one, not two personalities. Thus various heresies, Gnostic and Eutychian, are refuted by anticipation.

dwelt among us] Literally, tabernacled among us, dwelt as in a tent. The Tabernacle had been the seat of the Divine Presence in the wilderness: when God became incarnate in order to dwell among the Chosen People, ‘to tabernacle’ was a natural word to use. The word forms a link between this Gospel and the Apocalypse: it occurs here, four times in the Apocalypse, and nowhere else. Our translators render it simply ‘dwell,’ which is inadequate. Revelation 7:15; Revelation 12:12; Revelation 13:6; Revelation 21:3.

among us] In the midst of those of us who witnessed His life.

we beheld] Or, contemplated. Comp. 1 John 1:1. No need to make a parenthesis.

his glory] The Shechinah. Comp. John 2:11, John 11:40, John 12:41, John 17:5; John 17:24; 2 Corinthians 3:7-18; Revelation 21:11. There is probably a special reference to the Transfiguration (Luke 9:32; 2 Peter 1:17); and possibly to the vision at the beginning of the Apocalypse. In any case it is the Evangelist’s own experience that is indicated. Omit ‘the’ before the second ‘glory.’

as of] i.e. exactly like. The glory is altogether such as that of an only-begotten son. Comp. Matthew 7:29. He taught exactly as one having full authority. No article before ‘only-begotten;’ He was an only-begotten Son, whereas Moses and the Prophets were but servants.

only begotten] Unigenitus. The Greek word is used of the widow’s son (Luke 7:12), Jairus’ daughter (John 8:42), the demoniac boy (John 9:38), Isaac (Hebrews 11:17). As applied to Christ it occurs only in S. John’s writings; here, John 1:18, John 3:16; John 3:18; 1 John 4:9. It marks off His unique Sonship from that of the ‘sons of God’ (John 1:12).

of the Father] Literally, from the presence of a father; an only son sent on a mission from a father: comp. John 1:6.

full] Looks forward to ‘fulness’ in John 1:16.

grace] The original meaning of the Greek word is ‘that which causes pleasure.’ Hence (1) comeliness, winsomeness: ‘the words of grace’ in Luke 4:22 are ‘winning words.’ (2) Kindliness, goodwill: Luke 2:52; Acts 2:47. (3) The favour of God towards sinners. This distinctly theological sense has for its central point the freeness of God’s gifts: they are not earned, He gives them spontaneously through Christ. ‘Grace’ covers all these three meanings. The third at its fullest and deepest is the one here. It is as the Life that the Word is ‘full of grace,’ for it is ‘by grace’ that we come to eternal life. Ephesians 2:5.

truth] It is as the Light that the Word is ‘full of truth.’John 1:14.[19]) Σάρξ, flesh) Flesh (besides that it denotes as to us our corrupt nature, estranged from the Spirit of God, John 1:13), denotes the human body, or, as in this place, the man himself, denominated from his visible part. Comp. 1 Timothy 3:16, “Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh.”—ἐγένετο, was made) not was, as Artemonius maintains, p. 332, 387, etc., 472. [It is not said here; there was made another man, sent by God, whose name was Jesus, comp. John 1:6; but The Word was made flesh. John Baptist, before that he was born of Elizabeth, had no existence: but the Word was, before that His mother Mary—before that Abraham—before that the world at all was brought into being: and in His own time the Word was made flesh: i.e. assumed a human nature, in such a way, however, that there were not two Messiahs, but one; not two sons of God, but one.—V. g.] Nowhere in the whole range of literature will any passage be found under the sun, wherein the difference of the words εἰμί and γίνομαι is more studiously observed than John 1. Read from the beginning the whole context, from John 1:1-30, and you will agree with this assertion. Since Artemonius, p. 464, acknowledges that the tenses of the verbs are set down by John with great accuracy [discrimination], why not also the verbs themselves?—καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν, and dwelt) From this point to the end of the verse there are four sentences; to the first of which the fourth has reference, by χιασμός: to the second, the third has reference; in very apposite order.

[19] ὁ λὀγος, the Word) John in this place repeats the former denomination in this sense: That same Being, who was previously the Word, who was the Life, who was the Light, the same was now made Flesh. What He had been before, that He did not cease to be; but He was now made what He had not been before.—V. g.

1) And dwelt among us;

2) and we saw His glory,

3) the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father:

4) full of grace and truth

Σκηνή, a tabernacle [tent]; whence σκηνόω [I tabernacle]: He dwelt as in a tabernacle [tent] with as; truly, but not long, giving us a view of [the opportunity of seeing] Himself. The verbs are akin; ἐσκήνωσεν and ἐθεασάμεθα, as a stage-scene [σκηνή] and a theatre. The Dweller was ὁ λόγος, the Word: the flesh was His tabernacle and temple: Hebrews 9:11 [Christ being come, an high-priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say not of this building]; John 2:21 [“The temple of His body” destroyed, and then in three days raised up again by Him]. The same letters are in שכינה and σκηνή.—ἡμῖν, us) men who are flesh.—ἐθεασάμεθα, we beheld) we, the apostles, especially Peter, James, and John, Luke 9:32. [These three, at the transfiguration, “saw His glory.”] The apostles, in speaking of that which they had seen, are wont to speak in the plural number: a usage which tends to the greater confirmation [of the things which they attest]. 1 John 1:1, “That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled.” 2 Peter 1:16, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of His majesty.” Paul uses the singular number, 1 Corinthians 9:2, “Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” and John the Baptist, John 1:32, “I saw the Spirit descending, etc., and it abode upon Him.”—τὴν δόξαν) His glory, His Godhead, ch. John 2:11, “Jesus manifested forth His glory.”—ὡς, as) This particle does not compare, but declares. For He, the λόγος, the Word, is Himself the Only-begotten.—μονογενοῦς, the only begotten) There is hereby intimated the reality and unity of the Divine generation. There is reference chiefly to the baptism of Jesus Christ; John 1:34, “I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God;” Matthew 3:17, “Lo a voice from heaven saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;” although the history itself of Jesus’ baptism, as being fully described by the other Evangelists, John fittingly omits. Comp. Matthew 3:14, “John forbade Him, saying, I have need to be baptised of Thee, and comest Thou to me?”—παρὰ, by [or of]) Construe with μονογενοῦς, the Only-begotten: alone, not only-begotten by the Father, but even sent [by Him]: ch. John 6:46, “He which is of God;” ch. John 7:29, “I am not come of Myself, but He that sent Me.”—πλήρης, full) not πεπληρωμένος, filled, which, however, in another point of view, is said of Jesus, Luke 2:40.[20] [We ought to construe the passage thus, The Word dwelt with us full of grace and truth: inasmuch as this was properly the very point intended to be indicated in this verse: for the fact of His being made flesh is repeated from the previous verses.—V. g.]—χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας, grace and truth) The whole of this is repeated, John 1:17 : Grace alone is named, John 1:16, [of which if destitute we could not have endured His glory.—V. g.] Truth is grace clad with a promise, and put forth in exercise. Heb. ואמת חסד, Exodus 34:6. Thence Psalm 25:5, etc., “Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation;” Psalm 25:10, “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth;” Psalm 26:3, “I have walked in Thy truth;” Psalm 33:4-5, “All His works are done in truth: He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord;” Psalm 36:6, “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains;” Psalm 85:11, “Truth shall spring out of the earth: and righteousness shall look down from heaven:” Psalm 89:2-3, “Mercy shall be built up for ever: Thy faithfulness shalt Thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn unto David My servant;” Psalm 89:5; Psalm 89:8, “Thy faithfulness;” Psalm 89:14, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne; mercy and truth shall go before Thy face;” Psalm 89:24, “My faithfulness and mercy shall be with Him;” Psalm 89:33, “My loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail;” Psalm 89:49, “Lord, where are Thy former loving-kindnesses, which Thou swarest unto David in Thy truth?” Psalm 92:2, “To show forth Thy loving-kindness every morning, and Thy faithfulness every night;” Psalm 98:3, “He hath remembered His mercy and truth toward the house of Israel;” Psalm 100:5, “The Lord is good: His mercy is everlasting: and His truth endureth for ever;” Psalm 115:1, “Not unto us, O Lord, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and for Thy truth’s sake;” Psalm 117:2, “His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.” Add Romans 15:8-9, “Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy;” Colossians 1:5-6, “the word of the truth of the Gospel,—which bringeth forth fruit—in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.” This grace and truth is by nature unknown to the sons of wrath, and to the untruthful: but it falls to us [is bestowed on us] in the well-beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased, Matthew 3:17. It is called the grace [of God] in truth, Colossians 1:6; 2 John 1:3, “Grace be with you, mercy and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of the Father, in truth and love;” the true grace [of God], 1 Peter 5:12.

[20] “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom:” where His perfect humanity is exhibited.—E. and T.Verse 14. -

(5) The incarnation of the Logos. And the Logos became flesh. The καὶ has been variously expanded, some giving it the force of "then" or "therefore," as though John was now resuming the entire argument from the beginning; others the sense of "for," as though the apostle needed to introduce a reason or justification for what had been said in vers. 12, 13. It is enough to regard the καὶ as a simple copula, after the same manner in which it is used in vers. 1, 4, 5, 10, introducing by it a new and suggestive truth or fact which must be added to what has gone before, qualifying, illumining, illustrating, consummating all previous representations of the activity and functions of the Eternal Logos. Meyer, rejecting all the explicative modifications of the copula, nearly approaches the emphasis which Godet would lay upon it, by saying, "John cannot refrain from expressing the how of that appearing which had such blessed results (vers. 12, 13), and which he had himself experienced." The circumstance that in this verse the author goes back to the verbal use of the great term ὁ Λόγος suggests rather the fact that the fourteenth verse follows directly upon the stupendous definitions of ver. 1, and indicates a powerful antithesis to the several clauses of that opening sentence. The Logos which was in the beginning has now become; the Logos which was God became flesh; the Logos that was with God has set up his tabernacle among us. If so, the καὶ does suggest a parenthetical treatment of vers. 2-13, every clause of which has been necessary to prepare the reader for the vast announcement which is here made. Various things, relations, and powers have been asserted with reference to the Logos. All things became through him; not a single exception is allowed. Not one thing can be, or can have come into existence, independently of him; yet he is not said in any sense to have "become all things." More than that, the twofold form of the expression stringently repudiates the pantheistic hypothesis. All life is said to be "in him," to have its being in his activity; yet he is not said to have become life, as if the life-principle were henceforth the mode of his existence, or a state or condition into which he passed, and so the emanation theories of early Gnostics and of modern pantheistic evolutionists are virtually set aside. "The veritable Light which lighteth every man" is the illumination which the Life pours on the understanding and conscience of men, to which all prophecy bears witness; but he is not said to have become that light. Thus the incarnation of the Logos in every man is most certainly foreign to the thought of the apostle. He is said to have been "in the world" which he made, yet in such manifestation and concealment that the world as such did not apprehend the wondrous presence; and he is said also to have been continually coming to his own people "in sundry times" and "divers manners," in prophetic visions and angelic and even the anthropic form or fashion. Elsewhere in this Gospel we hear that Abraham "saw his day," and Isaiah "beheld his glory;" but it is not said that he became, i.e. entered into permanent and unalterable relations with these theophanic glories. Consequently, the deep self-conscious realization of the glory of his Name, enjoyed by greatest saints and sages of the past, was but a faint adumbration of what John declared he and others had had distinct historical opportunity of seeing, hearing, handling, of that Word of life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us (1 John 1:1, 2). The statement of this verse, however, is entirely, absolutely unique. The thought is utterly new. Strauss tells us that the apostolic conception of Jesus can have no historic validity, because it represents a state of things which occurs nowhere else in history. This is exactly what Christians contend for. He is in the deepest sense absolutely unique in the history of mankind. Moses, Isaiah, John the Baptist, John the Apostle, Socrates, Buddha, Zoroaster, may have borne witness to the Light; but of not one of them can it be said, and at least it was not said or even imagined by St. John, the Logos became flesh in their humanity. Yet this is what he did think and say was the only explanation of the glory of Jesus; this unspeakable relation to the Eternal Logos was sustained by his well known Friend and Master. And the Word was made flesh. Flesh (σάρξ, answering in the LXX. to בָּשָׂר) is the term used to denote the whole of humanity, with prominent reference to that part of it which is the region of sensibility and visibility. The word is more comprehensive than (σῶμα) "body," which is often used as the antithesis of νους, ψυχή, and πνεῦμα; for it is unquestionable that the conventional use of σάρξ, and σάρξ καὶ αῖμα, includes oftentimes both soul and spirit - includes the whole of human constitution, yet that constitution considered apart from God and grace, answering in this way to κόσμος. The flesh is not necessarily connotative of sin, though the conditions, the possibilities, the temptableness of created finite nature are involved in it. It is nearly equivalent to saying ἄνθρωπος, generic manhood, but it is more explicit than such a dictum would have been. It is not said that the Word became a man, although "became man" is the solemn and suggestive form in which the great truth is further expressed in the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed. "The Logos became flesh." Thus it answers to numerous expressions in the Pauline Epistles, which must have been based in the middle of the first century on the direct and well preserved teachings of our Lord himself (Romans 1:3, Γενόμενος κατὰ σάρκα; Romans 8:3, Ἐν ὁμοιώματι σαρκὸς ἁμαρτίας; 1 Timothy 3:16, Ὅς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί; cf. Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 2:14; and above all 1 John 4:2, where Jesus Christ, the centre of whose personality is the Logos, and is there used in the most transcendent sense, is there spoken of (ἐν σαρκί ἐληλυθότα) as having come in the flesh). Very early in the Christological discussions, even so far back as Praxeas whom Tertullian sought to refute, and by Apollinaris the younger, in the fourth century, it was said that this passage asserted that, though the Logos took or became flesh, he did not become or take upon himself the human νοῦς or πνεῦμα, the reasonable soul or spirit of man, but that the Logos took the place in Jesus of the mind or spirit. Apollinaris explained, in vindication of his view, that thus Christ was neither God nor man, but a blending of the two natures into a new and third nature, neither one nor the other. This view was stoutly resisted by Athanasius and Basil. It reappeared in the fifth century, in the form of Eutychianism, to do duty against the twofold Christ of Nestorianism. The opponents of Praxeas, Apollinaris, and Eutyches were all fain to show that the Gospel of John calls marked attention to the human soul of Jesus (John 12:27) and of his human spirit (John 11:33; John 13:21; John 19:30), to say nothing of Hebrews 5:8, where "he learned obedience," etc. The flesh of Christ is constitutive and inclusive of his entire humanity. Flesh itself is not human flesh without the human ψυχή, nor can there be a human soul without human spirit. The two terms are used interchangeably, and their functions are not to be regarded as different factors of humanity so much as different departments of human activity. There is a complete humanity, therefore, included in this term, not a humanity destitute of one of its most characteristic features. But the question arises - What is meant by ἐγένετο, "became, was made"? A considerable number of modern Lutheran divines have laid such emphasis on the κένωσις, the "emptying" of his glory on the part of him who was "in the form of God," that nothing short of an absolute depotentiation of the Logos is supposed to have occurred when "he was made flesh" or "man." Gess and Godet have pressed the theory that the ἐγένετο represents a complete transubstantiation and metamorphosis. Thus Logos had been God from eternity, but now, in the greatness of his humiliation, he was no longer Logos at all, nor God, but flesh; so that during the time of the Incarnation the Logos was absolutely concealed, potential only, and that even a consciousness of his eternity and the Divine powers were all in absolute abeyance. This hypothesis, on both its Divine and human side, appears to us hopelessly unthinkable. If the Logos was no longer Logos, and the Godhead thus ineffably truncated, the very argument of the apostle that in him was life and light, etc., must break down. The sources of life and light must have been themselves in eclipse, and God himself was no longer God. Moreover, the hypothetical obliteration of the Logos would deprive the whole argument of the apostle for the Divineness and Godhead of the Lord of its basis in fact. There are many different forms in which this meaning of the ἐγένετο is urged, but they all break to pieces upon the revelation of the self-consciousness of Jesus Christ, the Divine memories and awful centre of his personality, in which the nature of the Godhead and the perfect nature of manhood are blended in one personality. Moreover, the ἐγένετο does not imply annihilation of the Λόγος, or transubstantiation of Λόγος into σάρξ. When the water was made (γεγεννημένον) wine, the water was not obliterated, but it took up by the creative power of Christ other substances into itself, constituting it wine. So when the Λόγος became "flesh," he took up humanity with all its powers and conditions into himself, constituting himself "the Christ." The question arises - Wherein was the humiliation and the kenosis, if the Logos throughout the incarnate life of Christ, as a Person, possessed and exercised all his Divine energies? The answer is, that, in taking human nature in its humbled, suffering, tempted form into eternal, absolute union with himself, and by learning through that human nature all that human nature is and fears and needs, there is an infinite fulness of self-humiliating love and sacrifice. Hypostatic union of humanity with the Logos, involving the Logos in the conditions of a complete man, is an infinite humiliation, and seeing that this involved the bitterest conflict and sorrow, brought with it shame, agony, and death, such a stupendous fact is (we believe) assumed to have taken place once in historic time. It is far more than the manifestation in the flesh of Jesus of the Divine light and life. Such an hypothesis would merely consider Jesus as one supereminent display of "the veritable Light which lighteth every man," whereas what is declared by St. John is that the Word himself, after a new exercise of this infinite potency, became flesh. We are not told how this occurred. The fact of the supernatural birth, as stated by the synoptic writers, is their way of announcing a sublime secret, of which John, who was in the confidence of the mother of Jesus, gave a profounder exposition. In such a fact and event we see what St. Paul meant when he said that in the depths of eternity the infinity of love did not consider the undimmed, unclouded, and unchangeable creative majesty of equality with God to be a prize which must never be relinquished, but emptied himself, was made in the likeness of the flesh of sin, and was found in fashion as a man. There was now and forevermore a part of his being in such organic union with "flesh" that he could be born, could learn, could be tempted, suffer from all human frailties and privations, die the death of the cross. The phrase, moreover, implies that the Incarnation was in its nature distinct from the Docetic, angelic, transitory manifestations of the older revelation. In the "Word" becoming "flesh" both Word and flesh remain side by side, and neither is the first nor the second absorbed by the other, and so Monophysitism is repudiated, while the statement of what the Word thus incarnate did, viz. "dwelt among us," etc., cuts away the support of the Nestorian division of the Divine and human natures; inasmuch as what is said of the one nature can be said of the other. To this we turn: "And the Word was made flesh, and set up his tabernacle in our midst." The use of this picturesque word ἐσκήνωσεν points to the tabernacle in the wilderness, in which God dwelt (2 Samuel 7:6; Psalm 78:67, etc.), and to which reference is made in Leviticus 26:11 and Ezekiel 37:28. The localization of Deity, the building a house for the Lord whom the heaven of heavens could not contain, was a wondrous adumbration of the ultimate proof to be given, that, though God was infinitely great, he was yet capable of turning his glorious face upon those who seek him; though unspeakably holy, awful, majestic, omnipotent, he was yet accessible and merciful and able to save and sanctify his people. The glory of the Lord was the central significance of the tabernacle and temple worship. It was always assumed to be present, even if invisible. The Targums in a great variety of passages substitute for the "glory of the Lord," which is a continuous element in the history of the old covenant, the word "Shechinah," "dwelling," and use the term in obvious reference to the biblical use of the verb ָשכַן, he dwelt, when describing the Lord's familiar and accessible sojourn with his people. It is too much to say that John here adopts the Aramaic phrase, or with certainty refers to it. But ἐσκήνωσε recalls the method by which Jehovah impressed his prophets with his nearness, and came veritably to his own possession. "Now," says John, "the Word made flesh took up his tabernacle in our midst." It is not to be forgotten that John subsequently shows that Jesus identified his body with "the temple" of God (John 2:19, etc.). The "us" represents the ground of a personal experience which makes the hypothesis of an Alexandrine origin for the entire representation perfectly impossible. The reference to the old covenant is made more conspicuous: And we contemplated his glory. The δόξα corresponds with the visible manifestations of the presence of Jehovah under the Old Testament (Exodus 24:17; Exodus 40:34; Acts 7:2; Isaiah 6:3; Ezekiel 1:28). Dazzling light at the burning bush, in the pillar of fire, on Mount Sinai, at the dedication of tabernacle and temple, etc., revealed the awful fact of the Divine nearness. The eye of believing men saw the real glory of the Logos made flesh when he set up the tabernacle of his humanity among us. It does not follow that all eyes must have seen what the eye of faith could see. The darkness has resisted all the light, the world has not known the Logos; the susceptibilities of believing men enabled them to perceive the glory of the Lord in regions and by a mode of presentation to which unregenerate men have not attained. The apostles saw it in the absolute moral perfection of his holiness and of his charity; of his grace and truth. We can scarcely exclude here a reference to the wondrous vision upon which (as we learn from Matthew, Mark, Luke) John himself gazed on the Mountain of Transfiguration, when the venerable symbol of Light reappeared from within the person of the Lord, so linking his personal manifestation of "the Word" with the theophanies of the Old Testament; nor can we forget the sublime vision which John undoubtedly records in the beginning of his Apocalypse. Nevertheless, the glory which the apostles beheld must be distinct from the "glory" which he had with the Father before the world was, and to which (John 17:24) he prayed that he might return, and the full radiance of which he would ultimately turn upon the eyes of the men whom he had gathered "out of the world." Before that consummation "we," says he, "contemplated his glory as of an only begotten." The ὡς implies comparison with the transcendent conception which had entered into his inspired imagining. The word μονογενής is used by John to refer to the supreme and unique relation of the Son to the Father (John 3:16, 18, and 1 John 4:9). It is used of human sons in Luke (Luke 7:12; Luke 8:42; Luke 9:38), and unigenitus is the translation in the Vulgate of the Hebrew הַיָּחִיד, where the LXX. gives ἀγαπητός, well beloved (see יְחִידְך Genesis 22:2, 12, 16). It corresponds with the πρωτότοκος of Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:6, showing that an analogous thought filled the apostolic mind. By laying stress here on the "glory," and giving historic value and emphasis to the supernatural conception of Jesus, many see in this a reference to the Incarnation wherein he became an only begotten Son of the Father. This would be far more probable if the article had been placed before μονογενοῦς. Here the apostle seems to labour to express the glory of One who could thus stand in the eternal relation of the Logos to Θεός, making it correspond with the relation also subsisting between μονογενής and the "Father." Great speciality and peculiarity is here bestowed upon the "only begotten," as it stands in close relationship with those to whom he gives power or capability to become "children of God." They are born into the family of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The glory which John says "we beheld" in his earthly flesh was the effulgence of the uncreated beam which broke through the veil of his flesh, and really convinced us that he was "the Word made flesh." The Tubingen critics see a contradiction here with the prayer of Christ (John 17:5, 24) for "the glory which he had with the Father." If he shone on earth with such glory as John here describes, why should he desire more? Godet resolves it by insisting on the moral glory of his filial consciousness when he had indeed deprived himself of his Divine perfections. Thus Godet repudiates the two natures of his Person. There is no real contradiction, as we have seen. Some difference of opinion occurs also as to the reference of the πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας. Some nave referred πλήρης to the Father, and some to αὐτοῖ, though in both cases a break in the construction would be involved, as the antecedent would have been in the genitive. Others, again (founding on the reading of one uncial manuscript, D, which here has πληρῆ), refer it to δόξαν, and all who thus construe eschew any parenthetical treatment of the previous clause. The latter method is freer from difficulty, as then this clause, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας, is directly and grammatically related with Λόγος. The Word was made flesh, and, full of grace and of truth, set up his tabernacle in our midst. Grace and truth are the two methods by which the glory as of "an only begotten" shone upon us, and we beheld it. The combination of these two ideas of grace and truth pervades the Old Testament description of the Lord (cf. Exodus 34:6; Psalm 40:10, 11; Psalm 61:7; Psalm 25:10). "Grace," the free and royal communication of unlooked for and of undeserved love, is the keynote of the New Testament. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" is the compendium of all his powers of benediction, and corresponds with the life which is "in him," and all the gift of himself to those who came into contact with him. "Truth" is the expression of the thought of God. Truth per se can find no larger definition than the perfect revelation of God's eternal thought concerning himself and his universe, and concerning the relations of all things to each other and to him. That which God thinks about these things must be "truth per se." Christ claimed to be "the Truth" and "the Life" (John 14:6), and John here says that it was in virtue of his being the Logos of God that he was full of these. Grace and truth, love and revelation, were so transcendent in him; in other words, he was so full, so charged, so overflowing with both, that the glory which shone from him gave apostles this conception about it, viz. that it was that of an only begotten (specially and eternally begotten) and with the Father. The παρὰ Πατρός corresponds with the παρὰ σοῦ rather than παρὰ σοί of ch. 17:5, and does not, therefore, necessarily suggest more than the premundane condition, answering to the πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν of ver. 1, and εἰς τὸν κόλπον of ver. 18. Erasmus, Paulus, and a few others have associated the πλήρης, etc., with the following verse. This is eminently unsatisfactory as unsuited to the character of the Baptist. Moreover, the sixteenth verse, by its reference to Christ's "fulness," positively forbids it. And the Word (καὶ)

The simple copula as before; not yea, or namely, or therefore, but passing to a new statement concerning the Word.

Was made flesh (σὰρξ ἐγένετο)

Rev., "became flesh." The same verb as in John 1:3. All things became through Him; He in turn became flesh. "He became that which first became through Him." In becoming, He did not cease to be the Eternal Word. His divine nature was not laid aside. In becoming flesh He did not part with the rational soul of man. Retaining all the essential properties of the Word, He entered into a new mode of being, not a new being.

The word σὰρξ, flesh, describes this new mode of being. It signifies human nature in and according to its corporal manifestation. Here, as opposed to the purely divine, and to the purely immaterial nature of the Word. He did not first become a personality on becoming flesh. The prologue throughout conceives Him as a personality from the very beginning - from eternal ages. The phrase became flesh, means more than that He assumed a human body. He assumed human nature entire, identifying Himself with the race of man, having a human body, a human soul, and a human spirit. See John 12:27; John 11:33; John 13:21; John 19:30. He did not assume, for a time merely, humanity as something foreign to Himself The incarnation was not a mere accident of His substantial being. "He became flesh, and did not clothe Himself in flesh." Compare, on the whole passage, 1 John 4:2; 2 John 1:7.

Dwelt (ἐσκήνωσεν)

Literally, tabernacled, fixed, or had His tabernacle: from σκηνή, a tent or tabernacle. The verb is used only by John: in the Gospel only here, and in Revelation 7:15; Revelation 12:12; Revelation 13:6; Revelation 21:3. It occurs in classical writings, as in Xenophon, ἐν τῷ πεδίῳ ἐσκήνου, he pitched his tent in the plain ("Anabasis," vii., 4, 11). So Plato, arguing against the proposition that the unjust die by the inherent destructive power of evil, says that "injustice which murders others keeps the murderer alive - aye, and unsleeping too; οὕτω πόῤῥω του ὡς ἔοικεν ἐσκήνωται τοῦ θανάσιμος εἶναι, i.e., literally, so far has her tent been spread from being a house of death" ("Republic," 610). The figure here is from the Old Testament (Leviticus 27:11; 2 Samuel 7:6; Psalm 78:67 sqq.; Ezekiel 37:27). The tabernacle was the dwelling-place of Jehovah; the meeting-place of God and Israel. So the Word came to men in the person of Jesus. As Jehovah adopted for His habitation a dwelling like that of the people in the wilderness, so the Word assumed a community of nature with mankind, an embodiment like that of humanity at large, and became flesh. "That which was from the beginning, we heard, we saw, we beheld, we handled. Our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:1-3. Compare Philippians 2:7, Philippians 2:8).

Some find in the word tabernacle, a temporary structure (see the contrast between σκῆνος, tabernacle, and οἰκοδομή, building, in 2 Corinthians 5:1), a suggestion of the transitoriness of our Lord's stay upon earth; which may well be, although the word does not necessarily imply this; for in Revelation 21:3, it is said of the heavenly Jerusalem "the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will set up His tabernacle (σκηνώσει) with them."

Dante alludes to the incarnation in the seventh canto of the "Paradiso:"

- "the human species down below

Lay sick for many centuries in great error,

Till to descend it pleased the Word of God

To where the nature, which from its own Maker

Estranged itself, He joined to Him in person

continued...

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