John 1:12
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--

New Living Translation
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

English Standard Version
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

New American Standard Bible
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

King James Bible
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name,

International Standard Version
However, to all who received him, those believing in his name, he gave authority to become God's children,

NET Bible
But to all who have received him--those who believe in his name--he has given the right to become God's children

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But those that received him, to them he gave authority to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his Name,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
However, he gave the right to become God's children to everyone who believed in him.

Jubilee Bible 2000
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,

King James 2000 Bible
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name:

American King James Version
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

American Standard Version
But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Douay-Rheims Bible
But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name.

Darby Bible Translation
but as many as received him, to them gave he [the] right to be children of God, to those that believe on his name;

English Revised Version
But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Webster's Bible Translation
But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Weymouth New Testament
But all who have received Him, to them--that is, to those who trust in His name--He has given the privilege of becoming children of God;

World English Bible
But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God's children, to those who believe in his name:

Young's Literal Translation
but as many as did receive him to them he gave authority to become sons of God -- to those believing in his name,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 12, 13. - But before the apostle advances to the central statement of the entire proem, he stops to show that, though the whole world, though man as an organized mass, though Israel as a favoured and selected theocracy, have refused to know and confess his supreme claims, yet there has always been an election of grace. All have not perished in their unbelief. Some have received him. The twelfth and thirteenth verses do, indeed, in their full meaning, refer unmistakably to the entire ministry of the living Christ to the end of time; but surely every word of it applies primarily (though not exclusively) to the whole previous pleadings of the Light and Life - to the ministry of the pre-existing and eternal Logos, and to the privileges and possibilities consequent thereupon. As many as received him. This phrase is subsequently explained as being identical with "believed in his Name." The simple verb ἔλαβον, is less definite than are its compounds with κάτα and παρά, used in the previous verses (5, 11). The acceptance is a positive idea, is broader, more manifold, less restricted as to manner of operation, than the negative rejection which took sharp and decisive form. The construction is irregular. We have a nominativus pendens followed by a clause in the dative; as much as if he had written, "There are, notwithstanding all the rejections, those who received him." To these, the evangelist says, however many or few they may be, who believe in his Name, he - the subject of the previous sentence - gave the authority and capability of becoming children of God. Believing in his Name is discriminated from believing him. The construction occurs thirty-five times in the Gospel, and three times in the First Epistle - and the Name here especially present to the writer is the Logos, the full revelation of the essence, character, and activity, of God. John, writing in the close of his life, surveys a glorious company of individuals who, by realizing as true the sum of all the perfections of the manifested Word, by believing in his Name, have also received as a gift the sense of such union to the Son of God that they become alive to the fact that they too are the offspring of God. This realization of the Divine fatherhood, which had been so obscure before, is itself the origination within them of filial feeling. Thus a new life is begotten and supervenes upon the old life. This new life is a new humanity within the bosom or womb of the old, and so it corresponds with the Pauline doctrine of new creation and of resurrection. Ἐξοσία is more than opportunity, and less than (δύναμις) power; it is rightful claim (which is itself the gift of God) to become what they were not before, seeing that a Divine generation has begotten them again. They are born from above. The Spirit of the Son has passed into them, and they cry, "Abba, Father." This Divine begetting is still further explained and differentiated from ordinary human life. The writer distinctly repudiates the idea that the condition he speaks of is a consequence of simple birth into this world. This is done in a very emphatic manner (οἵ here in the masculine, is the well known constructio ad sensum, and refers to τέκνα Θεοῦ). Who were begotten from God, not from (or, of) blood. (The plural word αἱμάτων has been variously rendered by expositors: Augustine regarding it as a reference to the blending of the blood of both sexes in ordinary generation; Meyer, as not different from the singular in meaning, giving numerous passages in the classics where this or an equivalent usage of the plural for the singular occurs. The suggestion of Moulton is more satisfactory - that it points to pride of race, common enough in Israel, but not peculiar to Jews.) John repudiates for this "generation" any connection with mere hereditary privilege. No twice-born Brahmin, no dignified race, no descendant of Abraham, can claim it as such, and the writer further discriminates it, as though he would leave no loophole for escape: Nor yet from the will of the flesh, nor even from the will of the man (ἀνδρὸς not ἀνθρώπου). Some, very erroneously, have supposed that "the flesh" here refers to "woman" in contradistinction to "man," and numerous efforts have been made to point out the threefold distinction. The simplest and most obvious interpretation is that "the will of the flesh" here means the human process of generation on its lower side, and "the will of the man" the higher purposes of the nobler side of human nature, which lead to the same end. Special dignity is conferred by being the son of a special father; but however honoured such might be, as in the case of an Abraham, a David, a Zacharias, such paternity has nothing to do with the sonship of which the evangelist is thinking. Doubtless this triumphant new beginning of humanity can only be found in the full revelation of the name of the incarnate Logos; but surely the primary application of the passage is to the fact that, notwithstanding the stiff-necked rejection of the Logos by the peculiar possession and people of his love, there were, from Abraham to Malachi and to John the Baptist, those who did recognize the Light and live in the love of God. The author of Psalm 16, 17, 23, 25, 103, 119, and a multitude beyond calculation, discerned and received him, walked in the light of the Lord, were kept in perfect peace, found in the Lord their most exceeding joy. "Like as a father pitieth his chihlren, so the Lord pitied them." He nourished and brought up children, and to the extent to which they appreciated his holy Name they therein received as a gift the capability and claim to call him their Father. This was not a question of human fatherhood or hereditary privilege at all, but of gracious exchanges of affection between these children of his love and the Eternal, who had fashioned them in his image and regenerated them by his Holy Spirit. To restrict any element of this passage to conscious faith in the Christ is to repudiate the activity of the Logos and Spirit before the Incarnation, and almost compels a Sabellian interpretation of the Godhead. Even now the grandeur of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity - a doctrine which treats these relations as eternal and universal - compels us to believe that whenever among the sons of men there is a soul which receives the Logos in this light, i.e. apart from the special revelation of the Logos in the flesh, to such a one he gives the capacity and claim of sonship. John certainly could not mean to imply that there had never been a regenerated soul until he and his fellow disciples accepted their Lord. Up to this point in his argument he has been disclosing the universal and the special operations of the Logos who in the beginning was with God and was God, the Source of all life, the Giver of all light, the veritable Light which shines upon every man, which does more even than that - which made a long continued series of approaches to his own specially instructed and prepared people. Prophecy all through the ages has had a wondrous function to bear witness to the reality of this Light, that all might believe in it, that all might become sons by faith; but, alas darkness, prejudice, depravity, corruption - "darkness" did not apprehend the nature, name, or mystery, of love. And so he proceeds to describe the greatest, the most surprising, supreme energy of the Eternal Logos - that which illustrates, confirms, brings into the most forcible relief, the nature of his personality, and the extent of the obligation under which he has placed the human race; and proves in the most irresistible way, not only the character and nature of God, but the actual condition of humanity. The great extent of the literature and the imposing controversies which have accumulated over the entirely unique sentence that here fellows render any treatment of it difficult. A volume rather than a page or two is required to exhibit the significance of a verse which is probably the most important collocation of words ever made.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But as many as received him,.... This is explained, in the latter part of the text, by believing in his name; for faith is a receiving him as the word, and Son of God, as the Messiah, Saviour, and Redeemer; a receiving grace out of his fulness, and every blessing from him, as a justifying righteousness, pardon of sin, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified; for though the generality rejected him, there were some few that received him:

to them gave he power to become the sons of God; as such were very early called, in distinction from the children of men, or of the world; see Genesis 6:2. To be the sons of God is a very special favour, a great blessing, and high honour: saints indeed are not in so high a sense the sons of God as Christ is; nor in so low a sense as angels and men in common are; nor in such sense as civil magistrates; nor merely by profession of religion; much less by natural descent; but by adopting grace: and in this, Christ, the word, has a concern, as all the three divine persons have. The Father predestinated men to the adoption of children, secures this blessing for them in the covenant of his grace, and puts them among the children, and assigns them a goodly heritage: the Spirit, and who is therefore called the spirit of adoption, discovers and applies this blessing to them, and witnesses to their spirits that they are the children of God: and Christ, the word, or Son of God, not only espoused their persons, and in time assumed their nature, and by the redemption of them opened a way for their reception of the adoption of children; but actually bestows upon them the "power", as it is here called, of becoming the sons of God: by which is meant, not a power of free will to make themselves the sons of God, if they will make use of it; but it signifies the honour and dignity conferred on such persons: so Nonnus calls it, "the heavenly honour"; as indeed, what can be a greater? It is more honourable than to be a son or daughter of the greatest potentate on earth: and it is expressive of its being a privilege; for so it is an undeserved and distinguishing one, and is attended with many other privileges; for such are of God's household and family, and are provided for by him; have liberty of access unto him; are Christ's free men, and are heirs to an incorruptible inheritance. This is a privilege that excels all others, even justification and remission of sins; and is an everlasting one: and it also intends the open right which believers have unto this privilege, and their claim of it: hence it follows,

even to them that believe in his name; that is, in himself, in Christ, the word: the phrase is explanative of the former part of the verse, and is a descriptive and manifestative character of the sons of God; for though the elect of God, by virtue of electing grace, and the covenant of grace, are the children of God before faith; and were so considered in the gift of them to Christ, and when he came into the world to gather them together, and save them; and so, antecedent to the Spirit of God, being sent down into their hearts, to make this known to them; yet no man can know his adoption, nor enjoy the comfort of it, or claim his interest in it, until he believes.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

12. But as many—individuals, of the "disobedient and gainsaying people."

gave he power—The word signifies both authority and ability, and both are certainly meant here.

to become—Mark these words: Jesus is the Son of God; He is never said to have become such.

the sons—or more simply, "sons of God," in name and in nature.

believe on his name—a phrase never used in Scripture of any mere creature, to express the credit given to human testimony, even of prophets or apostles, inasmuch it carries with it the idea of trust proper only towards God. In this sense of supreme faith, as due to Him who "gives those that believe in Himself power to become sons of God," it is manifestly used here.

John 1:12 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Witness of John
11He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Cross References
Hosea 1:10
"Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'children of the living God.'

John 1:7
He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.

John 1:11
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

John 3:18
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

John 11:52
and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.

Romans 8:14
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Romans 8:16
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

Romans 8:19
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.

Galatians 3:26
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,

1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

1 John 3:10
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God's child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

1 John 3:23
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

1 John 5:13
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Treasury of Scripture

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

received.

Matthew 10:40 He that receives you receives me, and he that receives me receives …

Matthew 18:5 And whoever shall receive one such little child in my name receives me.

Colossians 2:6 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in him:

to them.

Isaiah 56:5 Even to them will I give in my house and within my walls a place …

Jeremiah 3:19 But I said, How shall I put you among the children, and give you …

Hosea 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of …

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

2 Corinthians 6:17,18 Why come out from among them, and be you separate, said the Lord, …

Galatians 3:26 For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son …

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that …

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we …

power. or, the right, or privilege. even.

John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many …

John 3:18 He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not …

John 20:31 But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, …

Matthew 12:21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

Acts 3:16 And his name through faith in his name has made this man strong, …

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of …

1 John 5:12 He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.

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