|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-3 This book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ; the whole Bible is so; for all revelation comes through Christ, and all relates to him. Its principal subject is to discover the purposes of God concerning the affairs of the church, and of the nations as connected therewith, to the end of the world. These events would surely come to pass; and they would begin to come to pass very shortly. Though Christ is himself God, and has light and life in himself, yet, as Mediator between God and man, he receives instructions from the Father. To him we owe the knowledge of what we are to expect from God, and what he expects from us. The subject of this revelation was, the things that must shortly come to pass. On all who read or hear the words of the prophecy, a blessing is pronounced. Those are well employed who search the Bible. It is not enough that we read and hear, but we must keep the things that are written, in our memories, in our minds, in our affections, and in practice, and we shall be blessed in the deed. Even the mysteries and difficulties of this book are united with discoveries of God, suited to impress the mind with awe, and to purify the soul of the reader, though he may not discern the prophetic meaning. No part of Scripture more fully states the gospel, and warns against the evil of sin.
Verse 2. - Who bare record. "To bear witness" (μαρτυρεῖν) and "witness," or "testimony" (μαρτυρία), are characteristic of St. John's writings, and serve to connect together his Gospel, the First Epistle, and the Apocalypse. Such words should be carefully noted, and, so far as possible, uniformly translated, in order to mark their frequency in the English Version. The Authorized Version rings the changes on "bear witness," "bear record," "give record," and "testify," for μαρτυρεῖν; and on "witness," "record," and "testimony," for μαρτυρία. The Revised Version has here made great improvements. To bear witness to the truth and the Word of God was St. John's special function throughout his long life, and to this fact he calls attention in all his chief writings (see Haupt on 1 John 5:6). The testimony of Jesus Christ, like "the Revelation of Jesus Christ" (ver. 1), means that which he gave, not that which tells about him. And of all things that he saw; better, as in the Revised Version, even of all things that he saw, taking δσα εἵδεν in apposition with what precedes. The seer is here speaking of the visions of the Apocalypse, not of the events in Christ's life. The aorists, ἐμαρτύρησεν and εἵδεν, are rightly compared to the συνέγραψε of Thucydides (1:1; 6:7, 93).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who bore record of the word of God,.... Of the essential and eternal Word of God, his only begotten Son; as John the apostle did in his Gospel, and in his epistles, and also in this book; and which is a clear evidence of his being the writer of it,
And of the testimony of Jesus Christ; that is, the Gospel, which testifies of the person of Christ, of the truth of his divinity, and reality of his human nature; of the union of the two natures, divine and human, his person: of his several offices, of prophet, priest and King; of what he did and suffered for his people; and of the blessings of grace which they receive by him:
and of all things that he saw; with his bodily eyes, as the human body of Christ, the miracles he wrought in it, the transfiguration of it on the mount, the crucifixion of it, and the piercing of it with a spear, and the resurrection of it from the dead; and also the visions recorded in this book; and such a faithful witness serves greatly to confirm the authority of this book, and to recommend the perusal of it. The Complutensian edition and the Arabic version read, "which are, and which shall", or "must be hereafter", as in Revelation 1:19.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. bare record of—"testified the word of God" in this book. Where we would say "testifies," the ancients in epistolary communications use the past tense. The word of God constitutes his testimony; Re 1:3, "the words of this prophecy."
the testimony of Jesus—"the Spirit of prophecy" (Re 19:10).
and of all things that, &c.—The oldest manuscripts omit "and." Translate, "whatsoever things he saw," in apposition with "the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ."
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