John 5
Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
John 5:1. Ἑορτή, a feast) The following authorities recognise this feast to be Pentecost: Epiphanius, Chrysostom, Cyril, Euthymius, Theophylact, the old Gospel harmony published by Ottomarus Luscinius, Lyranus, Stapulensis, Erasmus in his paraphrase, Maldonatus, Calvin, Piseator, Bullinger in his Acts, p. 4; comp. Hunnius and E. Schmidius, also Brochmand Syst. T. i. fol. 339. Add. Pflacher. And that this was Pentecost, I have proved, as I hope, in my Order of Times, p. 252 [Ed. ii., p. 219].

Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
John 5:2. Ἔστι, there is) John wrote before the destruction of the city. There is, saith he, not there was, a pool. Even then there was remaining with His hearers a recollection of the treasury, a place in the temple: ch. John 8:20, “These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as He taught in the temple.” In agreement with this are those of the ancients, who set down this book as edited 30, 31, or 32 years after the ascension of our Lord.—ἐπὶ τῇ προβατικῇ) Many understand πύλῃ: and indeed ἡ πύλη ἡ προβατική occurs, Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 3:32; Nehemiah 12:39. But though frequent mention is made in the books of the Old Testament of the gates of Jerusalem, and in Roman history of the gates of Rome, yet nowhere or seldom is the noun πύλη, gate, omitted. Nonnus has ἐν ἐνύδρῳ προβατικῇ, with the penultima lengthened, is equivalent to a substantive. Camerarius understands χώρᾳ, or some such word. So Chrysostom, in B. ii. concerning the Priesthood, ch. iv., § 120, uses τὴν ποιμαντικήν, which we express by Das Pastorat Germ., [the Pastorate]. It is credible, that near the sheep-gate was the pool, equally by itself called from the sheep; for often sheep bathe in a pool: Song of Solomon 4:2, “Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep—shorn, which came up from the washing.” Thus κολυμβήθρα ἐπὶ τῇ προβατικῇ, which the Greek Text has [97][98][99][100]. But many MSS. of the Vulgate have probatica piscina, in nomin. and without super; so Æthiop. Version, Euseb. Athanas. Chrysost. also προβατική], the order of the words being elegantly varied, is equivalent to ΚΟΛΥΜΒΉΘΡΑ ΠΡΟΒΑΤΙΚΉ, as the Versions and Fathers explain it. In our language the former would be ein Teich bey der Schaefferey [a pond near a sheep-fold]; the latter, ein Schaf-Teich [a sheep-pond].—κολυμβήθρα, a pool) About baths there is frequently the Θεῖον, something of divine help vouchsafed.—ἙΒΡΑΪΣΤΊ, in the Hebrew tongue) This book, therefore, was not written in Hebrew; otherwise this adverb would be redundant. They were therefore Hellenists,[101] for whose sake John wrote in Greek, and perhaps sent this book from Jerusalem to Asia [Minor]. Comp. ch. John 1:38; John 1:41-42, ch. John 9:7 [in which four passages Greek explanations are given of Hebr. words].—ΣΤΟΆς, porches) built by [i.e. by direction of] the impotent, or on their account, near the pool.

[97] the Alexandrine MS.: in Brit. Museum: fifth century: publ. by Woide, 1786–1819: O. and N. Test. defective.

[98] the Vatican MS., 1209: in Vat. Iibr., Rome: fourth cent.: O. and N. Test. def.

[99] Ephræmi Rescriptus: Royal libr., Paris: fifth or sixth cent.: publ. by Tisch. 1843: O. and N. T. def.

[100] Bezæ, or Cantabrig.: Univ. libr., Cambridge: fifth cent.: publ. by Kipling, 1793: Gospels, Acts, and some Epp. def.

[101] Greek-speaking Jews, who clothed Hebraistic idioms with Greek words.—E. and T.

In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
John 5:3. Κατέκειτο, lay) Therefore many were there during the whole time:[102] such at least was the case with this impotent man whom the Lord healed; for he had no one [to put him in], John 5:7.—ΚΊΝΗΣΙΝ, the moving) by which the mud was stirred up.

[102] Of their infirmity.—E. and T.

For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
John 5:4. Ἄγγελος, an angel) To many without doubt that event has seemed purely natural [not supernatural]; because it took place κατὰ καιρόν.—κατὰ καιρόν, at certain times) Were these times at equal intervals? Were they especially about the time of Pentecost? Who knows?—κατέβαινεν, used to go down [went down]) Past time. Therefore this phenomenon had ceased before that John wrote.—ἐταράσσετο, was troubled) By the passive verb is expressed the phenomenon as it presented itself to the eyes of all, although they knew not the angel’s action.[103]—ΠΡῶΤΟς, the first) To him that hath, it shall be given.

[103] They could not positively know that it was the doing of an angel, but they judged of the cause from the effects.—E. and T.

And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
John 5:6. Κατακείμενον, lying) He seems by this time to have habitually given up the attempt to get before others.—γνούς, knowing) though no one informed Him.—λέγει, He saith) of His own accord. Christ gives both a handle for His seeking aid, and the help itself.

The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
John 5:7. Ἀπεκρίθη, answered) He gives no answer as to His wish to be made whole. The surer and the nearer the hope is, the greater is the wish: when the hope is small, the wish becomes dormant.—οὐκ ἔχω, I have not) He was a man very needy, and, as it seems, untutored. See John 5:11, notes.—βάλῃ, to put [mittat]) having taken me up quickly to let me down gently.—πρὸ ἐμοῦ, before me) It would have been the part of love, that all the other sick men with one consent should have conceded the first place to him in particular; but all were eager to be made whole themselves. [Would that there were as great an anxiety for the healing of the soul!—V. g.]

Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
John 5:8. Ἔγειραι, rise) Jesus heals the sick man, without entering the pool. He was therefore greater than the angel.—ᾆρον, take up) This work, which was the more conspicuous on the Sabbath day, tended to the greater glory of God in Jesus Christ; [also it tended to remove the error of the Jews, especially of their doctors, concerning the Sabbath.—Harm., p. 182.]

And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
John 5:10. Ἔλεγον, began saying) An unseasonable interruption.

He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
John 5:11. Εἶπεν, said) and indeed, as the fact showed, He had a right to say it. Jesus, along with healing, gave discernment to the man [agnitionem].

Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
John 5:13. Οὐκ ᾔδει) knew not, being intent on carrying his bed, and perplexed by the interruption on the part of the Jews.—ἐξένευσεν, withdrew) The Septuag. use this verb to express סור and פנה. Jesus shunned noise. Matthew 12:10, etc., “He charged them that they should not make Him known;—He shall not strive, nor cry, neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets.”—ὄχλου, a multitude) Many were witnesses of the healing.

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
John 5:14. Μετὰ ταῦτα, afterwards) either on the same or another day, or a Sabbath.—ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, in the temple) The participation in public Divine worship more affects him, who had been a long time ill, than it does all the rest.—μηκέτι, do not hereafter) Therefore the man had been previously a sinner; nor was he free from great danger of falling into sin again. Comp. ch. John 8:11, [To the woman caught in adultery] “Go and sin no more.” This admonition, now that some interval bad elapsed since his healing, was the more necessary.—χεῖρόν τι, something worse) some heavier calamity than the infirmity even of thirty-eight years’ standing.—γένηται, befall) owing to a new, and that a heavier visitation of God’s wrath.

The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
John 5:15. Ἀνήγγειλε, reported) He wished to please the Jews, who had asked him the question, John 5:12 : nor however did he bring them back word with bad intention; for whereas he had said at John 5:11, ὁ ποιήσας με ὑγιῆ, He who made me whole, and also εἶπεν, ἆρον, He said, Take up, of which statements the former was favourable to Jesus, the latter might seem to His prejudice; and whereas the Jews had laid hold rather of the latter of these, John 5:12, “What man is that, which said unto thee, Take up thy bed and walk,” the man himself rather dwells on the former in his report to them.

And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
John 5:16. Ἐδίωκοι) they attempted to thrust Him out [began to persecute].—καὶ ἐξήτουν αὐτὸι ἀποκτεῖναι) More modern copies have inserted this here from John 5:18.[104] The attempt to kill is opposed to persecution, properly so called.

[104] BCDL Vulg. and Memph. Versions omit it. A and Hilary, however, have it.—E. and T.

And so also the margin of Ed. 2 sets aside this clause more decidedly than the Ed. Maj., and the Germ. Vers. has altogether omitted it.—E. B.

But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
John 5:17. Ὁ Πατήρ μου, My Father) In what sense Jesus said, My Father, even the Jews themselves understood better than the Photinians: John 5:18, “The Jews sought to kill Him, because—He said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” Here is set down the main point of the discourses of Jesus, which John subsequently records: and especially those statements are to be observed, which Jesus sometimes of His own accord has put forth as a kind of text to the fuller discourses which follow; for instance, ch. John 6:27, “Labour—for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you;” John 7:37, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink;” John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.”—ἕως ἄρτι, hitherto) all along from creation, without any Sabbath intermission. For He is not bound by the Sabbath: He lacks not perpetual rest. If He were not to work, where would be the Sabbath itself?—ἐργάζεται, worketh) An excellent speech as to the Divine works.—κἀλώ, and I) The Father works not without the Son: the Son not without the Father: John 5:19, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do.” It is this proposition that is explained from John 5:19-30 (whence John 5:19 is repeated at John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing”), and is confirmed and vindicated, John 5:31, etc.

Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
John 5:18. Διὰ τοῦτο) on account of this, on account of which they ought to have been satisfied. They turn His very defence into a ground for greater accusation.—μᾶλλον, the more) There is a gradation: lately they were persecuting Him; now further they seek to kill Him.—ἔλυε, He was breaking) by act, John 5:8, “Take up thy bed;” and by word, John 5:17, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”—ἴδιον· ἴσον, His own: equal) His own Father’s own Son: Romans 8:32, “He that spared not His own Son.” The Only-begotten alone can say, My Father: of the Only-begotten alone the Father saith, My Son. Not only has Jesus most frequently repeated the names of Father and Son, but even has mentioned the intimate equality and unity of the Father and Himself: and I [work]: John 5:17, We are in unity, etc.; ch. John 10:30; John 10:38, “I and My Father are one;—the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” All these declarations conjointly the Jews assailed.—ἔλεγε, was saying) In reality Jesus did say that which the Jews were now supposing He said;[105] but that they, sad to say, esteemed as blasphemy.

[105] As for instance two men, of whom the one is father of the other, are of an equal nature: so that One, whose own Father peculiarly the supreme GOD is, and who is own Son peculiarly of the supreme GOD, is equal to GOD.—V. g.

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
John 5:19. Ἀμὴν, ἀμὴν, λέγω ὑμῖν, verily, verily, I say unto you) This affirmation is thrice used in this discourse, John 5:24-25.—ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ οὐδέν, nothing of Himself) This is matter of glory, not an imperfection. It cannot happen, that the Son should do anything of Himself, or that He should judge, will, testify, or teach anything separately from the Father, John 5:30, etc.; ch. John 6:38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me;” John 7:16-17; John 7:28, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.—I am not come of Myself, but lie that sent Me is true;” John 12:49, “I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak;” John 14:10, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself; but the Father, that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works:” or that He should be believed in, and seen separately from the Father;” ch. John 12:44, “He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me.” These declarations proceeded from His intimate sense of unity, by nature and by love, with the Father. The Lord defended the work, which He had done on the Sabbath, by the example of His Father, from which He does not depart. So concerning the Holy Spirit, ch. John 16:13, “The Spirit of truth—shall not speak of Himself: but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak:” where also an antithesis follows, most closely resembling this passage. But the devil speaketh of his own, ch. John 8:44 : and it is a characteristic of a false teacher to come in his own name, and to speak or act on the promptings of his own heart: ch. John 5:43, “I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive;” Numbers 16:28, [Moses to Korah, Dathan, etc.] “The Lord hath sent me to do all these works: for I have not done them of my own mind;” Numbers 24:13, [Balaam] “If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the Lord saith, that will I speak.”—ταῦτα) these things all, and these alone: [which are not at all liable to be slandered.—V. g.]—ὁμοίως) likewise, forthwith.

For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
John 5:20. Φιλεῖ) He who loves, hides nothing [from the object of his love].—δείκνυσιν, showeth) in heaven. Comp. βλέπῃ, seeth, John 5:19. He showeth that [the Son] may do so also. This showing is the part of intimate unity. They compare with this the passage of the Psalm 45:5, Thy right hand shall SHOW [Engl. Vers., John 5:4, teach] thee wonderful [terrible] things.—αὐτός) Himself.—δείξει) shall show, by doing them. The Father at once showeth and doeth, and the Son seeth and doeth; not at different times.—ἔργα, works) Jesus more often calls them works than signs, because in His own eyes they were not miracles.—ἵνα) even to that degree that.—ὑμεῖς, ye) who now hate, will honour with admiration and belief. This effect was wrought especially at the resurrection of Lazarus [John 11:43; John 11:45, Many of the Jews, which had seen the things that Jesus did, believed on Him].

For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
John 5:21. Γάρ, for) He declares what are those greater works: quickening and judging. From His judicial power flows His unlimited authority in quickening whom He will, and at what time He will. Weigh well the γάρ, for, John 5:22, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” But the quickening of the dead is a proof of His judicial power, which does not as yet come before men’s eyes. “Weigh well the γάρ, for, John 5:21 : and so quickening the dead raises men’s admiration in a greater degree than judging does. These two, quickening and judging, are set before us at John 5:21-22; and, in inverse order by χιασμός, at John 5:24 is discussed the exemption of believers from condemnation, which itself presupposes a judgment: at John 5:25 is discussed the restoration to life of some of the dead; marvellous indeed, but however so as that the general resurrection, John 5:28, is to exceed this marvel.—ἐγείρει, raiseth up) This double-membered sentence has this force: Just as the Father raises up the dead (whom He will), and quickens them: so also the Son (raises up the dead) whom He will, (and) quickens them.—νεκρούς, the dead) in body: for the death of the body is properly opposed to disease [alluding to the infirmity of the impotent man], John 5:5 : and life eternal, into which an entrance is gained through the resurrection of the body, is opposed to the judgment, John 5:22.—οὕς θέλει, whom He will) Never does the effect fail to follow His will. A universal assertion, as John 5:22-23.

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
John 5:22. Οὐδέ, neither) The Father does not judge alone, nor without the Son: yet He does judge; John 5:45, “Do not think I will accuse you to the Father;” Acts 17:31, “He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained;” Romans 3:6, “God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?” Nor is the word δέδωκε, He hath given, in this passage, opposed [to the Father’s judging]: comp. John 5:26, “As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given the Son to have life in Himself,” with John 5:21, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them: even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.”—γάρ, for) The Son decides by His own judgment whom He pleases [wills] to quicken. [And for that end the dead are raised up, that they may be judged.—V. g.]—οὐδένα, no man) To this refer πάντες, all men, in the ver. following.

That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
John 5:23. Πάντες, all men) Romans 14:11, “As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue confess to God.”—τιμῶσι, should honour) either willingly, escaping judgment through faith: or unwillingly, feeling the wrath of the Judge.[106]

[106] Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord hath made all things for Himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”—E. and T.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 5:24. Λόγον μου, My word) This double-membered sentence is equivalent to this: he who hears (the word of Him that sent Me, and) My word, and believes (on Me, and) on Him that sent Me, etc.—ἔχει, hath) Jeremiah, the patriarch of Constantinople, in his letter to the people of Tubingen, writes: He hath eternal life, and doth not come into judgment. Dost thou see? He hath this immediately, and not merely, he shall have. Μεταβέβηκεν, He hath passed over [is passed], agrees with this. As to the unbeliever, he is already condemned; ch. John 3:18ἐκεἰς, from—into) A great leap.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
John 5:25. Οἱ νεκροί, the dead) Used literally, in the body, as Jairus’ daughter, the young man at Nain, and Lazarus: ch. John 11:23, etc.; who all were raised up after that these words had been spoken: comp. Matthew 27:52, etc., “The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” There follows a gradation: all, John 5:28; in which verse the words [added to] the hour, the time that “now is” [καὶ νῦν ἐστίν], are not repeated; [but there is added mention of the graves, which, since Jairus’ daughter and the young man were not yet in the grave (when restored to life), is in this ver. omitted.—V. g.]—ἀκούσονται) Middle: also at John 5:28; a rare form.

For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
John 5:26. Ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ, to have in Himself) Ch. John 1:4. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
John 5:27. Ὅτι Υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου) No article is added in this passage: because He is Son of Man, power has been given Him of judging. He, a man. saves men: He, a man, judges men: Daniel 7:13, etc., “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days—and there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom.” Acts 17:31; Hebrews 2:5, etc., “Unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come—but—‘what is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest Him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst Him with glory and honour,—Thou hast put ail things in subjection under His feet.’ ”

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
John 5:28. Μὴ θαυμάζετε τοῦτο, marvel not at this) They are great things which He spake all along from John 5:21, and worthy of marvel; but greater and more marvellous are the things which follow: τοῦτο, this, is to be referred to what goes before. Jesus knew the feeling of wonder which had been just now raised in the mind of the Jews.—ὥρα, the hour) See note on ch. John 5:21. [It is termed an hour, not because that whole time is short, but because its beginning is near.]—φωιῆς, the voice) 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.”

And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
John 5:29. Ἀνάστασιν ζωῆς) the resurrection of life, ordained to live.[107] [108][107] τὰ φαῦλα, evil) Dost thou desire to know whether thy portion shall be in the resurrection of life or of condemnation? Then sift thoroughly thy course of action, whether it is good or bad; but remember to examine thine accounts, not according to thine own fancy, but according to the truth of the case.—V. g.

[108] ἀνάστασιν κρίσεως, the resurrection of condemnation) It would be inappropriate to term it the resurrection of death: but yet it is opposed to the resurrection of life. Therefore sinners indeed shall rise again, but from death to death; their resurrection shall not be a regeneration [Matthew 19:28.—E. and T.], but an abortion.—V. g.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
John 5:30. Ποιεῖν, do) Understand, and judge.—καθὼς ἀκούω, as I hear) from the Father. Comp. John 5:19, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do:” seeth: [ch John 16:13, The Spirit of truth shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak.]—κείνω, I judge) Understand, and do.—ἀλλὰ τὸ ζέλημα, but the will) which is a just will.

If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
John 5:31. Ἐὰν ἐγώ) if I alone. A condition impossible to occur; comp. ch. John 8:16, “Yet if I judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me,” with John 5:13, “The Pharisees said, Thou bearest record of Thyself; Thy record is not true.”—ἀληθής) true witness, i.e. sure, incontrovertible.

There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.
John 5:32. Ἄλλος, Another) concerning whom, see John 5:37, “The Father Himself, which hath sent Me, hath borne witness of Me.” The plurality of persons is here shown. Comp. the expressions, that Being, and this One [ἐκεῖνος, τούτῳ; “whom He hath sent, this one—Him—ye believe not”], John 5:38; and another, used of the Holy Spirit, ch. John 14:16, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter.”—μαρτυρεῖ, beareth witness) in the present; ch. John 8:18, “I am One that bear witness of Myself, and the Father that sent “Me beareth witness of Me.”

Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.
John 5:33. Ὑμεῖς, ye) He shows how the Jews labour to fix their hopes anywhere, rather than on Christ Himself. I. Ye, saith He, having surmised that John is the Messiah, have sent to him, inquiring as to the truth: and truly John, when that opportunity was afforded him, bore witness to the truth, that not he, but I am the Messiah: but, etc. II. Ye, the same persons, think that you have in the Scriptures eternal life, and that nothing more is needed: on this account you are wont to search them; and not without good reason; for indeed they are they which testify of Me: but, etc. Here the Lord approves the things worthy of approval, both concerning John, and concerning the Scriptures; but He shows, that error and abuse on the part of the Jews were mixed up therewith; and He openly testifies, that His own authority, and that of His Father, is of itself greater, whereas the testimony of John and of the Scripture concerning Himself, the Christ, is only a subsidiary thing. The similar form of both paragraphs is to be observed:

John 5:33, etc.

John 5:39, etc.



and he bare witness:

and … which testify

but I … [John 5:34]:

[I] … honour [ver. 41]


but … [John 5:42]

ye were willing for a season [John 5:35].

ye will not [John 5:40 : answering to “ye receive Me not,” John 5:43].

Nor is the paragraph as to Moses, John 5:45-47, dissimilar in construction: Ye have your hope placed in Moses: but this very person is on My side against you.

But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.
John 5:34. Παρὰ ἀνθρώπου, from man) even though it be John. [The matter is not to be referred to man, as the ultimate arbiter. Whatever I am, I am so, independently of the favour of human authority.—V. g.]—τὴν μαρτυρίαν, testimony) doing Me honour (comp. John 5:41, “I receive not honour from men”), in regard to you.—ταῦτα, these things) concerning John.—ἵνα, that) His earnest will regarding the salvation of men is hereby expressed.—ὑμεῖς, ye) who made so much of John. In antithesis to, I; it is your own interest which is at stake.

He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
John 5:35. Ὁ λύχνος, lamp [light]) The article amplifies, and alludes to the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning John. Comp. Sir 48:1, καὶ ἀνέστη Ἡλίας ὁ προφήτης ὡς πῦρ, καὶ ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ ὡς λαμπὰς ἐκαίετο [Elias—arose as fire, and his word burned as a torch]. Otherwise this appellation is a weak one, [to be applied] to the Christ Himself.—καιόμενος) blazing vehemently (comp. the passage quoted above concerning Elias), and quickly burning out.—καὶ φαίνων, and a shining) καί also denotes concomitancy: whilst the light blazed, it shone; no longer.—ἀγαλλιασθῆναι, to exult) without penitential mourning, and without making any approach towards Myself. A choice word to express the thought. They ought to have used, not enjoyed [made their chief joy], John. The Jews treated that which was but a mean, as if it were an end. They are grossly mistaken, who seek in the word and ministers of God only the gratification of their outward or inward senses, and not Christ Himself, [—who, when they are delighted with the gifts of ministers, seem to themselves religious and devoted, and yet do not follow their instruction.—V. g.]—ἠθελήσατε πρὸς ὥραν, ye were willing for a season) Your willingness was not of long continuance.—φωτί, in the light) Ye were attracted by the splendour, not by the blazing ardour of him.—αὐτοῦ, his) without proceeding forward to Me, the Light, the fountain of joy: ch. John 8:56, “Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad:” ἠγαλλιάσατο.

But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
John 5:36. Μείζω τοῦ Ἰωάννου) Greater, than that witness, which John gave me. The lamp does not lend light to the sun, when once he has arisen.—τελειώσω, that I should finish) that I should do, even to the τέλος, end.—αὐτὰ τὰ ἔργα, these very works) A suitable and emphatic repetition.

And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
John 5:37. Αὐτός) Himself [independently of, and, in weight of testimony] beyond the works.—μεμαρτύρηκε, hath borne witness) Past time. That testimony is recorded ch. John 1:32-33, “Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He,” etc.—οὔτε, neither) In the beginning of verses 36 and 37 is described [the Father’s] testimony concerning Jesus Christ: at the close of 37 and in 38 is described the unbelief of the Jews.—εἶδος αὐτοῦ, His appearance) This corresponds with the first chapter of Ezekiel, where there is described at large “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of God” [John 5:28], seen by Ezekiel, who presently after also heard the voice of God. And that whole chapter was the Haphtara [portion, or lesson of the Prophets, appointed for the day] of the feast mentioned in the first verse. [They had not seen or heard Him at any time, as the prophets (for instance Ezekiel 1:28), much less as the Christ had. Comp. John 1:17, “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ;” John 6:46, “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father.”—Not. Crit. and V. g.]

And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
John 5:38. Ὅτι, because) Therefore, those who believe, in hearing the Son, hear the Father; ch. John 6:45, “Every man that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me;” and in seeing the Son they see the Father; ch. John 14:9, [Jesus to Philip] “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” although previously they had not heard nor seen Him: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him;” and they have abiding in them the Word of the Father, which is the same as the Word of the Son.

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
John 5:39. Ἐρυνᾶτε, ye search) Hafenreffer, in his edition of the New Testament, Greek and Latin, translates, Ye inquire into [inquiritis] the Scriptures. He thereby has guarded against any one understanding search into [scrutamini] as an Imperative. Of the ancients, Athanasius also recognises it as an Indicative, Profecti in pagum, T. i., f. 989: and Nonnus. For which reason Cyril need not have been afraid of being left alone in giving, or being about to give, that explanation. Brentius says, that there are interpreters of great judgment, who decide for the Indicative: and the whole structure of the discourse certainly confirms it: comp. John 5:33, etc., and especially that clause, because ye think. Jesus approves of their search into the Scriptures, which they were not wanting in, inasmuch as at that very feast they read much of them in public; just as He approves of the embassy to John, John 5:33, and their high estimation of Moses, John 5:45; but He adds, that none of these are enough by themselves. Wherefore this explanation is attended with no loss to the sense: and they are usually, to say the least, equally diligent searchers of the Scriptures, who decide on the Indicative (which very lately has been adopted by Zeltner and Walchius), as those who decide on the Imperative. This clause, Ye search and ye will not come, Paul has rendered by synonymous expressions, 2 Corinthians 3:15-16, “Even to this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.” Some one has demanded, that similar instances of the second person plural indicative, closing a period, should be brought forward. See therefore ch. John 7:28, κἀμὲ οἴδατε, καὶ οἴδατε πόθεν εἰμί; John 12:19; Matthew 22:29; Matthew 24:6; Matthew 27:65; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Jam 4:2-3. On the other hand, the imperative occurs with ὑμεῖς, ye, Matthew 28:5, μὴ φοβεῖσθε ὑμεῖς; Mark 13:23. The imperative, Search ye, “Seek ye out of the book of the Lord and read,” Isaiah 34:16. The hearers of Jesus Christ (though they had not heard the testimony even of John, who was greater than the prophet, and though they had not read the Scriptures) might at that time have derived faith from the words alone of Jesus Christ.—τὰς γραφάς, the Scriptures) of Moses, John 5:46, “He wrote of Me;” and of the prophets.—ὑμεῖς, ye) This is joined rather with the word think than with search, and contains the proof, and is put as it were by Anaphora [repetition of the same word in the beginnings of clauses]: comp. the notes, John 5:33. So also ye, John 5:45, “Moses, in whom ye trust.”—δοκεῖτε ἔχειν, ye appear to have) In antithesis to ἵνα ἔχητε, that you may really have, John 5:40, “Ye will not come to Me, that ye may have life.” Akin to this is that clause, John 5:45, Ye have placed your trust in Moses.—ἐν αὐταῖς, in them) By the mere fact alone, that you search them, ye think that you have life.—ζωήν, life) Why dost thou deny, O Socinian, that there was known to the ancients the hope of eternal life?—καὶ ἐκεῖναικαὶ οὐ θέλετε, and those—and ye will not) A double Epicrisis [an enunciation added to a sentence, to make the subject in hand the more clear]: the one, καὶ ἐκεῖναι εἰσιν αἱ μαρτυροῦσαι περὶ ἐμοῦ, approves of the search and trust of the Jews; the other, καὶ οὐ θέλετε ἐλθεῖν πρός με, etc., shows their defect. Ἐκεῖναι, those, subjoined to the αὐταῖς, in them, has in some measure the force of removing to a distance. Life is to be had more nigh at hand in Christ than in the Scriptures.

And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
John 5:40. Ἐλθεῖν, come) in accordance with what the testimony of the Scriptures concerning Me demands.[109]

[109] ἵνα ζωἠν ἔχητε, that ye might have life) What follows below is more severe: If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins, ch. John 8:24.—V. g.

I receive not honour from men.
John 5:41.[110] Παρὰ ἀνθρώπων, from men) even from those by whom the Scripture was written: comp. John 5:34, “Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth, but I receive not testimony from man,” concerning John, who was greater than the prophets; and yet Jesus did not receive testimony even from him.

[110] δόξαν, glory [honour]) Jesus in this passage had spoken great things concerning Himself. Now he states why He does so; namely, that He might bring poor souls to the blessed knowledge and love of GOD.—V. g.

But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
John 5:42. Ἔγνωκα ὑμᾶς, I have you in my knowledge [I know you]) By this ray of light He penetrates the hearts of His hearers. He means this: I know [novi, οἶδα] the Father, John 5:32, “There is another that beareth witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesseth of Me is true;” and I have known [cognovi, I am aware] that you are strangers to Him. Jesus spake this with great compassion. It is not for My sake, but for yours, He saith, I grieve.—ἀγάπην, the love) by which I am recognised as the Son of the Father’s love, John 5:20, “the Father loveth the Son,” and which would teach you to seek glory from God alone. [Things divine are not distinguished from things alien to God, save only by this love: John 5:43, “I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”—V. g.]—ἐν ἐαυτοῖς, in yourselves) This expression has an emphasis, and contains the cause why the Jews need to be sent back [referred] to the men, who in Scripture testify concerning Christ.

I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
John 5:43. Οὐ λαμβάνετέ με) ye receive Me not, through [in] faith.—ἄλλος, another) Any false Christ and Antichrist that may arise. From the time of the true Christ down to our age, sixty-four false Messiahs are reckoned up, by whom the Jews were deceived. See John Jam. Schudt, Jüdische Merkwürdigkeiten, [111]. 6, c. 27, § 30.

[111] Cod. Reg., Paris, of the Gospels: the text akin to that of B: edited by Tisch.

How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
John 5:44. Δόξαν παρὰ ἀλλήλων, glory from one another) Each one of you thinks that he is righteous, in accordance with what you mutually think of yourselves: and ye do not labour, that you may be approved of in the sight of God alone. Comp. Romans 2:29, “Circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”—καὶ τὴν δόξαν, and the glory) that which is the portion of the sons of God, ch. John 1:12, “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”—παρὰ τοῦ μόνου Θεοῦ, from Him who is God alone [but Engl. Vers. “from God only”]) ch. John 17:3, “Thee, the only true God.”—οὐ ζητεῖτε) This is connected with the article οἱ, which is implied in λαμβάνοντες, i.e. οἳ λαμβάνετε.

Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
John 5:45. Μὴ δοκεῖτε, do not think) A new argument against the unbelief of the Jews, and one most suitable to establish His conclusion.—ἐγώ, I) in particular and only, just as if Moses were on your side. I am a reconciler [not one come to condemn].—ὑμῶν, you) who do not believe in Me.—Μωσῆς, Moses) i.e. the writings of Moses. Luke 16:29, [Abraham to the rich man] “They have Moses and the prophets” [i.e. their writings]; 2 Corinthians 3:15, “When Moses is read.”—εἰς ὃν ὑμεῖς ἠλπίκατε, in whom ye have placed your trust) John 5:39.

For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
John 5:46. Ἐπιστεύετε ἂν, ye would have believed) It did not help the Jews to say, We believe, that all things, which Moses has written, are true. There was need of explicit faith.[112]—ἜΓΡΑΨΕΝ, He wrote) There is no part of his writings where he did not.

[112] And not merely of implicit faith, which took Moses’ writings in the mass, and not in detail.—E. and T.

But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
John 5:47. Γράμμασιν, his letter [writings]) In antithesis to ῥήμασι, words. Often more readily is belief attached to a letter previously received, than to a discourse heard for the first time.—ἐμοῖς, My) speaking heavenly things, as compared with Moses.

Gnomon of the New Testament by Johann Bengel

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
John 4
Top of Page
Top of Page