John 1:3
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBVWSWESTSK
(3) From the person of the Word we are guided to think of His creative work. The first chapter of Genesis is still present to the mind, but a fuller meaning can now be given to its words. All things came into existence by means of the pre-existent Word, and of all the things that now exist none came into being apart from Him.

All things.—The words express in the grandeur of an unthinkable array of units what is expressed in totality by “the world” in John 1:10. The completion of the thought by the negative statement of the opposite brings sharply before us the infinitely little in contrast with the infinitely great. Of all these units not one is by its vastness beyond, or by its insignificance beneath His creative will. For the relation of the Word to the Father in the work of creation, comp. Note on Colossians 1:15-16.

For the form of this verse, which is technically known as antithetic parallelism, comp. John 5:20; John 5:23; John 8:23; John 10:27-28; 1John 2:4; 1John 2:27, et al. It is found not unfrequently in other parts of the New Testament, but it is a characteristic of St. John’s Hebrew style. Its occurrence in the poetry of the Old Testament, e.g., in the Psalms (Psalm 89:30-31, et al.) will be familiar to all.

John 1:3. All things were made by him — All creatures, whether in heaven or on earth, the whole universe, and every being contained therein, animate or inanimate, intelligent or unintelligent. The Father spoke every thing into being by him, his Eternal Word. Thus, Psalm 33:6, By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, &c. This, however, is not the only reason why the Son of God is termed the Word. “He is not only called so, because God at first created and still governs all things by him; but because, as men discover their minds to one another by the intervention of words, speech, or discourse, so God, by his Son, discovers his gracious designs to men in the fullest and clearest manner. All the various manifestations which he makes of himself, whether in the works of creation, providence, or redemption, all the revelations he has been pleased to give of his will, have been, and still are, conveyed to us through him, and therefore he is, by way of eminence, fitly styled here, the Word, and Revelation 19:13, the Word of God.” — Macknight. Thus also Bishop Horne: (Sermons, vol. 1. pp. 199, 200:) “Should it be asked, why this person is styled the Word? the proper answer seems to be, that as a thought, or conception of the understanding, is brought forth and communicated in speech or discourse, so is the divine will made known by the WORD, who is the offspring and emanation of the eternal mind, an emanation pure and undivided, like that of light, which is the proper issue of the sun, and yet coeval with its parent orb; since the sun cannot be supposed, by the most exact and philosophical imagination, to exist a moment without emitting light; and were the one eternal, the other, though strictly and properly produced by it, would be as strictly and properly co-eternal with it. So true is the assertion of the Nicene fathers; so apt the instance subjoined for its illustration, God of God, light of light: in apostolical language, Απαυγασμα της δοξης και χαρακτηρ της υποστασεως, The brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person. And whether we consider our Lord under the idea of the WORD, or that of LIGHT, it will lead us to the same conclusion respecting his office. For, as no man can discover the mind of another, but by the word which proceedeth from him; as no man can see the sun, but by the light which itself emitteth, even so, No man knoweth the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him! It may not be improper to observe further here, that “the term λογος, Word, was in use among the ancient philosophers, who sometimes speak of a person under that appellation as the Maker of the universe. So Tertullian informs the Gentiles: ‘Apud vestros quoque sapientes λογον, id est, Sermonem atque Rationem, constat artificem videri universitatis.’ It appears that among your wise men, the λογος, that is, the Word and Reason, was considered as the Former of the universe. And Eusebius, in the eleventh book of his Evangelical Preparation, cites a passage from Amelius, a celebrated admirer and imitator of Plato, in which he speaks of the λογος as being eternal, and the Maker of all things. This, he says, was the opinion of Heraclitus, and then introduces the beginning of the gospel of St. John; concerning whom it seems he was wont to complain, that he had transferred into his book the sentiments of his master Plato. But it is not likely that our evangelist either borrowed from, or intended to copy after Plato. And since not only Plato, but Pythagoras and Zeno likewise, conversed with the Jews, it is not at all wonderful that we meet with something about a θειος λογος, or DIVINE WORD, in their writings. Nor, after all, might the philosopher and the apostle use the same term in the same acceptation. It is customary with the writers of the New Testament to express themselves as much as may be in the language of the Old, to which, therefore, we must have recourse for an explanation of their meaning, as the penmen of both, under the direction of one Spirit, used their terms in the same sense. Now, upon looking into the Old Testament, we find, that the Word of Jehovah is frequently and evidently the style of a person who is said to come, to be revealed, or manifested, and the like, as in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, The word of Jehovah came unto Abraham in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abraham, &c. — Behold, the Word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir, and he brought him forth abroad. Thus again, (1 Samuel 3.,) Jehovah revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh, by the Word of Jehovah. The same person is, at other times, characterized by the title, the Name of Jehovah, שׂם יהוה, as in Isaiah 30:27, Behold, the Name of Jehovah cometh from far, burning with his anger, &c. With regard to the nature of the person thus denominated, whoever shall duly consider the attributes, powers, and actions ascribed to him, will see reason to think of him, not as a created intelligence, but a person of the divine essence, possessed of all its incommunicable properties. And it may be noticed, that the Targums, or Chaldee paraphrasts, continually substitute the Word of Jehovah for Jehovah, ascribing divine characters to the person so named. And the ancient Grecizing Jews speak in the same style. Thus, in that excellent apocryphal book of Wisdom, (ix. 1,) O God, who hast made all things, εν λογω σου, by thy Word; and again in the passage which so wonderfully describes the horrors of that night, never to be forgotten by an Israelite, wherein the firstborn of the Egyptians were slain: While all things were in quiet silence, and that night was in the midst of her swift course, thine Almighty WORD (λογος) leaped down from heaven, out of thy royal throne, as a fierce man of war, into the midst of a land of destruction, and brought thy unfeigned commandment, as a sharp sword; and standing up filled all things with death; and it touched the heaven, but stood upon the earth, John 18:14.” Horne’s Discourses, disc. 7. vol. 1. pp. 194-197. And without him was not any thing made Ουδε εν, not so much as any single thing having existence, whether among the nobler or the meaner works of God, was made without him. See the same truth attested and enlarged upon by Paul, Colossians 1:16. Now, “if all things were made by him, he cannot be himself of the number of the things that were made. He is superior, therefore, to every created being. Besides, it should be remembered, that in the Old Testament, the creation of the heavens and the earth is often mentioned as the prerogative of the true God, whereby he is distinguished from the heathen idols. The design of the evangelist in establishing so particularly and distinctly the dignity, but especially the divinity of Christ, was to raise in mankind the most profound veneration for him, and for all his instructions and actions. And, without doubt, he who is the Word of God, the interpreter of the divine counsels, and who is himself God, ought to be heard with the deepest attention, and obeyed with the most implicit submission.”1:1-5 The plainest reason why the Son of God is called the Word, seems to be, that as our words explain our minds to others, so was the Son of God sent in order to reveal his Father's mind to the world. What the evangelist says of Christ proves that he is God. He asserts, His existence in the beginning; His coexistence with the Father. The Word was with God. All things were made by him, and not as an instrument. Without him was not any thing made that was made, from the highest angel to the meanest worm. This shows how well qualified he was for the work of our redemption and salvation. The light of reason, as well as the life of sense, is derived from him, and depends upon him. This eternal Word, this true Light shines, but the darkness comprehends it not. Let us pray without ceasing, that our eyes may be opened to behold this Light, that we may walk in it; and thus be made wise unto salvation, by faith in Jesus Christ.All things - The universe. The expression cannot be limited to any part of the universe. It appropriately expresses everything which exists - all the vast masses of material worlds, and all the animals and things, great or small, that compose those worlds. See Revelation 4:11; Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:16.

Were made - The original word is from the verb "to be," and signifies "were" by him; but it expresses the idea of creation here. It does not alter the sense whether it is said "'were' by him," or "were 'created' by him." The word is often used in the sense of "creating," or forming from nothing. See James 3:9; and Genesis 2:4; Isaiah 48:7; in the Septuagint.

By him - In this place it is affirmed that "creation" was effected by "the Word," or the Son of God. In Genesis 1:1, it is said that the Being who created the heavens and the earth was God. In Psalm 102:25-28, this work is ascribed to Yahweh. The "Word," or the Son of God, is therefore appropriately called "God." The work of "creation" is uniformly ascribed in the Scriptures to the Second Person of the Trinity. See Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2, Hebrews 1:10. By this is meant, evidently, that he was the agent, or the efficient cause, by which the universe was made. There is no higher proof of omnipotence than the work of creation; and, hence, God often appeals to that work to prove that he is the true God, in opposition to idols. See Isaiah 40:18-28; Jeremiah 10:3-16; Psalm 24:2; Psalm 39:11; Proverbs 3:19. It is absurd to say that God can invest a creature with omnipotence. If He can make a creature omnipotent, He can make him omniscient, and can in the same way make him omnipresent, and infinitely wise and good; that is, He can invest a creature with all His own attributes, or make another being like Himself, or, which is the same thing, there could be two Gods, or as many Gods as He should choose to make. But this is absurd! The Being, therefore, that "created" all things must be divine; and, since this work is ascribed to Jesus Christ, and as it is uniformly in the Scriptures declared to be the work of God, Jesus Christ is therefore equal with the Father.

Without him - Without his agency; his notice; the exertion of his power. Compare Matthew 10:29. This is a strong way of speaking, designed to confirm, beyond the possibility of doubt, what he had just said. He says, therefore, in general, that all things were made by Christ. In this part of the verse he shuts out all doubt, and affirms that there was "no exception;" that there was not a single thing, however minute or unimportant, which was not made by him. In this way, he confirms what he said in the first verse. Christ was not merely called God, but he did the works of God, and therefore the name is used in its proper sense as implying supreme divinity. To this same test Jesus himself appealed as proving that he was divine. John 10:37, "if I do not the works of my Father, believe me not." John 5:17, "my Father worketh hitherto, and I work."

3. All things, &c.—all things absolutely (as is evident from Joh 1:10; 1Co 8:6; Col 1:16, 17; but put beyond question by what follows).

without Him was not any thing—not one thing.

made—brought into being.

that was made—This is a denial of the eternity and non-creation of matter, which was held by the whole thinking world outside of Judaism and Christianity: or rather, its proper creation was never so much as dreamt of save by the children of revealed religion.

All things were made by him: the Divine nature and eternal existence of the Lord Christ, is evident from his efficiency in the creation of the world: what the evangelist here calleth all things, the apostle to the Hebrews, Hebrews 1:2, calleth the worlds; and St. Paul, Colossians 1:16, calleth, all things that are in heaven and earth, visible and invisible; Moses calls, the heaven and the earth, Genesis 1:1. These were all made by the Word; not as an instrumental cause, but as a principal efficient cause; for though it be true, that the preposition dia is sometimes used to signify an instrumental cause; yet it is as true, that it is often used to signify the principal efficient cause; as John 6:57 Acts 3:16 Romans 5:5 11:36 Ephesians 4:6, and in many other texts: it here only denotes the order of the working of the holy Trinity.

Without him was not any thing made that was made; nothing that was made, neither the heavens nor the earth, neither things visible nor invisible, were made without him. There is nothing more ordinary in holy writ, than after the laying down a universal proposition, (where no synecdoche is used), to add also a universal negative for the confirmation of it: so Romans 3:12, There is none that doeth good; then is added, no, not one; Lamentations 2:2, and in many other texts. The term without him, doth not exclude the efficiency either of the First, or Third Person in the Trinity, in the creation of all things; the Father created the world by the Son, his Word; and the creation of the world is attributed to the Spirit, Genesis 1:1 Job 33:4 Psalm 33:6. All things were made by him,.... Which is a proof at once of all that is said before; as that he was in the beginning; and that he was with God the Father in the beginning; and that he was God; otherwise all things could not have been made by him, had either of these been untrue: which is to be understood, not of the new creation; for this would be a restraining "all" things to a "few" persons only; nor is it any where said, that all things are new made, but made; and it is false, that all were converted, that have been converted, by the ministry of Christ, as man: all men are not renewed, regenerated, nor reformed; and the greater part of those that were renewed, were renewed before Christ existed, as man; and therefore could not be renewed by him, as such: though indeed, could this sense be established, it would not answer the end for which it is coined; namely, to destroy the proof of Christ's deity, and of his existence before his incarnation; for in all ages, from the beginning of the world, some have been renewed; and the new creation is a work of God, and of almighty power, equally with the old; for who can create spiritual light, infuse a principle of spiritual life, take away the heart of stone, and give an heart of flesh, or produce faith, but God? Regeneration is denied to be of man, and is always ascribed to God; nor would Christ's being the author of the new creation, be any contradiction to his being the author of the old creation, which is intended here: by "all things", are meant the heaven, and all its created inhabitants, the airy, starry, and third heavens, and the earth, and all therein, the sea, and every thing that is in that; and the word, or Son of God, is the efficient cause of all these, not a bare instrument of the formation of them; for the preposition by does not always denote an instrument, but sometimes an efficient, as in 1 Corinthians 1:9 and so here, though not to the exclusion of the Father, and of the Spirit:

and without him was not any thing made that was made: in which may be observed the conjunct operation of the word, or Son, with the Father, and Spirit, in creation; and the extent of his concern in it to every thing that is made; for without him there was not one single thing in the whole compass of the creation made; and the limitation of it to things that are made; and so excludes the uncreated being, Father, Son, and Spirit; and sin also, which is not a principle made by God, and which has no efficient, but a deficient cause. So the Jews ascribe the creation of all things to the word. The Targumists attribute the creation of man, in particular, to the word of God: it is said in Genesis 1:27. "God created man in his own image": the Jerusalem Targum of it is,

"and the word of the Lord created man in his likeness.

And Genesis 3:22 "and the Lord God said, behold the man is become as one of us", the same Targum paraphrases thus,

"and the word of the Lord God said, behold the man whom I have created, is the only one in the world.

Also in the same writings, the creation of all things in general is ascribed to the word: the passage in Deuteronomy 33:27 "the eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms", is paraphrased by Onkelos,

"the eternal God is an habitation, by whose word the world was made.

In Isaiah 48:13 it is said, "mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth". The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziah on it is,

"yea, by my word I have founded the earth:

which agrees with what is said in Hebrews 11:3, and the same says Philo the Jew, who not only calls him the archetype, and exemplar of the world, but the power that made it: he often ascribes the creation of the heavens, and the earth unto him, and likewise the creation of man after whose image, he says, he was made (t). The Ethiopic version adds, at the end of this verse, "and also that which is made is for himself",

(t) De Mundi Opificio, p. 4, 5, 31, 32. De Alleg. l. 1. p. 44. De Sacrificiis Abel & Cain, p. 131. De Profugis, p. 464. & de Monarch. p. 823.

{2} All {f} things were made by him; and {g} without him {h} was not any thing made that was made.

(2) The Son of God declares that his everlasting Godhead is the same as the Father's, both by the creating of all things, and also by preserving them, and especially by the excellent gifts of reason and understanding with which he has beautified man above all other creatures.

(f) Paul expounds on this in Col 1:15-16.

(g) That is, as the Father did work, so did the Son work with him: for the Son was a fellow worker with him.

(h) Of all those things which were made, nothing was made without him.

John 1:3. Πάντα] “grande verbum, quo mundus, i.e. universitas rerum factarum denotatur, John 1:10,” Bengel. Comp. Genesis 1; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2. Quite opposed to the context is the view of the Socinians: “the moral creation is meant.” Comp. rather Philo, de Cherub. I. 162, where the λόγος appears as the ὄργανον διʼ οὗ (comp. 1 Corinthians 8:6) κατεσκευάσθη (ὁκόσμος). The further speculations of Philo concerning the relation of the λόγος to the creation, which however are not to be imputed to John, see in Hoelemann, l.c. p. 36 ff. John might have written τὰ πάντα (with the article), as in 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Colossians 1:16, but he was not obliged to do so. Comp. Colossians 1:17, John 3:35. For his thought is “all” (unlimited), whereas τὰ πάντα would express “the whole of what actually exists.”

καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ, κ.τ.λ.] an emphatic parallelismus antitheticus, often occurring in the classics (Dissen, ad Dem, de Cor. p. 228; Maetzner, ad Antiph. p. 157), in the N. T. throughout, and especially in John (John 1:20; John 10:28; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 2:27, al.). We are not to suppose that by this negative reference John meant to exclude (so Lücke, Olshausen, De Wette, Frommann, Maier, Baeumlein) the doctrine of a ὕλη having an extra-temporal existence (Philo, l.c.), because ἐγένετο and γέγονεν describe that which exists only since the creation, as having come into existence, and therefore ὕλη would not be included in the conception. John neither held nor desired to oppose the idea of the ὕλη; the antithesis has no polemical design—not even of an anti-gnostic kind—to point out that the Logos is raised above the series of Aeons (Tholuck); for though the world of spirits is certainly included in the πάντα and the οὐδὲ ἕν, it is not specially designated (comp. Colossians 1:16). How the Valentinians had already referred it to the Aeons, see in Iren. Haer. i. 8. 5; Hilgenfeld, d. Ev. u. d. Briefe Joh. p. 32 ff.

οὐδὲ ἕν] ne unum quidem, i.e. prorsus nihil, more strongly emphatic than οὐδέν. Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:5; see Stallbaum, ad Plat. Sympos. p. 214 D; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 6. 2. As to the thing itself, comp. Philo, II. p. 225: διʼ οὗ σύμπας ὁ κόσμος ἐδημιουργεῖτο.

ὃ γέγονεν] Perfect: what has come into being, and now is. Comp. ἔκτισται, Colossians 1:16. This belongs to the emphatic fulness of the statement (Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. xxxvii.), and connects itself with what precedes. The very ancient connection of it with what follows (C. D. L. Verss., Clem. Al., Origen, and other Greeks, Heracleon, Ptolemaeus, Philos. Orig. v. 8, Latin Fathers, also Augustine, Wetst., Lachm., Weisse), by putting the comma after either γέγ. or αὐτῷ (so already the Valentinians),[76] is to be rejected, although it would harmonize with John’s manner of carrying forward the members of his sentences, whereby “ex proximo membro sumitur gradus sequentis” (Erasmus); but in other respects it would only be Johannean if the comma were placed after γέγ. (so also Lachm.). The ground of rejection lies not in the ambiguity of ζωή, which cannot surprise us in John, but in this, that the perfect γέγονεν, as implying continuance, would have logically required ἐστί instead of ἦν after ζωή; to ἦν not γέγονεν but ἐγένετο would have been appropriate, so that the sense would have been: “what came into existence had in Him its ground or source of life.”

[76] “Whatever originated in Him (self) is life.” The latter is said to be the Zoë, which with the Logos formed one Syzygy. Hilgenfeld regards this view as correct, in connection with the assumption of the later Gnostic origin of the Gospel. But the construction is false as regards the words, because neither ἐστί nor ἐγένετο stands in the passage; and false also as regards the thought, because, according to vv. 1–3, a principle of life cannot have first originated in the Logos, but must have existed from the very beginning. Even Bunsen (Hypol. II. 291, 357) erroneously preferred the punctuation of the Alexandrines and Gnostics.John 1:3. Πάντα διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο. The connection is obvious: the Word was with God in the beginning, but not as an idle, inefficacious existence, who only then for the first time put forth energy when He came into the world. On the contrary, He was the source of all activity and life. “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not even one thing made which was made.”

The double sentence, positive and negative, is characteristic of John and lends emphasis to the statement.—πάντα, “grande verbum quo mundus, i.e., universitas rerum factarum denotatur” (Bengel). The more accurate expression for “all things” taken as a whole and not severally is τὰ πάντα (Colossians 1:16) or τὸ πᾶν; and, as the negative clause of this verse indicates, created things are here looked at in their variety and multiplicity. Cf. Marcus Aurelius, iv. 23, ὧ φύσις, ἐκ σοῦ πᾶντα, ἐν σοὶ πάντα, εἰς σέ σοί πάντα, εἰς σέ πάντα.—διʼ αὐτοῦ. The Word was the Agent in creation. But it is to be observed that the same preposition is used of God in the same connection in Romans 11:36, ὅτι ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ διʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα; and in Colossians 1:16 the same writer uses the same prepositions not of the Father but of the Son when he says: τὰ μάντα διʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται. In 1 Corinthians 8:6 Paul distinguishes between the Father as the primal source of all things and the Son as the actual Creator. (In Greek philosophy the problem was to ascertain by whom, of what, and in view of what the world was made; ὑφʼ οὗ, ἐξ οὗ, πρὸς ὅ. And Lücke quotes a significant sentence from Philo (De Cherub., 35): εὑρήσεις αἴτιον μὲν αὐτοῦ (τοῦ κόσμου) τὸν θεὸν, ὑφʼ οὗ γέγονεν· ὓλην δὲ τὰ τέσσαρα στοιχεῖα, ἐξ ὧν συνεκράθη· ὄργανον δὲ λόγον θεοῦ διʼ οὗ κατεσκευάσθη·)3. by him] Rather, through Him. The universe was created by the Father through the agency of the Son. Comp. 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16 (where see Lightfoot’s note); Romans 11:36; Hebrews 11:10. That no inferiority is necessarily implied by ‘through,’ as if the Son were a mere instrument, is shewn by 1 Corinthians 1:9, where the same construction is used of the Father, ‘through Whom ye were called, &c.’ Note the climax in what follows; the sphere contracts as the blessing enlarges: existence for everything; life for the vegetable and animal world; light for men.

without him, &c.] Better, apart from Him, &c. Comp. John 15:5. Antithetic parallelism; emphatic repetition by contradicting the opposite: frequent in Hebrew: one of the many instances of the Hebrew cast of S. John’s style. Comp. John 1:20, John 10:28; 1 John 1:5; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 2:27-28; Psalm 89:30-31; Psalm 89:48, &c., &c.

not anything] No, not one; not even one: stronger than ‘nothing.’ Every single thing, however great, however small, throughout all the realms of space, came into being through Him. No event takes place without Him,—apart from His presence and power. Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6.

that was made] Better, that hath been made. The aorist refers to the fact of creation; the perfect to the permanent result of that fact. Contrast ‘was made’ and ‘hath been made’ here with ‘was’ in John 1:1-2. ‘Was made’ denotes the springing into life of what was once non-existent; ‘was’ denotes the perpetual pre-existence of the Word.

Some both ancient and modern writers would give the last part of John 1:3 to John 1:4, thus: That which hath been made in Him was life; i.e. those who were born again by union with Him felt His influence as life within them. It is very difficult to decide between the two punctuations. Tatian (Orat. ad Graecos, xix.) has ‘All things [were] by Him and without Him hath been made not even one thing.’ See on John 1:5.John 1:3. Πάντα, all things) A large word, by which the world, i.e. the whole totality of things created is denoted, John 1:10. All things, which are outside of God, were made; and all things which were made, were made by the Logos. Now at last the Theologian is come from the Being [Esse] of the Word to the Being made [Fieri] of all things. In verses 1, 2, is described [His] state before the world was made; in John 1:3, in the making of the world; in John 1:4, in the time of man’s innocency; in John 1:5, in the time of man’s degeneracy.—δἰ αὐτοῦ, by Him) In opposition to without Him.—ἐγένετο, were made) That in some measure is earlier than the κτίσις, founding of all things, and evidently implies, as an inference, the making of all things out of nothing. Thus the all things sounds as if it were something earlier than the ὁ κόσμος, the world, wholly completed, and especially mankind; to which John comes down in the 9th and 10th verses.—καὶ χωρίς, and without) This sentence expresses something more than that immediately preceding. The Subject is, Not even one thing: The Predicate is, without Him was made, which was made. And the , which, is evidently used similarly to the , 1 Corinthians 15:10, By the grace of God I am what I am.—οὐδὲ ἕν, not even one thing) However superlatively excellent.—ὃ γέγονεν, which was made) “after its kind:” Genesis 1:11; Genesis 1:21; Genesis 1:24. The Preterite γέγονεν [is in existence] implies something more absolute than the Aorist ἐγένετο [was brought into existence], though in Latin both are expressed by factum est. Those fancies, which Artemonius, p. 333, 402, etc., invents according to his own theories, have been refuted, together with the theories themselves.Verses 3, 4. -

(2) The creation of all things through the Logos, as the instrument of the eternal counsel and activity of God. Verse 3. - All things (Πάντα, not τὰ πάντα) taken one by one, rather than all things regarded in their totality - "all things," i.e. all beings and elements of things visible or invisible, in heaven, earth, and under the earth (see Colossians 1:16, etc.), came into being through him, through the Logos, who was in the beginning with God, and was God. The Logos is the organ or instrument by which everything, one by one, was made. Two other words are used in the New Testament to denote "creation" - κτίζειν, used in Revelation 4:11 and Colossians 1:16, a word indicating the mind and act of the Creator; and ποιεῖν, which, as in Mark 10:6, points generally to the thing made. The parts of the verb γίγνεσθαι indicate the progress of the work, the process of some creative order, the occurrence of some event in the evolution of Divine providence. This word does not by one solitary expression dogmatically convey the creative act, but the fact of the "becoming," from, it may be, the region of pure thought to that of existence, or from non-observation into prominence, or from an inchoate to a perfect development, or from nothing to something. The context must determine the fulness of its meaning. Occasionally, as in John 8:58, it is powerfully contrasted with existence: "Before Abraham was [had come into being] I am." The context here does not allow us to affirm that St. John repudiated the prior existence of the υ}λη, stuff, of which πάντα were made. He does not affirm nor deny such a prior existency or condition, but by referring the universe in all its parts and items to the Logos, he absolutely ignores the Platonic notion of eternal matter. He could scarcely be ignorant of the speculation as it entered into the Philonic interpretation and formed the basis of the Gnostic speculations which were beginning to infest the early Church. By giving, however, a Divine origin and instrument to the "becoming" of πάντα, and strengthening his statement by the negative coassurance, he absolutely excludes the dualism of Philo and of Gnostic tendency. In asserting that the Logos is he or that through whom all things were made, the writer does not lower the dignity of the Logos by regarding him merely as the ὄργανον of the Father, because the same preposition is used of the relation of the Father to the world or to his servants (Romans 11:36; Galatians 1:1; Hebrews 2:10). Elsewhere St. Paul powerfully affirms the same application of διά (1 Corinthians 8:6) to Christ's part in the Creation, reserving for the One God, the Father, the preposition ἐκ. From God and by or through God are all things, still "all things" derive their existence "through" the activity, the will, the thought, of the Logos. "The sphere contracts as the blessing enlarges [query, 'intensifies']: existence for everything; life for vegetable and animal world; light for men" (Plummer). The same idea is made more explicit by the negative form in which it is restated: and without him - that is, independently of his cooperation and volition (cf. John 15:5) - not even one thing came into being. The ὕλη could hardly be spoken of as "one thing," seeing, according to the theory, it was not a unit as opposed to a multiplicity, but the condition of all things. The ἐγένετο would drive harder against any recognition of the ὕλη than would the ἕν. There is not the faintest approach to any supposition on John's part of the existence of such a primeval entity or eternal reality. The γέγονεν gives the student of the text and of the meaning grave difficulty. From very early times the Alexandrine Fathers and numerous uncial manuscripts, and an immense group of quotations and versions, unquestionably close the sentence we have just considered with ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν, and consider the ὅγέγονεν as the subject of the following clause, translating it either, That which has come into being in him was life; or, that which has come into being was (or is) life in him - for one manuscript, א, has rendered the text more grammatical by reading ἔστι instead of η΅ν. This, adopting the supposed early punctuation, Tregelles and Westcott and Hort have introduced into the text; but R.T. has coincided with T.R. Dr. Westcott has an elaborate note affirming the deep thought involved in the "ancient punctuation," to the effect that the ὅγέγονεν refers, not merely to the original creation, ἐγένετο, but to the continued existence of that which has come into being. Of this, it is said, it derives its life, has its life in the Logos, and that this idea is expressed in a profounder way than by saying ἔχει ζωὴν; that it was life (before it was called into being, or became) in him. This profound and mysterious statement is affirmed by Dr. Moulton and Dr. Westcott to find different but clear expression in Revelation 4:11, "Thou art worthy, our Lord and our God, to receive glory, etc.; for thou didst create all things, and for thy pleasure they were [η΅σαν, the reading preferred by Tisehendorf (8th edit.) and Westcott and Herr, instead of εϊσι, 'they are'] and were created." Dr. Westcott thinks that "life" here represents "the Divine element in creation, that in virtue of which things 'are' each according to the fulness of its being." What has been created represents the eternal thought, the life that it had in the Logos before the world was. Unless one were compelled to take this thought by the exigencies of the textual criticism, we should hesitate to affirm that this can be the author's intention. To us the common punctuation is far more satisfactory m meaning: Apart from him there came into existence not one thing which has come into existence. This, in its grand comprehensiveness and individualizing of every molecule and every force, brings the mind of the reader down from eternity to time, from the creation to the preservation and providence of the world, and it prepares the way for the great assertion of the following verse. All things (πάντα)

Regarded severally. The reference is to the infinite detail of creation, rather than to creation as a whole, which is expressed by τὰ πάντα, the all (Colossians 1:16). For this reason John avoids the word κόσμος, the world, which denotes the world as a great system. Hence Bengel, quoted by Meyer, is wrong in referring to κόσμῳ (the world) of John 1:10 as a parallel.

Were made (ἐγένετο)

Literally, came into being, or became. Expressing the passage from nothingness into being, and the unfolding of a divine order. Compare John 1:14, John 1:17. Three words are used in the New Testament to express the act of creation: κτίζειν, to create (Revelation 4:11; Revelation 10:6; Colossians 1:16); ποιεῖν, to make (Revelation 14:7; Mark 10:6), both of which refer to the Creator; and γίγνεσθαι, to become, which refers to that which is created. In Mark 10:6, both words occur. "From the beginning of the creation (κτίσεως) God made" (ἐποίησεν). So in Ephesians 2:10 : "We are His workmanship (ποίημα), created (κτισθέντες) in Christ Jesus." Here the distinction is between the absolute being expressed by ἦν (see on John 1:1), and the coming into being of creation (ἐγένετο). The same contrast occurs in John 1:6, John 1:9. "A man sent from God came into being" (ἐγένετο); "the true Light was" (ἦν).

"The main conception of creation which is present in the writings of St. John is expressed by the first notice which he makes of it: All things came into being through the Word. This statement sets aside the notions of eternal matter and of inherent evil in matter. 'There was when' the world 'was not' (John 17:5, John 17:24); and, by implication, all things as made were good. The agency of the Word, 'who was God,' again excludes both the idea of a Creator essentially inferior to God, and the idea of an abstract Monotheism in which there is no living relation between the creature and the Creator; for as all things come into being 'through' the Word, so they are supported 'in' Him (John 1:3; compare Colossians 1:16 sq.; Hebrews 1:3). And yet more, the use of the term ἐγένετο, came into being, as distinguished from ἐκτίσθη, were created, suggests the thought that creation is to be regarded (according to our apprehension) as a manifestation of a divine law of love. Thus creation (all things came into being through Him) answers to the Incarnation (the Word became flesh). All the unfolding and infolding of finite being to the last issue lies in the fulfillment of His will who is love" (Westcott, on 1 John 2:17).

By Him (δἰ αὐτοῦ)

Literally, through him. The preposition διά is generally used to denote the working of God through some secondary agency, as διὰ τοῦ προφήτου, through the prophet (Matthew 1:22, on which see note). It is the preposition by which the relation of Christ to creation is usually expressed (see 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), though it is occasionally used of the Father (Hebrews 2:10; Romans 11:36, and Galatians 1:1, where it is used of both). Hence, as Godet remarks, it "does not lower the Word to the rank of a simple instrument," but merely implies a different relation to creation on the part of the Father and the Son.

Without (χωρὶς)

Literally, apart from. Compare John 15:5.

Was not anything made that was made (ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὁ γέγονεν).

Many authorities place the period after ἕν, and join ὁ γένονεν with what follows, rendering, "without Him was not anything made. That which hath been made was life in Him."

Made (ἐγένετο)

As before, came into being.

Not anything (οὐδὲ ἓν)


John 1:3 Interlinear
John 1:3 Parallel Texts

John 1:3 NIV
John 1:3 NLT
John 1:3 ESV
John 1:3 NASB
John 1:3 KJV

John 1:3 Bible Apps
John 1:3 Parallel
John 1:3 Biblia Paralela
John 1:3 Chinese Bible
John 1:3 French Bible
John 1:3 German Bible

Bible Hub

John 1:2
Top of Page
Top of Page