John 1:4
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) In him was life.—The creation, the calling into existence life in its varied forms, leads up to the source of this life. It is in the Word by original being, while of the highest creature made “in the image of God” we are told that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).

“Life” has here no limitation, and is to be understood in its widest sense; the life of the body, even of organisms which we commonly think of as inanimate, the life of the soul, the life of the spirit; life in the present, so far as there is communion with the eternal source of life; life in the future, when the idea shall be realised and the communion be complete.

Was.—This is in the Greek the same verb of existence that we have had in John 1:1-2, and is different from the word in John 1:3. Comp. Notes on John 1:6, and John 8:58. It places us, then, at the same starting point of time. The Word was ever life, and from the first existence of any creature became a source of life to others. But the “was” of the first clause of this verse should not be pressed, for we are not quite certain that the original text contained it. Two of our oldest MSS. have “is,” which is supported by other evidence, and is not in itself an improbable reading. The meaning in this case would be “in the Word there ever is life.” Creation is not merely a definite act. There is a constant development of the germs implanted in all the varied forms of being, and these find their sustaining power in the one central source of life. The thought will meet us again in John 1:17; but see especially the expression, “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3, Note).

And the life was the light of men.—We are led from the relation of the Word to the universe to His relation to mankind. That which to lower beings in the scale of creation was more or less fully life, as the nature of each was more or less receptive of its power, is to the being endowed with a moral nature and made in the divine image the satisfaction of every moral need, and the revelation of the divine Being. The “was” still carries us back to the first days of time, when creation in all the beauty of its youth was unstained by sin, when no night had fallen on the moral world, but when there was the brightness of an ever-constant noon-tide in the presence of God. But here, too, the “was” passes in sense into the “is.” “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” In every man there are rays of light, stronger or feebler, in greater or lesser darkness. In every man there is a power to see the light, and open his soul to it, and the more he has it still to crave for more. This going forth of the soul to God, is the seeking for life. The Word is the going forth of God to the soul. He is life. In the feeling after, there is finding. The moral struggle is the moral strength. The eye that seeks for light cannot seek in vain. The life was and is the light of men.

John 1:4-5. In him — Or, through him, as Beza understands it; was life — He was the living and powerful Word, which was the source of life to every living creature, as well as of being to all that exists. And the life was the light of men — He, who is essential life, and the author of life to all that live, was also the fountain of wisdom, holiness, and happiness to man in his original state. And the light shineth in darkness — Namely, in the darkness, or amid the ignorance and folly, sinfulness and wretchedness of fallen man. This has been the case from the time of man’s fall, through all ages, and in all nations of the world; the light of reason and conscience, as well as the light issuing from the works of creation and providence, and the various discoveries of God and his will made to and by the patriarchs and prophets, being through and from him: But the darkness comprehended it not — Did not advert to it, so as to understand and profit by it, as it might have done by the instruction thus communicated. It became necessary, therefore, in order to the more full illumination and the salvation of mankind, that God should give a more perfect revelation of his mind and will, than he had given in former ages. Of this the evangelist speaks next. 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.In him was life - The evangelist had just affirmed John 5:3 that by the λόγος Logos or "Word" the world was originally created. One part of that creation consisted "in breathing into man the breath of life," Genesis 2:7. God is declared to be "life," or the "living" God, because he is the source or fountain of life. This attribute is here ascribed to Jesus Christ. He not merely made the material worlds, but he also gave "life." He was the agent by which the vegetable world became animated; by which brutes live; and by which man became a living soul, or was endowed with immortality. This was a "higher" proof that the "Word was God," than the creation of the material worlds; but there is another sense in which he was "life." The "new creation," or the renovation of man and his restoration from a state of sin, is often compared with the "first creation;" and as the λόγος Logos was the source of "life" then, so, in a similar but higher sense, he is the source of "life" to the soul dead in trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:1. And it is probably in reference to this that he is so often called "life" in the writings of John. "For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in him self," John 5:26; "He giveth life unto the world," John 6:33; "I am the resurrection and the life," John 11:25; "This is the true God and eternal life," John 5:20. See also 1 John 1:1-2; 1 John 5:11; Acts 3:15; Colossians 3:4. The meaning is: that he is the source or the fountain of both natural and spiritual life. Of course he has the attributes of God.

The life was the light of men - "Light" is that by which we see objects distinctly. The light of the sun enables us to discern the form, the distance, the magnitude, and the relation of objects, and prevents the perplexities and dangers which result from a state of darkness. Light is in all languages, therefore, put for "knowledge" - for whatever enables us to discern our duty, and that saves us from the evils of ignorance and error. "Whatsoever doth make manifest is light," Ephesians 5:13. See Isaiah 8:20; Isaiah 9:2. The Messiah was predicted as the "light" of the world, Isaiah 9:2, compared with Matthew 4:15-16; Isaiah 60:1. See John 8:12; "I am the light of the world;" John 12:35-36, John 12:46; "I am come a light into the world." The meaning is, that the λόγος Logos or Word of God is the "instructor or teacher" of mankind. This was done before his advent by his direct agency in giving man reason or understanding, and in giving his law, for the "law was ordained by angels 'in the hand of a mediator'" Galatians 3:19; after his advent by his personal ministry when on earth, by his Spirit John 14:16, John 14:26, and by his ministers since, Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:28.

4. In Him was life—essentially and originally, as the previous verses show to be the meaning. Thus He is the Living Word, or, as He is called in 1Jo 1:1, 2, "the Word of Life."

the life … the light of men—All that in men which is true light—knowledge, integrity, intelligent, willing subjection to God, love to Him and to their fellow creatures, wisdom, purity, holy joy, rational happiness—all this "light of men" has its fountain in the essential original "life" of "the Word" (1Jo 1:5-7; Ps 36:9).

In him was life; in this Word was life corporal, spiritual, eternal; it was in him as in the fountain. Some understand this of corporal life, both in the first being and preservation of it; it is certain that this is in Christ, for he upholdeth all things by the word of his power, Hebrews 1:3 Acts 17:28; and thus it is another demonstration of the Deity of Christ. Others think that here is rather a transition from creation to redemption; you hath he quickened, Ephesians 2:1. Others understand it of eternal life, because our evangelist most generally taketh the term life, as a benefit flowing from Christ, in this sense, as Ephesians 3:16, and Ephesians 4:14, and in a multitude of other texts. I know no reason why we should not understand it of all life; all life being in Christ, as God equal with the Father; and spiritual and eternal life flowing also from him in a more peculiar consideration, as Mediator.

And the life was the light of men: but though as God he distributes life according to their degree to all his creatures, yet he is the peculiar light of men, enlightening their minds with light of which vegetative and sensitive creatures are not capable; so as by light is not here to be understood the emanations of any lucid bodies, as that of the sun or stars, for other creatures as well as men are capable of that; nor is it to be understood of the light of reason, though that be the candle of the Lord in the soul; but that light by which we discern the things of God; in which sense the apostle saith, Ephesians 5:8, Ye were darkness, but now ye are light in the Lord. And therefore he saith of men, exclusively to angels, who though lightsome, noble creatures, yet had not their nature assumed by Christ, Hebrews 2:16. Besides that it is said in the next verse, that this light shineth in darkness, that is, amongst many men who yet had reasonable souls, but the darkness comprehended it not. That cannot be, that men did not comprehend reason, but even rational men comprehended not this light of supernatural revelation. So John is said to have come to testify of that light; who did not come to testify of Christ, as the author of reason. Nor is there any text of Scripture in which the term light signifieth reason. In him was life,.... The Persic version reads in the plural number, "lives". There was life in the word with respect to himself; a divine life, the same with the life of the Father and of the Spirit; and is in him, not by gift, nor by derivation or communication; but originally, and independently, and from all eternity: indeed he lived before his incarnation as Mediator, and Redeemer. Job knew him in his time, as his living Redeemer; but this regards him as the word and living God, and distinguishes him from the written word, and shows that he is not a mere idea in the divine mind, but a truly divine person: and there was life in Christ the word, with respect to others; the fountain of natural life is in him, he is the efficient cause, and preserver of it; whether vegetative, animal, or rational; and proves him to be truly God, and that he existed before his incarnation; since creatures, who have received such a life from him, did: and spiritual life was also in him; all his elect are dead in trespasses and sins, and cannot quicken themselves. Christ has procured life for them, and gives it to them, and implants it in them; a life of sanctification is from him; and a life of justification is upon him, and of faith is by him; all the comforts of a spiritual life, and all things appertaining to it, are from him, and he maintains, and preserves it. Eternal life is in him, and with him; not the purpose of it only, nor the promise of it barely, but the gift of it itself; which was granted in consequence of his asking it, and which he had by way of stipulation; and hence has a right and power to bestow it: now, this being in him proves him to be the true God, and shows us where life is to be had, and the safety and security of it:

and the life was the light of men; the life which was in, and by the word, was, with respect to men, a life of light, or a life attended with light: by which is meant, not a mere visive faculty, receptive of the sun's light, but rational knowledge and understanding; for when Christ, the word, breathed into man the breath of life, and he became a living soul, he filled him with rational light and knowledge. Adam had a knowledge of God; of his being, and perfections; of the persons in the Trinity; of his relation to God, dependence on him, and obligation to him; of his mind and will; and knew what it was to have communion with him. He knew much of himself, and of all the creatures; this knowledge was natural and perfect in its kind, but loseable; and different from that which saints now have of God, through Christ, the Mediator; and since this natural light was from Christ, the word, as a Creator, he must be the eternal God. The Socinians are not willing to allow this sense, but say that Christ is the light of men, by preaching the heavenly doctrine, and by the example of his holy life; but hereby he did not enlighten every man that cometh into the world; the greatest part of men, before the preaching, and example of Christ, sat in darkness; and the greatest part of the Jews remained in darkness, notwithstanding his preaching, and example; and the patriarchs that were enlightened under the former dispensation, were not enlightened this way: it will be owned, that all spiritual and supernatural light, which any of the sons of men have had, since the fall, was from Christ, from whom they had their spiritual life; even all spiritual light in conversion, and all after degrees of light; through him they enjoyed the light of God's countenance, and had the light of joy and gladness here, and of glory hereafter.

{i} In him {k} was life; and the life was {l} the light of men.

(i) That is, by him: and this is spoken after the manner of the Hebrews, meaning by this that by his force and working power all life comes to the world.

(k) That is, even at that time when all things were made by him, for otherwise he would have said, Life in him, and not life was.

(l) That force of reason and understanding which is kindled in our minds to acknowledge him, the author of so great a benefit.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 1:4. An advance to the nature of the Logos[77] as life, and thereby as light.

ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν] in Him, was life, He was πηγὴ ζωῆς (Philo). Life was that which existed in Him, of which He was full. This must be taken in the most comprehensive sense, nothing that is life being excluded, physical, moral, eternal life (so already Chrysostom),—all life was contained in the Logos, as in its principle and source. No limitation of the conception, especially as ζωή is without the article (comp. John 5:26), has any warrant from the context; hence it is not to be understood either merely of physical life, so far as it may be the sustaining power (B. Crusius, comp. Chrysostom, Euthymius Zigabenus, Calvin), or of spiritual and eternal life,—of the Johannean ζωὴ αἰώνιος (Origen, Maldonatus, Lampe, Kuinoel, Köstlin, Hengstenberg, Weiss), where Hengstenberg drags in the negative notion that the creature was excluded from life until Christ was manifested in the flesh, and that down to the time of His incarnation He had only been virtually life and light.

καὶ ἡ ζωὴ, κ.τ.λ.] and the life, of which the Logos was the possessor, was the light of men. The exposition then passes over from the universal to the relation of the Logos to mankind; for, being Himself the universal source of life to the world made by Him, He was as such unable to remain inactive, least of all with respect to men, but shows Himself as operating upon them conformably to their rational and moral nature, especially as the light, according to the necessary connection of life and light in opposition to death and darkness. (Comp. John 8:12; Psalm 36:10; Ephesians 5:14; Luke 1:78-79.) The light is truth pure and divine, theoretical and moral (both combined by an inner necessity, and not simply the former, as Weiss maintains), the reception and appropriation of which enlightens the man (υἱὸς φωτός, John 12:36), whose non-appropriation and non-acceptance into the consciousness determines the condition of darkness. The Life was the Light of men, because in its working upon them it was the necessary determining power of their illumination. Comp. such expressions as those in John 11:25, John 14:6, John 17:3. Nothing as yet is said of the working of the Logos after His incarnation (John 14:6), but (observe the ἦν) that the divine truth in that primeval time came to man from the Logos as the source of life; life in Him was for mankind the actively communicating principle of the divine ἀλήθεια, in the possession of which they lived in that fair morning of creation, before through sin darkness had broken in upon them. This reference to the time when man, created after God’s image, remained in a state of innocency, is necessarily required by the ἦν, which, like the preceding ἦν, must refer to the creation-period indicated in John 1:3. But we are thus at the same time debarred from understanding, as here belonging to the enlightening action of the Logos, God’s revelations to the Hebrews and later Jews (comp. Isaiah 2:5), by the prophets, etc. (Ewald), or even from thinking of the elements of moral and religious truth to be found in heathendom (λόγος σπερματικός). In that fresh, untroubled primeval age, when the Logos as the source of life was the Light of men, the antithesis of light and darkness did not yet exist; this tragic antithesis, however, as John’s readers knew, originated with the fall, and had continued ever after. There follows, therefore, after a fond recalling of that fair bygone time (John 1:4), the painful and mournful declaration of the later and still enduring relation (John 1:5), where the light still shines indeed, but in darkness,—a darkness which had not received it. If that reference, however, which is to be kept closely in view, of ἦν to the time of the world’s creation, and also this representation of the onward movement of our narrative, be correct, it cannot also be explained of the continuous (John 1:17) creative activity of the Logos, through which a consciousness and recognition of the highest truth have been developed among men (De Wette); and just as little may we find in τὸ φῶς τ. ἀνθρ. what belongs to the Logos in His essence only, in which case the reading ἐστί would (against Brückner) be more appropriate; comp. φωτίζει, John 1:9. As in ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, so also by ἦν τὸ φῶς τ. ἀνθρ. must be expressed what the Logos was in His historical activity, and not merely what He was virtually (Hengstenberg). Comp. Godet, who, however, without any hint from the text, or any historical appropriateness whatever, finds in “life and light” a reminiscence of the trees of life and of knowledge in Paradise.

[77] The Logos must necessarily be taken as in vv. 1–3, but not from ver. 4 onwards in Hofmann’s sense, as no longer a person but a thing, viz. the Gospel, as Röhricht (p. 315) maintains, as if the verbum vocale were now a designation of Christ, who is the bearer of it. No such change of meaning is indicated in the text, and it only brings confusion into the clear advance of the thought.John 1:4. ἐν αυτῷ ζωὴ ἦν. “In Him was life”; that power which creates life and maintains all else in existence was in the Logos. To limit “life” here to any particular form of life is rendered impossible by John 1:3. In John ζωή is generally eternal or spiritual life, but here it is more comprehensive. In the Logos was life, and it is of this life all things have partaken and by it they exist. Cf. Philo’s designation of the Logos as πηγὴ ζωῆς.—καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἧν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων, “and the life was the light of men”; the life which was the fountain of existence to all things was especially the light of man Lücke). It was not the Logos directly but the life which was in the Logos which was the light of men. O. Holtzmann thinks this only means that as men received life from the Logos they might be expected in the gift to recognise the Giver. Godet says: “The Logos is light; but it is through the mediation of life that He must become so always; this is precisely the relation which the Gospel restores. We recover through the new creation in Jesus Christ an inner light which springs up from the life.” Stevens says: “The Word represents the self-manifesting quality of the Divine life. This heavenly light shines in the darkness of the world’s ignorance and sin.” The words seem to mean that the life which appears in the variety, harmony, and progress of inanimate nature, and in the wonderfully manifold yet related forms of animate existence, appears in man as “light,” intellectual and moral light, reason and conscience. To the Logos men may address the words of Psalm 36:9, παρὰ σοὶ πηγὴ ζωῆς, ἐν τῷ φωτί σου ὀψόμεθα φῶς.4. In him was life] He was the well-spring from which every form of life—physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, eternal—flows. See on John 5:26.

Observe how frequently S. John’s thoughts overlap and run into one another. Creation leads on to life, and life leads on to light. Without life creation would be unintelligible; without light all but the lowest forms of life would be impossible.

the light] Not ‘light,’ but ‘the Light,’ the one true Light; absolute Truth both intellectual and moral, free from all ignorance and all stain. The Source of life is the Source of light.

the light of men] Man shares life with all organic creatures; light, or Revelation, is for him alone. The communication of Divine truth before the Fall is specially meant.John 1:4. Ἐν, in) First, John says, In Him was life: (comp. ch. John 5:26, “For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself”). Then he calls Him the Life. So in 1 John 1:1-2, first he calls Him the Word of Life, then the Life; and in the same chapter, John 1:5; John 1:7, God is said to be Light, and to be in the light. John especially imitates the expressions of the Lord Jesus.[12]—ΖΩΉ, life) After the consideration of being [esse], the next consideration is as to living [vivere]. Then [the result of life entering the world] there is no death, there is then no nature devoid of grace.—καὶ ἡ ζωή, and the Life) The Subject: the Life, bestowing life on all things, which were alive.—ἦν τὸ φῶς, was the Light) Light and Life together: ch. John 8:12, “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life: 1 Timothy 6:16, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto:” Php 2:15-16, “Ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life.” As on the opposite side, צלמות, Darkness and death. Quickening is, however, prior to illumination.—ΤῶΝ ἈΝΘΡΏΠΩΝ, of men) Of all men in the state of innocency, from which there ought not to be separated the consideration as to the Logos.[13] Men: nowhere is this expression used for Adam and his wife; so it denotes mankind. The evangelist here is come from the whole to the part—from those things which were made, or which were alive, to rational beings. In relation to the several particulars, ὁ λογος, the Speech [Sermo], has the signification suited to each.

[12] John 8:12. That which thus harmonizes with the intimate relation between the beloved disciple and Jesus, is made a ground of cavil by Rationalists; viz. that elsewhere John puts into Jesus’ mouth a phraseology which is not Jesus’ but his own.—E.

[13] Or, of man in his ideal.—E.Verse 4. -

(a) The Life, and therefore inclusive of the fact that the Logos always has been and now is

(b) the Light of men. In him was life. "Life" in all its fulness of meaning - that grand addition to things which confers upon them all their significance for men. There is one impassable chasm which neither history, nor science, nor philosophy can span, viz. that between nothing and something. The evangelist has found the only possible method of facing it - by the conception of One who from eternity has within himself the potency of the transition. There is another impassable chasm in thought - that between non-living atoms and living energies and individualities. The assertion now is that life, ζωή, with all its manifestations and in all its regions; that the life of plant, tree, and animal, the life of man, of society, and of worlds as such; that the life of the body, soul, and spirit, the life transitory and the life eternal (ζωὴ αἰώνιος), was in the Logos, "who was God and in the beginning with God." Elsewhere in the Gospel Jesus said that "as the Father had life in himself, so he gave to the Son to have life in himself" (John 5:26); i.e. he communicated to the Son his own Divine self-dependence. The Gospel, however, lays the greatest emphasis on the life-giving powers of the Christ as incarnate Logos. The healing of the impotent man (ch. 5.), the raising of the dead Lazarus (ch. 11.), are chosen proofs of his life-giving energy. His claim (ch. 10.) to retake the life that he would voluntarily relinquish, and the august majesty with which, in his resurrection life (ch. 20, 21.), he proclaimed his absolute and final victory over death, constitute the reasons which induced the evangelist to lay down at the very outset that in the Logos was life. Life, in all its energies, past, present, and future, is an outcome, an effluence, of the Eternal Word. And the life was (and is) the light of men. Observe, it is not said here that physical life is a consequence or issue of the solar beam, or of the Word which in the beginning called light out of darkness. All the religious systems of the East and all modern sciences agree to extol and all but worship the light force, with all that seems so inseparably associated with it. The evangelist was reaching after something far more momentous even than that dogma of ancient faith and modern science. He is not speaking of "the light of the sun," but of "the light of men." Whatever this illumination may include, John does not refer it directly to the Logos, but to the life which is "in him." "The light of men" has been differently conceived by expositors. Calvin supposed that the "understanding" was intended - "that the life of men was not of an ordinary description, but was united to the light of understanding," and is that by which man is differentiated from animals. Hengstenberg regards it, in consequence of numerous associations of "light" with "salvation" in Holy Scripture, as equivalent to salvation; Luthardt with "holiness;" and many with the "eternal life," which would introduce great tautology. The context is our best guide. This light is said to be the veritable light which lighteth every man, and to be shining into darkness. Consequently, to make it the complex of all the gracious processes which beautify the renewed soul is to hurry on faster than the apostle, and to anticipate the evolution of his thought. "The light of men" seems to be the faculty or condition, the inward and outward means, by which men know God. "The light of men" is the conscience and reason, the eye of the soul by which the human race comes into contact with truth and right and beauty. The perfections of God answering to these functions of the soul are not, and were never, manifested in mere matter or force. Until we survey the operations of God in life we have no hint of either. The lower forms of life in plant or animal may reveal the wisdom and beneficence and 'beauty of the Logos, and so far some light shines upon man; but even these have never been adequately appreciated until the life of man himself comes into view, then the Divine perfections of righteousness and moral loveliness break upon the eye of the soul. In the life of conscience and reason a higher and more revealing light is made to shine upon man, upon his origin, upon his Divine image, upon his destiny. In the spiritual life which has been superinduced upon the life of the conscience and of the flesh, there is the highest light, the brightest and warmest and most potent rays of the whole spectrum of Divine illumination. "The life" which was in the Logos "was," has always been, is now, will ever be, "the light of men." The plural, "of men" (τῶν ἀνθρώπων), justifies this larger and sweeping generalization. The two "imperfects" (η΅ν) placing the process in the past do not compel us to limit the operation to the past or ideal sphere. They assert what was "in the beginning," and which can never cease to be; but they partly imply further consequences, which the actual condition of man has introduced. In Him was life (ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν)

He was the fountain of life - physical, moral, and eternal - its principle and source. Two words for life are employed in the New Testament: βίος and ζωὴ. The primary distinction is that ζωὴ means existence as contrasted with death, and βίος, the period, means, or manner of existence. Hence βίος is originally the higher word, being used of men, while ζωὴ is used of animals (ζῶα). We speak therefore of the discussion of the life and habits of animals as zoology; and of accounts of men's lives as biography. Animals have the vital principle in common with men, but men lead lives controlled by intellect and will, and directed to moral and intellectual ends. In the New Testament, βίος means either living, i.e., means of subsistence (Mark 12:44; Luke 8:43), or course of life, life regarded as an economy (Luke 8:14; 1 Timothy 2:2; 2 Timothy 2:4). Ζωὴ occurs in the lower sense of life, considered principally or wholly as existence (1 Peter 3:10; Acts 8:33; Acts 17:25; Hebrews 7:3). There seems to be a significance in the use of the word in Luke 16:25 : "Thou in thy lifetime (ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου) receivedst thy good things;" the intimation being that the rich man's life had been little better than mere existence, and not life at all in the true sense. But throughout the New Testament ζωὴ is the nobler word, seeming to have changed places with βίος. It expresses the sum of mortal and eternal blessedness (Matthew 25:46; Luke 18:30; John 11:25; Acts 2:28; Romans 5:17; Romans 6:4), and that not only in respect of men, but also of God and Christ. So here. Compare John 5:26; John 14:6; 1 John 1:2. This change is due to the gospel revelation of the essential connection of sin with death, and consequently, of life with holiness. "Whatever truly lives, does so because sin has never found place in it, or, having found place for a time, has since been overcome and expelled" (Trench).

Ζωὴ is a favorite word with John. See John 11:25; John 14:6; John 8:12; 1 John 1:2; 1 John 5:20; John 6:35, John 6:48; John 6:63; Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:17; Revelation 7:17; John 4:14; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2, Revelation 22:14, Revelation 22:19; John 12:50; John 17:3; John 20:31; John 5:26; John 6:53, John 6:54; John 5:40; John 3:15, John 3:16, John 3:36; John 10:10; John 5:24; John 12:25; John 6:27; John 4:36; 1 John 5:12, 1 John 5:16; John 6:51.

Was the Light of men (ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων)

Passing from the thought of creation in general to that of mankind, who, in the whole range of created things, had a special capacity for receiving the divine. The Light - the peculiar mode of the divine operation upon men, conformably to their rational and moral nature which alone was fitted to receive the light of divine truth. It is not said that the Word was light, but that the life was the light. The Word becomes light through the medium of life, of spiritual life, just as sight is a function of physical life. Compare John 14:6, where Christ becomes the life through being the truth; and Matthew 5:8, where the pure heart is the medium through which God is beheld. In whatever mode of manifestation the Word is in the world, He is the light of the world; in His works, in the dawn of creation; in the happy conditions of Eden; in the Patriarchs, in the Law and the Prophets, in His incarnation, and in the subsequent history of the Church. Compare John 9:5. Of men, as a class, and not of individuals only.

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