Now are we sure that you know all things, and need not that any man should ask you: by this we believe that you came forth from God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Now are we sure that thou knowest all things.—Comp. John 16:19; John 16:23. The “now” is emphatic, as in the previous verse. They see in His present knowledge of their thoughts, and in the light which has come to them from the statements of John 16:28, the fulfilment of the promise which He has made for the future (John 16:23). They think that the day has already come when they shall ask Him nothing, for He knows all things, and communicates to them the fulness of truth.
By this we believe that thou camest forth from God.—They had believed this before (John 16:27), but here, as frequently, St. John remembers the development of their faith. (Comp. Note on John 2:11.) They find, in His knowledge of their thoughts (John 16:19), and in the full solution which He gives to their difficulties, ground for a new faith; and upon this new proof of His divinity they have a new faith in Him. (Comp. the instance of Nathanael’s faith at the end of John 1)John 16:16. About this they conversed among themselves, John 16:17-19. It is evident that they had not mentioned their difficulty to him, and that he had not even heard their conversation among themselves, John 16:19. When, therefore, by his answers to them John 16:20-28, he showed that he clearly understood their doubts; and when he gave them an answer so satisfactory without their having inquired of him, it satisfied them that he knew the heart, and that he assuredly came from God. They were convinced that there was" no need that any man should ask him," or propose his difficulties to him, since he knew them all and could answer them. John 16:16; which they did not understand, and were desirous to ask him the meaning of, John 16:19; which he knowing, being God omniscient, prevents their putting the question to him, and enters upon a discourse, in which he so clearly explained what they wanted to be informed of, without their asking him, that they were fully assured that he must know all things;
and, as they add,
needest not that any man should ask thee: the meaning is, that should Christ deliver anything not so intelligible to any of his audience, and they were desirous of knowing the sense of it, there would be no need of putting the question in form to him, since he is privy to the first motion of desire rising up in the mind; and can, and will, if he thinks fit, explain himself on such an head, to the satisfaction of the person, without ever asking him; at least there is no need of putting the question to make him acquainted with his desire, this being before known unto him. By this we believe that thou camest forth from God; was the true Messiah, and had his mission and commission from God, as such; doubtless they believed this before, but this instance of Christ's omniscience was a strengthening proof of it. So Nathanael, by Christ's saying to him, that before Philip called him, and when he was under the fig tree, he saw him when he thought no eye did but an omniscient one; it laid him under such full convictions of him, as at once to acknowledge him the Son of God, the King of Israel. This is one of the signs and characters of the Messiah with the Jews, that he should have a discerning spirit of men and things, according to Isaiah 11:3 (c).Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 16:30. νῦν οἴδαμεν … ἐρωτᾷ. The reference is to John 16:19, where they manifested dissatisfaction with the obscurity of His utterances. Here in John 16:30 two things are stated, that Jesus has perfect knowledge, οἶδὰς πάντα, and that He knows how to communicate it, οὐ χρείαν ἔχεις ἵνα τίς σε ἐρωτᾷ. Convinced that He possessed these qualifications, they felt constrained to accept Him as a teacher come from God, ἐν τούτῳ (“herein,” or “by this,” ἐκ τούτου in modern Greek version) πιστεύομεν ὅτι ἀπὸ Θεοῦ ἐξῆλθες, cf. John 3:2.30. are we sure] Better, we know; it is the same verb as ‘thou knowest,’ and the capricious change of rendering is regrettable. There is a similarly capricious change 2 Corinthians 12:2-3. Christ had spoken in the future tense (John 16:23); they emphatically speak in the present; ‘now we know.’ They feel that His gracious promise is already being fulfilled.
thou knowest all things] He had shewn them that He had read their hearts (John 16:19); like the Samaritan woman (John 4:29; John 4:39) they conclude that He knows all.
by this] Or, Herein (see on John 4:37); literally ‘in this.’ His all-embracing knowledge is that in which their faith has root.
we believe that] The Greek might mean, ‘we believe, because, &c.’ But the A. V. is more in accordance with the context and with S. John’s usage.
forth from God] They refer to Christ’s mission only (John 16:27), not to the Eternal Generation of the Son (John 16:28).John 16:30. Πάντα, all things) even the state of men’s hearts. Even though thou art asked no question by any man, yet thy words are adapted to all.—καὶ οὐ, and thou needest not) There is one Teacher alone, who, without being asked, satisfies the wants of His disciples. Many in our days learn but little, because they are not wont to ask any questions of their teachers, who certainly are not omniscient [so as to know their wants without being told them].—πιστεύομεν, ὅτι ἀπὸ Θεοῦ ἐξῆλθες, we believe that Thou earnest forth from God) i.e. we “believe in God, and believe also in Thee.” And so Jesus has convinced them. Comp. ch. John 14:1, Believe (Imperative, not Indic. as Engl. Vers. See Beng., note).Verse 30. - Now know we that thou knowest all things. He had answered their unutterable yearning. That which stirred them very deeply on many occasions was this proof that nothing in their hearts was hidden from him. Nathanael was one of them, and now he saw "angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man." "Thou knowest all things." The idea in their minds does not embrace the full range of human inquiry, nor the depths of Deity, but all the things which are in their hearts to ask him. Their word is true even if in their intention they fall short of ascribing omniscience to their Lord. And thou hast no need that any one should put to thee these inquiries. Thou hast sounded the depths of our hearts, and found out the unutterable and unuttered within us. When we were afraid to ask thee concerning "the little while," thou didst discern our unspoken yearning, and now thou art so establishing thy Divine claim upon our reverence and affection, that we can trust thee to give us all needful illumination when we most require it. In this fact, in this consideration just stated, we find our justification and the cause of our faith. We believe that thou earnest forth from (ἀπό) God (ἀπό differs from the solemnity of the παρά or the ἐκ of Ver. 28. Though Lange makes the ὅτι equivalent to "because," yet generally John gives to the ὅτι which follows a verb after ἐν τούτῳ the sense of "that," thus introducing the object of the verb, though in one place, 1 John 4:13, both constructions are seen in the same sentence. The objective force of "that" is to be preferred here). We believe that thy whole ministry and message is a revelation of God, a coming near to us of the Father. Thy name is "Immanuel, God with us." A question arises whether the disciples in this gush of faith said more than they really meant, and deserved reproof, or whether they had reached an elevation of thought from which they never would absolutely recede.
Better, as Rev., we know.
By this (ἐν τούτῳ)
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