And many more believed because of his own word;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And many more believed.—The veil is left upon those two days, as upon so many days in the life of Christ. We know how much was said at the well in a few minutes, and that many believed on Him in a few hours. What questions they must have asked! What truths He must have taught during this sojourn! How that central truth of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man must have burned in the hearts of this mixed and despised people! Salvation was of the Jews, and they were from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim. But Fatherhood is a truth for every heart of man, and He who thus linked heaven and earth was the Saviour of the world. We know not what words passed from them to Him, from Him to them; but we know that the result was that many more believed, and that those who before believed on testimony passed to the higher faith of personal conviction.John 4:41-42. And many more believed — “This was the more extraordinary, as they not only had a national prejudice against him as a Jew, but, living near mount Gerizim, had a particular interest in maintaining the usual worship there; which must have been very advantageous to the neighbourhood. Perhaps on this they would no longer worship there, which might irritate the rest of the Samaritans, and in part provoke the ill usage that Christ afterward met with in this country. Luke 9:52.” — Doddridge. Because of his own word — Which commended itself to their reason and consciences, as certainly true, and infinitely important. And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying — Not chiefly on account of it; for we have heard him ourselves — Have heard such excellent and divine truths from him, accompanied with such commanding power and evidence, that we are abundantly satisfied, that this is indeed the Christ, the expected Messiah; the Saviour of the world — And not of the Jewish nation only. The Samaritans might probably collect, from what was prophesied by Jacob of the Messiah, Genesis 49:10, to him shall the gathering of the people be, that the Gentile nations were to receive some benefit by his coming, and one way or another to be subjected to him; and Christ’s discourse might confirm that apprehension. But there is no reason at all to believe they perfectly understood the doctrine of the calling of the idolatrous Gentiles, which was so long a mystery even to the apostles themselves. Thus was the seed of the gospel sown in Samaria. What effect there was of this afterward doth not appear; but we find that four or five years after, when Philip preached the gospel in Samaria, he found so much blessed remains of this good work now wrought, that the people, with one accord, gave heed to those things which Philip spoke, Acts 8:5-8; but as some were easily influenced to good now, so were others to evil afterward, when Simon Magus bewitched many with his sorceries, John 4:9-10.John 4:39, from what followeth, John 4:42. There it seemeth only to signify a lower degree of assent, that he was a prophet, upon the woman’s saying that he had told her all she had done; here it signifieth a giving credit to him as the Christ, the Saviour of the world, of which they were convinced by what they heard from himself. Thus that of the apostle, Romans 10:17, is justified, that faith cometh by hearing; and the influence of Christ upon the souls of believers is also justified. We read of no miracles our Saviour wrought here; they believed not because of any signs they saw, but because of his word; wherein also they further showed themselves the first fruit of the Gentiles, the generality of which were afterward converted to the faith of the gospel, after that miracles were ceased, by hearing the gospel preached.
Because of his own word; which came to them, not in word only, but in power, and was the power of God unto salvation to them; and was received by them, not as the word of man, but as the word of God; and it wrought effectually in them, and was an hammer to break their rocky hearts in pieces, and to bring them into subjection to himself, his Gospel and ordinances: whether his word or doctrine was accompanied with miracles is not certain; this shows, that their faith in him was founded on his own word, which fell with great weight upon them. It seems to have an emphasis laid upon it, his own word, in distinction from the woman's saying.And many more believed because of his own word;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 4:41. The result was that πολλῷ πλείους, a far larger number than had believed owing to the woman’s report now believed διὰ τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ, on account of what they heard from Jesus Himself. This is a faith approved by John, because based not on miracles but on the word of Christ.—οὐκέτι … καὶ οἴδαμεν. No longer do we believe on account of your talk [λαλιάν, not λόγον], for we ourselves have heard and know. This could only be said by those who went out first from the city, not by those many more who afterwards believed. They felt that their faith was now firmer and stronger, more worthy to be called faith. This mature belief expressed itself in the confession οὗτός ἐστιν ἀληθῶς ὁ σωτὴρ τοῦ κόσμου ὁ Χριστός. The title “Saviour of the World” was of course prompted by the teaching of Jesus Himself during His two days’ residence. To suppose, with several interpreters, that it is put into the mouth of the Samaritans by the evangelist is to suppose that during these two days Jesus did not disclose to them that He was the Saviour of the World. [“It probably belongs not to the Samaritans but to the evangelist. At the same time it is possible that such an epithet might be employed by them merely as synonymous with ‘Messiah’ ”—Sanday.]
Doubt has been cast on the historicity of this narrative by Baur, who thinks the woman is a type of susceptible heathendom; and by Strauss, who thinks it was invented for the purpose of showing that Jesus personally taught not only in Galilee, Judaea, and Perea, but also in Samaria. “How natural the tendency to perfect the agency of Jesus, by representing Him to have sown the heavenly seed in Samaria, thus extending His Ministry through all parts of Palestine; to limit the glory of the apostles and other teachers to that of being the mere reapers of the harvest in Samaria; and to put this distinction, on a suitable occasion, into the mouth of Jesus!” Holtzmann’s idea of this section of the Gospel is similar. The fictitious character of the narrative seems to be mainly based on its great significance for the life of Christ. As if the actual events of His life were not significant. Stress too is laid on the circumstance that among simple peoples all striking incidents, conversations, recognitions, take place at wells. In other words, wells are common meeting-places, therefore this meeting at a well cannot have taken place.John 4:41. Αὐτοῦ) Of Himself.Verses 41, 42. - And very many more believed, during that visit, by reason of his word - Christ's own word. We know not what the word was, but the specimens which John has recorded make us certain that torrents of living water flowed from his lips. He was moving in the full power of the Spirit. He was unveiling the nature of that "salvation" which was, as he said, "from the Jews;" but a salvation which affected and was adapted to the whole world. And they (repeatedly) said to the woman (the play of aorist and imperfect tenses throughout this passage is very noteworthy), No longer do we believe by reason of thy speaking. The word λαλιά does not generally connote so serious a meaning as λόγος. The first word is used for "utterance" pure and simple (Matthew 26:73), and for the inarticulate voices of lower creatures as well, while λόγος and λέγειν never have the latter meaning; but still λαλιά is used in classical Greek for "discourse," and in John 8:43 is used by Christ of his own "utterance." Meyer says the term is purposely chosen from the standpoint of the speaker, while in ver. 39 λόγος is used of the same λαλιά by St. John as narrator. The above are the only times the term is found in the New Testament. For we have ourselves heard, and we know - fully, by personal intuition (we might have expected ἐγνῶμεν here) - that this is indeed the Saviour of the world. This sublime description only occurs in one other place in the New Testament (viz. 1 John 4:14), and here it falls from the lips of a Samaritan. There is no improbability that it should have expressed the thought of Samaritans, for they entertained wider and less nationalized views than did the Jews. Baur's notion, that the author wished to contrast heathen or Gentile susceptibility with Jewish narrowness and reserve, is out of keeping with the facts. A genuine heathen would have been as easy to invent as a susceptible Samaritan. "The Saviour of the world" is one of the noblest and most accurate terms in all the Bible to denote the work of Christ. It is the outcome of a discourse and of teaching which led men to the idea of spiritual and sincere worship of the Father, which searched for moral conditions rather than orthodox ritual, which demanded purity of life more than outward observance, and treated doing the will and work of the Father as more indispensable than necessary food. We need not be surprised (Acts 8.) to find the outcome of this sojourn of the Divine Lord among the misunderstood and hated Samaritans. The effort of the Tubingen school to find in this narrative an idealization of the synoptic tradition of Christ's special beneficence towards the Samaritans is very unfortunate, because, in Matthew 10:5, the "twelve" were forbidden to enter into cities of the Samaritans, and advised to occupy all their energies in evangelizing the cities of Israel. The record of Acts 8. affords very slender basis for a corresponding enlargement. The narrative before us shows that, in answer to the receptivity of the Samaritans, the Lord made the richest and fullest and most explicit and immediate revelation of himself. The extension of the kingdom of grace to Samaritans, and their incorporation into the body of Christ, was arrested by the need of the visit of the apostles, by the magic and hypocrisy of Simon; of which there is not here the slightest trace.
Literally, more by much; i.e., far more, with reference to the simple πολλοὶ, many, in John 4:39.
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