There is another that bears witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesses of me is true.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)There is another . . .—i.e., the Father. The reference to the Baptist is excluded by the words which follow. The difficulty which has been seen in this indirect reference to the Father is removed if we connect the words closely with those preceding them. The point is in the fact that another, different in personality from Himself, bore witness of Him. (Comp. John 8:50; Matthew 10:28, et al.)
I know . . .—This has seemed to have a natural meaning if it is the authority given to John’s witness, but to be less fitting if applied to the Father’s. In two of the oldest MSS., and some of the earliest versions, we read “ye know,” and this has been adopted by some modern editors; but the origin of this reading is obvious, and there is no sufficient reason for departing from the common text. Its meaning is quite in harmony with the relation of the Son to the Father, which has been dwelt upon. The Father beareth witness, is bearing witness (comp. John 5:37), in the unity of work which Son and Father alike work (John 5:17; John 5:19-20; John 5:30), and the Son knows that His power to do this work can come from no other source. His own nature responds to the Father’s voice; He knows it to be true. (Comp. John 3:33.)John 5:36.
and I know that the witness, &c.—"This is the Son's testimony to the Father's truth (see Joh 7:28; 8:26, 55). It testifies to the full consciousness on the part of the Son, even in the days of His humiliation, of the righteousness of the Father" [Alford]. And thus He cheered His spirit under the cloud of human opposition which was already gathering over His head.Matthew 3:17. Some understand it of John the Baptist, of whom he speaketh, John 5:33. But he naming John in the next verse, it seems most proper to understand this of the Father testifying of Christ, both at his baptism, and also at his transfiguration; and to interpret the next verse, as speaking of another testimony distinct from that of John.
And (saith our Saviour) I know, that is, I am fully assured, that his testimony of me is true; for God is that God who cannot lie, but is truth itself. So that I do not barely testify of myself; for my Father, whom you all own to be a God of truth, and who cannot lie, and whom know to be such, he testifieth of me, and none can contradict his testimony. John 5:37; and the thread of the discourse, and the climax, or gradation, here used, show, that it is to be understood of "another man", as Nonnus paraphrases it; of John the Baptist, who is spoken of by name in the next verse, as a witness; and then a greater than he, the works of Christ, and then the Father:
and I know that the witness, which he witnesseth of me, is true; for John was now alive, though in prison, and continued to bear a testimony to Christ; and therefore he speaks of him as now bearing witness of him, and abiding by that which he had bore; and Christ knew not only that what he testified of him was true in itself, but that his testimony was a valid and authentic testimony, with the generality of the Jews; who held John to be a prophet, and looked upon him as a man of great probity and integrity, and whose word was to be taken: nor indeed could the sanhedrim, before whom Christ now was, object to his character, nor to him as a witness; nor ought they, since they themselves had so judged of him, as appears by their message to him, which Christ next fails not to take notice of.There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 5:32. Another is He who bears witness of me. This is understood either of John the Baptist (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Nonnus, Euthymius Zigabenus, Erasmus, Grotius, Paulus, Baumgarten Crusius, de Wette, Ewald) or of God (Cyril, Augustine, Bede, Rupertius, Beza, Aretius, Cornelius a Lapide, Calovius, Bengel, Kuinoel, Lücke, Tholuck, Olshausen, Maier, Luthardt, Lange, Hengstenberg, Brückner, Baeumlein, Godet). The latter is the right reference; for Jesus Himself, John 5:34, does not attach importance to John’s witness, but rather lays claim, John 5:36-37, only to the higher, the divine witness.
καὶ οἶδα, ὅτι, κ.τ.λ.] not a feeble assurance concerning God (de Wette’s objection), but all the weightier from its simplicity, to which the very form of the expression is adapted (ἡ μαρτυρία, ἣν μαρτυρεῖ περὶ ἐμοῦ), and, moreover, far too solemn for the Baptist’s testimony. On μαρτυρίαν μαρτυρεῖν, comp. Isaiah 3:11-12; Isaiah 3:25; Plato, Eryx. p. 399 B; Dem. 1131. 4.32. There is another] Not the Baptist, as seems clear from John 5:34; but the Father, comp. John 7:28, John 8:26. It has been already remarked how much there is in this Gospel about ‘witness,’ ‘bearing witness,’ and the like: see on John 1:7.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.”Verses 32, 37, 38. -
(a) The witness of the Father. Verse 32. - It is another that witnesseth concerning me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth concerning me is true. It is a mistake, with Ewald, De Wette, and many others, to suppose that this refers to the testimony of John the Baptist. By Augustine, Hengstenberg, Luthardt, Godet, Meyer, etc., it has been perceived that the "other" (ἄλλος) refers to the Father. Jesus expressly declines to receive John's testimony as his justification or sufficient vindication, and he contrasts it with the higher confirmation which in three distinct ways is already and continuously vouchsafed to him. The present tense, μαρτυρεῖ, is in striking contrast to the testimony of John already silenced by imprisonment or death. The methods of this testimony are subsequently analyzed and described. The Father's witness includes -
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