John 1:4
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

King James Bible
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

American Standard Version
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Douay-Rheims Bible
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

English Revised Version
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Webster's Bible Translation
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Weymouth New Testament
In Him was Life, and that Life was the Light of men.

John 1:4 Parallel
Commentary
Vincent's Word Studies

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.

John 1:4 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

him.

John 5:21,26 For as the Father raises up the dead, and vivifies them; even so the Son vivifies whom he will...

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.

1 John 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show to you that eternal life, which was with the Father...

1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

Revelation 22:1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

the life.

John 1:8,9 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light...

John 8:12 Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness...

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 12:35,46 Then Jesus said to them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come on you...

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Isaiah 35:4,5 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense...

Isaiah 42:6,7,16 I the LORD have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant of the people...

Psalm 49:6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;

Psalm 60:1-3 O God, you have cast us off, you have scattered us, you have been displeased; O turn yourself to us again...

Malachi 4:2 But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and you shall go forth...

Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

Luke 1:78,79 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high has visited us...

Luke 2:32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.

Acts 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light to the people...

Ephesians 5:14 Why he said, Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

1 John 1:5-7 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all...

Revelation 22:16 I Jesus have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David...

Cross References
John 3:19
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

John 5:26
For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

John 8:12
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

John 9:5
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

John 12:46
I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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