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Geneva Study Notes
John Chapter 1

John 1:1
1:1 In {1} the {a} beginning {b} was {c} the Word, and the Word
    was {d} with God, and the {e} Word was God.

 (1) The Son of God is of one and the selfsame eternity or
     everlastingness, and of one and the selfsame essence or
     nature with the Father.
     (a) From the beginning, as the evangelist says in 1 John 1:1;
         it is as though he said that the Word did not begin
         to have his being when God began to make all that
         was made: for the Word was even then when all things
         that were made began to be made, and therefore he was
         before the beginning of all things.
     (b) Had his being.
     (c) This word "the" points out to us a peculiar and choice
         thing above all others, and puts a difference between
         this "Word", which is the Son of God, and the laws of
         God, which are also called the word of God.
     (d) This word "with" points out that there is a distinction
         of persons here.
     (e) This word "Word" is the first in order in the sentence,
         and is the subject of the sentence, and this word "God"
         is the latter in order, and is the predicate of the
         sentence.

John 1:3
1:3 {2} All {f} things were made by him; and {g} without him {h}
    was not any thing made that was made.

 (2) The Son of God declares that his everlasting Godhead is the
     same as the Father's, both by the creating of all things,
     and also by preserving them, and especially by the
     excellent gifts of reason and understanding with which he
     has beautified man above all other creatures.
     (f) Paul expounds on this in Colossians 1:15-16.
     (g) That is, as the Father did work, so did the Son work
         with him: for the Son was a fellow worker with him.
     (h) Of all those things which were made, nothing was made
         without him.

John 1:4
1:4 {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.

John 1:5
1:5 {3} And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness {m}
    comprehended it not.

 (3) The light of men is turned into darkness, but yet there is
     enough clearness so that they are without excuse.
     (m) They could not perceive nor reach it to receive any
         light from it, no, they did not so much as acknowledge
         him.

John 1:6
1:6 {4} There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John.

 (4) There is another more full manifestation of the Son of
     God, by the consideration of which men are in good time
     stirred up, even to John's voice, who is as it were the
     herald of Christ.

John 1:7
1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light,
    that all [men] {n} through him might believe.

    (n) Through John.

John 1:8
1:8 He was not {o} that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of
    that Light.

    (o) That light which we spoke of, that is, Christ, who alone
        can enlighten our darkness.

John 1:9
1:9 {5} [That] was {p} the true Light, which lighteth every man
    that cometh into the world.

 (5) When the Son of God saw that men did not acknowledge him by
     his works, although they were endued with understanding
     (which he had given to all of them), he exhibited himself
     unto his people to be seen by them with their physical
     eyes: yet not even then did they acknowledge him or receive
     him.
     (p) Who alone and properly deserves to be called the light,
         for he shines by his own accord and borrows light from
         no one.

John 1:10
1:10 {q} He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and
     the world knew him not.

     (q) The person of the Word was made manifest even at that
         time when the world was made.

John 1:11
1:11 He came {r} unto his own, and his own received him not.

     (r) The Word showed himself again when he came in the
         flesh.

John 1:12
1:12 {6} But as many as received him, to them gave he {s} power
     to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on
     his name:

 (6) The Son being shut out by the majority of his people, and
     acknowledged but by a few, regenerates those few by his own
     strength and power, and receives them into that honour
     which is common to all the children of God, that is, to be
     the sons of God.
     (s) He condescended to give them this power to take them to
         be his children.

John 1:13
1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the {t} will of the
     flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

     (t) Of that shameful and corrupt nature of man, which is
         throughout the scriptures described as an enemy of the
         spirit.

John 1:14
1:14 {7} And the Word was made {u} flesh, and {x} dwelt among
     us, (and we beheld his {y} glory, the glory {z} as of the
     only begotten of the Father,) {a} full of grace and truth.

 (7) That Son who is God from everlasting took upon himself
     man's nature, so that one and the selfsame might be both God
     and man, who manifestly appeared to many witnesses that
     saw him, amongst whom he was conversant and unto whom by
     sure and undoubted arguments he showed both of his natures.
     (u) That is, man: so that, by the figure of speech
         synecdoche, the part is taken for the whole: for he
         took upon himself our entire nature, that is to say, a
         true body, and a true soul.
     (x) For a time, and when that was ended, he went up into
         heaven: for the word which he uses is used with
         reference to tents: and yet nonetheless he is always
         present with us, though not in flesh, but by the power
         of his spirit.
     (y) The glory which he speaks of here is that manifestation
         of Christ's majesty, which was as it were openly placed
         before our eyes when the Son of God appeared in the
         flesh.
     (z) This word "as" does not indicate here a likeness, but
         rather the truth of the matter, for his meaning is
         this, that we saw such a glory which suited and was
         proper for the true and only begotten Son of God, who
         is Lord and King over all the world.
     (a) He was not only a partaker of grace and truth, but was
         full of the very substance of grace and truth.

John 1:15
1:15 {8} John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was
     he of whom I spake, He that cometh {b} after me is
     preferred {c} before me: for he was before me.

 (8) John is a faithful witness of the excellency of Christ.
     (b) That is, "He before whom I am sent to prepare him the
         way": so that these words refer to the time of his
         calling, and not of his age, for John was six months
         older than Christ.
     (c) This sentence has in it a turning of the reason as we
         call it, as one would say, a setting of that first
         which should be last, and that last which should be
         first: for in plain speech it is this, "He that comes
         after me, is better than I am, for he was before me."
         We find a similar turning of the reason in Luke 7:47:
         "Many sins are forgiven her, because she loved much",
         which is this much to say, "She loved much, because many
         sins are forgiven her."

John 1:16
1:16 {9} And of his fulness have all we received, and {d} grace
     for grace.

 (9) Christ is the most plentiful fountain of all goodness, but
     he gave out his gifts most bountifully at that time when
     he exhibited and showed himself to the world.
     (d) That is, grace upon grace; as one would say, graces
         piled one upon another.

John 1:18
1:18 {10} No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten
     Son, which is in the {e} bosom of the Father, he hath {f}
     declared [him].

 (10) The true knowledge of God proceeds only from Jesus Christ.
      (e) Who is nearest to his Father, not only in respect of
          his love towards him, but by the bond of nature, and
          by means of that union or oneness that is between
          them, by which the Father and the Son are one.
      (f) Revealed him and showed him unto us, whereas before he
          was hidden under the shadows of the law, so that our
          minds were not able to perceive him: for whoever sees
          him, sees the Father also.

John 1:19
1:19 {11} And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent
     priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art
     thou?

 (11) John is neither the Messiah, nor like any of the other
      prophets, but is the herald of Christ, who is now present.

John 1:20
1:20 And he {g} confessed, and {h} denied not; but confessed, I
     am not the Christ.

     (g) He did acknowledge him, and spoke of him plainly and
         openly.
     (h) This repeating of the one and the selfsame thing,
         though in different words, is often used by the Hebrews,
         and it has great force, for they used to speak one
         thing twice in order to set it out more certainly and
         plainly.

John 1:21
1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he
     saith, {i} I am not. Art thou {k} that prophet? And he
     answered, No.

     (i) The Jews thought that Elias would come again before the
         days of the Messiah, and they took as the basis of
         their opinion Malachi 4:5, which is to be understood
         as referring to John, see Matthew 11:14.  And yet
         John denies that he is Elias, answering their question
         just as they meant it.
     (k) They are inquiring about some great prophet, and not
         about Christ, for John denied before that he is Christ,
         for they thought that some great prophet would be sent
         like Moses, using to support this position Deuteronomy 18:15,
         which is to be understood to refer to all the company of
         the prophets and ministers, which have been and shall be
         to the end, and especially of Christ who is the head of
         all prophets.

John 1:24
1:24 {12} And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.

 (12) Christ is the author of baptism, and not John: and
      therefore the authority of this does not come from John,
      who is the minister, but wholly from Christ the Lord.

John 1:25
1:25 And they asked him, and said unto him, {l} Why baptizest
     thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither
     that prophet?

     (l) By this we may prove that the Jews knew there should be
         some change in religion under the Messiah.

John 1:26
1:26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there
     standeth one {m} among you, whom ye know not;

     (m) Whom all the world sees, and sees even amongst you.

John 1:29
1:29 {13} The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and
     saith, Behold {n} the Lamb of God, which {o} taketh away
     the {p} sin of the world.

 (13) The body and truth of all the sacrifices of the law, to
      make satisfaction for the sin of the world, is Christ.
      (n) This word "the" which is added has great force in it,
          not only to set forth the worthiness of Christ, and so
          to separate him for the "lamb" which was a symbol of
          him, and from all other sacrifices of the law, but
          also to remind us of the prophecies of Isaiah and
          others.
      (o) This word is in the present tense, and signifies a
          continuous act, for the Lamb rightfully has this power
          both now and forever to take away the sins of the world.
      (p) That is, that root of sins, namely, our corruption,
          and so consequently the fruits of sins, which are
          commonly called in the plural number, sins.

John 1:31
1:31 And {q} I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest
     to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

     (q) I never knew him by face before.

John 1:32
1:32 {14} And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit
     descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

 (14) Christ is proved to be the Son of God by the coming down
      of the Holy Spirit, by the Father's voice, and by John's
      testimony.

John 1:34
1:34 And I saw, and bare record that this is {r} the Son of God.

     (r) This word "the" points out to us some excellent thing,
         and makes a distinction between Christ and others, whom
         Moses and the prophets commonly call the sons of the
         most High.

John 1:35
1:35 {15} Again the next day after John stood, and two of his
     disciples;

 (15) John gathers disciples not to himself, but to Christ.

John 1:36
1:36 {16} And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold
     the Lamb of God!

 (16) Christ is set before us to follow, not as a vain shadow,
      but as our Mediator.

John 1:37
1:37 {17} And the two disciples heard him speak, and they
     followed Jesus.

 (17) In this first gathering of the disciples we have shown to
      us that the beginning of salvation is from God, who calls
      us unto his Son by the ministry of his servants: whom, as
      he guides us, we must also hear, and follow him home, so
      that being instructed by him we may also instruct others.

John 1:38
1:38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto
     them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to
     say, being interpreted, Master,) {s} where dwellest thou?

     (s) Where is your lodging?

John 1:39
1:39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where
     he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the
     {t} tenth hour.

     (t) It was getting later in the night.

John 1:41
1:41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him,
     We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the
     {u} Christ.

     (u) That is, anointed, and king after the manner of the
         Jewish people.

John 1:45
1:45 {18} Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have
     found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did
     write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

 (18) God uses the good endeavours of the unlearned such that he
      makes them teachers of the learned.

John 1:46
1:46 {19} And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing
     come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

 (19) We must especially take heed of false presumptions, which
      prevent us from entrance to Christ.

John 1:47
1:47 {20} Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him,
     Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

 (20) Simple uprightness discerns the true Israelites from the
      false.

John 1:48
1:48 {21} Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me?
     Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called
     thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

 (21) The purpose of miracles is to set before us Christ the
      Almighty, and also the only author of our salvation, in
      order that we may apprehend him by faith.

John 1:51
1:51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
     Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God
     {x} ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

     (x) These words signify the power of God which would appear
         in Christ's ministry by the angels serving him as the
         head of the Church.



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