New Defender's Study Bible Notes
1:4 life. The last part of John 1:3 and the first part of John 1:4 can also be read as follows: “That which was made was life in Him.” As Paul said: “In Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
1:5 comprehended. The darkened minds of sin-blinded men could not (because they would not!) come to the light when it was offered to them. “Men loved darkness, rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). Note II Corinthians 4:6; Genesis 1:3.
1:7 for a witness. The gospel of John is uniquely designed to bear “witness” to the deity and saving work of Christ. This verse has the first of forty-seven uses of this word or its derivatives (“record,” “testimony,” etc.) all from the Greek marturia in John’s gospel, as well as seventeen times in his three epistles and sixteen times in Revelation—far more than by any other Biblical writer.
1:8 not that Light. What a testimony to John the Baptist! He was so Christlike in his life and teachings that people kept mistaking him for the promised Messiah, requiring John in his gospel (inspired by the Holy Spirit) to assure people that, despite all appearances, John the Baptist was not Christ.
1:9 lighteth every man. Even though some people live and die without ever hearing of Jesus, the witness imprinted by Him on His creation is such conclusive evidence that there is a Creator who is omnipotent, omniscient, holy and loving, that those who reject or ignore it are “without excuse.” See notes on Romans 1:20; Psalm 19:1-6; etc. He has also placed the light of conscience in each person (Romans 2:14-15), but that too is rejected in most instances.
1:10 by him. Here is yet another assertion that “the world was made by Him;” yet the men and women who were made by Him refused to recognize Him. “They did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28). He was the true light physically as well as spiritually, for He is the very energizer of the world (“upholding all things by the word of His power”—Hebrews 1:3), but the world preferred an evolutionary explanation.
1:11 his own. “He came unto His own things”—that is, the earth and its fullness (Psalm 24:1)—which He had created. But then “His own people”—even His chosen people—rejected Him. The people He made knew Him not, and the people whom He chose rejected Him, when He came as one of them.
1:12 power. “Power” here is the word for “authority” or “right.”
1:12 believe. Note also that “receiving Him” is here defined as “believing on His name,” with all that the latter implies (see the first note on John 1:1).
1:14 made flesh. This is the great verse of the incarnation, when the eternal Word took on human flesh. Since this verse, and the following verses, unequivocally refer to “Jesus Christ” (John 1:17), there is no legitimate escape (though many have tried) from the great truth that Jesus was the great God and Creator, as well as perfect Man and redeeming Savior. Furthermore, He has assumed human flesh forever, while still remaining fully God. He is not part man and part God, or sometimes man and sometimes God, but is now and eternally the God-Man. He is fully and always true God and perfect Man—man as God created and intended man to be. On the reality and importance of the incarnation, see also Philippians 2:5-8 and I John 4:2,3.
1:14 dwelt. This is not the usual word for “dwelt” but rather is the Greek word for “tabernacled.” As in the tabernacle (or tent) in the wilderness, where the glory of God was resident for a time, so God in Christ dwelled on the earth for a time, in a body prepared by God (Hebrews 10:5). Eventually, when the Holy City descends out of heaven to the new earth, then “the tabernacle of God” will forever “be with men,” and He “will dwell with them” and “be their God” eternally (Revelation 21:3).
1:14 beheld his glory. The Greek word for “tabernacle” (skene) is a cognate word to shakan, the Hebrew word for “dwell,” both being related to what has come to be known as the shekinah glory cloud that filled the ancient tabernacle (Exodus 40:34). The latter term is not directly used in either Testament, but was used in Talmudic literature with this meaning. It is thus commonly associated with the glory of God dwelling in either the tabernacle (or the later temple) or in Christ’s human body. In this sense, the disciples “beheld His glory” while He was on earth, and Christ prayed that we would also behold His glory in heaven (John 17:5,22,24). Even now, we can, in a spiritual sense, behold His glory as we see Him in the written Word, just as the disciples recognized Him as the living Word (see II Corinthians 3:18).
1:14 only begotten. “Only begotten” is the Greek monogenes, which precisely means “only begotten,” not just “only,” as some translators render it. God has many “sons” and “daughters” (e.g., John 1:12), but Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son; in fact, He eternally proceeds from the Father, manifesting and revealing Him.
1:14 grace and truth. “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” to mankind (John 1:17).