The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Notes on John 1:6-8

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 18, 2010

You can view all notes on John by clicking on the “Notes On John” link in the link field below this site’s header, or click here.

1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Johannes.

The correct reading is: There came () a man, sent by God, whose name was John.  This reference to the Baptist in the middle of this sublime exordium is surprisng, and has ben variously accounted for.  Some think that our Evangelist, after having treated of the Divinity of the Word, merely wishes, before going on to speak of the incarnation, to refer to the precursor.  But it seems most probable that the Evangelist wished to remove at once the error of those who, impressed by the austerity and sanctity of the Baptist’s life, had looked upon him as the Messiah.  If any of them still remained at the time when St John wrote, or should arise afterward, they are here told that the Baptist, though having his mission from Heaven, was only a man intended to bear witness to Christ.  Thus the superior excellence of Christ is thrown into relief from the fact that a great saint like the Baptist was specially sent by Heaven to be His herald.  The reference in this verse to the Baptist’s coming into the world, at his concenption, rather than to the beginning of his preaching, for at the moment of his conception, he came, sent by God to be the herald of Christ (see Lk 1:13-17).

John is the same as jochanan, which is itself a shortened form of Jehochanan = “God hath had mercy.”  This name was appointed for the Baptist, before his conception, by the Archangel Gabriel (Lk 1:13).

1:7  This man came fof a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him.
Hic venit in testimonium, ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine, ut omnes crederent per illum:

This man came for witness, namely, in order that he might bear witness of the light, that is to say, the Incarnate Word, to the end that through him all might believe in the Word.

1:8  He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light.
Non erat ille lux, sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine.

He was not the light (του φωτος = ho photos = the light), that is, he was not the great uncreated light which enlighteneth all men; though, in his own way, the Baptist too was a light, nay, as Christ Himself testified “the lamp that burneth and shineth” (5:35). ινα (hina) depends on (ἔρχομαι =erchmai=he came), which is to be understood from the preceding verse~Nolan and Brown

One Response to “Notes on John 1:6-8”

  1. Carol said

    I’ve often wondered if one could learn all they need to know, by reading the Gospel of John. I am pretty sure that I could. TY, Dim.

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