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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 2 In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things came to be through him, and without
him nothing came to be. What came to be
through him was life, and this life was the
light of the human race;
4 the light shines in the darkness, and the
darkness has not overcome it.
5 A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, 6 to
testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came to testify to
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was
coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came to be
through him, but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own, but his own people
7 did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him he gave power
to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,
8 who were born not by natural generation nor by
human choice nor by a man's decision but of God.
And the Word became flesh 9 and
made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's
only Son, full of grace and truth.
10 John testified to him and cried out, saying,
"This was he of whom I said, 'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead
of me because he existed before me.'"
From his fullness we have all received, grace
in place of grace, 11
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, 12
who is at the Father's side, has revealed him.
13 14 And this is the
testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites (to
him) to ask him, "Who are you?"
15 he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
"I am not the Messiah."
So they asked him, "What are you then? Are
you Elijah?" 16 And he said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No."
So they said to him, "Who are you, so we
can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for
He said: "I am 'the voice of one crying
out in the desert, "Make straight the way of the Lord,"' 17
as Isaiah the prophet said."
Some Pharisees 18 were also
They asked him, "Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?"
John answered them, "I baptize with water;
19 but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me, whose sandal
strap I am not worthy to untie."
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, 20
where John was baptizing.
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and
said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, 21 who takes away the
sin of the world.
22 He is the one of whom I said, 'A man is coming
after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'
I did not know him, 23 but the
reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to
John testified further, saying, "I saw the
Spirit come down like a dove 24 from the sky and remain upon
I did not know him, but the one who sent me to
baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and
remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.'
25 Now I have seen and testified that he is the
Son of God."
The next day John was there again with two of
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God." 26
The two disciples 27 heard
what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and
said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him,
"Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you
He said to them,"Come, and you will
see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him
that day. It was about four in the afternoon. 28
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of
the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told
him, "We have found the Messiah" 29 (which is
Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at
him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; 30 you
will be called Kephas" (which is translated Peter).
The next day he 31 decided
to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow
Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of
Andrew and Peter.
Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We
have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets,
Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth."
But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything
good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said
of him, "Here is a true Israelite. 32 There is no
duplicity in him."
33 Nathanael said to him, "How do you know
me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw
you under the fig tree."
Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are
the Son of God; 34 you are the King of Israel."
Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you
believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? 35
You will see greater things than this."
And he said to him, "Amen, amen, 36
I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and
descending on the Son of Man."
1 [1-18] The prologue states the main
themes of the gospel: life, light, truth, the world, testimony, and the
preexistence of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Logos, who reveals God the Father.
In origin, it was probably an early Christian hymn. Its closest parallel is in
other christological hymns, ⇒ Col 1:15-20 and
⇒ Philippians 2:6-11. Its core
(⇒ John 1:1-5, ⇒ 10-11,
⇒ 14) is poetic in structure, with short phrases
linked by "staircase parallelism," in which the last word of one
phrase becomes the first word of the next. Prose inserts (at least
⇒ John 1:6-8, ⇒ 15) deal
with John the Baptist.
2  In the beginning: also the
first words of the Old Testament (⇒ Genesis 1:1).
Was: this verb is used three times with different meanings in this verse:
existence, relationship, and predication. The Word (Greek logos): this term
combines God's dynamic, creative word (Genesis), personified preexistent Wisdom
as the instrument of God's creative activity (Proverbs), and the ultimate
intelligibility of reality (Hellenistic philosophy). With God: the Greek
preposition here connotes communication with another. Was God: lack of a
definite article with "God" in Greek signifies predication rather
3  What came to be: while the
oldest manuscripts have no punctuation here, the corrector of Bodmer Papyrus
P75, some manuscripts, and the Ante-Nicene Fathers take this phrase with what
follows, as staircase parallelism. Connection with ⇒ John
1:3 reflects fourth-century anti-Arianism.
4  The ethical dualism of light
and darkness is paralleled in intertestamental literature and in the Dead Sea
Scrolls. Overcome: "comprehend" is another possible translation, but
cf ⇒ John 12:35; ⇒ Wisdom
5  John was sent just as Jesus was
"sent" (⇒ John 4:34) in divine mission.
Other references to John the Baptist in this gospel emphasize the differences
between them and John's subordinate role.
6  Testimony: the testimony theme
of John is introduced, which portrays Jesus as if on trial throughout his
ministry. All testify to Jesus: John the Baptist, the Samaritan woman,
scripture, his works, the crowds, the Spirit, and his disciples.
7  What was his own . . . his own
people: first a neuter, literally, "his own property/possession"
(probably = Israel), then a masculine, "his own people" (the
8  Believers in Jesus become
children of God not through any of the three natural causes mentioned but through
God who is the immediate cause of the new spiritual life. Were born: the Greek
verb can mean "begotten" (by a male) or "born" (from a
female or of parents). The variant "he who was begotten," asserting
Jesus' virginal conception, is weakly attested in Old Latin and Syriac
9  Flesh: the whole person, used
probably against docetic tendencies (cf ⇒ 1 John
4:2; ⇒ 1:7). Made his dwelling: literally,
"pitched his tent/tabernacle." Cf the tabernacle or tent of meeting
that was the place of God's presence among his people
(⇒ Exodus 25:8-9). The incarnate Word is the new
mode of God's presence among his people. The Greek verb has the same consonants
as the Aramaic word for God's presence (Shekinah). Glory: God's visible
manifestation of majesty in power, which once filled the tabernacle
(⇒ Exodus 40:34) and the temple
(⇒ 1 Kings 8:10-11, ⇒ 27),
is now centered in Jesus. Only Son: Greek, monogenes, but see the note on
⇒ John 1:18. Grace and truth: these words may
represent two Old Testament terms describing Yahweh in covenant relationship
with Israel (cf ⇒ Exodus 34:6), thus God's
"love" and "fidelity." The Word shares Yahweh's covenant
10  This verse, interrupting
⇒ John 1:14, ⇒ 16 seems
drawn from ⇒ John 1:30.
11  Grace in place of grace:
replacement of the Old Covenant with the New (cf ⇒ John
1:17). Other possible translations are "grace upon grace"
(accumulation) and "grace for grace" (correspondence).
12  The only Son, God: while the
vast majority of later textual witnesses have another reading, "the Son,
the only one" or "the only Son," the translation above follows
the best and earliest manuscripts, monogenes theos, but takes the first term to
mean not just "Only One" but to include a filial relationship with
the Father, as at ⇒ Luke 9:38 ("only
child") or ⇒ Hebrews 11:17 ("only son")
and as translated at ⇒ John 1:14. The Logos is thus
"only Son" and God but not Father/God.
13 [19-51] The testimony of John the
Baptist about the Messiah and Jesus' self-revelation to the first disciples.
This section constitutes the introduction to the gospel proper and is connected
with the prose inserts in the prologue. It develops the major theme of
testimony in four scenes: John's negative testimony about himself; his positive
testimony about Jesus; the revelation of Jesus to Andrew and Peter; the
revelation of Jesus to Philip and Nathanael.
14  The Jews: throughout most of
the gospel, the "Jews" does not refer to the Jewish people as such
but to the hostile authorities, both Pharisees and Sadducees, particularly in
Jerusalem, who refuse to believe in Jesus. The usage reflects the atmosphere,
at the end of the first century, of polemics between church and synagogue, or
possibly it refers to Jews as representative of a hostile world
(⇒ John 1:10-11).
15  Messiah: the anointed agent of
Yahweh, usually considered to be of Davidic descent. See further the note on
⇒ John 1:41.
16  Elijah: the Baptist did not
claim to be Elijah returned to earth (cf ⇒ Malachi
3:23; ⇒ Matthew 11:14). The Prophet:
probably the prophet like Moses (⇒ Deut 18:15; cf
⇒ Acts 3:22).
17  This is a repunctuation and
reinterpretation (as in the synoptic gospels and Septuagint) of the Hebrew text
of ⇒ Isaiah 40:3 which reads, "A voice cries
out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord."
18  Some Pharisees: other translations,
such as "Now they had been sent from the Pharisees," misunderstand
the grammatical construction. This is a different group from that in
⇒ John 1:19; the priests and Levites would have been
Sadducees, not Pharisees.
19  I baptize with water: the
synoptics add "but he will baptize you with the holy Spirit"
(⇒ Mark 1:8) or ". . . holy Spirit and
fire" (⇒ Matthew 3:11; ⇒ Luke
3:16). John's emphasis is on purification and preparation for a
20  Bethany across the Jordan:
site unknown. Another reading is "Bethabara."
21  The Lamb of God: the
background for this title may be the victorious apocalyptic lamb who would
destroy evil in the world (Rev 5-7; ⇒ 17:14); the
paschal lamb, whose blood saved Israel (Exodus 12); and/or the suffering
servant led like a lamb to the slaughter as a sin-offering
(⇒ Isaiah 53:7, ⇒ 10).
22  He existed before me: possibly
as Elijah (to come, ⇒ John 1:27); for the evangelist
and his audience, Jesus' preexistence would be implied (see the note on ⇒ John
23  I did not know him: this
gospel shows no knowledge of the tradition (Luke 1) about the kinship of Jesus
and John the Baptist. The reason why I came baptizing with water: in this
gospel, John's baptism is not connected with forgiveness of sins; its purpose
is revelatory, that Jesus may be made known to Israel.
24  Like a dove: a symbol of the
new creation (⇒ Genesis 8:8) or the community of
Israel (⇒ Hosea 11:11). Remain: the first use of a
favorite verb in John, emphasizing the permanency of the relationship between
Father and Son (as here) and between the Son and the Christian. Jesus is the
permanent bearer of the Spirit.
25  The Son of God: this reading
is supported by good Greek manuscripts, including the Chester Beatty and Bodmer
Papyri and the Vatican Codex, but is suspect because it harmonizes this passage
with the synoptic version: "This is my beloved Son" (⇒ Matthew
3:17; ⇒ Mark 1:11; ⇒ Luke
3:22). The poorly attested alternate reading, "God's chosen
One," is probably a reference to the Servant of Yahweh
(⇒ Isaiah 42:1).
26  John the Baptist's testimony
makes his disciples' following of Jesus plausible.
27  The two disciples: Andrew
(⇒ John 1:40) and, traditionally, John, son of
Zebedee (see the note on ⇒ John 13:23).
28  Four in the afternoon:
literally, the tenth hour, from sunrise, in the Roman calculation of time. Some
suggest that the next day, beginning at sunset, was the sabbath; they would
have stayed with Jesus to avoid travel on it.
29  Messiah: the Hebrew word
masiah, "anointed one" (see the note on ⇒ Luke
2:11), appears in Greek as the transliterated messias only here and
in ⇒ John 4:25. Elsewhere the Greek translation
christos is used.
30  Simon, the son of John: in
⇒ Matthew 16:17, Simon is called Bariona, "son
of Jonah," a different tradition for the name of Simon's father. Kephas:
in Aramaic = the Rock; cf ⇒ Matthew 16:18. Neither
the Greek equivalent Petros nor, with one isolated exception, Kephas is
attested as a personal name before Christian times.
31  He: grammatically, could be
Peter, but logically is probably Jesus.
32  A true Israelite. There is no
duplicity in him: Jacob was the first to bear the name "Israel"
(⇒ Genesis 32:29), but Jacob was a man of duplicity
(⇒ Genesis 27:35-36).
33  Under the fig tree: a symbol
of messianic peace (cf ⇒ Micah 4:4;
⇒ Zechariah 3:10).
34  Son of God: this title is used
in the Old Testament, among other ways, as a title of adoption for the Davidic
king (⇒ 2 Sam 7:14; ⇒ Psalm
2:7; ⇒ 89:27), and thus here, with King
of Israel, in a messianic sense. For the evangelist, Son of God also points to
Jesus' divinity (cf ⇒ John 20:28).
35  Possibly a statement:
"You [singular] believe because I saw you under the fig tree."
36  The double "Amen" is
characteristic of John. You is plural in Greek. The allusion is to Jacob's
ladder (⇒ Genesis 28:12).
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