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Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament

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Chapter 2

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John 1:14

And the Word became flesh (kai o logov sarx egeneto).
See verse 3 for this verb and note its use for the historic event of the Incarnation rather than hn of verse 1. Note also the absence of the article with the predicate substantive sarx, so that it cannot mean "the flesh became the Word." The Pre-existence of the Logos has already been plainly stated and argued. John does not here say that the Logos entered into a man or dwelt in a man or filled a man. One is at liberty to see an allusion to the birth narratives in Matthew 1:16-25; Luke 1:28-38, if he wishes, since John clearly had the Synoptics before him and chiefly supplemented them in his narrative. In fact, one is also at liberty to ask what intelligent meaning can one give to John's language here apart from the Virgin Birth? What ordinary mother or father ever speaks of a child "becoming flesh"? For the Incarnation see also 2 Corinthians 8:9; Galatians 4:4; Romans 1:3; 8:3; Philippians 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14. "To explain the exact significance of egeneto in this sentence is beyond the powers of any interpreter" (Bernard). Unless, indeed, as seems plain, John is referring to the Virgin Birth as recorded in Matthew and Luke. "The Logos of philosophy is, John declares, the Jesus of history" (Bernard). Thus John asserts the deity and the real humanity of Christ. He answers the Docetic Gnostics who denied his humanity.

Dwelt among us (eskhnwsen en hmin).
First aorist ingressive aorist active indicative of skhnow, old verb, to pitch one's tent or tabernacle (skhnov or skhnh), in N.T. only here and :; 12:12; 13:6; 21:3. In Revelation it is used of God tabernacling with men and here of the Logos tabernacling, God's Shekinah glory here among us in the person of his Son.

We beheld his glory (eteasameta thn doxan autou).
First aorist middle indicative of teaomai (from tea, spectacle). The personal experience of John and of others who did recognize Jesus as the Shekinah glory (doxa) of God as James, the brother of Jesus, so describes him (James 2:1). John employs teaomai again in 1:32 (the Baptist beholding the Spirit coming down as a dove) and 1:38 of the Baptist gazing in rapture at Jesus. So also 4:35; 11:45; 1 John 1:1; 4:12,14. By this word John insists that in the human Jesus he beheld the Shekinah glory of God who was and is the Logos who existed before with God. By this plural John speaks for himself and all those who saw in Jesus what he did.

As of the only begotten from the Father (wv monogenouv para patrov).
Strictly, "as of an only born from a father," since there is no article with monogenouv or with patrov. In John 3:16; 1 John 4:9 we have ton monogenh referring to Christ. This is the first use in the Gospel of pathr of God in relation to the Logos. Monogenhv (only born rather than only begotten) here refers to the eternal relationship of the Logos (as in 1:18) rather than to the Incarnation. It distinguishes thus between the Logos and the believers as children (tekna) of God. The word is used of human relationships as in Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38. It occurs also in the LXX and Hebrews 11:17, but elsewhere in N.T. only in John's writings. It is an old word in Greek literature. It is not clear whether the words para patrov (from the Father) are to be connected with monogenouv (cf. 6:46; 7:29, etc.) or with doxan (cf. 5:41,44). John clearly means to say that "the manifested glory of the Word was as it were the glory of the Eternal Father shared with His only Son" (Bernard). Cf. 8:54; 14:9; 17:5.

Full (plhrhv).
Probably indeclinable accusative adjective agreeing with doxan (or genitive with monogenouv) of which we have papyri examples (Robertson, Grammar, p. 275). As nominative plhrhv can agree with the subject of eskhnwsen.

Of grace and truth (xaritov kai alhteiav).
Curiously this great word xariv (grace), so common with Paul, does not occur in John's Gospel save in 1:14,16,17, though alhteia (truth) is one of the keywords in the Fourth Gospel and in 1John, occurring 25 times in the Gospel and 20 in the Johannine Epistles, 7 times in the Synoptics and not at all in Revelation (Bernard). In 1:17 these two words picture the Gospel in Christ in contrast with the law of Moses. See Epistles of Paul for origin and use of both words.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 1:14". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". <>. Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960.


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