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Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament

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 Verse 14
Verse 16
Chapter 2

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John 1:15

Beareth witness (marturei).
Historical (dramatic) present indicative of this characteristic word in John (cf. 1:17). See 1:32,34 for historical examples of John's witness to Christ. This sentence is a parenthesis in Westcott and Hort's text, though the Revised Version makes a parenthesis of most of verse 14. The witness of John is adduced in proof of the glory full of grace and truth already claimed for the Incarnate Logos.

Crieth (kekragen).
Second perfect active indicative of krazw, old verb for loud crying, repeated in dramatic form again for emphasis recalling the wonderful Voice in the wilderness which the Beloved Disciple can still hear echoing through the years.

This was (outov hn).
Imperfect indicative where John throws the tense back in past time when he looked forward to the coming of the Messiah as in Acts 3:10 where we should prefer "is" (estin). Gildersleeve (Syntax, p. 96) calls this the "imperfect of sudden appreciation of the real state of things."

Of whom I said (on eipon).
But B C and a corrector of Aleph (Westcott and Hort) have o eipwn "the one who said," a parenthetical explanation about the Baptist, not the words of the Baptist about Christ.

After me (opisw mou).
See also 1:27. Later in time John means. He described "the Coming One" (o erxomenov) before he saw Jesus. The language of John here is precisely that in Matthew 3:11 o opisw mou erxomenov (cf. Mark 1:7). The Beloved Disciple had heard the Baptist say these very words, but he also had the Synoptic Gospels.

Is become (gegonen).
Second perfect active indicative of ginomai. It is already an actual fact when the Baptist is speaking.

Before me (emprosten mou).
In rank and dignity, the Baptist means, o isxuroterov mou "the one mightier than I" (Mark 1:7) and isxuroterov mou "mightier than I" ( Matthew 3:11). In John 3:28 emprosten ekeinou (before him, the Christ) does mean priority in time, but not here. This superior dignity of the Messiah John proudly recognizes always (John 3:25-30).

For he was before me (oti prwtov mou hn).
Paradox, but clear. He had always been (hn imperfext) before John in his Pre-incarnate state, but "after" John in time of the Incarnation, but always ahead of John in rank immediately on his Incarnation. Prwtov mou (superlative with ablative) occurs here when only two are compared as is common in the vernacular Koine. So the Beloved Disciple came first (prwtov) to the tomb, ahead of Peter (20:4). So also prwton umwn in 15:18 means "before you" as if it were proteron umwn. Verse 1:30 repeats these words almost exactly.


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 1:15". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". <>. Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960.


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