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Home > Commentaries > The Fourfold Gospel >
Section 1 > Sub-Section 2

The Fourfold Gospel

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d JOHN 1:1-18.

      d 1 In the beginning was the Word [a title for Jesus peculiar to the apostle John], and the Word was with God [not going before nor coming after God, but with Him at the beginning], and the Word was God. [Not more, not less.]

  2 The same was in the beginning with God.

  3 All things were made through him [the New Testament often speaks of Christ as the Creator--see :10; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:13, 17; Hebrews 1:2]; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. [This shows that Jesus himself is not a creature.]

  4 In his was life [As in the Father ( As this life animates the living, so can it reanimate the dead--John 11:25]; and the life was the light of men. [The life of Jesus is the light of men, because from that life we get our intellect and understanding, and because that life formed and governs the creation around us by which we become enlightened as to the existence and power of God--Romans 1:18-21; Acts 14:16, 17.]

  5 And the light shineth in the darkness [an ignorant, benighted world]; and the darkness apprehended it not. [Did not receive or admit it. Jesus, the Light of the world, was despised and rejected by men.]

  6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

  7 The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light. [that he might tell men that Jesus was the Messiah], that all [who heard his testimony] might believe [in Jesus] through him.

  8 He was not the light ["He was the lamp that burneth and shineth" ( Malachi 4:2], but came that he might bear witness of the light.

  9 There was the true light [as opposed to the imperfect, incomplete, and transitory lights], even the light which lighteth every man [all men are enlightened in some degree and enlightened of Christ: some by nature, some by conscience, and some by Bible revelation], coming into the world.

  10 He was in the world. [invisibly present, renewing and sustaining his creation], and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. [Though it might and should have known him--Romans 1:18-21; Acts 14:16, 17.]

  11 He came [visibly in the flesh] unto his own [his own land or possessions--Hosea 9:3; Jeremiah 2:7; 2:12], and they that were his own [the children of Israel--Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2] received him not.

  12 But as many as received him [whether Jew or Gentile], to them gave he the right to become children of God [comp. Romans 3:14-17; Galatians 3:26; 4:6, 7; 1 John 3:1, 2], even to them that believe on his name:

  13 who were born, not of blood [descent from Abraham, David or any other godly person does not make a man a child of God--Luke 3:8; Matthew 3:9; John 8:39, 40; Galatians 3:6, 7, 29], nor of the will of the flesh [the efforts and exertions of our own human hearts and natures may reform, but can not regenerate, the life--John 3:6], nor of the will of man [we are not begotten of God by the acts and deeds of our fellow-men, however much they may aid us in leading right lives], but of God. [ 3:5; 1 John 4:7; 5:1.]

  14 And the Word became flesh [by being born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary], and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory [in his miracles, and especially in his transfiguration--John 2:11; 2 Peter 1:16-18], glory as of the only begotten from the Father) [such glory as was suitable to the Son of God], full of grace and truth. [The glory of Christ was not in pomp and worldly grandeur, but in the holiness, grace, and truth of his daily life.]

  15 John [the Baptist] beareth witness of him [the words of John the Baptist still witness to unbelieving Jews and Gentiles], saying, This was he of whom I said [John had preached about Jesus before Jesus appeared; he now points to Jesus as the one about whom he had preached], He that cometh after me [He for whom I as a forerunner have prepared the way--Matthew 3:3] is become before me [is worthy of more honor and reverence than am I]: for he was before me. [Though born into the world six months later than John, Jesus, as the Word, had existed from eternity. (In verse 16 the words are the apostle John's, and not John the Baptist's.)]

  16 For of his fulness [Jesus was full of grace and truth--and all the attributes of God--Ephesians 1:23; 3:19; 4:13; Colossians 1:19; 2:9] we all received [by union with him all his perfection and righteousness became ours--Philippians 1:10, 11; 3:8, 9; 1 Corinthians 1:30], and grace for grace. [This may mean that we receive a grace kindred to or like each several grace that is in Christ (Romans 8:29; 12:2; Ephesians 4:11-13). But it more probably means fullness of grace, or fresh grace daily added to the grace already bestowed.]

  17 For the law [the Old Dispensation with its condemnation (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:21) and its types and shadows--Colossians 2:16, 17; Hebrews 8:4, 5; 10:1] was given through Moses [by angels at Mt. Sinai--Hebrews 2:2]; grace and truth [the New Dispensation with its justification (Romans 3:21-26) and its realities--Hebrews 9:1-15] came through Jesus Christ. [Hebrews 1:1, 2; 2:3.]

  18 No man hath seen God at any time [1 John 4:12, 20; John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:16]; the only begotten Son [the word "only begotten" indicates that none other bears with Christ a like relationship to God], who is in the bosom of the Father [who bears the closest and tenderest relationship and fellowship as to the Father], he hath declared him. [ 3:2; John 15:9; Colossians 1:15.]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on the Life of Christ: Section 1-2". "The Fourfold Gospel". <>. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.  


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