Vincent Word Studies - John 1:10 - 1:10

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Vincent Word Studies - John 1:10 - 1:10

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

He was in the world

Not merely at His advent, but before His incarnation no less than after it. See on Joh 1:4, Joh 1:5.

Was made (ἐγένετο)

Came into being. See on Joh 1:3.

By Him. Or through Him (διά)

See on Joh 1:3.

Knew (ἔγνω)

Recognized. Though He was in the world and was its Creator, yet the world did not recognize him. This is the relation of ideas in these three clauses, but John expresses this relation after the Hebrew manner, by simply putting the three side by side, and connecting them by καὶ, and. This construction is characteristic of John. Compare Joh 8:20, where the point of the passage is, that though Jesus was teaching publicly, where He might easily have been seized, yet no man attempted his seizure. This is expressed by two parallel clauses with the simple copulative. “These words spake Jesus,” etc., “and no man laid hands on Him.”

Him (αὐτὸν)

The preceding him (αὐτοῦ) is, in itself, ambiguous as to gender. So far as its form is concerned, it might be neuter, in which case it would refer to the light, “the Word regarded as a luminous principle,” as it, in Joh 1:5. But αὐτὸν is masculine, Him, so that the Word now appears as a person. This determines the gender of the preceding αὐτοῦ.

On the enlightened and unenlightened nature, compare the allegory in Plato's “Republic,” at the beginning of Book 7, where he pictures men confined from childhood in an underground den, chained so that they can only see before them, and with no light save from a fire behind them. They mistake shadows for substance, and echoes for voices. When they are liberated and compelled to look at the light, either of the fire or of the sun, their unaccustomed eyes are pained, and they imagine that the shadows which they formerly saw are truer than the real objects which are now shown them. Finally, they will be able to see the sun, and will recognize him as the giver of the seasons and years, and the guardian of all that is in the visible world. “When the eye of the soul is turned round, the whole soul must be turned round from the world of becoming into that of being, and of the brightest and best of being, or, in other words, of the good.”

Notice also the appropriateness of the two verbs joined with the neuter and the masculine pronouns. In Joh 1:5, with it, the Word, as a principle of light, κατέλαβεν, apprehended. Here, with Him, the Word, as a person, ἔγνω, recognized.