Vincent Word Studies - John 1:3 - 1:3

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Vincent Word Studies - John 1:3 - 1:3

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

All things (πάντα)

Regarded severally. The reference is to the infinite detail of creation, rather than to creation as a whole, which is expressed by τὰ πάντα, the all (Col 1:16). For this reason John avoids the word κόσμος, the world, which denotes the world as a great system. Hence Bengel, quoted by Meyer, is wrong in referring to κόσμῳ (the world) of Joh 1:10 as a parallel.

Were made (ἐγένετο)

Literally, came into being, or became. Expressing the passage from nothingness into being, and the unfolding of a divine order. Compare Joh 1:14, Joh 1:17. Three words are used in the New Testament to express the act of creation: κτίζειν, to create (Rev 4:11; Rev 10:6; Col 1:16); ποιεῖν, to make (Rev 14:7; Mar 10:6), both of which refer to the Creator; and γίγνεσθαι, to become, which refers to that which is created. In Mar 10:6, both words occur. “From the beginning of the creation (κτίσεως) God made” (ἐποίησεν). So in Eph 2:10 : “We are His workmanship (ποίημα), created (κτισθέντες) in Christ Jesus.” Here the distinction is between the absolute being expressed by ἦν (see on Joh 1:1), and the coming into being of creation (ἐγένετο). The same contrast occurs in Joh 1:6, Joh 1:9. “A man sent from God came into being” (ἐγένετο); “the true Light was” (ἦν).

“The main conception of creation which is present in the writings of St. John is expressed by the first notice which he makes of it: All things came into being through the Word. This statement sets aside the notions of eternal matter and of inherent evil in matter. 'There was when' the world 'was not' (Joh 17:5, Joh 17:24); and, by implication, all things as made were good. The agency of the Word, 'who was God,' again excludes both the idea of a Creator essentially inferior to God, and the idea of an abstract Monotheism in which there is no living relation between the creature and the Creator; for as all things come into being 'through' the Word, so they are supported 'in' Him (Joh 1:3; compare Col 1:16 sq.; Heb 1:3). And yet more, the use of the term ἐγένετο, came into being, as distinguished from ἐκτίσθη, were created, suggests the thought that creation is to be regarded (according to our apprehension) as a manifestation of a divine law of love. Thus creation (all things came into being through Him) answers to the Incarnation (the Word became flesh). All the unfolding and infolding of finite being to the last issue lies in the fulfillment of His will who is love” (Westcott, on 1Jo 2:17).

By Him (δἰ αὐτοῦ)

Literally, through him. The preposition διά is generally used to denote the working of God through some secondary agency, as διὰ τοῦ προφήτου, through the prophet (Mat 1:22, on which see note). It is the preposition by which the relation of Christ to creation is usually expressed (see 1Co 8:6; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2), though it is occasionally used of the Father (Heb 2:10; Rom 11:36, and Gal 1:1, where it is used of both). Hence, as Godet remarks, it “does not lower the Word to the rank of a simple instrument,” but merely implies a different relation to creation on the part of the Father and the Son.

Without (χωρὶς)

Literally, apart from. Compare Joh 15:5.

Was not anything made that was made (ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὁ γέγονεν).

Many authorities place the period after ἕν, and join ὁ γένονεν with what follows, rendering, “without Him was not anything made. That which hath been made was life in Him.”

Made (ἐγένετο)

As before, came into being.

Not anything (οὐδὲ ἓν)

Literally, not even one thing. Compare on πάντα (all things) at the beginning of this verse.

That was made (ὁ γέγονεν)

Rev., more correctly, that hath been made, observing the force of the perfect tense as distinguished from the aorist (ἐγένετο) The latter tense points back to the work of creation considered as a definite act or series of acts in the beginning of time. The perfect tense indicates the continuance of things created; so that the full idea is, that which hath been made and exists. The combination of a positive and negative clause (compare Joh 1:20) is characteristic of John's style, as also of James'. See note on “wanting nothing,” Jam 1:4.