John 14

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John 14
P. Oxy. 208 (J 16,14-22).jpg
John 16:14-22 on the recto side of Papyrus 5, written about AD 250.
Book Gospel of John
Bible part New Testament
Order in the Bible part 4
Category Gospel

John 14 is the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It continues Jesus' discussions with His disciples in anticipation of His death and records the promised gift of the Holy Spirit.[1] Jesus speaks individually with Thomas, Philip and Judas (not the Iscariot). The book containing this chapter is anonymous, but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that John composed this Gospel.[2]

Text[edit]

Places[edit]

All the events recorded in this chapter and the succeeding chapters up to John 17 took place in Jerusalem. The precise location is not specified, but John 18:1 states that afterwards, "Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley".

Structure[edit]

The New King James Version organises this chapter as follows (with cross references to other parts of the Bible):

Jesus' departure and His return[edit]

Chapter 14 continues, without interruption, Jesus' dialogue with His disciples regarding His approaching departure from them. Anglican Bishop Charles Ellicott describes the chapter break as "unfortunate, as it breaks the close connection between these words and those which have gone immediately before (John 13)".[3] Jesus says, "Do not let your heart (Greek: ὑμῶν ἡ καρδία, hymōn hē kardia - singular in the Greek, in Wycliffe's Bible and in the American Standard Version - be troubled" (John 14:1), words which are repeated in John 14:27. Many English translations have the plural, hearts (e.g. Jerusalem Bible). Codex D and some other versions introduce into the text καὶ εϊπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ (and He said to His disciples) but Bengel's Gnomon says that "the mass of authorities is against [this]".[4]

The purpose of Jesus' departure is to "go to prepare a place for [His disciples]. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:2-3). John 14:2 begins, in many English translations, with the statement "There are many rooms in my Father’s house", but the alternative, if it were so, is presented in various ways:

if it were not so, I would have told you. (e.g. New King James Version, Geneva Bible)
if that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? (e.g. English Standard Version (ESV))

The latter reading is not supported by any previous text where Jesus had said He was going to prepare a place.

The Greek: μοναὶ (monai) is translated as "rooms" in the ESV, "mansions" in the King James Version and "dwelling places" in the New Revised Standard Version. The Textus Receptus presents Jesus' intention to prepare a place for His disciples as a separate sentence from the point about the availability of many rooms, whereas, in other versions, the promise that a place will be prepared is directly linked to the teaching that there are many rooms in the Father's house.

The Rastafari movement draws its umbrella term "Mansions of Rastafari" from verse 2, referring to the diverse groups within the movement. Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas argue from the reference to "many mansions" that the mansions vary in type and therefore reflect "different degrees of rewards":[5]

In every well-ordered city there is a distinction of mansions. Now the heavenly kingdom is compared to a city (Apocalypse 21:2). Therefore we should distinguish various mansions there according to the various degrees of beatitude.[6]

Verse 3 builds on this departure and preparation, when Jesus continues:

I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (New King James Version)

The words I will come again are in the present tense, and should be literally rendered, I am coming again.[7] Ellicott notes that "this clause has been variously explained: of the resurrection; of the death of individual disciples; of the spiritual presence of our Lord in the Church;[8] [or] of the coming again of the Lord in the Parousia of the last day, when all who believe in Him shall be received unto Himself", but he prefers to read them as referring to Jesus' constant spiritual presence in the midst of His disciples.[9]

The Way, the Truth, and the Life[edit]

Text John 14:6 on Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus (6th century).
"Via, Veritas, Vita" on the coat of arms of Arad, Romania.
Main article: Via, Veritas, Vita

In the first of three individualised conversations in this chapter, Jesus speaks with Thomas:

Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?"

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges notes that they were in Jerusalem, "the royal city of the conquering Messiah", so the disciples may have thought they were in the place where Jesus would be "to restore the kingdom to Israel".[10]

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.[11]

The phrase "The Way" is also found in Acts 9:2 and 19:23 as a term to describe the early church.

The words translated as "know" or "known" in verse 7 are ἐγνώκειτέ (egnōkate) and γινώσκετε (ginōskete) in the first and third occurrences, coming from the verb Greek: γινώσκω, (ginóskó, to come to know, recognize, perceive) [12] whereas the second occurrence translates the Greek: ᾔδειτε (ēdeite), coming from the Greek: εἰδῶ (eidó: be aware, behold, consider, perceive),[13] [14] although the Textus Receptus has words derived from γινώσκω in all three instances.[15] Ellicott explains that the words "are not identical in meaning. The former means, to know by observation, the latter to know by reflection. It is the difference between connaître and savoir [in French]; between kennen (ken, k(e)now), and wissen (wit, wisdom) [in German]. We may express the meaning more exactly thus, 'If ye had recognised Me, ye would have known My Father also'".[16]

Philip, who had said to Nathaniel in John 1:46, "Come and see", takes over the dialogue from Thomas:

Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us (John 14:8).

He still wants to see a further revelation, thinking that Jesus still has to show them a vision of God which has not yet been made visible.[17] Jesus comments that He has been with His disciples (Greek: ὑμῶν, hymōn - plural) for "such a long time" (John 14:9) - Philip was one of the first disciples to follow Jesus [18] - "and yet you (singular) have not known Me". Jesus speaks first to Philip, alone, "Do you not believe ..." (οὐ πιστεύεις, ou pisteueis - singular) and then to the eleven as a group, "Believe me ..." (πιστεύετέ, pisteuete - plural). The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges explains that "the English obliterates the fact that Christ now turns from S. Philip and addresses all the eleven":[19]

Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake (John 14:11).

John has previously referred to Jesus' works as His witness and a sign of His authority (John 5:36 and 10:25) but Jesus adds here:

He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father (John 14:12).

Lutheran theologian Harold Buls suggests that the "greater works" involve "send[ing] out the message of eternal life in great streams" to the gentiles, being the message which Jesus had only given to the Jews.[20]

Prayer[edit]

Verse 13 states,

Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son

and verse 14 partially repeats this:

If you ask [me] anything in My name, I will do it.

The Byzantine monk and biblical commentator Euthymios Zigabenos states that "the promise is repeated ... for confirmation".[21]

Verse 26[edit]

King James Version

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.[22]

End of chapter 14[edit]

As the chapter draws to a close (verses 28-31), Jesus repeats that He is going away, but He will return. This passage finalises Jesus' discourse with His closest disciples:

I will no longer talk much with you (John 14:30a)

as His life now is solely directed to the task of obedience to His Father (John 14:31). Preparing to leave the upper room, He says to His disciples:

Arise, let us go from here.

Their departure links logically with the opening words of chapter 18, "When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered". This connection has therefore led some commentators to suppose that chapters 15-17 represent Jesus' discourse "as they went along in the way to Mount Olivet",[23] or "that they rise from table and prepare to depart, but that the contents of the next three chapters are spoken before they leave the room".[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Halley, Henry H. Halley's Bible Handbook: an abbreviated Bible commentary. 23rd edition. Zondervan Publishing House 1962
  2. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  3. ^ Ellicott's Commentary for Modern Readers on John 14, accessed 1 July 2016
  4. ^ Bengel's Gnomon on John 14, accessed 1 July 2016
  5. ^ Augustine, Homilies on the Gospel of John, Tractate 67, accessed 7 July 2016
  6. ^ Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Question 93. The happiness of the saints and their mansions, accessed 7 July 2016
  7. ^ Ellicott's Commentary for Modern Readers on John 14, accessed 1 July 2016
  8. ^ cf. Matthew 28:20: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age"
  9. ^ Ellicott's Commentary for Modern Readers on John 14, accessed 1 July 2016
  10. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on John 14, accessed 5 July 2016; cf. Acts 1:6
  11. ^ John 14:6-7
  12. ^ Strong's Concordance 1097: ginóskó
  13. ^ Strong's Concordance 1492: eidó
  14. ^ See for example the Westcott-Hort Text of John 14
  15. ^ Byzantine Text, John 14
  16. ^ Ellicott's Commentary for Modern Readers on John 14, accessed 1 July 2016
  17. ^ Pulpit Commentary on John 14, accessed 7 July 2016
  18. ^ John 1:43
  19. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on John 14, accessed 5 July 2016
  20. ^ Buls' Notes on John 14, accessed 9 July 2016
  21. ^ Quoted in Expositor's Greek Testament on John 14, accessed 10 July 2016
  22. ^ John 14:26
  23. ^ Matthew Poole's Commentary on John 14, accessed 11 July 2016, cf. Pulpit Commentary on John 14, accessed 7 July 2016
  24. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on John 14, accessed 5 July 2016

External links[edit]


Preceded by
John 13
Chapters of the Bible
Gospel of John
Succeeded by
John 15