VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
PREVIOUS - NEXT CHAPTER - INDEX
Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Pool (kolumbhqra). In the New Testament only in this chapter and ix. 7, 11. Properly, a pool for swimming, from kolumbaw, to dive. In Eccl. ii. 6 (Sept.,) it is used of a reservoir in a garden. The Hebrew word is from the verb to kneel down, and means, therefore, a kneeling-place for cattle or men when drinking. In ecclesiastical language, the baptismal font, and the baptistery itself.
Called (epilegomenh). Strictly, surnamed, the name having perhaps supplanted some earlier name.
Bethesda (bhqesda). Commonly interpreted House of Mercy; others House of the Portico. The readings also vary. Tischendorf and Westcott and Hort give bhqzaqa, Bethzatha, House of the Olive. The site cannot be identified with any certainty. Dr. Robinson thinks it may be the Fountain of the Virgin, the upper fountain of Siloam. See Thomson's "Land and Book," "Southern Palestine and Jerusalem," pp. 458-461.
Porches (stoav). Cloisters, covered porticoes.
Impotent (asqevountwn). Rev., sick. Yet the A.V. gives the literal meaning, people without strength. Wyc., languishing.
Withered (zhrwn). Literally, dry. So Wyc.. The following words, to the end of ver. 4, are omitted by the best texts.
Wilt thou (qeleiv). Not merely, do you wish, but are you in earnest? See on Matthew 1. 19. Jesus appeals to the energy of his will. Not improbably he had fallen into apathy through his long sickness. Compare Acts iii. 4; John vii. 17.
Whole (ugihv). Sound.
To carry (arai). Rev., more correctly, to take up. It is Jesus' own word in ver. 8.
What man is he, etc. "See the cunning of malice. They do not say, 'Who is he that healed thee?' but, 'Who bade thee take up thy bed?'" (Grotius, in Trench, "Miracles.") Take up thy bed. Omit bed. Literally, take up and walk.
Who it was (tiv estin). The present tense, who it is.
Had conveyed Himself away (exeneusen). The verb means, literally, to turn the head aside, in order to avoid something. Hence, generally, to retire or withdraw. Only here in the New Testament.
Sin no more (mhketi amartane). No longer continue to sin. See on Matt. i. 21. Jesus thus shows His knowledge that the sickness was the result of sin.
A worse thing. Than even those thirty-eight years of suffering.
Come unto thee (soi genhtai). Rev., better, befall thee. Literally, come to pass.
And sought to kill Him. The best texts omit.
He did. See above. Godet observes: "the imperfect malignantly expresses the idea that the violation of the Sabbath has become with Him a sort of maxim."
And I work (kagw ergazomai). Or, I also work. The two clauses are coordinated. The relation, as Meyer observes, is not that of imitation, or example, but of equality of will and procedure. Jesus does not violate the divine ideal of the Sabbath by His holy activity on that day. "Man's true rest is not a rest from human, earthly labor, but a rest for divine, heavenly labor. Thus the merely negative, traditional observance of the Sabbath is placed in sharp contrast with the positive, final fulfillment of spiritual service, for which it was a preparation" (Westcott).
His Father (patera idion). Properly, His own Father. So Rev.
But what He seeth. Referring to can do nothing, not to of himself. Jesus, being one with God, can do nothing apart from Him.
The Father do (ton patera poiounta). Rev., rightly, doing. The participle brings out more sharply the coincidence of action between the Father and the Son: "the inner and immediate intuition which the Son perpetually has of the Father's work" (Meyer).
Likewise (omoiwv). Better, as Rev., in like manner. Likewise is popularly understood as equivalent to also; but the word indicates identity of action based upon identity of nature.
Greater works will He show Him. As Jesus does whatever He sees the Father do (ver. 19), the showing of greater works will be the signal for Jesus to do them. On works, as a characteristic word in John, see on iv. 47.
Ye may marvel. The ye is emphatic (umeiv) and is addressed to those who questioned His authority, whose wonder would therefore be that of astonishment rather than of admiring faith, but might lead to faith. Plato says, "Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder" ("Theaetetus," 105); and Clement of Alexandria, cited by Westcott, "He that wonders shall reign, and he that reigns shall rest." Compare Acts iv. 13.
The Son quickeneth. Not raiseth and quickeneth. The quickening, however (zwopoiei, maketh alive), includes the raising, so that the two clauses are coextensive. In popular conception the raising precedes the quickening; but, in fact, the making alive is the controlling fact of the raising. Egeirei, raiseth, means primarily awaketh.
Hath committed (dedwken). Rev., given. The habitual word for the bestowment of the privileges and functions of the Son. See ver. 36; iii. 35; vi. 37, 39; x. 29, etc.
All judgment (thn krisin pasan). Literally, the judgment wholly.
Hath eternal life. See on iii. 36.
Shall not come into condemnation (eijv krisin oujk ercetai). The present tense, cometh not. So Rev. Not condemnation, but judgment, as Rev. See on iii. 17. Wyc., cometh not into doom. The present, cometh, states the general principle or order.
From death (ek qanatou). Rev., correctly, out of death, pointing to the previous condition in which he was.
Life (thn zwhn). The life; the ideal of perfect life.
Hath he given (edwken). Rev., more strictly, gave, the aorist tense pointing back to the eternal past.
The Son of man. Better, a son of man. The article is wanting. The authority is assigned to Him as being very man. John uses the article everywhere with this phrase, except here and Apoc. i. 13; xiv. 14. See on Luke vi. 22.
Resurrection of life (ean egw). The phrase occurs only here in the New Testament: so resurrection of judgment (anastasin krisewv).
True (alhqhv). As distinguished from false. See on i. 9.
Receive (lambanw). See on iii. 32.
Testimony (thn marturian). Rev., properly the witness. The restoration of the article is important. It has the force of my, marking the witness as characteristic of Christ's work. The only testimony which I accept as proof.
From man. Or from a man, with a primary reference to the Baptist. Rev. renders, the witness which I receive is not from man.
These things. With reference to the Baptist.
Ye may be saved. The ye (umeiv), marking them as those who might be influenced by the inferior, human testimony; though they did not apprehend the divine testimony.
Ye were willing. Again the emphatic uJmeiv, ye.
To rejoice (agalliasqhnai). The word signifies exultant, lively joy. See Matt. v. 12; Luke i. 47; x. 21; 1 Pet. i. 6. The interest in the Baptist was a frivolous, superficial, and short-lived excitement. Bengel says, "they were attracted by his brightness, not by his warmth."
Hath given. See on ver. 22.
To finish (ina teleiwsw). Literally, in order that I should accomplish. Rev., accomplish. See on iv. 34.
The same works (auta ta erga). Rev., more correctly, the very works.
Voice - shape. Not referring to the descent of the dove and the voice from heaven at Jesus' baptism, but generally and figuratively to God's witness in the Old Testament Scriptures. This is in harmony with the succeeding reference to the word.
The scriptures (tav grafav). Literally, the writings; possibly with a hint at the contrast with the word (ver. 38).
They (ekeinai). Those very scriptures.
The love of God. Love toward God. This was the summary of their own law. The phrase occurs elsewhere in the Gospels only in Luke xi. 42. In you (en eautoiv). Rev., rightly, in yourselves. Compare vi. 53; 1 John v. 10; Mark iv. 17.
Which receive (lambanontev). Literally, receiving (as ye do): seeing that ye receive.
Seek not the honor that cometh from God only (kai thn doxan thn monou Qeou ou zhteite). The Rev. gives it capitally, following the Greek order: and the glory that cometh from the only God ye seek not. Not God only, which entirely overlooks the force of the definite article; but the only God. Compare 1 Tim. vi. 15, 16; John xvii. 3; Rom. xvi. 27.
In whom ye trust (eiv on umeiv hlpikate). A strong expression. Literally, into whom ye have hoped. Rev., admirably, on whom ye have set your hope.
Gramma primarily means what is written. Hence it may describe either a single character or a document. From this general notion several forms develop themselves in the New Testament. The word occurs in its narrower sense of characters, at Luke xxiii. 38; 2 Cor. iii. 7; Galatians vi. 11. In Acts xxviii. 21, it means official communications. Paul, with a single exception (2 Cor. iii. 7), uses it of the letter of scripture as contrasted with its spirit (Rom. ii. 27, 29; vii. 6; 2 Cor. iii. 6). In Luke xvi. 6, 7, it denotes a debtor's bond (A.V., bill). In John vii. 15, Acts xxvi. 24) it is used in the plural as a general term for scriptural and Rabbinical learning. Compare Sept., Isa. xxix. 11,12) where a learned man is described as ejpitamenov grammata, acquainted with letters. Once it is used collectively of the sacred writings - the scriptures (2 Timothy iii. 15), though some give it a wider reference to Rabbinical exegesis, as well as to scripture itself. Among the Alexandrian Greeks the term is not confined to elementary instruction, but includes exposition, based, however, on critical study of the text. The tendency of such exegesis was often toward mystical and allegorical interpretation, degenerating into a petty ingenuity in fixing new and recondite meanings upon the old and familiar forms. This was illustrated by the Neo-Platonists' expositions of Homer, and by the Rabbinical exegesis. Men unacquainted with such studies, especially if they appeared as public teachers, would be regarded as ignorant by the Jews of the times of Christ and the Apostles. Hence the question respecting our Lord Himself: How knoweth this man letters (grammata John vii. 15)? Also the comment upon Peter and John (Acts iv. 13) that they were unlearned (agrammatoi). Thus, too, those who discovered in the Old Testament scriptures references to Christ, would be stigmatized by Pagans, as following the ingenious and fanciful method of the Jewish interpreters, which they held in contempt. Some such feeling may have provoked the words of Festus to Paul: Much learning (polla grammata) doth make thee mad (Acts xxvi. 24). It is well known with what minute care the literal transcription of the sacred writings was guarded. The Scribes (grammateiv) were charged with producing copies according to the letter (kata to gramma).
The one passage in second Timothy cannot be urged in favor of the general use of the term for the scriptures, especially since the best texts reject the article before iJera gramma, so that the meaning is apparently more general: "thou hast known sacred writings." The familiar formula for the scriptures was aiJ grafai aJgiai.. A single book of the collection of writings was known as biblion (Luke iv. 17), or biblov (Luke xx. 42); never grafh, which was the term for a particular passage. See on Mark xii. 10. 27 It seems to me, therefore, that the antithesis between the writings of Moses, superstitiously reverenced in the letter, and minutely and critically searched and expounded by the Jews, and the living words (rJhmasin, see on Luke i. 37), is to be recognized. This, however, need not exclude the other antithesis between Moses and Jesus personally.