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John 1:15 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Here we have John Baptist's first testimony concerning Christ the promised Messiah: and it consists of four parts.

1. John prefers Christ before himself, as being surpassingly above himself. He that cometh after me is preferred before me, that is, in the dignity of his person, and in the eminency of his office, as being the eternal God. Now amongst them that were born of women, there was not a greater than John the Baptist; if Christ then was greater than John, it was in regard of his being God. He is therefore preferred before him, because he was before him, as being God from all eternity.

Learn hence, That the dignity and eternity of Christ;s person as God, sets him up above all his ministers; yea, above all creatures, how excellent soever. He that cometh after me in time, is preferred before me in dignity; for he was before me, even from all eternity.

2. John prefers Christ before all believers, in point of fulness and sufficiency of divine grace: Of his fulness do they receive. They have their failings, Christ has his fulness; theirs is the fulness of a vessel, his is the fulness of a fountain: their fulness is derivative, his fulness is original, yet also ministerial, on purpose in him to give out to us, that we may receive grace for grace; that is, grace answerable for kind and quality, though not for measure and degree. As a child in generation receives from its parent member for member, or as the paper in the printing-press receives letter for letter, and the wax under the seal receives print for print; so in the work of regeneration, whatever grace is in Christ, there is the like for kind stamped upon the Christian;s soul. All the members of Christ being made plentiful partakers of his spiritual endowments.

Learn hence, That all fulness of grace, by way of supply for believers, is treasured up in Christ, and communicated by him, as their wants and necessities do require: his fulness is inexhaustible, it can never be drawn low, much less drawn dry: Of his fulness do we receive grace for grace: that is, grace freely, grace plentifully; God grant that none of us may receive the grace of Christ in vain.

John prefers Christ before Moses, whom the Jews doted so much upon. The law was given by Moses, not as the author, but as the dispenser of it. Moses was God's minister, by whom the law which reveals wrath, was given to the Jews; but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Grace, in opposition to the condemnatory curse and sentence of the law; and truth, in opposition to the types, shadows, and ceremonies of the legal administration.

Learn hence, That all grace for the remission of sin, and for performace of duty, is given from Christ, the Fountain of grace: Grace came by Jesus Christ. The grace of pardon and reconciliation; the grace of holiness and sanctification; the grace of love and adoption; even all that grace that fits us for service here, and glory hereafter. Christ is both the Dispenser and the Author of it. Grace came by Jesus Christ.

Again, 4. John the Baptist here Joh 1:18 doth not only prefer Christ before himself, before Moses, before all believers, but even before all persons whatsoever, in point of knowing and revealing the mind of God. No man hath seen God at any time; that is, no mere man hath ever seen God in his essence, whilst he was in this mortal state. Here God's invisibility is asserted: next Christ's intimacy with the Father, is declared.

The only-begotten Son, that is in the bosom of the Father. This expression implies three things.

1. Unity of natures; the bosom is the child's place, who is part of ourselves.

2. Dearness of affection. None lie in the bosom, but the person that is dear to us. A bosom friend is the dearest of friends.

3. It implies communication of secrets. Christ's lying in his Father's bosom intimates his being conscious to all his Father's secrets, to know all his counsels, and to understand his whole will and pleasure.

Now as Christ's lying in his Father's bosom implies unity of nature, it teaches us to give the same worship to Christ which we give to God the Father, because he is of the same nature with the Father. As it implies dearness of affection betwixt the Father and the Son, it teaches us to place our chief love upon Christ the Son, because God the Father doth so: he, who is the Son of God's love, should be the object of our love; as God hath an bosom for Christ, so should we have also; the noblest object challenges the highest affection.

Again, as Christ's lying in the Father's bosom implies the knowlege of his mind and will, it teaches us to apply ourselves to Christ, to his word and Spirit, for illumination. Whither should we go for instruction, but to this great Prophet; for direction, but to this wonderful Counselor: We can never be made wise unto salvation, if Christ, the wisdom of the Father, doth not make us so.

Consult other comments:

John 1:15 - Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

John 1:15 - The Greek Testament

John 1:15 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

John 1:15 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

John 1:15 - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

John 1:15 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

John 1:15 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

John 1:15 - B.H. Carroll's An Interpretation of the English Bible

John 1:15 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

John 1:15 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

John 1:15 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

John 1:15 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

John 1:15 - Expositors Bible Commentary

John 1:15 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

John 1:15 - The Expositor’s Greek Testament by Robertson

John 1:15 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

John 1:15 - Geneva Bible Notes

John 1:15 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

John 1:15 - Gnomon of the New Testament

John 1:15 - Godet Commentary (Luke, John, Romans and 1 Corinthians)

John 1:15 - Henry Alford's Greek Testament

John 1:15 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

John 1:15 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

John 1:15 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

John 1:15 - Commentaries on the New Testament and Prophets

John 1:15 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

John 1:15 - The Popular Commentary on the Bible by Kretzmann

John 1:15 - Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's New Testament Commentary

John 1:15 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

John 1:15 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

John 1:15 - Old and New Testaments Restoration Commentary

John 1:15 - Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

John 1:15 - Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

John 1:15 - A Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 1:15 - Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

John 1:15 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

John 1:15 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

John 1:15 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

John 1:15 - Combined Bible Commentary

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament