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John 1:16-18 (Christ)

March 4, 2013

16Because out of his fullness we all received even grace into grace; 17because the law was given according to Moses, the grace and the truth were made according to Jesus [the] anointed. 18No one has seen God at any time; that only God which is at the bosom of the father declared himself.

The phrase “grace into grace” is quite literal. It could alternately be translated “grace in place of grace”. Best I can tell this just means lots and lots of grace.

Verse 17 is the first time “Christ” has come up (from Greek “christos”), and I will translate it as “anointed” because that’s what it means, and this fact has an important connection to the Old Testament.

What a doosie Verse 18 is! I rearranged from the original order, “[the] only God which is at the bosom of the father, that [one] explained himself.” because that way I don’t have to chose if I should use “a” or “the”. The word “only” can also mean “only-born” or “only begotten”, but I like to go with the wider meanings and let the context squeeze out the meaning (the same way it would in Greek). The last verb could either be something like “explain” or “declare”. It is in middle voice, and so should be translated “declared himself” or “declared in his own interest”. Most often I see the translation “declared him” which doesn’t seem right at all. Perhaps this means the only God we have seen is the Jesus, and he explained himself.

Interesting to note is that there are no articles before either occurrence of God, but it looks like one is referring to the father, and one to the son, so I think that people wanting to add “a” to God back in verse one should reconsider.

Edit:  ok, someone has made a counter argument to my last statement. Perhaps the first “God” is NOT referring to the father (and so an “a” should be inserted). Then this could mean something like “no one has seen any god at any time”

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