John 1:35-51

John 1:35-51
Narrative Lectionary 420


35 The next day JohnI again was standingII with twoIII of his disciples,IV 

Notes on verse 35

I “John” = Ioannes. From Hebrew yochanan (Johanan); from Yehochanan (“the Lord has been gracious”); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel); {from havah (to become); from hayah (to be, exist, happen)} + chanan (beseech, show favor, be gracious; properly, to bend in kindness to someone with less status). This is John, meaning “the Lord has been gracious.”
II “standing” = histemi. This is to stand, place, establish, appoint, stand ready, be steadfast.
III “two” = duo. This is two or both.
IV “disciples” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.

36 and as he watchedV JesusVI walk by,VII he exclaimed,VIII

Notes on verse 36a

V “watched” = emblepo. 12x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + blepo (to see, used primarily in the physical sense; figuratively, seeing, which includes attention and so to watchfulness, being observant, perceiving, beware, and acting on the visual information). This is to look at, gaze, consider, stare, see clearly, look with particular interest.
VI “Jesus” = Iesous. Related to “John” in v35. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (see note I above) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
VII “walk by” = peripateo. From peri (about, concerning, around, encompassing) + pateo (to read, trample on; to trample literally or figuratively); {from patos (trodden) OR from paio (to strike, smite, sting; a hit like a single blow)}. This is to walk. Going from Hebrew figurative language, to walk referred to how you conducted your life, how you chose to live. This word is most literally walking around. Figuratively, it is living, behaving, following, how you occupy yourself. This is where “peripatetic” comes from.
VIII “exclaimed” = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.

“Look,IX here is the LambX of God!”XI 37 The two disciples heardXII him say this, and they followedXIII Jesus. 

Notes on verses 36b-37

IX “look” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
X “Lamb” = amnos. 4x in NT. This is lamb, used figuratively for innocence or in reference to its sacrificial use. Usually, it refers to a lamb that is one year old.
XI “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
XII “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
XIII “followed” = akoloutheo. From a (with, fellowship, union) + keleuthos (road, way). This is to accompany or follow someone, especially the way a disciple does.

38 When Jesus turnedXIV and sawXV them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?”XVI

Notes on verse 38a

XIV “turned” = strepho. From trope (turning, shifting, a revolution; figuratively, a variation); from trepo (to turn). This is to turn, change, turn back, be converted; to turn around completely to take the opposite path or a completely different one.
XV “saw” = theaomai. From thaomai (to gaze at a spectacle; to look at or contemplate as a spectator; to interpret something in efforts to grasp its significance). This is to behold, look upon, see, contemplate, visit like a spectator. This is the root of the word “theatre.”
XVI “looking for” = zeteo. This is to seek, search for, desire. It is searching for something by inquiring or investigation. It can be seek in a literal or figurative sense. There is a Hebrew figure of speech “to seek God’s face” so it can also mean to worship God. Alternately, you could seek someone’s life i.e. plot to kill them.

They said to him, “Rabbi”XVII (which translatedXVIII meansXIX Teacher),XX “where are you staying?”XXI

Notes on verse 38b

XVII “Rabbi” = rhabbi. 15x in NT– 8x in the Gospel of John. From Hebrew rab (chief); from rabab (to be many, increase, multiply). This is a title of respect for a teacher-scholar. Literally, it means great one or honorable sir. It can also be understood as my master or my teacher.
XVIII “translated” = methermeneuo. 8x in NT. From meta (with, among, beyond) + hermeneuo (to interpret, translate, explain the meaning of); {perhaps from Hermes, the god of language and a proper name}. This is to explain beyond i.e. to translate or interpret.
XIX “means” = lego. Same as “exclaimed” in v36. See note VIII above.
XX “Teacher” = didaskalos. From didasko (to teach, direct, instruct, or impart knowledge; in the New Testament, almost always used for teaching scripture); from dao (to learn). This is teacher or master.
XXI “staying” = meno. This is to stay, remain, wait, await, continue, abide, endure. It can mean to literally stay in a place or to remain in a condition or to continue with hope and expectation.

39 He said to them, “ComeXXII and see.”XXIII They came and sawXXIV where he was staying, and they remainedXXV with him that day.XXVI It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.XXVII 

Notes on verse 39

XXII “come” = erchomai. This is to come or go.
XXIII “see” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
XXIV “saw” = horao. Same as “see” in v39. See note XXIII above.
XXV “remained” = meno. Same as “staying” in v38. See note XXI above.
XXVI “day” = hemera. Perhaps from hemai (to sit). This is day, time, or daybreak.
XXVII “about four o’clock in the afternoon” = hora + eimi + hos + dekatos. Literally, “the hour was about the tenth.” Hora is a set time or period, an hour, instant, or season. This is where the word “hour” comes from. Eimi is to be or exist. Dekatos is 3x in NT. From deka (ten). This is tenth.

40 OneXXVIII of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew,XXIX SimonXXX Peter’sXXXI brother.XXXII 

Notes on verse 40

XXVIII “one” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.
XXIX “Andrew” = Andreas. 13x in NT. From aner (man, male, sir, husband). This is Andrew, meaning manly.
XXX “Simon” = Simon. From Hebrew Shimon (Simon – Jacob’s son and his tribe); from shama (to hear, often implying attention and obedience). This is Simon, meaning “he who hears.”
XXXI “Peter’s” = Petros. Related to petra (large rock that is connected and or projecting like a rock, ledge, or cliff; can also be cave or stony ground). This is Peter, a stone, pebble, or boulder.
XXXII “brother” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.

41 He firstXXXIII foundXXXIV hisXXXV brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah”XXXVI (which is translated Anointed).XXXVII 

Notes on verse 41

XXXIII “first” = protos. From protos (what is first –the most important, the first in order, the main one, the chief); from pro (before, first, in front of, earlier). This is first or formerly. It could be first in a row, most important, or first relative to timing.
XXXIV “found” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.
XXXV “his” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).
XXXVI “Messiah” = Messias. 2x in NT. From Hebrew mashiach (anointed, anointed one, messiah; someone consecrated like a king, priest, or holy person); from mashach (to smear, anoint, paint, rub with oil; this implies consecrating). This is Messiah or Anointed One.
XXXVII “Anointed” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.

42 He broughtXXXVIII Simon to Jesus, who lookedXXXIX at him and said, “You are Simon sonXL of John. You are to be calledXLI Cephas”XLII (which is translatedXLIII Peter).

Notes on verse 42

XXXVIII “brought” = ago. This is lead, bring, carry, guide, drive, go.
XXXIX “looked” = emblepo. Same as “watched” in v36. See note V above.
XL “son” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
XLI “called” = kaleo. Related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on). This is to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud.
XLII “Cephas” = Kephas. 9x in NT. From Aramaic kepha (stone or rock). This is Cephas, the Aramaic translation of Peter’s name.
XLIII “translated” = hermeneuo. Related to “translated” in v38. 3x in NT. See note XVIII above.

43 The next day Jesus decidedXLIV to goXLV to Galilee.XLVI He found PhilipXLVII and said to him, “Follow me.” 

Notes on verse 43

XLIV “decided” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.
XLV “go” = exerchomai. Related to “come” in v39. From ek (from, from out of) + erchomai (see note XXII above). This is to go out, depart, escape, proceed from, spread news abroad.
XLVI “Galilee” = Galilaia. From Hebrew galil (cylinder, circuit, district); from galal (to roll in a literal or figurative sense, roll away, roll down, wallow, remove, trust). This is Galilee, meaning perhaps region or cylinder.
XLVII “Philip” = Philippos. From philos (dear, beloved, a friend, an associate; friendship with personal affection, a trusted confidante; love from personal experience with another person) + hippos (horse). This is Philip, meaning one who loves horses or is fond of horses.

44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida,XLVIII the cityXLIX of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found NathanaelL and said to him, “We have found him about whom MosesLI

Notes on verses 44-45a

XLVIII “Bethsaida” = Bethsaida. 7x in NT. From Aramaic bet (house) + tsaida (hunting); related to Hebrew bayit (house, family); {from banah (to build)} + tsayid (hunting, catch, the chase); {from tsud (to hunt, to lie in wait in order to catch an animal; used figuratively for capturing people)} OR from Aramaic bet (house) + chasda (grace); related to Hebrew chesed (favor, goodness, kindness, loving kindness, pity, reproach, or a good deed; when done by humanity to God, it is piety); {from chasad (being good, kind, merciful; may mean bowing one’s neck as is done in the presence of an equal for courtesy’s sake; so, if one in a superior position is treating you like an equal, that is what is captured here)}. This is Bethsaida, meaning either house of fish or house of grace.
XLIX “city” = polis. This is a city or its inhabitants. It is a town of variable size, but one that has walls. This is where “metropolis” and “police” come from.
L “Nathanael” = Nathanael. 6x in NT. From Hebrew nethanel (Nethanel, “given of God”); {from natan (to give, put, set, offer; to give literally or figuratively) + el (God, god)}. This is Nathanael, meaning “given of God.”
LI “Moses” = Mouses. From Hebrew Mosheh (Moses); from mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.

in the lawLII and also the prophetsLIII wrote,LIV Jesus son of JosephLV from Nazareth.”LVI 

Notes on verse 45b

LII “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.
LIII “prophets” = prophetes. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}. This is a prophet or poet – one who speaks with inspiration from God.
LIV “wrote” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
LV “Joseph” = Ioseph. From Hebrew Yoseph (he increases; Joseph); from yasaph (to add, increase, continue, exceed). This is Joseph, meaning “he increases.”
LVI “Nazareth” = Nazareth. 12x in NT. Perhaps from netser (branch) OR from natsar (to watch, guard, protect). This is Nazareth, meaning perhaps branch or protected. It is a city in Galilee. See

46 Nathanael said to him, “CanLVII anything goodLVIII come out ofLIX Nazareth?”

Philip said to him, “ComeLX and see.”LXI 

Notes on verse 46

LVII “can” = dunamai. This is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.
LVIII “good” = agathos. This is good, a benefit, or a good thing. It is good by its very nature, intrinsically good. A different word, kalos, refers to external signs of goodness.
LIX “come out of” = eimi. Same as “was” in v39. See note XXVII above.
LX “come” = erchomai. Same as “come” in v39. See note XXII above.
LXI “see” = idou. Same as “look” in v36. See note IX above.

47 When Jesus sawLXII Nathanael comingLXIII toward him, he said of him, “HereLXIV is trulyLXV an IsraeliteLXVI in whom there is no deceit!”LXVII 

Notes on verse 47

LXII “saw” = horao. Same as “see” in v39. See note XXIII above.
LXIII “coming” = erchomai. Same as “come” in v39. See note XXII above.
LXIV “here” = idou. Same as “look” in v36. See note IX above.
LXV “truly” = alethos. 18x in NT. From alethes (true, unconcealed; true because it is in concert with fact and reality – attested. Literally, what cannot be hidden; truth stands up to test and scrutiny and is undeniable, authentic); from a (not) + lanthano (concealed, hidden, unnoticed; to shut one’s eyes to, unwittingly, unawares). This is truly, really, surely, truthfully, indeed. Properly, this is saying “in accordance with fact…” – what one is about to say can be proven and is true to reality.
LXVI “Israelite” = Israelites. Related to “Nathanael” in v45. 9x in NT. From Israel (Israel, the people an land); from Hebrew Yisrael (God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring); {from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (see note L above)}. This is Israel the people and the land. This is Israelite in a literal or figurative sense.
LXVII “deceit” = dolos. 11x in NT. From dello (probably to decoy). This is literally bait, but used figuratively for treachery, stealth, guile, or deceit.

48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to knowLXVIII me?”

Jesus answered, “I sawLXIX you under the fig tree before Philip calledLXX you.” 

49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the KingLXXI of Israel!”LXXII 

Notes on verses 48-49

LXVIII “get to know” = ginosko. This is to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn. It is knowledge gained through personal experience.
LXIX “saw” = horao. Same as “see” in v39. See note XXIII above.
LXX “called” = phoneo. Related to “prophets” in v45. From phone (voice, sound, tone or noise; also a language or dialect); probably from phemi (see note LIII above). This is to call out, summon, shout, address. It is making a sound whether of an animal, a person, or an instrument.
LXXI “King” = basileus. Probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is king, emperor, or sovereign.
LXXII “Israel” = Israel. Related to “Nathanael” in v45 & “Israelite” in v47. See note LXVI above.

50 Jesus answered, “Do you believeLXXIII because I told you that I sawLXXIV you under the fig tree? You will seeLXXV greater thingsLXXVI than these.” 

Notes on verse 50

LXXIII “believe” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
LXXIV “saw” = horao. Same as “see” in v39. See note XXIII above.
LXXV “see” = horao. Same as “see” in v39. See note XXIII above.
LXXVI “greater things” = megas. This is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.

51 And he said to him, “Very truly,LXXVII I tell you, you will seeLXXVIII heavenLXXIX openedLXXX

Notes on verse 51a

LXXVII “very truly” = amen + amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, truth, so be it, faithfulness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.
LXXVIII “see” = horao. Same as “see” in v39. See note XXIII above.
LXXIX “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
LXXX “opened” = anoigo. From ana (up, back, again, among, between, anew) + oigo (to open). This is to open in  literal or figurative sense.

and the angelsLXXXI of God ascendingLXXXII and descendingLXXXIII upon the Son of Man.”LXXXIV

Notes on verse 51b

LXXXI “angels” = aggelos. Related to “brought” in v42. Probably from ago (see note XXXVIII above) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
LXXXII “ascending” = anabaino. Related to “king” in v49. From ana (up, back, among, again, anew) + the same as basis (see note LXXI above). This is to come up in a literal or figurative sense – ascent, rise, climb, enter.
LXXXIII “descending” = katabaino. Related to “king” in v49 & “ascending” in v51. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + baino (see note LXXI above). This is to come down whether from the sky to the ground or from higher ground to lower. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense.
LXXXIV “Man” = anthropos. Related to “Andrew” in v40 & “see” in v39. Probably from aner (see note XXIX above) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (see note XXIII above)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.

Image credit: “The Word Became Flesh” by Paula Nash Giltner of Good News Productions Int.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply