Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Daily - 11/19/08

In tonight’s study we’ll be starting at John 1:15 and possibly making it to the end of the chapter. For my study I review several resources: Steve Ray's book on John’s gospel, William Barclay’s commentary, the “golden chain” (a compilation of various ancient commentaries compiled by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, and commentary from Thomas Aquinas. The big thinkers do not agree on the specific meaning of “grace in place of grace” in John 1:16. This is also translated from Greek (the gospel was written in Greek) as “grace for grace”, “grace upon grace”, or “grace in place of grace.”

John 1:16-17

16 From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace,

17 because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Several possibilities are presented:

1. The first grace is the old testament law, and the second grace is justifying grace, received through faith in Christ. This seems to be a reasonable predecessor for John 1:18.

2. An abundance of graces, depending upon the situation

3. The first grace is justifying grace, the second is eternal life. This differs from #1 in that

4. The first is justifying grace, and the second is wisdom.

This is a nice passage to point out a couple of things. At times it is useful to go to other sources to help understand the Word. HOWEVER, we always need to remember that these words of men (sometimes very smart men, but men nonetheless) trying to interpret the Word. Second – sometime these sources will disagree. The significance of those disagreements can vary from trivial to critical.