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John 7:15

7:15 Then the Jewish leaders 1  were astonished 2  and said, “How does this man know so much when he has never had formal instruction?” 3 

John 7:20


7:20 The crowd 4  answered, “You’re possessed by a demon! 5  Who is trying to kill you?” 6 

John 7:47-49

7:47 Then the Pharisees answered, 7  “You haven’t been deceived too, have you? 8  7:48 None of the rulers 9  or the Pharisees have believed in him, have they? 10  7:49 But this rabble 11  who do not know the law are accursed!”

1 tn Or “the Jewish authorities”; Grk “the Jews.” Here the phrase refers to the Jewish authorities or leaders who were Jesus’ primary opponents. See the note on the phrase “the Jewish leaders” in v. 1.

2 tn Or “began to be astonished.” This imperfect verb could also be translated ingressively (“began to be astonished”), but for English stylistic reasons it is rendered as a simple past.

3 tn Grk “How does this man know learning since he has not been taught?” The implication here is not that Jesus never went to school (in all probability he did attend a local synagogue school while a youth), but that he was not the disciple of a particular rabbi and had not had formal or advanced instruction under a recognized rabbi (compare Acts 4:13 where a similar charge is made against Peter and John; see also Paul’s comment in Acts 22:3).

sn He has never had formal instruction. Ironically when the Jewish leaders came face to face with the Word become flesh – the preexistent Logos, creator of the universe and divine Wisdom personified – they treated him as an untaught, unlearned person, without the formal qualifications to be a teacher.

4 tn Or “The common people” (as opposed to the religious authorities mentioned in 7:15).

5 tn Grk “You have a demon!”

6 tn Grk “Who is seeking to kill you?”

sn Who is trying to kill you? Many of the crowd (if they had come in from surrounding regions for the feast) probably were ignorant of any plot. The plot was on the part of the Jewish leaders. Note how carefully John distinguishes between the leadership and the general populace in their respective responses to Jesus.

7 tn Grk “answered them.”

8 tn Questions prefaced with μή (mh) in Greek anticipate a negative answer. This can sometimes be indicated by using a “tag” at the end in English (here the tag is “have you?”).

9 sn The chief priests and Pharisees (John 7:45) is a comprehensive term for the groups represented in the ruling council (the Sanhedrin) as in John 7:45; 18:3; Acts 5:22, 26. Likewise the term ruler here denotes a member of the Sanhedrin, the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews. Note the same word (“ruler”) is used to describe Nicodemus in John 3:1, and Nicodemus also speaks up in this episode (John 7:50).

10 tn Questions prefaced with μή (mh) in Greek anticipate a negative answer. This can sometimes be indicated by using a “tag” at the end in English (here the tag is “have they?”).

11 tn Grk “crowd.” “Rabble” is a good translation here because the remark by the Pharisees is so derogatory.

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