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John 17:15-17

Context
17:15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them safe 1  from the evil one. 2  17:16 They do not belong to the world 3  just as I do not belong to the world. 4  17:17 Set them apart 5  in the truth; your word is truth.

1 tn Or “that you protect them”; Grk “that you keep them.”

2 tn The phrase “the evil one” is a reference to Satan. The genitive noun τοῦ πονηροῦ (tou ponhrou) is ambiguous with regard to gender: It may represent the neuter τὸ πονηρόν (to ponhron), “that which is evil,” or the masculine ὁ πονηρός (Jo ponhro"), “the evil one,” i.e., Satan. In view of the frequent use of the masculine in 1 John 2:13-14, 3:12, and 5:18-19 it seems much more probable that the masculine is to be understood here, and that Jesus is praying for his disciples to be protected from Satan. Cf. BDAG 851 s.v. πονηρός 1.b.β and 1.b.γ.

3 tn Grk “they are not of the world.” This is a repetition of the second half of v. 14. The only difference is in word order: Verse 14 has οὐκ εἰσὶν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου (ouk eisin ek tou kosmou), while here the prepositional phrase is stated first: ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου οὐκ εἰσίν (ek tou kosmou ouk eisin). This gives additional emphasis to the idea of the prepositional phrase, i.e., origin, source, or affiliation.

4 tn Grk “just as I am not of the world.”

5 tn Or “Consecrate them” or “Sanctify them.”

sn The Greek word translated set…apart (ἁγιάζω, Jagiazw) is used here in its normal sense of being dedicated, consecrated, or set apart. The sphere in which the disciples are to be set apart is in the truth. In 3:21 the idea of “practicing” (Grk “doing”) the truth was introduced; in 8:32 Jesus told some of his hearers that if they continued in his word they would truly be his disciples, and would know the truth, and the truth would make them free. These disciples who are with Jesus now for the Farewell Discourse have continued in his word (except for Judas Iscariot, who has departed), and they do know the truth about who Jesus is and why he has come into the world (17:8). Thus Jesus can ask the Father to set them apart in this truth as he himself is set apart, so that they might carry on his mission in the world after his departure (note the following verse).



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