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John 1:37-42

Context
1:37 When John’s 1  two disciples heard him say this, 2  they followed Jesus. 3  1:38 Jesus turned around and saw them following and said to them, “What do you want?” 4  So they said to him, “Rabbi” (which is translated Teacher), 5  “where are you staying?” 1:39 Jesus 6  answered, 7  “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. Now it was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 8 

Andrew’s Declaration

1:40 Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two disciples who heard what John said 9  and followed Jesus. 10  1:41 He first 11  found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah!” 12  (which is translated Christ). 13  1:42 Andrew brought Simon 14  to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, the son of John. 15  You will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). 16 

1 tn Grk “his”; the referent (John) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 tn Grk “And the two disciples heard him speaking.”

3 sn The expression followed Jesus pictures discipleship, which means that to learn from Jesus is to follow him as the guiding priority of one’s life.

4 tn Grk “What are you seeking?”

5 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

6 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

7 tn Grk “said to them.”

8 tn Grk “about the tenth hour.”

sn About four o’clock in the afternoon. What system of time reckoning is the author using? B. F. Westcott thought John, unlike the synoptic gospels, was using Roman time, which started at midnight (St. John, 282). This would make the time 10 a.m., which would fit here. But later in the Gospel’s Passover account (John 19:42, where the sixth hour is on the “eve of the Passover”) it seems clear the author had to be using Jewish reckoning, which began at 6 a.m. This would make the time here in 1:39 to be 4 p.m. This may be significant: If the hour was late, Andrew and the unnamed disciple probably spent the night in the same house where Jesus was staying, and the events of 1:41-42 took place on the next day. The evidence for Westcott’s view, that the Gospel is using Roman time, is very slim. The Roman reckoning which started at midnight was only used by authorities as legal time (for contracts, official documents, etc.). Otherwise, the Romans too reckoned time from 6 a.m. (e.g., Roman sundials are marked VI, not XII, for noon).

9 tn Grk “who heard from John.”

10 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

11 tc Most witnesses (א* L Ws Ï) read πρῶτος (prwtos) here instead of πρῶτον (prwton). The former reading would be a predicate adjective and suggest that Andrew “was the first” person to proselytize another regarding Jesus. The reading preferred, however, is the neuter πρῶτον, used as an adverb (BDAG 893 s.v. πρῶτος 1.a.β.), and it suggests that the first thing that Andrew did was to proselytize Peter. The evidence for this reading is early and weighty: Ì66,75 א2 A B Θ Ψ 083 Ë1,13 892 al lat.

12 sn Naturally part of Andrew’s concept of the Messiah would have been learned from John the Baptist (v. 40). However, there were a number of different messianic expectations in 1st century Palestine (see the note on “Who are you?” in v. 19), and it would be wrong to assume that what Andrew meant here is the same thing the author means in the purpose statement at the end of the Fourth Gospel, 20:31. The issue here is not whether the disciples’ initial faith in Jesus as Messiah was genuine or not, but whether their concept of who Jesus was grew and developed progressively as they spent time following him, until finally after his resurrection it is affirmed in the climactic statement of John’s Gospel, the affirmation of Thomas in 20:28.

13 tn Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “the one who has been anointed.”

sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. See the note on Christ in 1:20.

14 tn Grk “He brought him”; both referents (Andrew, Simon) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

15 tc The reading “Simon, son of John” is well attested in Ì66,75,106 א B* L 33 pc it co. The majority of mss (A B2 Ψ Ë1,13 Ï) read “Simon, the son of Jonah” here instead, but that is perhaps an assimilation to Matt 16:17.

16 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. The change of name from Simon to Cephas is indicative of the future role he will play. Only John among the gospel writers gives the Greek transliteration (Κηφᾶς, Khfas) of Simon’s new name, Qéphâ (which is Galilean Aramaic). Neither Πέτρος (Petros) in Greek nor Qéphâ in Aramaic is a normal proper name; it is more like a nickname.



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