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John 16:1-4

Context

16:1 “I have told you all these things so that you will not fall away. 1  16:2 They will put you out of 2  the synagogue, 3  yet a time 4  is coming when the one who kills you will think he is offering service to God. 5  16:3 They 6  will do these things because they have not known the Father or me. 7  16:4 But I have told you these things 8  so that when their time 9  comes, you will remember that I told you about them. 10 

“I did not tell you these things from the beginning because I was with you. 11 

John 16:12

Context

16:12 “I have many more things to say to you, 12  but you cannot bear 13  them now.

1 tn Grk “so that you will not be caused to stumble.”

sn In Johannine thought the verb σκανδαλίζω (skandalizw) means to trip up disciples and cause them to fall away from Jesus’ company (John 6:61, 1 John 2:10). Similar usage is found in Didache 16:5, an early Christian writing from around the beginning of the 2nd century a.d. An example of a disciple who falls away is Judas Iscariot. Here and again in 16:4 Jesus gives the purpose for his telling the disciples about coming persecution: He informs them so that when it happens, the disciples will not fall away, which in this context would refer to the confusion and doubt which they would certainly experience when such persecution began. There may have been a tendency for the disciples to expect immediately after Jesus’ victory over death the institution of the messianic kingdom, particularly in light of the turn of events recorded in the early chapters of Acts. Jesus here forestalls such disillusionment for the disciples by letting them know in advance that they will face persecution and even martyrdom as they seek to carry on his mission in the world after his departure. This material has parallels in the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24-25) and the synoptic parallels.

2 tn Or “expel you from.”

3 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:59.

4 tn Grk “an hour.”

5 sn Jesus now refers not to the time of his return to the Father, as he has frequently done up to this point, but to the disciples’ time of persecution. They will be excommunicated from Jewish synagogues. There will even be a time when those who kill Jesus’ disciples will think that they are offering service to God by putting the disciples to death. Because of the reference to service offered to God, it is almost certain that Jewish opposition is intended here in both cases rather than Jewish opposition in the first instance (putting the disciples out of synagogues) and Roman opposition in the second (putting the disciples to death). Such opposition materializes later and is recorded in Acts: The stoning of Stephen in 7:58-60 and the slaying of James the brother of John by Herod Agrippa I in Acts 12:2-3 are notable examples.

6 tn Grk “And they.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

7 sn Ignorance of Jesus and ignorance of the Father are also linked in 8:19; to know Jesus would be to know the Father also, but since the world does not know Jesus, neither does it know his Father. The world’s ignorance of the Father is also mentioned in 8:55, 15:21, and 17:25.

8 tn The first half of v. 4 resumes the statement of 16:1, ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν (tauta lelalhka Jumin), in a somewhat more positive fashion, omitting the reference to the disciples being caused to stumble.

9 tn Grk “their hour.”

10 tn The words “about them” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.

11 sn This verse serves as a transition between the preceding discussion of the persecutions the disciples will face in the world after the departure of Jesus, and the following discussion concerning the departure of Jesus and the coming of the Spirit-Paraclete. Jesus had not told the disciples these things from the beginning because he was with them.

12 sn In what sense does Jesus have many more things to say to the disciples? Does this imply the continuation of revelation after his departure? This is probably the case, especially in light of v. 13 and following, which describe the work of the Holy Spirit in guiding the disciples into all truth. Thus Jesus was saying that he would continue to speak (to the twelve, at least) after his return to the Father. He would do this through the Holy Spirit whom he was going to send. It is possible that an audience broader than the twelve is addressed, and in the Johannine tradition there is evidence that later other Christians (or perhaps, professed Christians) claimed to be recipients of revelation through the Spirit-Paraclete (1 John 4:1-6).

13 tn Or (perhaps) “you cannot accept.”



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