corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

John 14



Other Authors
Verse 1

Heart ( καρδία )

Never used in the New Testament, as in the Septuagint, of the mere physical organ, though sometimes of the vigor and sense of physical life (Acts 14:17; James 5:5; Luke 21:34). Generally, the center of our complex being - physical, moral, spiritual, and intellectual. See on Mark 12:30. The immediate organ by which man lives his personal life, and where that entire personal life concentrates itself. It is thus used sometimes as parallel to ψυχή , the individual life, and to πνεῦμα theprinciple of life, which manifests itself in the ψυχή . Strictly, καρδία is the immediate organ of ψυχή , occupying a mediating position between it and πνεῦμα . In the heart ( καρδία ) the spirit ( πνεῦμα ), which is the distinctive principle of the life or soul ( ψυχή ), has the seat of its activity.

Emotions of joy or sorrow are thus ascribed both to the heart and to the soul. Compare John 14:27, “Let not your heart ( καρδιά ) be troubled;” and John 12:27, “Now is my soul ( ψυχή ) troubled.” The heart is the focus of the religious life (Matthew 22:37; Luke 6:45; 2 Timothy 2:22). It is the sphere of the operation of grace (Matthew 13:19; Luke 8:15; Luke 24:32; Acts 2:37; Romans 10:9, Romans 10:10). Also of the opposite principle (John 13:2; Acts 5:3). Used also as the seat of the understanding; the faculty of intelligence as applied to divine things (Matthew 13:15; Romans 1:21; Mark 8:17).

Ye believe - believe also ( πιστεύετε καὶ πιστεύετε )

The verbs may be taken either as indicatives or as imperatives. Thus we may render: ye believe in God, ye believe also in me; or, believe in God and ye believe in me; or, believe in God and believe in me; or again, as A.V. The third of these renderings corresponds best with the hortatory character of the discourse.

Verse 2

House ( οἰκίᾳ )

The dwelling-place. Used primarily of the edifice (Matthew 7:24; Matthew 8:14; Matthew 9:10; Acts 4:34). Of the family or all the persons inhabiting the house (Matthew 12:25; John 4:53; 1 Corinthians 16:15; Matthew 10:13). Of property (Matthew 23:14; Mark 12:40). Here meaning heaven.

Mansions ( μοναὶ )

Only here and John 14:23. From μένω tostay or abide. Originally a staying or abiding or delay. Thus Thucydides, of Pausanias: “He settled at Colonae in Troas, and was reported to the Ephors to be negotiating with the Barbarians, and to be staying there ( τὴν μονὴν ποιούμενος , Literally, making a stay ) for no good purpose” (i., 131). Thence, a staying or abiding-place; an abode. The word mansion has a similar etymology and follows the same course of development, being derived from manere, to remain. Mansio is thus, first, a staying, and then a dwelling-place. A later meaning of both mansio and μονή is a halting-place or station on a journey. Some expositors, as Trench and Westcott, explain the word here according to this later meaning, as indicating the combination of the contrasted notions of progress and repose in the vision of the future. This is quite untenable. The word means here abodes. Compare Homer's description of Priam's palace:

“A palace built with graceful porticoes,

And fifty chambers near each other, walled

With polished stone, the rooms of Priam's sons

And of their wives; and opposite to these

Twelve chambers for his daughters, also near

Each other; and, with polished marble walls,

The sleeping-rooms of Priam's sons-in-law

And their unblemished consorts.”

Iliad,” vi., 242-250.

Godet remarks: “The image is derived from those vast oriental palaces, in which there is an abode not only for the sovereign and the heir to the throne, but also for all the sons of the king, however numerous they may be.”

If it were not so, I would have told you ( εἰ δὲ μὴ εἶπον ἂν ὑμῖν ).

Wyc., If anything less, I had said to you.

I go to prepare, etc.

Many earlier interpreters refer I would have told you to these words, and render I would have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. But this is inadmissible, because Jesus says (John 14:3) that He is actually going to prepare a place. The better rendering regards if it were not so, I would have told you, as parenthetical, and connects the following sentence with are many mansions, by means of ὅτι , for or because, which the best texts insert. “In my Father's house are many mansions (if it were not so, I would have told you), for I go to prepare a place for you.”

I go to prepare

Compare Numbers 10:33. Also Hebrews 6:20, “whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.”

A place ( τόπον )

See on John 11:48. The heavenly dwelling is thus described by three words: house, abode, place.

Verse 3

If I go ( ἐὰν πορευθῶ )

Πορεύομαι , go, of going with a definite object. See on John 8:21.

I will come again ( πάλιν ἔρχομαι )

The present tense; I come, so Rev. Not to be limited to the Lord's second and glorious coming at the last day, nor to any special coming, such as Pentecost, though these are all included in the expression; rather to be taken of His continual coming and presence by the Holy Spirit. “Christ is, in fact, from the moment of His resurrection, ever coming into the world and to the Church, and to men as the risen Lord” (Westcott).

And receive ( παραλήψομαι )

Here the future tense, will receive. Rev., therefore, much better: I come again and will receive you. The change of tense is intentional, the future pointing to the future personal reception of the believer through death. Christ is with the disciple alway, continually “coming” to him, unto the end of the world. Then He will receive him into that immediate fellowship, where he “shall see Him as He is.” The verb παραλαμβάνω is used in the New Testament of taking along with (Matthew 4:5, note; Matthew 17:1, note; Acts 16:33, note): of taking to (Matthew 1:20; John 14:3): of taking from, receiving by transmission; so mostly in Paul (Galatians 1:12; Colossians 2:6; Colossians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13, etc. See also Matthew 24:40, Matthew 24:41). It is scarcely fanciful to see the first two meanings blended in the use of the verb in this passage. Jesus, by the Spirit, takes His own along with Him through life, and then takes them to His side at death. He himself conducts them to Himself.

I am

See on John 7:34.

Verse 4

I go ( ὑπάγω )

Withdraw from you. See on John 8:21.

Ye know, and the way ye know ( οἴδατε, καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν οἴδατε )

The best texts omit the second ye know, and the and before the way; reading, whither I go ye know the way.

Verse 5

And how can we know ( καὶ πῶς δυνάμεθα τὴν ὁδὸν εἰδέναι )

The best texts substitute οἴδαμεν , know we, for δυνάμεθα , can we; reading, how know we the way. So Rev. Some also omit and before how.

Verse 6

I am the way

The disciples are engrossed with the thought of separation from Jesus. To Thomas, ignorance of whither Jesus is going involves ignorance of the way. “Therefore, with loving condescension the figure is taken up, and they are assured that He is Himself, if we may so speak, this distance to be traversed” (Milligan and Moulton). All along the course to the Father's house they are still with Him.

The truth

As being the perfect revelation of God the Father: combining in Himself and manifesting all divine reality, whether in the being, the law, or the character of God. He embodies what men ought to know and believe of God; what they should do as children of God, and what they should be.

The life

Not only life in the future world. He is “the principle and source of life in its temporal development and future consummation, so that whoever has not received Him into himself by faith, has become a prey to spiritual and eternal death” (Meyer). “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” Compare Colossians 3:4; John 6:50, John 6:51; John 11:25, John 11:26.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. Without the way there is no going; without the truth there is no knowing; without the life there is no living. I am the way which thou shouldst pursue; the truth which thou shouldst believe; the life which thou shouldst hope for” (Thomas a Kempis, “Imitation of Christ,” iii., 56). On ζωή , life, see on John 1:4.

Unto the Father

The end of the way.

Verse 7

Had known ( ἐγνώκειτε )

Rather, had learned to know, through my successive revelations of myself.

Ye should have known ( ἐγώκειτε ἄν )

The same verb as above. Some editors, however, read ᾔδειτε , the verb signifying absolute knowledge, the knowledge of intuition and satisfied conviction. If this is adopted, it marks a contrast with the progressive knowledge indicated by ἐγνώκειτε . See on John 2:24.

My Father

Not the Father, as John 14:6. It is the knowledge of the Father in His relation to the Son. Through this knowledge the knowledge of God as the Father, “in the deepest verity of His being,” is attained. This latter knowledge is better expressed by οἷδα . See on John 4:21.

Have seen

See on John 1:18.

Verse 9

Have I been ( εἰμι )

Literally, am I.

Known ( ἐγνωκάς )

Come to know.

Sayest thou ( σὺ )

Emphatic. Thou who didst say, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write” (John 1:46). Omit and before how sayest thou.

Verse 10

Of myself ( ἀπ ' ἐμαυτοῦ )

Rev., better, from myself. See on John 7:17.

The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works ( ὁ δὲ πατὴρ ὁ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένων, αὐτὸς ποιεῖ τὰ ἔργα )

The best texts read, ὁ δὲ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένων ποιεῖ τὰ ἔργα αὔτου ;the Father abiding in me doeth His works. Philip doubts whether Christ is in the Father, and the Father in Him. The answer is twofold, corresponding to the two phases of the doubt. His words, spoken not from Himself, are from the Father, and therefore He utters them from within the Father, and is Himself in the Father. His works are the works of the Father abiding in Him; therefore the Father is in Him.

Verse 11

Believe me ( πιστεύετέ μοι )

The plural of the imperative: “believe ye me.” Compare believest thou, John 14:10. These words are addressed to the disciples collectively, whose thought Philip had voiced.

Or else ( εἰ δὲ μὴ )

Literally, but if not. If you do not believe on the authority of my personal statement.

For the very works' sake ( διὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτὰ )

Literally, on account of the works themselves, irrespective of my oral testimony.

Verse 12

Greater works

Not more remarkable miracles, but referring to the wider work of the apostolic ministry under the dispensation of the Spirit. This work was of a higher nature than mere bodily cures. Godet truthfully says: “That which was done by St. Peter at Pentecost, by St. Paul all over the world, that which is effected by an ordinary preacher, a single believer, by bringing the Spirit into the heart, could not be done by Jesus during His sojourn in this world.” Jesus' personal ministry in the flesh must be a local ministry. Only under the dispensation of the Spirit could it be universal.

Verse 13

In my name

The first occurrence of the phrase. See on Matthew 28:19. Prayer is made in the name of Jesus, “if this name, Jesus Christ, as the full substance of the saving faith and confession of him who prays, is, in his consciousness, the element in which the prayerful activity moves; so that thus that Name, embracing the whole revelation of redemption, is that which specifically measures and defines the disposition, feeling, object, and contents of prayer. The express use of the name of Jesus therein is no specific token; the question is of the spirit and mind of him who prays” (Meyer). Westcott cites Augustine to the effect that the prayer in Christ's name must be consistent with Christ's character, and that He fulfills it as Savior, and therefore just so far as it conduces to salvation.

Verse 14

If ye shall ask anything

Some authorities insert me. So Rev. This implies prayer to Christ.

Verse 15

Keep ( τηρήσατε )

The best tests read τηρήσετε , ye will keep. Lay up in your hearts and preserve by careful watching. See on reserved, 1 Peter 1:4.

My commandments ( τὰς ἐντολὰς τὰς ἐμὰς )

Literally, the commandments which are mine. See on John 10:27.

Verse 16

I will pray ( ἐρωτήσω )

See on John 11:22.

Comforter ( παράκλητον )

Only in John's Gospel and First Epistle (John 14:16, John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7; 1 John 2:13. From παρά , to the side of, and καλέω , to summon. Hence, originally, one who is called to another's side to aid him, as an advocate in a court of justice. The later, Hellenistic use of παρακαλεῖν and παράκλησις , to denote the act of consoling and consolation, gave rise to the rendering Comforter, which is given in every instance in the Gospel, but is changed to advocate in 1 John 2:1, agreeably to its uniform signification in classical Greek. The argument in favor of this rendering throughout is conclusive. It is urged that the rendering Comforter is justified by the fact that, in its original sense, it means more than a mere consoler, being derived from the Latin confortare, to strengthen, and that the Comforter is therefore one who strengthens the cause and the courage of his client at the bar: but, as Bishop Lightfoot observes, the history of this interpretation shows that it is not reached by this process, but grew out of a grammatical error, and that therefore this account can only be accepted as an apology after the fact, and not as an explanation of the fact. The Holy Spirit is, therefore, by the word παράκλητος , of which Paraclete is a transcription, represented as our Advocate or Counsel, “who suggests true reasonings to our minds, and true courses of action for our lives, who convicts our adversary, the world, of wrong, and pleads our cause before God our Father.” It is to be noted that Jesus as well as the Holy Spirit is represented as Paraclete. The Holy Spirit is to be another Paraclete, and this falls in with the statement in the First Epistle, “we have an advocate with God, even Jesus Christ.” Compare Romans 8:26. See on Luke 6:24. Note also that the word another is ἄλλον , and not ἕτερον , which means different. The advocate who is to be sent is not different from Christ, but another similar to Himself. See on Matthew 6:24.

With you ( μεθ ' ὑμῶν )

Notice the three prepositions used in this verse to describe the Spirit's relation to the believer. With you ( μετά ), in fellowship; by you ( παρά ), in His personal presence; in you ( ἐν ), as an indwelling personal energy, at the springs of the life.

Verse 17

The Spirit of Truth

“A most exquisite title,” says Bengel. The Spirit, who has the truth, reveals it, by knowledge in the understanding; confers it by practical proof and taste in the will; testifies of it to others also through those to whom He has revealed it; and defends that truth, of which John 1:17speaks, grace and truth … . The truth makes all our virtues true. Otherwise there is a kind of false knowledge, false faith, false hope, false love; but there is no such thing as false truth.”

The world

See on John 1:9.

Shall be in you

Some editors read, ἐστίν , is in you.

Verse 18

Leave ( ἀφήσω )

See on John 4:3.

Comfortless ( ὀρφανούς )

Literally, bereft or orphans. Only here and James 1:27, where it is rendered fatherless. Compare my little children (John 13:33). “He hath not left us without a rule (John 13:34); nor without an example (John 13:15); nor without a motive (John 14:15); nor without a strength (John 15:5); nor without a warning (John 15:2, John 15:6); nor without a Comforter (John 14:18); nor without a reward (John 14:2) (James Ford, “The Gospel of St. John Illustrated”).

I will come ( ἔρχομαι )

Present tense, I come. See on John 14:3.

Verse 19

Ye shall live also ( καὶ ὑμεῖς ζήσεσθε )

This may also be rendered, and ye shall live, explaining the former statement, ye behold me. So Rev., in margin. This is better. John is not arguing for the dependence of their life on Christ's, but for fellowship with Christ as the ground of spiritual vision.

Verse 21


“Who has in memory and keeps in life” (Augustine).

Will manifest ( ἐμφανίσω )

Properly, of manifestation to the sight, as distinguished from δηλόω , to make evident to the mind (1 Corinthians 3:13; Colossians 1:8, etc.). A clear, conspicuous manifestation is indicated. Compare ye see me (John 14:19). “It conveys more than the disclosing of an undiscovered presence ( ἀποκαλύπτω ), or the manifesting of a hidden one ( φανερόω )” (Westcott).

Verse 22


See on Thaddaeus, Mark 3:18.

Not Iscariot

The Rev. improves the translation by placing these words immediately after Judas. “He distinguishes the godly Judas, not by his own surname, but by the negation of the other's; marking at the same time the traitor as present again after his negotiation with the adversaries, but as having no sympathy with such a question” (Bengel).

How is it ( τί γέγ ονεν )

Literally, what has come to pass. Implying that Judas thought that some change had taken place in Jesus' plans. He had assumed that Jesus would, as the Messiah, reveal Himself publicly.

Verse 23

My word ( λόγον μου )

The entire gospel message, as distinguished from its separate parts or commandments.

We will come

Compare John 10:30; Revelation 3:20.

Abode ( μονὴν )

See on John 14:2. Compare 1 John 2:24; 1 John 5:15.

Verse 24

My sayings ( λόγους )

Rev., words. Compare word, John 14:23. The constituent parts of the one word.

Verse 25

Being yet present ( μένων )

Rev., stronger and more literally, while yet abiding.

Verse 26

In my name

See on John 14:13.

He ( ἐκεῖνος )

Setting the Advocate distinctly and sharply before the hearers. The pronoun is used in John's First Epistle, distinctively of our Lord. See 1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:3, 1 John 3:5, 1 John 3:7, 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:17.

I have said ( εἶπον )

The aorist tense, I said.

Verse 27


“These are last words, as of one who is about to go away and says 'good-night' or gives his blessing” (Luther). Peace! was the ordinary oriental greeting at parting. Compare John 20:21.

My peace I give

Compare 1 John 3:1. “It is of his own that one gives ” (Godet).

Let it be afraid ( δειλιάτω )

Only here in the New Testament. Properly it signifies cowardly fear. Rev., fearful. The kindred adjective δειλός fearfulis used by Matthew of the disciples in the storm (Matthew 8:26), and in Revelation of those who deny the faith through fear of persecution (Revelation 21:8). The kindred noun, δειλία , occurs only in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear,” contrasted with the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.

Verse 28

I said

Omit, and read, ye would have rejoiced because I go unto the Father.

Verse 30

Hereafter I will not talk ( οὐκ ἔπι λαλήσω )

Rev., more correctly, I will no more speak.

The prince of this world

The best texts read, “of the world.”

Hath nothing in me

No right nor power over Christ which sin in Him could give. The Greek order is, in me he hath nothing.

Verse 31

But that the world may know, etc.

The connection in this verse is much disputed. Some explain, Arise, let us go hence, that the world may know that I love the Father, and that even as the Father commanded me so I do. Others, So I do, that the world may know - and even as the Father, etc. Others, again, take the opening phrase as elliptical, supplying either, he cometh, i.e., Satan, in order that the world may know - and that as the Father, etc.; or, I surrender myself to suffering and death that the world may know, etc. In this case, Arise, etc., will form, as in A.V. and Rev., an independent sentence. I incline to adopt this. The phrase ἀλλ ' ἵνα , but in order that, with an ellipsis, is common in John. See John 1:8, John 1:31; John 9:3; John 13:18; John 15:25; 1 John 2:19.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 14:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology