Saturday, April 3, 2010

God’s Grace in the Law of Moses: A study of John 1:14-18

What is the purpose of the law in the OT? There are some today who would say that for Israel under the Mosaic covenant, the law is the way to salvation. In his book Destined to Reign, Joseph Prince, a prosperity preacher[1] from New Creation Church (Singapore),[2] implies that God designated two ways of salvation in the biblical covenants; one based on the law, and the others based on God’s grace. According to Prince, the people of Israel were previously under the Abrahamic covenant of grace.[3] But at Mount Sinai, the people have “placed themselves under the law” by exchanging covenants, “from the Abrahamic covenant which is based on grace, to the [Mosaic] covenant which is based on the law.”[4] Prince argues that under the Mosaic covenant of law, salvation is “dependent on your doing, your ability to keep the law and your ability to make yourself righteous.”[5]  But in the new covenant of grace, “God does not assess us based on our performance, but on His goodness and faithfulness.”[6]
Prince does not seem to be aware that the law is an instrument of the Holy Spirit who uses it to instruct believers to understand and to do God’s will.[7]  For him, preaching the law will inevitably result in the church lacking “the power to overcome sin,” thus causing sin to be “on the increase”[8] To support his argument, Prince uses a number of proof texts to set the law over against grace. One of these texts is Jn. 1:17 from the KJV: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”[9] In his interpretation of Jn. 1:17, Prince argues that the law is “impersonal” and the giving of the law “implies a sense of distance,” whereas grace is “personal,” and its coming in the person of Jesus Christ points to a “relationship.”[10] Nevertheless, Prince qualifies his interpretation by admitting that the law is “holy, just and good” because “[i]t is from God Himself.”[11] For Prince, the sole purpose of the law is so that “the world would have the knowledge of sin, and recognize their need for a Savior.”[12]
In this study, I will seek to determine as to whether John intends to set the law over against grace in Jn. 1:17. For some interpreters, they would immediately go over to the Pauline epistles to interpret John. It has long been recognized that the apostle Paul does not have a simple approach towards the law. For instance, while Paul clearly affirms that he upholds the law (Rom. 3:31), yet he also says that the law has been abolished (Eph. 2:15). Paul’s complex approach, however, does not necessarily mean that the rest of the NT writers approach the law in the same manner as Paul did. It is important that we do not make the mistake of reading the non-Pauline writings with Pauline spectacles. Rather, we should allow the NT writers to be themselves. For this reason, Paul’s polemic against the law should not be read into Jn. 1:17, but the surrounding context of the verse, that is, Jn. 1:14-18, should be examined. Like many books in the NT, numerous OT allusions can be found within the Gospel. Thus, this study will explore the various words and expressions within Jn. 1:14-18 that alludes to the OT in order to draw out the meaning of Jn. 1:17. 
Text and translation of John 1:14-18
14 Κα  λόγος σρξ γένετο κα σκήνωσεν ν μνκα θεασάμεθα τν δόξαν ατοδόξαν ς μονογενος παρ πατρόςπλήρης χάριτος κα ληθείας. 15ωάννης μαρτυρε περ ατο κα κέκραγεν λέγων· οτος ν  / ν επών / επον·  πίσω μου ρχόμενος μπροσθέν μου γέγονεντι πρτός μου ν. 16 τι κτο πληρώματος ατο μες πάντες λάβομεν κα χάριν ντ χάριτος· 17 τι  νόμος δι Μωϋσέως δόθη χάρις κα  λήθεια δι ησο Χριστο γένετο.18 θεν οδες ώρακεν πώποτε· μονογενς θες  ν ες τν κόλπον το πατρς κενος ξηγήσατο.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt/tabernacled among us, and we saw his glory, glory as only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John is bearing witness about him and has cried out, saying: “This was he whom I spoke; he who comes after me has came before me, because he was before me.” 16 For from his fullness we all received, even grace in place of grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, the grace and the truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only begotten God who is into the bosom of the Father, he made known.   
Lexical and theological analysis of σκηνόω (“to dwell”)
The first word to be examined in this study is the verb σκήνωσεν (“he dwelt”) in v. 14. The lexical form of the verb is σκηνόω (“to dwell”), which is derived from the root σκηνή (“tent”).[13] In the Septuagint (LXX), σκηνή occurs about 435 times, mostly corresponding to the Hebrew word אֹהֶל (“tent”).[14] The  word אֹהֶל usually refers to the tabernacle,[15] a portable construction that was erected in the midst of the camp during Israel’s wilderness experience.[16] The construction of the tabernacle (σκηνή) is quite elaborate, comprising of “the holy place and the holy of holies; in the latter was the ark of the covenant.”[17] During the wilderness period, the tabernacle serves several purposes for the people of Israel: 1. as “the place where God dwells in the midst of his people” (Exod. 25:8); 2. as “the place of the divine revelation” (Exod. 25:22); and 3. as the place where “sacrifices are offered and atonement is made” (Exod. 29:38–43; 30:7–10).[18] In Exod. 40:34-35, the people saw the cloud of God’s presence settled (שָׁכַן) on the tabernacle and the divine glory (LXX: δόξα) filled it.
In light of this, it is not coincidental that John chooses the words σκήνωσεν (“he dwelt”) and δόξαν (“glory”) to describe the Word-made-flesh in v. 14.[19] By writing the phrase  λόγοςσρξ γένετο κα σκήνωσεν ν μν (“the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”), John is not merely indicating that Jesus “entered into a new dimension of existence through the gateway of human birth and took up his residence among men.”[20] But John is also announcing here that Jesus is the new tabernacle who came to dwell among the people. Like the tabernacle in the wilderness, Jesus, during his earthly ministry, has “moved with his disciples as their first Paraclete or Counselor.”[21] The people of Israel have seen the divine glory of Jesus (i.e. θεασάμεθα τν δόξαν ατο, “we saw his glory”) through his signs (Jn. 2:11; 11:4, 40) and in his death and exaltation (7:39; 12:16, 23; 13:31-32).[22] Just as σκηνή is associated with the divine presence in the wilderness, John is associating σκηνόω with the divine presence on earth. Thus, instead of simply rendering σκήνωσεν as “he dwelt,” the verb should best be rendered as “he tabernacled” or “he tented” so as to bring across its OT nuances.
Lexical and theological analysis of πλήρης χάριτος κα ληθείας (“full of grace and truth”)
The expression πλήρης χάριτος κα ληθείας (“full of grace and truth”) in v. 14 contains two significant words: χάρις (“grace”) and λήθεια (“truth”). While λήθεια occurs 25 times throughout the Gospel, χάρις, on the other hand, occurs four times in vv. 14-17 and does not appear in the rest of the Gospel. According to the BDAG lexicon, χάρις has several usages: 1. as “a winning quality or attractiveness that invites a favorable reaction”; 2. as “a beneficent disposition toward someone”; 3. as a “practical application of goodwill”; 4. as an “exceptional effect produced by generosity”; and 5. as a “response to generosity or beneficence.”[23] In the LXX, χάρις typically corresponds to the word חֵן (“favor, grace”),[24] while λεος (“tender mercy”) corresponds to חֶסֶד (“lovingkindness, steadfast love”).[25] In the OT, חֶסֶד is used with reference to “compassionate acts performed either spontaneously or in response to an appeal by one in dire straits.”[26] It has been observed that “in the later speech of the OT there is a remarkable merging of חֵן and חֶסֶד in which חֶסֶד loses its earlier distinctiveness in favour of the meaning of חֵן and furthermore that the later translators with increasing firmness connect חֶסֶד and χάρις.[27]
In the Exodus narrative, the people of Israel had experienced God’s χάρις (“grace”) on a number of occasions. It is important that God’s χάρις on the people of Israel be seen in a covenantal context. While the people were being oppressed in Egypt (Exod. 1:8-14), God demonstrated his χάρις by delivering them from their bondage to slavery (14:30). They were not delivered because of their obedience, but because God remembered his covenant with Abraham and his descendants (2:23-25; 6:1-9; cf. Gen. 17:7). While they were hungry and thirsty in the wilderness, God again demonstrated his χάρις by giving them manna and water (16:1-17:7). In Exodus 19, God alluded to the Abrahamic covenant[28] he had with them and promised to make them his “treasured possession” (v. 5).[29] Because they are his people,[30] God gave them the law to safeguard their covenantal relationship (Exod. 20-23).[31] And in Exodus 24, God ratified the covenant with the people  (vv. 1-11), not to annul the Abrahamic covenant (Gal. 3:17), but to confirm the Abrahamic promises.[32] However, in Exodus 32, the people sinned against God by worshipping a golden calf (vv. 1-10). But God demonstrated his χάρις by not destroying them (v. 14), but by renewing the covenant with them (Exod. 34).[33]
John may have Exod. 34:5-7 in mind when he uses the expression πλήρης χάριτος κα ληθείας.[34] Exodus 34 covers “the giving of the new stone tablets,” “the making of the covenant,” and “the listing of demands that spring from the covenant.”[35] In vv. 5-7, Moses was on Mount Sinai where the cloud of God’s presence descended, and God’s glory passed in front of Moses while proclaiming: “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger,and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” The italicized expression is from the phrase וְרַב־חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת, which the LXX translates as κα πολυέλεος κα ληθινς. It is significant the word חֶסֶד, which is related to χάρις (“grace”), is found in this Hebrew phrase. Also, the LXX translation contains the word ληθινς (“trustworthy”), which is from the same word group as ληθείας. These similarities between Exod. 34:5-7 and Jn. 1:14 strongly indicate that John was seeing the same glory as Moses did in the Word-made-flesh.[36] John is telling his readers in v. 14 that God’s “steadfast love and faithfulness” has finally found ultimate expression in the sending of God’s only begotten Son.[37] 
Theological analysis of θεν οδες ώρακεν πώποτε (“no one has ever seen God”)
In view of the Exodus allusions in v. 14, it is quite likely that the phrase θεν οδες ώρακεν πώποτε (“no one has ever seen God”) in v. 18 would be alluding to Israel’s wilderness experience as well. Here in v. 18, John is reminding his readers of the episode where Moses saw God’s glory (Exod. 33-34). When Moses was on Mount Sinai, he was not allowed to see God (Exod. 33:20). The consistent assumption throughout the OT is that “God cannot be seen, or, more precisely, that for a sinful human being to see him would bring death” (Deut. 4:12; Ps. 97:2).[38] While Moses “is said to have spoken ‘face to face’ with the Lord, but that is the Hebrew way of saying that there was a personal communication between God and a human being” (Exod. 33:11).[39] Thus, when John adds that God has made Jesus Christ known (i.e., κενος ξηγήσατο, “he made known”), he is saying that the coming of the Word-made-flesh has finally “broken the barrier that made it impossible for human beings to see God.”[40]
Syntactical and theological analysis of χάριν ντ χάριτος (“grace in place of grace”)
There are a variety of interpretations offered for the phrase χάριν ντ χάριτος, which is frequently rendered as “grace upon grace.” This phrase, which occurs in v. 16, is immediately followed by v. 17 with an explanatory τι (“for” or “because”). The main point of contention among exegetes lies with the meaning of the preposition ντ.[41] Among the various interpretations of the phrase, the most important ones are as follows:
1.  The preposition ντ means “corresponding to.” The idea here is that “grace, i.e. the grace which the Christian receives, in some sense corresponds to the grace of Christ.”[42] There are, however, some difficulties with this interpretation. For one thing, there is nothing in the literary context to support this meaning. It is important to note that v. 17 begins with the conjunction τι (“for”), which is used to explain the preceding verse.[43] But by rendering ντ as “corresponding to,” this interpretation “does not adequately treat the way v. 17 is cast as the explanation of v. 16.”[44] Moreover, the preposition ντ has never bears the meaning “corresponding to,” except in certain compound words (e.g., ντίτυπον, which means “copy, antitype, representation”).[45]
2.  The preposition ντ means “in return for.” This usage is found several times in the NT (e.g., Matt. 5:38; Rom. 12:17; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Pet. 3:9). The idea here is that “one grace is given in return for another.”[46] However, the idea of grace being given “in return for” something else hardly seems consistent with the NT in general and to John in particular. In fact, the NT understanding of grace is “something freely given by God to those who do not merit it.”[47] Augustine tried to get around this by suggesting that the first χάρις meant “eternal life” and the second “faith.”[48] But John is not talking about future χάρις, but about grace “we all received” (μες πάντες λάβομεν). Such an interpretation is clearly “alien to the context, and ignore(s) the connection between v. 16 and v. 17.”[49]
3.  The preposition ντ means “upon” or “in addition to.” This is the most popular interpretation among scholars today. Modern translations adopt this understanding by rendering the phrase χάριν ντ χάριτος as “grace upon grace” (NEB, RSV) or as “one blessing after another” (GNB, NIV). The idea here is that God’s grace is in inexhaustible supply; that is, “fresh grace replaces grace that is used up or consumed and will go on doing so perpetually.”[50] John Calvin, who holds to this view, believes the text is saying that “we are watered with the graces which were poured out on Christ.”[51] While this interpretation appears to fit with the context of the Prologue, it is, on closer examination, quite unlikely that this is actually John’s point. In fact, there is no parallel to this usage of ντ in all of Greek literature,[52] which uses the preposition έπί (“on, upon”), not ντ, for such meaning.[53]
4. The preposition ντ means “instead of” or “in place of.” This is the most common usage of ντ at all periods.[54] This usage is not only commonly found in the LXX (e.g., Gen. 22:13), but in the NT as well (e.g., Matt. 2:22; Lk. 11:11). While few modern scholars have taken ντ in Jn. 1:16 in this sense,[55]there were, however, several leading Church fathers who held to this view.[56] The idea here is that “the grace and truth that came through Jesus Christ is what replaces the law; the law itself is understood to be an earlier display of grace.”[57] Thus, Jesus is presented here as “the climatic eschatological revelation of God’s covenant love and faithfulness.”[58] This is by far the most convincing interpretation. Furthermore, this interpretation “picks up and supports the other echoes of Exodus 34-35 which have been detected in the Prologue, including the motifs of ‘seeing God’, of his presence or shekhinah (symbolized by the pillar of cloud), and of his glory as he partially reveals himself on Mount Sinai to his servant Moses, who had found favour with him.”[59]
Many modern scholars reject this interpretation, believing that grace in the NT is generally opposed to law (cf. Rom. 6:14).[60] In their objection, they presupposes that “the two halves of v. 17 are set over against each other,”[61] thus assuming that they are dealing with a case of antithetic parallelism. However, their presupposition is clearly flawed, as there is no adversative conjunction in the Greek; that is, no άλλα or δε (“but”).[62] Moreover, while it is true that Paul often contrasts grace and law, John, on the other hand, “alludes to Moses and the Law in a neutral or clearly affirmative manner” later in the Gospel.[63] In response, some scholars have argued that the Gospel is “deeply opposed to the law, and could not possibly have seen it as a display of God’s grace.”[64] Their argument is “largely based on two references to ‘your Law’ (8:17; 10:34),” understood as John’s way of distancing himself from the law.[65] However, their reading of the texts is flawed, as in both instances “the authority of the law is accepted, and serves as the justification of something Jesus himself was teaching.”[66]
There is a remarkable number of allusions to Exodus in Jn. 1:14-18. First of all, by telling his readers that the Word “dwelt among us” and that he “saw his glory,” John recalls Exod. 40:34-35 where the cloud of God’s presence settled on the tabernacle and the divine glory filled it. Second, by calling the Word-made-flesh “full of grace and truth,” John is recalling Exod. 34:5-7 where the cloud of God’s presence descended, and God’s glory passed in front of Moses. And third, by telling his readers “no one has ever seen God,” John is alluding to the episode in Exod. 33-34 where Moses saw God’s glory. These various allusions together indicate that the coming of Jesus Christ is the climatic eschatological fulfillment of Israel’s wilderness experience.
John is also describing this eschatological fulfillment in Jn. 1:17. As this study has shown, the law was given to Israel as a sign of God’s grace to safeguard their covenantal relationship that was established since Abraham. Just as the law is never set over against grace in the Exodus narrative, John does not set the law over against grace in the Gospel. Rather, John alludes to the law in a neutral or clearly affirmative manner. Thus, in Jn. 1:17, the contrast is not between law and grace, but between “two climactic moments in time: first, the grace of the [law] was mediated through Moses; second, grace and truth have been personified in Christ.”[67] This grace and truth that came through Jesus Christ has now replaced the law, which is an earlier display of grace.

[1] In response to the label “prosperity preacher,” Joseph Prince, Destined to Reign: The Secret to Effortless Success, Wholeness and Victorious Living (Harrison House, 2007), 23, remarks that “there is no such thing as a ‘prosperity gospel,’” but there is “only one gospel in the Bible.” Prince further adds that believing this gospel “will result in health and prosperity. In fact, the gospel of Jesus Christ leads to blessings, success, healing, restoration, protection, financial breakthroughs, security, peace, wholeness and MUCH MORE!”
[2] For more information on New Creation Church, see its website:
[3] Prince, 225, believes that “[b]efore the law was given, [the people of Israel] were under grace and nobody was punished even when they failed.”
[4] Prince, 222-223, believes that the people of Israel exchanged covenants because of their “statement of pride” in Exod. 19:8. Prince appears to hold to the 1917 Scofield Bible’s interpretation of the Exodus narrative, which states that “[t]he Dispensation of Promise ended when Israel rashly accepted the law” (See the 1917 Scofield Reference Notes on Gen. 12:1). This interpretation, however, does not appear in the later 1967 Scofield Bible. Instead, the 1967 Scofield Bible stresses that it is “exceedingly important” to observe that the “law is not here proposed as a means of salvation but as a means by which Israel, already redeemed as a nation, might through obedience fulfill her proper destiny” (O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1980), 211-212).
[5] Ibid., 24.
[6] Ibid., 225.
[7] Willem A. VanGemeren, “The Law is the Perfection of Righteousness in Jesus Christ,” in Five Views on Law and Gospel, ed. Stanley N. Gundry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 53, notes three uses of the moral law: 1. Usus elenchticus. The law as an instrument of righteousness warns, convicts, and condemns sinners of their unrighteousness; 2. Usus politcus. The law has the power to restrain us by reminding us of the consequences of our disobedience; and 3. Usus normativus. The law is an instrument of the Holy Spirit by which he teaches believers to understand and to do God’s will.
[8] Prince, 121.
[9] Ibid., 12 and 25.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Prince, 16, remarks that “the law is holy. It is not from the devil. It is from God Himself.”
[12] Ibid.
[13] Berne Wilhelm Michaelis, “σκηνή, σκνοςσκήνωμασκηνόωπισκηνόωκατασκηνόωσκηνοπηγίασκηνοποιός” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kitteland Gerhard Friedrich, trans. Geoffrey. W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), Electronic ed., Libronix.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Ibid.
[16] See Exod. 38:21; Num. 3:25.
[17] R. J. McKelvey, “Temple,” in New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, ed. T. D. Alexander and Brian S. Rosner (Downers Grove: IVP, 2000), 806.
[18] Ibid., 806.
[19] Andreas J. Köstenberger, “John,” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, ed. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 422, observes that “[t]he reference to 1:14 to Jesus taking up residence among God’s people resulting in the revelation of God’s glory (the first occurrence of the term doxa in this Gospel) also harks back to OT references to the manifestation of the presence and glory (kabod) of God, be it in theophanies, the tabernacle, or the temple.”
[20] Merrill C. Tenney, “John,” in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed., Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), Electronic ed., Pradis.
[21] Gerald L. BorchertJohn 1-11, New American Commentary vol. 25A, ed. E. Ray Clendenen (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1996), 120.
[22] D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, Pillar New Testament Commentary, ed. D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 128.
[23] “χάρις” in BDAGBibleworks 7.
[24] E.g., Gen. 6:8.
[25] E.g., Gen. 19:19.
[26] Joel B. Green, “Grace,” in New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, ed. T. D. Alexander and Brian S. Rosner (Downers Grove: IVP, 2000), 524.
[27] Göttingen Walther Zimmerli, “חֶסֶד” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, trans. Geoffrey. W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), Electronic ed., Libronix.
[28] W. J. DumbrellCovenant and Creation (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1984), 81, observes that prior to Exod. 19:5, “there has been no mention in the earlier Exodus material of a covenant as specifically established by the Exodus event itself.” Dumbrell notes that “[s]ince Exod. 6:4 has referred to the Exodus event as being in fulfillment of the patriarchal covenants,” the phrase “to keep my covenant” in Exod. 19:5 “also points in that direction.”
[29] Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), Electronic ed., Pradis, rightly points out that the presence of אִם(“if”) in Exod. 19:5 “did not pave the way for Israel's declension from grace into law anymore than an alleged presence of a condition paved an identical fall for the patriarchs (Gen 22:16-18; 26:5) or for David (2 Sam 7:14-15; 1 Kings 2:4; 8:25; 9:4-5; Pss 89:30-37; 132:11-12).”
[30] Cf. “my people,” in Exod. 3:7, 10; 5:1; 6:7; 7:4, 16; 8:1, 20, 21, 22, 23; 9:1, 13, 17; 10:3, 4.
[31] VanGemeren, 28, notes that “[t]he law was God’s means of shaping Israel into a ‘counter-community,’” enabling the godly to “know how to reflect God’s love, compassion, fidelity, and other perfections.” Robertson, 173, notes that the Mosaic covenant was “never intended to suggest that man by perfect obedience could enter into a state of guaranteed covenantal blessedness.” William DyrnessThemes in Old Testament Theology (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1977), 100, rightly notes that “Israel does not keep the law in order to become God’s people, but because they already are.”
[32] VanGemeren, 28, rightly points out that “[t]he Mosaic covenant is not antithetical to the promises made to Abraham, nor is the Mosaic covenant a substitute for the Abrahamic covenant. Rather, the Mosaic covenant is a confirmation of the promises made to the patriarchs” (Exod. 3:16).
[33] Kaiser notes that this making of a covenant in Exod. 34 “is not to be understood as the instituting of a second covenant in vv.10-27 but is best seen as a renewing of the same covenant after the events of chapter 33.”
[34] Carson, 129, remarks that while some may object that the word πολυέλεος is used instead of χάρις in Exod. 34:6, it is “not impossible that John, working directly from the Hebrew, simply preferred [χάρις].”
[35] Alan Cole, Exodus, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, ed. D. J. Wiseman (Leicester: IVP, 1973), 226.
[36] Carson, 129.
[37] Köstenberger, 422.
[38] Carson, 134.
[39] Borchert, 124.
[40] Carson, 134.
[41] The preposition ντ has been used in several ways: 1. indicating that one person or thing is, or is to be, replaced by another; 2. indicating that one thing is equivalent to another; 3.indicating a process of intervention; 4. indicating the reason for something; and 5. indicating result, with the implication of being a replacement for something (“ντ” in BDAGBibleworks7).
[42] Ruth B. Edwards, “χάριν ντ χάριτος (John 1.16): Grace and the Law in the Johannine Prologue,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament, no. 32 (1988): 5.
[43] Cleon L. Rogers Jr. and Cleon L. Rogers III, The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998), 178.
[44] Carson, 131.
[45] Carson, 131 and Edwards, 5. Carson notes that the word ντίτυπον (“antitype”) may literally be rendered “counterblow,” meaning “a blow corresponding to another one.”
[46] Ibid.
[47] Edwards, 4.
[48] Ibid.
[49] Carson, 131.
[50] Beauford H. Bryant and Mark S. Krause, John, College Press NIV Commentary, ed. Jack Cottrell and Tony Ash (Joplin: College Press, 1998), Electronic ed., Libronix.
[51] John Calvin, “The Gospel According to John: Volume First,” in Calvin’s Commentaries, trans. William Pringle, Electronic ed., Libronix.
[52] Edwards, 5, notes that almost all who defend this interpretation would appeal to Philo—De Posteritate Caini 145—which is literally translated: “Therefore God, having always held back (έπισχών) his first gifts, before those who received them became glutted and insolent, and having husbanded (ταμιευσάμενος) them, distributes others instead of them (άντ εκείνων) and a third supply instead of (αντί) the second, and continually new gifts instead of (αντί) older ones, sometimes different, sometimes the same.” However, Edwards, 6, points out that there are problems with using Philo: a) Philo speaks of ‘graces’, χάριτες, in the plural; John of χάρις in the singular; b) Philo is not talking about an accumulation of gifts, but the replacement of one kind of gift for another; c) the whole thought of Philo is very different from that proposed for the Gospel Prologue: John, on this interpretation, is emphasizing the superabundance of God's grace; while Philo is stressing God's wisdom in dispensing it carefully and not giving to people more than they can cope with.
[53] See for example, Sir. 26.15: χάρις έπί χάριτι γυνή αίσχυντήρα (“a shamefast woman is grace upon grace”) (RV). Edwards, 5, remarks: “[I]f John meant έπί, why did he not write έπί like BenSirach? Why coin a new usage?”
[54] Edwards, 3.
[55] Ibid., 4.
[56] Edwards, 7, notes that this interpretation is “found in Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Origen, and Theophylact, and also adopted by Jerome, linguistically the most learned of the Latin Fathers.”
[57] Carson, 132.
[58] Köstenberger, 423.
[59] Edwards, 10. The word shekhinah is used to denote the dwelling or settling presence of God, and is derived from שָׁכַן, which means “to settle” or “to dwell.”
[60] Edwards, 7.
[61] Carson, 132.
[62] Edwards, 8, observes that “[g]rammatically and structurally the two halves of the verse are exactly balanced: each consists of a nominative noun or noun-pair, a modifying prepositional phrase with διά, and a main verb in the aorist tense.”
[63] Edwards, 8, notes that “nowhere else in John or the Gospels do we find a direct contrast between ‘grace and truth’ and the Law.” Edwards, 8-9, observes that “later in this chapter we find the disciple Nathanael saying, ‘We have found him of whom Moses wrote in the law and of whom the prophets wrote also’ (1.45). In ch. 6 Jesus is seemingly identified with the prophet like Moses of Deuteronomy 18; in ch. 5 he reproaches unbelieving Jews: ‘If you believed in Moses, you would believe in me; for he wrote of me’ (5.45-47). In all these cases Moses is clearly seen as pointing towards Jesus. In ch. 7 the Jews are actually reproached for not believing Moses (7.19; cf. 7.22£); in 10.34 Jesus refers to the Law as the word of God, saying that Scripture cannot be broken. In 8.17 he uses the Mosaic dictum that the testimony of two men is true, to argue for the truth of his own testimony and that of the Father. In Jn 3.14 Moses' lifting up of the serpent in the wilderness is seen as a type ofJesus' own lifting up on the cross. In ch. 6, Jesus’ gift of himself as the bread of life is compared with God’s gift of manna to the Israelites through Moses in the wilderness.”
[64] Carson, 132.
[65] Ibid.
[66] Ibid.
[67] Daniel I. Block, “The grace of Torah: the Mosaic prescription for life (Deut 4:1-8; 6:20-25),” Bibliotheca sacra 162, no. 645 (2005): 14.


  1. I am interested in the study of early christianity, especially the creation and formative years. perhaps the first 200. To show you some of the stuff I have been collecting, and trying to organize, take a look at these two pages, and see if anything interests you;

    I am interested in convos on anything in the early christianity general areas, what are you interested in at the moment?



    What is the meaning of calling on the name of the Lord? Many assume that believing in Jesus and saying a form of a sinner's prayer constitutes, calling on the name of the Lord. The problem with that theory is none of the conversions under the New Covenant support that assumption. Not one time is anyone ever told to believe and say the sinner's prayer in order to be saved.

    The apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost quoted the prophet Joel, Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (NKJV)

    The apostle Peter preached the first gospel sermon under the New Covenant. Peter did not tell the 3000 converts to believe and say the sinner's prayer.

    Peter preached the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He preached Jesus as both Lord and Christ. When they heard this they asked Peter and the rest of the brethren what they should do?(Acts 2:22-37) Peter told them what to do. Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(NKJV)

    How did the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost call on the name of the Lord and become saved?
    1. They believed that Jesus was both Lord and Christ.
    2. They believed that God raised Jesus from the grave.
    3. They repented. Repentance is a change of heart. Repentance means to be converted so that God may forgive your sins. Repentance is to make the intellectual commitment to turn from sin and turn toward God. (Acts 3:19, Acts 2:38)
    4. They were immersed in water (baptized) so that their sins could be forgiven.

    How did the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost not call on the name of the Lord?
    1. They did not say a sinner's prayer.
    2. Not one person was asked to pray for forgiveness.
    3. Not one single man was told to be baptized as a testimony of his faith.
    4. No one was told that water baptism was a just an act of obedience.
    5. No one was informed they were saved the very minute they believed.
    6. Not one person was told that water baptism was not essential for the forgiveness of sins.
    7. Not one person was told to be baptized so they could join a denominational church.

    Jesus said he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. (Mark 16"16) Jesus did not say he who believes and says a sinner's prayer shall be saved.