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That We Might Acknowledge Him


John 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Beginning my reading of everything I own on The Gospel According to John, I’ve decided to start with Calvin. Readers familiar with this blog may infer some theological bias in that decision, but they would be mistaken. Not that I admit no such bias; I do. No, my choice is the result of much serious consideration. Following a thorough review of all my options, I surveyed the wall upon which my commentaries hang, and saw that Calvin’s were in the top left position relative to the others. Everyone knows English is read top to bottom and right to left, so what else could I do? Anyway . . .

Today, Calvin explains for us the purpose for the light that comes with the life that we find in Christ.

img   The life was the light of men. . . . He speaks here, in my opinion, of that part of life in which was bestowed on menwas not of an ordinary description, it was united to the light of understanding. He separates man from the rank of other creatures; because we perceive more readily the power of God by feeling it in us than by beholding it at a distance. Thus Paul charges us not to seek God at a distance, because he makes himself to be felt within us, (Acts xvii. 27.) after having presented a general exhibition of the kindness of Christ, in order to induce men to take a nearer view of it, he points out what has been bestowed peculiarly on themselves; namely, that they were not created like the beasts, but having been endued with reason, they had obtained a higher rank. As it is not in vain that God imparts his light to their minds, it follows that the purpose for which they were created was, that they might acknowledge Him who is the Author of so excellent of blessing. And since this light, of which the Speech* was the source, has been conveyed from him to us, it ought to serve as a mirror, on which we may clearly behold the divine power of the Speech.

—John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XVII, Commentary on the Gospel according to John Volume I (Baker Books, 2009), 31.

* Calvin translates ὁ λόγος thus, and explains, “I wonder what induced the Latins to render ὁ λόγος by Verbum, (the Word;) for that would rather have been the translation of τὸ ῥη̑μα. But granting that they had some plausible reason, still it cannot be denied that Sermo (the Speech) would have been far more appropriate.” [p. 28]



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5 Comments:


#1 || 10·01·28··11:54 || Daniel

The speech?

I prefer "the message" - seriously. Not being a jokester here, but I don't like "the word" as a proper translation of ὁ λόγος - and have often translated it for myself and those with whom I have dicussed the translation, as the "message" or even more pointedly as the "manifested intent", or something similar. It's slippery I know, but there you have it.

I like the top bottom left right explanation btw.


#2 || 10·01·28··11:55 || Daniel

Or maybe... the "stated intent"...

Sorry, I just am provoked to be precise in the matter.


#3 || 10·01·28··13:49 || Victoria

It is 3:45 EST and David has not made a post yet today--very unusual indeed--hope all is well.


#4 || 10·01·28··16:53 || David

Hey, it’s nice to be missed! Or maybe I should just say “have my absence noticed.” All is well, and I have now posted.


#5 || 10·01·28··16:55 || David

Well, Daniel, I guess you have something in common with Calvin. He was an oddball, too.


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