John 1:9-13


John 1:9

hn WAS     to THE       fwV  to LIGHT      alhqinon TRUE      

o THAT WHICH               fwtizei LIGHTENS         panta EVERY anqrwpon MAN          ercomenon COMING          eiV INTO       

ton THE          kosmon WORLD


The interpretation of this verse goes in one of two directions but both carry the same basic meaning:

a)      The true light lightens every man who comes into the world

b)      The true light comes into the world and lightens every man

The NIV word “was” is not in the Greek and is supplied to select one of the two interpretations. 


The difference could be taken to mean that the light is already here and shines in every   man.  Some have used this to mean that this light shines in each person with special revelation and not only general revelation.


Since the context is the coming of Jesus it is probably better to line the words “coming   into the world with “the true light”.

Read John 3:19 and John 12:46 and then make a decision on which is correct    interpretation


 alhqinon  “TRUE”  - This word means “real, genuine, authentic.”  It is not saying:

a)      that the light was truthful

b)      that others where false

The word “alathinon” means this is the genuine revelation and the ultimate expression

The opposite would not be false but they where a shadowy representation

All other “alhqinon” seem dim   



kosmon  “WORLD” /kosmos/ - The word means “world, world order”.

John uses it in this book in a negative fashion to refer to the inhabited earth.  It refers to the fallen system and everything that belongs to it.

Kosmos occurs 185 times in NT.         

78x in John       24x in 1,2,3 John          3x in Revelation

The word communicates order.

            In 1 Peter 3:3 it is “adornment” and gives us our word “cosmetic”

Although the Kosmos is hostile toward God, not interested in God and consumed with   sin, the scripture says:

a)      God loves the world (John 3:16)

b)      Christ speaks to the world the things he heard from God (John 8:26)

c)      God takes away the sin of the world (1:29)

d)      Jesus is the savior of the world (4:42)

e)      Jesus gives life to the world (6:33)

f)        Jesus gives his flesh for the life of the world (6:51)

g)      Jesus came to save the world not to judge it (3:17, 12:47)

h)      Jesus overthrew the prince of this world (12:31; 14:30; 15:11)

i)        The world opposes the believer but Jesus has overcome the world (16:33)


John 1:10

en IN        tw THE           kosmw WORLD             hn HE WAS     kai AND o THE         kosmoV WORLD       di THROUGH         autou HIM  egeneto CAME INTO BEING       kai AND       o THE      kosmoV WORLD auton  ouk  HIM          egnw KNEW NOT


kosmoV WORLD  is mentioned three times in 1:9,10.  

1)      The Word or Light was in the World

a.       hn    HE WAS     - this verb (as in 1:1,2) speaks of a continuity.  This light was continuously in the world.  He was not just showing up and then leaving.

2)      The World was created by the Word (a reminder of 1:3)

3)      The World rejects the Word or the Light

(notice John’s meaning of “kosmos” (“world”) switches as he uses it from everything that was created to the people who live on the earth.


egnw KNEW NOT – is from the verb “ginosko” and refers to more than just intellectual knowledge. 

a)      This would refer to a knowing that included intimacy, friendship, and a right relationship.

b)      The verb is in the aorist tense which indicates a single action in the past.  The World missed its opportunity to “know” the True Light


John 1:11

eiV  ta TO         idia HIS OWN             hlqen HE CAME       kai  oi AND idioi HIS OWN        auton  ou HIM          parelabon RECEIVED NOT


“His Own” was specifically the Jewish people who were doubly his.


The first four Greek words (eiV  ta TO   idia HIS OWN    hlqen HE CAME) mean “he came to his own possession”.  A good translation could incorporate the idea that “he came to his own home.”

a)      This is the translation of the same phrase in 19:27; 16:32

b)      This again is a double “home” referring to the world and to Israel.


Notice the change between verse 10 and 11 when referring to the world’s response.

a)      1:10 – “the world knew him not” (refers to the world as a whole)

b)      1:11 -  “his own received him not” (may refer to Israel who knew him, but refused him?)


The verb is again in the aorist tense which refers to a point in time in the past.  It was a   decisive and final decision.


John 1:12

osoi  de BUT AS MANY AS          elabon RECEIVED        auton HIM edwken HE GAVE        autoiV TO THEM           exousian AUTHORITY tekna CHILDREN         qeou OF GOD       genesqai  TO BE              toiV TO THOSE THAT             pisteuousin  BELIEVE         eiV  to ON onoma NAME              autou HIS


But, some did respond.

John does not want to leave the impression that no one responded to the Truth, the Light, the Word.


elabon RECEIVED  -  this verb is aorist indicative active

a)      aorist – a point in time in the past.  It was a completed act and the time is over.

b)      Indicative mood – the mood of reality

c)      Active Voice – The subject does the acting  


 edwken HE GAVE   - this verb is aorist indicative active, also.


Notice both people and God are acting.

Here we see a human responsibility to act upon the offer of faith but it requires a divine action to bestow this privilege.    


edwken HE GAVE – means to give, with the sense of permission.    


Believing = Receiving


“His Name” refers to all that he is.  It is his person and character.

  - Psalm 5:11 “loving the name of God”

  - Psalm 20:1 “may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.”

These verses show it is not simply the name but what that name means or represents.


John 1:13

oi WHO     ouk NOT    ex OF                    aimatwn BLOODS          oude NOR                     ek OF         qelhmatoV WILL    sarkoV OF FLESH  oude  NOR                   ek OF            qelhmatoV WILL      androV OF MAN all BUT                      ek OF      qeou GOD   egennhqhsan WERE BORN.


It is clear that any hope of Jewish descent would not be useful.