Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, , at sacred-texts.com
See on Mat 4:18.
See on Joh 1:19.
Imperfect tense, denoting not merely the following on this occasion, but generally.
Rev., beheld. See on Joh 1:18.
Omit his. Render, as Rev., the signs.
He did (ἐποίει)
Imperfect, was doing, from time to time.
A mountain (τὸ ὄρος)
Strictly, the mountain. The writer speaks as one familiar with the district.
He sat (ἐκάθητο)
Imperfect: was sitting, when he saw the multitude approaching (Joh 6:5).
A feast (ἡ ἑορτὴ)
With the definite article, the feast; pointing to something well known.
Better, is coming. Unto Him (πρός) is rather toward.
Properly, loaves. See on Mat 4:1.
To prove (πειράζων)
Literally, proving. See on Mat 6:13. Wyc., tempting.
See on Mat 20:2. Two hundred pennyworth would represent between thirty and thirty-five dollars.
That every one may take a little
Peculiar to John.
A lad (παιδάριον)
Diminutive. Only here in the New Testament. Only John mentions the lad.
A detail peculiar to John. The word occurs in the New Testament only here and Joh 6:13. An inferior sort of bread is indicated by the term. Pliny and some of the Jewish writers describe barley as food fit for beasts. Suetonius speaks of a turgid rhetorician as a barley orator, inflated like barley in moisture: and Livy relates how cohorts which had lost their standards were ordered barley for food.
The word occurs only here and at Joh 21:9. The Synoptists use ἰχθυές. The A.V., small fishes, is intended to render the diminutive. The word means anything that is eaten with bread, and may apply to meat generally, or to what is eaten with bread as a relish. Homer speaks of an onion as a relish (ὄψον) for drink ("Iliad," 11, 630). The term was applied to fish par excellence. Fish became among the Greeks a chief dainty to gourmands, so that Demosthenes describes a glutton and spendthrift as one who is extravagant in fish.
But what are they among so many?
Peculiar to John, though the idea is implied in Luk 9:13.
Sit down (ἀναπεσεῖν)
Originally an enclosure. Thus Homer speaks of Peleus offering a sacrifice, αὐλῆς ἐν χόρτῳ, in the enclosure of the court ("Iliad," xi., 774). Hence a feeding-place, and so grass, provender. The sense is merely that of our abstract pasture. Matthew and Mark mention the grass, Mark with the epithet green. Wyc., hay.
All the Synoptists relate his looking up to heaven and blessing. Perhaps he used the familiar formula, "Blessed art thou Jehovah our God, King of the world, who causes to come forth bread from the earth."
To the disciples, and the disciples
The best texts omit. Render, as Rev., He distributed to them that were set down.
Likewise of the fishes
So also Mark.
As much as they would
Peculiar to John.
From κλάω, to break. Rev., broken pieces.
That remain (περισσεύσαντα)
Rev., remain over. Literally, exceed the necessary supply. Only John gives the Lord's command to collect the fragments, and the reason for it, that nothing be lost.
See on Mat 14:20. Wyc., coffins.
With the fragments, etc.
John goes into fuller detail than the Synoptists. Mark alone notes the gathering of the remains of the fishes. John also uses ἐγέμισαν, filled, for they took up, or were taken up, of the Synoptists.
Five barley loaves
A detail peculiar to John, emphasizing the identity of the fragments with the original loaves.
Unto them that had eaten (βεβρωκόσιν)
Only here in the New Testament.
That should come (ὁ ἐρχόμενος)
Literally, the one coming. Rev., that cometh. Joh 6:15-21. Compare Mat 14:22-36; Mar 6:45-52.
Would come (μέλλουσιν ἔρχεσθαι)
Literally, are about to come.
Take by force (ἁρπάζειν)
See on Mat 11:12.
Better, as Rev., king; over themselves.
Himself alone (αὐτὸς μόνος)
Matthew has κατ' ἰδίαν, privately, and both Matthew and Mark add, to pray.
An adjective; ὄψιος, late with ὥρα, hour, understood.
Rev., boat. See on Luk 5:2. The best texts omit the article.
The imperfect, were going. So Rev.
Mark has Bethsaida.
It was now dark (σκοτία ἤδη ἐγεγόνει)
Literally, darkness had already come on. On darkness, see on Joh 1:5.
It is lamentable how the A.V. misses the graphic force of these imperfects. Rev., rightly, was rising. Literally, was being awakened. The imperfects convey the sense of gathering danger, and throw into stronger relief the fact of Jesus' appearance. They were going; the darkness had already fallen, the sea was rising, and Jesus had not yet come.
That blew (πνέοντος)
Literally, blowing. That was blowing would be better. John's narrative at this point is more detailed and graphic than the others.
Had rowed (ἐληλακότες)
Literally, had driven or propelled (the boat).
Five and twenty, etc.
The lake being about forty furlongs, six miles, at its broadest, they had gone only a little more than half-way.
They see (θεωροῦσι)
Rev., behold; with an intent gaze. See on Joh 1:18. Both Luke and John use this word frequently.
Literally, becoming nigh. Wyc., to be made next to the boat. Mark adds, He would have passed by them, and Luke that they thought Him a phantom.
They willingly received (ἤθελον λαβεῖν)
Wrong. Rev., correctly, they were willing to receive; after being reassured by His voice. The imperfect denotes a continuous state of feeling, not a mere impulsive and temporary wish.
Whether Jesus actually entered the boat or not, John does not say. The more natural inference is that he did. Both Matthew and Mark say so. Their immediate and miraculous arrival at the shore was simultaneous either with their entertaining the wish to receive Him, or with His actually coming on board. Only John mentions this incident. Matthew and Mark say that the wind ceased.
They went (ὑπῆγον)
Imperfect: were going. Literally, were going away. The verb has the sense of retiring from something. Compare Joh 6:67; Joh 7:33, on which see note; Joh 12:11; Joh 18:8.
Which stood (ὁ ἑστηκὼς)
Having remained daring the night near the scene of the miracle, and being there still.
Diminutive: little boat.
That - whereinto His disciples were entered
Omit, and read as Rev., save one.
Howbeit there came other boats (ἄλλα δὲ ἧλθεν πλοιάρια).
Some editors omit δὲ, howbeit, change ἄλλα, other, into ἀλλὰ, but, and read, but there came boats.
The miracles (σημεῖα)
Both the insertion of the definite article and the translation miracles in the A.V. tend to obscure the true sense of the passage. Jesus says: You do not seek me because you saw signs. What you saw in my works was only marvels. You did not see in them tokens of my divine power and mission.
Were filled (ἐχορτάσθητε)
See on Mat 5:6; see on Luk 15:16.
See on Joh 4:32. In Mat 6:19, Mat 6:20, and there only, it is used in the sense of rust, that which eats or corrodes. Similarly, corrode is from rodo, to gnaw.
Him hath God the Father sealed
The Rev. makes the sentence culminate properly in God: "for Him the Father, even God, hath sealed." According to the strict Greek order it is: for Him the Father sealed, even God. On sealed (ἐσφράγισεν) see on Joh 3:33. Wyc., betokened Him.
What shall we do? (τί ποιοῦμεν)
Literally, what do we do? The best texts read ποιῶμεν, what are we to do?
The question is from the legal standpoint, works being regarded as the condition of obtaining the living bread.
Faith is put as a moral act or work. The work of God is to believe. Faith includes all the works which God requires. The Jews' question contemplates numerous works. Jesus' answer directs them to one work. Canon Westcott justly observes that "this simple formula contains the complete solution of the relation of faith and works."
Since He had claimed to be the One sent of God.
Properly, the manna, referring to the familiar historic fact. A passage is cited from a Hebrew commentary on Ecclesiastes, as follows: "As the first Redeemer made the manna to descend, as it is written, 'Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you'; so the later Redeemer also shall make the manna to descend, as it is written, 'May there be abundance of corn in the earth.'"
Moses gave you not (οὐ Μωσῆς δέδωκεν ὑμῖν)
The antithesis is between Moses and my Father. So Rev., rightly, "it was not Moses that gave you," etc. - "but my Father giveth," etc. Some editors change the perfect tense, δέδωκεν, hath given, to the aorist, ἔδωκεν, gave.
The true bread from heaven (τὸν ἄρτον ἐκ τοῦοὐρανοῦ τὸν ἀληθινόν)
The translation would gain by following the Greek order, "the bread out of heaven, the real bread."
He which cometh down (ὁ καταβαίνων)
So it may be rendered; but also that which, referring to ἄρτος, bread: and so, better, as Rev., since Jesus does not identify Himself with the bread until Joh 6:35.
I am the bread of life
A form of expression peculiar to John. See Joh 6:41, Joh 6:48, Joh 6:51; Joh 8:12; Joh 10:7, Joh 10:9, Joh 10:11, Joh 10:14; Joh 11:25; Joh 14:6; Joh 15:1, Joh 15:5.
Cometh - believeth
Faith in its active aspect and in its resting aspect.
Never (οὐ μὴ)
Rather, in nowise, or by no means. Rev., shall not.
Though you have seen as you asked, I repeat what I said to you that you have seen and do not believe.
All that (πᾶν ὃ)
The neuter singular of the adjective and pronoun. All believers are regarded as one complete whole. Compare Joh 17:24, according to the correct reading, "that which Thou hast given me."
Shall come (ἥξει)
Emphasizing the idea of reaching or arriving.
A different verb, emphasizing the process of coming.
From heaven (ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ)
But the best texts read ἐκ, from, instead of ἐκ, out of, the idea being rather that of departure (I came down) than of origin. I came down should be as Rev. (I am come down). The tense is the perfect.
The Father's will
Omit the Father's. Render, the will of Him, etc.
That of all which He hath given me (ἵνα πᾶν ὃ δέδωκέ μοι)
The construction is a peculiar and broken one. All which He hath given, stands alone as an absolute nominative; a very emphatic and impressive mode of statement. Literally it reads, that all which He hath given me I should lose nothing out of it.
At the last day (ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ)
The phrase occurs only in John.
And this (δέ)
The best texts read γὰρ, for. There is a logical connection between the last sentence and the following. The Father's will in preserving and raising up that which he has given to the Son, includes in its fulfillment the believing contemplation of the Son and its issue in eternal life.
Of Him that sent me
The best texts substitute πατρός, you, of my Father.
The word is designedly used. The saving vision of Christ is not here seeing, but earnest contemplation. Rev., beholdeth. See on Joh 1:18. Compare ye have seen me, and believe not (Joh 6:36).
Rev., rightly, therefore: because of His words.
See on Jde 1:16, and compare Co1 10:10; Phi 2:14. The word is constantly used in the Septuagint of the murmuring of Israel in the wilderness. Wyc., grudged of Him. So Chaucer, "Judas grucched agens the Maudeleyn whan sche anoynted the hed of oure Lord" ("Parson's Tale"); and Shakespeare,
Without or grudge or grumbling."
"Tempest" 1, 2, 249.
At Him (περὶ αὐτοῦ)
Implying that they addressed their remonstrances to Him. But περί means about or concerning. So Rev., properly, concerning.
Not implying necessarily that Joseph was still alive, but merely the fact that Joseph was recognized as the father of Jesus.
Two words for drawing are found in the New Testament, σύρω and ἑλκύω. The distinction is not habitually observed, and the meanings often overlap. Σύρω is originally to drag or trail along, as a garment or torn slippers. Both words are used of haling to justice. (See Act 8:3; Act 17:6; Act 16:19) In Act 14:19, συ.ρω, of dragging Paul's senseless body out of the city at Lystra. In Joh 21:6, Joh 21:8, Joh 21:11, both words of drawing the net. In Joh 18:10, ἑλκύω, of drawing Peter's sword. One distinction, however, is observed: σύρω is never used of Christ's attraction of men. See Joh 6:44; Joh 12:32. Ἑλκύω occurs only once outside of John's writings (Act 16:19). Luther says on this passage: "The drawing is not like that of the executioner, who draws the thief up the ladder to the gallows; but it is a gracious allurement, such as that of the man whom everybody loves, and to whom everybody willingly goes."
Taught of God (διδακτοὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ)
The idea is thrown into a compound adjective, θεοδίδακτοι, in Th1 4:9.
As contrasted with hearing and learning (Joh 6:45). The Father is not seen immediately, but through the Son. Compare Joh 1:18; Joh 14:9; Jo1 3:2, Mat 11:27.
Of God (παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ)
More correctly, as Rev., from, with an idea of association with: from with God. Παρά is used of procession from a personal object, indicating it generally as the starting-point.
Are dead (ἀπέθανον)
The aorist points, not to their present condition but to the historical fact; they died. So Rev.
The living bread (ὁ ἄρτος ὁ ζῶν)
Literally, the bread the living (bread). Wyc., quick bread.
I will give
The ἐγω, I, is emphatic, in contrast with Moses (Joh 6:32).
See on Joh 1:14.
Which I will give
The best texts omit. Read, as Rev., my flesh for the life of the world.
The murmuring (Joh 6:41) now breaks out into open contention among the Jews themselves.
Eat the flesh
Appropriate the life. Compare Gal 2:20; Eph 3:17.
Drink His blood
Appropriate the saving merit of His death. The passover was approaching, and the reference may well have been to the flesh and blood of the paschal lamb.
Have no life in you (οὐκ ἔχετε ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς)
Not according to the Greek. Rightly, as Rev., ye have not life in yourselves. All true life must be in Christ. Compare Col 3:3.
Another verb for eating is used. With the exception of Mat 24:38, it is found only in John, and always in connection with Christ. No special significance can be fairly attached to its use here. It seems to be taken as a current word, and ἔφαγον is resumed in Joh 6:58.
Literally, truly. The best texts read ἀληθὴς, true: true meat, true drink.
Render, as Rev., abideth. The word is a favorite one with John, occurring more frequently than in all the rest of the New Testament.
The living Father (ὁ ζῶν πατὴρ)
A phrase found nowhere else in the New Testament. On living and live, see Joh 1:4.
By the Father (διὰ τὸν πατέρα)
Wrong. Render, because of, as Rev. Because the Father is the living One. So, because of me, instead of by me.
In the synagogue (ἐν συναγωγῇ)
But the definite article is wanting; so that we must either understand in a synagogue, or in an assembly. See on Jam 2:2. Among the ruins at Tell Hum, the probable site of Capernaum, have been found among the remains of a synagogue a block of stone, perhaps the lintel, carved with the pot of manna, and with a pattern of vine leaves and clusters of grapes. See a full account of these ruins in Thomson's "Land and Book, Central Palestine and Phoenicia," pp. 417-419.
See on Mat 25:24; see on Jde 1:14. According to the Greek order, hard is this saying.
Hear it (αὐτοῦ ἀκούειν)
Αὐτοῦ may be rendered Him, but this is not probable. Hear means a docile hearing, with a view to receiving what is heard. Compare Joh 10:3, Joh 10:16, Joh 10:27; Joh 12:47; Joh 18:37.
Rev., cause to stumble. See on Mat 5:29. Wyc., slandereth you.
What and if ye shall see (ἐὰν οὐν θεωρῆτε)
The question is marked by an aposiopesis, i.e., a breaking off of the sentence and leaving the hearer to complete it for himself. Literally, if then ye should behold, etc. - the completion would be, would not this still more cause you to stumble?
Rev., properly, renders the participle, ascending.
I speak (λαλῶ)
But the correct reading is λελάληκα, the perfect tense, I have spoken, or I have just spoken, referring to the preceding discourse.
Should betray (παραδώσων)
See on Mat 4:12; see on Mar 4:29. Judas is once in the New Testament designated by the noun προδότης, traitor, Luk 6:16.
From that time (ἐκ τούτου)
Render, as Rev., upon this. As a result proceeding out of (ἐκ) this. Compare Joh 19:12.
Went back (ἀπῆλθον εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω)
The Greek expresses more than the English. They went away (ἀπό) from Christ, Literally, to the things behind, to what they had left in order to follow the Lord.
Literally, walked about, with Jesus in His wanderings here and there.
John assumes that the number is known. It is implied in the twelve baskets of fragments. As in so many other instances in this Gospel, facts of the synoptic narrative are taken for granted as familiar.
Will ye also go away? (μὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς θέλετε ὑπάγειν)
The interrogative particle μὴ shows that a negative answer is expected. Surely ye will not. Will ye go is not the future tense of the verb to go, but is expressed by two words, do ye will (θέλετε), to go away (ὑπάγειν). Rev., would ye. On the verb to go away, see on they went (Joh 6:21).
Assailants of the authenticity of John's Gospel have asserted that it reveals an effort on the part of the writer to claim for the disciple whom Jesus loved a pre-eminence above Peter. The assertion is effectually contradicted by the narrative itself. See Joh 1:42; Joh 6:68; Joh 13:6; Joh 18:10, Joh 18:16; Joh 20:2, Joh 20:7; Joh 21:3, Joh 21:7, Joh 21:11, and notes on those passages. Peter's replying for the twelve, in this passage, is a case in point.
The words of eternal life (ῥήματα ζωῆς αἰωνίου)
There is no article. Thou hast words. Words of life are words which carry life with them. Compare the phrases bread of life, light of life, water of life, tree of life.
Are sure (ἐγνώκαμεν)
Literally, have come to know. The order of the words believe and know is reversed in Joh 17:8; Jo1 4:16. In the case of the first disciples, faith, produced by the overpowering impression of Jesus' works and person, preceded intellectual conviction.
That Christ, the Son of the living God
The best texts substitute ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ, the holy one of God. The other reading has resulted from the attempt to bring Peter's confession here into accord with that in Mat 16:16. The two confessions differ in that "here the confession points to the inward character in which the Apostles found the assurance of life; there the confession was of the public office and theocratic person of the Lord" (Westcott).
A devil (διάβολος)
See on Mat 4:1. The word is an adjective, meaning slanderous, but is almost invariably used in the New Testament as a noun, and with the definite article. The article is wanting only in Pe1 5:8; Act 13:10; Rev 12:9; and perhaps Rev 20:2. It is of the very essence of the devilish nature to oppose Christ. Compare Mat 16:23.
Judas Iscariot the son of Simon (Ἱούδαν Σίμωνος Ἱσκαριώτην).
The correct reading is Ἱσκαριώτου, Iscariot, agreeing in the genitive case with Σίμωνος, of Simon. Render, as Rev., Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Iscariot denotes the name of Simon's town: a man of Kerioth. See on Mat 10:5.