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John 1:13-15 New English Translation (NET Bible)

13 —children not born[a] by human parents[b] or by human desire[c] or a husband’s[d] decision,[e] but by God.

14 Now[f] the Word became flesh[g] and took up residence[h] among us. We[i] saw his glory—the glory of the one and only,[j] full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. 15 John[k] testified[l] about him and shouted out,[m] “This one was the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is greater than I am,[n] because he existed before me.’”

Footnotes:

  1. John 1:13 tn The Greek term translated “born” here also involves conception.
  2. John 1:13 tn Grk “of blood(s).” The plural αἱμάτων (haimatōn) has seemed a problem to many interpreters. At least some sources in antiquity imply that blood was thought of as being important in the development of the fetus during its time in the womb: thus Wis 7:1: “in the womb of a mother I was molded into flesh, within the period of 10 months, compacted with blood, from the seed of a man and the pleasure of marriage.” In John 1:13, the plural αἱμάτων may imply the action of both parents. It may also refer to the “genetic” contribution of both parents, and so be equivalent to “human descent” (see BDAG 26 s.v. αἷμα 1.a). E. C. Hoskyns thinks John could not have used the singular here because Christians are in fact ‘begotten’ by the blood of Christ (The Fourth Gospel, 143), although the context would seem to make it clear that the blood in question is something other than the blood of Christ.
  3. John 1:13 tn Or “of the will of the flesh.” The phrase οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκός (oude ek thelēmatos sarkos) is more clearly a reference to sexual desire, but it should be noted that σάρξ (sarx) in John does not convey the evil sense common in Pauline usage. For John it refers to the physical nature in its weakness rather than in its sinfulness. There is no clearer confirmation of this than the immediately following verse, where the λόγος (logos) became σάρξ.
  4. John 1:13 tn Or “man’s.”
  5. John 1:13 tn The third phrase, οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρός (oude ek thelēmatos andros), means much the same as the second one. The word here (ἀνηρ, anēr) is often used for a husband, resulting in the translation “or a husband’s decision,” or more generally, “or of any human volition whatsoever.” L. Morris may be right when he sees here an emphasis directed at the Jewish pride in race and patriarchal ancestry, although such a specific reference is difficult to prove (John [NICNT], 101).
  6. John 1:14 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic, the incarnation of the Word. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style generally does not.
  7. John 1:14 tn This looks at the Word incarnate in humility and weakness; the word σάρξ (sarx) does not carry overtones of sinfulness here as it frequently does in Pauline usage. See also John 3:6.
  8. John 1:14 tn Grk “and tabernacled.”sn The Greek word translated took up residence (σκηνόω, skēnoō) alludes to the OT tabernacle, where the Shekinah, the visible glory of God’s presence, resided. The author is suggesting that this glory can now be seen in Jesus (note the following verse). The verb used here may imply that the Shekinah glory that once was found in the tabernacle has taken up residence in the person of Jesus. Cf. also John 2:19-21. The Word became flesh. This verse constitutes the most concise statement of the incarnation in the New Testament. John 1:1 makes it clear that the Logos was fully God, but 1:14 makes it clear that he was also fully human. A Docetic interpretation is completely ruled out. Here for the first time the Logos of 1:1 is identified as Jesus of Nazareth—the two are one and the same. Thus this is the last time the word logos is used in the Fourth Gospel to refer to the second person of the Trinity. From here on it is Jesus of Nazareth who is the focus of John’s Gospel.
  9. John 1:14 tn Grk “and we saw.”
  10. John 1:14 tn Or “of the unique one.” Although this word is often translated “only begotten,” such a translation is misleading, since in English it appears to express a metaphysical relationship. The word in Greek was used of an only child (a son [Luke 7:12; 9:38] or a daughter [Luke 8:42]). It was also used of something unique (only one of its kind) such as the mythological Phoenix (1 Clem. 25:2). From here it passes easily to a description of Isaac (Heb 11:17 and Josephus, Ant., 1.13.1 [1.222]) who was not Abraham’s only son, but was one-of-a-kind because he was the child of the promise. Thus the word means “one-of-a-kind” and is reserved for Jesus in the Johannine literature of the NT. While all Christians are children of God, Jesus is God’s Son in a unique, one-of-a-kind sense. The word is used in this way in all its uses in the Gospel of John (1:14; 1:18; 3:16, and 3:18).
  11. John 1:15 sn John refers to John the Baptist.
  12. John 1:15 tn Or “bore witness.”
  13. John 1:15 tn Grk “and shouted out saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is redundant in English and has not been translated.
  14. John 1:15 tn Or “has a higher rank than I.”
New English Translation (NET)

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