Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


John 1:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And the light shineth in darkness - By darkness here may be understood:

  1. The heathen world, Ephesians 5:8.
  • The Jewish people.
  • The fallen spirit of man.
  • Comprehended it not - Αυτο ου κατελαβεν

    , Prevented it not - hindered it not, says Mr. Wakefield, who adds the following judicious note: - "Even in the midst of that darkness of ignorance and idolatry which overspread the world, this light of Divine wisdom was not totally eclipsed: the Jewish nation was a lamp perpetually shining to the surrounding nations; and many bright luminaries, among the heathen, were never wanting in just and worthy notions of the attributes and providence of God's wisdom; which enabled them to shine in some degree, though but as lights in a dark place, 2 Peter 1:19. Compare Acts 14:17; Acts 17:28, Acts 17:29."

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    The light shineth in darkness - Darkness, in the Bible, commonly denotes ignorance, guilt, or misery. See Isaiah 9:1-2; Matthew 4:16; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:8, Ephesians 5:11; Romans 13:12. It refers here to a wicked and ignorant people. When it is said that “the light shineth in darkness,” it is meant that the Lord Jesus came to teach an ignorant, benighted, and wicked world. This has always been the case. It was so when he sent his prophets; so during his own ministry; and so in every age since. His efforts to enlighten and save men have been like light struggling to penetrate a thick, dense cloud; and though a few rays may pierce the gloom, yet the great mass is still an impenetrable shade.

    Comprehended it not - This word means “admitted” it not, or “received” it not. The word “comprehend,” with us, means to “understand.” This is not the meaning of the original. The darkness did not “receive” or “admit” the rays of light; the shades were so thick that the light could not penetrate them; or, to drop the figure, men were so ignorant, so guilty, so debased, that they did not appreciate the value of his instructions; they despised and rejected him. And so it is still. The great mass of men, sunk in sin, will not receive his teachings, and be enlightened and saved by him. Sin always blinds the mind to the beauty and excellency of the character of the Lord Jesus. It indisposes the mind to receive his instructions, just as “darkness” has no affinity for “light;” and if the one exists, the other must be displaced.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    The plainest reason why the Son of God is called the Word, seems to be, that as our words explain our minds to others, so was the Son of God sent in order to reveal his Father's mind to the world. What the evangelist says of Christ proves that he is God. He asserts, His existence in the beginning; His coexistence with the Father. The Word was with God. All things were made by him, and not as an instrument. Without him was not any thing made that was made, from the highest angel to the meanest worm. This shows how well qualified he was for the work of our redemption and salvation. The light of reason, as well as the life of sense, is derived from him, and depends upon him. This eternal Word, this true Light shines, but the darkness comprehends it not. Let us pray without ceasing, that our eyes may be opened to behold this Light, that we may walk in it; and thus be made wise unto salvation, by faith in Jesus Christ.
    Ellen G. White
    Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 783.1

    Blend Science of True Godliness With Science of Mind Philosophy—He has not given any additional light to take the place of His Word. This light is to bring confused minds to His Word, which, if eaten and digested, is as the lifeblood of the soul. Then good works will be seen as light shining in darkness. 2MCP 783.1

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    Ellen G. White
    Our High Calling, 20.4

    Only look and live. We dishonor God when we do not go forth from the dark cellar of doubts unto the upper chamber of hope and faith. When the Light shineth in all its brightness let us take hold on Jesus Christ by the mighty hand of faith. No longer cultivate your doubts by expressing them and pouring them into other minds, and thus becoming an agent of Satan to sow the seeds of doubt. Talk faith, live faith, cultivate love to God; evidence to the world all that Jesus is to you. Magnify His holy name. Tell of His goodness; talk of His mercy, and tell of His power. OHC 20.4

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    Ellen G. White
    Selected Messages Book 3, 29.2

    Not to Take the Place of the Word—The Lord desires you to study your Bibles. He has not given any additional light to take the place of his Word. This light is to bring confused minds to his Word, which, if eaten and digested, is as the lifeblood of the soul. Then good works will be seen as light shining in darkness.—Letter 130, 1901. 3SM 29.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Selected Messages Book 3, 177.1

    Were my brethren in the light the words that the Lord gave me for them would find a response in the hearts of those for whom I labored. As I saw that the hearts with which I longed to be in harmony were padlocked by prejudice and unbelief, I thought best for me to leave them. My purpose was to go from Minneapolis the first of the week.... 3SM 177.1

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