Sometimes I have material left over when I edit Comments down to fit the available space. This page presents notes that landed on the clipping room floor. Some may be useful to you. While I avoid technical language in the Comments (or explain special terms), Clippings may have unexplained jargon from time to time.
A hypertext Glossary of Terms is integrated with Clippings. Simply click on any highlighted word in the text and a pop-up window will appear with a definition. Bibliographic references are also integrated in the same way.
Verses 1-5: Introduction: the risen Christ. [ NOAB]
Verse 2: “the apostles whom he had chosen”: This parallels Luke 6:13, the selection of the Twelve, yet it also looks back to Luke 24:44-49, Jesus’ followers receive the risen Lord’s final instructions. [ NJBC]
Verse 3: “forty days”: The Septuagint translation furnishes precedents for such a rounded period of preparation, e.g. Exodus 24:18; 34:28 (Moses); 1 Kings 19:8 (Elijah); Numbers 13:25; 14:34 (preparation for crossing into the Promised Land) – and closer at hand, Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, an event that precedes his first preaching. So the number represents sufficient time for the witnesses’ preparation, but it may also, with the “not many days from now” (v. 5), add up to fifty, the number of days from Passover to Jewish Pentecost and from Easter to Christian Pentecost. [ NJBC]
Verse 3: “speaking about the kingdom of God”: A constant theme of Jesus’ teaching. See, for example, Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:11. It also a theme of the first missionaries, the Seventy, in Luke 10:1-9. [ NJBC]
Verse 4: “the promise of the Father”: This fills out, and varies, the reprise of Luke 24:49. The promise will be announced in 2:33; it is mentioned as fulfilled in Galatians 3:14 and Ephesians 1:13. [ NJBC]
Verse 5: John the Baptist predicted that the Messiah would baptise people with the Holy Spirit: see Mark 1:8; Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16; John 1:33. The notion is also found in the Qumran literature. The conjunction of water baptism and outpouring of the Spirit (see Ezekiel 36:25-26 and John 7:37-39) will recur in 2:38; 8:14-16; 10:47-48; 19:5-6. [ NJBC]
Verse 6: “they”: Probably more than the Eleven are in view.
Verse 7: “times or periods”: See also 1 Thessalonians 5:1 (“the times and the seasons”). Acts 3:20-21 expands these words: “so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets”. [ NJBC]
Verse 8: “in Jerusalem, ... to the ends of the earth”:This is the movement of Acts – to Rome, so Rome is at the end in a religious sense. [ BlkActs]
Verse 8: “to the ends of the earth”: Isaiah 49:6, a verse in the second Servant Song, says “... I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth”. See also Acts 13:47. [ NJBC]
Verses 9-11: The Ascension. For direct verbal echoes, see 2 Kings 2:9-13 (Elijah’s ascension) and Sirach 48:9, 12. While only Luke tells us the story of the Ascension, there are other possible traces of the tradition of the Ascension in Ephesians 4:8-10; 1 Timothy 3:16; John 20:17; Epistle of Barnabas 15:9. [ NJBC]
Verse 10: “two men in white”: See also Luke 9:30, 34 (the Transfiguration, “Moses and Elijah”); 24:4-9 (the empty tomb). Such figures are semi-divine and are especially associated with the Last Days: see also Mark 9:3 and 1 Enoch 62:15ff. [ NJBC]
Verse 11: “will come in the same way”: This suggests that the Ascension and the second coming bound the present era. Jesus says in Luke 21:27: “‘Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory’”. [ NJBC]
Verse 12: “the mount called Olivet”: In Judaic eschatology, at the Last Day, God will stand on the Mount of Olives and a valley will appear in the mountain, “the Lord’s mountain” (see Zechariah 14:5). By this route the people will flee; God “shall become King over all the earth” (see Zechariah 14:9), and all shall know him intimately. [ NJBC] [ BlkActs]
Verses 13-14: A minor summary portraying the harmonious and prayerful community life. See also Luke 24:53. For the wider group, see also Luke 23:49; 24:9-10, 33. Their prayer effectively illustrates Luke 11:13. [ NJBC]
NOAB says that this is the most difficult psalm to interpret. There is no general agreement as to its meaning as a whole or in many of its details. To some scholars, its is a collection of unrelated fragments. Perhaps, NJBC suggests, it is composed of thirty incipits (first lines or strophes) of a series of ancient hymns – thus a catalogue of lyric poems. Such catalogues are found in Mesopotamian literature.
Verses 1-6: Praise to God as helper of the helpless. [ NOAB]
Verse 6: “gives the desolate a home”: This can also be translated as causes the unmarried to set up house, i.e. to have a family: 113:9 says “He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children ...”. [ NJBC]
Verses 7-10: God’s care for his people in times past. [ NOAB]
Verses 7,19,32: “Selah”: This word is probably a liturgical direction, added to the original text of the psalm. It may mean lift up, either to indicate the lifting up of the voices of the singers in a doxology, or to call for lifted-up instrumental music in an interlude in the singing. [ NOAB]
Verses 11-14: Announcement of a great victory. [ NOAB]
Verse 13: “dove”: An emblem of the Canaanite goddess Astarti.
Verses 15-16: Praise of the mountain of God (Zion). The rivalry between the mountains points to a time before the choice of Zion as God’s dwelling place. (There is also a Mount Zalmon near Shechem, which is a promontory or slope of Mount Gerizim. Shechem was the principal northern worship site.) [ NOAB] [ NJBC]
Verse 18: In Ephesians 4:8-9, this verse is applied to the ascended Christ: “... (When it says, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth?”). [ NJBC]
Verses 19-20: Praise of God, who daily delivers the people. [ NOAB]
Verse 21: An expression of certainty that God will give victory. [ NOAB]
Verse 23: The meaning is very obscure.
Verse 27: The tribe of Benjamin (the youngest of the brothers) leads; Judah is in the middle of the procession, and two northern tribes, Zebulun and Naphtali, bring up the rear.
1 Peter 4:12-14;5:6-11
4:16: Paul says in Philippians 1:20: “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death”.
4:16: “Christian”: Acts 11:26 says: “... it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’” The Latin word means partisan of Christ. Perhaps it was originally a term of reproach. [ NOAB] [ NJBC]
4:17: In Malachi 3:1-5, God’s judgement will definitely begin with the Israelites (who have failed to follow his ways). It is also possible to interpret Jeremiah 25:29, Ezekiel 9:6, Isaiah 10:12 and Zechariah 13:7-9 in this way; however other interpretations are possible. Mark 13:8-13 says that the persecution of Christians will be the beginning of the process leading to the end-times. 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 says that both Christians and others will be judged, but that the effect of the judgement of Christians will be to discipline them, while that of others will be condemnation. [ NJBC]
Whether the godly are judged is a matter of interpretation. Ancient interpreters were divided on the question. For some, judgment is universal, with the godly being vindicated and the wicked damned. For others, only the wicked needed judgement, as the godly are already vindicated
5:1: “witness”: The Greek word does not imply that the author was an eye-witness. [ NJBC]
5:2: “not for sordid gain”: Paul was paid for his services at times; other pastors probably were too. See also Acts 20:33-34; 1 Corinthians 9:7-14; 2 Corinthians 12:13-18; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; Matthew 10:9-10. Other warnings against greed are found in Titus 1:7; 2:5. [ NJBC]
5:5: “clothe yourselves”: Literally tie about you, as a slave tied on an apron for menial work. So it takes effort! [ NJBC]
5:6: “the mighty hand of God”: For use of this phrase with reference to God’s great acts of deliverance, see Exodus 3:19; 6:1l; Deuteronomy 9:26. For it referring to the obedience he expects, see Job 30:21; Psalm 32:4; Ezekiel 20:34-35. [ NJBC]
5:7: This verse is Psalm 55:22 (in the Septuagint translation) with an echo of Wisdom of Solomon 12:13. See also Matthew 6:25-34 (“‘do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink ... ‘”). [ NJBC]
5:8: “your adversary the devil”: This adversary is as in a lawsuit, so this points to the Day of Judgement. For Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness, see Matthew 4:1-11.
5:8: “the devil”: In the Septuagint, the Greek word diabolos, devil, is used to translate the Hebrew word satan, literally accuser – as it is translated in Job 1-2. The word was later applied to the leader of the fallen angels. [ NJBC]
5:10: “... suffered ... grace ... called ... glory”: This verse sums up some of the chief elements of the letter. [ NJBC]
5:11: A doxology to the Father.
This prayer of Jesus for his followers and those who will believe in him through them is a fitting culmination to Jesus’ ministry, and leads on to the cross.
Verses 1-26: This is Jesus’ high priestly prayer. It falls naturally into three parts:
There are parallels to the Lord's Prayer. [ NJBC]
Verse 4: “that you gave me to do”: See also 10:25.
Verse 6: “I have made your name known”: The Greek verb ephanerosa is used of the manifestation of Jesus, or of his glory, or of God’s works, in 1:31; 2:11; 9:3; 21:1, 14. Here it is to those given to Jesus by the Father that Jesus, by his words and deeds, makes known God’s “name”, i.e. his character and person. [ BlkJn]
Verse 7: “‘everything you have given me’”: i.e. the entire ministry of Jesus with all that this involves. [ BlkJn]
Verse 8: “‘for the words ...’”: Jesus’ words are the Father’s words: 3:34 says “He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure”. See also 7:16; 12:49-50; 14:10, 24. [ BlkJn]
Verse 8: “they ... know in truth that I came from you”: See also 16:27. In context, Jesus does not merely mean that he is Messiah, far less that he is a superman, one of the divine heroes of the ancient world, but that his claims to pre-existence (see v. 5) are justified. [ BlkJn]
Verse 9: “‘I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me’”: Others are not capable, unless they come to faith in Jesus (see v. 20), of sharing in what the Father gives. [ BlkJn]
Verses 11-12: 13:1 tells us that Jesus’ departure is imminent: “Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father ...”. On the disciples being left exposed to the hostility of the world, in 15:18 Jesus says “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you”. See also 17:14 and 16:1-5a (for an alternative presentation of the ideas). [ BlkJn]
Verse 11: The unity of believers is modelled on the shared purpose and character of the Father and the Son, who are in complete unity. [ BlkJn]
Verse 12: “‘the scripture’”: That “scripture” is in the singular implies that John has a particular passage in mind. It may be Psalm 41:9 (“Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me.”), which Jesus quotes in 13:18. [ BlkJn]
Verse 14: “‘word’”: See also 1:1-19: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...”.
Verse 17: “your word is truth”: God’s “word” (Greek: logos) is the means of sanctification. The Father’s “word” is characterized as the revelation of ultimate reality. 1:14 says that the incarnate “Word”, Jesus, is “full of grace and truth”. The “truth” sets free those who persevere in Jesus’ word: see 8:31-36. [ BlkJn]
Verse 19: “‘sanctify myself’”: In the Septuagint translation, the Greek verb agiadzo (“sanctify”) is used both for the setting apart for God (in Exodus 3:2 and Deuteronomy 15:19) and for the consecration of people to God’s service (in Jeremiah 1:5, of a prophet, and in Exodus 28:41, of priests). Christ’s perfect self-offering is the means by which the disciples whom he is sending into the world are dedicated in obedience to God. [ BlkJn]
© 1996-2016 Chris Haslam
Web page maintained by
Christ Church Cathedral
Last Updated: 20140520
If you are already on that page, you will be taken to the top.