1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

John 1 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on John 1 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

(1:1-10) "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Is Jesus God?
Who created heaven and earth?
(1:4) BOM: Alma 38:9
Yes, Jesus is God. See the comments on the other verses the author of the SAB mentions.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

(1:1) Jehovah's Witnesses But how could Jesus be with God in the beginning as this verse says, if, as the Watchtower teaches, Jesus was created by God? And how could Jesus be "a god" and yet be with God during the creation, if God was speaking truthfully in Dt.32:39 when he said, "there are no gods with me"?
All very good questions which the Jehovah's witnesses cannot answer.
The author of the SAB also claims that the Bible says that both Satan and Jesus existed before the universe was created. This might be true in a certain sense. God created both heaven and earth (Gen. 1:1). Heaven, the location of the angels, was created either on day one, or together with the stars on the fourth day. If heaven and its angels were created on day one, before the earth was created, indeed, Satan, as a fallen angel was present at its creation.
But the assertion is falls if we take universe to mean: “before the creation of heaven and earth.” As a created being, Satan came into existence at some point, which is not true for God, who always was.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

(1:12) "To them gave he the power to become the sons of God."
How many sons does God have?
BOM: Alma 5:48
This verse is a clear indication that the phrase “sons of God” has a variety of meaning. But only one person is called the begotten son of God, Jesus Christ, see for example chapter 3:18.

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

(1:14) "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."
Is Jesus God?
(1:15) BOM: 2 Nephi 2:6, 25:12; Alma 5:48, 9:26, 13:9
As this text clearly indicates, and the author of the SAB confirms, John says that Jesus is God. See the other verses such as chapter 14:28 were the author of the SAB claims to read a contradiction.

15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

(1:18) "No man hath seen God at any time."
Can God be seen?
This should be understood as that none had seen God the Father, although God the Son had appeared to some. As John Gill explains:

That is, God the Father, whose voice was never heard, nor his shape seen by angels or men; for though Jacob, Moses, the elders of Israel, Manoah, and his wife, are said to see God, and Job expected to see him with his bodily eyes, and the saints will see him as he is, in which will lie their great happiness; yet all seems to be understood of the second person, who frequently appeared to the Old Testament saints, in an human form, and will be seen by the saints in heaven, in his real human nature;

19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

(1:21) "Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not."
Was John the Baptist Elijah?
The Jews believed that Elijah himself would return. To this John answers no. Elias would not return in person, but it would be a person endowed with the same spirit. When Jesus says that John is the Elias who was to come, Mark 9:11-13, he explains the proper meaning of the prophesy (Mal. 4:5) as well.

22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

(1:23) BOM: 1 Nephi 10:8

24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.

25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;

(1:26-27) BOM: 1 Nephi 10:8

27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

(1:28-29) "These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing."
But no such site is known in history. Some translations ASV, NAB, NIV, RSV, NRSV) rename Bethabara as Bethany, but Bethany is a suburb of Jerusalem and, therefore, not "beyond the Jordan."
Where did John baptize?
The author of the SAB asks where Bethabara is. And his remark on the incorrect translation of Bethabara as Bethany is absolutely correct. But I suppose these translations do that because they probably claim “it is in the oldest and best manuscripts.” Snort.
On the particulars of where John baptized, all three evangelists denote a region. Due to seasonal changes in the water level of the Jordan and associated accessibility, I don't think John always baptized at exactly the same GPS coordinates. For more details on the Greek behind the three verses that mention where John baptized, see the response by Scribblings.
On the location of Bethabara, it is unclear if it denoted a village or just a particular place. According to John Gill the meaning of Bethabara is “the house of passage” and might be the place where the Israelites passed over Jordan, to go into the land of Canaan, Jos. 3:16. Archeology would be of little help if there weren't any buildings in the first place.

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

(1:29-34) "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
John baptizes Jesus and declares him to be "the Son of God."  But later, as he is about to be beheaded, he is no longer sure what to think about Jesus. So he sends his own disciples to ask, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" (Mt.11:3) Well, if he isn't sure after seeing and hearing the events at Jesus' baptism, then how can anyone else be?

30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

(1:34) BOM: 1 Nephi 11:7

35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

(1:35, 43, 2:1) "Again the next day after...."
What did Jesus do after his baptism?
(1:38) BoM: Alma 18:13
The author of the SAB reads “The next day” as the next day after his baptism. But the next day here is simply the next day after the day described in verse 29, which is the next day after the day described in verse 19, where the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem.
These events took place after Jesus had returned from the wilderness, so at least forty days after his baptism. John doesn't say that Jesus was baptized here. He just let John the Baptist speak, who tells his disciples about something that happened in the past: “I saw the Spirit,”. John the Baptist tells his disciples of something that had happened, not something that is happening, why else would he say “I saw”? If Jesus baptism was happening, they would have seen these things themselves.

36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

(1:40) "One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother."
Which came first: the calling of Peter and Andrew or the imprisonment of John the Baptist?

41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

(1:44) "Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter."
Where was the home of Peter and Andrew?

45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.