I am reading from the Gospel of John, chapter 18 verse 1, KJV, where it is written,

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

My understanding is that the "bosom of the Father" is the correct translation according to what I read here.

I am struggling to understand the meaning of "The only begotten son, which is in the bosom of the Father."

My thoughts are that the verse is speaking about Jesus before he came to Earth and his relationship with God (his Father), but I am not really sure if my thinking is correct.

How is the reader meant to understand the phrase "In the bosom of the Father"?


3 Answers 3


The phase "in the bosom" (κολπον /kolpos) in this context conveys the eternal intimate communion between the Father and Son. Most bibles, even some paraphrases, do not alter the word "bosom". Probably because our English vernacular still uses the word to express the seat of deep affection.

Albert Barnes commentary notes on this verse reads:

In the bosom of the Father - This expression is taken from the custom among the Orientals of reclining at their meals. See the notes at Mat_23:6. It denotes intimacy, friendship, affection. Here it means that Jesus had a knowledge of God such as one friend has of another - knowledge of his character, designs, and nature which no other one possesses, and which renders him, therefore, qualified above all others to make him known. (Albert Barnes Commentary)

There are a few OT references to this phase. When Nathan confronted King David about his adultery, he told him a parable about a beloved ewe lamb.

2Sa 12:3 but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own morsel, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.(ASV)

In the NT the Apostle John is referred to in the NT as the "one that Jesus loved".

Jo 13:23 There was at the table reclining in Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

Jesus no doubt loved all of His disciples, but there was an intimacy between the inner three (Peter, James, John), and in this case, specifically, John, that Jesus did not share with everyone else. He set them apart to show them and teach them things no one else experienced. (For examples see transfiguration and Jesus' selection of the three to pray at Gethsemane).

How is this all related to the Father and Son?

John 1:18 claims that the man Jesus of Nazareth is the unique Son of God. And because of their eternal unity of love, Jesus can truly and fully represent God in every way possible. This fact rings loudly in several of Christ's statements. Such as:

Jo 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father?

Or in relation to the Father making all things known to the Son. Just as Jesus made known mysteries to His disciples, and continues to show things to those He loves.

Jo 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and greater works than these will he show him, that ye may marvel.

If you recall, in the scriptures, the only times the Father's voice is heard from heaven is when He is expressing the love of His Son. When the inspired writer wants to convey the idea that loves stems from the deepest part of their being, bosom closeness paints the perfect picture.


I cannot let what Ozzie Nicolas posted pass. Proverbs 8 is "NOT" teaching that Jesus Christ is a created being. The subject of Proverbs 8 is wisdom. Even at Proverbs 1:1 wisdom is indetified as a "her" and at other places as a "she."

Wisdom is an inherent attribute of God or a permanent characteristic/attribute. Now, Proverbs 8:22 was quoted implying that Jesus Christ is a created being. vs23 "from everlasting I was established, From the beginning from the earliest times of the earth." Jesus Christ did not have a beginning, He existed eternally and this is proven by the other verse the poster posted.

Revelation 3:14. "The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this." The Greek word for "beginning" in the verse is "arche." We get our English word "architect" from that word. In other words, Jesus Christ is the architect, the orgin, the first cause of everything. John 1:3, Colossians 1:16 and even Hebrews 1:10 backs this up.

Now, in reference to "in the bosom of the Father" it refers to the truth of His/Jesus' deity and shows the reason the only begotten Son/God (as in there are not others because He is unique) John 3:16. The Father has no separate manifestation form the Son. The Son is the only manifestation and revelation of the Father. This is what Jesus meant at John 14:8-9.


What is the meaning of “In the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18)?

Bosom, is figure of speech and , it is taken from a custom where guests during a meal , would recline on couches, in such a way that a close friend with a special bond could sit beside him and even place his head on the chest or bosom of his friend.

Jesus in his parable the "Rich Man and Lazarus " used the expression , in "the bosom" of Abraham signifying a position of special favor or close relationship with God. Luke 16:22

Luke 16:22-23 (NASB)

22 "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.

Bosom , or "beside his Father," as in Proverbs 8:30 NRSV, which reads: "Then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight,rejoicing before him always,"

The "first born of all creation," Jesus, has a unique intimacy with his Father, that he could say, that only the Son can reveal the Father to whom he chooses.

Proverbs 8:22 (NRSV)

Wisdom’s Part in Creation:

22 "The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago."

Revelation 3:14 (ASV)

14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:

Matthew 11:27 (NRSV)

27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

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