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... εγω εν τω πατρι μου και υμεις εν εμοι καγω εν υμιν

[John 14:20 TR, undisputed]

... I (am) in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

[John 14:20 KJV]

Previously, Jesus has said (John 14:10) :

... I am in the Father, and the Father in me ... [KJV]

... εγω εν τω πατρι και ο πατηρ εν εμοι... [TR, undisputed]

Jesus repeats this in John 14:11.

This cannot be a matter of physical humanity, since 'God is spirit', John 4:24. To be 'in' God cannot be a matter of manifested human nature but must be a matter spirit (see later in Ephesians).

Thus this is a matter of the person in a spiritual way. And if the 'Father' is in view than it must be a matter of 'I' as Son of God, not 'I' as humanity. It is a matter of divine relationship, in spirit.

This must denote a divine relationship of Father and Son. And must denote an intimate union of Person in that one is 'in' the other and the other is 'in' the one.

So what does Jesus' use of the preposition εν (always, of course, with the dative) convey ?


With regard to the second part of Jesus' saying ('and ye in me and I in you') there is, perhaps, some indication of the force of the preposition εν in Paul's exposition in Ephesians 3, 4 and 5.

In 3:17 Paul speaks of 'Christ dwelling in your hearts by faith', and in 3:9 that such should 'know the love of Christ' and in 3:19 he says that these same persons 'might be filled with all the fulness of God'.

Then he goes on to say in 4:5 and 6 that 'One Spirit ... one Lord ... and one God and Father of all' is 'in you all'.

Moreover in 4:10 Paul says that 'he ... that ascended up far above the heavens' did so 'that he might fill all'. (I notice that 'things' in the KJV is not there in the original : it is 'all'.)

And finally, 5:18, Paul urges these same persons that they should be 'filled with the Spirit'.

Is it the case that Jesus' use of the preposition εν in John 14:20 has the force of suggesting the same indwelling as Paul speaks of - an indwelling of all the 'fulness' of God ?

Does the force of εν (+ dative) suggest a fulsome indwelling ?

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Many of the commentaries remark on this but the best summary is by BDAG under the entry " ἐν ", and meaning #4 which says:

*Marker of close association within a limit, in - … (c) especially in Paul and Johannine usage, to denote a close personal relation in which the referent of the ἐν-term is viewed as the controlling influence: under the control of, under the influence of, in close association with …**

A large number of examples of this are listed including:

  • Of Christ, John 10:38, 14:10f,
  • Of Christians, 1 John 3:24, 4:13, 15f, John 14:10, 15:4f, etc.

    … and so forth. Most commentaries reach the same conclusion when remarking on John 14:20.

Ellicott observes:

That I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.—Comp. Note on John 10:38. The result of this spiritual illumination would be that they should of themselves know the immanence of the Son in the Father, and their own union with the Father through Him. They ask now (John 14:8) for a manifestation of the Father. The Spirit should so bring the life of Christ to their hearts that they would read in it the manifestation of the Father, and feel that in and through that life their own spirit has communion with God. The Spirit would witness with their spirit that they were the children of God. They would seek no longer for a Theophany from without, but in the depth of their inmost lives would cry, “Abba, Father.”

Maclaren observes:

‘That ye are in Me, and I in you,’-if a Christian man carries the consciousness of Christ’s presence, and has Him as a Sun in his darkness, and as a Life-source feeding his deadness with life, then he knows with a consciousness which is irrefragable that Jesus Christ is in him, for he feels His touch; and he knows that he is in Christ, for he is aware of the power that girdles him, and in which he has peace and righteousness and all.

The Pulpit commentary notes:

I am in my Father, as One lifted up into God, and that I act entirely with and for and as my Father, fulfilling all that I have told you of my personal relationship with him; and then, he adds, you shall know that as I am in my Father, you (are) in me, living in and by my power, and continuously drawing life from me; and what is still more, I in you; i.e. as the Father has acted in and through my will, and I have spoken his words and done his works, so I will energize in you. Your "greater works" will prove my "greater power." Your own consciousness of my presence, and of continuous communion with me, will reveal to you, as you never knew before, that I am in my Father, and also that I am in you. So the apparent paradox presents itself, that in order to know the Father, to see the Father, we must commune with the humanity of Jesus; but in order to realize and come into contact with that humanity, we have to grasp that it is lifted up into God. Because he is in the Father he is able to be with and in us.

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