There was (hn). Imperfect indicative. Emphatic position at the beginning of the sentence and so probably not periphrastic conjugation with ercomenon (coming) near the end, though that is possible. The true light (to pw to alhqinon). "The light the genuine," not a false light of wreckers of ships, but the dependable light that guides to the harbor of safety. This true light had been on hand all the time in the darkness (hn imperfect, linear action) before John came. Even the light (not in the Greek). Added in the English to make plain this interpretation. Lighteth every man (pwtizei panta anqrwpon). Old verb (from pw) to give light as in Revelation 22:5 ; Luke 11:35 . The Quakers appeal to this phrase for their belief that to every man there is given an inner light that is a sufficient guide, the Quaker's text it is called. But it may only mean that all the real light that men receive comes from Christ, not necessarily that each one receives a special revelation. Coming (ercomenon). This present middle participle of ercomai can be taken with anqrwpon just before (accusative masculine singular), "every man as he comes into the world." It can also be construed with pw (nominative neuter singular). This idea occurs in John 3:19 ; John 11:27 ; John 12:46 . In the two last passages the phrase is used of the Messiah which makes it probable here. But even so the light presented in John 11:27 ; John 12:46 is that of the Incarnate Messiah, not the Pre-incarnate Logos. Here kosmo rather than panta occurs in the sense of the orderly universe as often in this Gospel. See Ephesians 1:4 .