John 7:15

Marvelled (eqaumazon). Picturesque imperfect active of qaumazw, "were wondering." After all the bluster of the rulers (verse Leviticus 13 ) here was Jesus teaching without interruption. Knoweth letters (grammata oiden). Second perfect active indicative used as present. Grammata, old word from grapw, to write, is originally the letters formed ( Galatians 6:11 ), then a letter or epistle ( Acts 28:21 ), then the sacred Scriptures ( John 5:47 ; 2 Timothy 3:15 ), then learning like Latin litterae and English letters ( Acts 26:24 ; John 7:15 ). "The marvel was that Jesus showed Himself familiar with the literary methods of the time, which were supposed to be confined to the scholars of the popular teachers" (Westcott). Having never learned (mh memaqhkw). Perfect active participle of manqanw with mh, the usual negative (subjective) with the participle. It is not the wisdom of Jesus that disconcerted the Jewish leaders, but his learning (Marcus Dods). And yet Jesus had not attended either of the rabbinical theological schools in Jerusalem (Hillel, Shammai). He was not a rabbi in the technical sense, only a carpenter, and yet he surpassed the professional rabbis in the use of their own methods of debate. It is sometimes true today that unschooled men in various walks of life forge ahead of men of lesser gifts with school training. See the like puzzle of the Sanhedrin concerning Peter and John ( Acts 4:13 ). This is not an argument against education, but it takes more than education to make a real man. Probably this sneer at Jesus came from some of the teachers in the Jerusalem seminaries. "Christ was in the eyes of the Jews a merely self-taught enthusiast" (Westcott).

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