John 1:15

John bore witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
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Alcuin of York

AD 804
He had said before that there was a man sent to bear witness; now he gives definitely the forerunner’s own testimony, which plainly declared the excellence of His Human Nature and the Eternity of His Godhead. John bore witness of Him.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
It does not mean - He was made before I was made, but He is preferred to me.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
We undertook, in the name of the Lord, and promised to you, beloved, to treat of that grace and truth of God, full of which the only-begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, appeared to the saints, and to show how, as a matter belonging to the New Testament, it is to be distinguished from the Old Testament. Give, then, your attention that what I receive in my measure from God you in your measure may receive and hear the same. For it will only remain if, when the seed is scattered in your hearts, the birds take it not away, nor thorns choke it, nor heat scorch it, and there descend upon it the rain of daily exhortations and your own good thoughts, by which that is done in the heart which in the field is done by means of harrows, so that the clod is broken, and the seed covered and enabled to germinate: that you bear fruit at which the husbandman may be glad and rejoice. But if, in return for good seed and good rain, you bring forth not fruit but thorns, the seed will not be blam...
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Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
John bears witness, &c. He proves what he had said concerning the Word Incarnate, and that He was full of grace and truth, by the irrefragable testimony of John the Baptist. For him the Jews accounted as a prophet and divine. It is as if he said, "Not only have we seen Jesus Christ full of grace and truth, but John , who was sent from God, openly and plainly has testified the same concerning Him." And crieth: the Greek Isaiah , έκζαγε, i.e, cried out. For he himself was the voice of one crying in the wilderness ( Isaiah 40:23). "Whom not I myself alone have heard," says S. Cyril, "but far and wide among all hath his cry come. For it was not in secret, nor with low and stammering accents, but louder than a trumpet." As S. Chrysostom says, "Freely and confidently, casting away fear, he preached the advent of God." This was He of whom I spake: see verses27,30. It means, "Before John had seen and known Christ, he said, that He was about to come to save man. And when he had seen Him...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
For He was before me. Having said that He has become before me, he needfully adds, For He was before me, ascribing to Him glory most ancient, and affirming that the precedence of all things accrued not to Him in time, but is inherent in Him from the beginning as God by Nature. For He was before me, says he, instead of, Always and every-way superior and more glorious. And by His being compared with one among things originate, the judgment against all is concentrated in behalf of Him Who is above all. For we do not contemplate the great and glorious dignity of the Son as consisting in this alone that He surpassed the glory of John, but in His surpassing every originate essence. ...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
This was He of Whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred [has become] before me, for He was before me. Having named the witness same-minded and same-named with himself, and having shewn that he used a great voice for the service of his preaching, he profitably adds the mode too of his testimony: for it is in this in particular that the whole question lies. What then do we find the great John crying regarding the Only-Begotten? He that cometh after me has become before me for He was before me. Deep is the saying and one that demands keen search into its meaning. For the obvious and received meaning is thus: As far as belongs to the time of the Birth according to the Flesh, the Baptist preceded the Saviour, and Emmanuel clearly followed and came after by six whole months, as the blessed Luke related. Some suppose that John said this, that it may be understood thus, He that cometh after me, in point of age, is preferred before me. But he who fixes a keener eye on the Divine...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
John bare witness of Him and cried. The most wise Evangelist follows again the course of his thoughts and makes the sequel duly correspondent to what preceded. For when he said of the Son of God, we beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, that he might not appear to alone say this (the word we have seen not suiting a single person), he joins with himself his namesake witness, having one and the same piety with himself. I then, says he, bear witness (for I have beheld what I said), and the Baptist likewise bears witness. A most weighty pair of Spirit-clad, and a notable pair of men foster-brothers in truth and unknowing how to lie. But see how exceeding forcible he made his declaration. For he not only says that John bears witness of Him, but profitably adds and cried, taking his proof from the words The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, and this too exceeding well. For it was possible that some of the opponents might say, When did the Baptist ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Is preferred before me. Literally, is made before me. The sense, says St. Chrysostom is, that he is greater in dignity, deserves greater honour though born after me, he was from eternity. (Witham)
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
1. Do we then run and labor in vain? Are we sowing upon the rocks? Does the seed fall upon the rocks? Does the seed fall without our knowing it by the wayside, and among thorns? I am greatly troubled and fear, lest our husbandry be unprofitable; not as though I shall be a loser as well as you, touching the reward of this labor. For it is not with those who teach as it is with husbandmen. Oftentimes the husbandman after his year's toil, his hard work and sweat, if the earth produce no suitable return for his pains, will be able to find comfort for his labors from none else, but returns ashamed and downcast from his barn to his dwelling, his wife and children, unable to require of any man a reward for his lengthened toil. But in our case there is nothing like this. For even though the soil which we cultivate bring forth no fruit, if we have shown all industry, the Lord of it and of us will not suffer us to depart with disappointed hopes, but will give us a recompense; for, says St. Pa...
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
Or he introduces this, as if to say, Do not suppose that we bear witness to this out of gratitude, because we were with Him a long time, and partook of His table; for John who had never seen Him before, nor tarried with Him, bore witness to Him. The Evangelist repeats John's testimony many times here and there, because he was held in such admiration by the Jews. Other Evangelists refer to the old prophets, and say, This was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet. But he introduces a loftier, and later witness, not intending to make the servant vouch for the master, but only condescending to the weakness of his hearers. For as Christ would not have been so readily received, had He not taken upon Him the form of a servant; so if he had not excited the attention of servants by the voice of afellow-servant beforehand, there would not have been many Jews embracing the word of Christ. It follows, And cried; that is, preached with openness, with freedom, without reser...
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Theophilus of Antioch

AD 184
He said, Who comes after me, that is, as to the time of His birth. John was six months before Christ, according to His humanity. The Arians infer from this Word, that the Son of God is not begotten of the Father, but made like any other creature.
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Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
The Evangelist often cites the testimony of John, not because the words of a servant would give credibility to the Master, but because the people held John in such high regard that they would trust his testimony more than that of any other. By saying that John cried, he shows that John did not witness timidly in a corner, but shouted out with great boldness concerning Christ. What did he say? This was He of Whom I spake. John gave witness to Christ even before he saw Him. This was certainly by the will of God, so that John’s good testimony of Christ would not appear biased and partial to Christ. This is why John said, He of Whom I spake, that is, even before he had seen Christ, He that cometh after me, meaning, who was born after I was, for the Forerunner preceded Christ in birth by six months, is preferred before me, that is, has become more highly honored and more glorious than I. Why? Because He was before me in His divinity. The Arians have interpreted these words in a foolish ma...
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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