their coming to know you: Or “their taking in knowledge of you; their continuing to know you.” The Greek verb gi·noʹsko basically means “to know,” and here the verb is used in the present tense to express continuous action. It may denote a process of “taking in knowledge about someone; getting to know someone; becoming better acquainted with someone.” It may also include the thought of making an ongoing effort to get better acquainted with someone who is already known. In this context, it refers to a deepening personal relationship with God brought about by ever-increasing knowledge of God and Christ and a growing trust in them. Clearly, this necessitates more than knowing who a person is or knowing his name. It would also involve knowing what that person likes and dislikes and knowing his values and standards.—1Jo 2:3; 4:8.
world: The Greek word koʹsmos here apparently refers to the world of mankind.—Compare study note on Joh 17:24.
I have made your name manifest: Jesus’ followers already knew and used God’s name. They saw and read it in the Hebrew Scripture scrolls available in their synagogues. They also saw and read it in the Septuagint—a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, which was used in teaching. (See App. A5 and C.) In the Bible, the term “name” at times also stands for the person himself, his reputation, and all that he declares himself to be. (See study note on Mt 6:9; compare Re 3:4, ftn.) Jesus made known God’s name not just by using it but by revealing the Person behind the name—His purposes, activities, and qualities. As the one who had been “at the Father’s side,” Jesus could explain the Father in a way that no one else could. (Joh 1:18; Mt 11:27) God’s “name” thus took on greater meaning to Jesus’ early followers.
world: In this context, the Greek word koʹsmos apparently refers to the world of mankind alienated from God and separate from the true followers of Christ, his congregation.—See study note on Joh 15:19.
observed: Or “obeyed; kept.” As used in this context, the Greek word te·reʹo has also been defined “to persist in obedience; to pay attention to.”
the world: In this context, the Greek word koʹsmos refers to the world of mankind apart from God’s servants, the unrighteous human society alienated from God.—Compare study note on Joh 15:19.
Holy Father: In the Bible, this expression occurs only here and is used as a form of address with reference to Jehovah. It is never used in reference to a human.—Compare Mt 23:9.
your own name, which you have given me: The name Jesus corresponds to the Hebrew name Jeshua (or, in fuller form, Jehoshua), meaning “Jehovah Is Salvation.” Accordingly, twice in this chapter Jesus emphasizes that he made the name Jehovah known. (Joh 17:6, 26) In the Bible, the term “name” may also stand for the person himself, his reputation, his qualities, and all that he declares himself to be. (See study notes on Mt 6:9; Joh 17:6.) So besides bearing a name that incorporates the divine name, there were apparently other ways that the name Jehovah has been given to Jesus. For example, Jesus reflected perfectly the personality of his Father. (Joh 14:9) Also, Jesus came in his Father’s name and performed powerful works in that name.—Joh 5:43; 10:25.
one: Or “at unity.” Jesus prayed that just as he and his Father are “one,” demonstrating cooperation and unity of thought, so his true followers would be “one” in working together for the same purpose. The thoughts expressed in this prayer echo Jesus’ words recorded at Joh 10:30. There he states that he and the Father “are one” in connection with their dealings with his disciples, his “sheep,” who are given to him by the Father. (Joh 10:25-30; 17:2, 9) The Greek word here rendered “one” is in the neuter gender (denoting “one thing”), not in the masculine gender (denoting “one person”).—See study note on Joh 10:30.
the son of destruction: In this context, the expression refers to Judas Iscariot, whose deliberate betrayal of God’s Son made Judas subject to eternal destruction, one who was unworthy of a resurrection. The same expression is used at 2Th 2:3 with reference to “the man of lawlessness.” In the original Bible languages, the term “son(s) of” is sometimes used in a figurative sense about someone who pursues a certain course of conduct or who manifests a certain characteristic. Examples are such expressions as “sons of the Most High,” “sons of light and sons of day,” “sons of the Kingdom,” “sons of the wicked one,” “son of the Devil,” and “sons of disobedience.” (Lu 6:35; 1Th 5:5; Mt 13:38; Ac 13:10; Eph 2:2) In a similar way, the expression “son of” can be used to refer to the judgment or outcome that results from following a certain course or displaying a certain characteristic. At 2Sa 12:5, the expression rendered “deserves to die” is literally “is a son of death.” At Mt 23:15, the literal expression “a son of Gehenna” is used about someone who is deserving of eternal destruction, which was apparently what Jesus meant when he called Judas Iscariot “the son of destruction.”—See study note on Mt 23:15 and Glossary, “Gehenna.”
world: In this context, the Greek word koʹsmos refers to the world of mankind apart from God’s servants, the unrighteous human society alienated from God. John is the only Gospel writer to quote Jesus as saying that his followers are no part of the world, or do not belong to the world. The same thought is expressed two more times during Jesus’ last night with his faithful apostles.—Joh 15:19; 17:16.
Sanctify them: Or “Make them holy; Set them apart,” that is, for sacred service to God. When Jesus’ followers obey the truth of God’s Word, they become sanctified, or purified. (1Pe 1:22) They will thus stand out as “no part of the world,” which does not adhere to God’s truth.—Joh 17:16.
your word is truth: Jehovah’s Word presents things as they really are, revealing his attributes, purposes, and commands, as well as the true state of affairs among mankind. In harmony with Jesus’ prayer, God’s Word of truth shows what is required for a person to be sanctified, or set apart, by Jehovah for His service, and then to remain in a sanctified state.
sanctifying myself: Or “setting myself apart; keeping myself holy.” Jesus was holy when born as a human (Lu 1:35), and he maintained that sanctification, or holiness, throughout his earthly life (Ac 4:27; Heb 7:26). Jesus’ blameless life course, including his ransom sacrifice, made it possible for his followers to be sanctified, or made holy, set apart for God’s service. Therefore, Jesus could say in prayer to his Father that he was sanctifying himself in their behalf. Jesus’ followers are sanctified by means of truth if they follow his footsteps closely and live by the truths he taught and the truths found in God’s Word, the Bible. (Joh 17:17; 2Ti 2:20, 21; Heb 12:14) Even so, they are not sanctified through their own merit, but sanctification comes to them through Jesus Christ.—Ro 3:23-26; Heb 10:10.
one: Or “at unity.” Jesus prayed that his true followers would be “one,” unitedly working together for the same purpose, just as he and his Father are “one,” demonstrating cooperation and unity of thought. (Joh 17:22) At 1Co 3:6-9, Paul describes this type of unity among Christian ministers as they work with one another and with God.—See 1Co 3:8 and study notes on Joh 10:30; 17:11.
be perfected into one: Or “be completely unified.” In this verse, Jesus connects perfect unity with being loved by the Father. This is in harmony with Col 3:14, which says: “Love . . . is a perfect bond of union.” This perfect unity is relative. It does not mean that all differences of personality, such as individual abilities, habits, and conscience, are eliminated. It does mean that Jesus’ followers are unified in action, belief, and teaching.—Ro 15:5, 6; 1Co 1:10; Eph 4:3; Php 1:27.
founding of the world: The Greek word for “founding” is rendered “to conceive” at Heb 11:11, where it is used with “offspring.” Here used in the expression “founding of the world,” it apparently refers to the birth of children to Adam and Eve. Jesus associates “the founding of the world” with Abel, apparently the first redeemable human and the first to have his name “written in the scroll of life from the founding of the world.” (Lu 11:50, 51; Re 17:8) These words of Jesus in prayer to his Father also confirm that long ago—before Adam and Eve conceived offspring—God loved his only-begotten Son.
I have made your name known: At the end of his prayer, Jesus repeats the thought he expressed at Joh 17:6. (See study note on Joh 17:6.) At Joh 17:26, though, a different Greek verb, gno·riʹzo (“to make known”), is used. However, it conveys a similar thought to the verb used at Joh 17:6 (pha·ne·roʹo, “to make manifest; to reveal”), which could also be rendered “make known.” (See ftn. on Joh 17:6.) In the Bible, making known one’s name may involve revealing the name itself as well as what the name stands for—the person’s reputation and all that he declares himself to be. (See study note on Mt 6:9; compare Re 3:4; ftn.) Jesus made known God’s name not just by using it but by revealing the Person behind the name—his purposes, activities, and qualities. Here Jesus adds and will make it known, which could also be rendered “and will continue to make it known.” God’s name would thus continue to take on greater meaning to his followers.