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Light of the World

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception

Volume 16
Editor(s): Christine Helmer, Steven L. McKenzie, Thomas Römer, Jens Schröter, Barry Dov Walfish, Eric J. Ziolkowski
De Gruyter (Berlin, Boston) 2018

New Testament

Joel Estes

The expression “light of the world” (φῶς τοῦ κόσμου) appears three times in the NT: Matt 5:14, John 8:12, and John 9:5. In Matthew, it occurs within Jesus’ so-called “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt 5–7) to describe his disciples: “you are the light of the world.” A series of related images follow (city on a hill, lamp on a stand) that illustrate Jesus’ exhortation in v. 16: “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”…

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