Ye have heard him . . .--The true rendering here is, ye heard Him, and were taught in Him. St. Paul begins with the first means of knowledge, the "hearing" His voice, directly or through His ministers; and then proceeds to describe the fuller and more systematic process of "being taught," not "by Him" (as in our version), but "in Him," that is, in that unity with Him which embraces both teachers and taught as with an atmosphere of His presence.
As the truth is in Jesus.--Here by the name "Jesus," the personal and proper name of the Lord, St. Paul leads us on from the conception of "learning the Christ," to understand the method of that learning, in the knowledge of the "truth" in the person of Jesus Himself, who declares Himself to be the Truth (John 14:6). By a loving study and knowledge of His person, as set forth to us in the gospel, and brought home to us by His grace, rather than by abstract musing on the office and attributes of "the Christ," we come to learn the Christ also. The use of the simple name Jesus, so common in the Gospels, is rare indeed in the Epistles, where we constantly find the fuller description "Jesus Christ," "the Lord Jesus," "Jesus the Son of God." Wherever it occurs, it will be found to be distinctive or emphatic. This distinctiveness is most strikingly evident in Romans 8:11 : "If the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up [the] Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies." The "raising up of Jesus," is the historical resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth; the "raising up the Christ" points to the mysterious effect of that resurrection on those for whom He is the Mediator. Of the few other passages in which the simple name occurs, some (as Romans 3:26; 2 Corinthians 4:10-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 10:10) are mere reiterations of the name occurring above with the due title of honour; others are quasi-recitals of a creed declaring the historic Jesus (1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; comp. 2 Corinthians 11:4). In the Epistle to the Hebrews, where, in accordance with one main purpose of the Epistle, this usage is least rare (see Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 6:20; Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 12:2; Hebrews 12:24; Hebrews 13:12), it will be found that in all cases, either special stress is laid on the lowly and suffering humanity of the Lord, or the historic facts of His ministry on earth are referred to. The modern familiarity of use of the simple name "Jesus" has little authority in apostolic usage.
and have been taught by him: not personally, but by his Spirit and ministers; for Christ is not only the subject of the ministry of the word, and whom the Spirit of God teaches and directs souls to for righteousness, pardon, cleansing, and for every supply of grace; but he is the efficient cause of teaching; and there is none who teaches like him: and those who are taught by him, are taught
as the truth is in Jesus; as the Gospel is in him, as in its original and subject; for he is truth itself, and grace and truth came by him; and as it was preached by him, and so is pure and unmixed.