Please explain John 1:45? "Jesus the son of Joseph"?


45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

Why does John write this, why does he call him “son of Joseph”? I’m confused?


In the other gospels he’s only called son of Joseph by adversaries, correct?

I don’t understand why John presents him this way?

Can anyone shed some light on this difficult passage for me?


Hi Fishypete,

In ancient times people were introduced or mentioned with reference to their parents. The parents just by being of an older generation would be more known than their children. People did not use last names as we do today, so it was a way to specify which ‘Joseph’. Jesus was not only the son of Joseph but the Joseph of Nazareth to be more specific and so Nathanael would be better able to know who exactly it was that he was referring to.

In Plato’s writings we read - so and so the son of so and so, also. Even today, actually, in some Spanish countries, people will speak of someone ‘Maria’ the daughter of so and so - to specify.

I checked some Bible references and have found nothing that is suppose to be negative or whatever by referring to Jesus as the son of Joseph from Nazareth.


Thanks, but I was more wondering why John uses “son of Joseph”, vs. “Son of Mary”, where he was elsewhere known in the other gospels, making it clear he was NOT the actual son of St. Jospeh. You see what I’m asking?

Was it because Philip did not grow up with Jesus, so he wouldn’t have known that Joseph wasn’t his biological father? I know John calls him Son of God, but I find it strange that he didn’t have Philip say “Son of Mary”, or didn’t he do that because of the reasons I mentioned?

Was it to draw clear attention and connection to Nazareth??

Or are there other reasons? I’m kind of confused?


Remember, none of the Apostles safe Peter knew who Jesus truly is, the Father had
revealed it to Peter and only Peter, and he did not say aloud “Thou art Messiah, Son
of the Living God” until way later in the Gospel Story.

Philip had no clue,
his not knowing at
the time is justified.

Remember, we’re talking about John 1:45.
What else could Philip have said, Son of God?


The culture back then did not regard woman status on par with men. To say “we found Jesus son of Mary” would be inappropriate and the people wouldn’t know who the man Jesus was because that wasn’t the proper address according to the ancient times. People were always identified with their father not mother. This doesn’t degrade Mary. St John was recording the ancient custom during his time to display a realistic historical account of Jesus.


I figured it was simply Philips not knowing and the custom, but I wasn’t sure. So St. John is clearly speaking through Philip here then.


It raised a question with me because the Lord IS in fact refered to as “the son of Mary” elsewhere in the gospels, but I think that was with people who grew up with him.


Also, was it mention (the son of Joseph part) to tie the Lord with Nazareth?

Was this some sort of prophesy fullfilment?

I ask because I am new to gospel study, and any insight is greatly appreciated.


Well depending on the genealogy you trace, for Jesus to be the completion of Scripture He is necessarily the son of Joseph.

As someone Middle Eastern I can say patronyms are common in Semitic culture even 'til today so the fact that Jesus is identified as the son of Joseph is pretty commonplace in my opinion.


Very true. I’m assuming he comes from the line of David through his adoption by Joseph in a very real sense, no?


Philip calls him “Rabbi, you are the son of God, and king of Isreal” a few verses later!!


Such is my opinion.


But remember, philip recognizes our Lord ans the son of God and the king of Isreal a few verses later!!

This is confusing…

But again I’m asuming that St. John knew full well that our Lord’s mother was Mary, and that Joseph was only his earthly adoped father in name, and had Philip speak the common words of the day by someone who didn’t know our Lord?

And perhaps this was done to tie Jesus with Nazareth by way of joseph to fullfill a prophesy?

Is this right? The prophesy part?


Well I was just taking a guess, I’m no Bible expert. :o


No problem :slight_smile:

I guess my real question is why does John’s gospel make it sound like Jesus’ biological father was Jospeh, even though he is the son of God?

This is what’s confusing me.

The opinion of bible experts and anyone else is welcomed!


I agree with the earlier statement – John here is not stating an absolute fact about Jesus from his own perspective, but reporting a conversation between Philip and Nathanael, who may very well have believed that Jesus was the biological son of Joseph. Plus, of course, Jesus was Joseph’s son in every sense but the biological. I think John is repeating a common expression here rather than making a theological point.



Well I think that is being read into the text, no intention of offending. :slight_smile:


No offense taken, and your probably right. :slight_smile:

I have little knowledge overall on these things, and that’s why I come here…



I wonder if this common turn of phrase was meant to establish Jesus’ connection to Nazareth, since the next verse or so has Philip commenting on Nazareth??

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