I’m posting this because somebody named thequakerchannel thinks that just citing passages is actually exegeting them. He thinks that just posting opinion and philosophical positions is exegeting scripture.
We are discussing John 6:35-45 and I challenged him to exegete these passages and make his claims that God wants and tries to save all through a “predestining of a plan” and not individuals to salvation. This is the email that I sent to this person:
I have exegeted the passages we were discussing on Open Air preachers video combox. Instead of trying to deflect the issues, I’ve dealt with them.
If you have anything that directly refutes the points that I’ve made; context, grammar, syntax, bring it on. Please though…no more bluster, no more blind posting of proof texts…do the work….make your claims…
Here is the link.
I’m letting a few Youtube users know that I’ve done this,that way you can’t say later that I didn’t give you a chance and also that way if you come up with something solid, more people will be able to see it.
Let me know what you decide.
So with that said; here’s my take on John 6:35-45
Let’s begin with verse 35 for context shall we?
Jesus has just fed the 5000, and has quite a few following him.
He uses the bread reference as follows:
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.
So Jesus states a beautiful truth, that the one coming to him, will not be turned away…He is all that is needed.
He is the bread of life.
Notice that he uses a common phrase “ho erchomai” “the one coming.” It’s synonymous with believing. And notice that He is NOT addressing WHO will come yet…just that “the one coming” will not be turned away…he will not be hungry or thirsty.
But then Jesus says:
36 But I told you that you have seen me and still do not believe.
Jesus is using a strong adversative; “alla” which is to draw a hard distinction between what he just said, and what He’s now going to say…He’s going to explain why they won’t believe even though they’ve been in the presence of the Son of God, and they’ve seen the same miracles as everyone else:
Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.
The same phrase is used here: “pas ho didomai moi ho pater” which is speaking of a certain group “those that the Father gives to Jesus. It’s not an offer of anything, it’s a statement of who will believe; this group.
And then Jesus says that the ones whom the Father gives to Jesus will not be sent away, or turned away. There is no way to be given to Jesus by the Father, only to find later that you are now lost again. The word combo that Jesus uses here is a “double negative” “ou ma” which is no, not ever, never.
The very next word that Jesus uses is “hoti” which is translated “for.” It’s a “marker of explanatory clauses.” It’s function is to elaborate and explain what has been said in the last clause.
For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. Now this is the will of the one who sent me – that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up at the last day.
Wow…what a mouthful. The will of the Father is that Jesus lose none of those that the Father has given to Him…BUT INSTEAD raise them up on the last day.
So the ones that are given are raised to eternal life…no question about it. Jesus will not fail…that’s what He came for.
Notice that those that are given, are those that are raised. Same direct object being referred to. (I’m going to skip ahead to save space)
The Jews were grumbling over the things that He said
43 Jesus replied, “Do not complain about me to one another. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jesus is STILL addressing their unbelief…that’s the subject matter. He says that no one is ABLE to come to Jesus…unless the Father draws him. This is a continuation of the previously spoken context…he’s still addressing the inability of them to come.
The word He uses for “able” is “dunamai” which speaks to ability, not permission. They do not have the power to come, they cannot come except something happen…and what is it? That the Father draws them. The word for “draws” is commonly thought of as a “wooing” but it’s actually used of “dragging” or “to move an object by your power.” Cross ref Luke 12:58 where this same form is used to denote “dragging someone into court” and John 21:11 where Peter drags the fish net up on shore”
And what does Jesus say for the third time??
If the preceding happen, then Jesus WILL raise them up to eternal life. No question.
And here we come to the next verse, no break in thoughts, no subject change.
45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to me.
Jesus restates the same truth again; Being taught by God is synonymous with being “given” by the Father. And what will happen (how many times has Jesus restated this so far?) when they are taught by God?
Everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to me.
They come to Jesus; no question about it.
So the sequence of events is this:
- The father gives men to the Son
- The Son loses none
- The Son raises them to eternal life.
The same thing is being taught all of the way through this passage; it couldn’t be more clear…The giving, the teaching, the drawing, all are actions that the Father does.
Do these passages not support the idea of Monergism?
Inside these passages we’ve seen:
- Total depravity (no one as the ability)
- Irresistible grace (if the Father gives, Jesus will raise)
- Perseverance of the saints (I will lose none of what’s been given to me)
What do you have in the way of exegesis on these passages?
Themis has responded. I’ll post his response and my comments [in brackets] and let you decide who was exegeting the text and who was reading other ideas INTO the text of John 6:35-45
I read your article yesterday and thought about what you wrote. Here is my reply.
I insist that when looking for the true meaning of a Biblical Truth we ought to take into account everything else Scripture has to say on the same subject.
[While I agree with you…I’m wondering why we can’t we let John make his own case here? Why do you go outside of John to decide what John is talking about?]
Example, if we look at the phrase ‘coming to Jesus’. What does that mean?
In other passages, Jesus qualifies it by adding, for instance, ‘he who COMES to me, and hears my word, and puts it into practice’. What we must understand is that head faith or the sinner’s prayer does not equal a true conversion experience.
[And again…while I agree that an empty faith is no faith..what in the world does that have to do with the logical flow of John 6?
If you think that what you are doing is exegesis; you are mistaken. You are not drawing out from John 6; what John is talking about at all.]
In Matthew 16:24-25 we read, ‘Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will COME after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.’ So to come to Christ, as in John 6, means that we ought to live a live of obedience to Jesus in holiness.
[And again; Matthew had a point here too, but the two passages have completely different subject matter.
Nothing you’ve said so far has ANYTHING to do with THE POINT BEING MADE in John 6 does it?]
In John 6 verses 35 and 36 Jesus blames the Jews for not believing in Him. It seems rather strange that Jesus would blame them for not believing if their election or reprobation was pre-decided by the Father.
[Well, let’s see what Jesus actually said since you are now coming back to the actual text of John 6:
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
Now where in this text does it say anything about blame? Though I know that God holds men accountable for their actions, I’m left wondering where you got this from the text of verse 35-45? And I’d also ask; why did you divorce these verses from the immediate context and read something else into them?]
Let’s continue. “All that the Father has given me shall come to me.” God being out of time knew who will come to Jesus (foreknowledge) but did not cause it (predestination).
[Once again; why did you supply words and meanings that are not present in the text itself? Where in this sentence, in the context of Jesus’ discourse, do you find the words or even the idea “God being out of time, knew who will come but did not cause it?”
What you are doing is called “Eisegesis” which is “importing ideas INTO the text and not getting the meaning FROM the text. Why do you do that? Why can’t you let the text say what it says?” Could it be that it contradicts your presupposed idea of predestination, and election?]
So the verse simply tells us that from all those people who the Father enlightened (John 1:9) only some responded (remember the parable of the wedding feast?).
So from this text, where Jesus is point blank explaining the unbelief you got “all that the Father enlightened only some responded”? Where is that found here in the text?
And PS: you missed the part that says that they were “not born of blood or by the will of the flesh, but of God” which dovetails nicely with what Jesus is saying; that salvation is an act of God.]
They who by their free will responded God counts as chosen and gives them to Jesus.
[Where in John 6 are the words “free will” found? Where is the idea that they respond and THEN “God counts them as chosen?”
You are giving a great example of reading your own ideas INTO the text.]
In 39 and 40 there are clearly TWO things that are God’s will: 1. that Jesus lose nothing of what the Father has given him and that he raise it up on the last day; and 2. that those who see and believe the Son may have everlasting life.
[And finally we agree on something]
These two wills are connected as Jesus indicates. What does it mean then to ‘believe’? Believing is not a one time event. It is a resting or relying upon Christ for the rest of our lives, it is trusting every single moment in His hands. It means to commit to and to live by. It is not a mental assent, which James calls the ‘faith of devils’. It is a faith which ‘purifies the heart’ according to Luke in the Acts of the Apostles.
[And again for the 20th time…how does this have any direct effect on what John is saying? The actual subject matter of the discourse itself? I agree that faith is not a one time mental assent thing, but is that what’s being spoken of here?]
Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John teaches that Jesus is the true Bread and true Drink as He is the bread from heaven, signifying that we find our complete sustenance in him. Hence, just before in verse 32, Jesus said to those who rejected him that ‘the Father gives YOU the true bread…and gives life to the world. Clearly there is a universal proposition here. The Father has not given the bread to a select predestined few, but even to those who rejected Jesus. He adds, the bread was given ‘to the world’ v.33
[Actually, no Calvinist would ever say that “God have the bread of life for the select predestined few” that’s a strawman, but beyond that; the bread of life WAS given to “the world.”
I’m guessing that you ASSUME the world to mean; “everyone who ever lived or will ever live?”
Can I just point out that IN JOHN’S GOSPEL ALONE he uses the words “the world” in several different ways:
It’s used to refer to the Earth itself in John 13:1
“When Jesus knew that his hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world He loved them unto the end.”
It’s used to refer to the “world system” in John 12:31 etc.
“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the Prince of this world be cast out”
It’s used to refer to the whole human race in Rom. 3: 19,
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
It’s used to refer to all humanity minus believers in John 15:18
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.”
Believers do not “hate” Christ, so that “the world” here must signify the world of unbelievers in contrast from believers who love Christ.
It’s used to refer to the Gentiles in contrast from Jews in Rom. 11:12
“Now if the fall of them (Israel) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them (Israel) the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their (Israel’s) fulness.” Note how the first clause in italics is defined by the latter clause placed in italics. Here, again, “the world” cannot signify all humanity for it excludes Israel!
So to assume that the words “the world” automatically mean “everyone who ever lived and will ever live” is just that…an assumption. And being that Jesus is EXPLAINING why some believe and some don’t, and flat out telling them that it’s the ones that the Father give to Jesus, then this understanding of the world falls apart.
Now for v. 44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. “ v. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”
The Holy Spirit convicts the whole world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Many who get taught and convicted do not come to Christ. Jesus underscores the fact that conversion is dependent on teaching, persuasion, rather than the result of an irresistible force by an inexorable decree.
[You must be kidding right? You have just MURDERED the meaning of this passage in it’s context. Where do you get from verse 44 ANY of what you just said?
You continue to give a great example of what it means to import your own ideas INTO the text of scripture.
Thus it is true that everyone who comes to Christ must first be taught of the Father, BUT NOT everyone who is taught by the Father comes to Christ.
[This is exhausting…are you EVER going to get to actually exegeting John 6?]
What Jesus taught cannot oppose what the Holy Spirit taught Peter, 2 Pet 2:1’But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that BOUGHT them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.’ Who has the Lord BOUGHT’?
[Have you NEVER read ANYTHING on any of these passages? Do you have an inkling of what any Calvinist would say here?
How does Peter; writing in a different book, with different subject matter, HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH JESUS’ POINT IN JOHN 6?]
PS: You might want to check out any writing or sermon by a Calvinists like Gill or Owen on this Peter passage. I have provided just one here
If we accept the view that only the company of the ‘elect’ have been bought by the blood of Christ, then how can they bring swift destruction upon themselves?
[Once again…dealt with hundreds of years ago by John Owen. I’ll leave this rabbit trail for another time and refer you to the file posted above]
This is no mere LOSS of rewards, the Apostle speaks of. Being ‘bought’ means redeemed, claimed under ownership. Whose ownership is spoken of here? The ‘LORD’. I think that there is enough evidence to suffice the genuine seeker of truth as to the nature of God’s moral government. From the passage in John 6 in its connection, it is made clear. In addition, there are several places in Holy Scripture that tell us that God’s will is NOT always accomplished.
[God’s will is not always accomplished? You MUST be joking…??? You mean to say that God wills something; decrees that something will happen, and then some other more powerful force negates God’s will? Really?
What God do you worship?
This is the God I worship:
Psa 33:11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.
Psa 115:3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
Psa 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
Isa 14:24 The LORD of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand,
Isa 45:7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.
Eph 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
That’s the God of scripture.]
But this is to be expected under a moral government. God does not exercise compulsion, but has gifted both men and angels with the power to either virtue or vice. Their guilt and shame comes when they misuse it. Their praise comes from the Father when they honor their Creator with their substance in their original formation. May we always choose the latter.
God Bless you.
In Christ our Lord,
[Themis…I thank you for taking the time to respond to my exegesis but respectfully, you did anything but exegete John 6:35-45. If I had taken your response and instead of following your own flow of thought and your argument, cut and snipped little bits and words and made up my own meanings like you just did to John 6, you’d be furious and ask me what right I had to do that….well….you just did it with God’s word.
I hope you don’t see this as me saying that I hate you or that this is a personal attack in any way but it’s obvious that the basis for our disagreement is our hermeneutic. I believe that we must go to the relevant passages and let them speak in their own context and let the author make his own points on any given subject. You differ in that you believe that you can go all over the bible and pick unrelated passages and mash them together to get your understanding of a certain passage. An example would be your use of 2nd Peter; a passage that is speaking about the second coming and not unbelief, and God’s election.
I believe that you are wrong for doing so and is one of the reasons why people differ so radically on passages that are so very clear such as John 6:35-45
God bless you too