Tuesday, September 7, 2010

John 6:29

This evening as part of my personal study in John's Gospel, I read John 6:29: “Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ ”

I very nearly couldn't believe what I read: If I believe, it's God's work.

I consulted about 20 translations (via Biblia.com). All the translations that simply deliver the words from the original language into English had translated this verse very nearly as it's quoted above (from the ESV); the translations that do more interpretive hand holding of the text provide something similar to the Good News Bible: “Jesus answered, ‘What God wants you to do is to believe in the one he sent.’ ”

Perhaps the latter gives the correct sense of the words. But the words say that my belief is God's work.

John's Gospel is filled with stuff like this:

  • Nicodemus said, “We know you are a teacher sent by God;” Jesus replied, “You must be born again to see the Kingdom of God.” Why did Jesus’ reply seem to have nothing to do with what Nicky asked?
  • The woman at the well said, “Give me this [living] water so I won't have to come back to the well;” Jesus replied, “Go fetch your husband.” Was Jesus answering her question or not?

Am I all wet? Do you have more examples of this kind of response by Jesus, especially from John's Gospel? Is this irrelevant?

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