Study Guide

Gospel of John Truth

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The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (NRSV 1:17)

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (KJV 1:17)

According to the Gospel of John, Jesus comes to do away with the old laws because he's greater than all the other prophets combined. No wonder the religious authorities aren't happy with him.

"But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God." (NRSV 3:21) 

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (KJV 3:21)

In this story, the truth is naturally tied in with light and goodness. What's true naturally shines a light, but what's false leaves people wandering around in the dark. Try that during a power outage. And while you have the flashlight out, check out our "Symbols" section for more.

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (NRSV 8:31-32)

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (KJV 8:31-32)

Sound familiar? If you write as eloquently as this, maybe your Tweets will be aphorisms someday, too.

"You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me." (NRSV 8:44-45)

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. (KJV 8:44-45)

Jesus is often accused of being a liar, but here he turns the tables on the religious authorities, saying that they are the children of the ultimate liar, Satan. Hey, sometimes the truth hurts.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (NRSV 14:6)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (KJV 14:6)

Jesus is pretty clear throughout the Gospel: there is one version of the truth and it's him. There are no back roads for getting in good with God because the path to truth is a one-way street.

"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come." (NRSV 16:13)

When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (KJV 16:13)

When Jesus is gone, the disciples will still have access to God's truth through the Holy Spirit. Good thing, too, because we don't think those guys were taking accurate notes.

"Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth." (NRSV 17:17-19)

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. (KJV 17:17-19)

Even though the disciples will have the Holy Spirit to help them with the truth, Jesus still wants God to watch out for them and make sure they're doing the right thing.

Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." Pilate asked him, "What is truth?" (NRSV 18:37-38)

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? (KJV 18:37-38)

Here's another classic Gospel of John moment for you. Pilate hears Jesus's whole spiel on the truth and then… he totally brushes it off. Or maybe he really wants to know the answer and thinks Jesus might hold the key?

This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. (NRSV 21:24)

This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. (KJV 21:24)

And by the way, this whole story is true. They have a witness to prove it.

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