John 14:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 14:6, NIV: "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

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

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

John 14:6, NASB: "Jesus *said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me."

John 14:6, NLT: "Jesus told him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."

John 14:6, CSB: "Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

What does John 14:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Few verses are cited as often as this Scripture. Jesus is preparing His disciples with reassurance, in advance of His arrest and death (John 14:1–4). These words also broadly encourage believers to maintain faith in the face of hardship. Confidence comes to Christians, in part, from knowledge that Jesus is preparing to take us to be with Him. Travel home is usually much less stressful than the outbound trip, since we're so much more familiar with the destination (Romans 8:18; Hebrews 12:2).

In the prior verse (John 14:5), Thomas asked a reasonable question: if we don't know where we're going, how can you say we know the way there? Christ's answer reinforces a doctrine of salvation by grace through faith, as well as denying there are "many paths" to God. Prior to the label "Christians" (Acts 11:26), faith in Jesus was often referred to as "the way" (Acts 24:14).

Thomas' question (John 14:5) assumes the normal pattern of human accomplishment: we determine an end goal and work accordingly. But salvation cannot be accomplished by good works (Titus 3:5). Our sinful natures make it impossible to behave in a way that reconciles us to God (Romans 3:20). Jesus did not tell the disciples they knew the destination—in fact, He said He would come to get them (John 14:3)—but they know "the way" there (John 14:3–4). This is true because the means of salvation is not a process, it is a person. It is through—and only through—the person of Christ. We cannot strive to earn heaven, we can only seek to follow Christ. That is how we are meant to know God (John 14:7).

Paul memorably restates that salvation comes through a person in 2 Corinthians 4:6. Rescue from sin comes through Jesus, not rituals, or accomplishments, or personal virtue. The disciples know how to arrive where Jesus is going because they know Him—they know "the Way" because that Way is Jesus. Eventually, men like Thomas will connect this declaration to Jesus' other teachings, and fully realize the meaning of salvation by grace through faith (John 3:16; 10:10; 11:25–26; 12:44–46; Matthew 16:15–17).

Each component of this statement is given a definite article; both Greek and English refer to "the" way, "the" truth, and "the" life. There is no possibility of translating this comment as Jesus being "one way," or "a truth," or just "life." He doubles down on the idea, in fact, by emphasizing that nobody comes to God "except through [Christ]." Rarely does anyone object to the idea that those who believe in Christ will be saved. What offends many is the suggestion that only those who believe in Christ find salvation. Yet that is the clear teaching of Scripture (Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5–6).

This is the sixth of seven moments in John's gospel where Jesus invokes the "I Am" terminology. This echoes God's self-identification to Moses (Exodus 3:14). The seventh, and last, "I Am" statement will come later in this same discourse (John 15:1).