John 21:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 21:23, NIV: Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?'

John 21:23, ESV: So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

John 21:23, KJV: Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

John 21:23, NASB: Therefore this account went out among the brothers, that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?'

John 21:23, NLT: So the rumor spread among the community of believers that this disciple wouldn't die. But that isn't what Jesus said at all. He only said, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?'

John 21:23, CSB: So this rumor spread to the brothers and sisters that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not tell him that he would not die, but, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? "

What does John 21:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Modern Christians reading his passage may feel a combination of aggravation and reassurance. Jesus was asked to comment on the fate of the apostle John (John 21:20–21). He responded by refusing to make a prediction. He merely told Peter that John's fate was irrelevant to Peter's ministry. Even if John were to live forever—or at least until Jesus returned—it wouldn't change what Peter needed to do. Despite that, rumors spread that John was going live forever, a conclusion completely missing the point of what Jesus had said (John 21:22).

In one sense, it's frustrating to know that misinformation can arise so quickly. In the time between Jesus' resurrection and John's writing of this gospel, a mistaken claim popped up that John needed to formally renounce. And yet, this is also an encouraging detail. This is among the latest-written works of the New Testament. That men like John are alive and able to refute mistakes strongly supports the accuracy of Scripture. These books were recorded and in circulation while eyewitnesses were still alive to rebuff false beliefs (John 21:24–25).