John 4:32 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 4:32, NIV: "But he said to them, 'I have food to eat that you know nothing about.'"

John 4:32, ESV: "But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”"

John 4:32, KJV: "But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of."

John 4:32, NASB: "But He said to them, 'I have food to eat that you do not know about.'"

John 4:32, NLT: "But Jesus replied, 'I have a kind of food you know nothing about.'"

John 4:32, CSB: "But he said, "I have food to eat that you don't know about.""

What does John 4:32 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The New Testament records many places where Jesus says something provocative, controversial, or mysterious. In some cases, He even seems to choose His words and timing specifically to rattle the spiritually resistant (John 5:8–11; John 9:13–14). His intent, in most cases, seems to be to let people's reactions speak for themselves.

A famous exercise in mental health circles is the Rorschach test, where a person is shown vague blobs of ink, and asked to describe what they see. What people see in the ink spots is often more a reflection of their own minds than anything in the images itself. Rorschach tests may or may not be a very reliable way of understanding someone's mind. Jesus' pointed questions, though, are always intended to let people reveal their own hearts. The way people respond to Jesus' questions demonstrates their level of spiritual knowledge, interest in the truth, and so forth.

In this case, Jesus has been refusing nutrition from the disciples for some length of time (John 4:31). His reference to food, not surprisingly, is completely misinterpreted by His followers, as verse 33 demonstrates.