John 6:31 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 6:31, NIV: "Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.''"

John 6:31, ESV: "Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”"

John 6:31, KJV: "Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat."

John 6:31, NASB: "Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’?'"

John 6:31, NLT: "After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, 'Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.''"

John 6:31, CSB: "Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.""

What does John 6:31 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse continues the crowd's angry reaction to Jesus' claims. After seeking Him out in Capernaum, the crowd who witnessed Jesus' miraculous feeding the day before has been spiritually challenged. Jesus pointed out that their real interest was in more free food, not truth. Jesus also clarified that His mission was meant to offer a heavenly gift, not an earthly one, and that the people needed to believe on The Son of Man, not perform good works, in order to be saved. In response, the people demand Jesus perform a miracle—despite having just witnessed one—in order to prove His legitimacy.

Here, the people also point out that, in their opinion, God has already provided bread for them: through Moses, in the wilderness. Jesus' miraculous provision the prior day reminded many of Moses' promise of another great prophetic leader (Exodus 16). Rabbinic tradition of the time said the Messiah would duplicate this miracle. However, when Jesus' teaching contradicts their traditions, the people expect Jesus to do something bigger, grander, and more spectacular than that. Their quotation here is from Psalm 78:24. Jesus will once again respond by pointing out that it is God, not men, who provide spiritual blessings, and that it is the "bread of God" which people need to seek, rather than earthly foods.