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

John 6:6, NIV: "He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do."

John 6:6, ESV: "He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do."

John 6:6, KJV: "And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do."

John 6:6, NASB: "But He was saying this only to test him, for He Himself knew what He intended to do."

John 6:6, NLT: "He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do."

John 6:6, CSB: "He asked this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do."

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

Jesus asks the disciples how they will solve the problem of a hungry crowd in order to test their faith. Unlike the Devil, who uses challenges and tests in an effort to entangle us in sin, God's tests are meant to refine our faith. Jesus already knows exactly how He is going to address this problem. What He wants to see and hear from the disciples is where they will turn for answers to their hardships. According to this, and the other four Gospels, the disciples will present a range of different solutions. The three major answers they suggest are to ignore the problem by sending the people away (Mark 6:36), to throw money at the problem, as Philip will sarcastically suggest (John 6:7), or by working to solve it, as Andrew attempts later (John 6:8).

Christ's own answer is not completely contradictory to these, but it grounded in a fundamentally different assumption. Each of the disciples starts by focusing attention on human efforts, whereas Jesus' resolution will begin with a humble appeal to God. This reliance on God, first and foremost, is a lesson John highlights in this miraculous event (John 6:11; John 6:23).