John 7:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 7:15, NIV: "The Jews there were amazed and asked, 'How did this man get such learning without having been taught?'"

John 7:15, ESV: "The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?”"

John 7:15, KJV: "And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?"

John 7:15, NASB: "The Jews then were astonished, saying, 'How has this man become learned, not having been educated?'"

John 7:15, NLT: "The people were surprised when they heard him. 'How does he know so much when he hasn't been trained?' they asked."

John 7:15, CSB: "Then the Jews were amazed and said, "How is this man so learned, since he hasn't been trained? ""

What does John 7:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In Jesus' day, common people would hear, read, and discuss the scriptures in a synagogue. However, for most of those common people, this was an occasional practice. Only those dedicated to formal study, such as the Pharisees, had the time to deeply study the Word of God. This makes Jesus' profound expertise something incredible to the religious leaders. If a modern factory laborer began debating high-level physics with a group of professors, it would produce a similar reaction. And yet, this is not the first time Jesus has surprised people at the temple with His knowledge (Luke 2:41–52).

This surprise on the part of Jerusalem's spiritual leaders gives insight into their arrogance. Much of their rejection of Jesus' message is based on this assumption: nobody knows better than they do. No matter what Jesus says, they will reject it since it does not agree with their own study. Unfortunately, this study is not sincere (John 5:39–40). Later in this response to these religious leaders, Jesus will point out that obedience comes before understanding, not as a result of it (John 7:17)!