What does John 17:6 mean?
ESV: “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
NIV: I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.
NASB: I have revealed Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have followed Your word.
CSB: "I have revealed your name to the people you gave me from the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
NLT: I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
KJV: I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Verse Commentary:
God the Son is that person of the Trinity which humanity can most easily see and comprehend (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; John 1:1, 14–18). Jesus underscores that idea here, using a term translated into English as "manifested." This is from the Greek root word phaneroo, which means "to make something visible, recognizable, or explained, or to declare." Just as the term used in chapter 1, logos, implies a message or speech, this verse indicates that Jesus represented God in His ministry to the disciples. Acting "in the name of" someone means to echo their will and their authority (John 12:13; 14:26; 15:21; 16:26).

In this context, "the people whom you gave me out of the world" are these closest followers: the Twelve, also known as the apostles, though one of them chose damnation instead (John 17:12). Christ has made a point of reminding these men that He chose them (John 6:70; 15:16), they did not come to follow Him by their own inspiration. Those given to Christ are given by God, and they are His.

Jesus was not shy about calling out the disciples for their errors (Matthew 8:26; Mark 8:33; Luke 24:25). And yet, here, He indicates that they have kept God's Word. While all sin is our responsibility (1 Corinthians 10:13), God also knows that we are not perfect (Hebrews 4:16). The same was true of the Twelve: they were fallible, but their trusting commitment to Jesus meant they were sincerely, truly following God.
Verse Context:
John 17:6–19 continues the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, prior to crossing into the garden of Gethsemane. After asking God the Father to glorify Him, so He may glorify the Father, Jesus now prays for His disciples. Earlier passages included Jesus' warnings about persecution (John 16:1–4). His plea, here, is for the apostles' continued faith in the face of that hardship. While this passage has application for all Christians, the immediate subject is Jesus' immediate circle of closest disciples. After this, Jesus' prayer will continue with an emphasis on all future believers.
Chapter Summary:
In this passage, known as the High Priestly Prayer, Jesus speaks to God about three main topics. First is Christ Himself, asking God the Father to glorify Him so He can glorify the Father. Next, Jesus prays for the faith and courage in His closest disciples. Finally, He prays for those who will come to faith because of the apostles' writing and teaching. This moment occurs before Jesus enters Gethsemane, where the other Gospels will record His final anguished prayers before being arrested (Matthew 26:36–46; Mark 14:32–42; Luke 22:39–46).
Chapter Context:
Over the last several chapters (John 13—16), Jesus has been giving last-minute instruction to His closest disciples. These lessons composed a large part of the Last Supper. Among those teachings were several warnings about persecution, with the encouragement of knowing the Holy Spirit would come. In chapter 17, we read Jesus' High Priestly Prayer, making requests on behalf of Himself, the apostles, and future believers. After this, Jesus will go into Gethsemane where Judas will turn Him over for arrest and His eventual execution.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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