What does John 20:31 mean?
ESV: but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
NIV: But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
NASB: but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that by believing you may have life in His name.
CSB: But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
NLT: But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.
KJV: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Verse Commentary:
John's gospel was written long after the accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Since those writings were established, and their details known, John's writing diverges to show a different perspective. His choice of which details to include, and which to omit, is not an accident. Every writer has some purpose in mind, and John's purpose is stated here. He wants those who read these words to understand that Jesus is the Savior and the Son of God (John 20:30).

John has not included every single detail, nor could he (John 21:25). Even if he could, it wouldn't matter to those who refuse to accept belief (John 5:29–30). Rather, this book chooses certain points to complement those found in the other writings. When John writes his letters, now known as 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John, and his Revelation, the same theme will apply. The purpose of Scripture is to reveal these crucial truths (2 Timothy 3:16) so disciples can have an objective source of godly wisdom (1 Corinthians 4:6).
Verse Context:
John 20:30–31 is an interesting side note from the apostle John. This summarizes the idea that Scripture does not include every possible detail. Not all possible words, deeds, or thoughts, of every event it describes, are preserved in these accounts. The last words of this gospel echo this same idea (John 21:25). John's gospel, like the rest of the Bible, includes certain details for certain reasons. In John's case, the motive is for readers to fully understand Jesus' divinity, and to accept salvation as a result.
Chapter Summary:
Peter and John get a report from Mary Magdalene that Jesus' body is gone. They arrive to find an open grave, and empty grave clothes, along with a folded face cloth. When the two men leave, Mary remains and suddenly encounters a resurrected Jesus. Though she tells the others, they resist believing until they see Jesus in person. Thomas is especially stubborn, and Jesus remarks on how blessed they are to have been given so much proof. John points out that his writing is meant to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, arranged to encourage those who read to come to faith.
Chapter Context:
Most of Jesus' disciples scattered and hid when He was arrested (Matthew 26:56). Only John and some women were present to see His death and burial (John 19:26–30, 41–42; Matthew 27:60–61). When Jesus' tomb is seen empty, there is further confusion. Jesus appears to His followers, proving that He is alive, and remarking that they are blessed to have so much proof. John will complete his account in the next chapter with another encounter and more reminders about the nature of his writing.
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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