What does John 5:47 mean?
ESV: But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"
NIV: But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?"
NASB: But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?'
CSB: But if you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe my words?"
NLT: But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?'
KJV: But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
NKJV: But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
Verse Commentary:
Critics of biblical faith often make an appeal to proof, especially in the form of a miracle. "If God would only 'prove' Himself, I would believe," these skeptics say. Typically, this means a personal, custom miracle. In this verse, Jesus finishes a complete demolition of this claim. The Bible never calls on us to express blind faith (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1); in this passage alone Christ has given three lines of evidence supporting His ministry. The problem is not in the evidence we have, but whether we are willing to accept conclusions we don't like.

In the case of the local Jewish religious leaders, they simply refused to believe in Christ (John 5:39–40). Evidence is meaningless to those who willfully resist the truth. According to the Bible, every single person is given enough evidence that they have no excuse for not seeking God (Romans 1:18–22). Those who won't seek God in an honest, open way aren't going to believe the truth, regardless of what they may say.

This verse expresses the same point as the story of the rich man and Lazarus from Luke 16:19–31. There, Jesus made the point that those who reject the written Word of God aren't going to accept anything. Even when shown a miracle, even when seeing a resurrection, they will find some excuse to turn it away.

This is human nature. Israel witnessed God's miracles first-hand, but still disobeyed (Numbers 14:20–23; Nehemiah 9:16–17; Psalm 78:11–12). Thomas doubted despite his own experiences and the testimony of his friends (John 20:24–29). Judas was a personal friend of Jesus but rejected Him (Matthew 26:24–25). Simply knowing is different from trusting, and knowledge is different from faith (James 2:19).

Those who reject the Son of God, ultimately, will have no excuse for their disbelief. They do not believe because they will not believe.

Verse Context:
John 5:30–47 continues Jesus' response to His critics in Jerusalem. After healing a crippled man on the Sabbath and claiming to be equal with God, Jesus now speaks about evidence. Rather than simply saying, "have faith,'' or ''believe Me because I said so,'' He offers reasons why He should be believed. These include human testimony, the miracles He is performing, and the words of Scripture. Jesus also makes the point that those who reject the prior words of God—the Old Testament Scriptures—aren't going to believe in Christ, no matter what.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus again returns to Jerusalem, as required for the various feast days. While there, He heals a man who had been crippled for nearly forty years. Since this occurred on the Sabbath, local religious leaders are angry. In fact, they are more upset with Jesus for working on the Sabbath than amazed at His miracle. In response, Jesus offers an important perspective on evidence. Jesus refers to human testimony, scriptural testimony, and miracles as reasons to believe His declarations. Christ also lays claim to many of the attributes of God, making a clear claim to divinity.
Chapter Context:
Chapters 1 through 4 showed Jesus avoiding major publicity. Here, in chapter 5, He will begin to openly challenge the local religious leaders. This chapter is Jesus' first major answer to His critics in this gospel. The fact that Jesus is willing to heal on the Sabbath sets up a theme of His upcoming disagreements with the Pharisees. Jesus also provides an important perspective on the relationship between evidence and faith, which He will expand on in later chapters. This chapter also establishes a key point made by Jesus' critics: His claims to be God.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. 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"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
Accessed 7/22/2024 12:25:59 AM
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