What does John 6:6 mean?
ESV: He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
NIV: He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
NASB: But He was saying this only to test him, for He Himself knew what He intended to do.
CSB: He asked this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.
NLT: He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.
KJV: And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
NKJV: But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
Verse Commentary:
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).
Verse Context:
John 6:1–15 describes Jesus' feeding thousands of people—the fourth of the gospel of John's seven ''signs'' of Christ's divinity. This is the only miracle recorded in all four of the gospel accounts. When the crowd complains of hunger, the disciples who are mentioned each react in unique ways. Starting with only a tiny lunch of bread and fish, Jesus miraculously divides the food, filling everyone, and leaving more left over than they had to begin with. The people are astounded by this, and immediately react by proclaiming Jesus as ''the Prophet'' who has been promised. Jesus, however, is not yet ready to be publicly announced. He also knows the true motivations of this crowd and will attempt to explain the real importance of the miracle to them the following day.
Chapter Summary:
In chapter 6, Jesus feeds thousands of people who had been following Him. He does this by miraculously dividing the contents of a small lunch, leaving more left over than He had to begin with. At first, the crowd is amazed and they enthusiastically praise Jesus. After sending the disciples across the Sea of Galilee, and rescuing them from a storm by walking on the water, Jesus once again addresses the crowd. This time, He emphasizes the spiritual lesson behind His prior miracle. In response, most of those who had been praising Jesus turn away from Him in disappointment.
Chapter Context:
John chapter 6 occurs some months after the events of chapter 5, bringing the narrative to about one year prior to Jesus' crucifixion. As with the rest of the Gospel of John, the purpose is not to repeat information from the other three Gospels, but to focus on Jesus' status as God incarnate. This chapter continues to expand the list of Jesus' miraculous signs and the witnesses to His divine nature. Here, Jesus also gives the first of seven ''I AM'' statements found in this Gospel. Chapter 7 will once again skip ahead to a major public step in Jesus' path to the cross.
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.
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