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John 6:48-58

Context
6:48 I am the bread of life. 1  6:49 Your ancestors 2  ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 6:50 This 3  is the bread that has come down from heaven, so that a person 4  may eat from it and not die. 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats from this bread he will live forever. The bread 5  that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

6:52 Then the Jews who were hostile to Jesus 6  began to argue with one another, 7  “How can this man 8  give us his flesh to eat?” 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, 9  unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, 10  you have no life 11  in yourselves. 6:54 The one who eats 12  my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 13  6:55 For my flesh is true 14  food, and my blood is true 15  drink. 6:56 The one who eats 16  my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him. 17  6:57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes 18  me will live because of me. 6:58 This 19  is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors 20  ate, but then later died. 21  The one who eats 22  this bread will live forever.”

1 tn That is, “the bread that produces (eternal) life.”

2 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”

3 tn Or “Here.”

4 tn Grk “someone” (τις, tis).

5 tn Grk “And the bread.”

6 tn Grk “Then the Jews began to argue.” Here the translation restricts the phrase to those Jews who were hostile to Jesus (cf. BDAG 479 s.v. ᾿Ιουδαῖος 2.e.β), since the “crowd” mentioned in 6:22-24 was almost all Jewish (as suggested by their addressing Jesus as “Rabbi” (6:25). See also the note on the phrase “the Jews who were hostile to Jesus” in v. 41.

7 tn Grk “with one another, saying.”

8 tn Grk “this one,” “this person.”

9 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

10 sn Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. These words are at the heart of the discourse on the Bread of Life, and have created great misunderstanding among interpreters. Anyone who is inclined toward a sacramental viewpoint will almost certainly want to take these words as a reference to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist, because of the reference to eating and drinking. But this does not automatically follow: By anyone’s definition there must be a symbolic element to the eating which Jesus speaks of in the discourse, and once this is admitted, it is better to understand it here, as in the previous references in the passage, to a personal receiving of (or appropriation of) Christ and his work.

11 tn That is, “no eternal life” (as opposed to physical life).

12 tn Or “who chews”; Grk ὁ τρώγων (Jo trwgwn). The alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) may simply reflect a preference for one form over the other on the author’s part, rather than an attempt to express a slightly more graphic meaning. If there is a difference, however, the word used here (τρώγω) is the more graphic and vivid of the two (“gnaw” or “chew”).

13 sn Notice that here the result (has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day) is produced by eating (Jesus’) flesh and drinking his blood. Compare John 6:40 where the same result is produced by “looking on the Son and believing in him.” This suggests that the phrase here (eats my flesh and drinks my blood) is to be understood by the phrase in 6:40 (looks on the Son and believes in him).

14 tn Or “real.”

15 tn Or “real.”

16 tn Or “who chews.” On the alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) see the note on “eats” in v. 54.

17 sn Resides in me, and I in him. Note how in John 6:54 eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood produces eternal life and the promise of resurrection at the last day. Here the same process of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood leads to a relationship of mutual indwelling (resides in me, and I in him). This suggests strongly that for the author (and for Jesus) the concepts of ‘possessing eternal life’ and of ‘residing in Jesus’ are virtually interchangeable.

18 tn Or “who chews”; Grk “who eats.” Here the translation “consumes” is more appropriate than simply “eats,” because it is the internalization of Jesus by the individual that is in view. On the alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) see the note on “eats” in v. 54.

19 tn Or “This one.”

20 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”

21 tn Grk “This is the bread that came down from heaven, not just like your ancestors ate and died.” The cryptic Greek expression has been filled out in the translation for clarity.

22 tn Or “who chews.” On the alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) see the note on “eats” in v. 54.



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