Are baptism and the Eucharist necessary to salvation?

Dave Armstrong says they are. I’ll take his word for it that he is expressing the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

Dave Armstrong kindly sent me an e-book copy of his work with the short title Pillars of Sola Scriptura. Below I supply his argument in condensed form on a point he states no Protestant has ever successfully refuted, in his experience. He challenged me to try to refute him if I could. I am most pleased to oblige.

They haven’t “obviated” the argument I just made; nor has any Protestant I have ever met in 20 years of Catholic apologetics come up with a rational rebuttal of it. (Dave Armstrong, Pillars of Sola Scriptura, 107.7/560)

The “argument” Dave Armstrong just made was this:

Premise [my label, for clarification] (104.0/560):

Both baptism and the Eucharist are necessary to salvation:


(1) Mark 16:16
(2) Acts 2:38
(3) Acts 22:16
(4) Romans 6:3-4
(5) Titus 3:5
(6) 1 Peter 3:18-21


(1) John 6:48-51
(2) John 6:53-58

Conclusion [my label for clarity]: (106.9-107.2/560)

“But Protestants notoriously disagree on both of these things necessary for salvation; therefore, it appears that it is not true that Scripture is plain enough for all to agree on matters concerning salvation. It is much easier to hold that there are false premises somewhere, in cases of contradiction, and to go after those. But it is manifest that people may interpret “plain” Scripture and come up with contradictory conclusions.”

Already I have previously dealt with Dave Armstrong’s assertions here about baptism, and I thanked him for choosing that subject, since I have studied that issue most thoroughly both directly from the Bible and with the assistance of scholarship embodied in books I own and have read carefully on both sides of the subject. Anyone who owns a copy either printed or in software of my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, may read at will my summary of the Baptist argument for immersion at my note at Romans 6:4. The summary of the non-immersion position I give at Colossians 2:12. Any layperson or scholar is welcome to come to their own conclusion as to whether I fairly treated each side and presented its strongest evidence or not.

Dave Armstrong’s argument above may be summarily dismissed and considered refuted because his interpretation relative to the matters of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are incorrect, based upon a provable misinterpretation of Scripture.

As to baptism, the confusion is evident on Dave Armstrong’s part. Many others make the same mistake here as he did. The mistake is to (1) assert what the Bible does not say, namely, that ritual water baptism is necessary to salvation; (2) not understand the distinction between “real” baptism, performed by the Holy Spirit when one is saved and “ritual water baptism” performed by a human administrator physically upon the person. There is a vast yet provable difference.

Dave Armstrong makes yet another mistake when he asserts (3) that the Eucharist is necessary for salvation, and makes appeal to (4) John 6 in support of his contention, when John 6 does not pertain at all to the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper because the Lord’s Supper had neither been yet instituted nor explained.

Dave Armstrong has shared with me that the Roman Catholic Church has only authoritatively interpreted as a matter of required belief about seven to nine specific Bible verses or passages. That is probably wise on their part, and it leaves even Roman Catholic interpreters some freedom of opinion, I would suppose, on the rest of Scripture. Yet in handling this issue, I’m sure there are more than nine reference passages alluded to even in the short argument summary above, so I would presume that the Roman Catholic Church has not addressed all of those texts infallibly as of yet.

Now the central point of difference between Biblically literate Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church is this: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that grace is received through the seven sacraments. Of particular importance, I would presume from Dave Armstrong’s argument, are the sacrament of baptism and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

The Bible does not teach sacramental salvation. Therefore:

(1) Ritual water baptism in any form or mode is not required for salvation.

At each of the Scripture passages Dave Armstrong has listed regarding baptism I have placed careful notes in my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, which fully address his position and the position of others who think ritual water baptism is required for salvation. This evening I do not have time to copy-and-paste from my files all of those notes in this post. If I did so, but few would venture to wade through the mass of material I have assembled.

I will present my notes on Mark 16:16, to demonstrate that my notes do indeed answer Mr. Armstrong’s error, and thus roundly refute him on this point:

Mark 16:16

Mark 16:16. that believeth and. Mk 1:15. Lk 7:50. 8:12. **Jn 1:12, 13. **Jn 3:15, 16, 18, 36. **Jn 5:24. 6:29, 35, 40. 7:37, 38. *Jn 11:25, 26. 12:46. **Jn 20:31. Ac 8:37. *Ac 10:43. *Ac 13:38, 39. **Ac 16:30-32. 18:8. Ro 3:6, 24-27. *Ro 4:1-5, 11, 24. 5:1. **Ro 10:9. Ga 3:22. He 10:38, 39. 1 P 1:21. *1 P 3:21. **1 J 5:10-13. is baptized. T#36, T#894. Nu 19:20. +*Mt 28:19. *Jn 3:3, 5. +*Ac 2:38n, 41. *Ac 8:36-39. 10:48. 13:24. 16:30-34. +*Ac 22:16. **Ro 6:3, 4n. *Ro 10:9-14. **1 Cor 12:13. **Ga 3:27. **Col 2:12n. Titus 3:5, 6. He 6:2. *1 P 3:20, 21. shall be saved. Ac 4:12. **Ac 16:31. **Ro 10:9. **Ep 2:8. 1 Th 2:16. *Titus 3:5. +**He 6:9n. 1 P 3:21. but he. **Jn 3:18, 19, 36. +*Jn 8:24. *Jn 12:47, 48. Ac 13:46. 2 Cor 4:3, 4. **2 Th 1:8. **2 Th 2:8, 12. *Re 20:15. +*Re 21:8. believeth not. Gr. apisteō (S#569g, 2 Tim 2:13). ver. Mk 16:11. Lk 24:11, 41. **Jn 3:18, 36. 16:9. Ac 3:23. 28:24. Ro 3:3. 2 Cor 6:15. 2 Th 2:12. 2 Tim 2:13. He 2:1-3. 3:19. 1 P 2:7, 8. 1 J 5:10-12. shall be damned. or, condemned. Gr. katakrinō (S#2632g, Mt 12:41). For each positive requirement for salvation, there is in Scripture a negative statement threatening loss of salvation if the requirement is not satisfied. That is, belief as a requirement for salvation is stated positively and negatively (Ac 16:31 with Jn 3:18); repentance is spoken of positively and negatively (Ac 17:30 w Lk 13:3). Although baptism is enjoined as a command, it is nowhere stated in the negative (i.e. “he that is not baptized is lost,” or the equivalent), as all positive, essential requirements for salvation are. This passage comes closest to being such a negative statement, but it lacks the negative clause pertaining to baptism. Nor can such a clause be “supplied” as though its omission were a mere ellipsis, for in so essential a matter, we dare not add to what is expressly written (**Pr 30:6. **Re 22:18, 19). Therefore, the physical rite of water baptism cannot be shown from Scripture to be necessary to salvation. Mk 16:16 is not a command statement, nor is it in the subjunctive mood of a conditional clause, which would have to read “If one believes and is baptized he shall be saved.” If it were so worded here or anywhere, then baptism would be a necessary condition with which one must comply in order to be saved. But Mark 16:16 is a mere declaration that the baptized believer shall be saved. Had the Bible said “He that is baptized, and takes the Lord’s Supper, and pays tithes and offerings, and forsakes not the assembling of himself with other believers, and cares for widows and orphans, shall be saved,” it would have been a declarative statement of general Bible truth. But that is not the same as saying “If a person does all these things he shall be saved.” What one receives when he believes, he does not lose when he is baptized. Nowhere in the New Testament is baptism made a command or a condition essential to salvation. It never occurs as such in the imperative mood in a command statement, or in the subjunctive mood in a conditional clause, with the promise that by subscribing to such one shall receive salvation. There are four, perhaps five, conditions or terms of salvation, all of which are stated both positively and negatively: (1) one must hear the Word of God: positive, Ro 10:17. Jn 5:24. negative, Ac 3:23. (2) one must be convicted by the Holy Spirit: positively, Jn 6:44. 16:8-11. negatively, Ro 8:9. (3) repentance is a means by which one receives salvation: positively, Ac 11:18. *Ac 17:30, 31. *2 P 3:9. negatively, +*Lk 13:3. 2 Cor 7:10. (4) belief in or on Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord: positively, Ac 10:43. *Ac 15:9. 16:31. Ro 1:16. *Ga 3:26. *Ep 2:8, 9. **1 J 5:1, 11-13. negatively, Jn 3:18. 8:24. (5) confession of Christ as Lord before men: positively, **Ro 10:9, 10. negatively, Mt 10:32, 33. As with repentance, confession is not regarded in Scripture as an act which is separate from belief; it is concomitant. If not, then one who is dumb cannot be saved; nor could a person isolated from society be saved through the reading of the Word. All four or five conditions or terms of salvation are stated both positively and negatively; baptism is not one of these. Just as the verb “baptize” is never used in the entire New Testament in the subjunctive mode in a promise of salvation, neither is the noun “baptism” used in the instrumental, means, or agency case of prepositions so as to offer salvation, justification, or the new birth by or through baptism. In stating the conditions of salvation, Scripture does teach that (1) one receives a pure heart by faith in Christ, Ac 15:9; (2) one is justified by faith, Ro 5:1. Ac 13:39; (3) one is saved by grace through faith, Ep 2:8, 9; (4) one is said to be a child of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Ga 3:26. Ep 3:17), but one is never said to receive a pure heart, be justified, be saved, or to be a child of God by or through baptism (some of the preceding information I first learned when I heard Albert Garner debate in Gainesville, Florida, in 1974. Much of the information is also in his book, Defense of the Faith, Part 2, Chapter 2, “The Baptismal Regeneration Heresy,” especially pp. 238-241, “Objections Answered, Mark 16:16”). The one word believe represents all a sinner can do and all a sinner must do to be saved. Hearing, conviction of the Holy Spirit, repentance, confession of sin, confession of Christ before others, are all concomitants of—things that accompany—true belief, not so many discrete requirements for salvation. A study of what the New Testament says regarding Abraham’s faith (Ro 4:3-5, 10, 11, 24. Ga 3:6. He 11:17-19. James 2:21) will show that Abraham was declared righteous (Ge 15:6) chronologically before any act of obedience on his part, before the institution of circumcision, before the sacrifice of Isaac, and of course well before the establishment of the Mosaic law. This teaches us that no ordinance, no act of obedience, no obedience to law, and no “act of faith” precedes the imputation of righteousness—simply believing God. Dt 18:19. 30:15. Ezk 44:9. +**Mt 25:46n.


I believe that on the basis of the arguments I have given above, and the fuller evidence presented in my note from The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge for Mark 16:16, that I have absolutely refuted Dave Armstrong on the one point that water baptism, what I and other scholars have termed “ritual water baptism,” is NOT a requirement for salvation.

It should be noted that “real baptism,” accomplished by the Holy Spirit, IS REQUIRED for salvation, and many texts of Scripture wrongly applied to ritual water baptism actually refer to real baptism. Such passages are readily identified in context when the element water is not mentioned, or when no human administrators of baptism are mentioned, or when what is accomplished by the baptism referred to goes beyond what any humanly applied ritual ordinance can do.

Dave Armstrong used his argument about baptism and the Eucharist to support his contention that Protestants have never come to agreement on the meaning and application of the supposedly “plain” Bible texts that pertain to these two issues, so the Protestants must be wrong, and the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is therefore in error. I have previously refuted Dave Armstrong on that point by suggesting and demonstrating for the issue he brought forward to demonstrate his point that what he considered an impossibility I proved was indeed possible. I said that if one were to dig deeply enough into the Bible and study it carefully using the rules of interpretation I have spelled out in some detail in the October 2010 archives here, many if not most matters of disagreement may be authoritatively settled from Scripture itself, paying particular attention to the grammatical issues involved. In that discussion he kindly brought up the issue of baptism, in reference to John 3:5. I presented a rational, logical, Biblically-based argument to explain what John 3:5 means. He cited in refutation of my claims what noted Greek scholar Marvin Vincent in his work on word studies had to say about that verse. I presented a full refutation of Vincent’s exposition. At that point after considerable scouring of this website, Dave Armstrong determined that this is an anti-Catholic website, and that I am plainly anti-Catholic. Dave Armstrong said he has made it his policy not to carry on debates on anti-Catholic websites. I presented full evidence that I am not anti-Catholic, but I most definitely am anti-error! I am pro-Bible, and believe in Real Bible Study.

I have not refuted Dave Armstrong’s book as a whole. I am still reading it. But I thought that I would post these comments on one issue I found in reading his book this evening that it is certain from Scripture that Dave Armstrong is in error, and on this point I believe I have refuted him. To prove me wrong, in debate, Dave Armstrong would have to prove I am mistaken about how to properly interpret Mark 16:16. With regard to this post, that is the only issue on the table.

Until Dave Armstrong answers my rebuttal of his appeal to Mark 16:16, he can no longer claim that no Protestant has ever attempted to answer his book, Pillars of Sola Scriptura: Replies to Whitaker, Goode, and Biblical “Proofs” for “Bible Alone.”

Well, at least should he happen to read this, he will know that I have been reading his book.

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10 Responses to Are baptism and the Eucharist necessary to salvation?

  1. Don Awalt says:

    In response to your comment “John 6 does not pertain at all to the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper because the Lord’s Supper had neither been yet instituted nor explained.”, I would humbly offer a thought for your consideration, at least to see how someone else views this. I would say John 6 pertains to the Eucharist because it foreshadows.

    John 6, “The Bread of Life discourse”, is a very radical message, in that the translation to eat Jesus’ body is so literal, so base, no cannibalistic in Greek wording that his disciples leave en masse….and Jesus makes no attempt to correct their understanding of what he said by saying “this was symbolic”, or anything of the sort. Jesus could have said “Wait – you misunderstand! I meant to eat my body symbolically, figuratively!” He did not.

    So if your conclusion is to dismiss the literal point being made there, and not infer it foreshadows (a way of pertaining, no?) the Eucharist, what is the point of this radical message, since Jesus thought it important enough to say, and repeat, and repeat again? Why would Jesus, at the height of his popularity, force a counter-cultural/counter-faith “decision” on his disciples that appears to be so cannibalistic, accepting that many would reject?

    If foreshadowing does not pertain, then the Passover in Exodus, when God saved the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt, does not pertain (foreshadow) to the Passion of Christ, when he saved humanity from the slavery of sin (especially with all of the Jewish Passover signs that appear in the Gospel Passion narratives). I suspect that would not make sense to many Christians.

    Just a thought to consider, God bless and keep up the good work on your Bible study – I love your book.

  2. Jerry says:

    Dear Don,

    Thank you for leaving a comment on John 6.

    I have placed a note in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge which provides the answer, in brief, to your question.

    I expect to be posting that portion from the New Treasury as discussion of this issue proceeds.

    Yet there is much more than what I placed in that note. The whole mistaken view of transubstantiation has been and is a stumbling block to Jews. I engaged in a lengthy discussion with a former Baptist who converted to Judaism in part because of this very issue. Jewish apologists accuse Christians of engaging in cannibalism when they partake of the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper. They especially object to the notion of drinking blood.

    It ought to be clear from Acts 10 when Peter objected to partaking of the unclean things in the sheet accompanied by the command, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat” (Acts 10:13).

    Notice Peter’s immediate response:

    “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean” (Acts 10:14).

    Therefore, Peter and his fellow disciples could not possibly have held the view called Transubstantiation which so offends Jews today.

    It is the Roman Catholics today, in parallel with those disciples who left our Lord Jesus Christ in the record of John 6, who over-literalize, or mistakenly apply the words of Christ in a manner He did not intend.

    Jesus used a striking figure for emphasis to communicate the essential message that saving faith is utterly dependent upon our continuing to believe in Him and feed on His Word.

    The words in John 6, even as symbolism, have nothing to do with the Lord’s Supper!

  3. Don Awalt says:

    I would like to add a comment about whether Jesus meant his words in John 6 to be literal or symbolic – that seems to be a very important foundational point of belief.

    When we consider the language used by John, a literal interpretation—however disturbing—becomes even more obvious. In John 6:50-53 we encounter various forms of the Greek verb phago, “eating.” However, after the Jews begin to express incredulity at the idea of eating Christ’s flesh, the language begins to intensify. In verse 54, John begins to use trogo instead of phago. Trogo is a decidedly more graphic term, meaning “to chew on” or to “gnaw on”—as when an animal is ripping apart its prey. Trogo is only used by John in his gospel of the over 125 times the word “eat” is used in the Greek New Testament, other than 1 time Matthew uses it (people eating prior to the flood). John was trying to make a point!

    Further, the use of the word “sarx” for “flesh” through this discourse is a very literal word for “the material that covers the bones of an animal body” (BDAG), as opposed to other words that could have been used to connote “body” in a more conceptual/symbolic form. Again, John is making point.

    Then, in verse 61, it is no longer the Jewish multitudes, but the disciples themselves who are having difficulty with these radical statements of our Lord. Surely, if he were speaking symbolically, he would clear up the difficulty now among his disciples. Instead, what does Jesus do? He reiterates the fact that he meant just what he said in verses 61-62: “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?” Would anyone think him to have meant, “What if you were to see me symbolically ascend?” Hardly! The apostles, in fact, did see Jesus literally ascend to where he was before (see Acts 1:9-10). So in summary, Jesus, “If you are having a hard time believing you must eat my flesh (literally), will you have a hard time believing I will ascend to heaven?” How else could this be interpreted?

    Many Christians disagree of course, but it seems clear to me that Jesus intended this to be taken literally. To interpret otherwise seems to be taking a position different from what Scripture intends to teach by the specific words used. It would have been written in another way if the message was meant to be symbolic.

  4. Jerry says:

    Dear Don,

    It is possible to get caught up with the specific words used–and we certainly should–but miss some other important accompanying factors, such as well-known figures of speech. I believe that when these figures of speech are taken into account, their purpose of adding emphasis to the narrative as well as clarity to the intent of Jesus in this striking discourse contributes to a better understanding of the text.

    John 6:33

    33. bread. ver. Jn 6:32, 35, 41. Le 8:31. 14:10. =Ps 78:24. =Ps 105:40. Mt 26:26. is he. Jn 4:34. cometh down. ver. Jn 6:38, 41, 48, 50, 51, 58. *Jn 3:13. 8:42. 10:10. 13:3. 16:28. 17:8. Ro 10:6. 1 Cor 10:16. Ep 4:9. 1 Tim 1:15, 16. 1 J 1:1, 2. from heaven. Pr 31:14. *1 Cor 15:47. giveth life. Note.—These words, compared with verse Jn 6:51, prove that it is of the atonement effected by his death on the cross that the Lord speaks throughout this chapter, and the salvation which is by faith in it; and not the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper: and such was the opinion, among the Ancient Expositors, of Tertulian, Clemens Alex., Origen, Cyrill, Chrysostom, and Augustine; and of the Moderns, Grotius, Whitby, Wolf, Lampe, Tittman, and Kuinoel. Compare also ver. Jn 6:62-64 (See Bloomfield) [De Burgh, p. 246]. ver. +Jn 6:27, 35, 48, 50, *Jn 6:51, 58. Jn 5:21. 14:6. Ro 6:23. 1 Cor 15:45. world. kosmos, Mt +4:8. *FS121J9A, Jn +1:10. The world put by the Figure Metonymy (of Subject) for its inhabitants. Used in John to show that the Gentiles will be included in Israel’s blessing (CB). +Jn 1:29.

    John 6:35

    35. I am. FS119, +Ge 49:9. ver. Jn 6:41, 48-58. +Jn 10:7. Mt 13:44. 1 Cor 10:16-18. 11:23-29. bread. FS22D5M, Nu +28:2. ver. Jn 6:32. Le 2:1. 8:31. 24:7. Ps 104:15. 105:40. of life. ver. +Jn 6:33. +Jn 8:12. 11:25. he that cometh. This important figurative expression is explained in the next clause by he that believeth on me—the two phrases being evidently identical in meaning (De Burgh, p. 246). ver. Jn 6:37, 44, 45, 65. *Jn 5:40. *Jn 7:37. +*Is 55:1-3. *Mt 11:28. Lk 6:47. *Re 22:17. never. FS63I2, Jsh +3:3. Supply ellipsis, “never hunger (at any time).” hunger. *Jn 4:13, 14. *Jn 7:38. 11:25, 26. =Ge 45:11. Is 49:10. =Je 31:14. Lk 1:53. 6:21, 25. *Re 7:16. believeth. ver. +Jn 6:29, 40. Mk 16:16. Ro 4:11. Ep 2:8. never. FS158, +Mt 5:18. thirst. Jn 4:10, 14.

    John 6:44

    44. No man. ver. Jn 6:65. Jn 5:44. 8:43. 10:26. *Jn 12:37-40. Pr 5:22. Is 44:18-20. Je 13:23. Mt 12:34. 13:10-17. Lk 10:22. Ro 8:7, 8. 1 Cor 2:14. 2 Cor 3:5. Ep 2:8. can come. or, is able to come (Young). ver. +Jn 6:35, **Jn 6:37, **Jn 6:45, 47. %Jn 5:40. Jb 14:4. +**Is 55:3. *Je 13:23. 31:19. Mt 13:11. Lk 6:47. Ro 11:35, 36. **1 Cor 2:14. *1 Cor 4:7. 2 Cor 3:5. except. or, if (Young). FS184C, Mt +4:9. ver. Jn 6:45, 65. *Jn 3:3-7. *Jn 10:26. Ps 10:17. Pr 16:1. Mt 11:25-27. *Mt 16:17. 18:3. Mk 16:16n. Ac 11:18. 15:11. **Ac 16:14. *2 Cor 4:6. *Ep 2:4-10. *Phil 1:29. *Col 2:12, 13. 1 Th 4:9. 2 Tim 2:10. Titus 3:3-5. *James 1:18. 1 J 2:3. the Father. Jn 4:23. 5:19. Mt 16:17. Ro 11:36. Ep 1:17, 18. which hath sent me. ver. Jn 6:38. +Jn 4:34. 7:16. draw. or, may draw. Logically, Calvinism cannot base absolute sovereignty and absolute predestination or the doctrine of irresistible grace upon (or in the face of) the “may” of the subjunctive mood in the probable future third class condition here and in verse Jn 6:65. That would be an absolute contradiction in terms. “May” expresses contingency; the “third class condition” expresses probability, but not certainty, because of the contingency. The “third class condition” asserts that if a specified condition is met, a certain result will follow. Thus, the Calvinistic position is proven absolutely untenable according to the grammar of Scripture. The terms of the contingency are expressed in ver. Jn 6:37 and ver. Jn 6:40, and include continuing belief. Gr. ελκυση (S#1670g: Jn 12:32; 18:10; 21:6, 11; Ac 16:19; 21:30; Ja 2:6). ver. **Jn 6:65. Jn 4:23. *Jn 12:32. Ge 19:16. Ps 25:8. *SongS 1:4. Je 31:3. Ho 2:14. 11:4. Ro 8:14. and I. ver. +Jn 6:39, 40. raise. FS8, Ps +118:1. +**Jn 5:29. 11:25. +**Lk 14:14. +Ac 2:30. 2 Tim 1:12. at the last day. ver. +Jn 6:54n. Jn 11:24.

    John 6:51

    51. I am. ver. Jn 6:41, 48. Jn 10:10. 14:6. living. *Jn 3:13. +Jn 4:10, 11. 5:25, 26. *Jn 7:38. 1 P 2:4. came down. ver. Jn 6:41, 50. Jn 3:13. Ep 4:9. James 3:15, 17. if. FS184C, Mt +4:9. eat. FS108B, +Je 15:16. ver. Jn 6:53n. =Le 3:11. 8:31. 14:10. +=Le 23:19. 24:7. Ps 22:26. 1 C 11:27. of this bread. or, this [One before you]. One of three passages in which “this” indicates the speaker. Compare **Jn 2:19 and **Mt 16:18 (CB). he shall live. In and by resurrection. ver. Jn 6:27, +Jn 6:50. Jn 4:14. 10:10. 14:6. Ge 3:22. *Ps 22:26. He 4:12. for ever. Gr. aion, +Mt 6:13. ver. Jn 6:50. Ps 22:26. 133:3. and the bread. Note: This was one of the things which the Jews expected from the Messiah, as we learn from Midrash Koheleth (fol. 73. 3). “Rabbi Berechiah, in the name of Rabbi Isaac said, As was the first Redeemer, so also shall be the latter. The first Redeemer made manna descend from heaven, as it is said in Ex 16:4, ‘And I will rain bread from heaven for you.’ So also the latter Redeemer shall make manna descend, as it is said, Ps 72:16, ‘There shall be a handful of corn in the earth,’ etc.” and the bread that I will give. or, but the bread, moreover, which I will give. The omission of the particle (“de”) in the AV hides the line of the discussion: (1) I will give this bread; (2) this bread is My flesh; (3) My flesh is My body which I will give up in death (CB). 1 Tim 2:6. He 8:3. my flesh. or, myself. FS171Q6, +Ge 6:12. Flesh put by the Figure Synecdoche (of the Part) for the whole person (as in Ge 17:13. Ps 16:9 with Ac 2:26-31. Pr 14:20. Mt 19:5. Ro 3:20. 1 C 1:29. 2 C 7:5); and for Christ’s own person (Jn 1:14. 1 T 3:16. He 10:20. 1 P 3:18. 1 J 4:2). Just as “My soul” is also put for the whole person (Nu 23:10. Jg 16:30. Ps 3:2. 16:10. 33:19. 103:1. Is 58:5. Ac 2:31. Ro 13:1). In view of the Jews’ unbelief, the Lord used the Figure Synecdoche here. To take a figure of speech literally, and treat what is literal as a figure, is the most fruitful source of error (CB). ver. Jn 6:52-57. Jn 1:14. +=Le 23:13. +*Mt 20:28. Lk 22:19. *Ro 7:4. Ep 5:2, 25. *Titus 2:14. *He 2:14, 15. 10:5-12, 19, 20. the life. ver. Jn 6:33, 57. Jn 1:29. *Jn 3:16. Lk 22:19. 1 Cor 11:24. *2 Cor 5:19, 21. He 10:10. 1 J 2:2. *1 J 4:9, 10, 14. world. Gr. kosmos, +Mt 4:8. FS121J9A, +Jn 1:10. +Jn 1:29. *1 J 2:2.

    John 6:53

    53. Verily. ver. +Jn 6:26, 47. +Jn 1:51. See on Jn 3:3. +Nu 5:22. *+Mt 5:18. Except. *Jn 3:3, 5. 13:8. 15:4. Mt 18:3. *Lk 13:3, 5. eat. FS108B, +Je 15:16. This is not a reference to the Lord’s Supper, for that had not yet been instituted, and these words in their context could not possibly have been understood to have any reference to it by the original hearers. This is an idiom which signifies except we feed on Christ in our hearts and partake of His life (for the blood is the life), we have no life in us. Careful reference to verses Jn 6:47 and Jn 6:40 with verses Jn 6:53 and Jn 6:54 will show that believing on Christ is exactly the same thing as eating and drinking of His flesh and blood (F/S 826, 827). ver. Jn 6:51, 55. **Jn 3:36. **Ex 29:33. 40:22. Le 8:31. 9:17. %Le 17:10. 2 Ch 9:4. Ps 23:5. Is 49:9. **Ezk 3:3. *Mt 26:26-28. 1 Cor 11:24. **1 J 5:12. Re 2:7, 17. flesh. FS171Q7, +Jn 1:14. Here, “flesh” and “blood” are jointly as well as severally put for humanity as distinct from Divinity. “Flesh” is put, not for the “body” of Christ, but for Himself in His true humanity (F/S 643). Flesh and blood are put by the Figure Synecdoche (of the Part) for the whole Person. Jn 1:13. Mt 16:17. *1 C 15:50. Ga 1:16. Ep 6:12. He 2:14. Son of man. ver. Jn 6:27. and drink. The Hebrews used this expression with reference to knowledge by the Figure Metonymy (of the Subject), as in Ex 24:11, where it is put for being alive; so eating and drinking denoted the operation of the mind in receiving and “inwardly digesting” truth or the words of God. See Dt 8:3, and compare Je 15:16. Ezk 2:8. No idiom was more common in the days of our Lord. With them as with us, eating included the meaning of enjoyment, as in Ec 5:19; 6:2; for “riches” cannot be eaten; and the Talmud actually speaks of eating (i.e. enjoying) “the years of Messiah,” and instead of finding any difficulty in the figure they said that the days of Hezekiah were so good that “Messiah will come no more to Israel; for they have already devoured Him in the days of Hezekiah” (Lightfoot, vol. xii. pp. 296, 297). Even where eating is used of the devouring of enemies, it is the enjoyment of victory that is included. The Lord’s words could be understood thus by hearers, for they knew the idiom; but of “the eucharist” they knew nothing, and could not have thus understood them. By comparing ver. Jn 6:47 and ver. Jn 6:48 with ver. Jn 6:53 and ver. Jn 6:54, we see that believing on Christ was exactly the same thing as eating and drinking Him (CB). his blood. **Le 7:26. **2 S 23:17. Mk 14:24. *Ro 3:25. 1 Cor 1:23. *1 Cor 10:16. life. *Jn 3:18, 36. **Jn 8:24. +Jn 20:31. *1 J 5:11, 12.

    John 6:63

    63. the spirit. Gr. pneuma, +Mt 3:16. Jn 3:5, 6. Ge 2:7. Ro 8:2. **1 Cor 12:13. *1 Cor 15:45. *2 Cor 3:17. Ga 5:25. *1 P 3:18. 4:6. quickeneth. or, giveth life. i.e. the life spoken of in the discourse preceding. See the references to Jn 4:14 (De Burgh, p. 248). Jn 5:21. Ps 119:50, 93, +*Ps 119:150. Ezk 47:9. Ro 4:17. **2 Cor 3:6. Ep 2:5. *Col 2:13. *He 4:12. the flesh. ver. Jn 6:54. *Ro 2:25, 28, 29. 3:1, 2. 7:18. 1 Cor 11:27-29. 2 Cor 5:16. Ga 5:6. 6:15. *1 Tim 4:8. *He 13:9. 1 P 3:21. profiteth nothing. 1 Cor 13:3. the words. Gr. rhēma, Mk 9:32n. ver. *Jn 6:68. Jn 3:34. 4:41. +*Jn 5:39. 8:47. 12:49, 50. 17:8. *Dt 32:47. Ps 19:7-10. +*Ps 119:50, 93, 130. **Is 55:11. *Je 23:29. *Mt 4:4. Mk 2:11. Lk 4:32. 24:32. Ac 5:20. 10:22. **Ac 11:14. Ro 10:8-10, **Ro 10:17. *1 Cor 2:9-14. **2 C 3:6-8. *1 Th 2:13. +**2 Tim 3:15. **He 4:12. **James 1:18. **1 P 1:23. spirit. Gr. pneuma, FS121A2, +Mt 26:41n. “Spirit” put for living or life-giving food by the operation of the Holy Spirit (Alford). FS121A1, +Jn 3:34. **2 Cor 3:6. life. ver. Jn 6:53, 68. Pr 16:22. Ac 5:20. 7:38. Phil 2:16. **James 1:21.

    John 6:64

    64. there. ver. Jn 6:36, 60, 61. Jn 5:42. 8:23, 38-47, 55. 10:26. 13:10, 18-21. believe not. Compare verses Jn 6:68, 69, confirming the application of the whole discourse to faith in him as Saviour: See Note on ver. 33 (De Burgh, p. 248). ver. Jn 6:36, 47. +Jn 5:44. +*Lk 8:13. knew. ver. Jn 6:70, 71. +*Jn 2:24, +Jn 2:25. *Jn 13:11. *Ps 139:2-4. Mt 9:4. 11:4. Mk 2:8. Ac 15:18. *Ro 8:29. *2 Tim 2:19. *He 4:13. from the beginning. +Jn 16:4. who they. ver. Jn 6:26, 43. +*Jn 1:48. *Jn 13:11. 1 Cor 11:27. betray. ver. +Jn 6:71. Jn 13:11. +Mt 10:4. Mk 3:19.

    John 6:65

    65. Therefore said I. ver. **Jn 6:44. that no man. ver. Jn 6:37, 44, 45. *Jn 3:27. 10:16, 26, 27. 12:37-41. SongS 1:4. +*Je 13:23. *Je 31:3. **Ep 2:8, 9. Phil 1:29. 1 Tim 1:14. **2 Tim 2:25. *Titus 3:3-7. *He 12:2. *James 1:16-18. can come. or, is able to come (Young). ver. Jn 6:35. **Jn 8:47. **Dt 18:19. **Phil 2:13. **Re 22:17. except it. or, if it (Young). FS184C, +Mt 4:9. ver. Jn 6:44. Phil 2:13. were given. or, may not have been given (Young). As in ver. Jn 6:44, the subjunctive mood (“may”) marks a stipulated contingency involving continued hearing of His word (ver. Jn 6:63) and believing (ver. Jn 6:40, 47, 64). ver. Jn 6:44, 45.

    John 6:66

    66. From that time. ver. Jn 6:41. Jn 5:35. many. Is 8:15. +**Mt 7:14. **Mt 22:14. 24:10. of his disciples. ver. Jn 6:60, 64. +Jn 2:2. **Jn 8:31. 20:24. Is 8:14. Zp 1:6. Mt 12:40-45. 13:5, 6, 20, 21. 19:22. 21:8-11. 24:11. 27:20-25. +**Lk 8:13. 9:62. **1 Cor 11:19. *2 Tim 1:15. +*2 Tim 4:10. +*He 10:38, 39. **2 P 2:20-22. **1 J 2:19. went back. ver. Jn 6:60. +*Le 11:29. Jsh 23:12. Ru 1:14. 2 S 20:2. 2 K 5:11. 2 Ch 10:16. %**Jb 23:12. Lk 9:62. Ac 7:39, 51. +*Ga 4:9. +*He 10:38. walked no more. Is 43:22. Ezk 18:24. Mt 11:6. %Ro 2:7.

    The above cross-referenced passages and notes should furnish as full an explanation of the proper application of these texts as can be found anywhere in short space. Note especially the cross reference to 1 Corinthians 11:19. Jesus was carefully verifying who really believed and would follow Him in the difficult days He knew were ahead. John alone of the Gospel writers gives us this discourse. The miracle of feeding the five thousand attracted many for the wrong reasons, reasons pointed out in this chapter. The discussion is indeed about the Atonement, not the Eucharist, in this passage.

  5. Jerry says:

    Thank you, Jesse, for sharing the link.

  6. Hi Jerry,

    Long time no talk to! I wish you and yours a very blessed new year. I’m a grandfather of two little girls now, and we live out in the country (Tecumseh).

    This is to inform you that I have thoroughly responded to this article:

    “Debate: Is Baptism Necessary to Salvation?”

    We can continue dialogue here or on my blog, as you wish.

  7. Jerry says:

    Dear Dave,

    It is wonderful to hear from you again. I have been praying for you and your family regularly all this time. Thank you for staying in touch! I pray that you and your family have been well during the current pandemic and associated crisis. So far, we have all been well here.

  8. Andrew says:

    Admittingly, I stopped very early on in this because after reading your initial argument, about positive and negative texts in the same command, it came to me rather quickly that such a statement is not true with respect to what the Lord says about His body and blood for communion, unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood we have no life within us, nor is it true according for Baptism according to what the apostles did after Jesus’s death and resurrection. They baptized people with water in the name of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    John the Baptist did not baptize with that Trinitarian profession, but the apostles who knew best did so. They would not do that if it wasn’t essential, nor would Jesus say that we have eternal life from Him who is the living bread who came down from Heaven.

    It’s not complicated, we are yo be baptized and to eat and drink if our Lord and Savior after we have received His gift if grace and repented for our firmer way of life. Those material realities of living obedience matter, just like it did for Abraham, which is why our faith apart from those works (and others) is dead!

    In Christ,

  9. Jerry says:

    Thank you, Andrew, for your gracious comment. I continue to study these matters so your input is appreciated.

    So far, in my studies, I believe there is a vast difference in fundamental belief between those who teach that grace comes through sacraments (sometimes labeled sacerdotalism) and those who believe saving faith is based upon the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives as we hear, read, and study the written Word of God found in the Bible.

    The references to eating and drinking as found in the sixth chapter of John are specific figures of speech used throughout the Bible which refer to “eating” or “drinking” God’s Word (Jeremiah 15:16), an idiom which denotes the operation of the mind in receiving, understanding, and applying doctrine or instruction of any kind.

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