John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (KJV)
John 4:24 God is Spirit, and the ones worshiping Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (LNT, Lavenders’ New Testament)
John 4:24 God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (NET Bible)
John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (ESV Bible)
John 4:24 God is Spirit: then let his worshippers give him worship in the true way of the spirit. (BBE, Bible in Basic English)
John 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth. (CEV, Contemporary English Version)
John 4:24 provides my thirteenth attribute of God from my list of over forty attributes of God, namely, that God is spirit. Some English versions translate this as “God is a spirit,” but the indefinite English article “a” is not represented in the Greek text (though it is true Greek has no indefinite article at all, so in English translations to be idiomatic English the indefinite article must be supplied), so translations which read “God is spirit” are probably more accurate here.
Since God is spirit, He is not material. God as spirit is unchanging; if He were material He of necessity would be subject to change, and would have to be a created being, since all material has been created. This gets to the question, “Who made God?” The answer is that God is uncreated. God has always existed. He is above time and space. He is everywhere present at the same time. He is necessary being; all else in the material universe is contingent, not necessary.
I have seen recently that followers of another major world religion, some of whom are very adept at quoting Bible verses out of context, like to use John 4:24 to “prove” that Jesus is not God. Since Jesus was born of a woman, Jesus is material. God is not material. Therefore Jesus cannot be God. But such non-logic is in error, because it does not take into account all the facts of Scripture. Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, the eternal Second Person of the Divine Trinity revealed in the Bible in both the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. Jesus Himself stated, as recorded in John 8:58, that “before Abraham was, I am.”
In the context of John chapter 4, Jesus was speaking to the woman at the well. She had brought up the Samaritan objection to Jewish worship, saying that the proper place for worship was not in Jerusalem, but that “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship” (John 4:20). Jesus replied that the time would come when worship was not a matter of one place where worship must take place, as was true in Old Testament history. God is spirit. Place is not the issue. True worshippers will come to worship God in spirit and in truth. The woman replied that when the Messiah comes, which is called Christ, He will tell us of all things. Jesus responded, “I that speak unto thee am he” (John 4:26).
It is very remarkable that Jesus condescended to speak alone to a woman, in terms of the culture of that day. More remarkable that He spoke to a Samaritan woman, for the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans (John 4:9). But what is most astounding of all, Jesus reveals to this Samaritan woman that He is the promised Messiah.
I have been reading just this week some of the interchanges taking place in a group where Muslims have been debating Christians about the Bible. The Muslims claim that Jesus came only to “the lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 15:24), and regarded all non-Jews as “dogs” (Matthew 15:26; Matthew 7:6). Therefore, the Muslims conclude, Jesus did not love the Gentiles at all. He came only to His own people. Not till Mohammed did God send a prophet to all the people of the world, and they cite a Koranic verse that says so. I have pointed out to the Muslim posters that they are taking verses from the Bible without considering the context, and without considering other statements given elsewhere in the Bible. Yes, Jesus came first to the “lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 10:5, 6). But Jesus also claimed to have “other sheep, not of this fold” in John 10:16, and those obviously are in reference to the Gentiles who would believe in Him, even as predicted in Bible prophecy (Isaiah 42:1). Jesus clearly commanded that His Gospel be shared to everyone in the whole world (Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8), so anyone who believes otherwise is mistaken, and anyone who teaches otherwise is a false teacher or a false prophet.
For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:
(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 1170 for John 4:24.
(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 1191 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for John 4:24.
(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 66 of the NT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for John 4:24.
(3) Most people today do not have access to those three print resources, so I have posted cross references for this passage as I have developed them even more completely for your study as given below:
John 4:24. is. FS63B3, +Ge 2:10. a Spirit. or, spirit: i.e. not flesh, or material substance; not “a” Spirit (CB). Gr. pneuma, +1 Cor 3:16. FS101, +Dt 32:42. Here, pneuma is used of God the Father. For the other uses of pneuma, see +*Mt 8:16n. The statement obviously refers to the divine nature and not to the divine personality. God is not “a spirit,” as one of many, but “spirit.” As spirit, He is absolutely raised above all limitations of succession (time and space) into which finally all thoughts of change and transitoriness are resolved. There is no anticipation of this idea in the OT. The “Spirit of God” is constantly spoken of; but the loftiest descriptions of the Divine Majesty are always relative to space (Is 66:1; 1 K 8:27; Je 23:24). It follows that God as God is not cognisable by the senses (Jn 1:18; 1 J 4:12). The Theophanies of the OT were not manifestations of “God” but of the Son of God (Jn 12:41; Is 6:1; compare Re 4:2-4 [Westcott, The Epistles of St. John, p. 167]. Jn 3:8. Ge 1:2. Nu 27:16. Dt 4:11, 12, 15-19. 1 K 8:27. Ps 139:7-12. Is 31:3. Ezk 37:14. 39:29. Jl 2:28, 29. Ac 17:28. Ro 1:20. 8:9, 15, 16. *1 Cor 2:11. *2 Cor 3:16, 17. Col 1:15. **1 Tim 1:17. He 12:9. 1 J 1:5. 4:8. worship. FS171J6, +Ge 4:26. must. ver. Jn 4:4, 20g. *Jn 3:7, 14, 30. 9:4. 10:16. 12:34. 20:9. *1 S 16:7. *Ps 50:13-16, 23. *Ps 51:17. *Ps 66:18, 19. +*Is 57:15. *Mt 15:8, 9. 2 Cor 1:12. **He 11:6. worship him. ver. +Jn 4:20. Ex 20:24. Dt 4:15, 16. 1 S 7:3. 1 Ch 28:9. Ps 93:5. 103:1. Ezk 20:3. Zp 3:9. Mt 4:10. Ac 7:48. He 10:19-22. 13:10-16. Re 22:9. in spirit. Gr. pneuma, FS121A1, +Lk 1:17n. Pr 29:23. Ro 1:9. 1 Cor 14:15. *2 Cor 3:17. Ep 5:19. *Phil 3:3. 1 Tim 2:8. and. FS93A, +Ge 1:26. ver. Jn 4:23n. in truth. T#1420. ver. +*Jn 4:23. Jsh 24:14. Ps 51:6. *Ps 145:18. Pr 15:8. Is 48:1. +*Je 10:2. +*Ezk 33:31. Zc 8:8. Ml 3:3.