Daily Bible Nugget #153, John 5:39

The Nugget:

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

My Comment:

The Scriptures testify of Christ. At the time Jesus said this the New Testament was not yet written. That means the Old Testament speaks of Christ. Jesus commanded to search the Scriptures. He told the Jews in this very chapter of John, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me” (John 5:46). It makes for a fascinating study to search out the Old Testament Scriptures which testify of Christ. Following the cross references given for this verse will lead to some of the Old Testament passages which speak of Christ. That would be an example of how to obey the command of Christ to search the Scriptures.

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 pages 1173-1174 for John 5:39.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on pages 1194-1195 or in Logos 5 Bible software for John 5:39.

(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:

John 5:39. Search. *S#2045g. Jn 5:39. *7:52. Ro 8:27. 1 C 2:10. 1 P 1:11. Re 2:23. The Greek form for “search” may be indicative, a statement of fact, and so rendered “Ye search,” as in many modern translations, or it may be imperative, a command, as in the A.V., “Search.” Robertson thinks the following words, “ye think,” which are indicative, favor taking the verb as indicative, not imperative. Alford favors taking the verb as an imperative, because of the preceding context, and its initial position in the sentence. The Companion Bible notes that “the indicative never commences a sentence without the pronoun or some other word, while the imperative is so used.” For the same Greek construction see Jn 7:52, “Search, and look…”; Jn 14:11, “Believe me…”; Jn 15:20, “Remember the word…” This Greek word for “search” occurs in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, in the following places: Ge 31:33, 35, 37. 44:12. Dt 13:14. Jg 6:29. 2 S 10:3. 1 K 20:6. 2 K 10:23. Pr 20:27. Je 27 (50):26. Jl 1:7. The word is defined “to seek out, trace; used of a lion who ‘scours the plains and traces the footsteps of the man who had robbed him,’ Homer, Iliad, xviii. 321; used of dogs tracing their game by the foot, Homer, Odyssey, xix. 436. Hence, to track, trace, investigate” (Bullinger, Critical Lexicon and Concordance, p. 672). The imperative should be adopted here; the Jews did not search, but merely read the Scriptures, as so many Christians today. Had they searched diligently, and believed, they would have accepted the claims of Jesus. Lessening the force of Christ’s statement by taking it as an indicative rather than imperative seems to detract from the Bible’s teaching regarding itself, that we are to search the scriptures, not merely read them. Some modern translations appear to weaken the force of a number of texts which contain the Bible’s teaching about itself at several critical points, particularly here, John 8:31, and 2 T 3:16. T#1068. ver. *46. Jn 7:52. Dt 11:18-20. *17:18, 19. *32:46, 47. Jsh +*1:8. Ps *1:2. *119:11, *45, 97-99. Pr 6:23. 8:33, 34. Is +**8:20n. 29:18. *34:16. Je *8:9. Mt *22:29. Mk 12:10. Lk **16:27-29, 31. Ac 8:32-35. +**17:11, 12. Ro 2:17, 18. 3:2. Col *3:16. 1 T 4:13. 2 T **3:14-17. 1 P +**1:11. 2 P **1:19-21. 3:1, 2. Re 1:3. De Burgh notes that the following cross references suit the Indicative rendering, Ye search: ver. 45-47. Ezk 33:30-32. Mt 23:29-31. Ac 13:27. the scriptures. Dt 31:12. 2 Ch +*17:9. Ps *19:7. Ec 12:12. Is +**8:20n. Je 6:16. Ml 4:4. Mt 2:4-6. +21:42. Mk +*12:24. Lk 24:25-27. 2 T +**3:15-17. for. FS71, Jn +1:24. Here we have in two verses a double Epicrisis, the first approving, and the second condemning, but both adding a solemn truth, independent of the statement that goes before. (A) Search the Scriptures, (B) For in them ye think ye have eternal life. (A) And they are they which testify of me: (B) And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. In the first and third members (A and A), we have the Scriptures; while in the second and fourth (B and B, the Epicrisis), we have the action and conduct of those who possessed them. in them. 1 C 15:2. 1 Th **2:13. 2 T **3:15. Ja *1:18. 1 P *1:23. ye think. Gr. dokeō, S#1380g, Mt 3:9. Robertson cites Bernard who believes this word in John “always indicates a mistaken opinion (Jn 5:45. 11:13, 31. 13:29. 16:20. 20:15)” (Word Pictures, vol. 5, p. 92). The analogy of scripture, however, flatly contradicts this position, and forbids taking this as the meaning here, however correct it may be for the other passages cited, for scripture elsewhere teaches that we are born again through the instrumentality of the written word of God (2 T **3:15. Ja 1:18. 1 P 1:23). The Pharisees rightly believed that “in them” they had eternal life, but as Jesus elsewhere states, they knew not the scriptures nor the power of God (Mk 12:24), made them void by their traditions (Mk 7:7-9), and failed to believe them (Jn 5:46. Lk 16:31). Dt 32:47. Ps *16:11. 21:4. 36:9. 133:3. Da +*12:2. Mt 19:16-20. Lk *10:25-29. Ac 15:28g. 1 C 4:9g. **+7:40g,n. He 11:16, 35. ye have. ver. *24. Jn 3:36. +4:14. 1 J **5:13. eternal. Gr. aionios, Mt +18:8. Mk 10:17. Ro 6:23. T 1:2. 1 J 2:25. they are they. Mk 9:4. 10:3. which testify of me. T#1020. ver. 32, 36. Jn *1:45. +*12:41. Dt *18:15-18. Ps **40:7. SS *2:9. 8:2. Lk 4:21. See on Lk +**24:27n, 44. Ac 3:22. *8:28, 30. 10:43. 18:28. 24:14. *26:22, 23, 27. Ro *1:2. 1 C 15:3. He 3:5. 1 P **1:10, +**11. 1 J 4:14. 5:9. Re *19:10.

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1 Response to Daily Bible Nugget #153, John 5:39

  1. ken sagely says:

    jn 5.39 Search the scriptures: for in them ye think ye have
    eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

    encouraging cross refs.
    1. 1 co 2.12 now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but
    the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are
    freely given to us of God.
    2. psm 12. 6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a
    furnace of earth, purified 7 times.
    3. psm 92.5 O Lord, how great are thy works! and Thy thoughts are very
    4. psm 119.128 Therefore i esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to
    be right; and i hate every false way.
    5. isa 55.8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways
    my ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    6. jer 8.9 the wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they
    have rejected the Word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?
    7. 2 pe 1.4 whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:
    that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the
    corruption that is in the world through lust.

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