John 5:31-47

Testimonies About Jesus

31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.
32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth.
34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved.
35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me.
37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
39 You study[a] the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,
40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
41 “I do not accept glory from human beings,
42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.
43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.
44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God[b] ?
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.
46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.
47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

John 5:31 in Other Translations

KJV
31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
ESV
31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true.
NLT
31 “If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid.
MSG
31 If I were simply speaking on my own account, it would be an empty, self-serving witness.
CSB
31 "If I testify about Myself, My testimony is not valid.

John 5:31-47 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 JOHN 5

In this chapter the apostle treats of the nature of faith and love; of Christ the object of both, and of the witness that is bore to him; of the necessity of believing the testimony concerning him; of the confidence of prayer being heard, and concerning whom it should be made; of the happiness of regenerate persons, and of their duty to keep themselves from idols. Faith in Christ is the evidence of regeneration, and where that is, there will be love to the author of regeneration, and to them that are regenerated; and love to them is known by love to God, and keeping his commandments; and keeping the commandments of God, and which are not grievous, is a proof of love to God, 1Jo 5:1-3; and whereas every regenerate man overcomes the world, it is by his faith, the evidence of his regeneration, that this victory is obtained; nor can any other man be pointed out that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God, 1Jo 5:4,5; and Christ, the Son of God, the object of this victorious faith, is described by his coming by water and blood, of which the spirit is witness, who is a true one; and six witnesses of the truth of this and his divine sonship are produced, three in heaven, the Father, Word, and Spirit, who are the one God, and three on earth, the Spirit, water, and blood, who agree in their testimony, 1Jo 5:6-8; wherefore this testimony concerning the Son of God ought to be received, since it is the testimony of God, which is greater than that of men; besides, he that believes in Christ has a witness of this in himself, and honours God, whereas he that believes not makes God a liar, not giving credit to his record concerning his Son; the sum of which is, that God has made a grant of eternal life to some persons, which is in his Son, which those that believe in the Son of God have, but those that do not believe in him have it not: all which show the necessity of receiving the above testimony; and the ends proposed in writing these things were, to believe in Christ, and that it might be known they had eternal life in him, 1Jo 5:9-13, and from faith in Christ the apostle passes to confidence in prayer, as a particular effect and fruit of it: as, that whatever is asked according to the will of God is heard; and that such who are satisfied of this, that they are heard, may be assured that they have the petitions they desire to have, 1Jo 5:14,15, and whereas it is one branch of prayer to pray for others as well as for ourselves, the apostle directs who we should pray for; for the brethren in general, and in particular for such who have sinned, but not unto death, and life shall be given to such: but as for those who have sinned unto death, he does not say prayer should be made for them, for though all unrighteousness in general is sin, yet there is a particular sin which is unto death, and is not to be prayed for, 1Jo 5:16,17; but happy are those who are born of God, for they do not sin this sin; and through the use of the armour of God, and the power of divine grace, they keep themselves from the evil one, and he cannot come at them, to draw them into this sin; also they know that they are of God, and are distinguished from the world, which lies in wickedness; yea, they know that the Son of God is come in the flesh, and hath given them an understanding of the true God, by which they know that they are in him, and in his Son Jesus Christ, who is with him, and the divine Spirit, the one true God, and the author and giver of eternal life, 1Jo 5:18-20; and the chapter, and with it the epistle, is concluded with an exhortation to these regenerate ones, as they had kept themselves from Satan, that they would also keep themselves from idols of all sorts, 1Jo 5:21.

John 5:31-47 In-Context

29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.
30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.
32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth.
34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved.
35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me.
37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,
40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
41 “I do not accept glory from human beings,
42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.
43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.
44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.
46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.
47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

Cross References 24

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or 39"Study"
  • [b]. Some early manuscripts "the Only One"
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