John 14
Uncial 060 (GA).jpg
John 14 (verses 14-17, 19-21) on Uncial 060, written about 6th century.
BookGospel of John
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part4

John 14 is the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It continues Jesus' discussions with His disciples in anticipation of His death and records the promised gift of the Holy Spirit.[1] Jesus speaks individually with Thomas, Philip and Judas (not the Iscariot); throughout this chapter, Jesus' purpose is to strengthen the faith of the apostles.[2] The author of the book containing this chapter is anonymous, but early Christian tradition uniformly believed that John composed this Gospel.[3]


The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 31 verses.

Textual witnesses

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:


All the events recorded in this chapter and the succeeding chapters up to John 17 took place in Jerusalem. The precise location is not specified, but John 18:1 states that afterwards, "Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley".

Jesus' departure and His return

Chapter 14 continues, without interruption, Jesus' dialogue with His disciples regarding His approaching departure from them. H. W. Watkins describes the chapter break as "unfortunate, as it breaks the close connection between these words and those which have gone immediately before (John 13)",[4] although Alfred Plummer, in the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, identifies John 14 as the opening of "the last great discourse", continuing to chapter 17.[5]

Jesus says, "Do not let your heart (Greek: ὑμῶν ἡ καρδία, hymōn hē kardia - singular in the Greek, in Wycliffe's Bible and in the American Standard Version - be troubled" (John 14:1), words which are repeated in John 14:27. Many English translations have the plural, hearts (e.g. Jerusalem Bible). Codex D and some other versions introduce into the text καὶ εϊπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ (and He said to His disciples) but Bengel's Gnomon says that "the mass of authorities is against [this]".[6]

Verse 1b reads:

... you believe in God, believe also in Me. (New King James Version) [7]

Augustine treats the text as "believe in God, believe also in me",[8] and Bengel argues that both clauses are imperatives,[6] whereas the Vulgate's wording, like the New King James Version, treats the first statement as indicative ("you believe ...") and builds the second ("[therefore], believe also ...") upon it. Heinrich Meyer lists "Erasmus, Luther (in his Exposition), Castalio, Beza, Calvin, Aretius, Maldonatus, Grotius, and several others" as writers who utilised the latter approach.[9]

The purpose of Jesus' departure is to "go to prepare a place for [His disciples]. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:2-3). John 14:2 begins, in many English translations, with the statement "There are many rooms in my Father’s house", but the alternative, if it were not so, is presented in various ways:

if it were not so, I would have told you. (e.g. New King James Version, Geneva Bible)
if that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? (e.g. English Standard Version (ESV))

The latter reading is not supported by any previous text where Jesus had said He was going to prepare a place.

The Greek: μοναὶ (monai) is translated as "rooms" in the ESV, "mansions" in the King James Version and "dwelling places" in the New Revised Standard Version. The Textus Receptus presents Jesus' intention to prepare a place for His disciples as a separate sentence from the point about the availability of many rooms, whereas, in other versions, the promise that a place will be prepared is directly linked to the teaching that there are many rooms in the Father's house.

The Rastafari movement draws its umbrella term "Mansions of Rastafari" from verse 2, referring to the diverse groups within the movement. Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas argue from the reference to "many mansions" that the mansions vary in type and therefore reflect "different degrees of rewards":[10]

In every well-ordered city there is a distinction of mansions. Now the heavenly kingdom is compared to a city (Apocalypse 21:2). Therefore we should distinguish various mansions there according to the various degrees of beatitude.[11]

Verse 3 builds on this departure and preparation, when Jesus continues:

I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (New King James Version)

The words I will come again are in the present tense, and should be literally rendered, I am coming again.[4] Watkins notes that "this clause has been variously explained: of the resurrection; of the death of individual disciples; of the spiritual presence of our Lord in the Church;[12] [or] of the coming again of the Lord in the Parousia of the last day, when all who believe in Him shall be received unto Himself", but he prefers to read them as referring to Jesus' constant spiritual presence in the midst of His disciples.[4]

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

Text John 14:6 on Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus (sixth century).
Text John 14:6 on Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus (sixth century).
"Via, Veritas, Vita" on the coat of arms of Arad, Romania.
"Via, Veritas, Vita" on the coat of arms of Arad, Romania.

Main article: Via et veritas et vita

In the first of three individualised conversations in this chapter, Jesus speaks with Thomas.

Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?"

Plummer notes that they were in Jerusalem, "the royal city of the conquering Messiah", so the disciples may have thought they were in the place where Jesus would be "to restore the kingdom to Israel".[5]

Verse 6

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."[13]

The phrase "The Way" is also found in Acts 9:2 and 19:23 as a term to describe the early church. The pronoun is emphatic: it implies "I and no other".[5] The Greek text also includes καὶ (kai, "and") before ἡ ἀλήθεια, (hē alētheia, "the truth"),[14] a preference noted by Plummer and the Revised Standard Version.[15]

Verse 7

[Jesus said to Thomas:] "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him".[16]

The words translated as "know" or "known" in verse 7 are ἐγνώκειτέ (egnōkate) and γινώσκετε (ginōskete) in the first and third occurrences, coming from the verb Greek: γινώσκω, (ginóskó, to come to know, recognize, perceive) [17] whereas the second occurrence translates the Greek: ᾔδειτε (ēdeite), coming from the Greek: εἰδῶ (eidó: be aware, behold, consider, perceive),[18][19] although the Textus Receptus has words derived from γινώσκω in all three instances.[20] Ellicott explains that the words "are not identical in meaning. The former means, to know by observation, the latter to know by reflection. It is the difference between connaître and savoir [in French]; between kennen ("ken, k(e)now"), and wissen ("wit, wisdom") [in German]".[4] The meaning may be expressed more exactly as, 'If ye had recognised Me, ye would have known My Father also'.[4]

Philip, who had said to Nathaniel in John 1:46, "Come and see", takes over the dialogue from Thomas:

Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us (John 14:8).

He still wants to see a further revelation, thinking that Jesus still has to show them a vision of God which has not yet been made visible.[21] Jesus comments that He has been with His disciples (Greek: ὑμῶν, hymōn - plural) for "such a long time" (John 14:9) - Philip was one of the first disciples to follow Jesus [22] - "and yet you (singular) have not known Me". Jesus speaks first to Philip, alone, "Do you not believe ..." (οὐ πιστεύεις, ou pisteueis - singular) and then to the eleven as a group, "Believe me ..." (πιστεύετέ, pisteuete - plural). The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges explains that "the English obliterates the fact that Christ now turns from S. Philip and addresses all the eleven":[23]

Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake (John 14:11).

John has previously referred to Jesus' works as His witness and a sign of His authority (John 5:36 and 10:25) but Jesus adds here:

He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father (John 14:12).

Lutheran theologian Harold Buls suggests that the "greater works" involve "send[ing] out the message of eternal life in great streams" to the gentiles, being the message which Jesus had only given to the Jews.[24]

Prayer (14:12-14)

Further information: Christian prayer

Verse 13 states,

Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son

and verse 14 partially repeats this:

If you ask [me] anything in My name, I will do it.

The Byzantine monk and biblical commentator Euthymios Zigabenos states that "the promise is repeated ... for confirmation".[25] Buls notes that both verses (13 and 14) "clearly imply that believers will have many needs", and that Jesus' commitment to doing what is asked of him and is asked in his name "results in - and has as its purpose - the clothing of the Father in splendour".[26]


Further information: Paraclete

King James Version

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.[27]

End of chapter (14:28–31)

As the chapter draws to a close (verses 28–31), Jesus repeats that He is going away, but He will return. This passage finalises Jesus' discourse with His closest disciples:

I will no longer talk much with you (John 14:30a)

as His life now is solely directed to the task of obedience to His Father (John 14:31a-c).

Preparing to leave the upper room, He says to His disciples:

Arise, let us go from here (John 14:31d).[28]

Their departure links logically with the opening words of chapter 18, When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. This connection has led some commentators to suppose that chapters 15-17 represent Jesus' discourse "as they went along in the way to Mount Olives",[29] or "that they rise from table and prepare to depart, but that the contents of the next three chapters are spoken before they leave the room".[23] In Mark 14:42 and Matthew 26:46, the same words "arise, let us go" (Greek: εγειρεσθε αγωμεν) appear within the Gethsemane narrative set later within those gospels' portrayal of Jesus' passion.[28] [30]

See also


  1. ^ Halley, Henry H. Halley's Bible Handbook: an Abbreviated Bible Commentary. 23rd edition. Zondervan Publishing House 1962
  2. ^ Jerusalem Bible (1966), Footnote a at John 14:1
  3. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012
  4. ^ a b c d e Watkins, H. W., Ellicott's Commentary for Modern Readers on John 14, accessed 1 July 2016
  5. ^ a b c Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on John 14, accessed 5 July 2016; cf. Acts 1:6
  6. ^ a b Bengel's Gnomon on John 14, accessed 1 July 2016
  7. ^ John 14:1
  8. ^ Schaff, P. (ed.), Homilies or Tractates of St. Augustin on the Gospel of John, Tractate LXVII, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library
  9. ^ Meyer, H., Meyer's NT Commentary on John 14, accessed 31 May 2019
  10. ^ Augustine, Homilies on the Gospel of John, Tractate 67, accessed 7 July 2016
  11. ^ Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Question 93. The happiness of the saints and their mansions, accessed 7 July 2016
  12. ^ cf. Matthew 28:20: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age"
  13. ^ John 14:6: NKJV
  14. ^ John 14:6: 1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament
  15. ^ John 14:6: RSV
  16. ^ John 14:7 NKJV
  17. ^ Strong's Concordance 1097: ginóskó
  18. ^ Strong's Concordance 1492: eidó
  19. ^ See for example the Westcott-Hort Text of John 14
  20. ^ Byzantine Text, John 14
  21. ^ Pulpit Commentary on John 14, accessed 7 July 2016
  22. ^ John 1:43
  23. ^ a b Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on John 14, accessed 5 July 2016
  24. ^ Buls' Notes on John 14:1-12, accessed 9 July 2016
  25. ^ Quoted in Expositor's Greek Testament on John 14, accessed 10 July 2016
  26. ^ Buls' Notes on John 14:31-21, accessed 1 June 2019
  27. ^ John 14:26
  28. ^ a b Bevan, H. B. H., "Does 'Arise, let us go hence' (John 14:31d) make sense where it stands?", Journal of Theological Studies, New Series, Vol. 54, No. 2 (October 2003), pp. 576-584
  29. ^ Matthew Poole's Commentary on John 14, accessed 11 July 2016, cf. Pulpit Commentary on John 14, accessed 7 July 2016
  30. ^ The meaning of John 14:6 KJV and NIV on John 14:6, accessed 12 October 2021
Preceded by
John 13
Chapters of the Bible
Gospel of John
Succeeded by
John 15