John 4:23
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

New Living Translation
But the time is coming--indeed it's here now--when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.

English Standard Version
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Berean Study Bible
But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him.

Berean Literal Bible
But an hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father also seeks such who worship Him.

New American Standard Bible
"But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

King James Bible
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him.

International Standard Version
Yet the time is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Indeed, the Father is looking for people like that to worship him.

NET Bible
But a time is coming--and now is here--when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such people to be his worshipers.

New Heart English Bible
But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But the hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship The Father in The Spirit and in The Truth, for The Father also is seeking such worshippers as these.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Indeed, the time is coming, and it is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. The Father is looking for people like that to worship him.

New American Standard 1977
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

Jubilee Bible 2000
But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeks such to worship him.

King James 2000 Bible
But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.

American King James Version
But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.

American Standard Version
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him.

Darby Bible Translation
But [the] hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for also the Father seeks such as his worshippers.

English Revised Version
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers.

Webster's Bible Translation
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

Weymouth New Testament
But a time is coming--nay, has already come--when the true worshippers will worship the Father with true spiritual worship; for indeed the Father desires such worshippers.

World English Bible
But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers.

Young's Literal Translation
but, there cometh an hour, and it now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father also doth seek such to worship him;
Study Bible
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him. 24God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”…
Cross References
John 4:21
"Believe Me, woman," Jesus replied, "a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

John 5:25
Truly, truly, I tell you, the hour is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

John 5:28
Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice

John 16:2
They will put you out of the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.

John 16:32
"Look, an hour is coming and has already come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and you will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.

Philippians 3:3
For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh--
Treasury of Scripture

But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.

the hour.

John 5:25 Truly, truly, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when …

John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of …

true.

Isaiah 1:10-15 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law …

Isaiah 26:8,9 Yes, in the way of your judgments, O LORD, have we waited for you; …

Isaiah 29:13 Why the Lord said, For as much as this people draw near me with their …

Isaiah 48:1,2 Hear you this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of …

Isaiah 58:2,8-14 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation …

Isaiah 66:1,2 Thus said the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my …

Jeremiah 7:7-12 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I …

Matthew 15:7-9 You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying…

Luke 18:11-13 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, …

in spirit.

Romans 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son…

Romans 8:15,26 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but …

Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son …

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and …

Jude 1:20,21 But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, …

in truth.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth…

1 Samuel 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for …

1 Chronicles 29:17 I know also, my God, that you try the heart, and have pleasure in …

Psalm 17:1 Hear the right, O LORD, attend to my cry, give ear to my prayer, …

Psalm 32:2 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputes not iniquity, and in …

Psalm 51:6 Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part …

Isaiah 10:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, …

Jeremiah 3:10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned …

Jeremiah 4:2 And you shall swear, The LORD lives, in truth, in judgment, and in …

the Father seeketh.

Psalm 147:11 The LORD takes pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the …

Songs 2:14 O my dove, that are in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places …

Isaiah 43:21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.

Ezekiel 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, …

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, …

(23) But the hour cometh.--Better, as in John 4:21, but there cometh an hour. He adds to this thought, what He could not add to the previous one, "and now is." Local worship was not yet giving way to spiritual; but a band of true worshippers was being gathered, and some were then following Him.

The true worshippers.--Her distinction of place was of the accident, but the essence was the nature of the worship. What could any worship be to a God who saw the impurity of the heart, and the contradiction of thought and word? What could she know of the worship of which she speaks? Yes; and the temple at Jerusalem was a house of merchandise, instead of one of prayer; what did priest and Levite, scribe and Pharisee, know of true worship?

In spirit and in truth.--The link between human nature and the divine is in the human spirit, which is the shrine of the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 6:19). All true approach to God must therefore be in spirit. (Comp. Romans 1:9, and Ephesians 6:18.) Place, and time, and words, and postures, and sounds, and all things from without, are important only in so far as they aid in abstraction from the sensible world, and in elevation of the spirit within. The moment they distract they hinder true worship. Ritual cannot be discussed without risk of spiritual loss. The words "in truth," already expressed in true worshippers, and repeated in the following verse, are more than "truly." Sincerity is not a test of acceptable worship, though it is a requisite. Bigots sincerely think they do God's service. Worship which is "in truth" is in harmony with the nature of the God whom we worship. To think of God in hearing His truth, to kindle the soul by hymns of praise, to realise the earlier portions of collects and prayers which utter His attributes, are necessary to the truth of the petitions, and thanksgivings, and adorations of worship. The model prayer of Christianity brings home to the heart the Fatherhood of God in its first words.

For the Father seeketh such to worship him.--Better, for such the Father also seeketh His worshippers to be. The word "such," i.e., of this character, is emphatic. The "also" expresses that the worship, on the part of the true worshippers, is in accordance with the divine will: "the Father also (on His part) . . ." The reader will not fail to note the emphasis in this reply on the word "Father" (John 4:21 and twice in this verse). This name of God, which we teach children to lisp in earliest years, came to her, it may be, now for the first time. He is not Vengeance to be appeased, nor Power to be dreaded, but Love to be received. (Comp. Note on John 3:16.) It is when men learn to think of God as Father that merely local and material worship must cease. The universal desire and practice of worship is the witness to a universal object of worship. The yearning of the human spirit is that of a child seeking the author of his being. The seeking is not human only. The Father also seeketh His child, and seeth him when he is a great way off (Luke 15:20).

Verse 23. - But the hour cometh, and now is - already the day has dawned, the new conception is breaking like "awful rose of dawn" upon the minds of some - when the veritable worshippers - those who answer to the idea of worshippers, those who actually draw near to the Father in living fellowship and affectionate appreciation of his eternal Name - shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. An old misreading of this text, accepted by some Fathers, and based upon the idea expressed in John 16:13, has found expression in the Sinaitic Codex, "in the spirit of the truth." But "spirit" here does not refer to the Holy Spirit, but to the spirit of man - that part of man's constitution through which he most especially bears the image of God, and with which the Divine Spirit deals, and in which he dwells (Romans 8:26). The worship in spirit is worship contrasted with all mere carnal concomitants, all mere shadows of the good things to come, all mere ritual, all specialties of place, or time, or sacrament, or order. It need not be in despite of a genuine reverence for days, or seasons, or postures, or washings, but in absolute independence of them, and they, without this, will be actually valueless. And in truth; i.e. as dealing with reality, the adequate and veracious expression of genuine desires and veritable emotions; καὶ γὰρ, nam et (ver. 9). For indeed also the Father seeketh such to be his worshippers. Luthardt and Meyer differ as to the emphasis. Meyer insists that the καὶ γάρ lays stress on the word which immediately follows, and he refers to 1 Corinthians 14:8 as not contradicting the rule. He would render, "For the Father also on his part seeketh," etc. Luthardt says that the new thought is to be found in ζητεῖ, and therefore upon this the emphasis is laid. Westcott, by many passages, such as Matthew 8:9; Matthew 26:73; Mark 10:45; Luke 6:32, etc., urges that καὶ γὰρ "alleges a reason which is assumed to be conclusive from the nature of the case." The whole sentence is therefore covered by the expression, "For the Father also on his part seeketh those as worshippers of him who worship him in spirit and in truth." A slight contrast is felt between the regimen of προσκυνεῖν with accusative, here again introduced, following upon that with dative in the first clause. Moulton would render the first clause, "offer worship to the Father," and the second by "worship him." The Father is now seeking, by the ministry of his Son, by the gift of his Spirit, for those who approach him with deeply felt need and true affection, in spirit, not in ceremony, in truth, not in hypocritical or heartless profession. This is another indication of the high truth taught in the prologue (John 1:4, 9; John 3:21; John 18:38, see notes) that there are vast differences among men, even anterior to their reception of the perfect revelation of the Father's heart in Christ Jesus. "The life is the light of men." There are those who "do the truth" and are "of the truth," who "worship God in spirit and in truth." The whole gospel dispensation is a search for these. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers,.... The worshippers of the true God, and who worship in a right manner, whether Jews or Samaritans, or of whatsoever nation:

shall worship the Father; the one true God, the Father of spirits, and of all flesh living:

in spirit; in opposition to all carnal conceptions of him, as if he was a corporeal being, or circumscribed in some certain place, dwelling in temples made with hands, or was to be worshipped with men's hands; and in distinction from the carnal worship of the Jews, which lay greatly in the observation of carnal ordinances: and this shows they should not worship with their bodies only, for bodily exercise profiteth little; but with their souls or spirits, with their whole hearts engaged therein; and by, and under the influence and assistance of the Spirit of God, without whom men cannot perform worship, neither prayer, praise, preaching, or hearing, aright:

and in truth; in opposition to hypocrisy, with true hearts, in the singleness, sincerity, and integrity of their souls; and in distinction from Jewish ceremonies, which were only shadows, and had not the truth and substance of things in them; and according to the word of truth, the Gospel of salvation; and in Christ, who is the truth, the true tabernacle, in, and through whom accent is had to God, prayer is made to him, and every part of religious worship with acceptance: so Enoch is said, , "to worship in truth", before the Lord, in the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, in Genesis 5:24. And it may be that the worship of all the three persons in the Godhead, as more distinctly performed under the Gospel dispensation, is here intended: for the words may be thus read, "shall worship the Father, with the Spirit", and with the truth; so the preposition is rendered in Ephesians 6:2; and elsewhere; and then the sense is, they shall "worship the Father"; the first person in the Trinity, who is the Father of Christ, his only begotten Son, and together and equally with him "the Spirit"; the holy Spirit, as the Ethiopic version reads; and Nonnus calls it the divine Spirit: and the rather he may be thought to be intended, since it follows in John 4:24, "the Spirit is God"; for so the words lie in the Greek text; and are so rendered in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions; and therefore is the proper object of religious worship, whose temples the saints are, with whom they have communion, to whom they pray, and in whose name they are baptized: and also together "with the truth"; with Christ the way, the truth, and the life; who is the true God, and eternal life; and who is equally to be worshipped as the Father and Spirit, as he is by the angels in heaven, and by the saints on earth; who pray unto him, trust in him, and are also baptized in his name, as in the name of the other two persons: and the rather this may be thought to be the sense, since Christ is speaking, not of the manner, but of the object of worship, in the preceding verse:

for the Father seeketh such to worship him; it being agreeable to him to be worshipped in the manner, as above related; and his desire is, that the Son and Spirit should be honoured equally as himself; and such worshippers he has found, having made them such, both among the Jews and Gentiles; and such only are acceptable to him; see Philippians 3:3. 23. hour cometh, and now is—evidently meaning her to understand that this new economy was in some sense being set up while He was talking to her, a sense which would in a few minutes so far appear, when He told her plainly He was the Christ.4:4-26 There was great hatred between the Samaritans and the Jews. Christ's road from Judea to Galilee lay through Samaria. We should not go into places of temptation but when we needs must; and then must not dwell in them, but hasten through them. We have here our Lord Jesus under the common fatigue of travellers. Thus we see that he was truly a man. Toil came in with sin; therefore Christ, having made himself a curse for us, submitted to it. Also, he was a poor man, and went all his journeys on foot. Being wearied, he sat thus on the well; he had no couch to rest upon. He sat thus, as people wearied with travelling sit. Surely, we ought readily to submit to be like the Son of God in such things as these. Christ asked a woman for water. She was surprised because he did not show the anger of his own nation against the Samaritans. Moderate men of all sides are men wondered at. Christ took the occasion to teach her Divine things: he converted this woman, by showing her ignorance and sinfulness, and her need of a Saviour. By this living water is meant the Spirit. Under this comparison the blessing of the Messiah had been promised in the Old Testament. The graces of the Spirit, and his comforts, satisfy the thirsting soul, that knows its own nature and necessity. What Jesus spake figuratively, she took literally. Christ shows that the water of Jacob's well yielded a very short satisfaction. Of whatever waters of comfort we drink, we shall thirst again. But whoever partakes of the Spirit of grace, and the comforts of the gospel, shall never want that which will abundantly satisfy his soul. Carnal hearts look no higher than carnal ends. Give it me, saith she, not that I may have everlasting life, which Christ proposed, but that I come not hither to draw. The carnal mind is very ingenious in shifting off convictions, and keeping them from fastening. But how closely our Lord Jesus brings home the conviction to her conscience! He severely reproved her present state of life. The woman acknowledged Christ to be a prophet. The power of his word in searching the heart, and convincing the conscience of secret things, is a proof of Divine authority. It should cool our contests, to think that the things we are striving about are passing away. The object of worship will continue still the same, God, as a Father; but an end shall be put to all differences about the place of worship. Reason teaches us to consult decency and convenience in the places of our worship; but religion gives no preference to one place above another, in respect of holiness and approval with God. The Jews were certainly in the right. Those who by the Scriptures have obtained some knowledge of God, know whom they worship. The word of salvation was of the Jews. It came to other nations through them. Christ justly preferred the Jewish worship before the Samaritan, yet here he speaks of the former as soon to be done away. God was about to be revealed as the Father of all believers in every nation. The spirit or the soul of man, as influenced by the Holy Spirit, must worship God, and have communion with him. Spiritual affections, as shown in fervent prayers, supplications, and thanksgivings, form the worship of an upright heart, in which God delights and is glorified. The woman was disposed to leave the matter undecided, till the coming of the Messiah. But Christ told her, I that speak to thee, am He. She was an alien and a hostile Samaritan, merely speaking to her was thought to disgrace our Lord Jesus. Yet to this woman did our Lord reveal himself more fully than as yet he had done to any of his disciples. No past sins can bar our acceptance with him, if we humble ourselves before him, believing in him as the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
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