For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He which.—Better, that which. The identification with Himself does not occur before John 6:35. This verse is a fuller expression of the last clause of John 6:32, to which each term answers.
“My Father giveth” . . . . . “the bread of God.”
“The (ideally) true bread” . . . . . “giveth life unto the world.”
“From heaven” . . . . . “which cometh down from heaven.”
The tenses are present. (Comp. Notes on John 6:50-51.) The manna in the wilderness was but one instance of that which is constant. The Jewish nation was but an unit in the Father’s family. The bread of God ever cometh and ever giveth life, and the life which it giveth is for the world. Every word proceeding from the mouth of God, spoken in many portions and in many ways, was part of the true food for the true life of man.
Is he ... - Is the Messiah who has come from heaven.
And giveth life ... - See the notes at John 1:4.the bread of angels; but I am the true bread of God, signified by that type, who came not down from the lower, but from the highest heavens; and who do not only maintain and uphold life in men, (as that did), but give life to men; and that not a mere natural life, but a spiritual and eternal life; and that not to the Jews only, for whose use alone manna was, but to the world.
and giveth life unto the world; a spiritual life, which he is the author, supporter, and maintainer of; and eternal life, which he gives a right unto and meetness for, and nourishes up unto; and this not to a few only, or to the Israelites only, but to the Gentiles also, and even to the whole world of God's elect: not indeed to every individual in the world, for all are not quickened now, not shall inherit eternal life hereafter; but to all the people of God, in all parts of the world, and in all ages of time; of such extensive virtue and efficacy is Christ, the bread of God, in which he appears greatly superior to that manna the Jews instance in.For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 6:33. Moses therefore could not give this bread, since it comes down out of heaven. It is characterised by two attributes: (1) it is ὁ καταβαίνων ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, that which cometh down out of heaven—not, as Godet renders, “He who cometh down from heaven”; at least the request of John 6:34 shows that those who heard the words did not take them in this sense; (2) the other characteristic of the bread of God is that it giveth life to the world; a fuller life-giving power than that of the manna is implied; and it is of universal application and not merely to their fathers. Hearing this description of “the bread of God” the crowd exclaim (John 6:34) Κύριε, πάντοτε δὸς ἡμῖν τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον, precisely as the woman of Samaria had exclaimed Κύριε δός μοι τοῦτο τὸ ὕδωρ, when Jesus had disclosed to her the properties of the living water. And as in her case the direct request brought the conversation to a crisis, so here it elicits the central declaration of all His exposition of the bearing of the miracle: Ἐγὼ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς. [It is not impossible that some of them may have had a glimmering of what He meant and uttered their request with some tincture of spiritual desire; for among the Rabbis there was a saying, “In seculo venturo neque edunt neque bibunt, sed justi sedent cum coronis suis in capitibus et aluntur splendore majestatis divinae”.] “I am the bread of life,” “I am the living bread” (John 6:51, in a somewhat different sense), “I am the bread which came down from heaven” (John 6:41), or, “the true bread from heaven”—all these designations our Lord uses, and that the people may quite understand what is meant, He adds ὁ ἐρχόμενος … πώποτε. The repetition of the required action ὁ ἐρχόμενος, and ὁ πιστεύων, and of the result οὐ μὴ πεινάσῃ, and οὐ μὴ διψήσῃ, is for clearness and emphasis, not for addition to the meaning. The “believing” explains the “coming”; and the “quenching of thirst” more explicitly conveys the meaning of “never hungering,” that all innocent and righteous cravings and aspirations shall be gratified. The “coming” was not that physical approach which they had adopted in pursuing Him to Capernaum, but such a coming as might equally well be called “believing,” a spiritual approach, implying the conviction that He was what He claimed to be, the medium through which God comes to man, and man to God.33. the bread of God is he which] Better, the bread of God is that which. Christ has not yet identified Himself with the Bread; it is still impersonal, and hence the present participle in the Greek. Contrast John 6:41. There is a clear reference to this passage in the Ignatian Epistles, Romans VII. The whole chapter is impregnated with the Fourth Gospel. See on John 4:10.
giveth life unto the world] Without this Bread mankind is spiritually dead; and this is the point of the argument (the introductory ‘for’ shews that the verse is argumentative): we have proof that it is the Father who gives the really heavenly Bread, for it is His Bread that quickens the whole human race.John 6:33. Ὁ καταβαίνων, which cometh down) Repeat, ἄρτος, the bread: comp. John 6:41, “I am the bread which came down from heaven,” 58.—τῷ κόσμῳ, unto the world) not merely to one people, or to one age, as the manna fed one people of one age: John 6:51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”Verse 33. - For the bread of God is that which cometh down out of heaven, and giveth life to the world. It is debated whether the ὁ καταβαίνων is "he who cometh down," or "that (bread) which cometh," etc. - whether in this verse the Lord passes at once to the identification of himself with the bread, or for a moment longer is delaying the announcement, and broadly asserting the qualities of that "bread of God," viz. that whoever and whatever it is, IT comes from heaven, and gives life, not merely to the theocratic people, but to the whole world. (The latter is the view of Hengstenberg, Lange, Meyer, Westcott, Moulton; the former translation is partially urged by Godet, who thinks our Lord here spoke amphibologically, meaning both ideas, but by the form of the expression reserving the solution of the problem.) It certainly does not follow that, if he was speaking of himself, the expression ὁ καταβάς would have been used, because, in ver. 50, after he has removed all ambiguity, he still uses the present tense, ὁ καταβαίνων. The present tense is that of quality rather than of time. These characteristics of the veritable bread of God must hold good. It must have a heavenly origin, life-giving power, and universality of application to human need. John 3:16 is here repeated. The whole world is the object of the Divine grace and love. The bread of God must be a Divine gift, mysterious and heavenly in its origin, and must at once demonstrate its vitality, its Source, and its Giver.
So it may be rendered; but also that which, referring to ἄρτος, bread: and so, better, as Rev., since Jesus does not identify Himself with the bread until John 6:35.
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