Category Archives: Bible Study

Amen, Amen I Say To You: a Study from the Gospel of John

Whenever Jesus uses the words, “Amen, amen, I say to you”, it pays to take notice. It is obvious that Christ is trying to make a point. But is there a pattern to when the phrase is used? I thought I would see by looking through the Gospel of John.

I found that there are two types of statements Jesus makes when using that phrase; descriptions of key elements of the faith, and prophecies of the future.

These quotes are wonderful for reflection and for memorization, and at least for me, putting them together helped me to see more depth in each of them and to see the unity in Christ’s-and by extension the Church’s-teachings.

Key Elements of the Faith
Christ uses the phrase “Amen, amen I say to you” to highlight some elements of the faith that are critical to our salvation and to eternal life.

  1. The Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
  2. John 3:3-5

    Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.”

  3. The Sacrament of the Eucharist
  4. John 6:26-27

    Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.

    John 6:32-33

    Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

    John 6:53-55

    Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

  5. Christ’s Relationship to the Father and His Divinity
  6. John 5:19

    Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also. For the Father loves his Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to his Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

    John 8:58

    Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

    John 10:1-11

    “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came [before me] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”

  7. The Necessity of Belief in God and in the Word
  8. John 5:24-27

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

    John 6:47

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

    John 13:20

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.

  9. The Necessity of Avoiding Sin
  10. John 8:34-36

    Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free.

  11. The Necessity of Keeping All of Christ’s Teachings
  12. John 8:51

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.

  13. The Necessity of Dying to Self
  14. John 12:24-26

    Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.

  15. Gifts of the Holy Spirit
  16. John 14:12

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.

    John 16:23

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.

Prophecy
Christ also described future events.

  1. The Ascension
  2. John 1:51

    Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

  3. The Crucifixion
  4. John 3:11-15

    Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

  5. The Persecution and Martyrdom of the Apostles
  6. John 13:16

    Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
    (Jesus said this while washing the feet of his disciples. He uses this reference later predicting the martyrdom of the apostles.)

  7. Judas’ Betrayal
  8. John 13:21

    Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.

  9. Peter’s Denial
  10. John 13:38

    Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.

  11. The Resurrection
  12. John 16:20

    Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.

  13. Peter’s Martyrdom
  14. John 21:18

    Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.

What I Learned From Bible Study: Acts 8

Yesterday, we studied Acts 8, which has so much in it, I was floored.
It starts with Paul’s persecution of the church, which was much more brutal than the short sentences described in Acts. By piecing together mentions in the Pauline letters, one sees that Paul was not only imprisoning Christ’s followers, but murdering them. He was following in the line of many of the great men of the Old Testament such as Moses, Saul, and David – being a murderer before achieving his greatness before God.
Why this brutal persecution of the Church so soon after Gamaliel had convinced the Sanhedrin to let Peter go? Gamaliel’s warning had concerned the leaders of the Way. This new persecution was against the followers. Note that the apostles were able to stay in Jerusalem while the followers had to flee.
This chapter contains two other critical points. The first is the preaching to the Samaritans. After Philip had baptized the Samaritans, it was required that Peter and John come and lay hands on them so that they might receive the Holy Spirit. This is the first example of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the scriptures.
The second critical point is the interaction of Philip with the Ethipian eunuch. The eunuch’s acknowledgment of being unable to understand scripture without a guide should be a caution to us all concerning our own personal interpretations of scripture.
This chapter also introduced the sin of simony as well as further established the roles of deacons in the church through the actions of Philip.
Our bible study is the Great Adventure Series, which I highly recommend.