I GOT CAUGHT OFF GUARD by one verse in particular, when I was recently paraphrasing my way through the Gospel of John for the Casual English Bible.
See if this makes sense to you:
“Eternal life comes from the Spirit. Our bodies have nothing to do with it. These words are spirit. They are life” (John 6:63 Casual English Bible).
Whatever Jesus meant by that, after he said it, “That was the turning point for many of his followers. They stopped associating with him” (John 6:66).
“Words are spirit”? I know they can be spiritual. But my goodness. Look at this.
“Eternal life comes from the Spirit.”
“These words are spirit.”
That sounds like Jesus just said, “Eternal life comes from these words because these words are spirit.”
I’ve spent most of my life working as a Christian writer. I know words have power to change people. Words can be spiritual when they deal with matters of the spirit.
But I haven’t thought of a word as a spirit.
I don’t know what that means.
Commentators guess, but danged if they know, either.
Can a word be wrapped in Spirit? Or maybe it’s conceived by the Spirit. Or could it actually embody the very essence of the Spirit of God?
My wife caught me looking out the window this time. Where else should I look after reading the commentaries?
Up? Inward? Anywhere but Amazon for more commentaries?
Sometimes the best insight I have is cross-eyed.
So here’s looking at you.
Read the verse in your favorite Bible version. Tell me how you read it. If you please. Thank you very much.
John 6:63 New International Version (NIV)
63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[a] and life.
John 6:63 Or are Spirit; or are spirit
I think it means this:
The Spirit of God brings new life and regeneration — this is the message from God about life from Christ. Human actions accomplish nothing spiritual. The words of Christ are true because they are given by God – breathed out by God’s Spirit and therefore give life – eternal life.
Stephen M. Miller
Very good. He is Risen. Peace to you, Wayne.
The 1985 NIV Study Bible “THe Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life”. The notes say (therefor) the words are Spirit at work producing life. I feel this is saying that the spiritual teachings of Christ are the most important nourishment for us.
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.
(The notes make reference to II Corinthians 3:6 ) …hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter but of the spirit: for the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life.
So I understand that it might mean that man’s understanding is limited to the surface but true spiritual life is known much deeper.
Just my thoughts
Stephen M. Miller
Well done, Julie. He is Risen. Peace to you.