Bible study thread

Would anyone like to join in a Bible study on John chapter 6. We would work our way through the chapter verse by verse, and share our questions and insights on each verse before moving on to the next?

Anyone, believer or not, is welcome to participate, but be aware that this is not a place for rude or strident debate, but an opportunity to make your ideas on the content of the text known, and to ask probing questions that help you understand why others hold their opinions.

I will flag and ask moderators to remove trolling posts.

There is no rush to get to the end of the chapter. The goal is the journey.

I’ll leave this up for a couple of days to see if anyone registers their interest in participating

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John 6:1 After these things Jesus went over the sea if Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.

After what things? After spending time in Jerusalem at a festival of the Jews, Purim, which commemorated the Jews deliverance through Esther from ethnic cleansing by Haaman. In Jerusalem he healed a man who had been crippled for 38 years, and the Jews complained because this healing work was done on the sabbath.

Jesus had a home in Capernaum, on the shores of the sea of Galilee, which is not technically a sea, but a fresh water lake. It was also called the sea of Tiberias, because Herod Antipas had built a city on it’s shores which he named Tiberias, after Tiberius Caesar. The lake was also called the sea of Chinnerith, because a town of that name was also on its shores, and the sea of Genessaret, for the region of Genessaret on its shore on the eastern side opposite Capernaum.

Jesus crossed the lake, going north-east toward Bethsaida.

Why start with John chapter 6?

Why start with John chapter 6?

I like John 6. Where do you think it would have been better to start? I’d be happy to join in on the chapter of your choice in another thread.

Please feel free to add background information, comments, questions or insights relevant to John 6:1 .

John 6:2 tomorrow.

Don’t go there. You started the thread. JN 6 it is. If someone wants a different book or chapter to start with, there are no limitations on them starting their own thread. Your question would just lead to derailing your thread.

I like JN 6 too.

Carry on.


We assume that “Jesus went over” via boat. (NIV says “crossed over”.) But it doesn’t exactly say.

Lots of scripture verses are like this. For instance, Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt. We always picture that on a donkey or a camel… I saw a movie called “Young Messiah” that is a conjecture of events in the life of Jesus starting as a young boy in Egypt, and then returning to Nazareth. The trip back from Egypt to Israel was by boat. Makes sense. More direct.

So did Jesus go to the other side via boat? Or via a land route? And does it change anything depending on which mode we envision?

Chapter 1 would have made more sense to me. Context is lost starting at chapter 6.

Why was the city of Tiberias mentioned? At the time of Jesus’ arrival there it couldn’t have been around, at least with that name, for very long.

Note that the Gospel of John was written in the late first century. By that time it was known as Tiberias. Keep in mind that John doesn’t initially call it Tiberias. He says, “Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.” He’s writing to his audience of the time, not necessarily to the audience of Jesus’ time (though some – including himself – were one and the same.)


You make a good point. Welcome, and thanks for joining in, btw.

We can make assumptions that seem obvious to us, but which could, in fact, be only one of two or more possible meanings. I like to compare the language of a text to the way we speak, and consider whether we could use the same construction in different situations with different meanings.

If I am standing on the lakeshore and say, "I’m going across to that village over there, " you are right, I could get over there by walking around or boating across, or swimming…

Jesus seems to have been trying to get away from people for some private time with his Father, and his disciples, so I guess He would go in a manner that would avoid being seen. He could leave well before dawn and walk, or take a boat, which fewer people would have access to. The crowd seem to have arrived there a while after Jesus did (v.5) he seems to have been only with his disciples before that. (v. 3)

Matt. 14:13 says he went by ship. And when the people heard that, they followed on foot.

Well, this was kind of an experiment. If it works well, we could work through a complete book or letter next, dtaring at 1:1.

Yes. Tiberias was established in 20 CE. The lake was named by different factions after several cities on its shores.

Who was the audience? Did using a Roman name mean Romans were the audience?

And how sure are we as to the author? I know it’s attributed to John the Apostle but I have heard that it may have been written as much as 300 years after the fact.

"Who was the audience? Did using a Roman name mean Romans were the audience? "

By the time John wrote his Gospel it was clear that the message of the Saviour from sins was for all nations. John had founded Christian communities in Asia Minor. I expect it was written for whomsoever. Non-Jews may have been more familiar with the name Sea of Tiberias; Jews with sea of Galilee.

"And how sure are we as to the author? I know it’s attributed to John the Apostle but I have heard that it may have been written as much as 300 years after the fact. "

It has been accepted from the earliest times as Jesus’ disciple John’s gospel. You may post any evidence you like for it’s not being written by that John, but no one is going to be obliged to debate the aithenticity and authorship in this thread.

John 6: 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

Comments, questions, insights relatingbto this verse - and polite responses to those - are welcome.

The Gospels were written for the world. The immediate audience was the current population. Everything was “Romanized” at that point.

The most accepted position is that John the Apostle wrote the Gospel of John. But there are scholars (minority) who argue otherwise. The question is for you to decide what you want to believe, and why it matters.

For the record, if the Gospel was written 300 years later, that’s all the more reason for the author to “Romanize” the geographical references in that text.

Same observation/question as before. If a multitude followed, it would have to have been a flotilla of boats. And certainly Jesus would have seen it and known they were following. (As you noted earlier, in MT 14, Jesus went by boat and the crowd on foot.) Not that the specifics of it matters or changes the story that occurred in JN 6. I just like to place myself in the scene when I contemplate a story or a parable. It adds texture for me.

There is a reason the Bible is comprised mainly of historical events, poems, parables and allegories. A picture paints a thousand words. You can download in one picture what would take a thousand words to convey far less memorably.

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