“Though he were dead” – A Controversial Understanding of John 11:25-26


Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life:
 a. he that believes in me, though he were dead [i.e. having died the 1st Death], yet shall he live [i.e. the 2nd Life]:
 b. And whosoever liveth [i.e. is still living the 1st Life] and believes in me shall never die [i.e. the 2nd Death].
 Believest thou this?

John 11:25-26 KJV

John 11:25-26 – The Problem of a Superfluous Verse

Like many other verses in the bible, John 11:25-26 uses certain words in multiple senses. This means that the reader needs to be extra careful when trying to understand such verses in order to avoid ending up with the wrong interpretation. What I am about to say will no doubt shock many readers, but after much study, I strongly believe that John 11: 25-26 is referring to the idea that it is possible for (at least some of) the dead to believe the gospel in that state. I hope to demonstrate this discovery by carefully revealing what I believe to be the true meaning of key terms in this passage. Specifically, I believe that the term “dead” (in v.25) does not mean the same as “die” (in v.26) nor does “live” (in v.25) mean the same as “liveth” (in v.26). In other words, the verbs die and live are words to which these two verses have ascribed multiple meanings. Of course, John 11:25-26 does not employ different meanings for the same word in order to engage in equivocation (i.e. the accidental or deliberate use of a key term in an ambiguous way) but for the sake of achieving contrast through the use of an antithetical parallelism. According to Biblical scholar E.W. Bullinger’s Figures Of Speech Used in the Bible, the antithetical parallelism is a literary device used to demonstrate an antithesis, or contrast between certain words in each part of a symmetry. Verses which comprise an antithetical parallelism will therefore join opposing ideas in a noticeable contrast. Instead of repeating the same thing twice (as is done in a synonymous parallelism), an antithetical parallelism will say one thing in the first line and then a contrasting thing in the next. Yet, most explanations of John 11:25-26 which I have encountered completely miss Christ’s glaring attempt at creating a contrast. Instead, these commentaries end up ascribing a meaning to John 11:25 which is effectively the same as that of John 11:26. For instance, respected Bible commentators Albert Barnes and Adam Clarke both suggest that John 11:25 refers to the granting of eternal life to those who happen to die in a state of belief, while John 11:26 refers to the granting of eternal life to believers who are currently alive (but will also eventually die in a state of belief) [3]. But if this is the case, then why would Jesus say what is effectively the same thing, twice? What is the difference? No, there has to be something else going on in this passage. It is for these reasons that I have concluded that John 11:25-26 requires greater scrutiny.

Because the usual meaning of the verbs “die” and “live” seem inadequate to account for the contrast required between verses 25 and 26, we need to consult the Scriptures for more guidance. It’s as if the word “dead” (in verse 25) and “die” (in verse 26) require two different types of death, and the words “live” (in verse 25) and “liveth” (in verse 26) require two different notions of what it means to live.

Interestingly enough, the bible does tell us that there are actually two types of life and death that a person can experience. Let us first examine the two deaths. Continue reading

Were there drunk people at the wedding when Jesus turned water into wine?

Some co-workers and I were opining on the second chapter of John in a recent bible study that I participated in, when I uttered my contentious observation that the feast governor’s speech in John 2:10 seems to imply that there were intoxicated people at the wedding. Most of the bible study participants disagreed with my observation and instead claimed that there was no such implication given by the verses in question. Now, in a logic course that I took a while back, I remember the instructor saying that If you cannot translate an English sentence into a proposition’s categorical form then you really don’t know what the sentence means. This does make sense if you think about it; after all, a proposition is the simplest unit of thought. When you convert what is being said into propositions, you are clarifying and simplifying the contents of each sentence. Continue reading

Will God Ensure that Everyone gets a Chance to Hear the Gospel—Even the Aborted Baby?


Unless otherwise noted, all verses below are taken from the King James Version of the bible.

Election According to Foreknowledge is the Key!

Was the Gospel, as the Bible claims, really preached to every creature which is under heaven? Or should we, like many other Bible teachers, conclude that these words spoken by Paul are merely hyperbole? Curiously, one way to confirm the seriousness of this claim lies in one’s understanding of the doctrine of election. According to the Bible, before Christ created the world, He wrote down the names of several people in His [i.e. the Lamb’s] Book of Life (Revelation 13:8; 3:5; 17:8, 20:15; Luke 10:20, Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). It turns out that this book contains the names of all those who are considered ‘elect.’ Elect is a term which refers to those persons whom God has chosen ahead of time to inherit salvation. In Bible verses such as 1 Peter 1:2 and Romans 8:29, the Bible tells us that God’s choices about who to elect were based upon His foreknowledge or His knowledge-known-ahead-of-time. This is what is known as the doctrine of election.
(Also see What Does The Bible Mean By Election?Elect according to the foreknowledge of God & Fore knowledge is a Condition)

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:2)

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [i.e. elect] to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

But what exactly did God know ahead of time and how does this foreknowledge fit into God’s rationale for choosing one person but not another? The Bible tells us that God is not a respecter of persons (Deuteronomy 10:17; Romans 2:11, Acts 10:34) so we know that God’s foreknowledge has nothing to do with one’s physical appearance, nationality or one’s efforts of any sort. If Hebrews 11:6 is right regarding the claim that God rewards those who diligently seek Him, then the only logical and biblical conclusion regarding the criteria which God used when choosing His elect is faith (i.e. whether a person, if given the chance, would obey the gospel). Continue reading