John 5:31-47

Here is a suggestion for verses 31-47. A and A’, although having few verbal connections, are structurally paired. A is about the witness of John. A’ ends up talking about the witness of Moses. In A Christ says that another bears witness of himself and that is true; similarly in A’ he says that another coming in his own name will be received. The key phrases ‘but I receive not testimony from man’ and ‘I receive not honour from men’ help to identify the structure. B comes after a passage about witness/testimony and B’ comes before a passage about honour. In D the witness of John is described as a burning and a shining light. In D’ this is compared to the holy scriptures that testify of Christ. In E we read of the works of God that Christ has been given to complete. In E’ these works are presented as manifested in Christ as his voice, his shape and his word. The passage centres on the greatest witness of Christ – the Father.

A  (31-33)  If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.

B  (34a)  But I receive not testimony from man:

C  (34b)  but these things I say, that ye might be saved.

D  (35)  He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

E  (36a)  But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do,

F  (36b)  bear witness of me,

G  (36c)  that the Father hath sent me.

H  (37a)  And the Father himself,

G’  (37b)  which hath sent me,

F’  (37c)  hath borne witness of me.

E’  (37d-38)  Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

D’  (39)  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

C’  (40)  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

B’  (41)  I receive not honour from men.

A’  (42-47)  But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

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