Question: Hi Brother Robert, Can you tell me two things about John 6:45?
1) Is there anything in the English or Greek grammar that would indicate that hearing and learning must stay together? (sort of like the grammar rule for - Jesus, our God and Savior) -where God and Savior must refer back to the same subject, Jesus. In other words, can a person hear and not learn? I'm assuming the context means hear "spiritually" or a better wording - he that hath "understood" - i.e. the reason the person DOES hear and HAS learned, is because that person has been taught OF GOD.
I know the verse that says some are "always learning but never able to come to the truth" - but that is not a reference to being taught of God. So, bottom line. Can a person be taught of God, but still have not heard, and still not have learned?
2) The word "all". It doesn't say : All shall be taught of God. It says: *They* shall be *all* taught of God. In the OT reference this comes from – Isa 54:13, doesn't it speak of the "children" being the ones taught of God? So, bringing it back into the NT, is Christ referring to every single individual in the world, in an absolute sense, or is he referring to the elect?
It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
So, bottom line. If you hear, you will come. If you learn, you will come. = you are taught of God, you will come?
Thanks! God Bless
Response: Good to hear from you - let me get right to your questions:
1) Hearing in the Bible sometimes involves response ("He that has an ear, let him hear": Rev.2:7 et al.), but sometimes is carefully separated from understanding or belief ("You will be ever be hearing, but never understanding": Matt.13:14). In the second example, this is made clear by Jesus when He explains re: the parable of the sower the first category who "hear" but never "understand" (Matt.13:19), that is, never accept in faith what they have heard (cf. Lk.8:12 on this passage). The same Greek word is used in all these passages (akouo - the standard word for hear/listen from which we get "acoustics"). So the distinction must be interpreted from the context. In the passage you ask about, Jn.6:45, it is everyone who "has heard and has learned" = not only hearing the message, but truly receiving it into one's heart by faith. The audience Jesus is addressing in context here was on the point of rejecting Him and His message (cf. 6:42-44 and 6:66 - "From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him").
The Isaiah quote is particularly damning to those about to turn away from Him because they were indeed being taught by God, the Son of God Himself, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This teaching (they were listening) wouldn't do them any good because they were not believing (learning/understanding in Christian epistemology comes only through faith, that is, believing what is being taught).
2) On the Isaiah quote, I would make a small emendation to your translation for clarification sake and translate "They shall all be taught of God" (vice *They* shall be *all* taught of God). The "sons" in the Hebrew is generic (as often: "sons of Israel" = "Israelites"), so Jesus' translation is right to the point. In any case, this passage (as is clear from the context of Isaiah 54) is primarily referring to Christ's millennial kingdom, when "the world will be full of the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea" (Is.11:9). But here in John 6:45 we have the Messiah Himself, offering the kingdom and teaching the knowledge (to all who will receive it). Yet not everyone will (not everyone did, not everyone does). That is the point of "unless My Father draws them" (v.44) and why the knowledge or teaching essentially comes from the Father (v.45). All with a heart to believe (not just to hear), believe. All who despise God, reject Him even upon hearing the absolute truth from the lips of His very own Son. Even Jesus' perfect message did not "convince" all His listeners, because the responsibility for exercising faith lies in the heart of each one of us individually, a responsibility that is at the core of our essential freedom to face the ultimate issue in life: believe the truth God puts in our ears and be saved, or reject it (and so Him) and suffer the consequences.
Please see the links:
BB 3A: "The Image and Likeness of God"
Only-Begotten, Mother-of-God, On-this-Rock: English-only Interpretation is Dangerous.
Bible Interpretation: Interlinears, Academics, Versions et al.
How can we know whose interpretation of the Bible is right (Part 2)?
How can we know whose interpretation of the Bible is right (Part 1)?
Hope this is helpful!
Yours in Christ,