Archive for the ‘Gospel of John’ Category



From Ronald E. Man’s paper, “The Value of Chiasm for New Testament Interpretation” , here … (but ultimately attributable to Nils Wilhelm Lund in “The Significance of Chiasmus for Interpretation“, p. 106).

This chiasmus only covers the beginning of Jesus’ ‘High Priestly Prayer’, but I’ve included the entire prayer (John 17) in the post.  The prayer was prayed by Jesus shortly before his arrest – and crucifixion.

I like how the prayer begins with a chiasmus.  It’s something I’ve been noticing of late.  It seems as though there’s a number of Biblical books and passages that begin with a chiasmus (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 1-2).  Perhaps beginning a passage with a chiasmus was considered something beautiful – and significant? 

I like the way the chiasmus flows from the Father … to the Son … to mankind … and to eternal life.  Eternal life appears to be the central focus, and the ‘end game’ – the goal of the Father, achieved ultimately through the sacrificial death of the Son. 

This chiasmus also seems to summarize the basics of Christianity, and perhaps it was written as a chiasmus to make it easier to remember, or memorize. 

A Beautiful chiasmus.  A significant summary.  Memorable. 




1  These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said,

A    “Father,  /  the hour has come;  /  glorify Thy Son,

B    that the Son may glorify Thee,

C    2  even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him,

D    He may give eternal life.

D’   3  “And this is eternal life,

C’   that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.

B’   4  “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.

A’   5  “And now,  /  glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.


6  “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word.  7  “Now they have come to know that everything Thou hast given Me is from Thee;  8  for the words which Thou gavest Me I have given to them; and they received them, and truly understood that I came forth from Thee, and they believed that Thou didst send Me.  9  “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine;  10  and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.  11  “And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.  12  “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.  13  “But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves.  14  “I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  15  “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.  16  “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  17  “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.  18  “As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19  “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.  20  “I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;  21  that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.  22  “And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one;  23  I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.  24  “Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world.  25  “O righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee; and these have known that Thou didst send Me;  26  and I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them.”


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The following chiasmus is from p. 101 of John Breck‘s 2001 book, “Scripture in Tradition: the Bible and its Interpretation in the Orthodox Church“:


A    19 Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

B    20 “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel.

C    21 “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. 22 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

D    24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

D’   25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.

C’   26 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

B’   28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

A’   30 “I can do nothing on My own initiative. / As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

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