Q & R: John 14:6

Q: I recently had to teach a class on John 14:6 and did some extensive research, but couldnt put my fingers on just the right approach. I googled this and your paper came up. I have used it in my study and my teaching and have found your ideas extremely helpful. I just do not believe this passage the way most Christians do and want to wide student’s ideas about a new vision for this chapter.
Thanks for sharing these insights. You have helped me tremendously.

Thanks. I reworked that material into an important chapter in my upcoming book, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions that are Transforming the Faith. The passage is often used to answer the question, “How do we relate to people of other religions?” But a careful reading of the verse (“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”) in its immediate and broader context shows that its most likely meaning is almost the opposite of the way it’s commonly used. Who is Jesus speaking to? What specific question is he answering? What does “come to the Father” mean? What do way, truth, and life mean? What’s the dramatic setting for the statement? (If people think the answers to those questions are either immaterial or self-evident, I don’t think they’ve really struggled with the text, nor have they taken seriously what is for John an extremely important statement – namely, John 6:63 in relation to 6:55 … Jesus speaks on a “spirit” level and people hear/read him on a “flesh” level. This theme goes way back to 3:6.) What a fascinating gospel we have in John! Working on a close and comprehensive reading of John for that chapter in the book constantly moved me to wonder, amazement, and worship.