John 5:39-40 - The Verses Project

Bible John 5:39-40

Posted November 04, 2013

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

These are some of the harsh words spoken by Jesus against those who claimed to know God but rejected Him. This passage teaches us a few things about Scripture:

The Scriptures alone are not life.

Though the Jewish leaders were serious about their study of the Scriptures, the reason they did so was fundamentally flawed. They were studying the Scriptures in order to gain eternal life, hoping for acceptance by God because of their works. Reading and studying the Bible (or any spiritual discipline for that matter) will never gain acceptance for us before God. Before you move on too quickly, think about your own life. After you read the Bible, do you think God accepts you more than before you did? If you don’t read the Bible, do you think God likes you less? May we never read the Bible seeking to gain righteousness before God!

The Scriptures bear witness about Jesus.

Jesus taught that the Old Testament bore witness about Him. In his commentary on John, D.A. Cason said, “By predictive prophecy, by type, by revelatory event and by anticipatory statute, what we call the Old Testament is understood to point to Christ, his ministry, his teaching, his death and resurrection.” May we learn to see Jesus throughout the Bible! All of the Bible ultimately points to Jesus who came to “fulfill the Law & the Prophets” (Matthew 5:17). He was the substance, while the rest were but shadows pointing to Him. When we read Scripture (particularly the Law and the Prophets), do we see them as pointing to Someone great, namely Jesus? Or do we have a hard time seeing the unity between the Old and New Testament? Dave Murray just released a book called “Jesus On Every Page” ( that might be of help for you in this area.

True “Bible study” leads us to faith in Jesus.

Finally, we must realize that true “Bible study” is ultimately study that leads us to Jesus. The Word of God should lead us to God Himself! The Scriptures are a witness to Jesus, pointing us to Him. When we read, may our hearts be responsive and attentive to Jesus. May we rely on the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds to understand and in turn empower our hands and feet to obey. May we never settle for clever ideas divorced from faith in Jesus and obedience to Him. May we never be guilty of studying the Scriptures yet refusing “to come to Me that you may have life.”


Song by Joel Limpic.
Recorded & mixed by Aaron Strumpel.
Artwork by Jonathan Lindsey (