“These Things I Have Said To You”: An Investigation Of How Purpose Clauses Govern The Interpretation Of John 14–16 -- By: Matt Searles

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 60:3 (Sep 2017)
Article: “These Things I Have Said To You”: An Investigation Of How Purpose Clauses Govern The Interpretation Of John 14–16
Author: Matt Searles


“These Things I Have Said To You”:
An Investigation Of How Purpose Clauses Govern The Interpretation Of John 14–16

Matt Searles*

* Matt Searles is Director of Training for the South Central Gospel Partnership, c/o St. Ebbe’s Church, 2 Roger Bacon Lane, Oxford, UK OX11QE. He is also pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He may be contacted at [email protected]

Abstract: The phrase ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν only occurs six times in the entire Bible, all of which are in John 14–16. This article argues that this phrase is a deliberate structural marker that concludes a section and—since often accompanied by ἵνα—indicates the purpose of Jesus’s teaching in that section. The first part of the article briefly considers this phrase and argues for its placement at the end of sections of the Last Discourse. The remainder of the article is a reading of the discourse according to the structure provided by this phrase, showing how each purpose statement should govern how the prior section is to be understood and applied. This is an approach taken by no mainstream commentator, and as such the goal of this article is to argue that the Last Discourse is best understood if these structural markers and purpose clauses are allowed to determine its application.

Key words: John’s Gospel, Last Discourse, purpose statements, authorial intent, structural markers, application, discipleship

The purpose statement in John 20:31 is well known, and commentators see it as significant in coloring the whole of the book and determining how it should be read.1 However, the Farewell Discourse also contains a number of purpose statements, which have received less attention.

The phrase ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν only occurs six times in the entire Bible, all of which are in John 14–16.2 Here I shall argue that this phrase is a deliberate structural marker that concludes a section and—since often accompanied by ἵνα—indicates the purpose of Jesus’s teaching in that section.3 This reading is not one followed by any of the major commentators, and as such warrants consideration in more detail.4 If the occurrences of this phrase are in...

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