John 10:30 : I and the Father are One.

John 10:30 I and the Father are one. NASB

The Gospel of John has a unique place among New Testament writings. It has unique content as well as unique literary style. The fourth Gospel has similarities to the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, Luke) but John is largely unique. John record's no exorcisms or sitting with sinners. On the other hand the Synoptics do not contain the story of Nicodemus or the Samaritan woman. Scholars suggest that John's vocabulary is simple but containing undeniable theological significance. John has a repetitious style even utilizing parallelism's for emphasis (See John 14:27).

Translator and scholar Daniel A. Wallace notes quite clearly in his Greek Grammar that "there is an exalted Christology in the Fourth Gospel, to the point that Jesus Christ is identified as God (cf. 5:23; 8:58; 10:30; 20:28, etc).(1) Wallace is a Trinitarian but does identify John 10:30 to be a text which identifies Jesus as God. It is only in post-Biblical history and discussion that a full Trinitarian system and interpretation came about. After hammering away many years the Trinitarian interpretation finally emerged and this text began to be used to support such doctrine. It is a matter of Scripture and not necessarily history that decides what is said here though.

The Good Shepherd:

In John 10 we read of the Good Shepherd and the Sheep. In John the miracles of Christ preface a discussion about the person of Christ. The work of Jesus, while on earth, created discussion about His identity. Early in this chapter Christ is the Door (See also John 14:6) to the sheepfold and at the same time the Good Shepherd (John 10:3, 8). The Jews then desire a public statement from Jesus perhaps to entrap him. At any rate, he does not give them a direct answer. In 10:25 Jesus tells them that the things he has been telling them all along have been pointing to the fact that He is the Christ.

Christ even tells the Jews that His sheep listen to his voice (10:27) and that He gives them eternal life. Jesus gives eternal life? Wait. No mere mortal gives eternal life. No finite person is able to give such an infinite gift. Only God gives such life. Only God can give such a saving life that is efficacious for an infinite number of believers. God gave life to Adam and Eve. Therefore, He is the source of life. Jesus also says that the sheep will never be destroyed and no one can snatch them from his hand (10:28). No finite person is able to be guarantor of any such thing.

Early Jesus also makes an important distinction when he says that the Father is greater than all. Yet, Jesus also says I and the Father are one. John has already showed us that the Logos was "with" God and yet "was" God. The distinction between Father and Son are not in their being or in their person but in mode of existence. The distinction between the Father and Son is not produced by divine essence but as a result of the humanity of Christ. Jesus then says no one can snatch the sheep from the Father's hands either. No one or anything can snatch a believer from the hand of God. As noted earlier, it is no small matter for Jesus to suggest that no one can snatch believers from His own hand. This is so because Father and Son are the Good Shepherd. It is important to consider the Old Testament background such as Isaiah and the minor prophets to interpret the "I am" sayings. Isaiah 40:11 records:
Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. (Isa. 40:11)
The Shepherd of Isaiah is the same Shepherd of John and therefore the very context proves that the hand of the Father and the hand of the Son are one and the same. This further supports the "I am" sayings of Jesus as being connected with the same "I am" statements of Yahweh in the Old Testament (see Exodus 3:13-15; John 8:24; 58, etc) In Rev. 21:22 John's doxological praise of Jesus knows hardly any distinction. In Rev. 21:22 God and the Lamb form one subject using a singular verb. Therefore, to say that God and the Lamb are one and the same is not bad grammar. 

In The Lord From Heaven Leon Morris notes, "We are reminded of the way in which Paul so often does not put a difference between our Lord and the Father. So in the heavenly city, 'the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb' are the temple, and they are its light also."(2) For Melito of Sardis, writing in the latter half of the second century, it seems Jesus can be called Father and Son (On the Passover, 9-10) as well as Lamb and Almighty (On the Passover, 4; 45). Click here to read more quotes from Melito.

Plural verb:

As noted earlier in John 10:30 a plural verb ("are") is present. It is not surprising that a plural verb is used here. A plural verb is actually necessary. In the context of John 10 we read of Jesus and the Father. It is Jesus and the Father who are one. Jesus is also the one mediator who John is convinced is both of God and man. The word one here is in the neuter form. It would seem appropriate to have a masculine form here given the nouns Jesus and Father are masculine; however, such is not the case. Trinitarian scholars will suggest that the masculine form would prove the Father and Son are the same person. This is to admit however that gender cases identify person. If so, the masculine form is used in Gal. 3:20 and we could conclude that God is one person.

The plural verb is not present to impress upon us that two divine persons are in some way one divine essence. Colin Brown notes that John 10:30 "should not be interpreted to mean that the oneness of Jesus with the Father consists of the joining of two persons or beings who were formerly separated. We must understand it in the light of Jn. 14:9: "He who has seen me has seen the Father." In a Christian sense no one can speak of God unless he is speaking concretely of Jesus."(3) Recall that in John 10 Jesus refers to his hand as well as the hand of the Father.

Even if Christ were saying the Father and Son are the same person a plural verb would have been used. There is actually no need for inserting the pronoun "we" in John 10:30. The plural verb used by John here can be rendered as "we" but a "we" is usually supplied by the translators when the subject is not certain or vague. There is no such need with John 10:30 since it's clear that "I" is a personal pronoun forming as a subject and this subject is one with the subject "Father". 


This oneness Jesus claimed cannot be reduced to only oneness in agreement or purpose as we see in John 17:20-22. Jesus being one with the Father in saving Israel would not have illicited stoning. If that was all Christ asserted He would not have been accused of blasphemy. The claims of Jesus can only be considered blasphemous if he was not who he claimed to be. The pronouns or the neuter form of "one" used here is not that significant to the debate but worthy of our attention. One always means one. 

John does not use the masculine form of the numeral one however and switches to neuter possibly for emphasis and possibly because God does not have a gender. It can mean something like the Father and Son are one and the same. The same one as in the Shema of Israel (Deut. 6:4). 

Just because the word one here is in the neuter form does not mean that it must or can only refer to an impersonal thing (such as divine nature) and not person. In the Greek New Testament the neuter form of one is used of persons and living creatures (See Mark 9:37; Matt. 5:30; 18:14; 1 Cor. 3:8; Eph. 4:4 and Rev. 15:6). 

Plural of Identities:

A plural of identities could be seen here but not necessarily a plurality in person. In this very chapter Jesus is the door of the fold, the Shepherd, the doorkeeper and the Lamb of God. Even here Jesus has a plural of identities but not of person. Jesus then utters the simple but important words, "I and the Father are one." (NASB) Six words. Here Jesus does not say "I am the Father." There was more to be said and John does not gloss the distinction between Father and Son. Nor does it say that Jesus and the Father "share" one essence or that Jesus and the Father merely share a close fellowship as God to man.
The word order changes slightly when rendered in English from the Greek text. The immediate context is the single most important controlling factor. Not a pronoun or even a verb. Pronouns are words used to refer back to antecedent nouns. Their use is not to indicate a person necessarily. However, when the pronouns refers to a person the definition of person is not indicated. In many constructions nouns present can refer to persons who are separate or distinct beings. Jesus is saying that He is one with the Father but yet we realize they are distinct. This distinctions is produced by the humanity of Jesus Christ--God existing as a genuine human life.

Quite clearly the Shepherd is one person and is referred to as one person. The "one" in John 10:30 appears to have a meaning of absolute oneness. There is only one flock, one shepherd and we have already seen He is spoken of as a "He" (Isa. 40:11). The one flock is in Jesus' hand and in the Father's hand. The one flock cannot be in two places at once. So the Father's hand and the Son's hand must be the same place. If they both have the same hand, then they must both be the same person.

Here "hand" in the feminine form is used. It seems to be used figuratively but hand does not simply mean control or power. If so, then there would be two shepherds (if the Father and Son are two different persons). That would also set itself against what Jesus and the Old Testament had already said namely that there is only one Shepherd (John 10:16; Isa. 40:11).

Jesus makes at least seven "I am" statements that serve as descriptions of himself as the Son who makes the Father visible to the mortal eye. He is the Logos--God's self-revelation or self-expression (See John 1:1). In John 10:11 Jesus emphatically states, "I am the good shepherd." Jesus does not have in mind a general shepherd feeding the flock of a hillside. Here there is emphasis--"the good shepherd.". Jesus is the Good Shepherd.



1) Wallace, D.A. (1996) Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (267) Zondervan Grand Rapids, MI

2) Morris, Leon (1974) The Lord from Heaven (105-106) Intervarsity Press, London

3) Brown, Colin (1986) New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. Zondervan Grand Rapids, MI

Dr. James White and John 10:30

In a recent video Dr. James White, a Trinitarian apologist, created a video on interpreting John 10:30. Click here to see full video. Click here to go to his apologetics website. Dr. White is an excellent scholar and debater. I would agree with him in certain areas but not in all. John 10:30 is not one of those areas.

After mentioning the plural verb White then suggests that there are non-Trinitarian systems. In other words, the presence of a plural verb here proves more than one divine person for White. This is why he segues into a discussion about non-Trinitarian systems. As I point out in the following post that is not a grammatical reality. Oneness Pentecostals do not deny that there is a distinction between the Father and the Son. They do not however say they are different divine persons sharing the same divine nature. It seems that neither Christ's "other" experience with God or His oneness with the Father amount to a difference in person. 

White suggests the Father and Son are a package deal. How would one begin to describe that package? Any conceptual tool or any analogy White or any other Trinitarian can or will appeal to will be counterproductive if not contradictory. After watching the video it seems the Trinitarian interpretation is left up to the "hard work" or exegesis. A result of White's demands here it would seem clear then that the Trinity is taught nowhere explicitly in Scripture. It can only be seen after "hard work".

Does White mean then that the Trinity cannot be adequately understood from the English translations alone? Does this mean that the layman is now unable to speak certainly of the Trinity unless he has a Hebrew or Greek exegete? Prior to the translation of the Scripture into English such an idea may have been interesting or even normal. Not anymore, Dr. White. The meaning of the Scriptures are not beyond the common man.

James White affirms that John 10:30 teaches:

1. Teaches the deity of Christ
2. Is relevant to the relationship of the Father and Son
3. Really need to understand that there are different levels of our interpretation of Scripture. Meaning supernatural. We must do exegesis.

It seems White assumes exegesis leads to correction interpretation. If Christ is saying that He and the Father are two divine persons that are God then this was totally lost upon those who were standing by for this revelation was never repeated. Jesus is not saying that He is God who is with or beside another who is God the Father. The Jews would have probably suggested Jesus was advocating polytheism but that's not what they understood Jesus to be saying. They understood Jesus to be saying "...though only a human being, are making yourself God." (10:33 NRSV) or "being a man, make yourself God." (ESV) or "make yourself to be God!" (LEB) The word "God" in verse 33 is preceded by a definite article giving it personality. Jesus was not making Himself out to be God the Son. He was the God of Israel come in the flesh.

Once you've watched Dr. White's video you are ready to proceed. Click here to read my reply on interpreting John 10:30.


Quotes from On the Passover by Melito of Sardis

Melito lived and was perhaps bishop of Sardis during the latter half of the second century. He was an early Christian writer. Eusebius of Caesarea (Ecclesiastical History) identified him as such and even records that he interacted with Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Eusebius  lists about 20 books by Melito. Fragments of his writings as well as an almost complete text of On the Passover survive to this day. I did not find anything in On the Passover that indicated a separation of hypostasis or person between Father and Son in Melito's apparent and early Christocentric monotheism.

For Melito it seems Jesus can be called Father and Son (On the Passover, 9-10). The Lamb and the Almighty (On the Passover, 4; 45). The high doxological praise of Melito does not know the limits of popular Trinitarianism. In places Melito does distinguish the Word from the Father (105) but early modalists also distinguished the Word from the Father. We also find this in the Scriptures no less so we are not surprised. Melito also speaks of Jesus as the one who is "by nature both God and man."

Hereherehere, and here are links to more information about Melito. Melito's comments about Israel have been mistakenly viewed as anti-Semitic by some. Melito like every prophet before him, however, was unyielding in his rhetoric and crying out for Israel to repent and turn to God.

Oneness scholar David Bernard concludes, "Melito, bishop of Sardis, is quite intriguing. His writings do not display the same kind of philosophical thinking as the other Apologists...Although two statements of his seem to indicate a preexistent Son, it does not appear that Melito followed the concepts of the other Apologists but was much closer in thought to the Post-Apostolic writers. Unfortunately, we do not have enough of his writings to make a definitive judgment." (1)

Text below provided by Kerux from the NWT Journal. Click here to read full text online. Here are some select quotes from On the Passover.

4. The law is old, but the gospel is new; the type was for a time, but grace is forever. The sheep was corruptible, but the Lord is incorruptible, who was crushed as a lamb, but who was resurrected as God. For although he was led to sacrifice as a sheep, yet he was not a sheep; and although he was as a lamb without voice, yet indeed he was not a lamb. The one was the model; the other was found to be the finished product.
5. For God replaced the lamb, and a man the sheep; but in the man was Christ, who contains all things. 
8. ...the one who was born as Son, and led to slaughter as a lamb, and sacrificed as a sheep, and buried as a man, rose up from the dead as God, since he is by nature both God and man.
9. He is everything: in that he judges he is law, in that he teaches he is gospel, in that he saves he is grace, in that he begets he is Father, in that he is begotten he is Son, in that he suffers he is sheep, in that he is buried he is man, in that he comes to life again he is God.
10. Such is Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever. Amen.

31. O inexpressible mystery! the sacrifice of the sheep was found to be the salvation of the people, and the death of the sheep became the life of the people. For its blood warded off the angel.
32. Tell me, O angel, At what were you turned away? At the sacrifice of the sheep, or the life of the Lord? At the death of the sheep, or the type of the Lord? At the blood of the sheep, or the Spirit of the Lord? Clearly, you were turned away.
35. Beloved, no speech or event takes place without a pattern or design; every event and speech involves a pattern–that which is spoken, a pattern, and that which happens, a prefiguration–in order that as the event is disclosed through the prefiguration, so also the speech may be brought to expression through its outline.

39. Therefore, if it was like this with models of perishable objects, so indeed will it also be with those of imperishable objects. If it was like this with earthly things, so indeed also will it be with heavenly things. For even the Lord's salvation and his truth were prefigured in the people, and the teaching of the gospel was proclaimed in advance by the law.

45. For not in one place alone, nor yet in narrow confines, has the glory of God been established, but his grace has been poured out upon the uttermost parts of the inhabited world, and there the almighty God has taken up his dwelling place through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever. Amen.
57. Indeed, the Lord prearranged his own sufferings in the patriarchs, and in the prophets, and in the whole people of God, giving his sanction to them through the law and the prophets. For that which was to exist in a new and grandiose fashion was pre-planned long in advance, in order that when it should come into existence one might attain to faith, just because it had been predicted long in advance.

66. When this one came from heaven to earth for the sake of the one who suffers, and had clothed himself with that very one through the womb of a virgin, and having come forth as man, he accepted the sufferings of the sufferer through his body which was capable of suffering. And he destroyed those human sufferings by his spirit which was incapable of dying. He killed death which had put man to death.

96. The one who hung the earth in space, is himself hanged; the one who fixed the heavens in place, is himself impaled; the one who firmly fixed all things, is himself firmly fixed to the tree. The Lord is insulted, God has been murdered, the King of Israel has been destroyed by the right hand of Israel.

100. But he arose from the dead and mounted up to the heights of heaven. When the Lord had clothed himself with humanity, and had suffered for the sake of the sufferer, and had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned, and had been judged for the sake of the condemned, and buried for the sake of the one who was buried,

104. This is the one who made the heavens and the earth, and who in the beginning created man, who was proclaimed through the law and prophets, who became human via the virgin, who was hanged upon a tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from the dead, and who ascended to the heights of heaven, who sits at the right hand of the Father, who has authority to judge and to save everything, through whom the Father created everything from the beginning of the world to the end of the age.
105. This is the alpha and the omega. This is the beginning and the end–an indescribable beginning and an incomprehensible end. This is the Christ. This is the king. This is Jesus. This is the general. This is the Lord. This is the one who rose up from the dead. This is the one who sits at the right hand of the Father. He bears the Father and is borne by the Father, to whom be the glory and the power forever. Amen.


1. Bernard, David K. (1995) A History of Christian Doctrine,Volume One (56) Word Aflame Press

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)