Daily Word

Hyperbole or exaggeration | John 21:25

25 Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written. 

John 21:25 (NLT)

Hyperbole or exaggeration

As John ends his gospel, he makes this statement which continues his thought from John 20:30. Is John making a false claim? “This figure of speech is commonly the effect of surprise, or having the mind full of some object, and not having words to express the ideas: at the same time, the words convey no falsehood.”  (Barnes’ commentary) If anyone doesn’t believe it, they’ll know it’s true after they pass out of this world!

And how could a mere fisherman write such an amazing book that clearly demonstrates Jesus is Messiah, the Son of God, very God? Barnes’ commentary goes on to say, “But if John has preserved the record of what has occurred so many years before, then it shows that he was under the divine guidance, and is himself a proof, a full and standing proof, of the fulfillment of the promise which he has recorded– that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth, Jn 14:26.” 

“With this delightful hyperbole he lets us see that there is much more about Jesus than we know.” (Morris, quoted in enduringword.com)

Summary of John

John is simple to understand yet also presents depths of riches of the knowledge of God. John is often referred to as, “a pool in which a child may wade and an elephant may swim.” John 20:31 summarize John’s reason for writing: “…but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (ESV)”

ESV.org records the key themes of the book:

  1. Jesus. Jesus is God, the “I am.” He existed before the creation of the world, and he has supernatural knowledge. He fulfills the Jewish festivals and institutions. As the sent Son of God, he reflects the Sender. Signs and witnesses demonstrate that he is the Messiah.
  2. The Trinity. Father, Son, and Spirit are united in their work of revelation and redemption.
  3. Salvation. God is sovereign in salvation. Jesus’ death is the basis of salvation, which is obtained through believing in the living Jesus as the Son of God
  4. Eternal Life. Jesus is the giver of eternal life. Believers can experience some of salvation’s benefits during this present evil age.
  5. Mission. Believers are called to continue Jesus’ mission.


  • Some day, as a believer in what John has recorded, in Jesus as Messiah, we’ll be able to meet John in person and ask him what it was like to live with Jesus on earth. 
Exaggeration. The one that got away Image from www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk *

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