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Answering The Atheist
November 10, 2002 / Volume 2, Issue 45

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
We are told that Jesus did not bear witness to himself (John 5:31), and yet, we are also told that Jesus did bear witness to himself (John 8:14, 18). Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
Let us consider what the texts in question say:

John 5:31
If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.

John 8:14, 18
Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going... I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.'

Jesus did not say in John 5:31 that he would not bear witness to himself, nor did he say that his own witness would be false. Rather, his own witness would not be sufficient evidence to necessitate belief. Thus, He identifies in the context other witnesses (the Father, John, His works). These are adequate evidence of His claim as the Son of God. The text in John 8 is much similar, in that Jesus does not rely solely upon his own witness. The Father bears witness to the Son.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible, but original article is no longer listed