The Meaning of John 6:11 Explained

John 6:11

KJV: And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

YLT: and Jesus took the loaves, and having given thanks he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those reclining, in like manner, also of the little fishes as much as they wished.

Darby: And Jesus took the loaves, and having given thanks, distributed them to those that were set down; and in like manner of the small fishes as much as they would.

ASV: Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down; likewise also of the fishes as much as they would.

What does John 6:11 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Jesus first thanked God for the food in prayer, as pious Jews normally did (cf. John 6:23). In this He set a good example. We should give thanks for what we have, and God will make it go farther. Jesus multiplied the food evidently as he broke it apart and distributed it to the people. John stressed the lavishness of Jesus" supply. The Son of God has always been the perfectly sufficient provider of people"s needs.
John probably did not intend that we make connections with the Lord"s Supper. He omitted references that would have obviously connected the two meals such as the breaking of the bread and the distribution of the pieces. And there is no mention of drink. John omitted referring to the disciples" role in assisting Jesus by serving the people, probably to keep Jesus central in the narrative. Obviously there is nothing in the text to support the popular liberal interpretation that the miracle consisted of Jesus making the people willing to share their food.

Context Summary

John 6:1-14 - The Multitude Satisfied With Food
In this chapter we have a further illustration of John's method in selecting for his purpose the miracles which became the texts of our Lord's discourses. These multitudes had evidently gathered on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover; and the imminence of that great festival, when the worshipers not only sacrificed but partook of the slain lamb, gave point to much that our Lord said after this memorable feeding of the multitude.
Christ often tests us to see what we shall say and do in the presence of overwhelming difficulty, but He always knows the way out. We at once begin to calculate our paltry resources, and to confess their inadequacy. We come back to explain that when we have done our utmost, we can provide very little. Then He steps in, determined that everyone shall be filled, with an ample supply left over. He makes His guests sit down in comfort on the grass, because there is plenty of time, as well as an abundance of food, for a happy and comfortable meal. We must bring Him what we have, however slender; must enter into His great plan and arrange the people for the banquet; must distribute the food and gather up the broken pieces. The world is to be fed by the cooperation of Christ and His Church. [source]

Chapter Summary: John 6

1  Jesus feeds five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes
15  Thereupon the people would have made him king;
16  but withdrawing himself, he walks on the sea to his disciples;
26  reproves the people flocking after him, and all the fleshly hearers of his word;
32  declares himself to be the bread of life to believers
66  Many disciples depart from him
68  Peter confesses him
70  Judas is a devil

Greek Commentary for John 6:11

The loaves [τους αρτους]
Those of John 6:9. Having given thanks The usual grace before meals (Deuteronomy 8:10). The Synoptics use “blessed” ευλογησεν — eulogēsen (Mark 6:41; Matthew 14:19; Luke 9:16). He distributed First aorist active indicative of διαδιδωμι — diadidōmi old verb to give to several To them that were set down Present middle participle (dative case) of ανακειμαι — anakeimai old verb to recline like αναπεσειν — anapesein in John 6:10. As much as they would Imperfect active of τελω — thelō “as much as they wished.” [source]
Given thanks []
All the Synoptists relate his looking up to heaven and blessing. Perhaps he used the familiar formula, “Blessed art thou Jehovah our God, King of the world, who causes to come forth bread from the earth.” [source]
To the disciples, and the disciples []
The best texts omit. Render, as Rev., He distributed to them that were set down. [source]
Likewise of the fishes []
So also Mark. [source]
As much as they would []
Peculiar to John. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for John 6:11

John 11:41 So they took away the stone [ηραν ουν τον λιτον]
First aorist active indicative of αιρω — airō but without the explanatory gloss of the Textus Receptus “from the place where the dead was laid” (not genuine). I thank thee that thou heardest me See John 6:11 for ευχαριστεω — eucharisteō Clearly Jesus had prayed to the Father concerning the raising of Lazarus. He has the answer before he acts. “No pomp of incantation, no wrestling in prayer even; but simple words of thanksgiving, as if already Lazarus was restored” (Dods). Jesus well knew the issues involved on this occasion. If he failed, his own claims to be the Son of God (the Messiah), would be hopelessly discredited with all. If he succeeded, the rulers would be so embittered as to compass his own death. [source]
John 21:9 Got out [απεβησαν]
As in Luke 5:2. They see Vivid historical present. A fire of coals See John 18:18 for this word. Cf. our “anthracite.” There Lying as placed, present middle participle of κειμαι — keimai Fish As in John 6:9, John 6:11, like προσπαγιον — prosphagion above. Laid thereon So broiling with bread ready (toast). [source]
John 6:9 A lad here [παιδαριον ωδε]
Old word, diminutive of παις — pais here only in N.T., not genuine in Matthew 11:16. How he came to have this small supply we do not know. Barley Adjective, here and John 6:13 only in N.T., in the papyri, from κριτη — krithē barley (Revelation 6:6). Considered an inferior sort of bread. Fishes Late diminutive of οπσον — opson common in papyri and inscriptions for delicacies with bread like fish. In N.T. only here, John 6:11; John 21:9-13. Synoptics have ιχτυας — ichthuas f0). [source]

What do the individual words in John 6:11 mean?

Took then the loaves - Jesus and having given thanks He distributed to those reclining likewise also of the fish as much as they wished
Ἔλαβεν οὖν τοὺς ἄρτους Ἰησοῦς καὶ εὐχαριστήσας διέδωκεν τοῖς ἀνακειμένοις ὁμοίως καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὀψαρίων ὅσον ἤθελον

Ἔλαβεν  Took 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: λαμβάνω  
Sense: to take.
ἄρτους  loaves 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: ἄρτος  
Sense: food composed of flour mixed with water and baked.
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Ἰησοῦς  Jesus 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: Ἰησοῦς  
Sense: Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses’ successor.
εὐχαριστήσας  having  given  thanks 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: εὐχαριστέω  
Sense: to be grateful, feel thankful.
διέδωκεν  He  distributed 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: διαδίδωμι  
Sense: to distribute, divide among several.
τοῖς  to  those 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Plural
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀνακειμένοις  reclining 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Middle or Passive, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: ἀνάκειμαι  
Sense: to lie at a table, eat together, dine.
ὁμοίως  likewise 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ὁμοίως  
Sense: likewise, equally, in the same way.
καὶ  also 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: καί  
Sense: and, also, even, indeed, but.
ὀψαρίων  fish 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: ὀψάριον  
Sense: fish.
ὅσον  as  much  as 
Parse: Personal / Relative Pronoun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: ὅσος  
Sense: as great as, as far as, how much, how many, whoever.
ἤθελον  they  wished 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: θέλω  
Sense: to will, have in mind, intend.