The Meaning of John 6:60 Explained

John 6:60

KJV: Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

YLT: many, therefore, of his disciples having heard, said, 'This word is hard; who is able to hear it?'

Darby: Many therefore of his disciples having heard it said, This word is hard; who can hear it?

ASV: Many therefore of his disciples, when the heard this , said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?

What does John 6:60 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Considerable discussion followed Jesus presentation of Himself as the Bread of Life. John noted the responses of many people who were following Jesus around, then the response of the Twelve, and finally the response of most of the Jews. What followed probably happened in the adjoining courtyard, or outside the synagogue, or perhaps inside after Jesus had concluded His discourse.
Not only "the Jews" ( John 6:52) but many of Jesus" followers found His teaching about the Bread of Life offensive (Gr. skleros, difficult or hard). The term "disciple" is not synonymous with "believer," as should be patently clear in the Gospels. In John 6:64 Jesus said that some of these "disciples" did not believe. Some of Jesus" disciples were believers, but many of them were following Him to learn from Him and to decide if He was the Messiah or not. This teaching persuaded many in this seeker category to abandon this Rabbi. Some of them undoubtedly wanted the physical benefits of Jesus" messianism but had little interest in spiritual matters (cf. John 6:14-15; John 6:26; John 6:30-31). Others could not see beyond Jesus" humanity to His true identity ( John 6:41-46). Others probably could not accept Jesus" claim to be greater than Moses ( John 6:32-33; John 6:58). Still others may have found Jesus" language offensive, particularly His references to eating flesh and drinking blood ( John 6:53-54).

Context Summary

John 6:60-71 - The Sifting Of Jesus' Followers
The teaching of this chapter involves a deliberate act of Christ to arrest the revolutionary movement that was gathering around His person and making Him its figure-head, John 6:15. He therefore set Himself to teach that these people had misconceived the meaning of His ministry, which was not intended to raise a standard of revolt against Rome, but to lead to a spiritual revolution. The effect of His words was precisely what he expected, and must have shattered any ambitions that had begun to stir in the hearts of His disciples. In John 6:41 the men who the night before wished to crown Him, murmured at Him. In John 6:52 they strove among themselves. In John 6:60 many of His disciples said that His sayings were hard to be understood, and still harder to be obeyed. In John 6:66 many went back. And now as the shades of evening began to fall and the synagogue was almost empty, he was left alone with the little company of twelve, who had sorrowfully watched the overthrow of their hopes. Christ's pathetic question-Will ye also go away?-elicited from Peter a reply which proved that the inner meaning of His words had already broken upon their souls. "Thy words give us and nourish within us the eternal life."
The questions on Section 1-28, to be found on pp. 232, 233, will serve as a review at this point. [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 6:60

A hard saying [σκληρος]
“This saying is a hard one.” Old adjective, rough, harsh, dried hard (from σκελλω — skellō to dry), probably the last saying of Jesus that he was the bread of life come down from heaven and they were to eat him. It is to be hoped that none of the twelve joined the many disciples in this complaint. Hear it Or “hear him,” hear with acceptation. For ακουω — akouō with the genitive see John 10:3, John 10:16, John 10:27. [source]
Hard [σκληρός]
See on Matthew 25:24; see on Judges 1:14. According to the Greek order, hard is this saying. [source]
Hear it [αὐτοῦ ἀκούειν]
Αὐτοῦ may be rendered Him, but this is not probable. Hear means a docile hearing, with a view to receiving what is heard. Compare John 10:3, John 10:16, John 10:27; John 12:47; John 18:37. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for John 6:60

John 17:8 The words [τὰ ῥήματα]
Compare thy word ( λόγον ), John 17:6. That signified the gospel message in its entirety. This, the message considered in its constituent parts. See on Luke 1:37. Compare John 5:38, John 5:47; John 6:60, John 6:63, John 6:68; John 8:43, John 8:47, John 8:51; John 12:47, John 12:48; John 15:3, John 15:7. [source]
John 10:19 There was a division [σχίσμα ἐγένετο]
Rev., more correctly, there arose. The word σχίσμα , division, from σχίζω , to cleave, describes a fact which continually recurs in John's narrative. See John 6:52, John 6:60, John 6:66; John 7:12, John 7:25sqq.; John 8:22; John 9:16, John 9:17; John 10:19, John 10:24, John 10:41; John 11:37sqq.; John 12:19, John 12:29, John 12:42; John 16:18, John 16:19. [source]
John 10:19 There arose a division again [σχισμα παλιν εγενετο]
As in John 7:43 in the crowd (also in John 7:12, John 7:31), so now among the hostile Jews (Pharisees) some of whom had previously professed belief in him (John 8:31). The direct reference of παλιν — palin (again) may be to John 9:16 when the Pharisees were divided over the problem of the blind man. Division of opinion about Jesus is a common thing in John‘s Gospel (John 6:52, John 6:60, John 6:66; John 7:12, John 7:25.; John 8:22; John 9:16.; John 10:19, John 10:24, John 10:41; John 11:41.; John 12:19, John 12:29, John 12:42; John 16:18.). [source]
John 8:37 Yet ye seek to kill me [αλλα ζητειτε με αποκτειναι]
As at the recent feast (John 7:20, John 7:25, John 7:30, John 7:32; John 8:20). Some of these very professed believers were even now glowering with murderous vengeance. Hath not free course in you Intransitive use of χωρεω — chōreō old verb from χωρος — chōros (space, place), to have space or room for. They would not abide in Christ‘s word (John 8:31). They had no longer room for his word when once they understood the spiritual aspect of his message. Jerusalem was now just like Galilee once before (John 6:60-66). [source]
Jude 1:14 Hard [τῶν σκληρῶν]
Speeches is supplied. Lit., hard things. So Rev. The railing, gainsaying; the profane and vain bab blings (2 Timothy 2:16). Compare John 6:60, a hard saying, where the word means not abusive but difficult. In James 3:4, rough, used of the winds. In Acts 26:14, of Saul of Tarsus; “hard to kick against the pricks.” [source]
Jude 1:15 To convict [ελεγχαι]
First aorist (effective) active infinitive like ποιησαι — poiēsai before it.Ungodly (ασεβεις — asebeis). See Judges 1:4 and end of this verse.Of ungodliness Old word as in Romans 1:18, plural in Judges 1:18 as in Romans 11:26.Which (ων — hōn). Genitive by attraction from α — ha (cognate accusative with ησεβησαν — ēsebēsan old verb, to act impiously, here alone in N.T. save some MSS. in 2 Peter 2:6) to agree with the antecedent εργων — ergōn (deeds).Hard things Harsh, rough things as in John 6:60.Which (ων — hōn). Genitive by attraction from α — ha (object of ελαλησαν — elalēsan first aorist active indicative of λαλεω — laleō) to the case of the antecedent σκληρων — sklērōn Four times in this verse as a sort of refrain ασεβεις — asebeis (twice), ασεβειασ ησεβησαν — asebeiasēsebēsan f0). [source]
Jude 1:15 Of ungodliness [ασεβειας]
Old word as in Romans 1:18, plural in Judges 1:18 as in Romans 11:26.Which (ων — hōn). Genitive by attraction from α — ha (cognate accusative with ησεβησαν — ēsebēsan old verb, to act impiously, here alone in N.T. save some MSS. in 2 Peter 2:6) to agree with the antecedent εργων — ergōn (deeds).Hard things Harsh, rough things as in John 6:60.Which (ων — hōn). Genitive by attraction from α — ha (object of ελαλησαν — elalēsan first aorist active indicative of λαλεω — laleō) to the case of the antecedent σκληρων — sklērōn Four times in this verse as a sort of refrain ασεβεις — asebeis (twice), ασεβειασ ησεβησαν — asebeiasēsebēsan f0). [source]
Jude 1:15 Hard things [σκληρων]
Harsh, rough things as in John 6:60.Which (ων — hōn). Genitive by attraction from α — ha (object of ελαλησαν — elalēsan first aorist active indicative of λαλεω — laleō) to the case of the antecedent σκληρων — sklērōn Four times in this verse as a sort of refrain ασεβεις — asebeis (twice), ασεβειασ ησεβησαν — asebeiasēsebēsan f0). [source]

What do the individual words in John 6:60 mean?

Many therefore having heard of the disciples of Him said Difficult is the word this who is able it to hear
Πολλοὶ οὖν ἀκούσαντες ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ εἶπαν Σκληρός ἐστιν λόγος οὗτος τίς δύναται αὐτοῦ ἀκούειν

Πολλοὶ  Many 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: πολύς  
Sense: many, much, large.
ἀκούσαντες  having  heard 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἀκουστός 
Sense: to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf.
μαθητῶν  disciples 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: μαθητής  
Sense: a learner, pupil, disciple.
αὐτοῦ  of  Him 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
εἶπαν  said 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: λέγω  
Sense: to speak, say.
Σκληρός  Difficult 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: σκληρός  
Sense: hard, harsh, rough, stiff.
λόγος  word 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: λόγος  
Sense: of speech.
οὗτος  this 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
δύναται  is  able 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: δύναμαι  
Sense: to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom.
ἀκούειν  to  hear 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Active
Root: ἀκουστός 
Sense: to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf.