What does this mean?

John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written”

It’s a giant loophole for the church to invent something that Jesus did if they ever felt the need. Basically if someone questioned something then people could always point to this and say - maybe Jesus did it, we just don’t know.

Hi sweetest_insanity,

I disagree. The first time the Gospel of John comes to a close, he writes clearly his purpose:
John 20
30 Many indeed, therefore, other signs also did Jesus before his disciples, that are not written in this book;
31 and these have been written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye may have life in his name.’

It is nonsense to believe that the Gospels were ‘adjusted’ for later Generations to manipulate. The very fact that the Gospel closes twice, in Jo. 20:31 and Jo. 21.25, is an indication that it wasn’t edited to read smoothly. There may have been attempts later to manipulate the Bible, but they were mostly very blunt and Philologists know where this occured. Modern Bibles have clear remarks that words and sentences or, in this occaision, an ‘Epilogue’ was added later.

I have taken it to mean that the ‘Evangelist’ has written a Gospel following a clear concept and has only included material that fits. There is other Material which could make up other books, but he had resolved to call it a day (perhaps out of old age) with this one.


It means that the evangelist had a purpose for his writing, and that purpose wasn’t to record all the works of Jesus.

If I wrote something like that, I would mean

“There’s many other things I could describe as well, but this narrative has to end at some point, and I believe I’ve covered everything truly vital.”

It’s either:

A) laziness, and they didn’t want to write down everything christ “did”

B) a loophole that if asked if christ did that they could say “yep”

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment;
Cleverness is mere opinion,
bewilderment intuition.
Rumi - (Islam)


It means that there are much much more things that we do not, and perhaps even cannot, know.

It means that what is written is already sufficient for John’s purposes, which is tell us who Jesus is.

It means that John is using a hyperbole to express the magnitude of the things that Jesus did, and not literally, ie not everything in the bible is literal.For if Jesus lived say 33 years and did 1 act in every second that he was awake, which, at the maximum, was 24 hrs a day, then the number of things Jesus could have done was 246060*33, or merely 2,851,200 things. And if each thing needs a book to be written, then you only need some 3 million books to write it all.

Someone have asked the question, how many books are there in the world. It seems there are 65 million titles. But I think there’s much more.

The Library of Alexandria, established in the 3rd century BC was estimated to have held 700,000 scrolls at its maximum.
Oops! Error in the calculations: should be 246060*365*33 = 1,040,688,000, ie closer to 1 billion books as a upper limit.

Not so much what he did, but if you wish to know what he said I suggest the Gospel of Thomas in the Nag Hammadi Library might be of interest.

Why? They’re much less credible than the Gospels, and deviate from Christian tradition substantially.

I would disagree on the issue of credibility. Surely 119 supposed direct quotes from the great man, by somebody who knew and associated with him, would be worthy of intense study by those who claim to be his followers.

Just because they deviate from tradition should not act as a deterent. Tradition is precisely that, tradition.

It is also certain that the Gospel of Thomas has not undergone any re-translations in the last 1500 years and has therefore not, in that time, been readjusted to suit any preconcieved ideas.

[i]If[/i] that's what they are.  We don't have any hard evidence that they were written before 200 AD, and we have records of the GoT being refered to as a forgery (not a heresy, a forgery) as early as the 5th century.  They certainly should be a subject of intense study, the results of that study is why I wouldn't consider them as credible as the traditional Gospels. 

It’s original authorship is what’s in doubt. Besides, the Gospels have more manuscript data, and older manuscript data than the GoT anyway.

Ah Bob, speaking in riddles again. Insulting my cleverness. I like.

Another possibility is the legendary aspect of christ in many stories of legendary people, such statements are written down, to truly make the “hero” fifty feet tall.

raising the dead, casting demons into pigs and walking on water. Surely it’s possible with enough faith mind over matter and all. But

“surely this generation will not pass before these things happen”

I say to you that their generation did pass, and several 100 other generations.

So in my opinion:

Christ was a great “rabbi”

His teachings became legendary, and before you knew it after leaving a town he was battling temptation against the devil (how would anyone besides christ have seen that?) Walking on water, feeding the multitudes with just a loaf of bread etc etc etc.

So in a way he was more than a great rabbi, in that he influenced people so strongly. But God - man? I doubt it.

Again, here we have to discern whether we accept that the texts are speaking figuratively or using legendary narrative style in order to bring over content that would otherwise be lost. It may well be that we, if we lived in those times and having experienced Jesus, would have spoken of him as a godly man, in whom God ‘dwelt’ and spoke. Seventy years later, after extensive development of churches and experience with the ‘Way’, after the exile of hundreds of thousands out of Israel, in the turmoil of living without citizenship in the Rome Empire, the following generations have no personal experience of Jesus, the Apostles are dead - our language may have become more mystical and legendary.

There are thousands of reasons for the things we do - why can’t there be equally as many for the things people have done in the past? I agree that the literal understanding of scripture often leads us astray and even to the opposite of what was meant. But we do not have to burn the books - but instead we should try to understand them.