Post 14 further examines John 20:30–31 (NASB95), which reads:
30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
My examination confirms the conclusion of Post 13:
No matter the purpose of the Fourth Gospel, according to John 20:31, the sole step necessary for salvation is the unbeliever believes (pisteuō) in Jesus Christ. Verse 31 does not imply or infer that water baptism is any way, shape or form a requirement for salvation.
John wrote that Jesus performed many miraculous signs not written in the Fourth Gospel. His statement in verse 30 sets the stage for verse 31a, which says that only some of the miraculous signs of Jesus were written in the Fourth Gospel. The purpose of what was written was so that “you may believe,” which is the NASB95 translation of pisteuō, and it means to consider something true and worthy of one’s trust. See Arndt et al. at p. 816. To have be salvific efficacy one’s believing must be that, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” It is beyond the scope of this article to unpack the mountain of theology in this expression. Suffice it to say that for an unbeliever to exercise biblical saving faith requires trust in certain essentials about Jesus Christ.
Verse 31b presents the results of an unbeliever exercising biblical saving faith: “you may have eternal life in His name.” Let’s look at the phrase “in His name” in more detail.
The NASB95 translates the Greek preposition ek as “in,” and it functions as a preposition of means to express the means of an action. See Lukaszewski. The NAB95 translates ho onoma as “name.” Ho is an attributive article which relates to the relevant noun in the sense of adding definiteness to its meaning. See Lukaszewski. Onoma is a Greek noun that has salvific efficacy in this content. At page 712, Arndt et al. reads [ in part]:
The belief in the efficacy of the name is extremely old; its origin goes back to the most ancient times and the most primitive forms of intellectual and religious life. It has exhibited an extraordinary vitality. The period of our lit. also sees—within as well as without the new community of believers—in the name someth. real, a piece of the very nature of the personality whom it designates, expressing the person’s qualities and powers. … The Judeo-Christians revere and use the name of God and, of course, the name of Jesus.
Kittel et al. (Little Kittel) describes at pages 698-699 the power and energy connected with the name of Jesus:
b. The fullness of Christ’s being and work may be seen in his name. The divinely given name “Jesus” expresses his humanity and his mission (Mt. 1:21). It implies “God with us” (1:23). The exalted name he receives is that of Son (Heb. 1:4). He is also called Lord (Phil. 2:9–10), which denotes divine equality and is the name above all others. Hence Jesus is Lord of lords. Revealing the divine dominion, he is also King of kings (Rev. 19:16). The unity of nature and name may be seen in Rev. 19:13 and Jn. 1:1. He alone knows his name in the sense that he alone knows the fullness of his relationship with God (Rev. 19:12). Jesus acts in God’s name as the Christ (Jn. 10:24–25). His coming again completes his work (Mt. 23:39). His name, then, embraces the whole content of God’s saving acts (1 Cor. 6:11). Justification and sanctification in his name relate not to the mere pronouncing of the name but to baptism in the sense of Rom. 6:1ff. Forgiveness is in his name (Acts 10:43; cf. 1 Jn. 1:7; 2:12). Life is given in his name, i.e., by entry into his sphere of action or the sphere of his person (Jn. 20:31). As Peter says, salvation is only in his name (Acts 4:12). Those who enter into it are to do all things and to give thanks for all things in this name (2 Th. 1:12; Col. 3:17; Eph. 5:20). His name is the hope of all peoples, although it may mean judgment as well as salvation (Jn. 3:18). The Father sends the Spirit in the name of Jesus (Jn. 14:16).
At p. 319, Borchert stresses that dynamic believing in the Person of Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation [emphasis added]:
But transformation of life for the evangelist is not based on mere acceptance of creedal formulations. That is the reason the evangelist completely avoided the use of the nouns for faith (pistis) and knowledge (gnōsis). Instead, his summary again contains only the verbal form for believing. Thus nothing less than a dynamic believing in the person of Jesus, who is both Christ and Son of God in the highest meaning of those terms, will be adequate for John. Moreover, nothing less than genuine believing that issues in life transformation will satisfy the evangelist’s goal for writing this Gospel.
Mills emphasizes that faith alone saves [emphasis added]:
This passage repeats the cardinal doctrine of the Church that a sinner is saved by faith alone in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. The resurrection is Christianity’s unique claim. No other religion offers this insight into life beyond the grave; no other religion extends this hope to its followers. This is so unique that it sets Christianity above all other religions and gives point and purpose to believing in Jesus Christ as Savior. There is every inducement to want to, if one understands and believes the significance of His resurrection.
In his writing John 20:30-31, John intended to convey to his audience that to possess eternal life an unbeliever must place their trust in Jesus Christ alone. Faith in Jesus + nothing = salvation.
An exegesis of John 20:30-31 shows that it was John’s intent to convey to his audience that through believing alone in the saving work of Jesus Christ they would possess salvation through His power.
The teaching of the correct interpretation of John 20:30-31 directly opposes the soteriological position that water baptism is a requirement for salvation.
Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). In A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed). University of Chicago Press.
Borchert, G. L. (2002). John 12–21 (Vol. 25B). Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). In Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume . W.B. Eerdmans.
Lukaszewski, A. L. (2007). The Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament Glossary. Lexham Press.
Mills, M. S. (1999). The Life of Christ: A Study Guide to the Gospel Record (Jn 20:30–31). 3E Ministries.
IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT YOUR SALVATION
If you are unsure about your salvation, you need to check out my book The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth (book link at Xulon Press: https://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781662828638 ). At Amazon the book link is https://www.amazon.com/Salavation-Meter-Biblical-Self-Diagnostic-Spiritual/dp/1662828632 . I also have a website in which I am updating the content in the book. The link to my website for the book is https://thesalvationmeter.com .
IF YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN
… please (1) read through “God’s Plan of Salvation” so you can understand what God did for you through His only unique Son, Jesus Christ, and (2), from the bottom of your heart, pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” meaning every word. If you do, you will be reconciled to God – saved – through Jesus Christ.
God’s Plan of Salvation
In the beginning, God, who is holy, created the entire universe. As a part of His creative actions, He made humans in His image to know Him. For a while, everything was right between God and our ancestors, Adam and Eve. But Adam sinned, and his sin was passed down to all of humankind whereby we became separated from God. Nothing we could do on our own could bridge that separation so that without God’s intervention, hell would be our eternal destination.
Fortunately for us, in His great love and mercy God provided humankind with the only means of salvation, which is through Jesus Christ who is God’s only unique Son. While retaining His deity, God the Son became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law Himself and taking on Himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever repent and trust in Him for their salvation. Jesus rose from the dead, showing that God the Father accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us has been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and trust alone in what Christ did to save us.
If we repent of our sins and completely trust in Christ alone that He died for our sins and rose to life from the dead, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.
Scripture References: Genesis 1:1, 27, 31; Habakkuk 1:13; Genesis 2:7, 18, 21-25; Genesis 3:1-7, 23-24; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:19-20, 23; 5:17-19; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:23; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 John 4:10; John 3:16-18; Mark 1:15; Romans 1:4; 4:25; John 3:5-8; 1 Peter 1:3.
Lord, Jesus Christ, the only unique Son of God, thank You for Your free gift of eternal life. I know I’m a sinner who cannot save myself no matter what I do, and I deserve to spend eternity in hell. But, I know that because You loved me so much, You voluntarily died on the cross for me taking my sins upon Yourself, and You physically bodily rose from the grave showing that Your sacrificial death was sufficient payment to give me eternal life in Heaven. I now repent of my sins and trust alone in what You did for my eternal salvation. Please take control of my life as I now receive You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You so much for saving me. I am now Yours forever! (Scripture references: John 1:1-4, 11-14; John 3:16; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:21-26; Isaiah 53:4-6; Mark 1:15; Acts 16:31; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9-10, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; John 10:27-29).
Upon your salvation, you must find a spiritually solid Bible-believing church that (1) teaches that the sixty-six books of the Bible are the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God, (2) believes in the doctrine of the Trinity, which means that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and each Person is fully God, and (3) teaches that salvation is by grace through faith and not by works (e.g., water baptism by immersion).
ONE CAUTIONARY POINT. Please do not make the mistake of thinking that once you become a Christian, your life will become easy. Most likely, it will become more difficult. God’s blessing of salvation and life’s difficulties are not mutually exclusive. Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” John 15:18 (NLT). Always keep in mind that you have an eternal home in heaven waiting for you per John 14:2–4 (NLT):
2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
NOTICE OF PERMISSIONS
I am mindful of and respect the rights other authors and/or publishers possess in their works. I thus try my best to not violate any copyright rights other authors and/or publishers possess in their works. The below copyright permission statement is the result of my best efforts to understand that limited usage or “fair use” is available and/or to secure direct permission for specific works. The quotations from commentaries are considered to be “fair use.”
Scripture quotations marked “ESV” are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture marked “NASB95” are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”
Scripture marked “NCV” is taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
The Scriptures marked “NET” are quoted are from the NET Bible® http://netbible.com copyright ©1996, 2019 used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved”.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture marked “GW” is taken from the God’s Word Bible that is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission.