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John 11 is the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It records the raising of Lazarus from the dead, a miracle of Jesus Christ and subsequent development of the plot against Jesus.[1] The book containing this chapter is anonymous, but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that John composed this Gospel.[2]

John 11
Papyrus 6 (John 11,45).JPG
John 11:45 in Papyrus 6, written about AD 350.
BookGospel of John
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part4



John 11:1–8
John 11:45
John 11:46–52
Fragments of Papyrus 6 (c. AD 350)

The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 57 verses.

Textual witnessesEdit

Some early manuscripts containing this chapter are:


Events recorded in this chapter refer to the following locations:

Lazarus of BethanyEdit

Verse 1Edit

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.[4]

Chapter 10 ended with Jesus leaving Jerusalem as the Jews threatened to stone him, and travelling to the east of the river Jordan. The evangelist's introduction of Lazarus of Bethany at this point (John 11:1) leads to the discussion of whether Jesus should return to Judea (Jerusalem) in the face of the growing plot against Him. Mary and her sister Martha appear to have been better known than their brother Lazarus, as he is introduced by reference to them. Theologian Joseph Benson therefore suggests that "It is probable [that] Lazarus was younger than his sisters".[5] The sisters send messengers to Jesus, so his location cannot have been entirely secret, "firmly expect[ing] that he, who had cured so many strangers, would willingly come and give health to one whom he so tenderly loved".[6] The words of their message made reference only to Lazarus' sickness, leaving unexpressed "(but ... to be inferred) the consequent, therefore come to our help".[7] Bengel notes that John often expects the reader to make such inferences, such as in John 2:3: "When they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto Him, 'They have no wine' [leaving the consequent unexpressed, but implied, Do Thou relieve them]".[8] Commentators generally [9] understand that the sisters expected Jesus would come to Bethany despite the personal danger to Himself, with which His disciples were more concerned (John 11:8), although Exclusive Brethren theologian John Nelson Darby notes that "He might have said the word, as in the case of the centurion, and of the sick child at the beginning of this Gospel (John 4:46-53)".[10]

Twelve hours in the dayEdit

In reply to the disciples' concerns about Jesus returning to Judea, where very recently (Greek: νῦν), 'just now' (English Standard Version) or 'lately' (New King James Version) the Jews had wanted to stone Him, He answered:

"Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." (John 11:9-10, NKJV)

The νῦν shows that they had not been long in Peraea on the east of the Jordan.[11] The Jews divided the day from sunrise to sunset into twelve equal parts".[12] Heinrich Meyer suggests that "the sense of the allegorical answer is this: 'The time appointed to me by God for working is not yet elapsed; as long as it lasts, no one can do anything to me; but when it shall have come to an end, I shall fall into the hands of my enemies, like him who walketh in the night, and who stumbleth, because he is without light'. In this way Jesus sets aside the anxiety of His disciples, on the one hand, by directing their attention to the fact that, as His time is not yet expired, He is safe from the apprehended dangers; and, on the other, by reminding them (John 11:10) that He must make use of the time apportioned to Him, before it come to an end".[13]

Location of BethanyEdit

Verse 18Edit

Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off[14]

The evangelist tells his readers where Bethany is in relation to Jerusalem: 15 furlongs or (Greek: 15 stadia) is about 2 miles (3.2 km). Some translations say "not quite two miles".[15] This Bethany is clearly distinguished from the Bethany beyond the Jordan where John the Baptist baptised, mentioned in John 1:28.[16]

Dialogue between Jesus and MarthaEdit

Verses 25–26Edit

25Jesus said to her (Martha), "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live".
26"And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"[17]

In verse 27, "Martha expresses a complete faith in Jesus":[16]

"Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who was expected to come into the world."

This is the faith which the evangelist himself wants to promote",[16] and which is his sole purpose in composing his gospel: These miracles have been written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and so that you will have life by believing in him (John 20:31).

Verse 35Edit

New King James Version

Jesus wept.[18]

The plot to kill JesusEdit

Verses 45-57 enlarge upon the threat to kill Jesus which has been developing over several chapters: John 5:16-18 and 7:1 relate the Jews' intention to have him killed when an opportunity might arise; verses 8:59 and 10:31 indicate more impulsive action: "they took up stones ... to stone Him". According to verse 47, "the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council" (Greek: συνέδριον, synedrion or Sanhedrin). Kieffer notes that "the main concern of the council is to avoid the destruction of the holy place (which at the time the evangelist wrote had already happened)".[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Halley, Henry H. Halley's Bible Handbook: an Abbreviated Bible Commentary. 23rd edition. Zondervan Publishing House. 1962.
  2. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  3. ^ Aland, Kurt; Aland, Barbara (1995). The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Erroll F. Rhodes (trans.). Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-8028-4098-1.
  4. ^ John 11:1 NKJV
  5. ^ Benson Commentary on John 11, accessed 27 May 2016, cf. Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament on John 11, accessed 28 May 2016
  6. ^ Benson Commentary on John 11, accessed 27 May 2016
  7. ^ Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament on John 11, accessed 28 May 2016
  8. ^ Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament on John 11, accessed 28 May 2016
  9. ^ e.g. Meyer, NT Commentary on John 11, accessed 28 May 2016
  10. ^ Darby's Bible Synopsis on John 11, accessed 28 May 2016
  11. ^ Expositor's Greek Testament on John 11, accessed 29 May 2016
  12. ^ Barnes' Notes on the Bible on John 11, accessed 29 May 2016
  13. ^ Meyer, H., NT Commentary on John 11, accessed 28 May 2016
  14. ^ John 11:18 KJV
  15. ^ John 11:18: God's Word Translation and versions based on it
  16. ^ a b c d Kieffer, R., John in Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2001), The Oxford Bible Commentary, p. 981
  17. ^ John 11:25-26 NKJV
  18. ^ John 11:35

External linksEdit

Preceded by
John 10
Chapters of the Bible
Gospel of John
Succeeded by
John 12