John 20:23

John 20:23 is the twenty-third verse of the twentieth chapter of the Gospel of John in the New Testament. It records Jesus giving the power of forgiveness to the disciples during his first appearance after the resurrection.

John 20:23
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20:24 →
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Russian Resurrection icon, celebrating and commemorating the Great Pascha (Easter) (16th century)
BookGospel of John
Christian Bible partNew Testament


The original Koine Greek, according to the Textus Receptus, reads:[1]

ἄν τινων ἀφῆτε τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἀφιένται αὐτοῖς ἄν τινων κρατῆτε κεκράτηνται

In the King James Version of the Bible it is translated as:

Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

The modern World English Bible translates the passage as:

Whoever's sins you forgive, they are forgiven them. Whoever's sins you retain, they have been retained."

For a collection of other versions see BibleHub John 20:23


The account of Jesus' first appearance in the Gospel of John (20:19-23; 21:13) shows similarity to the account in the Gospel of Luke (24:36-49), that it happened in Jerusalem in the evening of his resurrection from the dead.[2]

Jesus' promise here is given to the whole group of disciples (the verb is plural),[3] parallel to the promise in Matthew 16:19; Matthew 18:18.[4] The disciples' power to forgive sins is linked to the gift of the Spirit in John 20:22, and not in human power.[3] The verbs for forgiving and retaining are in the passive form, indicating that God is the one in action.[3]

With the statement in this verse, Jesus declares that in his messianic community (the "new covenant") his followers ("Christians") now hold the key to membership, in contrast to the authority hold by the Jewish leadership (represented by the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees at that time) to affirm or deny acceptance in the synagogues (the "old covenant").[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Greek Text Analysis: John 20:23. Biblehub
  2. ^ Kieffer 2007, p. 997.
  3. ^ a b c Guthrie 1994, p. 1064.
  4. ^ Coogan, Michael David (2007). Coogan, Michael David; Brettler, Marc Zvi; Newsom, Carol Ann; Perkins, Pheme (eds.). The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, Issue 48 (Augmented 3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 180–181 New Testament. ISBN 9780195288810.
  5. ^ Köstenberger, Andreas J. (2004). John. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Volume 4 (illustrated ed.). Baker Academic. p. 576. ISBN 9780801026447.


External linksEdit

Preceded by
John 20:22
Gospel of John
Chapter 20
Succeeded by
John 20:24