Why Jesus Said 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life' in John 14:6

In John 14, Jesus said to His disciples, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Updated Nov 07, 2023
Why Jesus Said 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life' in John 14:6

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" is a well-known quote of Jesus Christ that comes from the Gospel of John, chapter 14. Discover the full Bible context and deep theological meaning of this famous Bible verse phrase in this article.

John 14:6 (NKJV): "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." 

Meaning of The Way, The Truth, and The Life

In this passage, Jesus is speaking to his disciples and making a profound statement about His identity and the path to God. Each of the three elements in this statement has a specific meaning:

  1. "The Way": Jesus proclaims that He is the way to God, the means by which people can come into a right relationship with the Father (God). This indicates that following Jesus' teachings and accepting Him as Lord and Savior is the only path to salvation and eternal life.

  2. "The Truth": Jesus also declares that He IS the Truth. In a spiritual and moral sense, He is the embodiment of God's truth. He is the source of divine revelation to mankind and the sustainer of all existence.

  3. "The Life": Jesus tells us that He is the source of eternal life. Believing in Him and following His path leads to eternal life with God. Through Christ, we can experience spiritual rebirth and the promise of life after death.

This statement is central to Christian theology, as it emphasizes the exclusive role of Jesus in the salvation of humanity. It underscores the belief that faith in Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior is the way to eternal life and a relationship with God. Different Christian denominations may interpret this passage differently, but it generally conveys the fundamental Christian belief in Jesus as the unique mediator between humanity and God.

Bible Context of "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

4 You know the way to the place where I am going." 5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." 8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." 9 Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10 Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. (John 14:1-11)

How is Jesus "The Way"?

Jesus used the definite article to distinguish Himself as "the only way." He was referring to a path or route, and His disciples were confused about where He was going and how they could follow Him. As He had previously told them, Jesus was again telling them (and us) to follow Him. There is no other way to heaven or to the Father.

Peter repeated this same truth years later to the rulers in Jerusalem, speaking regarding Jesus, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The exclusive essence of the one and only path to salvation is conveyed in the words “I am the way.”

How is Jesus "The Truth"?

Jesus was more than someone who just told the truth. He was the fullness of Truth. Truth, in the Christian understanding, is a person, Jesus Christ—the ultimate objectivity of our reality as its creator and sustainer. 

ScriptureWay writes, "When Jesus said that he is the truth, he was saying that he is the embodiment and fulfillment of the Word of God and that he is alétheia, reality, the opposite of what is false or illusion."

"Truth is not defined by our own subjective standards; it is determined by the Source of truth Himself" (R.C. Sproul - Ref. 1).

How is Jesus "The Life"?

Jesus Christ is the origin or fountain of all life, all of existence. Scripture tells us, "For by Him all things were created" and "All things have been created through Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16). John writes, "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (John 1:3).

The Greek word for life is zóé, which means physical (present) and spiritual (particularly future) existence.  Life always comes from and is sustained by God. Read the Lexicon definition for Zoe, which includes these two descriptions:

1. of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic "logos" and to Christ in whom the "logos" put on human nature

2. life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last forever.

Bible Verses Related to the Way, Truth, and Life

“So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.” John 6:67-71

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” John 3:16-19

“If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken” John 10:35

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:4

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:12

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:24

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

The Word Became Flesh

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” John 1:1-18

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1

What Did Jesus Mean by 'The Way, the Truth, and the Life' in John 14?

As transcribed from the video above, Jaye Martin gives her explanation as to what Jesus meant when He described Himself as "the way, the truth, and the life":

In John 14:6, Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me." That's a very difficult passage because so many people see that we must not be open if we don't accept all these people who come to God in other ways. But it's very clear here, Jesus says, and we must go through Christ to get to God. And so, we see that he was the truth. And sometimes it's hard to communicate the truth because there's something that we want to gloss over. I would say for each of us, we need to say, am I communicating truth, am I living out with integrity what I know to be true? Because I believe if I honestly lived out the truth every day, other people would see that. And sometimes, it's hard to explain it to people, but I think when they ask us, we need to say, Jesus says he is the only way. And that's great news because all they have to do is say, okay, open my eyes, Lord. And I want to see that. And that's the truth of the gospel.

Bible Commentary on John 14

Matthew Henry made the following commentary about the Bible chapter of John 14:

Thomas enquired concerning the way (v. 5), without any apology for contradicting his Master.1. He said, "Lord, we know not whither thou goest, to what place or what state, and how can we know the way in which we must follow thee? We can neither guess at it, nor enquire it out, but must still be at a loss.’’ Christ’s testimony concerning their knowledge made them more sensible of their ignorance, and more inquisitive after further light. Thomas here shows more modesty than Peter, who thought he could follow Christ now. Peter was the more solicitous to know whither Christ went. Thomas here, though he complains that he did not know this, yet seems more solicitous to know the way. 

His confession of his ignorance was commendable enough. If good men are in the dark and know but in part, yet they are willing to own their defects. But, (2.) The cause of his ignorance was culpable. They knew not whither Christ went because they dreamed of a temporal kingdom in external pomp and power, and doted upon this, notwithstanding what he had said again and again to the contrary. Hence it was that, when Christ spoke of going away and they’re following him, their fancy ran upon his going to some remarkable city or other, Bethlehem, or Nazareth, or Capernaum, or some of the cities of the Gentiles, as David to Hebron, there to be anointed king, and to restore the kingdom to Israel; and which way this place lay, where these castles in the air were to be built, east, west, north, or south, they could not tell, and therefore knew not the way. Thus still we think ourselves more in the dark than we need to be concerning the future state of the church, because we expect its worldly prosperity, whereas it is spiritual advancement that the promise points at. Had Thomas understood, as he might have done, that Christ was going to the invisible world, the world of spirits, to which spiritual things only have a reference, he would not have said, Lord, we do not know the way.

Now to this complaint of their ignorance, which included a desire to be taught, Christ gives a full answer, v. 6, v. 7. Thomas had enquired both whither he went and what was the way, and Christ answers both these inquiries and makes good what he had said, that they would have needed no answer if they had understood themselves aright; for they knew him, and he was the way; they knew the Father, and he was the end; and therefore, whither I go you know, and the way you know. Believe in God as the end, and in me as the way (v. 1), and you do all you should do. (1.) He speaks of himself as the way, v. 6. Dost thou not know the way? I am the way, and I only, for no man comes to the Father but by me. Great things Christ here saith of himself, showing us, The nature of his mediation: He is the way, the truth, and the life. 

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This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.

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