Question:

I have a question that I hope you can answer for me.  Last night I heard a man preach that Jesus was not omniscient while on earth. I asked him after the sermon to explain passages like John 16:30 where the disciples state that Jesus knew everything.  He said that we should not proof text passages to prove a doctrinal stance and that just because it was recorded in john does not mean it is literally true, it just means that it was recorded by John.  He also said that it should be taken figuratively just like someone could say I am a computer genius because I work well with computers. 

I am very confused because I read many books that use John 16:30 as proof text for Jesus' omniscience.  I have noticed you do too.  Could you expound on John 16:30 for me so I can understand that we are not taking our proof text out of context? 


Answer:

It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Your note gave me quite a few chuckles this morning.

The confusion does not stem from your understanding of John 16:30. It comes from a man whom you thought taught God's Word, but you now realize that he is playing games with it. You caught him in an err, so well that he doesn't have a response; thus, he seeks to discredit the evidence against him. If that eventually proves unsuccessful, his next step will be to attempt to discredit you.

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (I John 4:1).

There is nothing wrong with using the Scriptures to prove what is or is not true. The only people who don't like it are the false teachers who get caught mishandling the truth. Take a look at how our Lord handled those who came testing him in Matthew 22. Jesus would cite passages which simply destroyed the questioners' position. But you should expect that, the Bible isn't called the "sword of the Spirit" for nothing. "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:4-5).

A simple way to test whether you understood a passage correctly is to look to see if there are other passages which state simi liar things. For example, here is a statement that is not made by the disciples: "But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man" (John 2:24-25). While we sometimes can guess what a person is thinking, especially if we know the person well, the Holy Spirit through John stated that Jesus knew what was in all men. "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?" (I Corinthians 2:11). Jesus was not a common man.

There are also the times when Jesus knew what was happening when he wasn't anywhere close, such as the condition of Lazarus. "Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead"" (John 11:14). Jesus was about four days away from Lazarus.

Jesus also demonstrated knowledge of the past when he spoke to the woman at the well. "Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly"" (John 4:16-18). This is particularly significant when you recall God's challenge to the idols of old:

""Present your case," says the LORD. "Bring forth your strong reasons," says the King of Jacob. "Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together"" (Isaiah 41:21-23).

As Paul pointed out, "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9). The preacher you heard denies this truth.