"I AM" Sayings in the Fourth Gospel
(Greek Texts with RSV Translations)
compiled by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

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Overview:

JESUS HIMSELF says "I Am" ( Greek ei)mi ) fortyfive times in John's Gospel (including when other characters quote Jesus' words). Twentyfour of these are emphatic, explicitly including the pronoun "I" (Greek e)gw/ ei)mi bold references), which would not be necessary in Greek grammar. These emphatic references can also be sub-divided into "Absolute" or "Predicate" statements, as explained below.

John 4:26; 6:20; 6:35; 6:41; 6:48; 6:51; 7:28; 7:29; 7:33; 7:34; 7:36; 8:12; 8:16; 8:18; 8:23 (twice); 8:24; 8:28; 8:58; 9:5; 10:7; 10:9; 10:11; 10:14; 10:36; 11:25; 12:26; 13:13; 13:19; 13:33; 14:3; 14:6; 14:9; 15:1; 15:5; 16:32; 17:11; 17:14; 17:16; 17:24; 18:5; 18:6; 18:8; 18:37; 19:21
OTHER CHARACTERS in the Fourth Gospel only rarely say, "I am" or "I am (something)," mostly in the negative, "I am not":
John the Baptizer (1:20; 1:21; 1:27; 3:28twice); The Man Born Blind (9:9); Simon Peter (18:17; 18:25); and Pontius Pilate (18:35).

In all other NEW TESTAMENT books, I am occurs a total of eightysix times, of which only twentyeight are emphatic (Matt 14:27; 22:32; 24:5; 26:22, 25; Mark 6:50; 13:6; 14:62; Luke 1:19; 21:8; 22:70; 24:39; Acts 9:5; 10:21; 11:5; 18:10; 22:3, 8, 19; 26:15, 29; Heb 1:5; 2:13; Rev 1:8, 17; 2:23; 21:6; 22:16)

Rudolf Koch: The TetragrammatonIn the HEBREW BIBLE, the meaning of God's name (YHWH) is closely related to "I am" (see Exod 3:14; 6:2; Deut 32:39; Isa 43:25; 48:12; 51:12; etc.). In the LXX, most of these passages are translated with the Greek expression e)gw/ ei)mi:

Exod 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you."
Exod 6:2 And God said to Moses, "I am the LORD."
Deut 32:39a "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me;"
Isa 48:12 "Hearken to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am He, I am the first, and I am the last."
Thus, many interpreters believe that the Johannine Jesus is making divine claims with at least some (or most?) of the following statements.
Absolute Emphatic "I AM" Statements of the Johannine Jesus:
There is no predicate in these sayings (John 4:26; 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8). Caution: the RSV and other English Bibles often translate this phrase, "I am he", but the pronoun "he" is not explicit in the Greek text.
To the Samaritan Woman at Jacob's well near the town of Sychar:
4:26 le/gei au)tv= o(   Ihsou=j,   Egw ei  mi, o( lalwn soi. Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am (he)." [lit. "I am, the one speaking with you."]

To his disciples in the boat while Jesus is walking on the Sea of Galilee:
6:20 o( de\ le/gei au)toij,   Egw ei  mi, mh\ fobeisqe. but he said to them, "It is I (lit. "I Am"); do not be afraid."

To "the Jews" in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles:
8:24 eipon oun u(min oti a)poqaneisqe e)n taij a(martiaij u(mwn: e)a\n ga\r mh\ pisteu/shte oti e)gw ei  mi, a)poqaneisqe e)n taij a(martiaij u(mwn. "I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am (he)."

8:28 eipen oun [au)toij] o(   Ihsou=j,   Otan u(ywshte to\n uio\n tou= a)nqrwpou, to/te gnwsesqe oti e)gw ei  mi, kai a)p' e)mautou= poiw ou)de/n, a)lla\ kaqwj e)didace/n me o( path\r tau=ta lalw. So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am (he), and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me."

8:58 eipen au)toij   Ihsou=j,   Amh\n a)mh\n le/gw u(min, prin   Abraa\m gene/sqai e)gw ei  mi. Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."

To his disciples at the Last Supper in Jerusalem:
13:19 a)p' arti le/gw u(min pro\tou= gene/sqai, ina pisteu/shte otan ge/nhtai oti e)gw ei  mi. "I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am (he)."

To the soldiers and guards who come to arrest Jesus in the Garden in the Kidron Valley (Gethsemane):
18:5 a)pekriqhsan au)t%,   Ihsou=n to\n Nazwraion. le/gei au)toij,   Egw eimi. eisth/kei de\kai Iou/daj o( paradidou\j au)to\n met' au)twn. They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am (he)." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.

18:6 wj oun eipen au)toij,   Egw eimi, a)ph=lqon eij ta\ o)pisw kai epesan xamai. When he said to them, "I am (he)," they drew back and fell to the ground.

18:8 a)pekriqh Ihsou=j, Eipon u(min oti e)gw eimi: ei oun e)me\ zhteite, afete tou/touj u(pa/gein. Jesus answered, "I told you that I am (he); so, if you seek me, let these men go."


Predicate Emphatic "I Am" Statements of the Johannine Jesus:
In these sayings, a metaphorical image completes the thought: John 6:35, 41, 48, 51; 8:12, 18, 23 (twice); 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5
To the crowds in Galilee after the Feeding of the 5000 (in the "Bread of Life Discourse"):
6:35 eipen au)toij o(   Ihsou=j,   Egw eimi o( artoj th=j zwh=j: o( e)rxo/menoj pro/j e)me\ ou) mh\ peina/sv, kai o( pisteu/wn eij e)me\ ou) mh\ diyh/sei pwpote. Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst."

6:41   Ego/gguzon oun oi   Ioudaioi peri au)tou= oti eipen,   Egw eimi o( artoj o( kataba\j e)k tou= ou)ranou= The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven."

6:48 e)gw eimi o( artoj th=j zwh=j. "I am the bread of life."

6:51 e)gw eimi o( artoj o( zwn o( e)k tou= ou)ranou= kataba/j: e)a/n tij fa/gv e)k tou/tou tou= artou zh/sei eij to\n aiwna, kai o( artoj de\ on e)gw dwsw h( sa/rc mou/ e)stin u(pe\r th=j tou= ko/smou zwh=j. "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."

To "the Jews" in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles:
8:12 Pa/lin oun au)toij e)la/lhsen o(   Ihsou=j le/gwn,   Egw eimi to\ fwj tou= ko/smou: o( a)kolouqwn e)moi ou) mh\ peripath/sv e)n tv= skoti#, a)ll' ecei to\ fwj th=j zwh=j. Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (cf. 9:5 "I am the light of the world", but grammatically unemphatic, without "ego")

8:18 e)gw eimi o( marturwn peri e)mautou= kai marturei peri e)mou= o( pe/myaj me path/r. "I bear witness to myself (lit. "I am the one bearing witness...") to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me."

8:23 (twice) kai elegen au)toij,   Umeij e)k twn ka/tw e)ste/, e)gw e)k twn anw eimi: u(meij e)k tou/tou tou= ko/smou e)ste/, e)gw ou)k eimi e)k tou= ko/smou tou/tou. He said to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world."

To "the Jews" just after Jesus gives sight to the Man Born Blind (the "Good Shepherd Discourse"):
10:7 Eipen oun pa/lin o(   Ihsou=j,   Amh\n a)mh\n le/gw u(min oti e)gw eimi h( qu/ra twn proba/twn. So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep."

10:9 e)gw eimi h( qu/ra: di' e)mou= e)a/n tij eise/lqv swqh/setai kai eiseleu/setai kai e)celeu/setai kai nomh\n eu(rh/sei. "I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture."

10:11   Egw eimi o( poimh\n o( kalo/j: o( poimh\n o( kalo\j th\n yuxh\n au)tou= tiqhsin u(pe\r twn proba/twn. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

10:14   Egw eimi o( poimh\n o( kalo/j kai ginwskw ta\ e)ma\ kai ginwskousi me ta\ e)ma/, "I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,"

To Martha of Bethany, just before Jesus raises her brother Lazarus back to life:
11:25 eipen au)tv= o(   Ihsou=j,   Egw eimi h( a)na/stasij kai h( zwh/: o( pisteu/wn eij e)me\ kan a)poqa/nv zh/setai, Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,"

To his disciples at their last meal together (the "Last Supper Discourse"):
14:6 le/gei au)t% [o(]   Ihsou=j,   Egw eimi h( o(do\j kai h( a)lh/qeia kai h( zwh/: ou)deij erxetai pro\j to\n pate/ra ei mh\ di' e)mou=. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me."

15:1   Egw eimi h( ampeloj h( a)lhqinh/, kai o( path/r mou o( gewrgo/j e)stin. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser."

15:5 e)gw eimi h( ampeloj, u(meij ta\ klh/mata. o( me/nwn e)n e)moi ka)gw e)n au)t% outoj fe/rei karpo\n polu/n, oti xwrij e)mou= ou) du/nasqe poiein ou)de/n. "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."


NonEmphatic "I am" Statements of the Johannine Jesus:
Other passages of John's Gospel in which Jesus himself, or others quoting Jesus, say "I am" (Greek ei)mi , but without the explicit pronoun "I").
To "the Jews" in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles:
7:28 ekracen oun e)n t% ier% dida/skwn o(   Ihsou=j kai le/gwn, Ka)me\ oidate kai oidate po/qen eimi: kai a)p' e)mautou= ou)k e)lh/luqa, a)ll' estin a)lhqino\j o( pe/myaj me, on u(meij ou)k oidate. So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, "You know me, and you know where I come from [lit. "from where I am"]? But I have not come of my own accord; he who sent me is true, and him you do not know."

7:29 e)gw oida au)to/n, oti par' au)tou= eimi ka)keino/j me a)pe/steilen. "I know him, for I come from him (lit. "from him I am"), and he sent me."

7:33 eipen oun o( Ihsou=j, Eti xro/non mikro\n meq' u(mwn eimi kai u(pa/gw pro\j to\n pe/myanta/ me. Jesus then said, "I shall be with you a little longer, and then I go to him who sent me;"

7:34 zhth/sete/ me kai ou)x eu(rh/sete/ [me], kai opou eimi e)gw u(meij ou) du/nasqe e)lqein. "...you will seek me and you will not find me; where I am you cannot come."

7:36 tij e)stin o( lo/goj outoj on eipen, Zhth/sete/ me kai ou)x eu(rh/sete/ [me], kai opou eimi e)gw u(meij ou) du/nasqe e)lqein; "What does he mean by saying, 'You will seek me and you will not find me,' and, 'Where I am you cannot come'?"

8:16 kai e)a\n krinw de\ e)gw, h( krisij h( e)mh\ a)lhqinh/ e)stin, oti mo/noj ou)k eimi, a)ll' e)gw kai o( pe/myaj me path/r. "Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me."

To his disciples, just before Jesus gives sight to the Man Born Blind:
9:5 otan e)n t% ko/sm% w, fwj eimi tou= ko/smou. "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

To "the Jews" in Jerusalem at the Feast of the Dedication:
10:36 on o( path\r h(giasen kai a)pe/steilen eij to\n ko/smon u(meij le/gete oti Blasfhmeij, oti eipon, Uio\j tou= qeou= eimi; "Do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?"

To some of his disciples while Jesus speaks of his coming "hour" of glorification:
12:26 e)a\n e)moi tij diakonv=, e)moi a)kolouqeitw, kai opou eimi e)gw e)kei kai o( dia/konoj o( e)mo\j estai: e)a/n tij e)moi diakonv= timh/sei au)to\n o( path/r. "If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him."

To his disciples just after Jesus washes their feet at the Last Supper:
13:13 u(meij fwneite/ me   O dida/skaloj kai   O ku/rioj, kai kalwj le/gete, eimi ga/r. "You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am."

To his disciples at their last meal together (the "Last Supper Discourse"):
13:33 teknia, eti mikro\n meq' u(mwn eimi: zhth/sete/ me, kai kaqwj eipon toij   Ioudaioij oti   Opou e)gw u(pa/gw u(meij ou) du/nasqe e)lqein, kai u(min le/gw arti. "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, Where I am going you cannot come."

14:3 kai e)a\n poreuqw kai e(toima/sw to/pon u(min, pa/lin erxomai kai paralh/myomai u(ma=j pro\j e)mauto/n, ina opou eimi e)gw kai u(meij hte. "And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."

14:9 le/gei au)t% o( Ihsou=j, Tosou/t% xro/n% meq' u(mwn eimi kai ou)k egnwka/j me, Filippe; o( e(wrakwj e)me\ e(wraken to\n pate/ra: pwj su\ le/geij, Deicon h(min to\n pate/ra; Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?"

16:32 idou\ erxetai wra kai e)lh/luqen ina skorpisqh=te ekastoj eij ta\ idia ka)me\ mo/non a)fh=te: kai ou)k eimi mo/noj, oti o( path\r met' e)mou= e)stin. "The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me."

In the great prayer that Jesus addresses to the Father:
17:11 kai ou)ke/ti eimi e)n t% ko/sm%, kai au)toi e)n t% ko/sm% eisin, ka)gw pro\j se\ erxomai. Pa/ter agie, th/rhson au)tou\j e)n t% o)no/mati sou w de/dwka/j moi, ina wsin en kaqwj h(meij. "And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one."

17:14 e)gw de/dwka au)toij to\n lo/gon sou kai o( ko/smoj e)mishsen au)tou/j, oti ou)k eisin e)k tou= ko/smou kaqwj e)gw ou)k eimi e)k tou= ko/smou. "I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

17:16 e)k tou= ko/smou ou)k eisin kaqwj e)gw ou)k eimi e)k tou= ko/smou. "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

17:24 Pa/ter, o de/dwka/j moi, qe/lw ina opou eimi e)gw ka)keinoi wsin met' e)mou=, ina qewrwsin th\n do/can th\n e)mh\n, hn de/dwka/j moi oti h)ga/phsa/j me pro\ katabolh=j ko/smou. "Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world."

To Pilate during the trial of Jesus:
18:37 eipen oun au)t% o( Pila=toj, Ou)kou=n basileu\j ei su/; a)pekriqh o(   Ihsou=j, Su\ le/geij oti basileu/j eimi. e)gw eij tou=to gege/nnhmai kai eij tou=to e)lh/luqa eij to\n ko/smon, ina marturh/sw tv= a)lhqei#: pa=j o( wn e)k th=j a)lhqeiaj a)kou/ei mou th=j fwnh=j. Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice."

Just after the crucifixion of Jesus:
19:21 elegon oun t% Pila/t% oi a)rxiereij twn   Ioudaiwn, Mh\ gra/fe:   O basileu\j twn   Ioudaiwn, a)ll' oti e)keinoj eipen, Basileu/j eimi twn   Ioudaiwn. The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'"


"I am" Statements (often "I am not") spoken by Other Characters in the Fourth Gospel:

John the Baptist:

1:20 kai wmolo/ghsen kai ou)k h)rnh/sato, kai wmolo/ghsen oti   Egw ou)k eimi o( Xristo/j. He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."

1:21 kai h)rwthsan au)to/n, Ti oun; Su/   Hliaj ei; kai le/gei, Ou)k eimi.   O profh/thj ei su/; kai a)pekriqh, Ou. And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" And he answered, "No."

1:27 o( o)pisw mou e)rxo/menoj, ou ou)k eimi [e)gw] acioj ina lu/sw au)tou= to\n ima/nta tou= u(podh/matoj. "...even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."

3:28 (twice) au)toi u(meij moi martureite oti eipon [oti] Ou)k eimi e)gw o( Xristo/j, a)ll' oti Apestalme/noj eimi emprosqen e)keinou. "You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent (lit. "I am the one sent") before him."

The Man Born Blind:
9:9 alloi elegon oti Outo/j e)stin, alloi elegon, Ou)xi, a)lla\ omoioj au)t% e)stin. e)keinoj elegen oti   Egw eimi. Some said, "It is he"; others said, "No, but he is like him." He said, "I am (the man)."
Simon Peter:
18:17 le/gei oun t% Pe/tr% h( paidiskh h( qurwro/j, Mh\ kai su\ e)k twn maqhtwn ei tou= a)nqrwpou tou/tou; le/gei e)keinoj, Ou)k eimi. The maid who kept the door said to Peter, "Are not you also one of this man's disciples?" He said, "I am not."

18:25   Hn de\ Simwn Pe/troj e(stwj kai qermaino/menoj. eipon oun au)t%, Mh\ kai su\ e)k twn maqhtwn au)tou= ei; h)rnh/sato e)keinoj kai eipen, Ou)k eimi. Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, "Are not you also one of his disciples?" He denied it and said, "I am not."

Pontius Pilate:
18:35 a)pekriqh o( Pila=toj, Mh/ti e)gw   Ioudaio/j eimi; to\ eqnoj to\ so\n kai oi a)rxiereij pare/dwka/n se e)moi: ti e)poihsaj; Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?"


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This page was last updated on February 7, 2007
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