My question deals with a specific part of John 4:23 and John 5:25.

John 4:23 - Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

John 5:25 - Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.

Semantically, the bold phrase "and has now come" seems at odds with "is coming" since there is really no need to say that something will come in the future if it has already occured. I am curious if there is any biblical scholarship that asserts that John himself added "and has now come" to Jesus' speech in light of the fact that he wrote these verses years after the fact and is letting his readers know that what Jesus said has in fact come to pass?

  • Seems to be a clumsy way of saying that an era has begun - the full process will not be realised for some time, but it effectively starts now. I wonder if there is a better way this could have been said in Aramaic or Greek? Commented May 30, 2018 at 14:07

3 Answers 3


I do not think the passages are so opaque. They are simply referring to multiple things simultaneously

  • There is coming an hour ... when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth.

Here He is speaking of the true worship that will take place within the Church, the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Timothy 3:15). This is the interpretation put forth at any rate by John Chrysostom (Homily XXXIII on John) and other Church Fathers.

  • ... an hour ... now is when when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth

Here He is speaking of all the occasions in which people would worship (προσκυνέω) Him while He was on earth (e.g. Mt 2:2-11,14:33; Mk 5:6; Lk 24:52; Jn 9:38)

  • ... an hour cometh ... when the dead shall rise and hear the voice of the Son of God ...

Here He is speaking of the general resurrection, as is clear from verse 28 (the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice)

  • ... an hour now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God

This could refer to a physical event such as the raising of Lazarus (John 11), but can also refer to a spiritual resurrection of those who believe in Him. On this passage, John Chrysostom comments:

For as it shall be in the Resurrection, even so, He saith, it shall be “now.” Then too when we hear His voice commanding us we are raised; for, saith the Apostle, “at the command of God the dead shall arise.” [1 Th 4:16]

- Homily XXXIX on the Gospel According to St. John

  • John 5:25 (RSV - not sure what translation you are using) says 'the dead will hear the voice...' It doesn't mention that they will 'rise' - only that 'those who hear will live'. Verse 28, on the other hand, refers to 'all who are in their tombs', and says they will 'come forth...to the resurrection'. The distinction in terms suggests that 'dead' doesn't necessarily mean the same as 'in their graves'. 'Do not marvel at this' in verse 28 also suggests that what is described in verses 25-27 is nothing compared to what's described in verses 28-29. Commented May 30, 2018 at 12:35

There do not seem to be any significant variants for John 4:23 or John 5:25 related to "and now is". There is no particular textual reason to consider the phrase to be an addition in either case.


The text there has a couple things going on in the first verse. erchetai is present progressive. After the and, it literally reads "now (it) is." It should read "and is now" in a modern English translation. The second verse reads the same as the first.

From a hermeneutics standpoint, I would tell you that the author is talking present or near future as opposed to distant future. Some might argue that John is speaking past tense (from a future point), but it seems more likely that the phrase is a colloquialism. To decide one way or another, you would need to look up the use of the phrases there and see if they occur in any other textual locations (Biblical or extra-Biblical) and determine the contextual nature.

  • 1
    There is no present progressive in Greek.
    – fdb
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 16:18
  • 1
    Progressive, Aorist, and Perfect. Yes there is. Mai, sai, tai are all present progressive, passive. Erchomai is technically, passive acting as active. I can upload a chart for you if you prefer. I understand that your Mounce, or other Greek Grammar may not categorize it as such, but the teacher I had learned it from his and the system makes sense. Please cite your source and I will cite mine. Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 17:34

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