New International Version

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

New Living Translation

Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

English Standard Version

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

The word "come" typically means that the individual speaking is already "there." How are we to interpret Christ's words here, based on the Greek manuscripts? What exactly does He mean by "coming" to the Father when the Father, according to Jesus in many other Scriptures, is in Heaven? Shouldn't it be "no one goes/gets to the Father [...]" ?

2 Answers 2


ἔρχομαι can mean to come or go. I reproduce below just the 2nd primary usage of the word:

...② to proceed on a course, with destination in view, go (Hom. et al.; LXX) ὀπίσω τινός go with (lit. ‘after’) someone fig., of a disciple Mt 16:24; Mk 8:34 v.l.; Lk 9:23; 14:27. ἐπί τι go to someth. Mt 21:19; Mk 11:13a (w. indir. quest. foll.). πρός τινα Lk 15:20. σύν τινι J 21:3. ἔ. ὁδόν go on a journey (Hom. et al.) Lk 2:44. S. also 1bα above...

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 394). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

I highlighted above a cited parallel usage. The KJV has "came to":

KJV Luk 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

But the ISV rightly has "went to":

Luk 15:20 "So he got up and went to his father. While he was still far away, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him affectionately.

Because some might want to see some variation on Trinitarianism in this verse where Jesus is the Father and coming to Jesus is coming to the Father but:

  • clearly he is interposing himself between the sinner and the Father by calling himself the "way" (path)

  • the author of Hebrews uses the idiom as well:

Heb 11:6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently search for him.


Is this passage related to the question so to provide a possible answer? If so, this is my answer to the question.

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Luke 17 King James Version (KJV)

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