Verse 35 comes before verse 36 where everlasting life is contrasted with the wrath of God. So perhaps "all" refers to both of these.

Verse 33 and verse 34 are about things of the Spirit and verse 31 He who comes from heaven. So perhaps "all" refers all that they do.

John 3:35 itself starts with the Father loving the Son, a relationship of utter trust and therefore the Father trusts Jesus with everything including how He sustains [Heb 1:3] all things, how lives are determined according to Acts 17:26, how He exercises His John 17:2 authority, actually all things without exception. [Including human behavior].

Other possibilities may occur but what is in His hand means I suggest things that are under His control. Not "incorporated" in His hand. A bone may be in a hand [incorporated] - a pen in a hand is in the authority of the hand but not incorporated into it.

5 Answers 5


In verse 35 you have the term πάντα which is almost always rendered here in verse 35 as "all things." That English usage usually indicates that there is either an antecedent that comes before the term or a postcedent that comes after the term. Yet here in verse 35 in the original Greek this term appears to be functioning as a substantival adjective, which indicates that it stands alone as an absolute, not having an antecedent or a postcedent. As an absolute there is nothing that qualifies or limits the term in any way. In English we get a better sense of this if we render πάντα as "everything."

This means that John was indicating a broad term that literally means everything with no qualification of "all things."

In Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament: Expansions and Annotations, the authors include the syntactical usage for each word as well as any words that it modifies or that are modified by it. In this case they list πάντα as a substantival adjective that does not modify any other words and neither is it modified by any other words in the context.

Carson does not explain the grammar in his commentary but he translates the passage as, thereby indicating that the term is a substantival adjective:

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands

D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 213.

Roy Gingrich said:

“All things” is absolute. He will inherit everything.

Roy E. Gingrich, The Gospel of John (Memphis, TN: Riverside Printing, 1990), 17.


The contrast in verses 27 to 36, that is to say in the whole of John's answer, is a contrast regarding the statement made in the first place, in verse 26 :

... behold the same baptizeth and all come to him.

και παντες ερχονται προς αυτον

Here, pantes is the nominative plural of pas. In the verse under question, verse 35, pantas is the accusative plural of the same word, pas.

In the KJV, the plural word is translated 'all' 541 times, 'all things' 150 times, 'all men' 36 times, and sundry others a dozen times [Young's Analytical Concordance].

The KJV, in verse 26, puts the word 'men' in italics after 'all'. But the KJV then adds the word 'things' in verse 35 without adding italics, which is slightly confusing.

Tyndale, Young's Literal, Green's Literal, the EGNT, The Wycliffe and J N Darby all state 'all things' in verse 35 but it has to be noted what John the Baptist has actually said in response to the original statement.

John, in response to the words 'all come to him' says, verse 32 :

... what he hath seen and heard, this he testifies; and his testimony no-one receives . . . . . . [EGNT literal interlinear]

'No-one', here, is ουδεις oudeis.

The context, and the contrast, is of a question which arose between John's disciples and the Jews about purifying in verse 23. And the context of that controversy was John baptising in Aenon, near Salim, where there was much water.

And previous to that, is the context of Jesus and his disciples coming into the land of Judaea and baptising, when John was already baptising in Salim.

So ... John baptising where there was much water, Jesus baptising, (John not yet cast into prison), a question between John's disciples and the Jews about purifying ...

... then a statement, seemingly provoked by the Jews altercation with John's disciples regarding purification.

John's response is to diminish himself, verse 29 and again verse 30. And to exalt the One from above, verse 31. Then he focuses on His testimony - where it came from and who receives it.

Then he focuses on Whom that One from above is - whose words he speaks - what Spirit he speaks by - what relationship He has with God almighty - and what will be the final outcome of it all.

The culmination of John's words is this :

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.

The destiny of all is decided, either by the fact of their faith - in Him.

Or by the fact of their unbelief - of Him.

All are delivered into his hand.

  • 1
    Wow!! What a helpful explanation - really appreciate you explaining the context of the previous verses as well!! Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 18:23
  • @Gremosa Glad to be of service. Thank you.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 19:18

Hebrews 1:6-9, Matthew 28:18, Acts 2:36, and Isaiah 9:7 shade light as to what are the “all things” that the Father has given into the hands of His only begotten Son.

I. The book of Hebrews clearly indicates that the Son is the supreme revelation of God the Father to whom He has appointed heir of “all things (Hebrews 1:2)” who has by inheritance obtained the “all things” pertaining to His Father including a most excellent name which is far above …, every name not only in this age but also in that which is to come (Ephesians 1: 21), and the name that is given for salvation (Acts 4:12).

Explaining the “all things” obtained by inheritance, Hebrews 1 has to say the following:

6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:

“Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

8 But to the Son He says:

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A [f]scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

Among the “all things” of John 3:35, therefore, Jesus is the only begotten Son of His God (Ephesians 1:3) anointed to receive ALL WORSHIP for the throne of God, His Father, belongs to Him (Jesus) and hence a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of the Son’s kingdom given to Him by God the Father.

II. Matthew 28:18, “ All authority HAS BEEN GIVEN to Me in heaven and on earth.”

Therefore, Jesus is the heir of “all authority” that pertains to God, the Father.

III. Pertaining to the Government of the Son promised by God the Father, Isaiah prophesied the following:

6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah prophesied that “all things” pertaining to the Government of God will be made the inheritance of the promised Son given the names “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” as will be performed by the zeal of God the Father.

IV. What Apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:36) is also in line with Isaiah’s prophecy of chapter 9, saying:

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Therefore, Jesus is Lord over the Government of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

May the blessing of God be to everyone loving the pure truth.


Contextually the referent for "all things" is "truth from God":

KJV Joh 3:31  He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.  Joh 3:32  And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.  Joh 3:33  He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.  Joh 3:34  For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.  Joh 3:35  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all [such] things into his hand.  Joh 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

We see the same thing earlier in the chapter:

John 16:13-15 (DRB) 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. 14 He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you. 15 All things whatsoever [παντα οσα] the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew [reveal] it to you.

The word translated "spirit" is usually translated as either "spirit" or "breath" since the word "spirit" is a novelty invented in 1611. "breath" and "spirit" are the same thing in the original scriptures.

The holy "spirit" therefore is more properly "the holy breath". The fluid and invisible nature of breath as well as the relationship with utterance explains a great deal. Breath is the vehicle for utterance:

Act_2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Breath enables utterance. So the "holy spirit" is the organ and vehicle of utterance. It is an intelligent organ.

So given the context Christ is saying that "all the things I am teaching" have been given to him by the father and will be imparted by him to the spirit/breath which will in turn give it to the believers:

Mat 10:19  But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  Mat 10:20  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

KJV unless otherwise noted.


John 16:13-15 (DRB) 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. 14 He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you. 15 All things whatsoever [παντα οσα] the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew it to you.

As @Ken Banks notes, it's an absolute ownership: of all things the Father has (cf. John 5:23).

  • Does "the third Person of the Trinity" likewise have "full ownership" of "all things the Father has" (which in this context and elsewhere seems to refer to information)? Because if so then why does he have to get his info from Jesus? And if not, then why does he have to get his info from Jesus? Is the oft-forgotten third hupostasis (sp?) not omniscient? The creeds say Jesus was given everything out of time (ie: before time) so why was only the spirit denied ownership of anything and like Jesus, have his information doled out on a need to know basis?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 0:04
  • 1
    This is a strawman. The having all things is a description of the onotological nature of the Godhead. The Father begets the Son from whom both (from the Father, through the Son), as if an effluance of their love one for the other, comes the Holy Spirit. This is how one 'gives' to the other. It's not about them ever lacking all things. As for the Son's human nature, He was given certain things which as a man He did not have, such as the glory given Him and described by Himself and referred to in Daniel 7, Philippians 2, Hebrews 1 etc. As man He indeed can lack and could be given to. Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 14:24
  • It appears to me that you are making this stuff up. Where is this "effluence of ownership" explained in scripture?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 14:34
  • No I'm not maknig it up, it's just the faith of the Church through the ages. 'Effluence of ownership' is a strawman and something I've never said. Jesus teaches that He recieves from the Father and lives because of Him, and that the Spirit will recieve of the Father through Him—God's Spirit will recieve from the Son! Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 15:03
  • So what does one get for the ghost that has everything? If the spirit "ontologically" owns everything what, of what Jesus received from his father, will the spirit receive? Is the spirit not a "ministering spirit"? --- Heb 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 15:08

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