In John 10:34, why does Jesus say "is it not written in your Law," instead of "is it not written in the Law?" Is Jesus questioning that Psalms 82:6 is not divinely inspired, but instead may have been written by scribes?


3 Answers 3


Using "your" as a way to communicate "yours and not mine," is one sense in which the word might be used. But it's not the only possibility.

Another equally valid use -- and IMO a likely one in the context of this passage -- is using "your" simply as a way to put extra emphasis on the significance, authority, etc. of the thing being talked about:

  • "Whether you like the man or not, he's still your President." (spoken by a fellow citizen of the same country)
  • "You need to show more respect and appreciation for your mother." (spoken by a brother or sister in the same family)
  • "You're being paid a fair salary -- you owe your company a full work week." (spoken by a fellow employee of the same company)

In the same way, Jesus' use of "your" need not be a denial or a denigration. It may simply be an emphatic way to drive home the significance and authority of the Scripture He was citing.


Jesus is saying that the reference to being God's as in quote ye are God's clothes quote is not something found only and pagan text, but it is in their very own Torah. This is not any attempt on jesus's part to denigrate the Torah but rather to ensure that his comments are not dismissed as paganism.


The fourth gospel is notably anti-Jewish and anti-Judaism. As such, phrases such as “your law” rather than “our law” might be expected. The former suggests an existing schism between Jewish-Christians and non-believing Jews.1

R. Alan Culpepper wrote,2

In retrospect, the literature of the past two decades reflects a growing recognition of John’s anti-Jewish polemic. Intepreters have moved from dismissing the problem...to the confession that John is anti-Jewish in intent and anti-Semitic in its potential effect on later readers.


John marks the decisive separation of Christians from Jews, at least in one locality. It hardens the breach that has already occurred, and it probably contributed to the ultimate separation between Judaism and Christianity. Because John viewed the separation from Judaism as a past event with radical social and theological consequences, its position in relation to Judaism can no longer be regarded as an intra-Jewish debate.


1 The fourth gospel was written at such a time that Jewish Christians were expelled from synagogues due to their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. cf. John 9:22.
2 Culpepper, p. 68
3 id., p. 63


Culpepper, R. Alan; et. al. Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel. Ed. Bieringer, Reimund; Pollefeyt, Didier; Vandecasteele-Vanneuville, Frederique. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001.

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    In contrast to the highly sympathetic passages found in the synoptic gospels, such as Matthew 23, Mark 7, and Luke 11. Not to mention the innumerable examples from the OT, such as Ezekiel 16. Sorry, but Culpepper's comments look to me like a case of cherry picking and eisegesis.
    – JDM-GBG
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 0:45
  • @JDM-GBG—Not sure what synoptics (which do not include the Gospel of John) and the OT have to do with a book that solely discusses the Gospel of John. shrugs Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 4:19
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    The point is that Culpepper's "charge" of anti-Jewish sentiment in the Gospel of John, could be applied with equal validity and equal evidence against any of the three synoptics, or against the entire OT. Which leads me to conclude that the charge is spurious (cherry picking & eisegesis).
    – JDM-GBG
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 18:19
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    The Bible? Yes. And I find no basis for a charge of anti-Jewish sentiment in any of its books, including John's Gospel. (OK, sorry, I know that's not what you mean. No, I haven't read Culpepper's book. I have no question that he backs his charge with extensive evidence, from both the Bible itself and other historical sources. The question is: could the same kind of analysis, drawing on the same sources, "prove" anti-Jewish sentiment in the other gospels? Or in the OT? If so then the analysis is faulty. You've read the book I assume; if I'm wrong, say so. I'll take your word for it.
    – JDM-GBG
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 18:49
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    Also, I tend to distrust general statements about a text that don't line up with my own reading comprehension faculties. "The fourth gospel is notably anti-Jewish and anti-Judaism." -- your words. Yet having read it myself I find no such indication. It accuses the Jewish leadership, to be sure -- but so do the synoptics, with equal or greater emphasis.
    – JDM-GBG
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 18:55

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