Is this a "side remark, or an axiomatic Major Premise?

What impacts & implications does it have for hermeneutic?

John 10:35b,

"—and Scripture cannot be broken"(ESV)(και ου δύναται λυθήναι η γραφή)

2 Answers 2


I am not really sure what direction you are wanting this to go, but yes, this is a parenthetical statement. The implications this has for hermeneutics is that scripture is absolute in its meaning and it can never fail, it can never be overturned, overpowered, or destroyed. All scripture is the product of the mind of God with no human contribution to its content and therefore, scripture will mean only what God intends for it to mean; anything else is a perversion. This also means that revealed symbols can only be defined by scripture, never by human rational interpretation.

  • Does this word of Jesus address to academies and churches over the major theological-fallacies on Soteriology, namely OSAS vs. "Can Lose the Salvation?
    – Sam
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 21:40
  • I would accept that as an axiom.
    – oldhermit
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 0:48

"Scripture cannot be broken" -John 10:35b

Text: "—and Scripture cannot be broken"(ESV)(και ου δύναται λυθήναι η γραφή)

1. A "side remark, or an axiomatic Major Premise?

It is a short and parenthetical, nonetheless incredibly significant statement from the lips of Jesus. It is axiomatic with all-time significance, and Jesus, with this one sweeping statement answers to all the arguments against the unity, authority, and the inerrancy of Scripture.** Jesus said it all -"Scripture cannot be broken!"

2. Notes on the text:

V 35: "If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken" (ESV)

  • "The Word of God" means the word proceeded from God, though it may have come human chanel, nonetheless not from man.

  • the Scripture (ἡ γραφή) has a specific significance. It denotes Divine words " which have been written." Of the many things God has said, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit only what needs to be set down were written for us.

    e.g. John 16: 12 -I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

        John 20:30 -Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, 
             which are not written in this book.
        Revelation 10: 4“Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it 
  • cannot(=cannot possibly οὐ δύναται) with οὐ-negative absolute and affirmative means a strong negative.

  • break(λυθῆναι) -λύω loose, untie, set free, destroy, break up, abolish. It also has a theological significance denoting it is the act of those who were appointed and placed in holy office to communicate the Word of God, but not to tamper with it, such "practice" is not acknowledged in Heaven. cf. Matt. 16:19; 18:18 -"whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Sum up:

a. Jesus is saying, every word of God written in the Scripture stands immutable and indestructible in its eternal verity. No word of it be dissolved by any human authority. Scripture will not be affected by criticism or denial of theology.

b. Scriptural warnings against "breaking the Scripture"

  • You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you. (Deut. 4:2)

  • I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.(Rev. 22: 18-19)

3. Major "Breakings" recorded in the Bible, and Church history: (not an exhaustive list)

(1). Genesis 3:1- 6 ** -The first and the original "breaking of the Word of God,"** resulting devastation to "cosmos" & humanity and costing God dearly!

-The serpent to the Eve,

“Did God actually say ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” .. “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

(2) Mark 7:8-14: -Jesus calls their acts of disregard & breaking the Scripture is from devil (John 8:44 -You are of your father the devil).

-"You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! ... ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.

.."But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is given to God) then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

Note: Parable of Tenant of vineyard (Matt. 21:33-43) reflects the Jesus' assessment of the such mindset of the Jewish establishment is rebellious.

(3) Cessation of Charismata - A case of Theological Fallacy!

One of the most damaging case in NT era of "breaking of the Scripture" done by Hermeneutical/Theological fallacy, against the Jesus' words in Acts 1:4-5, 8, and against the empowerment promised to the Church for carrying out the Great Commandment -Mark 16:15 -18).

This doctrine of "Cessationism" is one major "breaking the Word" in the Church history by various proponents -the second to the Gen. 3:1-6 (in my assessment) that teaches:

  • The miraculous gifts have indeed ceased in the mainstream church and evangelized areas, but appear in un-reached areas as an aid to spreading the Gospel (Luther and Calvin, though they were somewhat inconsistent in this position);

  • The "sign gifts" such as prophecy, healing, and speaking in tongues ceased with the apostles and the finishing of the canon of Scripture (Richard Gaffin, John F. MacArthur and Daniel B. Wallace);

  • No true miracles performed by God today.( B. B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, F.N. Lee.)

Note: They admit, they have NO clear textual support, except implied in the texts such as -(Heb. 2:3-4; Gal 3:5;1 Cor. 13:10), and circumstantial evidence of church history - all the gifts weaned out with the Apostolic ages. (ref. Counterfeit Miracles-BB Warfield; Charismatic chaos -John McArthur)

(4) Figure of Speech confusion: Parables & other figure of speeches of prescriptive are being treated as hyperbole or exaggeration, and being generalized as a "persuasion" thus depreciate the consequence parts. - e.g. Parables of "Sower; Unfruitful vine branch, Matt. 5:30 (if your right arm...),

  • The next question is which Scriptures? Do all the texts found at Qumran constitute scripture? Peter and Jude quote Scripture not in the canon. Paul says ALL Scripture is God-breathe/inspired. Jesus answers with non-canonical Scriptures. Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 4:17
  • The word “Scripture” is a limiting phrase meaning that which has been set down in writing for us, and the Word of God means that has proceeded from God, not men. God has said many more things which are not written. In the canon of Scripture (66 books) God-breathed and inspired, the writers under the same guise, were free to make use of materials and pieces of information from non-canonical/holy sources to help illustrate and enforce the truth of God. Loaves of bread and wine selected and used for the Eucharist do not make all the bread and wines from the baker and winery holy.
    – Sam
    Commented Oct 20, 2020 at 5:10
  • I’m not suggesting all ancient texts are God breathe but given the Bible itself has a recommended reading book list THOSE books should be considered. Given the Bible quotes texts from prophets of God about prophecies to come (inferring God breathe words -prophecies) those should be considered. Certainly the Essenes of the Qumran community felt it was important to own and make copies of these Scriptures some of which have been Included in the KJV as an example until 1885 even if not considered canonical it did explain the historical, cosmological and societal backdrop to these Scriptures Commented Oct 20, 2020 at 11:23
  • 1
    Those extra-canonical copies/sources do provide some valuable/helpful backdrop Infos of the eras of the Scriptures. Jesus, in John 16:13, introduces His disciples to the ultimate reliable Teacher-Author of the Scripture, and He is the same for all students of the Scripture of all generations.
    – Sam
    Commented Oct 20, 2020 at 18:20
  • If your comment about the Holy Spirit were applied today all Cessationist congregations would have no services, starting with MacArthur. Fortunately for them it’s not an either or situation but unfortunately for them it is supposed to be both Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. Commented Oct 20, 2020 at 20:44

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