In John 10:35, Jesus says

"if them he did call gods unto whom the word of God came, (and the Writing is not able to be broken,)" (Young's literal)

is there any grammatical or contextual evidence that the 'Writing' being referred to is just the particular passage in the Psalm being referenced by Jesus, or that Jesus is making a blanket claim of a class of Jewish writings?


The key to understanding this is the very common verb, λύω (luó) meaning "(a) I loose, untie, release, (b) met: I break, destroy, set at naught, contravene; I break up a meeting, annul" (Strong's).

It is commonly used for things like untying a donkey in Matt 21:2, etc. However, when applied to "writings" or the "Law", it refers to the either the law in the Torah or the NT generally. Here is a sample:

  • Matt 5:19 - So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
  • John 5:18 - Because of this, the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him. Not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
  • John 7:23 - If a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses will not be broken, why are you angry with Me for making the whole man well on the Sabbath?
  • John 10:35 - If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken

That is, breaking the law or writings is to either misunderstand or disobey its requirements.

Lastly, any attempt to make such references as the those quoted above specific, ie, only applying to the verse quoted, means that only those verse cannot be broken - an unthinkable conclusion. Rather, each instance is an illustration of the more general principle that Scripture generally cannot be broken nor disobeyed.

  • Can you explain how the usage of luo in John 5:18 is broad? It seems specific, i.e., breaking the Sabbath in particular. – One God the Father Mar 8 at 21:57
  • 1
    @AnthonyBurg - agreed - the Sabbath in that instance but it illustrates the point that luo applied to Torah and writings means to break the law generally. – Dottard Mar 8 at 21:59
  • @AnthonyBurg - answer updated. – Dottard Mar 8 at 22:08

You asked , ‘is there any grammatical or contextual evidence that the 'Writing' being referred to is just the particular passage in the Psalm’?

Yes, there is clear contextual evidence. Found in the preview verse.

JOHN 10:34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”

The ‘Law’ - ‘nomos’, is referring to the Pentateuch. The collection of the sacred books of the OT - which includes the Psalms.

This verse (35), by context, is not intended to convey that the claim Jesus made applies to any other ‘writings’ other than the ‘Law’ [Pentateuch]. That was specifically what he was referencing.

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