How do you non-Catholic Christians interpret John 6:51-56?

Do you interpret the Bible literally? If so, then wouldn't this give gravity to the Catholic belief of the Real Presence in the Eucharist? I don't think that Jesus was being symbolic because when the Jews asked "how can we eat his flesh?" Jesus DID NOT correct them in stating that he was speaking metaphorically. On the contrary, he reiterated the previous statement that they need to consume his flesh and drink his blood. Once again, do you interpret the Bible literally and if so, do you celebrate a form of Eucharist or Communion? If not, why? Isn't Jesus commanding us to do so???

11 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Best Answer

    Interpreting the Bible literally does not mean that you take everything, even metaphorical statemetents, as literal ones. Jesus also said things like I am the door, I a am the vine, I am the Good Shepherd, Obviously He was not claiming to be a lteral door with a knob and hinges, etc.

    Notice He does not say the bread is me, He says I am the bread. He was claiming to be the bread right then and there, long before communion / the eucharist was instituted at the last supper just prior to the crucifixion.

    Further, in the preceeding verses He states plainly what one must do to obtain eternal life:

    John 6:47

    "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life."

    It is BELIEF that He then proceeds to illustrate using the figure of eating and drinking.

    Notice the exact same outcome is obtained by eating "my flesh" and drinking "my blood".

    John 6:54

    "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

    Therefore, we must understand the eating of Christ's flesh and blood to be a metaphor for BELIEVING on Him as He says in 6:47.

  • 4 years ago

    Hi there. Until the Hebrew children began complaining they wanted flesh and God sent the quail, ( in such droves they had a hard time consuming fast enough :) ), they had been fed with The Bread of Life. So, even back then the learned ones of God's children were familiar with His flesh in that sense. Jesus, being with God from the beginning, is The Word and The Word is The Bread of life for those who will observe and study. The bread was that which they called angel food. The wine represents the wrath yet to come. When The Lord was praying in the garden asking about the possibility of the cup being taken from Him He wasn't crying the blues like so many pastors teach. He wasn't trying to whimper out of His own persecution. He knew that once He defeated death, some of His own children would have to die a spiritual death one day. God does not will for any of His children to perish but some will still chose to follow the wrong one and they will perish. He told the woman at the well that if she would drink from His cup she would never thirst. Drink in from His cup instead of having it poured out onto you and you will have everlasting life. If you eat the bread He gives, which is The Living Word you will know how to live a decent life here in the flesh and be clothed in white garments when you step out of this body and into the new. Your reputation is all you can take with you. To answer your question, it IS symbolic. Flesh and blood cannot enter into The Kingdom and since that's where He is, well... My final thought is to direct you to the parable of the sower to explain the blood that remains in those who study The Word and learn who God really is. There are two sowers. The Almighty who seeded His vinyard. Then came along the tares. Who does it say scattered the tares among the good seed ? In the verse 54 which you shared with us He says that whoever studies Him will be raised up in the last day and a day with The Lord is as a thousand years with man. I cannot document this part but I believe it is the mellenium or The Lord's Day. :)

  • 10 years ago

    What He said before has nothing to do the Supper. The multitudes were all material minded and very few understood His message perhaps. The Law of Moses states that a Jew cannot eat blood nor eat human flesh and Jesus knew the law nor will He break the law He established hundreds of years before He was born. But He said it in the spiritual sense to show them that they need spiritual food because "man cannot live by bread alone." He was telling them He is God in the flesh and they must depend on Him on more important things other than food. They said He was crazy and so they left Him.Today the majority of the people would like to receive things from God like for example being healed. And when that miracle occurs they forget God and go away not knowing that they need healing in their spirits. Now about the is symbolical of His Body and the wine is also symbolical of His Blood. Before christianity came to being, in Egypt there were pagan religious ceremonies to the Sun God, Horus. The priest gave out round wafers to the people so that the spirit of Horus lives inside their bodies the moment they consume the wafer thus they believed Horus living in them. When christianity came into being and were persecuted by the Romans for three hundred years and then she became legalized by Constantine(who believed in the sun god), the church began to weaken spiritually and became paganized. Therefore the pagan practice of Horus assimilated with the half and half christianity(which means religious and worldly at the same time)church and it remains to this day.

    Source(s): Fifty years reading the Bible and obtaining information from former priests of Rome
  • 10 years ago

    I am an Evangelical Lutheran and the belief of the ELCA is that the body and blood is "in, with, and under" the bread and wine. This is not consubstantiation (being the body and blood alongside the bread and wine). We don't say that it is literally the body and blood but at the same time we don't purely dismiss it as symbolic and solely bread and wine. The Lord's Supper is mysterious and not explainable by human philosophy. We know that we can test see or identify a physical transformation the bread and wine aren't transformed into the body and blood but at the same time find it erroneous to say that it is purely symbolic as that does not give proper respect to the sacrament.

    *The ELCA does NOT have a literal interpretation of the scripture, rather a historical one which acknowledges symbolism and the possibility of human error within transcription and translation but does not reject the concept of it being infallible.*

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  • 10 years ago

    A better proof text might be 1 Cor 11:26-29:

    "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself."

  • 10 years ago

    You could also ask: Did Our Lord ever let one leave confused? The answer is NO. He always gave a parable to explain. Now ask why did he let all those who heard Him leave in this case? Why did he not explain? Why did the Jews leave if it was only symbolic to begin with? Maybe because the Jews knew that Our Lord was not speaking symbolically but literally.

    60. Many therefore of his Disciples hearing it, said, This saying is hard, and who can hear it? 61. But JESUS knowing with himself that his Disciples murmured at this, he said to them, Doth this scandalize you?

    66. And after this many of his Disciples went back: and now they walked not with him. 67. JESUS therefore said to the Twelve, What, will you also depart?

    The True Presence and the Greek Word "trogo" In John Chapter Six:

    "He that eateth (τρώγων | trogo) my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath life everlasting: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh, is meat in deed: and my blood is drink in deed: He that eateth (τρώγων | trogo) my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living father hath sent me, and live by the father: and he that eateth (τρώγων | trogo) me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat (ἔφαγον | phago) Manna, and died. He that eateth (τρώγων | trogo) this bread, shall live for ever." (John 6:54-58).

    Throughout the sacred Scriptures we find many examples of were the English does not render the complete and full meaning of the Greek. This is especially true in the Greek word "trogo" found in John Chapter six. The word trogo is translated in most English versions of the Bible as simply "eat" or "eateth". When we examine the Greek meaning of the word, we realize that it is a very descriptive word, and is more accurately rendered in the concept of aggressively and loudly munching, gnawing and chewing, as a animal would eat.

    The inspired Apostle John specifically chose to use this highly descriptive word, rather than the generally used Greek words "esthio"(ἐσθίω,v) or "phago"(ἔφαγον) (both of which simply mean to eat), for a reason. St John was attempting to drive home the thought of a very real and physical eating of actual flesh. His inspired word usage clearly shows that Christ was not speaking figuratively, Christ was in fact commanding his listeners to gnaw and chew his flesh. The Jews understood that Christ was being literal, and were disgusted at the thought (vs.52), many of Christ's own disciples were so shocked and dismayed by his words that they left him (v.66).

    From the Greek we see the very literal meaning of our savior's words, The bread he was offering them is indeed the body blood soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.

    References for the Greek word "trogo"

    "# 5176 trogo: . . . through the idea of a crunching sound; to gnaw or chew" (Dictionary of the Greek Testament, By James Strong S.T.D. LL.D., p. 73)

    "trogo to nibble, to munch, to eat audibly, to crunch" (The Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament by Fritz Reienecker, 1981,Vol. 1, p. 234)

    "trogo: . . . Originally I Munch, I eat Audibly" (A Pocket Lexicon To The Greek New Testament, by Alexander Souter M.A., 1946, p.265)

    "trogo: . . A hole formed by gnawing, a mouses hole" (An Intermediate Greek - English Lexicon, by Liddell and Scott, Oxford, impression of 1991, p. 822)

    "trogo: to gnaw, crunch, chew raw vegetables or fruits (as nuts, almonds)... in other writers of animals feeding;" (New Thayer's Greek- English Lexicon to the New Testament, By Joseph Henry Thayer D.D, 1979, p. 631)


    Even Latin has different words for eat: edo, esse, edere, edi, esus, manduco, manducare, manducavi, manducatus, mordeo, mordere, momordi, morsus, vescor, vesci, mando, mandere, mandi, mansus.

  • 10 years ago

    I celebrate Passover, and I am a christian. Your tradition and impregnated doctrines is the reason you feel that you are so self righteous about what is literal and what is interpreted as God wants it to be this is why you celebrate Easter instead of Passover.

    Jesus told His disciples, take eat, this is my body... what needs to be literal about that? It is what He said it is nothing added nothing taken from.

    The pope doesn't govern how I interpret in the Spirit or How I conduct myself in the way of what the bible teaches. It is God's truth and I do as He says.

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    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    Jesus specifically said His words were symbolic, spiritual, after saying it :

    "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." - John 6:63

    And again, when Jesus broke bread and gave it to the disciples He told them to do it only in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19).

    Source(s): King James Bible
  • 10 years ago

    When Jesus said,This is My body, He had not died, he was still in His body, therefore He would not have meant it literally. It is symbolic, a memorial of the giving of His body to die for us all.

    To say His body is on the altar time and time again when he died once for all, is blasphemy.

  • 10 years ago

    John 6:51-56 (King James Version)

    51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

    52The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

    53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

    54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

    55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

    56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

    The problem is that John made stuff up which he then put into his gospel and other writings. Jesus was dead and gone and could not correct him. I interpret communion as Jesus suggested, as remembrance of him.

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