Worship Him in Spirit and Truth–
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
What did Jesus mean when he told the Samaritan woman at the well (at John 4:24):
‘For God is spirit, so those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth?’
To get the significance of what he was saying, it’s best to look at the context.
For you will see that she had just said to him (in verse 20):
‘Our ancestors worshiped here on this mountain, but you people say that JeruSalem is where we should worship.’
And Jesus then told her (verse 21):
‘Believe me, woman; The time is coming when you won’t worship the Father on this mountain or in JeruSalem!’
So he was saying that the old form of worshiping God in designated places (such as at the Temple in JeruSalem) would soon end. This was then the setting for his following words (in verses 23, 24):
‘The time is coming (and it’s now), when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…
Because the Father is searching for people like this to worship Him.
For God is spirit, so those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.’
Notice that in Greek, verse 24 reads:
‘πνευμα ο θεος και τους προσκυνουντας αυτον εν πνευματι και αληθεια δει προσκυνειν,’
‘Breath is/the God and those bowing/before him in breath and truth need him/worship.’
Perhaps the best definition of what Jesus was saying can be found in his own words.
For Jesus also said (as recorded at John 17:17):
‘Your Word is the truth.’
And Paul wrote at Ephesians 6:17, 18:
‘Also, accept the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, God’s Word.’
So we can see from those scriptures that truth can be found in God’s word (the Bible), which is also the sword of God’s Breath (or Spirit). And the conclusion that could be logically reached from this is that in John 4, Jesus was telling the woman that the arrangement for worshiping God must be based on a personal relationship with Him and on a study of God’s Word.
For a discussion on truth, please see the commentary, What Is Truth?