This post is primarily just a list — for me to archive — and for those who might be interested. I have also included (at the end) a video presentation by Dr. Andrew Lincoln on the significance of the “I am” passages in the Gospel of John.
In one of the churches I pastored, I led a series of brief Lenten studies on the “I am” sayings in the Gospel of John. In preparation for this, I did a search to find how many sayings like this there really were. I was a bit surprised how many I found.
Occasionally I get asked about this, so it occurs to me that there may be other people who would also find this list interesting.
Often writers will claim that there are 7 “I Am” sayings in the Gospel of John. These are in the form of “I am the ________” — where the blank is filled by some metaphor Jesus uses to describe his role in life — like: “I am the Bread of life” or “I am the good shepherd” and so forth. The seven that are usually cited are these:
- Bread of life (John 6:35),
- Light of the world (John 8:12),
- Gate (John 10:9)
- Good Shepherd (John 10:11),
- Resurrection and Life (John 11:25),
- Way, Truth, Life (John 14:6)
- True Vine (John 15:1).
But, there are more appearances of this phrase ἐγώ εἰμι than just those. And, since the phrase is emphatic — stressing the “I” — many of these (or all) could also be seen as being theologically significant. Depending on which ones you wish to include, the count could be brought up to 22. And, then, I discovered that there were “I Am” sayings similar to those in the Gospel of John, in the book of Revelation. If you include these related sayings in the book of Revelation, the total would be 27. If the usage of the phrase “ἐγώ εἰμι” really is an implicit claim to oneness with the God of the Exodus (who identified Himself to Moses as “I Am That I Am”), then, it seems to me, all these Scriptures might be relevant. The reader may judge whether they are or not.
Anyway, here’s the list I compiled:
1. From the Gospel of John:
Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι, ὁ λαλῶν σοι.
But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἐγώ εἰμι· μὴ φοβεῖσθε.
“I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.”
ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ μαρτυρῶν περὶ ἐμαυτοῦ καὶ μαρτυρεῖ περὶ ἐμοῦ ὁ πέμψας με πατήρ.
I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.”
εἶπον οὖν ὑμῖν ὅτι ἀποθανεῖσθε ἐν ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν· ἐὰν γὰρ μὴ πιστεύσητε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι, ἀποθανεῖσθε ἐν ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν.
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me.
εἶπεν οὖν [αὐτοῖς] ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ὅταν ὑψώσητε τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, τότε γνώσεσθε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι, καὶ ἀπ᾿ ἐμαυτοῦ ποιῶ οὐδέν, ἀλλὰ καθὼς ἐδίδαξέν με ὁ πατὴρ ταῦτα λαλῶ.
Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”
εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί.
I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he.
ἀπ᾿ ἄρτι λέγω ὑμῖν πρὸ τοῦ γενέσθαι, ἵνα πιστεύσητε ὅταν γένηται ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι.
They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ· Ἰησοῦν τὸν Ναζωραῖον. λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἐγώ εἰμι. εἱστήκει δὲ καὶ Ἰούδας ὁ παραδιδοὺς αὐτὸν μετ᾿ αὐτῶν. 6 ὡς οὖν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ἐγώ εἰμι, ἀπῆλθον εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω καὶ ἔπεσαν χαμαί.
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”
ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς· εἶπον ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι. εἰ οὖν ἐμὲ ζητεῖτε, ἄφετε τούτους ὑπάγειν·
The Bread of Life
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς· ὁ ἐρχόμενος πρὸς ἐμὲ οὐ μὴ πεινάσῃ, καὶ ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ οὐ μὴ διψήσει πώποτε.
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
Ἐγόγγυζον οὖν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι περὶ αὐτοῦ ὅτι εἶπεν· ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος ὁ καταβὰς ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ,
I am the bread of life.
Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος ὁ ζῶν ὁ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καταβάς· ἐάν τις φάγῃ ἐκ τούτου τοῦ ἄρτου ζήσει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, καὶ ὁ ἄρτος δὲ ὃν ἐγὼ δώσω ἡ σάρξ μού ἐστιν ὑπὲρ τῆς τοῦ κόσμου ζωῆς.
The Light of the World
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Πάλιν οὖν αὐτοῖς ἐλάλησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων· ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου· ὁ ἀκολουθῶν ἐμοὶ οὐ μὴ περιπατήσῃ ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ, ἀλλ᾿ ἕξει τὸ φῶς τῆς ζωῆς.
So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
Εἶπεν οὖν πάλιν ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα τῶν προβάτων.
I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.
ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα· δι᾿ ἐμοῦ ἐάν τις εἰσέλθῃ σωθήσεται καὶ εἰσελεύσεται καὶ ἐξελεύσεται καὶ νομὴν εὑρήσει.
The Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός. ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλὸς τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ τίθησιν ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων·
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,
Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλὸς καὶ γινώσκω τὰ ἐμὰ καὶ γινώσκουσί με τὰ ἐμά,
The Resurrection and the Life
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live,
εἶπεν αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἀνάστασις καὶ ἡ ζωή· ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ κἂν ἀποθάνῃ ζήσεται,
The Way and the Truth and the Life
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι᾿ ἐμοῦ.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower.
Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινὴ καὶ ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ γεωργός ἐστιν.
I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος, ὑμεῖς τὰ κλήματα. ὁ μένων ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ οὗτος φέρει καρπὸν πολύν, ὅτι χωρὶς ἐμοῦ οὐ δύνασθε ποιεῖν οὐδέν.
2. From the book of Revelation:
The First and the Last
Revelation 1:17 [Christ]
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last….
Καὶ ὅτε εἶδον αὐτόν, ἔπεσα πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ ὡς νεκρός, καὶ ἔθηκεν τὴν δεξιὰν αὐτοῦ ἐπ᾿ ἐμὲ λέγων· μὴ φοβοῦ· ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος
The One Who Searches Minds and Hearts
… And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.
… καὶ γνώσονται πᾶσαι αἱ ἐκκλησίαι ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἐραυνῶν νεφροὺς καὶ καρδίας, καὶ δώσω ὑμῖν ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα ὑμῶν.
The Alpha and the Omega
Revelation 1:8 [God the Father]
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ ἄλφα καὶ τὸ ὦ, λέγει κύριος ὁ θεός, ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, ὁ παντοκράτωρ.
Revelation 21:6 [God the Son]
Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
καὶ εἶπέν μοι· γέγοναν. ἐγώ [εἰμι] τὸ ἄλφα καὶ τὸ ὦ, ἡ ἀρχὴ καὶ τὸ τέλος. ἐγὼ τῷ διψῶντι δώσω ἐκ τῆς πηγῆς τοῦ ὕδατος τῆς ζωῆς δωρεάν.
The Root and the Descendant of David, the Bright Morning Star
“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
Ἐγὼ Ἰησοῦς ἔπεμψα τὸν ἄγγελόν μου μαρτυρῆσαι ὑμῖν ταῦτα ἐπὶ ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ῥίζα καὶ τὸ γένος Δαυίδ, ὁ ἀστὴρ ὁ λαμπρὸς ὁ πρωϊνός.
And to round things out, here is Dr. Andrew Lincoln discussing the significance of the “I am” sayings in the Gospel of John.