Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Greek Word Pronunciation: TRO-go
Strong’s Number: 5176
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 5592
Key Verse: “He who eats this bread will live forever.” -- John 6:58

The Greek language uses nine different words that are translated “to eat” in the New Testament. In John 6:49-58, two of these words have a very distinct difference in translation.

One very common Greek word is phago, and it means “to eat, devour, consume.” That word is used in John 6:49-53, and 58. The word trogo means “to gnaw, to chew,” and it stresses the slow process. It is used nowhere else in the New Testament, except in John 6:54, and 56-58.

In verse 58, Jesus said, “your fathers did eat (phago) manna, and he that eats (trogo) of this bread shall live forever.” When the Jews ate (phago) manna, it was to satisfy a carnal appetite, but the verb trogo means “to feed upon.” In these verses, phago is always in the tense that indicates a one-time action, usually in the past. Trogo is always in the present tense, indicating a continual ongoing action. Therefore, when Jesus said “he who eats (trogo) this bread will live forever,” it means a continual feeding, something that is to be done on a constant basis to satisfy the spiritual appetite.

The language of Jesus can only have a spiritual meaning as He unfolds Himself as the true manna. In the context of all these verses, since the Lord’s supper was not yet instituted, this “feeding upon” Jesus refers to spiritual eating, not sacramental. As a continuation of verse 27, Jesus Himself is the “food” that endures to eternal life. Food that is eaten and then digested is assimilated so that it becomes a part of the body. Likewise, people must appropriate Christ to have spiritual life by trusting in Him for salvation. John 6:40 makes it clear that faith is the operative word when it comes to appropriating Christ to receive the gift of eternal life.


Henry said...

So, if it is symbolic only, why verse 66: "Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer when about with him." Seems many interpreted this literally and Jesus did not try to correct them. Rather, he is reported to have said to his disciples, "Do you also wish to go away?" (verse 67)

Ned Fred said...

Right on, Henry. Sadly, Protestants deny not only the meaning of the words, but also the history behind it.

Look at the Church Fathers. Look at history. And you will have to accept that Christ really IS Present.

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Anonymous said...

You believe that Jesus was telling us to "spiritually" gnaw and chew his flesh? Surely Jesus could have used appropriate wording to suggest he was speaking symbolically, but He didn't. What could he have possibly said that would make Protestants believe that He actually wants us to EAT HIS FLESH? I don't think he could have been clearer. Henry has a great point, that He would have not let those followers leave if they simply misunderstood Him. He would have explained He was speaking symbolically. But He let them go. To whom did they go? They rejected Jesus' words, so what does this mean for those who do the same today? I'm so thankful to be Catholic, to belong to the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ.