# NoCoolName Blog

## Looking at Scripture Mastery – John 7:17

Greek: ἐάν τις θέλῃ τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ ποιεῖν, γνώσεται περὶ τῆς διδαχῆς πότερον ἐκ θεοῦ ἐστὶν ἢ ἐγὼ ἀπ’ ἐμαυτοῦ λαλῶ.

My Translation: If anyone would desire his desire to do, he will know concerning the teaching whether it is from God or whether I speak from myself.

KJV: If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

My translations are purposefully stretched and should not be viewed as more accurate than the KJV translation unless I say so in the post. I'm trying to show the range lying between the original Greek text and the English.

## Update May 2013

This scripture has been removed by the Church Educational System from the Scripture Mastery list. However, it had remained within this list for over two decades and as such is still familiar to many graduates of the LDS Church's Seminary program. So I'm keeping this exploration of it online, but it is no longer applicable to CES.


Well, it's been a wild previous few posts, so let's calm down a bit with this relatively normal and innocuous one. The context for this chapter is Jesus yet again speaking (seriously, he barely does anything else in John's gospel), this time in the Temple at Jerusalem during the Feast of Sukkōt. Previously his brothers had encouraged him to go down to Jerusalem during this very public feast, but he told them to go instead. Then he went secretly down after them. The authorities were looking for him, but couldn't find him. Then Jesus begins teaching in the Temple, and everyone is amazed at how much Jesus knows (John cares a lot more about portraying Jesus as awesome than he does about creating a logical narrative, so if you're a bit confused as to the context of how Jesus arrives in Jerusalem it's not meant to be historical, but to show that Jesus doesn't ever take advice or suggestions from someone else, but is always firmly in control of himself and his own ministry). The statement given in the Scripture Mastery verse comes at the beginning of Jesus's response about what he is teaching, right after he begins, “My teaching is not from me, but from the one who sent me.”

From a translation point of view, the only interesting thing about the verse is the first part, where Jesus says that if anyone *thélā to do his thélāma,* he will know whether Jesus's doctrine is divine or not. See how the two words are similar? They come from the same root, except that one is a verb, thélā (from *thélō),* and one is a noun, thélāma. The meaning is within the range of will, wish, desire, want, purpose, or even hunger (though usually the English word “will” covers most usages, including in this scripture where it's the best choice and the one the King James Version has). So, the first phrase, in a sense, means that if an individual works to make their desires or their purpose to be the same as God's desires or purpose, then they'll know.

For Mormons, this scripture has more application than just to Jesus's teachings in the Gospel of John. For Mormons, this is a promise applied to the entire restored gospel, and a similar scripture is found near the end of the Book of Mormon where readers are promised an answer to prayers about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

However, this scripture introduces an important, and personally troubling, aspect to the Mormon formula for finding truth. If this scripture is inverted, then it provides a ready answer to objections about those who do not find truth in Mormonism.