The phrase “truly truly” appears frequently throughout the New Testament, especially in the Gospel of John. When Jesus says “Truly truly I say to you,” He is calling attention to the importance of the statement that follows. The repeated word “truly” serves to emphasize the truth and authority behind Jesus’ words. As the Son of God, Jesus spoke absolute truth, so when He repeats the word “truly,” it is a way of underscoring the veracity of His message.
- “Truly truly” was a distinctive phrase used by Jesus to introduce important teachings.
- It appears over 70 times in the Gospel of John.
- The repetition of “truly” emphasizes the truth and authority of Jesus’ words.
- Jesus used “truly truly” to call people’s attention to core spiritual truths.
- “Truly truly” indicates a solemn, weighty pronouncement by Jesus.
The phrase “truly truly” in the original Greek is “amen amen.” The word “amen” means “so be it” or “it is true.” By doubling the word, Jesus was essentially saying “verily, verily” or “truly, truly” to stress the significance of the following statement. Let’s take a close look at some of the key passages where Jesus uses this emphatic expression.
1. Truly Truly and Eternal Life
One of the first instances of “truly truly” in John’s Gospel comes in chapter 3, where Jesus has an encounter with Nicodemus, a religious leader. Jesus tells Nicodemus that one must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus asks how this is possible, and Jesus replies:
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3, NASB)
Here, Christ uses “truly truly” to preface an essential doctrine – the need for spiritual rebirth. This teaching on being “born again” still reverberates as a core tenet of Christian theology today.
Later in John chapter 3, Jesus again uses the phrase to underscore a profound truth:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” (John 5:24-25)
The promise of eternal life for those who believe in Christ is framed by the solemn declaration “truly truly.” This shows that everlasting life in God’s presence is not a nice religious notion, but a rock-solid guarantee from Jesus himself.
2. Truly Truly and Identity in Christ
A bit later in John 5, Jesus makes another weighty statement prefaced by “truly truly”:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:47-51)
Here, Christ identifies Himself as the bread of life sent from heaven. His body would be sacrificed to provide eternal sustenance. Again, Jesus uses “truly truly” to signal a monumental truth – that He is the source of life and salvation.
In John chapter 6, Jesus goes on to make seven “truly truly” statements about the spiritual nourishment He provides, culminating in this:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:53-54)
By eating His flesh and drinking His blood, Jesus means coming to Him and believing in Him. This graphic language, certified by “truly truly,” points ahead to Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross.
Later in chapter 6, Simon Peter declares his allegiance to Christ:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)
Having earlier used “truly truly” to describe Himself as the bread of life, Jesus’ words perfectly encapsulate the path to eternal life for those who believe in Him.
There are many other passages where Jesus associates “truly truly” sayings with the promise of life through faith in Him:
- John 8:51 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”
- John 11:25 – “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.”
By sandwiching these powerful declarations between “truly truly,” Jesus underlines both His identity as the giver of life and the means of obtaining eternal life through Him.
3. Truly Truly and Spiritual Insight
In addition to underscoring Jesus’ identity and the path to salvation, “truly truly” also precedes statements of spiritual insight. For example, Jesus tells Nicodemus:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.” (John 3:11)
Jesus here claims firsthand knowledge of the spiritual realm, having come down from heaven. But He notes that the religious leaders reject these heavenly truths.
This is a pattern seen elsewhere in John’s gospel. Jesus frequently introduces profound spiritual truths with “truly truly,” only to have the meaning lost on His listeners:
- After declaring Himself the bread of life, Jesus laments: “But there are some of you who do not believe” (John 6:64).
- In chapter 8, after describing spiritual freedom in Christ, Jesus says: “Why do you not understand what I am saying?” (John 8:43).
- In chapter 10, after identifying Himself as the good shepherd, Jesus states: “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep” (John 10:26).
Even when affirming magnificent truths about Himself with “truly truly,” Jesus faced disbelief from those unwilling to accept His testimony. Nonetheless, Christ persisted in highlighting kingdom revelations for those with ears to hear.
4. Truly Truly and the Holy Spirit
John 14-16 records an extended discourse by Jesus on the coming Holy Spirit. This Spirit of Truth, whom the Father would send in Jesus’ name, would indwell believers and guide them into all truth (John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:13).
It is fitting, then, that Jesus initiates this teaching on the Holy Spirit with a series of “truly truly” statements underscoring the Spirit’s purpose:
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:1-6)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. (John 16:23-24)
These promises, certified by “truly truly,” showcase the ongoing presence and power provided by the Spirit after Jesus’ departure. Though physically absent, Jesus assured the disciples they would experience His presence via the Holy Spirit working within them.
5. Truly Truly in John’s Epistles
While most instances of “truly truly” occur in John’s gospel, the phrase also appears in two of his epistles. In 1 John, it is used to validate faith in Christ:
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13)
In 2 John, it concerns remaining faithful to apostolic doctrine:
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting.” (2 John 1:7-10)
So in these epistles, as in the gospel, “truly truly” signals vitally important truths that John’s readers must take to heart.
6. Truly Truly in Revelation
The Book of Revelation contains a final instance of “truly truly” – one directly from the Lord God Himself:
“And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:6-7)
“And behold, I am coming quickly. My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:12-14)
The final pages of Scripture close with Jesus Himself underscoring His imminent return using the emphatic declaration “truly truly.” This bookends the Bible, as the phrase so often on Christ’s lips during His earthly ministry echoes once more at the Bible’s conclusion – certifying the truth of all that has been revealed.
Throughout John’s gospel, Jesus repeatedly precedes significant spiritual teachings with the phrase “truly truly.” By doubling the word “amen,” Christ underscores both the veracity and authority of His message. Core truths about Jesus’ identity, salvation through Him, the Holy Spirit, and Christ’s imminent return are all framed by these emphatic declarations. When we come across “truly truly” in Scripture, it signals vitally important truths authenticated by Jesus Himself. As contemporary disciples, when we read or hear “truly truly,” we must lean in to grasp the weighty spiritual insights which Jesus is about to reveal. The phrase continues to call our attention to eternal realities that impact our lives and faith today.