It is the Spirit That Quickeneth 

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63 KJV)

Bible commentators disagree on the meaning of “spirit” in the phrase “it is the spirit that quickeneth”. However, this clause is crucial not only for the salvation experience but for our daily victory. 

As always, every word or phrase in the Bible must be interpreted in context. And context is more important than parallel Bible verses.  For instance, the term “flesh” in John 6:63 does not mean the same as flesh in John 3:6. 

Although the rest of the scriptures plainly teach us that the Holy Spirit gives life, and He does so through the Word, this is different from what Jesus had in mind here. This meaning is imported from other passages and forced upon this verse. The term “spirit” in John 6:63 is used as a contrast to “flesh”. And flesh here does not mean “human nature” as in John 1:12. The context makes it plain: Jesus was talking about His body as flesh, as meat. In verse 52, the Jews grumbled and said, “how can this man give us his flesh to eat?”. 

Jesus’ teaching was simple: eating His body as meat will not give eternal life. But if a person eats His Words (believe them)—which is spirit and in contrast to His body which is flesh—they will have eternal life.  

God’s Word is spirit and works as spirit. It becomes easy to comprehend that the Holy Spirit works primarily by His Word, which is spirit. The Word quickened you at salvation: that same Word can quicken your body, emotions, mind, finances, relationships, etc. 


This devotional is a crash course on key hermeneutic principles. What is the difference in the meaning of flesh in John 6:63 and John 3:6?

Apply the Word

God’s Word works as spirit—not through natural means but as spirit.  Eat Jesus’ body—not His body of flesh but His Word! 


Ask the Father to help you connect with the Word as spirit and life.

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