John 6:1-10 Bible Study
How much time had elapsed since the beginning of Jesus' ministry?
About one year, as this is the second "Passover" (John 6:4) mentioned, so Jesus is one-third into His three-year ministry. This Passover is also six months after the previous "feast of the Jews" mentioned in John 5, which shows that the Gospel of John, like the other three Gospels, is not a diary. Each of the four Gospel writers described the highlights of Jesus' ministry as led by the Holy Spirit, so there are overlaps, as well as elements unique to each of them.
Why did "a great multitude" (John 6:2) follow Jesus?
"because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased." (John 6:2)
Was Jesus' question, “Where shall we buy bread,
that these may eat?” (John 6:5) to Philip intended to start a private chat?
Since at least one other disciple, Andrew, also replied to the question, it was heard by more than just Philip, and probably by many, if not all of the twelve disciples.
Then why might Jesus have addressed the question to Philip?
John 1:44 says, "Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter." Since Bethsaida was only about 15 miles northeast of where they were (see below), Philip would have known the area well and could attest to the fact that there is no source of food in the immediate vicinity, setting the stage for the miracle Jesus was about to perform.
Since Andrew and Peter were also from Bethsaida, why was
the question addressed to Philip?
Philip just may have been standing nearer to Jesus than Andrew and Peter were at that moment.
Did the crowd number "about five thousand" (John 6:10)?
The "men" (John 6:10) numbered about that, which means that including the women and the children, it probably numbered about ten to fifteen thousand, if not more.
What other clues are there to the size of this crowd?
One denarius (plural: denarii) was the wage for one-day's labor, so "two hundred denarii worth of bread" (John 6:7) was the amount of bread that could be bought with about 8-months' (including rest on the Sabbath) income, which "is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little." (John 6:7) Given that the closest towns of Bethsaida and Capernaum each only had a couple of thousand inhabitants, this was a massive crowd. The whole region had emptied out to see Jesus.
What was Andrew describing when he said, “There is a lad
here who has five barley loaves and two small fish" (John 6:9)?
The "barley loaves" would be comparable to today's dinner rolls and the two fish were "small". This was a kid's lunch or dinner.