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The “Greater Works” of Believers (John 14:12)

The reference to the “greater works” of the believer in John 14:12 is one of the most puzzling passages in the entire Gospel. Indeed, one wonders in what sense Jesus’ followers could be said to accomplish greater things than their Lord. A perusal of commentaries on John’s Gospel suggests that the “greater works” reference in the Fourth Gospel is frequently interpreted in the light of the description of the early church’s mission in the book of Acts. This article seeks to develop an interpretation of the passage that is unencumbered by extratextual presuppositions stemming from a reading of the book of Acts or from contemporary ecclesiological paradigms. Subsequently, implications will be drawn from the present study’s findings for the self-understanding and practice of the contemporary church’s task and mission.

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