John 10:30 - The Father and I are one

"The Father and I are one." (John 10:30 - NASB)

What Trinitarians Say

Trinitrians cite this verse as proof that Jesus and the Father are the same share a divine substance.

  • What We Say

    In context, Jesus is explaining that he and the Father perform the same function (protecting the sheep).  Jesus is emphasizing that his will and purpose are aligned with God's.

  • Further Explanation

    While Trinitarians have long quoted this verse to demonstrate their doctrine of "same substance" (homoousios) between the Father and the Son, there is no such statement being made here.  The verse says nothing about essence, or being, and, when viewed in context, demonstrates Christ's unity of purpose with the Father.  Many Trinitarian scholars, historical and modern, have likewise recognized that this verse cannot be used to prove the deity of Christ, as it speaks only about the unity of will that Jesus had with God.[1]

    Our interpretation aligns with the consistent Gospel demonstration of the Son’s unity of will and function with the Father.  Even the Trinitarian reformer John Calvin recognized that “The ancients made a wrong use of [John 10:30] to prove that Christ is…of the same essence with the Father.  For Christ does not argue about the unity of substance, but about the agreement that he has with the Father.”[2]  

    In verses 28-30, we see that Jesus had spoken of his disciples as sheep and described them as having been placed under his supervision and protection by the Father: “…no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and none is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.  I am and my Father are one.”  Both Christ and his Father are shown to be responsible for protecting the sheep; they are united in a common purpose. 

    Elsewhere Jesus uses similar language to describe the relationship of the Church to himself and to God, praying that “they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:21).  Christ consistently asks for his disciples to “be one just as we are one" (v.22), and furthermore that they would also be "one" with Jesus and his Father (v.23).  The common purpose is, of course, the spreading of the Gospel message, or “so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (v. 21).  

    The same language is also used by Paul to describe the relationship between himself as the founder of a church, and Apollos as the nurturer of that church: “He who plants and he who waters are one” (1 Corinthians 3:8).  We need not take this same language in John 10:30 as indicating a unity of substance.