The Syntagma “Have the Testimony of Jesus” in the Apocalypse of John

Paweł Podeszwa


The theme of testimony is one of the most important theological motifs in the final book of the New Testament, the Apocalypse of John.  The noun “testimony” appears there nine times (1:2-9; 6:9; 11:7; 12:11-17; 19:10[x2]; 20:4), always in the singular form. The noun “testimony” is accompanied three times by the verb “have”, with which it creates the syntagma “have the testimony” (6:9; 12:17; 19:10). This syntagma, according to some analysts, indicates “a deeper identity of the disciples” of Jesus. In the present article I suggest an analysis of the above-mentioned phrase, seeking to identify the essence of that deeper identity of Jesus’ followers, which is expressed by the analyzed constituent segment. I begin with a few remarks about the etymology of the noun “testimony”, understood as the memory of people and events. Next, I analyze the three fragments which feature the syntagma “have the testimony”. From that background, I finally seek to answer the question of the sense of such an expression within the context of understanding the identity of Jesus’ followers. The living memory of Jesus – kept, experienced and passed along – shapes the identity of Christ’s followers. It looks back to the past, but at the same time is open to the present and, through hope, allows believers to await the future. In this way Jesus’ followers become witnesses and prophets of Jesus in the modern world.


Apocalypse, testimony, have the testimony, memory, Christian identity


Podeszwa, P. (2015). The Syntagma “Have the Testimony of Jesus” in the Apocalypse of John. Verbum Vitae, 28, 319–344.

Paweł Podeszwa


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